*Members: If you have any announcements that you would like to post on the ROBS web site, please contact Nick Siciliano at News2@robsny.org. Announcements will be posted each month on this page.
If you miss any previous month's announcements,
you can view them at the Archives page of this web site. You can also read more news in our Newsletters. In addition, if you have
your own web site, and would like to share it with other members, let us know and we can include the link on the ROBS site.
Lynn Prass, school nurse teacher who retired in 1991 from North Middle School, passed away on Friday, January 29.
Viewing will be Monday at St. James Funeral Home, 829 Middle Country Road Rte. 25, St. James 11780, from 2-4 pm and 7-9 pm.
The Service will be on Tuesday at St. James Lutheran Church, 230 2nd Ave. and Woodlawn Ave., St. James 11780, at 10am.
The Burial will be at Calverton Military Cemetery.
Condolences may be sent to:
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Prass, 220 Foster Ave., Sayville, NY 11782
Ms. Barbara Prass and family, 15 Pine St., Holbrook, NY 11741
AMY LEFTENANT APPEARS ON NEWS12 LI 2/22/16 POSTED 2/24/16
Amy Leftenant, who retired from North Middle School in 1989, appeared on News12 to speak about her brother, Second Lt. Samuel Gordon Leftenant, as part of the show's Black History Month Series.
In 1944, Second Lt. Samuel Gordon Leftenant earned his pilot license, and became a Tuskegee airman, the first African-American flying unit in the U.S. military. During WWII, Leftenant, an Army fighter pilot from Amityville made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. Earlier this month, four of his surviving sisters, ages 80-95, made the tough decision to hold a memorial service, bidding Samuel an official farewell at Arlington National Cemetery.You can view the entire News12 video here.
BRENTWOOD MUSIC DEPARTMENT PRODUCTION POSTED 1/31/16
The Brentwood Music Department is putting on the musical production "Little Shop of Horrors. The Thursday February 4 production at 3:00 P.M. is free for all Senior Citizens with a free dinner following. There are two other productions for the general public on Friday, Feb. 5 and Saturday, Feb. 6 at 7:30 P.M. All seats reserved at $7.00 a ticket.
For more information call 631-434-2338. Click here to view flier.
SAD SHARING POSTED 2/5/16 Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I regret to inform you of the passing of Ciro (Gerry) DeRosa, who taught English at Brentwood High School and at South Middle School.
I received the following information from Marie Mayer Shepherd regarding Ciro's wake, to be held on February 8th:
Boyd Spencer Funeral Home
448 West Main Street
If you know of other Brentwood teachers who might like to receive this information please feel free to pass it on.
Please keep Ciro's family in your thoughts.
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Letters to the Editor Pagewhere you can share your views and comments
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.
THIS MONTH'S FEATURED HISTORY PROJECT
Ray Cuneen - Social Studies
Raymond Aloysius Cuneen was born on Aug 29, 1930 in Laurelton Queens, Long Island within the City of New York where he grew up for the first few years of life.
As a child he was bright, active, energetic and quite a handful. He was a self confident risk taker who could as easily climb a tree as run up and across a roof top. Once, as a toddler when his mother tied him by the back of his sun suit to a tree in the backyard, he escaped by getting out of his clothes and was eventually found running around his neighborhood. He was third from the oldest of seven siblings; four brothers Bill, Jack, Tom, two sisters Maureen and Ann and a brother working with the Internal Revenue Service International Division at the time of this Interview. He was taught by the nuns and completed all his elementary grades by attending A & B sessions he distinctly remembered.
His father was William Aloysius Cuneen, New York City Police Dept Lieutenant Detective assigned to areas in Brooklyn and Far Rockaway. He was an easy going head of the household who could be known to resort to use of belt snapping as a means of eliciting from his youngsters behavior he wished to see. Ray’s mother was a generous person. He remembered with a coy smile, being her favorite as he was growing up. During WW2 she worked in the defense industry – at Republic Aviation on Long Island in the role depicted by the character of Rosie the Riveter. She had been a telephone operator for Pan American Airlines before she married his father. Theirs was a police family with generations of Cuneens on the job.
Ray’s wife Mary Francis Bolan Cuneen gave him two, children-, now grown, Christopher Michael Cuneen and Cara Ann Cuneen. She was the only other teacher in Ray family and had taught in NYC before they met and married in March of 1970. They were both athletic. Mary liked tennis and Ray was an avid lover of basketball, golf and skiing. Before they were married he lived in Valley Stream and for a couple of months, moved to upper Manhattan before working in Brentwood where he began teaching in 1965. He acquired a two bedroom apartment in Bay Shore to eliminate commuting and shortly after they were married they bought their house in Islip, on September 1st 1970.
He had been drafted into the armed forces in 1951 and served one and a half years of active service in North and South Korea. Assigned to a prisoner of war camp he had responsibility for thousands of prisoners until the truce and he came home to work at Republic Aviation. Thereafter he attended Hofstra Universityunder the G.I Bill and in 1953 studied and enjoyed Economics and American History. He enrolled in education courses in his third year having changed his major once he decided teaching was what he wanted to do. He’d always loved kids and enjoyed coaching and thought that would be the perfect means of accomplishing both objectives simultaneously. He was interviewed by Fred Weaver and Stan Yankowski. The names of former colleagues and leaders like Dave Martz, Jack Zuckerman, Guy DiPietro, John Callan, Frank Bartley and Pat McCarthy rolled easily off his tongue. It was Brentwood in the mid sixties the demographic mix had not yet begun to morph in to what it is today. Referring to a time he was obliged to take a stand Ray recalled walking a picket line around the administration building.
Throughout his career and with History as his favorite subject he taught 10th – 12th year Global History, American History and Economics. As an Assistant at East Junior High to Coach Stan Kellner Ray served for four years and upon Stan’s retirement moved to become Basketball Coach of both High Schools for four years, during which time the team earned three League Championships. Ray worked at Stan Kellner’s Basketball Camps during the summer leagues. He was also mentored by Coach Lou Grumman who he remembered fondly. Throughout his career coaching remained special to Ray, for the high energy required the reward experienced in players success and in the teamwork achieved. Together however it took a toll. He found the teaching, the preps, the homework corrections, tests, teamwork, practices, games, bus rides, getting home at 11 pm and serving as a delegate to the union to be draining. Time was always a problem. He fondly spoke of Marty Reiger’s Reunion Games in the Sonderling Gym where teams from all the various years could get together and give thanks to the players mothers for the sacrifices they made on their children’s behalf.
We spoke of his retirement in 1989 at the time of his interview on the afternoon of Feb.29, 1997 eight years prior. Why did he leave? He’d had cardiac bypass surgery in 1992. There were multiple health issues relating to his condition; diabetes, stress, the increasing number of classroom problems, not to mention the Achilles heel surgery he’d undergone as a consequence of a skiing accident on a family vacation at the Sundance Festival. His foot remained in a cast for six months. Yes, he missed his colleagues and his students. In a flourish so typical of Ray, upon concluding our visit I asked if we’d forgotten anything and if he’d enjoyed himself. He said “Hope it was good for you too”.
You can also view any of these past interviews by visiting History Project Interview Archives :
Baker Bernhardt, Ruth
Baker Bazata, Eleanor
Laub, Dr. Herb
Sustrin, Letty and Sheila
Walker Lloyd, Shirley
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.