Friday, 04 May 2012 00:00
Gerard L. DeFina, a longtime educator in the Garden City schools, passed away at age 73 on April 12, 2012 in Delaware. A beloved teacher for the 34 years he worked here, Jerry was constantly involved in creative projects: he was a pioneer in open education and helped design and teach in the “Mod Quad” at Stewart School, which was modeled on the schools he had studied about while in England in conjunction with Oxford University. Later, he helped found the Gifted and Talented program at Stewart, which he taught in for many years, with both programs emphasizing independent as well as group study. He and Frank DeMonaco were also known for their annual musical productions involving the entire graduating class of Stewart School. After an 11-year tenure at Stewart, he moved to the middle school, where he taught collaboratively in various units, finally returning to Stewart in his last year, where a retirement tribute was held in his honor. Many former students returned to surprise him with reprises from Stewart shows they had performed in under his direction. (Since his shows had become such a long-standing tradition, after his retirement he was invited back to continue his yearly productions at both Stewart and Stratford schools).
A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in education, he was also very involved in the theater program there, performing alongside Madeline Kahn, Lainie Kazan and Francis Ford Coppola who called him “one of the most talented people I ever met.” After graduation, Jerry continued to act in many Hofstra productions, his last performance there being a starring role in the play Next. For many years he also directed regional theater, as well as being involved in other aspects of stagecraft.
Jerry’s graduate degree was in educational administration at Queens College and he did post-graduate work at the University of Connecticut in gifted education; working with children, however, was always his first love. He had a huge capacity to reach every student on an individual basis, to empathize with the child having difficulties adjusting, and he strove to protect every child from bullying before it became fashionable to do so. A master teacher, he was able to nurture the creativity in every one of his students, to see their potential and help them fulfill it. His sense of humor and booming laughter filled the classroom, while he also demonstrated an integrity and work ethic that were his hallmark.
Jerry is survived by his long-time companion Frank DeMonaco of Newark, Delaware, and his brother, George DeFina of Woodstock, VT. A celebration of Jerry’s life will be held on Friday, May 4 from 3 to 6 p.m. at Donohue-Cecere Funeral Parlor, Post Avenue, Westbury. In lieu of flowers, donations may be contributed in his name to City Meals on Wheels, 355 Lexington Ave., NY, NY 10017.
Friday, 14 June 2013 00:00
“The three airports operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PA) collectively represent the busiest airport system in the United States,” said Senator Kemp Hannon (R-Nassau). “The noise generated by all these overflights has increased steadily over time, and it’s incumbent upon the PA to conduct a noise study to ensure that aircraft noise is given proper consideration by airport operators when they determine which runways and approach paths to use.”
Hannon’s legislation, passed unanimously, is Senate bill 3841, which would require the PA to conduct a noise and land use compatibility study as set forth in 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 150. That report would then be submitted to the governors and legislatures of New York and New Jersey, and would require the PA to hold biennial public hearings at which the public would be heard regarding aircraft noise issues.
Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00
The suburban home setting in Freeport seems a long way from the small farmlands of the Irish midlands. Although former Garden City Schools employee Tom Phelan now lives thousands of miles away from the country he was born and raised in, he is set to release his fifth novel depicting life in his old Irish homeland.
Phelan is set to read from his collection of works on Monday, June 17 at 7 p.m. at the Summer Gazebo Readings on Schoolhouse Green in Oceanside. Though he has been writing for many years before his work was published, his first novel was released in April 1998 when a Dublin publisher accepted In the Season of the Daisies. A decade and a half later, the Freeport native is currently finishing up his fifth novel, Lies, which is set for release in 2014.
Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00
The Garden City Centennials held their annual year-end Soccer Fest at St. Paul’s on Saturday, June 1. The day-long event is the culmination of the soccer season for the more than 2,100 young girls and boys that participate in one of the many programs the Centennials offer. Highlighted by the giving out of the annual awards to all players, the youngsters also enjoyed the fun games and activities throughout the day. Soccer Fest also represented the close of the travel season for the 41 girls and boys teams that compete in the Long Island Junior Soccer League. And with 39 travel teams, the Centennials have become one of the top programs not only on Long Island, but in New York State.
Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00
Not too many attorneys have made their way to glory in the boxing ring. Roseanne “Ro-Hammad Ali” Beovich hopes to become the first when she participates in the 10th annual Long Island Fight for Charity event on November 25 at the Hilton of Melville.
Beovich, an associate attorney at Genser, Dubow, Genser & Cona, LLP in Melville, has no formal boxing experience but “became interested in boxing because I like to try new sports and find activities that will challenge me.”