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IMPORTANT DATES   IN THE NEWS                                                                      FEBRUARY 2019
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February 28
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POSTED 2/1/1
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
    It is with a depth of sadness that I inform you of the passing of high school English teacher Chris Veech. After a valiant battle with cancer, she passed away peacefully on January 30, 2019. As many of you know, Chris was one of my closest friends from my years at Brentwood High School. I already feel the void left by the passing of such a beloved and cherished friend.
  There will be a memorial service for Chris on SATURDAY, MARCH 2, 2019. The family chose a date that will enable all of Chris' grandchildren and family members to be there. It will be held at the First Presbyterian Church of Smithtown, 175 Main Street, Smithtown. The church is on the northwest corner of the intersection of Rtes. 111 and 25, opposite the Millennium Diner.
   Condolences may be sent to the family at Chris' home address. She is survived by her husband, Bob, children Rondi and Gregg and six grandchildren.
The Veech Family
11 Yates Avenue
Commack, NY 11725
  Please keep Chris' family in your thoughts and prayers at this sad time. Sincerely, Judi Hearst Weissman

View Chris' ROBS History Interview

POSTED 1/29/19 
   Marie Jarolem, a Brentwood teacher who retired from Northeast Elementary School, passed away on Friday, January 25, 2019. She was 89 and died from lung cancer.
    Visitation: Saturday, February 2nd from 10:00am - 12:00am . Service will be at 11:30am
     Branch Funeral Home
     190 East Main Street, Smithtown.

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Check out the Famous People and Events on that special day in February and see what else happened!
Historical People and Events for February
February 2019 Holidays, Bizarre, Unique, Special Days
Bizarre and Unique Holidays in February
All About February
February 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. W
e 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.
   You can 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.


Moses Thomas Greene Sr.
Interviewed 5/31/06
   Born in 1946, Moses Thomas Greene hails from Clark’s Neck, a small rural town in eastern North Carolina. The father of four children, Greene says (though each chose to pursue different fields of work) all are good writers and either athletes or artists. Moses, II, is a dual graduate of Syracuse University and works as a public information officer in the Mayor’s Office in Washington, DC. Derek, his second son, is a graduate of Emporia State University in Emporia, KS and followed his father’s footsteps and teaches physical education at an elementary school in Florida. Kaliah, his only daughter, is a graduate of Temple University and now serves as an administrative assistant at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue. Finally, Keith, his youngest son, is currently pursuing an education degree at Cortland University and plays football and lacrosse. Greene is also the grandfather of one grandson and two granddaughters.
   While he usually goes back to North Carolina at least once a year, his upbringing and connection to his southern traditions are never far from him. He was raised on a farm by his mother, Mary Ophelia, a hardworking, single woman who worked tirelessly to provide for Greene and his four siblings--Sandra, Jesse, Milly and Sally. His maternal grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Holliday, also lived with the family. All helped worked together to complete the physically demanding responsibilities of farm life during the week.
   Many of his approaches to life come from his childhood experiences. His favorite season is the fall because as a kid it represented a time when all farm work was complete. Winter is his least favorite because he had to cut wood every day to keep the house warm. His favorite childhood toy was a little red wagon that he would eventually employ as a tool to simplify farm work and aid in daily carrying “big jugs” of water. Of education, “...my earliest memory is of sitting on my mother’s knee in front of the fire of the wooden stove and hearing her read to me.” More than just storytime, Moses believes that his mother was stressing the need for him to “get his schooling”.
   Mr. Greene had a natural affinity for learning and a strong acumen for oration. He says he enjoyed going to Pitt County Training School (PCTS), a segregated school 27 miles from the three room, wood framed, tin roof house where the family resided. At an early age he also learned the importance of time and timeliness, because if he missed the bus he had to stay home, because his family did not own a car.
   Aside from his mother and maternal grandmother, Mr. Greene remarks about two adults who were very instrumental in his early years. The first was a “lady minister named Reverend Hall” of Jones Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church in Clark’s Neck. A traveling evangelist who played the piano, sang, and preached, she would take him with her as she traveled North Carolina churches in the country. From her, he learned not to be shy and how to speak publicly. The second was Mr. Melvin Roundtree, Greene’s English teacher at PCTS who was also a mentor and father-figure.
   When asked what his first paying job was, Moses said it was in North Carolina when he was about 7 years old. It was “handing tobacco to the looper” while working with his mother for $2.00 a day.
    In 1961, when Moses was just 14 years old, his mother suddenly died and he was brought to New York to live in Brooklyn with his mother’s oldest sister, Sallie, and her husband. On the same day as his arrival, Greene says he was “jumped” by a gang of about 20 guys and threatened his aunt and uncle to move back to North Carolina. Instead, they immediately decided to send him to live with his mother’s youngest sister and her husband who had just purchased a home on the Brentwood/Bay Shore border. Greene soon after became enrolled at Ross High School.
    Going to school in the North was a new experience for him. Moses loved to read, loved English, oration and drama. Whereas his passions for each were encouraged by his African American teachers in his segregated, small town school, his arrival to New York provided him with little such encouragement. He does remember, however, the profound impact one Brentwood High School English teacher had on him: Mr. Clem Stancik.
    Greene remembers, “He appreciated my writing ability and love for poetry”. Moses would later go on to say that Stancik and Mr. John Sherin, a social studies teacher, helped him to transition academically and would provide the inspiration for him to come back to work in and serve the students of the district he attended. While attending Brentwood High School, “Big Moe” also became very involved with sports. He played football, basketball and lacrosse and ran track.

   After graduating from Brentwood High School in 1964, “Moe” attended Suffolk Community College to pursue a degree in Physical Education. This decision was greatly influenced by Mr. Robert “Bob” Hoppey, the high school physical education teacher. Greene held a full time job at the Northport V.A. Hospital while being a full time student at Suffolk Community College. He then transferred to Emporia State University in Kansas where he graduated with a B.S. in Physical Education, Health and Recreation in 1970. He earned his first Masters in Education Counseling from the same institution a year later. Greene then returned to Brentwood and began teaching in September 1971.
   A lover of sports, Greene remembers a particular memory with great fondness. “There was an annual fundraiser where the students played basketball against the teachers--who always won. One of the reasons I looked forward to teaching in Brentwood now was that I could now be on the winning side as a teacher!” Greene jokingly continued, however, that when he finally got that opportunity as a teacher to play in the game, the students won that year.”
   (Greene would later go on to receive a second Masters degree in Health Education from Hofstra University and earn a Professional Diploma in Education Administration from C.W. Post College. He said he was planning to get his doctorate, but was so involved with having a family, raising his children, coaching, working with the community, and working with students after school that he didn’t have time. From 1987 through his retirement, Greene served the Brentwood School District as its Coordinator of Census, Attendance and Registration.)
  Mr. Everett Reese, a mechanical drawing teacher who later became his supervisor while he completed his administration internship , had this to say about his contributions to the district. “Moe, (as he is referred to by his colleagues) worked in Brentwood for 35 years and loved every minute of it. We are a better district because of his passion for education and learning.”
    Concerning his purpose in working for the Brentwood School District, Mr. Greene says, “I simply wanted to give back to Brentwood what the district had given to me”. Looking back over his career, he was most proud of having been given the opportunity to be an administrator. He expressed gratitude to Edie Welch, Frank Mauro and Howard Brodsky for his position as an administrator. He felt that he had these three people that he couldn’t let down so he strived to be the best administrator he could be.
    Though he plans to continue to work with people and look for other endeavors, Mr. Moses “Big Moe” Greene says his primary reason to retire is connected to changes in the district in recent years--especially in the Board of Education.
    How do you want to be remembered? “I want to be remembered as someone who was helpful and respectful of everybody... Someone who was fair and went out of his way to help. I want to be remembered as someone who was a giving person and was there for the children, students and the parents of this district’
     In closing, Moe said, “I have been here 40 years both as a student and teacher. My children are number one and my job is number two. I hope I have given as much to this community as it has given to me.”
2019 Update
    Moses II is the father of one son, Marchell, and serves as director of the African American Cultural Center at North Carolina State University. His first play premiered in February 2018 at the
   Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts and he now serves as the founder/artistic director of his own theatre company, Li V Mahob Productions. Derek is the father of three daughters, Danielle, Giselle and Brianna, and teaches physical education at an elementary school in Davenport, Florida. He also is a realtor of residential and commercial properties.    Kaliah is married to Jacques Clark and the mother of one son, Jalen. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Office of Planning and Institutional Effectiveness at Suffolk County Community College and works tirelessly as a social justice activist in the community.
   Keith is married to Amy (Bullock) Greene and is the father of Kayden and Kaylee. He teaches physical education at Brentwood High School, assistant varsity girl’s basketball coach and is the head varsity lacrosse coach.    

    You can also view any of the past interviews by visiting History Project Interview Archives

View May 8, 2015 History Project Celebration Photo Album

View History Project Slide Show on YouTube

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