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Letter: Community College Students Can Aim High

The competition and mystique that surrounds the effort to gain entrance to four year colleges and universities by graduating high school seniors is almost a blood sport. To hear some parents and students talk, it is almost a matter of life and death, or at the worst, embarrassment.

The implication is that if a student is not accepted to a suitable four year institution all is lost. There is obviously no hope for this student. And what in God’s name are mom and dad going to say at the various cocktail and graduation parties they will be attending? Will there be that pregnant pause when they say their son or daughter is heading to the local community college?

In today’s world of ever increasing prices for higher education, how does one measure value, in both education, and the cost of  tuition? Is there real value at our community colleges?  And can these students excel to highly technical careers from these “modest” beginnings?

I’d like to introduce Eileen Collins and Robert Gibson. Both of these folks are former New York state residents. Eileen is from Elmira, New York and Robert is a graduate of Huntington High School, right here on Long Island. These two very talented people have a number of things in common. Not only are they both former New Yorkers but they are both community college graduates. But what is so unusual and special about that?

What is incredibly unique about these two is that they both built upon successful community college experiences — Ms Collins at Corning Community College in Corning, New York and Mr. Gibson at Suffolk Community College here on Long Island — and went on to join NASA and command missions in the Space Shuttle program. For those too young to remember, the U.S., in the not too recent past,  did have an active manned space program. In fact, Eileen was the first woman to command a space shuttle flight and Robert commanded a total of four flights. This information is easily accessible on NASA’s website. Can you imagine that? Now how is that for accomplishment?

So what does this all mean? It means that if you are a person of intensity and are willing to work you can be a success. And it doesn’t have to come saddled to high amounts of student loans. And in today’s world of ever increasing undergraduate college costs there are other alternatives to high tuition institutions that can produce the same results.

John Napolitano

News

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 Public Library’s Bar Harbour branch was hopping with excitement (not to mention an overload of cuteness) recently when they held their Bunnies, Bunnies, Bunnies event; a chance for kids of all ages to meet and learn all about — what else? — baby bunnies.

Judy Wilson, a Miller Place resident, is an independent contractor for Nassau and Suffolk County Library system; she normally heads many different arts and crafts programs throughout the year, but in late March every year she takes on a special responsibility that is sure to always pack the youngsters in.


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

Free Wine Tasting

Friday, April 18

Boating Course

Saturday, April 26

Massapequa Memories

Tuesday, April 29



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com