*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
IMPORTANT DATES   IN THE NEWS                                                                        SEPTEMBER 2018
Sept 7
General Membership Meeting
"Welcome New Members"

Sept 27
Executive Board Luncheon

Meeting Dates
Events Schedule
POSTED 9/1/18
     You can find the membership application card for you to fill out on page 8 of the latest copy of the ROBS Newsletter, which you will be receiving in the mail. If you do not receive the newsletter, you can download the Membership Card here. The membership fee is $25. New members can also use this card to join ROBS and go to the ROBS Membership Page on this website for more information on joining ROBS and downloading the card.
    Simply fill out the card, and indicate if there are corrections to be made to your current listing in the directory. Return the card addressed to Carmen Roldan, 49 Linda Lane, North Babylon, NY 11703. Include your check made out to ROBS for $25 with "Dues" written on the memo line.

POSTED 9/20/18
     On Thursday, September 13, 2018 the 8th Anual Brenetwood High School Retirees Reunion was held at the Brentwood Country Club. The following is a link to view the YouTube video of the event followd by a list of the names of the atendees pictured in each numbered photo.

(Left -Right)
4. Harriet Helman, Judi Weissman
5. Rick Mundy, Jim Nanos, Mike     Campanile
6. Helen Feeney, Harriet Helman
7. Jim Nanos, Mike Campanile, Ross      Herzog, Eddie Hannan
8. Carmela Criscione, Cheryl Castano,
9. Ron Guzas, Mike Lambert
10. Ellen Edelstein, Cheryl Castano
11. Caster Howard
12. Jim Nanos, Rick Mundy
13. Mike Lambert, Ross Herzog, Jim       Nanos, Cas Howard, Ed Hannan
14. Carmela Criscione, Edie Filosa
15. Bernice Raperto, Nick Sarro
16. Judi Weissman, Ed Hannan, Cheryl      Castano, Dave Martz
17. Patti Monsen, Judi Weissman
18. Jim Nanos, Bill Mullady, Dave Martz 19. Dennis Bracco, Cas Howard, Ellen     Edelstein, Cheryl Castano, Ed Hannan
20. Stacey Kimbell
21. Patti Monsen, Ross Herzog,
22. Patti Munson, Ross Herzog, Judi       Weissman,
23. Betty Stosuy, Bernice Raperto
24. Ross Herzo, Cas Howard, Ed       Hannan, Cheryl Castano, Dave Martz
25. Joe Forte, Dave Martz, Ross Herzog,       Ellen Edelstein,
26. Patti Monsen, Cas Howard, Betty       Stosuy, Judi Weissman, Ed Hannan
27. Dennis Bracco, Bill Mullady, Jim       Nanos, Ed Hannan, Cas Howard
28. Mike Campanile, Ron Guzas, Mike       Lambert, Rick Mundy, Nick Sarro
29. Rick Mundy
30. Rick Mundy
31. Harriet Helman, Helen LoPiano,       Helen Feeney, Stacey Kimbell, Marie       Shepherd, Patti Monsen,
32. Helen Feeney, June Dawson, Stacey       Kimbell,
33. Joe Forte, Judi Weissman, Dave       Martz
34. Joe Forte, Patti Monsen
35. Ithiel Lloyd, Janet Anderson
36. Judi Weissman, Harriet Helman,
37. Ed Hannan, Mike Campanile
38. Patti Monsen, John Sherin,
39. Ed Hannan, John Sherin
40. Cas Howard, Betty Stosuy


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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.
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Sept 18
General Membership Meeting

November 13
Welcome New Retirees Annual Brunch

RC 21 Website: http://rc21.ny.aft.org

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

Check out the Famous People and Events on that special day in September and see what else happened!
Historical People and Events for September
September 2018 Holidays, Bizarre, Unique, Special Days
Bizarre and Unique Holidays in September
All About September
September 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.
   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.


Manuel R. Vega
Interviewed: 8/3/1998 
    He was born on Election Day November 3rd 1932 in Manhattan Physicians Hospital on the West Side, the same day Franklin D. Roosevelt was first elected President of the United States His given full name was that of his father; Manuel Ricardo Vega
   It was on August 3, 1998 that Carmela Criscione and I sat in the TV studio to listen to Manny provide the account of life before, during and after arriving in Brentwood and share his memories of an amazing life and career in the District.
   His mother and father had been born in Spain. His mother immigrated when she was eleven years old, his father when he was about twenty. They met and married his father settling in NYC his mother originally moving to Pennsylvania and then to New Jersey for a short time before coming to Manhattan.
   At the time of the interview Manny was living in Sayville on the South Shore of Long Island, south of Montauk Highway one mile from the Great South Bay. During his early years, and as an only child, he was known as “Junior”, He became the beneficiary of all the attention, love and support that a set of caring parents could provide. The disadvantage in being an only child was that he had to use friends as a sounding board for his ideas about how to move through the world to achieve success without benefit of brothers and sisters. Be it known that his paternal grandfather was an architect and builder which in truth may have been the single genetic factor linking his family past to his own considerable talents and graphic abilities. An uncle on his father’s side once had traced family in Spain back to Ferdinand and Isabella and the Battle of Malaga when Spain was at war with the Moors.
    His mother’s maiden name was Fernandez. She came from a family of four. It was a large family with extended generations of 2nd and 3rd generation cousins but at this point all the original aunts and uncles were gone. His mother who was still living with Manny was 90 years old and the matriarch of her generation. His memory of her from childhood was of her always singing. Her father had been an excellent chef so he’d taught her how to cook and there were always wonderful aromas floating through the home with the sound of music that accompanied her everywhere.
    One of his earliest memories at the age of five was of being taken to Radio City Music Hall by his mother and father to see an early showing of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He was mesmerized. It led unquestionably to his lifelong interest in animation and the creative work of Walt Disney on the west coast. Just prior to his coming to Brentwood and over lapping his arrival here he had been fortunate to be able to go to the Disney Studios in Burbank for several years as an intern and as an educational consultant where he learned the craft of animation taking all he learned back with him to the Brentwood School District where he could be singularly instrumental in producing and directing a professional grade film called Brentwood is Many Kids , this as the district was entering its period of most expansive growth of the 50’s and ‘60’s. It was an effort by the Board of Education to show the community what the school district was doing, while showing how it had evolved from a sleepy suburban summer community of the rich and famous in the mid 1850’s to the sprawling working class bedroom community after the US Supreme Court Decision of Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.
   During his early years in Brentwood he would be called to Burbank to Disney during the summers where he was employed. From that rich emersion evolved the animation course eventually integrated into the art department curriculum at the senior high school with aspects embraced at the junior high school and primary levels. Only Manny could tell this story in the way it needs to be told. Only he could provide a window into the degree of dedication and the extent of the labor of love that enabled this effort to record such an accurate telling of the history of this community.
    He was fluent in Spanish and last visited Galicia, the region from which his family originated (northern Spain above Portugal on the west coast side of the Atlantic) in 1990. After listening to his account I had a new understanding of the meaning of the word Creole and how this word applied to Manuel Ricardo Vega with a clear understanding prior to the New Orleans definition.
   His father was about twenty years old when he arrived in the US with a letter of credit from his grandfather, which he never cashed in because he wanted to make it on his own. He worked in maintenance in all aspects of the family business having been apprenticed by his father who was a builder and architect, to take over the business some day. He knew blueprints and had been a professional soccer player in Spain before he leaving. He became Superintendent of a large housing project in Forest Hills, once he moved from Manhattan to Queens.
    From an early age of two or three Manny remembers being fascinated with drawing and coloring. His parents kept him supplied with paper, and crayons and he would draw for hours perfectly content amusing himself with what he loved doing. He spoke of a Kindergarten teacher who had once written a note and given it to him to take home to his parents. He thought it was about something bad that he had done and worried about it until his parents read it and explained to him that it was a letter of praise for the superior artistic skills he demonstrated, the likes of which this teacher had in all her many years of teaching never before seen from a student. Teachers continued to praise his talents until he got to high school by which time he had decided to pursue art as a career.

   He first attended PS 151 in Woodside Queens and William Cullen Bryan when he went to High School, graduated and attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, achieving a BSA in Advertising and Illustration. He went to work in the field of advertising and did very well. During one of his first jobs he had worked for a firm that became known for his creation of Toucan Sam for Kellogg’s Fruit Loops but to which he retained no rights and derived no income.
   He soon discovered his skills of organization and project management which got him a promotion to Art Director. He came to hate working with clients and corporate executives because his work changed to being all about money, money, money. He was making himself sick and was advised by his doctor to change the way he was thinking or he would develop ulcers.
   He registered for two courses at Hunter College having nothing to do with Art but which sounded interesting. At registration he tapped on the shoulder of the person on line in front of him and asked her what she was signing up for. She told him, “Educational Psychology and The Philosophy of Education”. He took both courses, loved them and according to his professors who told him he was a natural teacher with all the requisite instincts and would be “missing the boat” if he chose not to pursue education as a career. With that, he decided to go full time to NYU where he got his Permanent Teacher Certification and a Masters Degree in Art Education at the same time.
   He had made a connection in California (late ’50’s) for a position at Berkley but at the same time in one of his courses at NYU he met Peggy Bingham, the Coordinator of Art for the Brentwood School District. While chatting over coffee she began talking about the problems Brentwood was having with curriculum and asked if he would come out to speak to the department. He did and lectured a few times, spoke to the kids, ending up helping them, design and decorate the Ross Gym for the upcoming Prom. He was invited by the senior class to come to the prom and unbeknown to him the Art Coordinator of the District had spoken to Fred Weaver (Principal) and Mrs. Knott (Assistant Principal), and told them both that they should really hire Mr. Vega as an art teacher before he returned to NYC..
    He was called out of the prom into Mr. Weaver’s office and there presented with a contract to fill an opening in the High School Art Department He signed immediately with the thought that he would help them out for a few years (ie. doing missionary work) while he got things up and running in the District only to pick up his original plan afterward to go to Berkley. He made $4.500 his first year (before taxes) and thought he would starve to death following what he had made ($18.000) in his previous job in advertising – which was a good amount of money at that time.
   He had been living in Forest Hills with his parents. Mrs. Knott had an available cottage on her property on Grant St. which she rented him to save him the commute. He lived there for about three years and then moved to a duplex in Bay Shore. Brentwood was quite rural compared to the city but he enjoyed it. It reminded him of his earlier days in Queens because it was a multiethnic community with a large Hispanic population that enabled him to use his proficiency in Spanish to communicate with his students (which surprised them). He got many Spanish speaking kids to sign up for art classes. They were talented kids as well. That first year had many challenges. During it he invented the District Art Show which continues to this day.
    He worked alongside Gene Hoyt, Leigh Stewart and Mr. Hastings. He was only in the classroom for three years when he was named Department Head. Joe Dionne was hired as a Coordinator and created generalist positions of GIS General Instructional Supervisors thus eliminating Department Heads. Gerry Goates was a GIS for Math and Science and worked with Manny. When an Art Coordinator position opened Manny applied for it and received it. The State at that juncture had little in the way of curriculum guides. Much was still being written.
    There was a great deal of background provided during the DiPietro years when Manny was an indispensable assist to the Superintendent bringing his many talents and skills to bear. He continued to serve subsequent district leaders but when all was said and done he believed that if he were to look himself in the eye in the mirror he would be able to say he did the best he could and truly believed that what he had accomplished had made a contribution and a difference in Brentwood. He called the Art Department in Brentwood “the finest Public School Art Department in the State of New York”.
    Since retiring as District Curriculum Coordinator in 1993 he transitioned to retirement with ease, returning to his painting and drawing every day in celebration of his life and purpose.
   We talked about the changes ahead in education and the ways in which the community has always been a beacon of light and a source of enlightenment and hope to those who by whatever means found this place and planted roots for themselves and their families.
   Manny passed away on January 20, 2004. His mother died before him three years earlier in the month of May.

    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