Written by John H. Meyer Friday, 26 November 2010 00:00
Every so often I have the opportunity to write a story about a subject that is close to my heart. This is one of them: Janice Seyfried, my cousin, was born and raised in Wantagh where she still resides. When she was growing up in that sleepy little town, the area was mostly farmland with migrant worker shacks including where the present day Seaford Oyster Bay Expressway was built. However, those times and places have changed drastically over the past 75 years.
Janice was in the first class to graduate from Wantagh High School. After she graduated she enrolled in the Katharine Gibbs School in New York City. Her family didn’t have the funds at that time for her to go away to college. When she completed the Gibbs courses, she worked at that school as executive secretary to the director for a few years while attending night classes at New York University. Following a year and a half of those classes, her family bought a farm upstate and she was able to enroll to Elmira College where she graduated with a BS in economics/accounting. She later went back to Katharine Gibbs and taught during the summer and began a career as a business teacher in Baldwin High School.
Janice’s Master’s Degree, an MS in Guidance and Counseling, was completed at St. John’s University. Janice’s professional diploma in Educational Administration is from the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University. She is licensed in business, guidance and as a school district administrator.
During her tenure at Baldwin, she was instrumental in starting a computer program in the business department and served the state by participating in curriculum writing for two of the courses that were offered and she piloting both of them. The Association of Computer Educators (ACE) that was a tri-state organization of technology teachers, awarded her “Outstanding Technology Educator of the Year” in 1990.
Janice is a past officer of the Baldwin Teachers Association and a union rep for many years. In 1994 and retired from teaching, she opened a small graphic arts business from her home specializing in newsletters, journals and invitations.
While enjoying retirement she also worked part time as a Parish/church administrator for three churches over the past years, as a trainer at CompUSA and the Hendrix Institute. She told me that the position she really loved was a four-year part-time graphic artist for North Shore Today, a Richner Publication.
Janice has always been a dynamo when it comes to community involvement; in her church, singing in the choir, the Alter Guild; she chaired St. Jude’s Church fair several times; she sits on the Vestry where she is the Vestry Clerk. She was elected to the Wantagh Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for three years including being their corresponding secretary while Ed Donnelly served as the chamber president. As a member and a past president of the Masssapequa Kiwanis Club, Janice was always interested in my involvement in Kiwanis. In February 1995, I sponsored Janice when she joined the struggling Wantagh Kiwanis Club and became president.
Janice claims that Kiwanis has been the most rewarding part of her retirement. The Wantagh Club was the Wantagh Chamber’s “Organization of the Year” in 1995. She served again as president in 2002-2003. The club holds food drives, sends kids to Kamp Kiwanis, builds ramps for the handicapped, and holds clothing drives. Janice also served as the division Lt. Governor. The division includes 13 other community Kiwanis clubs. She was given a lifetime membership in Kiwanis by the Wantagh Club.
In 1995, Janice was instrumental in chartering the first Kiwanis Key Club in the world for handicapped or special needs – at BOCES in Wantagh – the Center for Community Adjustment (CCA) of Wantagh Key Club, which is thriving to this day. In 2002, she was the new club builder for the Kiwanis Club of Seaford and recently in 2007, the Kiwanis Club of Uniondale United. Janice has served at the district (state) level as district public relations chairperson for the past seven years and serves as a recruiter and new club builder as well as the division secretary of the Long Island South Central Division of the New York District of Kiwanis International.
The following are awards Janice has received for her work in Kiwanis: George L. Prout Award – 1997 – first place for outstanding newsletter in the New York District of Kiwanis and also the International Award for all of Kiwanis International that was presented to her last year during the International Convention in Montreal. She told me that her most thrilling moment was when she received the “Kiwanian of the Year” for both club and division in the same year. The Anton J. Kaiser award: That includes $1,000 fellowship donated to the NY District Foundation for Kamp Kiwanis given to Janice by the LISC Division, Diamond Level Kaiser Award; in addition, the George F. Hixson Award given to her by the Wantagh Club. The Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Center Award includes a $1,000 to support the Trauma Center at North Shore Manhasset. The Brittany Award includes a $500 contribution to Pediatric Lyme Disease given to Janice by the Wantagh Club.
This year the Wantagh Chamber of Commerce voted her “Citizen of the Year” and NYS Assemblyman David McDonough awarded Janice a “Woman of Distinction 2010” award.