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Latin Class To Stay In Mineola Schools

The Mineola School District is debating the fate of the Latin program offered for foreign language requirements in Mineola High School, due to the possible retirement of the program’s lone teacher, Gigi Foge, in 2016, and the lack of certified Latin teachers. Officials say the program will not disappear.

 

“We’re not cutting Latin,” School Board President Artie Barnett said.

 

Fifteen seventh-graders have expressed interest in studying Latin next year. Mineola also offers Spanish, Italian and French.

 

“We have a responsibility to make sure that if a student starts a program in level one, they can finish a program in level three,” District Superintendent Michael Nagler said. “When we find out information that it may not happen, we have to plan for it. The discussion that you heard wasn’t about getting rid of Latin. It was making sure that we can find a teacher because there are not too many Latin teachers out there if or when Mrs. Foge retires.”

 

He said that Foge has not confirmed she will retire to district administrators, but has “made it known” to colleagues that it’s likely. Foge did not return calls for comment.

 

“I’m not confident we can find a replacement, especially the way students love [Foge],” Nagler said. “We’re committed to it. We’ll be running Latin 1 next year.”

 

While district officials are discussing options, one parent, who started a Facebook group on June 2 dedicated to preserving the class, feels finding a replacement if Foge leaves is the only way. The group currently holds 41 members. 

 

“I strongly oppose [ending the program] and am asking anyone, especially Mineola parents, to make sure that this does not happen,” parent and Facebook group moderator Mary Goodfellow said. “[Latin] strengthens one’s ability to learn French, Spanish, and Italian. Oh, and by the way, Latin helps a student maximize their SAT scores.”

 

Eighth-grade students currently enrolled in the high school’s three-year Latin program would be able to complete their studies with Foge. After that, it’s unknown.

 

“Right now, we’re good,” Nagler said. “The program is running and hopefully it’s going to run a long time and we can find a person to teach it.”

 

Nagler said a letter was sent to district residents apprising them of the situation, stating Mineola is exploring a new hire if Foge departs or offering the third year of Latin via online courses. 

 

“[Latin’s] definitely the best class I’ve taken at the high schools so far,” said student Kayleigh Dipietra-Antonio. “Not only is it educational, it’s fun and has a creative process. Most people would think it’s very boring but our teacher makes it very enjoyable. I’d rather learn from a teacher and not a computer.”

Goodfellow agreed.

 

“You cannot compare sitting down at a computer versus the guidance of a fine teacher,” she said. “A computer cannot get my son excited about Roman and Greek history.”

 

Board Vice President Christine Napolitano stressed more discussion at a recent meeting, considering there hasn’t been official notice of Foge’s departure.

 

“We need to look at all avenues,” she said.

 

Future students interested in Latin may need to take two languages if Foge retires and Mineola does not find a replacement, meaning children that take two years of Latin would have to take a new language course for another two years to graduate.

 

“You can double up,” Nagler said. “You’d have to start a [new language] course in 10th grade.”

News

The Mineola School Board will hold a public hearing on the much-debated New York State veterans exemption on Thursday, Nov. 6 at 6:30 p.m. in the Willis Avenue School. It is expected the board will either approve or disapprove the tax exemption during its regular meeting at 7 p.m.

When votes go to the polls next week on Tuesday, Nov. 4 to vote on the Town of North Hempstead’s 2nd Council District seat, candidate Bonnie Parente feels her stance on the building department is what voters will remember when casting their choice. The 2nd council district post is currently held by Peter Zuckerman, a former East Hills trustee. He was appointed to the seat in January to replace Thomas Dwyer, who resigned last year.

 

“That’s the major issue I heard about when I knocked on doors,” she said. “No matter where I am, I could be at the Herricks Community Center or the Albertson Pasta Dinner and

predominately what people ask about is how to fix the building department.”


Sports

Samantha Pastore

Samantha Pastore, senior and third-year varsity player, is also co-captain of the currently undefeated (11-0) Mineola Girls Varsity Volleyball team. She is an outside hitter and is often recognized in games by starting rallies with her quick thinking and nimble feet. She earns 20 percent of the team’s points and averages four aces per match.

The Mineola Mustangs varsity football team fell to the Seaford Vikings last week 27-21, missing their chance to tie the top seeds Locust Valley and Roosevelt’s 6-1 Nassau conference IV record.

 

After tying the game in the second half and having the opportunity to capitalize on Seaford’s failed extra-point kick on their final touchdown, the Viking’s senior wide receiver/defensive back Bobby Buell knocked away a pass from Mineola senior quarterback James Gerstner to senior wide receiver Brian Smith in the end-zone with 57 seconds left


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Cultural Arts Series - November 1 


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