*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.
RETIREE ART SHOW AT ROBS GENERAL MARCH MEETING POSTED 3/12/12
By Lucille Fink
Click on image to enlarge & see more photos
What could be better way to continue the 20th Anniversary Celebration of ROBS than by celebrating the talents of some of our Brentwood retirees? An art show at the Brentwood Public Library was scheduled and the artists displaying their works were asked to speak at the March meeting. Phyllis George, Rick Mundy*, Lorraine Sopp and Dot Zuckerman graciously agreed to take part in our celebration. The artists will have some of their paintings displayed at the Brentwood Public Library during the month of March. Look for their work on walls to the left of the main entrance.
Phyllis, Rick, Lorraine and Dot captivated ROBS members at our March meeting as they spoke about their experiences as artists. Phyllis George, who currently teaches art classes privately and at the Babylon Arts Council, displayed two vastly different portraits and spoke of her experiences as a portrait painter. Rick Mundy's favorite medium is transparent watercolor and he specializes in seascapes and landscapes. Rick displayed many thumbnail sketches and panels of drawings that he made prior to creating the final watercolor he had on display, an Adirondacks landscape. He fascinated us as he described the thought processes and decision making processes that went into determining the final content of the painting. Lorraine Sopp's PowerPoint presentation enabled us to see the wide range of ceramic pieces that she has created. It was very interesting to hear her views on commercial art versus fine art. Dot Zuckerman spoke of the pleasure she derived from painting as a hobby. She spoke of the training that she received in folk art painting and showed us how her paintings reflected events in her life. She also showed us how to find Jack in each of her paintings. How fitting that there was a way that Jack could be part of this 20th anniversary event!
Thanks to four very talented and creative artists, our March meeting was a big success.
*See "Rick Mundy" under MEMBER WEBSITES on this page.
ROBS MEMBERS CONTINUE TO HELP THE COMMUNITY POSTED 3/4/12
Once again, Miriam Massucci will be collecting new books for Kindergarten and 1st grade level students which can be brought to the ROBS meetings throughout the year. These small books will be used to fill the baskets that these youngsters will receive during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. This charity is sponsored by F.A.N. (Food and Nutrition), a program of Catholic Charities.
Members are also reminded to bring nonperishable food items to each ROBS general meeting to be donated to Island Harvest. Many students from the Brentwood Schools receive food packets from Island Harvest. ROBS also supports the community action group Pronto, that is need of dry and canned goods, paper products and toiletries.
Each year in the Fall, contributions to ROBS Project Hope are collected from the members. With this money, ROBS adopts local families through Suburban Children, Inc. during the holiday season. Food is provided for Thanksgiving and many gifts are bought, wrapped and presented at Christmas time.
PINE PARK TO CELEBRATE 50TH BIRTHDAY POSTED 3/21/12
Pine Park School is celebrating it’s 50th Birthday this September. We are planning a school wide celebration in October. If you would like to be a part of our celebration, please send me an email! firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much!
SAD SHARING POSTED 3/30/12
Dear ROBS, My name is Jim Walker. My Mom, Shirley H. Walker was a teacher in Brentwood for 35 years. She passed away this past Monday, 3/26 in a auto accident while visiting family in Severn Maryland. I have attached a copy of the obituary we are using to publish to newspapers and post on web sites. I am reaching out to you in the hope that you can pass this on to anyone who might have known Mom. I can be reached at 631-949-1219 or email@example.com. -Jim Walker
WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH POSTED 3/3/12
The month of March is National Women's History month. In 1980 The National Women's History Project was founded as an educational nonprofit organization. Its mission is "to recognize and celebrate the diverse and historic accomplishments of women by providing information and educational materials and programs. You can view their website and learn more about Women's HIstory Month by clicking on the following link. National Women's History Project
WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH
ONLINE EXHIBIT POSTED 3/23/12
As part of Women's History Month Governor Cuomo opened a new exhibit at the State Capitol honoring the remarkable women who have led New York and the nation. He has also announced the online exhibit, "From Seneca Falls to the Supreme Court", featuring these women’s stories. Click here to read Governor Cuomo's message and explore the online exhibit.
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Today Nick Siciliano is the President of the Retirees of Brentwood Schools. In 1963 he was a new teacher in the District. This is his own account of how he happened to come to Brentwood, written for the Writers Group.
"HOW I CAME TO BRENTWOOD"
By Nick Siciliano 11/02
January 9,1963. The day I had been waiting for finally had arrived as I was getting out of the United States Army after serving two years. As I took the train from Columbia, South Carolina for the last time heading for New York I continued making plans now that I was returning to civilian life. My association with the Army I thought was over but that was not to be so. More of this story in a later episode. I had several options in resuming my life. I could return to working for Aeronaves de Mexico which I had worked for prior to being drafted in 1961, pursue a teaching career that I had studied for or do something entirely different. I chose to pursue a teaching career
After a week of sorting things out I began to contact schools for substitute positions and placing my name with various schools for a possible position in the fall. I was fortunate in being a substitute in several schools. The interviews for a teaching position were not too successful. I recall going to one school and after the interview with the Principal, I was introduced to the Department Chairman for Social Studies. He said to me, "Since you are slightly built, how would you be able to enforce discipline in your classes?" I kindly informed him that there were a number of ways to maintain discipline other than "brute force." Needless to say, I was not hired at that school. At other interviews I was asked what happened at the United Nations or how I would set up an entire year's program in World History. It was very depressing. I was beginning to have second thoughts about teaching.
I had a fraternity brother. Art McLaughlin, who was teaching at North Junior High School in Brentwood. I had seen him when I got out of the Army. In March of 1963, Art called me and said that North Junior was letting a teacher go over the spring recess. He set up an interview for me to meet the principal, Mr. John Mrowka. At the interview, Mrowka said; "If you can last a week with these classes, the job is yours." It was a challenge more so, as the schedule included teaching a 7th grade Spanish class. I had taken Spanish in college but I had not spoken it in several years.
Mr. Mrowka introduced me to the language coordinator, Bernard Steber. Mr. Steber conversed with me in Spanish for several moments and said "Your Spanish is definitely better than the previous teacher's." The job was mine if I lasted a full week.
The week after spring recess I began my teaching career in Brentwood. The classes were fine and did not present me with many discipline problems. I got the impression they were looking for someone who would provide direction and order. After a week with no problems, I was told I had the job for the rest of the year.
I enjoyed my time at North Junior meeting a number of fine people. I also had a number of experiences that would assist me later on in my career. One such experience is worth telling for its comic impact. I was assigned cafeteria duty, which is usually a trying experience. The first teacher I was paired with, Amy Leftenant, was a 'no nonsense' teacher. She was great and the students loved her. Unfortunately, Amy was given another duty and I was paired with another veteran teacher. He had a different approach. Each day, he would offer me excuses as to why the students were acting up. On Monday, students were "just back from the weekend, thus they were not in a mood to behave." These excuses went on every day and on Fridays, the reason was that the students were "getting ready for the weekend," which accounted for their poor behavior. It was difficult in trying to maintain order when this teacher refused to take any action. A lesson learned for the future.
In June, Mr. Mrowka informed that as much as he would like to hire me for the coming year, there was no opening, but there was one at the High School and he asked if I would be interested in teaching there. I definitely was interested and he made an appointment for me to meet Mr. Weaver, the High School Principal.
When I met Mr. Weaver, he had Milt Siler, Department Head of Social Studies, in his office. Weaver said that he had heard some good things about me, about my background, and then he told me he would hire me. My schedule, however, would not be totally in Social Studies as I would also have to teach three English classes. At this point, I did not care as long as I could get a job. Events over the summer, however, would pose a problem in the fall, but this aspect of my career is for another time. So, in June of 1963,1 was officially hired as a teacher in the Brentwood School System.
March 6 Executive Board Meeting
NYSUT Office 10:15 AM
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
Barbara Mascaro / Library Media Specialist
When we talked on May 28, 2011, Barbara was on her way to retirement. It seemed only a few short years since 1974 when she had come to Brentwood right out of college to take her first appointment at Laurel Park Elementary. This current year had been split between Twin Pines and Laurel Park to which she’d returned and from which she would retire. Arriving in Brentwood with an Elementary Certificate to teach and a Minor degree in Library Science she found herself uniquely positioned to assume the career she did. She became an active participant in the districts goal for eleven years to expand the Elementary Library Program - from six people split between twelve schools to one in which each of Brentwood’s eleven buildings had their own librarian. She served as Freshmen Center Librarian and then as the program expanded further transitioned to East Kindergarten Center. She described Brentwood as a great place to work and remembers it as family. She loved the fun of sharing her love of literature and the beauty of a book with students.
THE TOWN CRIER -MarilynDePlaza@aol.com
"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.