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A Fond Farewell to OBEN Teachers

‘I am not going to cry because it’s over. I am going to smile because it happened.’

When you think of the years of service represented by the wonderful people who will be leaving the Oyster Bay East Norwich community at the end of this school year, it is hard not become tearful. These professionals have logged over a century of experience and dedication to creating an educational environment of excellence in Oyster Bay. There are five teachers retiring and two administrators making career moves. All were posed with five questions in an effort to honor them with a fond farewell. The questions were:

1. What is your fondest memory of OB?

2. What will you miss most?

3. What made you the most proud while you were here?

4. What are you looking forward to?

5. What would you like to say to Oyster Bay?

So, while fighting back the tears, Claire Sass said it best in answering the questions when she wrote, “I am going to borrow words from Dr. Seuss. I am not going to cry because it’s over. I am going to smile because it happened.”

Thank you to all, you will be missed, but your influence will live on for years to come. Answers below are numbered to the above 1-5 questions:

Diana Borrelli – 12 years at the High School as a Math Teacher

1. I loved the whole experience.

2. I will miss most working with students and colleagues.

3. I am most proud of seeing how far my students developed over the course of the year and seeing them excel in later grades.

4. No alarm clock. Also I look forward to travelling and spending more time with family.

5. I will miss you all.

Kathleen Reilly – 27 years at the High School as an English Teacher

1. There are just too many to count. Being a class advisor for the class of 1985 when I first arrived at OB and ending my career as class advisor for the class of 2010 is special. It feels like coming full circle.

2. It really comes down to relationships...the relationships I’ve developed with both my students and the staff. Both have meant the world to me.

3. I think what I am most proud of is developing the Essay Writing for College course. I wholly believe it filled a need for seniors. It gave them the time to complete their applications with little stress. It also fostered closer relationships with each other and myself.

4. I think what I am most looking forward to is continuing my work helping students in the college application process. My plan is to work with former guidance director Gwyeth Smith. Of course, traveling is part of the big picture as well.

5. It has to be a huge thank you...thank you for maintaining high standards, support of its students and staff and making my last 27 years here feel like home.

Claire Sass – 19 years as a Pre-K and Kindergarten Teacher

1. My fondest memory of Oyster Bay is ... This is a hard question because there are so many fond memories. One of them is a day I went to the Oyster Fest. I felt like a rock star celebrity with so many little fans clamouring to see me. It is wonderful to feel that connection, especially from former students and their families.

2. I will miss getting to know a brand new group of five-year-olds every September. I will miss the feeling of starting something new each school year.

3. I love experiencing the awakening of literacy in so many youngsters. I am proud when my little ones spontaneously burst into a group song that I’ve taught them. It’s especially pleasing when the song is perfect for a situation and is probably one they wouldn’t have known.

4. Besides improving my golf game and pursuing other leisure activities, I look forward to showing a new generation of teachers how to incorporate music with the teaching of reading. I believe from experience that this technique really works!

5. I am going to borrow words from Dr. Seuss. I am not going to cry because it’s over. I am going to smile because it happened.

Edna Standerwick – 19 years as a Kindergarten Teacher

1. I have many fond memories. If I have to pick one, it is seeing the joy in my students eyes as they realize: THEY CAN READ!

2. I will miss the children and my colleagues.

3. I was most proud watching my children confidently participate in reading and writing celebrations for their delighted families.

4. I am looking forward to spending more time with my family, especially my grandchildren. I will be reading more books, running, swimming, kayaking and learning new things. I also look forward to hearing many good things about my former students’ accomplishments.

5. I thank you for the privilege of teaching your children and learning from them. I loved my years at Roosevelt School and I will treasure my memories.

Ruth Tepper – 19 years as a Second-Grade Teacher

1. Walking into school every day and feeling the camaraderie of the teachers, staff and custodial faculty.

2. My “second grade” team of teachers and the personal experiences we shared each and every day.

3. My “Tepperonis” (the children in my class) and the wonderful academic progress they made each and every day.

4. Time to spend with my family and loved ones and traveling to broaden my horizons.

5. Thank you so much, for making me feel special and part of the Oyster Bay community, all the years that I spent teaching here. Thank you for the warmth and caring that I felt for the 19 years that I taught at Roosevelt Elementary School. I will always look back at Oyster Bay as my second home.

Dawn Cerrone - 24 years as a Physical Education Teacher and Athletic Department Supervisor

1. Over the course of almost 24 years identifying my fondest memory is quite difficult….there are just too many! Let me try to name a few:

Students succeeding in my classes and on the court. That “success smile” on their face, nothing better then that! As the Director of Physical Education, Health and Athletics my fondest memories are the many successes of all our programs over the course of the past two years. Programs moving forward providing our students with the best of the best.

Various fund raising activities through the years that involved students and staff: Vernon Idol, Dancing with the Vernon Stars, Car washes, Volleyball Marathon 1980s. Other fond memories: Little Baymen Pep Rallies at Vernon, Oyster Bay High School Pep Rallies, Vernon Town Meetings, Who Wants to be a Healthy Millionaire?

2. Students, parents, staff and administrators, “The Oyster Bay Way”

3. I am most proud of having had the opportunity to have served this school and community in the capacity of teacher, coach and Director of Physical Education, Health and Athletics. A dream come true!

4. New challenges. Change is so invigorating. It keeps you fresh, focused and motivated.

5. Thank you for the opportunity to serve this school and community for the past 24 years. The students and student-athletes of this community have been the fuel that motivated me each and every day. They are so very special!!!

This school and community will remain near and dear to my heart forever!

Laura Seinfeld - Five years as the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction

1. I would have to say that my fondest memories are those times spent with our wonderful students including visiting them in their classrooms and participating in special events. One that comes to mind as very special is the celebration of reading at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School when the entire administrative team, dressed in baseball uniforms, joined the students and staff at Roosevelt to share the gift of the written word with our youngest learners. Another very special memory is my participation in Challenge Days at the high school; truly unforgettable.

2. Leaving a place like OBEN is very hard, because of the wonderful people, so I would have to say that I will miss the people the most. This includes my fellow administrators, our outstanding teachers and support staff, the supportive and devoted board of education, the embracing parents and community, and of course, the wonderful and kind students we serve.

3. I am so proud of being part of a professional learning community that takes the time to deepen our learning and improve our craft. I am proud to have led a number of initiatives, but those related to professional learning and professional development are at the top of the list.

4. I am looking forward to returning to Hewlett-Woodmere and contributing in the areas of curriculum, instruction, and professional development, but will never forget OBay.

5. Thank you for the support, the friendship, the learning. Oyster Bay is wonderful community and district. In fact, it is Long Island’s best kept secret. Only the best to all the students, families, and staff for a healthy and fun-filled summer and a future bright with learning and opportunity.