Nassau County firefighters engaged in some fiery competition last week at the Annual Firefighter Cook-Off. The fifth annual event brought the East Meadow, Bethpage and Rockville Centre Fire Departments out to Fairway Market in Westbury to fight for bragging rights and the title of best firehouse chef.
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto recently addressed a large crowd in Bethpage in Rotary Circle near the Bethpage LIRR Station at a special ceremony to unveil a memorial for Medal of Honor Recipient 1st Lt. Stephen E. Karopczyc. Lt. Karopczyc, who grew up in Bethpage, served in the United States Army’s Company A, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division.
Hofstra University’s Mack Sports Complex was a sea of blue caps and gowns as 359 graduates from the Class of 2013 celebrated a long-awaited milestone in their educational careers during MacArthur High School’s 52nd annual commencement exercises. Led by School Principal Kathleen Valentino, members of the administration and staff, and Board of Education trustees, the graduates filed onto the arena floor to the symphonic band’s serenade of “Pomp and Circumstance,” performed under the conductorship of Joseph Romano.
The atmosphere was filled with much excitement as the 258 graduates of the Class of 2013 as Division Avenue High School proceeded onto the floor of Hofstra University’s Mack Sports Complex to take the first step in the next chapter of their lives. Under the direction of Mark Martufi, the Division Avenue High School Orchestra played “Pomp and Circumstance” to announce the beginning of Division’s 54th annual commencement exercises. Student Council President Felicia Comuniello led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, while the Senior Chamber Singers sang the national anthem.
Three outstanding students from Levittown and Island Trees middle schools were recently recognized by the Levittown Community Council (LCC) for their outstanding volunteer work.
Clare Del Gross, an 8th grader from Jonas E. Salk Middle School, was selected as the first place winner in the council’s annual contest.
The members of the eighth-grade graduating class at Jonas E. Salk Middle School proceeded down the aisles of the school’s gymnasium in a ceremonial moving-up tradition, as proud parents and family members watched from the bleachers. Class officers led the salute to the flag, after which the eighth-grade chorus, conducted by Lisa Levenberg, sang the national anthem.
When Msgr. Ralph Sommer was growing up he found inspiration from the example of his uncle, Father Ralph Besendorfer. “He was a Brooklyn priest,” said Msgr. Sommer, who is known to parishioners as “Father Sommer” or “Father Ralph.”
“My uncle was a most powerful and delightful influence, happy, caring, and helpful,” said Father Sommer, outgoing pastor of St. Brigid’s Church, in Westbury. “I would look at him and say, ‘I could do that.’”
For a number of years, Father Besendorfer would come out to St. Bernard’s in Levittown on weekends to assist.
Now, Father Sommer finds himself about to become pastor of St. Bernard’s on June 26, succeeding Msgr. Gerard Ringenback, pastor of St. Bernard’s since 2001.
He doesn’t know if anyone at St. Bernard’s will remember his uncle, Father Sommer said, but “if I meet people who remember him from that time, it will be a nice thing.”
Born in Flushing, Queens, Father Sommer grew up in Garden City, attending St. Anne’s School. He advanced to St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary, a high school for young men considering the priesthood.
“It was a caring community,” with priest-instructors and students who shared an interest in exploring the priesthood.
For college, he left the seminary system for Adelphi University near his home. “I walked every day. We didn’t have another car.”
Adelphi offered an opportunity to test his vocation. He majored in psychology, “which I thought would help me if I became a priest.”
After Adelphi, he returned to priestly studies at Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington. Upon graduation, he was ordained a priest in 1983.
Under dark cloudy skies, Coach Bob Fehrenbach and the MacArthur Lady Generals, defending Long Island champions, ended their season with a 12-1 loss after forcing a third game in the best of three series from East Meadow.
The Levittown Chamber of Commerce held its general meeting on May 15 at the YES Community Center. Tropical Smoothie catered the food. At this meeting Councilman Gary Hudes spoke to the members on how to build and increase business for the Levittown Chamber of Commerce.
It was an evening filled with nostalgia as senior citizens from the Levittown community danced the night away at the Levittown School District’s annual Senior Citizen Prom. Dressed in cowboy hats and other Western attire, the guests danced to tunes played by the Ron James Orchestra.
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