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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

Senator Jack Martins discussed education, business and drug use among other topics in a an exclusive interview with this newspaper and FiOS 1 News. He’s currently seeking re-election in November, being challenged by Democrat Adam Haber. Pointing to what he called “key legislation,” particularly the tax cap legislation passed in 2011 and prescription drug bill he helped shepherd to enactment, Martins feels New York State is on track to continue fiscal responsibility.

 

“In these last four years, we’ve had four balanced budgets, we’ve cut taxes working together, we have paid off debt, streamlined government, kept spending below 2 percent each one of those years,” Martins said.

A contingent of 80 Mineola runners embarked on their first trek to lower Manhattan last year for the Tunnel To Towers 5K Run through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel toward the World Trade Center site. This year, the United Mavericks, a networking group of local business people that support local charities and causes, are gearing up surpass that number.

Mavericks reps say they’re half way to gathering 1,000 people to run in the event’s 13th year on Saturday, Sept. 28.

 

The run honors a fireman Stephen Siller, who was enjoying a day off planning to play golf before he learned the Twin Towers were hit by two airplanes during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. He was one of the 343 firefighters who died when the towers collapsed.


Sports

Though it had already hosted the series of lacrosse games during the regular season this past spring, Chaminade High School’s new Gold Star Stadium was officially christened on Saturday, Sept. 6, named in honor of the 56 alumni who had perished during combat.

 

“Tradition holds that when one dies in the service a gold star is given to the family,” said Chaminade President Bro. Thomas Cleary. “Our 56 Gold Star Alumni are honored for their selflessness, courage, and integrity.”

Although the expectations for the 2014 Mineola Mustangs boy’s varsity soccer season may be somewhat measured, the team enters the season with the goal of a berth in the Nassau County playoffs. The team is young and inexperienced but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

 

There is considerable talent on the horizon. There are only four starting seniors and five sophomores on the roster. Four year starting senior forward Daniel Pardo returns (19 goals in three seasons) as does senior standout goalkeeper Andrew Pereira.


Calendar

Town Zoning Meeting - September 17

International Night - September 18

Bereavement Support Group - September 19


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