Oyster Bay High School student Colleen Duhamel and her mom, Jean, a former school board member, made a presentation on behalf of the high school students currently learning how to crew under the direction of the Sagamore Rowing Association. Colleen Duhamel presented board members with booklets explaining the request of students for a rowing club, instead of a varsity team, under the aegis of the Sagamore Rowing Association.
On April 11, when the board adopted the 2000-2001 budget, Board Vice President Bev Zembko said they had rejected the request for rowing as a school sport because it would have cost $20,000. Last week, at the April 18 school board meeting, parents and rowers came back to request the sport be sanctioned as a club. Ms. Zembko said the board would read the material and consider the request.
Jean Duhamel said, what is important is that when they are competing in regattas, college coaches get a chance to see them, which can be beneficial, especially for the girls. There are more rowing scholarships for girls than boys.
Mrs. Duhamel said, "In Oyster Bay Harbor there are three schools currently rowing in our bay: Friends Academy, Lady of Mercy and Chaminade. We are right here in the harbor. It would be wonderful if we had a high school club."
Saturday, April 15, the Oyster Bay High School students competed in a regatta. Currently there are only three boys on the team and the boats are either all boys or all girls. There were enough crew members there to man an eight, but because of lack of boys, only the girls filled a boat, a four.
"The kids all work very well together, said Rich McLaughlin of SRA.
The regatta was held at Hempstead Lake State Park. Competing were teams from two schools in New Jersey and Poughkeepsie as well as Long Island schools: St. Anthony's of Huntington; Cold Spring Harbor High School, Friends Academy, Our Lady of Mercy, Chaminade and the Oyster Bay High School four.
The coach for Oyster Bay is Stuart Moskowitz.
"It's a growing sport. Our own Theodore Roosevelt rowed here when he was at the Summer White House," said Mrs. Duhamel. "It's an environmentally friendly sport and brings a respect of nature to the kids."
Colleen Duhamel said "Rowing should be recognized as a club in Oyster Bay. There are so many opportunities," and she mentioned several reasons. "My friend Jason has been recruited by several schools; it is a life sport; there are members rowing who are 85 or 86; my sister has been rowing and we are becoming closer than ever."
Krista Nihil, another rower said she has always loved water sports. This is her second year rowing. "I look forward to working my body in the water. I never felt such a physical workout until the regatta. I will row for the Coast Guard Academy next year because of this."
After listening to the request, Beverly Zembko said there was no question, the denial was a financial issue.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. George Chesterton said he had the 1991 resolution that allowed the Cold Spring Harbor School District to adopt the SRA program. "I have to review it. I just received it today." He said the cost to the district was neutral. The committee funds the program. "Is that the direction you want to go in?" he asked the parents.
Mrs. Duhamel said, "Yes. We'll have a very good parent support group and great support from the SRA. They are giving the boat, launch, and motor. They kick started the CSH team."
Dr. Chesterton said they have to review the contract with the school attorney.
Mrs. Duhamel said, "I can see the difference with my daughter Colleen."
She added, "When I was on the school board, people said why can't we be like CSH. Now we can!"
Board President Thomas Capozzoli added, "We'll review it."
The difference in the cost is that the first proposal was for a varsity sport and this is for a club.
Board Member Robin Dando asked, "If there is a child that can't afford it, what would you do?"
An SRA representative said, if there was a desire on the part of a child to row, and couldn't afford to, they would make it possible.
Mrs. Duhamel said, "Between us, the SRA and the parents, no child will be turned away."
Parent Kathy Nihil said, "I went to the Regatta. It was unbelievable. To see these kids in the regatta. We live on an Island and have a great harbor. It is a terrible waste not to use it. It did it for one daughter, I hope it will for the other." Her daughter Krista is on the present SRA Oyster Bay team.
When the speakers were finished, Colleen Duhamel asked all the rowers to stand, and she introduced them, including Ashley Garver, Krista Nihil, and Liz Pappa who was away, in Spain. There are 12 students in the proposed club, both boys and girls.
In a telephone interview, Bev Zembko said, the proposal given to the board listed the cost for the year ahead. The list included: a shell new is $15,000 and used is $6,000; oars new are $2,000 and used $1,000; a launch is $1,000; engine $2,000; safety equipment $500; racing uniforms (optional,) $50 each; SRA dues $100; coaching fee $100 pp; average coaches salary (faculty advisor $2,500); transportation and lodging for overnight races are the students' responsibility - eventually, down the line.
Ms. Zembko said the SRA wants the district to take on more responsibility for the financial aspects of the group as time goes on.
She questioned if it were a club, that transportation and lodging for overnight races would be the students' responsibility. "In the public school system in terms of the transportation and lodging - if the district is sponsoring the club, I would think we would have to assume the cost or make sure the students fund raise for it," she said.
As the crew presentation ended, trustee Robin Dando said, "Colleen you did very nicely."
Board President Tom Capozzoli suggested with the community comments over, some might want to leave and the room cleared out.
During the April 18 board meeting, mention was made of the invitations going out for the May 13, noon, dedication of the new facilities at the Oyster Bay High School and the new Dr. Howard E. Imhof Memorial Gymnasium. The guest list goes back 20 years. They are inviting past administrators and prominent people in the community, and representatives of local groups such as the Kiwanis, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, clergy as well as sending post cards to local residents. There will be tours of the facility and light refreshments to follow.
Ms. Darmento presented a video by her students who returned from a trip to Spain. Katie Mann and Krista Nihil spoke on the positive experiences they had. The students learned how to order a meal in Spain, navigated Segovia; spoke to store clerks and enjoyed cultural vistas.
Roosevelt Rules the Skies
Roosevelt Principal shared knowledge of a project for his first graders, on the planets. Using Gustav Holtz The Planets for inspiration, as well as The Beetles and other contemporary musicians, they learned about the solar system. Scott Boris, Kenneth Harrison, Jennifer Goodman and Mr. Sobriet worked together for the unusual learning presentation.
A parent brought up the problem of a child who wants to take an AP Bio class, (a prerequisite to AP Chem) with only four students enrolled, too few for district policy. The parent said a family can save $1500 in college course payments, and could save the cost of an entire semester when a student takes AP courses. The board explained that students can take AP Chem without (or at the same time as) AP Bio. It is one of the problems of a small district that courses cannot be offered every term. Ms. Bellavia was surprised the number was so low and Ms. Zembko said they would find out why only four students were enrolled.
The district is forming a policy to get rid of ranking as a result of the work of the Ranking Committee. The committee will bring the wording for the document to the next board meeting. It is expected that by abolishing class rank, more importance will be placed on other academic factors such as school profile and GPA. Ms. Bellavia and Dr. Harrington are working out the wording for a resolution for the new policy. The committee decided it is not in the best interests of OB-EN students to be ranked.
They plan to ease into the new system so as not to create problems with students whose grades are compiled with the current system.
The new policy also includes the choice of valedictorian, salutatorian and graduation speakers. The weighted GPAs will be rounded to the nearest whole number based on the tenth of a decimal. This could potentially result in more than one valedictorian and salutatorian.
They are also recommending that the president of the senior class be given an opportunity to speak as a "global" representative of the entire class.