*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
  IN THE NEWS                                                                        APRIL 2016

April 1
General Membership Meeting
See Calendar of Events

April 28
Executive Board Meeting
Meeting Dates

POSTED 4/1/16

     William Lapp, who was a retired administrator in the Brentwood School District, passed away on March 28, 2016 at the age of 82. Friends may call at the Bryant Funeral Home, 411 Old Town Rd., E. Setauket, NY. Visiting hours are Friday 2-4 & 7-9pm. Funeral Mass is Saturday 9AM at St. James RC Church, Route 25A, Setauket. Interment to follow at St. James Churchyard Cemetery, Setauket.
Newsday Notices

POSTED 4/4/16
     On March 23, 2016, Beula (Vincent) Perry passed away at her home in Florida. When she retired, Beula was the Choir Director at Brentwood High School. During her career in Brentwood, she had also served as Assistant Coordinator for Elementary Music, and was the Chair of the High School Music Department. Beula also spent many years as the Producer and Vocal Director of the Brentwood High School Musical. Her impact on her students will always be a guiding force in their lives.
Arrangements were private.

POSTED 4/12/16

     Dolores A. Herrmann, a retired teacher, from North Elementary, passed away on April 4, 2016. View online obituary.

POSTED 4/3/16
     Help save a life today by donating blood to those in need. The following are scheduled local blood drives:

April 16th - Habitat For Humanity - 2111 Lakeland Ave, Ronkonkoma - 9AM - 3PM

April 25th - Gold's Gym Islip - 181 Freeman Ave, Islip - 3PM-8PM

May 7th - Central Islip High School - 85 Wheeler Road, Central Islip - 9:30AM - 1:30PM

POSTED 4/11/16
The following is a note from Claudia DeBellis:

Dear Friends,
     We thank all of you who have called and written to us about the sudden death of our son, Darryl. It has been very, very hard and we know it will be for a long time to come.
     Your loving wishes are more helpful than you might know. Some have asked where they could donate in Darryl's memory. Darryl was an enthusiastic reader, so if you like:

The Stanford Free Library
14 Creamery Road
Stanfordville, N.Y. 12581

Please mark the check:
"For the Building Fund, In Memory of Darryl J. Spahn"

Thank you.
Claudia & Jeff

POSTED 4/3/16
     On Sunday, April 17 from 12:00pm to 5:00pm the Brentwood Historical Society will be sponsoring a Bookfair to help restore the Modern Times Schoolhouse. The speakers will be Brentwood retired teacher and author Letty Sustrin and Town Historian George Munkenbeck. Please view the flier for further details.

How are we doing?
We'd like to hear from you.
Please visit our
Letters to the Editor

where you can share your views and comments

View the "In Memoriam" page
with the list of our Brentwood colleagues who have passed away. This list will be updated on a yearly basis.


Support VOTE-COPE with your voluntary contribution. Download the VOTE-COPE Contribution Card here.

Check out the Famous People and Events on that special day in April and see what else happened!
Historical People and Events for April
April 2016 Holidays, Bizarre, Unique, Special Days
Bizarre and Unique Holidays in April
All About April
April 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.


Harriet Pepine - Elementary Teacher
Interview Bio: Aug 10, 1998
Retired: 1991
     Harriet whose maiden name was Asch, was at the time of this interview on August 10, 1998 a divorced single person. She had three children, Matthew who lived in Portland Oregon and was employed as an Assistant Professor of Science and Technology and had no children. Her daughter Marcy, who studied education at Boston University was working as a Real Estate Appraiser at the time. Her youngest son  Allen, was living in Orinda, California outside San Francisco as an Assistant Professor at Berkley in the Research Division. Harriet’s former husband Leonard Sachs was Creator of the well known Mark Country Day School in Bay Shore where she had once worked and her children had spent many hours surrounded by the stimulation and nourishing environment of that private, highly successful school.
As with many children raised in the same family, each of her children has their own style. The boys loved science as can be seen by their career choices and all three shared a love of education and research. Harriet described herself as not liking to work under pressure. A procrastinator she was not. She described her 2 grandchildren Rebecca and Sarah (7 yrs and 4 back then) as strong minded young women with whom she visited on 3 or 4 occasions a year.
     Born in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn, during the Great Depression Harriet was devoted to her mother who was very food conscious of preparing healthy meals with little money. Her father was a salesman of restaurant supplies. She had no memories of ever being hungry but getting a new pair of shoes was a big occasion. When we talked about celebrating family holidays she recalled having had the impression that Thanksgiving Dinners were only for Christian People because her family never had turkey for dinner. She described herself and her siblings as being creative, even to the point of making their own monopoly game. They learned to share and to cooperate when they lived in Flushing Queens to where they moved after moving from Brooklyn. They played sidewalk games, built forts in the snow for hours during heavy storms and played stoop ball in good weather. She has memories of parts of Brooklyn, and of her brother and sister. Harriet was the baby by a year and a half. She remembered her mother as being a hard worker who made all the children’s clothes by hand. She was a separated, responsible single mom who was dependable, strong minded and domineering. Harriet lived at home when everyone went to college. She remembered her grandfather as being tired much of the time and her oldest sister sick with Crohns disease. She was a constant reader of books and enjoyed watching Kraft Theatre on their black and white television set. She remembered her father being warm and loving toward her.    

     Her sister enrolled in Queens College and Harriet remembers admiring her for her choices and academic achievement. Her mother’s brother was good to their family and Harriet remembers him as being a kind and sweet uncle. Her husband Lenny was her inspiration. He used to tell her how she would make an excellent teacher.
  They moved to Brentwood in 1957. While living in Great Neck the family had raised Scotties. Relocating to Flushing they moved near a park that had a pond where she did a lot of ice skating. Once again she recalled the snowfall of 1946-47. She was her mother’s helper until she got a job. She worked in Andy’s Specialties and at Bloomingdale’s as a wrapper. She worked in the tube room. Cashiers sat at desks to make change and send it back up to counter girls through pneumatic tubes that were positioned overhead.  Her first real job was at 16. She next worked at B. Altman’s.
     While hers was not a religious family they did celebrate Rosh Hashanah every year. As a teen she loved to read, to play games and go to the theatre in Manhattan even if was only for standing room $3.00. She didn’t begin wearing slacks or long pants until the mid seventies when it was fashionably acceptable to do so. Ballet lessons in the city were affordable. It was something she enjoyed.
     Harriet was an early riser, a day person as opposed to being a night person, she loved the Spring but especially appreciated Fall colors. Her first school experience was in Brooklyn and she remembers her teachers as being nice people. She remembers 8A and 8B, her Brooklyn summer school which was a play school. She attended Flushing High School and Queens College where she got her BA and then earned her Master’s Degree from Hofstra. She matriculated to C.W. Post where she added Special Education to her list of certifications and accomplishments
   She lived through the years of the polio scare and remembers several teachers: Mr. Golda, the French Teacher she admired, and several Math teachers that were especially kind and helpful.
     She began teaching in 1970 when Tom Hastings interviewed her for a Kindergarten position in Pine Park. She was there for about 4 months before she moved to 1st grade and then on to 2nd grade. Herb Black became her Principal. After having spent so much time and gained so many years of experience in the Private School, she was surprised when she came to Brentwood and discovered the high caliber of teachers that taught there. She had a problem finding another school but ultimately ended up at Northeast when it was at full capacity. There was little in the way of supplies but she accumulated small amounts each year as supplies accumulated over the years.  Yes, she said, Graduate School could have provided more training to teachers to help them be prepared for the teaching of reading. No matter what approach they used 1/3 of the class would do well, a middle group would eventually catch on and one group always seemed to lack the phonics background necessary to read no matter what approach was used. “Too many of our kids”, Harriet said, “lacked exposure to books, writing and reading and didn’t spend sufficient time reading”. Computers may or may not help introduce kids to the magic of books.
     She was a Building Delegate and represented the BTA for one year during her tenure. She remembered the strike vote taken at Colony Hill those many years ago.  She retired in 1991 after 21 years of service to the district. There did come a time when she felt her energy level ebbing and in fairness to herself and her students decided it was time to leave. She had always given her best and chose not to do any less. Her last building assignment was Northeast Elementary.
     Since retirement she has been traveling mostly to see family but also to visit countries like Turkey, and France, Spain in Europe – where she always felt safe and learned lots of history. Travel opened up a whole new world to her where she didn’t know what to expect, she had a wonderful guide and lots of fun. Since then she’s studied Bridge, learned to use a computer and volunteered to teach literacy as a volunteer for Suffolk County. One of her students has been a 42 year old young man whose goal is to get a commercial driving license.
     She also served as ROBS Treasurer from 1991 – 1998 and enjoyed a special friendship with Dorothy Zuckerman and Ruth McCalla for as long as they both were active with the organization and afterward. She spoke highly of ROBS as a cohesive group filling a real need. In the community. “Retirement” she said, “is marvelous”.
     When she was much younger Harriet remembers reading Nancy Drew, and the Bobbsy Twins. She confesses to still loving comedies At the time of the interview she was still enjoying mysteries like those of Patricia Cornwall.
      She misses the children and their enthusiasm.
  She misses the teachers with whom she worked. She doesn’t miss all the preparation, the worries and the responsibilities. The classroom was her domain and she always did the best she could while accepting limitations over which she had no control. At the beginning of the year or after a vacation students would arrive unstructured and it took time and patience to get them back into the routine of the classroom. When looking into the future Harriet said she only expects the stress on teachers to increase. Acknowledging that teaching is an art she said all the stress on kids and teachers exacts a terrible toll. All undue pressure on teachers and on kids over recertification and meeting academic standards effects the optimum performance of them both.
      When asked directly about new teachers she had met, Harried said simply,  “They are marvelous”  

You can also view any of these past interviews by visiting History Project Interview Archives :
Baker Bernhardt, Ruth
Baker Bazata, Eleanor
Balinski, Wally
Brooks, Ronda
Carey, Dick
Carpenter, Beverly
Cerullo, Peter
Corkery, Florence
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
Hannan, Edward
Helman, Harriet
Hodges, Shirley
Kirschner, Marge
Koehler, Florence
Lane, William
Lange, Joan
Laub, Dr. Herb
Martz, David
Mascaro, Barbara
McNicholas, Barbara
Monsen, Pattie
Moss, Ken
Mundy, Rick
Murray, Alma
Nanos, Jim
O'Conner, Thomas
Pace, Ron
Purcell, Joseph
Rosenthal, Ivy
Rosenthal, Ruth
Salerno, Hank
Scharf, Karen
Sekac, Evelyn
Sheele, Raymond
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


April 5
Exec Board Meeting

April 12
General Board Meeting

April 15
9/11 Memorial & Museum Trip
Details & Registration Form

RC 21 Website:


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.