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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

Winthrop University Hospital employee Jeffrey Brenner, a hyperbaric technician with the Life Support Technologies group in Mineola, recently received the American Heart Association’s prestigious Louis J. Acampora Heart Saver Award at a dinner at the Crest Hollow Country Club. The award is named for a Long Island teenager who succumbed to a sporting injury that is understood to have been preventable if a cardiac medical device had been immediately on-scene and applied. 

 

“I hope that I have made a real difference in my town and the world around me to help prevent death and improve the quality of people’s lives” said Brenner.

The Wheatley School recently hosted an Item Writing Workshop for more than 100 language teachers representing districts across New York State.  The workshop was sponsored by the Foreign Language Association of Chairpersons and Supervisors (FLACS), the professional organization that has assumed responsibility for the creation and administration of the FLACS

Checkpoint A and B Exams (formerly the NYS Second Language Proficiency and Regents Exams).


Sports

After consecutive seasons of finishing runner-up in the men’s golf Player of the Year for the Skyline Conference, Christian Bleck of St. Joseph’s took home first place in a rather unlikely turn of events. 

 

After a herniated disc caused the Chaminade High School alum to miss every event after the first week of the season until the conference tournament, Bleck returned—without even having the luxury of practicing a full 18 holes—and competed with the best players the conference has to offer. 

Cross-Country Crowned Champs

The Mineola Mustang boys cross-country team won the division 4A championship recently at Bethpage State Park.  This is the first championship for the program since 1974, ending a 40-year championship drought. 

 

Mineola defeated Seaford, who also entered the undefeated in division competition, 38-20.  Overcoming rain and high winds throughout the race, many Mustangs ran personal records for the 5K in route to the victory.


Calendar

Mineola School Meeting - November 20

Fools Rush In - November 21

Mustangs Face Roosevelt - November 22 


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