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Career Night Inspires Minds

On a frigid winter evening at Massapequa High School, hundreds of students from 7th- to 12th-grade with their parents in tow attended the annual career night where they had an opportunity to meet with 30 vendors representing various businesses that students may have an interest in as a future career.

The vendors, coming from different parts of New York State and Long Island, gave the students and parents an opportunity to speak with people who are in the profession ranging from aviation, culinary arts, medicine, technology, banking and many, many more.

“Every year we do two career fairs, one during the  day for 9-12 graders and one in the evening for 7-12 and we invite the parents because we feel that learning about careers should start early,” said Susan Thompson, coordinator of the event and chairperson of career technology and education.

One of the highlights of the event was keynote speaker Joe Sala, the co-owner and founder of Swirls and Twirls, a self serve yogurt company. The son of a bricklayer, Sala started working with his father at the age of 13 learning the trade. Just after he graduated college at 22, Sala’s father died. Sala shared his rags to riches story with the students, telling them how he had to help support his mother and siblings by working seven days a week. He had a dream of retiring early and after turning around a failing Toyota dealership and making it profitable, he retired at the age of 46. Getting bored at home, he started this new venture of Swirls and Twirls and now is a motivational speaker for students.

“Nobody is going to hand you a million dollars. People don’t give you anything,” he said. “You need to make your own success. It’s not that people won’t help you along the way, it’s just that you need to create your own good fortune. No one is going to hand you a happy basket or a success basket.”

One of the life lessons he imparted on the students was to learn to observe everything around them.

“Be a better listener than you are a talker,” he said. “Right now you seem to know everything and you have all of the answers, but trust me, your parents know a thing or two. One of the things that made me successful was that I knew I didn’t have all of the answers so I surrounded myself with people who were better than me at doing their job.”

Both students and parents were very impressed with Sala’s speech. Caroline Gibbons, a 10th-grader who was there with her parents, Maureen and Joe, has an interest in medicine and the navy.  

“His speech was straightforward and inspirational,” she said. “You need to get a grasp on what you want to do because your parents aren’t going to be there forever to support you, you have to support yourself. I think this event offers you a lot of opportunities and give you a push in the right direction and helps you decide what you want to do.”

One of the vendors who understands hard work is Massapequa High School graduate Rob Koemm, who started as a junior firefighter and now is on a full scholarship at Nassau Community College from the fire department

“When I’m not fighting fires I am making the bagels at Town Bagel,” he said, adding that he has a full course load and holds down two jobs.

Tina Becker who was with her 10th grader Andrew was very impressed with the event.

“It’s a great opportunity for kids and parents to understand what is out there in terms of colleges and careers,” she said.  

As parents, students and vendors shared thoughts on career opportunities, Sala mingled with the crowd imparting his wisdom.

“If you want something you need to work hard and push yourself to accomplish your goal,” he said.

News

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.


Sports

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.

Calendar

YES Fundraiser

Saturday, April 26

Massapequa Memories

Tuesday, April 29

Spring Fashion Show

Wednesday, April 30



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