*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                                                                          MAY 2012

May 4

General Meeting
Election of Officers
History Project Presentation

For more information:
Calendar of Events

May 17
Executive Board Meeting
Retiree Information Day

For more information:

POSTED 5/2/12

Dear BHS Colleagues,
   It is with great excitement that Harriet and I are once again planning a reunion for Brentwood High School Retirees. The reunion will be held on September 5, 2012 at the VIEW Restaurant in Oakdale, NY. This venue is lovely and overlooks the Great South Bay.
   The invitation is below and it includes all relevant information. Please note that one change we added, based on your requests, is the option of paying by check in advance of the luncheon. 
   We look forward to hearing from you and hope this note finds you well and happy.

Warmest Regards,
    Judi Hearst Weissman and Harriet Helman


POSTED 5/9/12

Originally published in, Newsday, May 8, 2012
     Actor Alan Alda challenged scientists worldwide to answer the question "What is a flame?" earlier this year, and he turned to local students to help him find the answer.
     Speaking at Brentwood South Middle School yesterday morning, Alda thanked a group of sixth-graders who had helped judge the contest.
     "They took the judging very seriously," Alda said in the middle school library. "And they really wanted to learn and to understand."......

The complete article can be viewed at:
Alan Alda Visits Brentwood Students

POSTED 5/3/12

     We are saddened to report the passing of Cynthia Langhauser, sister of Claire Geraci (Elementary/TP - retiring this June) and sister-in-law of Nick Geraci (Guidance Counselor and Coordinator). Cynthia fought cancer valiantly for several years but passed away late Wednesday, May 2nd. Viewing is for one day only, Monday, May 7th at Raynor and D'Andrea, Montauk Highway, WEST SAYVILLE. Hours are 2-5 and 7-9:30. Services will be at St. John's Church on Green Avenue, Sayville at 10a.m
     Anyone wishing may send a contribution to Having Friends, I.N.N., 131 Middle Road, Sayville, New York 11782 as per her wishes. Nick and Claire's address is 32 Revelyn Court, Sayville, NY 11782, .

POSTED 5/9/12
     Edward Mussler, son in law of Florence Corkery and brother in law of Kate Corkery passed away.

Raynor and D'Andrea Funeral Home in Bayport
Thursday May 10th 2-4:30 and 7-9:30
Service on Friday morning at 9:30.

Condolences to Florence
224 Connetquot Road
Bayport Ny 11705

Condolences to Kate
50 Erwin Street
Sayville NY 11782

POSTED 5/2/12

     You can learn all about the month of May and all of its holidays, observances, and events by clicking here.

POSTED 5/18/12
     South Middle School will be honoring 8th grade students for their achievements at the 2012 Inaugural Ithiel Lloyd Awards Night Dinner on June 4. For more details click here.

POSTED 5/25/12
     Shirley Hodges, passed away on May 13th at the age of 92 in Louisville, CO after a prolonged illness. She is survived by her three sons, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren, She will be greatly missed.
     View the Obituary in Newsday.


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.

      Gene was an English teacher in the high school before he became certified as a Guidance Counselor in the Ross Building. Subsequent to his retirement he contributed to Volume 1 of the Writers Group presentation to the Brentwood Public Library where his account resides today.

by Gene La Colla 6/98
      In retrospect how I became a teacher is a wonder. I now realize how fortunate I was in having come into the profession "through the back door" so to speak Teaching became a career choice for me instead of some other fields of "gainful employment."
     In 1953 I found myself employed as a bartender in my dad's restaurant and tavern at Southold, Long Island. The year before in May, 1952 I had graduated from college with a B.A. in English Literature. In June I found my first full-time job, in New York City, with an insurance company in the underwriting department. Unable to use my literary academic training, and after six miserable and disappointing months, (disgusted with reading applications for auto insurance), I quit. I returned home to my parents and a sure job, bartending in my dad's restaurant.
     While employed there, I was invited to a St. Patrick's Day Party in Brooklyn which some of my fellow college grads were having. At the party I met a young woman who had been teaching school for two years. She informed me that I could become a teacher too, almost immediately, certainly by the opening of the new school year, that very September, 1954. To get teachers the state had introduced the Intensive Teacher Training Program (ITTP), for college grads, like me, who wanted to become teachers but did not have an education degree. This state undertaking required a college graduate to attend two consecutive summer sessions (12 weeks) and make a commitment to get a master's degree in education. Upon completion of the first year of summer school, the state issued a temporary teaching license.  
     In no way was I a teacher after the "90 day wonder" double summer session of educational gobbledygook. But I had my teachers certificate didn't I? Getting a Job was easy. The demand for teachers was huge. The baby boomers had arrived at schools across the nation. There was not enough teachers as well as buildings to contain them. As long as you were in the ITTP program, and working on getting your master's in education you could choose the school district you wanted to teach in.     
     After having been hired at North Babylon, I was assigned to the Junior high as a teacher of English. The day before the kids arrived to begin the new school year, I was given a course outline, the ninth grade curriculum, a weekly planning book, and my teacher's marking book.
      What to do? The course outline included not only American and English Literature but units in creative writing, poetry, vocabulary building, spelling, grammar, syntax, etc., etc.
     That first day, that first week, that first year, and the subsequent early years, I learned from my own experiences and from my students how to become an English Teacher.
      America was entering a strange new world. The devastating heartbreak of the Second World War and Korea had recently ended. The nuclear holocaust was on the horizon, with the then nuclear powers almost daily, testing their latest atom or hydrogen bombs. The Cold War, aptly named by Winston Churchill, pitting East against West, had begun. The future looked bleak indeed. Citizens were encouraged to build bomb shelters and store them with provisions, while at
schools, the teachers and students regularly practiced atomic survival drills, when everyone knew
you would not survive, if in fact an actual nuclear bomb was dropped on New York City.
      Because I was new, a novice, and did not have the traditional teacher's training, I had to rely on my own resources. Commitment and inventiveness, to make practical, and hopefully a lasting impact on the lives of the kids I was engaged to teach, and to make English viable, and yet
to intrigue them with the beauty of written literature and how it affects all our lives were my goals.
     The kids taught me too. I learned I was able to adapt my methods of teaching with each decade that followed those first turbulent years of teaching English to reluctant, shy, unsure, bewildered students. It is rewarding to know that some choose to become teachers too.

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Why did we do it? What was our purpose in taking on such an open ended “History Project”; the one for which we’ve evolved a script of questions with corresponding answers from over one hundred and fifty dedicated volunteers for nearly two decades?
      We couldn’t answer the question in ‘94 when people would ask “What are you going to do with the interviews?” All we could say was that for educational and informational purposes we had better document our record or lose any chance to preserve innumerable poignant accounts, humorous stories and touching tales told to us by exemplary educators and dedicated public servants, who shortly and for reasons unknown might soon be leaving our Brentwood for good.
     We decided to let time sort out the details as we commenced making appointments to ask questions and simply listen. Listen we did as this project evolved saving for subsequent generations the very essence of what it means to have been an educator or employed in a large student centered public school system during the latter half of the twentieth century. Brentwood remains an exemplar to all the others; a diverse microcosm and accurate reflection of the approximately one hundred and twenty seven neighboring school districts on Long Island and the thousands across this country. We’ve accomplished something here, something we can all be proud of having been part of, whether we were interviewed or not, ours is a claim of service that few other professionals in the State of New York are positioned to share in a like manner.
     INITIALLY the practice of sitting for an hour with the Subject of our interview and giving them one hundred percent of our focused attention for that period of time seemed a little threatening to many of our friends and former colleagues. So much so in fact that many declined repeated invitations to be interviewed as they left careers behind or retired from full time employ with the District. Despite all assurances that this was not to be about investigative journalism or invading their privacy, they’ve deferred. Until now, almost seventeen years after we began, some say they may finally be ready. We say, “Better late than never”. However, to all those among you who were willing to share openly not only your classroom experiences but personal stories, precious memories from your lives and fondest hopes for the future, we say thanks for allowing us to be able to continue the process of giving as we now are able to share interviews with you, with the community and with countless regional professional educators and researchers through tentative acceptance of ROBS offer of collaboration with The Long Island Studies Institute at Hofstra University.
      You can now enjoy unlimited visits to www.robsny.org/ where you’ll see and hear segments from the History Project Interviews featured here in the ROBS History Project section on the Announcements Page archived each month thereafter for those wishing to return again and again.


Pattie Monsen
Just prior to Christmas, Dec. 23, 2011 we sat for the interview. Her   career had spanned thirty three years. Growing up in the Bronx, the family moved to Levittown when she was four. Moving eventually from East Meadow to Brentwood, she attended schools here from Fifth Grade. A spirited, assertive young woman she knew early on that teaching was for her. Heavily influenced by role models like Ross Herzog, Chico Frankel, Ray Lieber, Doug Calluchi, Nick Geraci, Helen Miller and Mr. Frieberg her first year, she reflects upon the impact Mike Welch, Joe Fort, Tony Mesner, Mary Jo Schmidt, Betsy Nabroskis, Joe Basso, Peggy Englehardt, Jerry Cohen, Judi Weissman and Cas Howard had on her life. Attending and graduating from BHS in the 1970’s she enrolled in Western Teachers College in Connecticut. Patti recounts memories of the day JFK died and the infamous incident at East Junior High when a swat team occupied the building, and worst still - the day the Twin Towers fell. Having experienced Brentwood as a student and teacher she concludes that “kids are kids” and really no different today. The internet has made it somewhat easier for them but basically they are “the same kids – just taller”. As an active volunteer with the music program she maintains contact with colleagues and is still “paying it forward”. She insists teaching is “wonderful’ but reserved for “a certain kind of person”….though it’s “not easy”. Yet if you love what you do you can’t help but pass it along.

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

Barbara Mascaro
Edward Hannan
Florence Koehler
Franklin Spencer
Ivy Rosenthal
Jack Zuckerman
Joseph Purcell
Lorraine Sopp
Lynn Desoto
Marcy Fiore
Patricia Stuhler
Rich Curio
Richard Mundy
Wally Balinski




    Classified Section
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 4/28/12
     I am reaching out to The Town Crier Mailing list (and other Brentwood people). I have been trying to contact Sandra Chase, who I know was very ill. When I just called now, her cell phone was disconnected and the land line rang for three minutes with no pickup. If you have any information or can suggest another place to try, please let me know, I am very concerned.
Claudia DeBellis

POSTED 5/4/12
Dear Friends,
I'm on the phone with our phantom friend, Sandy Chase. She says, "NOT DEAD!". She's home from the hospital & is doing rehab. She has plans of improvement; she's feeling feisty, though tired. Thanks, everyone who helped me track her down.
love, Claudia

POSTED 5/14/12
BHS Colleagues - It is with great sadness that I tell you Vivian Gaitan-Nelson passed away today after a valiant battle with cancer. Her 57th birthday was yesterday; Viv had left the hospital recently to spend her final days at home with Marty and her twins. Please keep Vivian's family in your prayers. R.I.P., dear Viv. Remembered with love.
     Vivian will be waked at Grant's Funeral Home, 3640 Route 112, Coram, NY. The telephone number of the funeral home is 631.696.0909. The wake hours are:
Wednesday 5/16: 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.
Thursday 5/17: 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.
Burial will be on Friday.
     If you want to send a condolence card to the family - husband Marty and daughters Jessica and Kelli - the home address is:
645 Blue Point Road
Holtsville, NY 11742

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