*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                                                              JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2011

January 7, 2011

New Years Breakfast
Details & Reservations

January 20, 2011
February 17, 2011
Executive Board Meeting
See Meeting Date Schedule

POSTED 1/8/11

     On Thursday, December 29th, Carmela Criscione held a reception for Nick Geraci where he presented his first novel, Anna and the Tale of the Wolf to his friends and family. He authored his book as A. C. Nicholas. He presented his book by reading some excerpts from the book followed by a signing.
     To view the photos of this event, please click here to go to the General Album on the ROBS Photo Gallery page. You can also see more details on the book in our article titled, "Nick Geraci Writes New Novel", in the November/December Announcements page in the Archives of this website.

POSTED 1/24/11

     Anne Mygland, who retired from Laurel Park in 2005, won the Grand Prize in the 2010 Brentwood Rotary Club's "Laptop for Literacy" Raffle. The Grand prize was a laptop. Anne is pictured here on December 23, 2010 as she was presented with her prize. The raffle is part of the Brentwood Rotary Club's fundraising for buying dictionaries for all the 3rd graders in the Brentwood Schools. Congratulations, Anne!

POSTED 1/20/11

     ROBS wishes to thank all of our members who contributed to making ROBS Project Hope a huge success this past year. Below is a letter from Peter Vercillo followed by a copy of a letter from Michele Beecher, Educational Liaison for Suburban Housing.

Dear "Project Hope" Supporter:
      Due to the collective generosity of ROBS members, "Project Hope" successfully continued the tradition of assisting families of the Brentwood School District. Again, we surpassed the donations of previous drives, which we accomplished with close to one hundred contributors. Because of this support, we were able to reach more families. The retirees of the Brentwood schools have maintained significant commitment to the community we have served.
     Grateful acknowledgement also should be made to the volunteers who shopped, stored, wrapped, and distributed the hundreds of items that were amassed. This always takes care, patience, diligence and very much time during this very busy season.
     Thank you very much for annually making our drive the success it has been, and best wishes to all ROBS members for a prosperous 2011.
Peter Vercillo      
ROBS/Project Hope Chairperson

Letter from Michele Beecher
Educational Liaison
Suburban Housing

POSTED 2/12/11
     Frank Spencer, who retired from Brentwood in 1995 as a Supervising Attendance Teacher, was featured in the February 2011 Black History Month issue of The Colored Advancer, the NAACP Islip Town Branch newsletter. One of the articles also appeared in the February 1985 issue. Click on the link below to view the articles taken from the newsletter.

ITB NAACP Newsletter - Feb 2011

POSTED 1/11/11

     My name is Mike McGinn. I am a teacher at Brentwood North Middle School. On January 27th at 3:30 we are hosting a History Tea through the YES program. Our goal is to have student members interview retirees who have insights into the beginnings of North Middle School. If you are interested in participating, you can RSVP to me at mmcginn@bufsd.org. Thank you very much for your time.

POSTED 1/25/11

Tuesday, February 1, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Brentwood Public Library
     Joel Ratner, Brentwood’s District Music Coordinator, will present a program on Louis Armstong, perhaps the greatest saxophone player of his time. Mr. Ratner’s presentation offers music, video, and stories of “Satchmo.”   
     For information, you can call the library at (631) 273-7883 or register online at http://brentwoodnylibrary.org.

POSTED 2/13/11
Health Care Benefits For Seniors in 2011

POSTED 1/16/11
     Ruth McCalla's husband, Erwin S. McCalla, passed away on Monday February 21, 2011. Ruth retired from Northeast Elementary in 1991.
      There will be a one day viewing on Sunday, February 27 at
          60 Carlton Avenue
          Central Islip
          Phone # 234-6314  
          Viewing Hours: 2-4:00 PM
          Services: 3:30 PM

In Lieu of flowers donations:
     In Memory of Erwin S. McCalla
     Cradle of Aviation
     1 Davis Ave
     Garden City,NY 11530
     ATTN: Carol Nelson


Support VOTE-COPE with your voluntary contribution.
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RC 21 Website: http://ny.aft.org/rc21

Sheila & Letty Sustrin
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Complete Team Building Kits
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Rose Marie Brousseau
Brentwood Rotary Club

Ronda Brooks
Children's Social Skills Groups
by Tom O'Connor 3/06

     We are a group of retired high school teachers who get together each month for breakfast at a local diner. The most senior retiree in our group and easily the most quiet, is Haskell Pastor, whom we call "Hal". Like Hal, most of us who attend these monthly breakfasts were members of the Social Studies Department at Brentwood High School.
     Although he retired as an active teacher in 1983, Hal has remained with the Brentwood School District in other capacities, first, as a teacher at the evening high school and more recently, as a home teacher. He also served as teacher in charge of obtaining teacher-chaperones for athletic events at Brentwood High School. (This task in itself seemed like a full time job to me.) And, he still works as a home teacher for the district.
    Recently, Hal Pastor was honored by the Brentwood District for his 50 years of service. Having moved down to Long Island from his native Massachusetts, he began as a junior high school citizenship teacher in 1955 and moved up to the high school two years later. He continued as a high school teacher until his retirement.

     The things I recall most about Hal during the 24 years that we worked in the same department were that he was very quiet and very polite. I don't remember him saying too much at department meetings. We didn't socialize much but I remember him at our year end department luncheons. Hal and I are avid baseball fans, and we'd talk about the New York Mets at these luncheons. Also, Hal and his family were big backers of former Congressman Tom Downey, as my family was. So Hal and I would talk about Democratic politics, too.
     I think Hal deserves to be in our collective memories as an "Ironman" in the Brentwood Schools who has withstood a half century of service to the community there. So, once more, let's hear it for Hal!

These photos of Hal are similar to those that appear in a recent school district newsletter article "A Half-Century of Teaching, and Still Doing a Great Job!"

     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.


Florence Koehler
    Florence Koehler was born on September 11th during the first decade of the 20th Century and met a teacher in the First Grade just six years later who would change her life. It was then that Florence knew what she wanted to do with her life – become a teacher. The two remained good friends for the rest of their lives from that year in 1918, the year World War 1 ended, until her teacher died at the age of 90, just one year prior to this ROBS interview.   
     Fulfilling her life’s ambition at the age of 21, Florence began teaching here on Valentines Day, 1933 during President Franklin Roosevelt’s first term of office. Homesick for family with who she had lived in Brockport, NY before coming to Brentwood and accepting a position for $1,400 a year ($1,450 after 3 years of service), she was lonely and scared being so far away from home but agreed to pay an employment agency fee to a Bay Shore firm for placing her in a job which she had little choice but to accept given that openings for teachers then were scarce. She also agreed to pay $10 a week for room and board to stay at the home of Walter Becker (President of the Brentwood School Board). In Brockport she had attended a three year Normal School where she chose Primary teaching and eventually went into Reading.
     There was only one four room Public school house in 1933 when Florence arrived in Brentwood, (1-2), (3-4), (5-6), (7-8). Florence taught the lower grades. Leigh P. Stewart was the Principal Teacher and taught Grades (7-8). There was also one Catholic School, and that was St. Ann’s. Taking time off to raise children, she returned first as a Substitute Teacher earning at various times between $5.00 and $19.00 a day. When she retired in 1968, she was earning “a little over” $10,000 a year
     Present and assisting with the very first full interview at Florence’s West Islip home on November 30, 1994 were Jack Zuckerman and Christin Veech.

Ivy Rosenthal 
     Ivy Rosenthal, as she is known by most people today, arrived in Brentwood as a graduate of the University of Tennessee in 1960. Born in 1921, she grew up on the beautiful island of Jamaica. Already an accomplished world class competitive athlete in track and field by the time she came to Long Island, she had represented her country as Senior Champion in International Tennis Competition in Bogotá Columbia, Venezuela, and Cuba. She would have gone to Wimbledon and Forest Hills had World War II not occurred.
     Ivy was interviewed and hired by Principal Ralph Saikin and Charlie Walters, Athletic Coordinator for Physical Education Elementary Level. Her contract was for $5,500 a year. Ross High School had opened three years earlier and that was where she expected to be assigned. Though there were still few Elementary Schools in Brentwood the growing need for teachers was great and so it wasn’t long before she found herself teaching in brand new buildings with names like Northeast, Northwest and North Elementary. She would over the years, see active service in many other buildings throughout her beloved Brentwood including South, Village as well as the High School.
     Here’s an excerpt from her full interview of March 22, 1996 in which we were assisted by Bill Rogers and Eric Lane at the Television Studio facilities of Brentwood High School.


THE TOWN CRIER -  MarilynDePlaza@aol.com

Marilyn DePlaza
"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.

POSTED 1/16/11
     I am very sorry to share with all our Brentwood colleagues the passing of Theresa (Tess) Puleo, wife of Carmine Puleo. Tess and Chuck were married for 55 years and are survived by 4 daughters and grandchildren.
     Chuck was hired as Principal of Twin Pines and then successfully took the Junior High Schools and the High Schools off 12 years of split sessions by setting up the 7th grade center and then the two 10th Grade Centers. He served as Principal of Brentwood High School including Ross and Sonderling, the two Tenth Grade Centers and the Maslow Toeffler. He retired in 1990.
     Viewing will be on January 16, 17 and 18 at the Lindenhurst Funeral Home, 424 South Wellwood Ave., Lindenhurst 631-957-0300. The funeral will be held at 10am on Wed. Jan. 19th at Our Lady of Perpetual Help on Wellwood Ave., Lindenhurst and the burial will be at St. Charles Cemetery in Lindenhurst.
     Condolences can be sent to Carmine Puleo, 90 Reade Ave. Lindenhurst, NY 11757

POSTED 3/1/11

     Ruth Walker, a former employee at Laurel Park Elementary School, passed away on February 28th. Here is the information regarding the wake:
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
     Chapey & Sons Funeral Home
     1225 Montauk Highway
     West Islip, N.Y.Tel. # -631-661-5644
     Hours: 2-4 P.M. and 7-9 P.M.
      No details yet regarding the funeral which is scheduled for Thursday, March 3rd. The family has requested in lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Alzheimer's Association.  Cards can be sent to the family at:
     Mr. Brad Walker and Family
     15 Wilken Lane
     Brentwood, N.Y. 11717

POSTED 3/9/11

     The luncheon has been cancelled for this year. It was scheduled for Friday, March 18. There were 3 people who could not come due to health issues. With such a small group...only 7 of us..I feel that it may be a better idea to wait till next year. I have told "Massimo's" to cancel the reservation. If anyone wants to have lunch with me in Boca that Friday, I would be happy to meet you at "Seasons 52.", my favorite restaurant. Call me at 561-488-1267 or email me at MarilynDePlaza@aol.com.


POSTED 2/14/11
The following is a note sent from Janet Carroll who retired in 1991 from Special Services.
Dear Marilyn,
     I have not written to you before but circumstances dictate that this is the time to speak to colleagues. My husband Jim passed away on November 5, 2010 after a long Illness. Hospice was my salvation. I could not have made it without them. They deserve all the support we can possibly give them. Fortunately for us we have many wonderful friends here including some of the Brentwood gang and that always helps. Special thanks to Joe and Lillian Padilla. Grace Ausili, Drew Robinson and Anita LoPicolo, and Cara Falk.
     Brentwood friends are a special breed of friend. They are like your family, only better. They are always there when you need them. For Jim, we had a service in Florida for all his friends and colleagues who volunteered at the hospital with him attended.. In New York, we had the East Farmingdale Fire Department take over and honor him for 55 years as a volunteer and Chief of that department. My husband Jim was a very special man. He was buried at Calverton National Cemetary where his head stone says, Devoted to family, community and country. Thanks to all of the Brentwood people who turned out to honor him. I will be eternally grateful. There is no adequate way to describe the comrades you make in a community like Brentwood, or the piece of your heart it holds forever. Jim and I are comforted by all of our dear friends for their love and support.
Most Sincerely,
Janet Carroll

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