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Soldier Visits Berner Middle School

The act of giving back was experienced at its finest by one special member of our U. S. military and a teacher who encouraged her students to remember the troops.

Students in Jenny Gillam’s Personal Computer Applications class at Alfred G. Berner Middle School wrote letters and sent them, along with donated items, to soldiers; a project she’s done with her students since the 9/11 attacks. While the majority of the letters were dropped off at Adopt-A-Battalion in Massapequa Park and sent to Afghanistan, the Adopt-A-Battalion was also able to send some to a soldier stationed in Georgia with special ties to Berner Middle School.

Army Pvt. Nicole DiGregorio, a 2008 Massapequa High School graduate, sat in Gillam’s class and participated in this letter-writing/care package project 10 years ago, never thinking that one day she would be the recipient of one. Overwhelmed by the students’ gesture, she visited Gillam’s class in uniform to thank the students personally just days after she made a surprise visit home.

“I cried when I received the package,” Pvt. DiGregorio said. “I remember writing my letter and how I included a picture of an American flag. This project shows the appreciation others have for those who are serving the country…people who don’t even know me are thinking of me and showing they care. It made me really happy.”

Pvt. DiGregorio, who is about nine months into an four-year, active-duty contract and is being trained in communication systems, talked to the students about what army life is like and answered questions they had about her military career. She also discussed some personal sacrifices she had to make, such as missing her sister’s wedding and all the celebrations leading up to the special day.

Using their computer skills, the students surprised Pvt. DiGregorio with an inspiring slideshow they created with photos of her in the army and of the wedding she missed, which were sent by Pvt. DiGregorio’s mom, Marlene. The slideshow was appropriately set to the song, “Brave,” by Sara Bareilles.


Two hundred business students from high schools across Nassau County, including Massapequa High School, competed for scholarships and cash awards—more than $33,000 in all—from various sponsors at Nassau County’s annual Comptroller’s Entrepreneurial Challenge.

The events on Sept. 11, 2001 had a profound effect on nearly all in the tri-state area, but for first responders, the effects were overwhelming. Long-time Massapequa resident Michael Smith, a member of the New York Fire Department, experienced those effects firsthand.

“While I’ve always been a person that could appreciate life, after 9/11 I became so distraught,” he said. “I realized I need to do something I want to do — something I love to do.”

A 30-year veteran of the fire department, Smith retired in 2002. He and his wife of 33 years, Teresa, began to look for a place they could enjoy life. This mindset brought them to the East End of Long Island, where they often went for day trips. They settled down in a home in Orient Point in 2004; in a home that needed quite a bit of work. And when it was time to landscape the property, a new idea took root — a vineyard.


Massapequa athletes recently received honors from their coaches at Kellenberg Memorial High School.

Each season, the coaches of all of the Kellenberg teams choose one member of their team who stands out as an athlete that has worked hard to improve themselves in their chosen sport.

The Farmingdale State women’s lacrosse team won the first game of their Spring Break trip to North Carolina with a victory over Greensboro College. In wet and muddy conditions, the Rams (8-1) held an 8-5 lead at the half and took the eventual 13-10 win.

In the first half and tied 2-2, the Pride (7-5) pulled ahead 4-2 with two unassisted goals by junior attack Nadya Fedun. Farmingdale State answered with four straight scores for a 6-4 advantage, on goals by juniors Alyssa Handel, Nicole Marzocca and Massapequan Jackie Kennedy.

Sophomore attack Ashlynn Parks put Greensboro within a goal at the 7:03 mark, but the Rams scored two more to lead 8-5 at the halftime break.


YES Fundraiser

Saturday, April 26

Massapequa Memories

Tuesday, April 29

Spring Fashion Show

Wednesday, April 30


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