As Meadow Drive Elementary School celebrates its 50th anniversary, past educators and students alike reflect on the world of changes half a century has brought. While some things remain the same-such as the care and attention the students receive, and the school's dedication to student achievement-much has changed.
Could Meadow's first students have imagined that their predecessors a mere fifty years later would be able to communicate with peers around the globe through a computer in their classroom? Or would they have believed that their school would eventually have its own closed-circuit television station and news crew? The crowning achievement-one that might not surprise Meadow's faculty from 1954-is that the school has been named a national Blue Ribbon School for 2004.
The Meadow Drive float at the Homecoming Parade on Oct. 2.
At the 50th anniversary celebration held on Oct. 1, 2004 at the school, faces from Meadow's past were plentiful. One well-known alum from 1966-State Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli-arrived with his second grade teacher, Ms. Sue Wallach. Dr. Robert Ricken, former superintendent of schools, was also on hand, as was Samuel Carpentier, former Meadow principal. Students sang songs honoring their school, and listed 50 reasons "Why Meadow is Great!" Throughout the celebration were reflections on Meadow Drive's past, and appreciation for the school it has become.
"Meadow is today just as it was back then," Assemblyman DiNapoli told the assembled students, "with teachers who love you and care about you, and want to see you succeed. It was Mineola Schools that enabled my brother and me to be the first ones in our family to go to college," DiNapoli continued, "and to be successful in our careers. That you are here in this school is a real gift," the assemblyman concluded, visibly moved. "These years are going to make an incredible difference in your life. You have a great advantage in being a part of the Meadow Drive family."
"Many dedicated and committed people have established Meadow Drive as an innovative school of the highest quality," said current Principal Patricia Molloy. "These people have entrusted us with the responsibility of continuing their work, striving for excellence and continuous improvement. We have learned from the past and embrace the philosophy of respect for each individual," Molloy continued. "We understand that we are all learners, and that we achieve more when we work together."
"What makes Meadow Drive such a special place are all of the people who have walked these halls," said Board of Education President RoseAnn Buglione. "From principals and teachers, to parents and community members, to custodians, secretaries, and the 15,000 students who have passed through here, they brought these rooms to life and have made teaching and learning possible."
"This is a day of celebration and rededication of Meadow Drive Elementary School," proclaimed Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lorenzo Licopoli. "Today marks a new milestone in the journey of Meadow Drive and the Mineola School District. Meadow represents our proud heritage of excellence, aimed toward the continuous improvement of student achievement," said the superintendent. "On behalf of the board of education, I am very proud and deeply honored to present this plaque rededicating Meadow Drive."
"I see many dedicated and committed people, who have established Meadow Drive as an innovative school of the highest quality. In the audience we have former students, teachers, staff and administrators. Each person finds the time in his/her active schedule to share this meaningful occasion with us, the future of Meadow Drive. Each person entrusts in us with the responsibility of continuing his/her work, as we strive for excellence and continuous improvement. We have learned from the past and embrace the philosophy of respect for each individual and the understanding that we are all learners and that we achieve more and at a higher level when we work and problem solve together. We have forged ahead, using the dynamic power needed to open our minds to the kind of creativity, flexibility, teamwork innovation and lifelong learning that the 21st century and the imagination of our children demand.
"Our relationship to each other and to the past is like a tapestry. Each person is a cultural thread which interlaces with other threads, resulting in a strong tapestry which provides warmth and security. On the surface the tapestry seems to tell one story, but when examined closely, the designs, patterns and figures the woven threads have created reveal a more complex story, rich with history, substance and meaning; this is Meadow Drive."
"How fitting that we should receive this award as we celebrate our 50th anniversary. We may have won this award in 2004; however, the work toward this kind of recognition began a number of years ago.
This award is for schools that address the needs of every child and show growth in student achievement over time.
The award should not be looked upon only as the culmination of the hard work that has taken place, but also as a validation of the commitment and dedication to children that has been evident since this school's doors opened in 1954. This award is a motivator to continue to work hard and to continue to create an inspiring environment that nurtures and instructs not only our children, but our faculty and staff and all of our families."