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             News2@robsny.org. Announcements will be posted each month on this page. If you miss any previous month's announcements,
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  IN THE NEWS                                                                        DECEMBER 2016
Dec 2
Holiday Luncheon

Dec 6
Wrap Party
Events Calendar

Dec 15

Executive Board Meeting

Meeting Dates
POSTED 12/5/16
We regretfully inform you of the passing of Brentwood Schools retiree, John Barone. John had recently sold his home in NY to move to Arizona to be closer to his son, Domenic.
      Please keep Domenic and the rest of John's family in your thoughts and prayers during this time of loss and sadness.      
      The arrangements are as follows:
Branch Funeral Home
551 Route 25A
Miller Place, NY
Wednesday, December 7, 2016 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.
Thursday, December 8, 2016 at 11 a.m.
St. Lawrence RC Church, Sayville, NY

POSTED 12/5/16
     Although he didn't retire from Brentwood, sad news that former North Junior science teacher, Louis Bartolotti, passed away earlier this year . There is no further information.

POSTED 12/15/16
     Judy Curran, long time English teacher at Brentwood HS, passed away on Sunday. The viewing will be at Chapey's in East Islip on Thursday from 2:00-5:00 and 7:00-9:00pm. There will be a religious service on Friday, Dec. 16, at 11:00am at Pinelawn Memorial Park, Pinelawn, NY

POSTED 12/26/16

     Dr. Louis Nannini who was superintendent of Brentwood Schools in the 1970's turned 100 this year. The following article appeared in yesterday's Newsday, by Darlene Gein:
     LOUIS NANNINI was born on Dec. 12, 1916. He was married to Katherine for 56 years before being widowed in 2001. He has three children, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Louis served in the Air Force during World War II and was a teacher and school administrator at numerous L.I. school districts. He was the first superintendent of schools for Longwood Central School District, which named its Central Administration Campus in his honor. He also was an adjunct professor at Adelphi. He has lived at Jefferson's Ferry Lifecare Retirement Community in South Setauket since 2001, where he celebrated his birthday.

POSTED 12/5/16
We are sad to say that Marion Carroll, long time attendance clerk at Brentwood High School, passed away on Friday, just a week after her husband John. She will be waked at Grant's Funeral Home on Monday, Dec. 5, from 4-9. Funeral at St. Anne's on Tuesday at 10:45am

POSTED 12/11/16
     We sadly inform you that Joseph Churchillo, husband of Nancy Churchillo, passed away unexpectedly on Friday the 9th. Nancy retired from Southeast Elementary in 2011.
     Joe will be waked at Grants Funeral Home in Brentwood on Monday 7-9 pm and Tuesday 2-4 pm and 7-9 pm. Funeral mass will be at St. Anne's on Wednesday 9:45 am.
     Please keep Nancy and her family in your prayers.
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Check out the Famous People and Events on that special day in December and see what else happened!
Historical People and Events for December
December 2016 Holidays, Bizarre, Unique, Special Days
Bizarre and Unique Holidays in December
All About December
December in History
Why did we do it?
     What was our purpose in taking on such an open ended “History Project”; for which we evolved a script of questions and got answers from over 150 subjects for two decades?
     We couldn’t answer the question in 1994 when people would ask “What are you going to do with the interviews?” All we could say was that for educational purposes we had to document our record now or lose the chance to preserve so many poignant accounts, funny stories and touching tales told by exemplary educators. We knew these dedicated public servants might shortly, for reasons yet unknown, be leaving Brentwood for good.
     So, we decided to let time sort out the details. We began scheduling appointments. We asked questions and listened saving for generations the essence of what it meant to have been an educator or employed, in this large public school system during the second half of the 20th century. Brentwood remains an exemplar to all others; a diverse microcosm of America reflecting 124 districts on Long Island while simultaneously resembling thousands across the U.S. We’ve accomplished something here to be proud of. Whether we were interviewed or not, ours is a claim of service that few professionals in the State of New York or elsewhere have positioned themselves to share in the way we have.
     INITIALLY the practice of sitting with a subject for an hour and giving them a hundred percent focused attention seemed somewhat daunting to a number of friends and colleagues. So much so in fact that many declined our repeated invitations to speak with us as they left careers or retired from full employment. Despite all assurances that we were not about investigative journalism or invading privacy, they deferred. Now, twenty years after we began, some are saying they may be ready. “Better late than never” we say. However, to all among you who were willing to share not only your classroom experiences and personal stories, but precious memories from your lives along with your fondest hopes for the future, we say “Thanks”. Thanks for allowing us to continue the process by paying it forward as we share these interviews with the Brentwood community and countless professionals and researchers near and far. Through an acceptance of ROBS offer of collaboration with Archivist Dr. Geri Solomon and The Long Island Studies Institute at Hofstra University our History Project lives on in academia as well as in the collection of the Brentwood Public Library, thanks to Director, Thomas A. Tarantowicz.
   Enjoy unlimited visits to www.robsny.org where you can watch and listen to segments from featured Interviews in the ROBS History Project Section on our Announcements Page each month. Return here to listen and learn again and again.


Mercedes Wharton
Social Studies - 8/26/04
     She was named Mercedes at the request of an Aunt on her father’s side who told her mother to give the baby that name. She had a friend with that name. Though her first name was Kate, named after her maternal grandmother when she was born in Virginia, the families of both sets of grandparents had been landowners dating from – after the Civil War in the 1860’s. One family owned over 300 plus acres and the other about 200 acres. On her father’s side they still have the property where they grow soy beans, and corn (they rent the land). Years ago they grew mostly tomatoes and yams. During her grandparents day they had horses, pigs, chickens. The families saved their money allowing them to eventually buy the farms.      When she was a little girl of about two years she came to live in New York with an aunt and uncle because the state of NY was more progressive as far as education what concerned. Her mother had been a teacher and her father a shopkeeper. As an only child she lived with her aunt and uncle in Queens when her parents divorced. She favors a particular pronunciation of her name rather than the one most people use. She especially likes her knick name “Puddin” and almost never uses Kate.
    She is presently living in Huntington where she moved when she was thirteen. Before that she grew up in South Jamaica, Queens where she went to Elementary School (PS 116), (PS140) and attended Junior High (PS 40). She started Walt Whitman High School in Huntington and was in 10th grade by the time she reached 14 years of age. She completed 10th, 11th and 12th year in Huntington. It was a big adjustment. School buses picked you up and took you home. It felt like prison to her. A child had more freedom in Queens. Her family had bought the property in Huntington back in the 20’s. During the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s her father had farmed vegetables in Queens (on NYC property). Farming was his hobby. He continued until Jamaica began to get rougher and people began to steal his produce and that’s when they decided to move further out on Long Island.
    Mercedes lives alone. Her sole marriage didn’t last long. She returns to Virginia about three or four times every year to visit family and keep informed about business matters. Some members own retail shops, other members own funeral home businesses in Virginia. Hers was a family of educators,- teachers, principals and guidance counselors and business people.
     Some of her earliest memories of junior high were of a gathering with friends at the local candy store much to the disapproval of her parents. Though she seldom cut class afterward went straight into school. When she was young she remembered playing hop scotch, ball and riding bicycles, playing cards, scrabble (on L.I.) more physical games in NYC (because she was younger then). She’s not really a TV watcher even today.
    Her first paying job was in college in the cafeteria. It lasted a week and she was fired when she took time off to go to Canada for a visit. She was 16. After school she was interested in playing piano, and into church. In the City it was girl scouts. Out here it was choir and performing in plays. Gym was her least favorite subject Her most favorite subject was English and History. She enjoys all four seasons
     Her mother’s maiden name was Fabio. She came from Sicily to the Island of the Dominican Republic, where they became horse thieves, then eventually to St Croix and the Island of Manhattan all the while pursuing better opportunities. Her mother loved to cook, she liked canning and wine making and making gravies.
     Everyone growing up had heroes from their own families. As a youngster you didn’t look beyond family members for role models. At 3 years she was given ballet lessons followed by tap, and then piano which she studied for 15 years. She was intending to become a piano teacher but hated practicing, eventually deferring to education and teaching music. At Hofstra where she did her under graduate and graduate work she realized she couldn’t “live or die for music” so decided to go into history. The number of teachers in her family convinced her that teaching history would be a good choice. She completed first her BA and then her MA in Counseling and accumulated In-service credits. The best time of her life is “everyday”. Her best teachers were in Jamaica Queens. She attended several Junior High School Reunions, but not High School.
      She arrived in Brentwood in 1967. She chose Brentwood because it had a large minority population. She liked it there. John Mrowka interviewed and then hired her that first year before he moved to the High School to become its Principal. She developed a reputation her first year as being a strict teacher. Some of her colleagues celebrated her birthday every Halloween They referred to her as the Wicked Witch of the North. She loved being a teacher and said it was great fun.      She remembers Bob Rosenblatt, Joan Lange, Barry Cohen. She taught all eighth grade classes in the beginning, then seventh grade, Honors, A,B, C and D classes,. “I liked the slower kids because they were more loving”, “I liked the brighter kids too even though they weren’t as loving”. She advised the National Honor Society, traveled with the Travel Club (they went to Washington DC). She saw her purpose being a teacher to help students get the best education they could so that they could get the most out of life. She recounts getting a lot of colds during her early years in the classroom.
      She was a Building Delegate for the BTA from North Middle. She was assigned there for her entire career from 1967 until she retired in 2001. She talked about Brentwood when it was on full time session and then became split with morning and afternoon sessions, She recalled the opening of the 7th Grade Center just like the 9th Grade Center that was created by the time of her interview. Eighth graders were in the morning and seventh graders were in the afternoon. She had a reputation for being a little naïve and tells a story of a question she once asked a group of fellow male teachers in the teacher’s lounge when she was sick with a sore throat that had everyone falling to the floor with laughter. “Did you hear what you just said” they asked? She hadn’t.
     She taught in all for a total of 34 years. She earned about $5,600 her first year. Her mother had taught for 30 years and then got sick. Mercedes thought 34 years was enough and wanted to enjoy her remaining years. She’s been traveling to Hawaii, Virginia, New Jersey, saw a couple of plays in NYC – Lion King just last night. She sleeps 4 hours a night, gets up and walks in the mall with a group every day. When she taught she tried to do the very best she could every day. Near the end of her career she worked with Grace DiRiggi who followed up on students poor attendance. That assignment made her change her view of teaching and made her less strict and more compassionate in the classroom knowing the kinds of problems many students were having in their lives.
    After his assassination she remembered working with others to make Martin Luther King’s Birthday a National Holiday. She misses some of the kids and some of the teachers she knew. She often attends Holiday Celebrations with former colleagues. Asked what she would change if she could to make education in Brentwood more effective for students she quickly responded with (1) smaller classes, (2) more money to make it more equal to richer school districts, (3) more parent involvement. She would like to see more emphasis placed upon disciple as our culture seems to favor a more liberal emphasis upon rules and regulations in the wider culture. She sees Brentwood students overall as being “smart” as well as “nice” and “pleasant to be with”. She sees Brentwood teachers as “gifted.” Her favorite year was her first year. She hopes her former students who remembered her for her strictness will remember that her strictness was not because she didn’t like them but because it was her way to create an atmosphere to maximize learning which was her primary goal for them in the first place. Her parting words of advice– treasure every day for God and your life.

You can also view any of these past interviews by visiting History Project Interview Archives :
Baker Bernhardt, Ruth
Baker Bazata, Eleanor
Balinski, Wally
Baumann, Phyllis
Brooks, Ronda
Carey, Dick
Carpenter, Beverly
Cerullo, Peter
Corkery, Florence
Corkery, Kate
Cuneen, Ray
Curio, Rich
DeBellis, Claudia
DeBellis, Helen
DeBellis, Michael
DePlaza, Marilyn
Desoto, Edward
DiMento, Peter
Edwards, Richard
Efron, Martin
Fasullo, Mike
Felicio, Anthony
Filosa, Edith
Fiore, Marcy
Fornwald, Calvin
Hannan, Edward
Helman, Harriet
Hodges, Shirley
Kazandjian, Elmon
Kirschner, Marge
Koehler, Florence
Lane, William
Lange, Joan
Laub, Dr. Herb
LeBron, Bernard
Martz, David
Mascaro, Barbara
McNicholas, Barbara
Monsen, Pattie
Moss, Ken
Mundy, Rick
Murray, Alma
Nanos, Jim
O'Conner, Thomas
Pace, Ron
Pepine, Harriet
Purcell, Joseph
Rosenthal, Ivy
Rosenthal, Ruth
Salerno, Hank
Scharf, Karen
Sekac, Evelyn
Sheele, Raymond
Silverman, Anita
Sopp, Lorraine
Spencer, Franklin
Stuhler, Patricia
Sustrin, Letty and Sheila
Vannoy, Evelyn
Veech, Chris
Walker Lloyd, Shirley
Wolfe, Jeffrey
Zuckerman, Dorothy
Zuckerman, Jack   

View May 8, 2015 History Project Celebration Photo Album

View History Project Slide Show on YouTube

December 13
Membership Meeting

RC 21 Website: http://rc21.ny.aft.org
Sheila & Letty Sustrin
Children's Books Authors

John M. Sherin
Local /Regional
(Jigsaw Maps)600
Geography Manipulatives

Complete Team Building Kits
Teaching Cooperation/ Collaboration
Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Alida Thorpe
Island Vision Photography, Inc.

Rick Mundy
Watercolor Prints of L.I., Adirondacks, NYC...

Gloria Hannemann
Hardwood Flooring and
Home Improvement

Elmon Kazandjian
NYC Art Gallery

Rose Marie Brousseau
Brentwood Rotary Club

Ronda Brooks
Children's Social Skills Groups

Rich Graziano
Mr. Graziano's Science Class
Academic Enrichment and Remedial Website

              Classified Section

THE TOWN CRIER -  MarilynDePlaza@aol.com

Marilyn De Plaza
The Town Crier" was set up a number of years ago so that the retirees of the Brentwood School District could have an email center to stay in touch. Since I began to send out all sorts of information, retirees from all over the country have sent me their email addresses. Some have asked, "Do you have any idea where so and so is?" Others have sent proud news of their accomplishments, their family news, photos,etc. and sadly, we often get bad news. Many retirees whom I have never met write me to thank me for keeping this connection going, as everyone remembers the Brentwood years with warm feelings.