District Hosts a Night of Celebrations

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The Junior-Senior High School’s auditorium was filled with cheer, as members of the board of education and administration revered its students and staff during the district’s June 15 board of education meeting. A variety of recognitions were given out to close the 2020-2021 school year.

Junior-Senior High School Principal Richard Schaffer presented the Class of 2021’s valedictorian and salutatorian. Valedictorian Lucy Temple and salutatorian Emma Pollackov were both applauded for their hard work and dedication they have demonstrated throughout their high school career.

Mr. Schaffer also presented a farewell speech to two retirees from the school, Nicholas Cimorelli and Donna Smith. With a combined 67 years of service, both Cimorelli and Smith were honored for their devotion and commitment to the East Rockaway community. They also received an engraved clock in recognition of their years of service.

Centre Avenue school Principal Calia Kelly also stepped to the podium to present the amazing actions of fifth grader Frederick Devine and fourth grader Christopher Devine. In honor of Memorial Day, Frederick and Christopher celebrated the life and sacrifice of East Rockaway resident and Lieutenant Vincent Higgins, who died in World War I. The students visited his gravesite at The Lawrence Cemetery, left a stone and posted an American flag and then took a small bag of soil from his gravesite. With the small bag of soil, they proceeded to ruck five miles to Memorial Park in East Rockaway and placed the soil collected in the memorial bearing his name.

District Director of Physical Education, Health and Athletics David Barth celebrated 12 students who earned the distinction of New York State Scholar-Athlete. This prestigious state award is presented to students who cumulatively achieved a 90% grade point average or better during the competing season.

Bus driver Jimmy Lores was also recognized during the board meeting for his efforts and tremendous dedication he demonstrated every day to the district throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This was part of the Town of Hempstead’s promotion to recognize frontline workers who went above and beyond for their community during the pandemic. Mr. Lores received a citation from Town of Hempstead Supervisor Donald X. Clavin Jr. and Town of Hempstead Councilman Anthony D’Esposito, and a citation from Village of East Rockaway Mayor Bruno Romano. In addition, the Superintendent of Schools Lisa Ruiz also expressed her appreciation to the Town of Hempstead for having provided the district the Town of Hempstead COVID-19 grant of $120,000. These funds helped cover COVID-19 related expenses.

The night ended with the district’s annual PTA installation ceremony for the new officers of each of the school’s PTA units.