Number of Participants: 5
Hours Donated: 1
Value of Time Served: $42
Event Type: Children & Youth
Date: September 27, 2016
150 Trafalgar Boulevard Island Park
New York 11558, United States
The Island Park Public Schools celebrated a project that was years in the making on Friday, Sept. 23, as the new playground at Francis X. Hegarty Elementary School was officially unveiled in a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The playground replaced one that was destroyed, along with other district facilities, during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Thanks to the kindness and generosity of others, students at Hegarty now have a place for recess and activities. The playground was made possible through the contributions and efforts of the New York District Kiwanis International as well as several schools in districts across Long Island. Kiwanis representatives, as well as members of the East Meadow Public Schools’ Barnum Woods Elementary School and the Syosset Public Schools’ Cantiague Elementary School, were present at the ceremony to witness the highly-anticipated result of their outreach. Island Park Superintendent of Schools Dr. Rosmarie Bovino thanked these groups and individuals, and also extended gratitude to the Herricks Public Schools’ Searingtown Elementary School, Levittown Public Schools’ Gardners Avenue Elementary School and MacArthur High School and Smithtown Public Schools’ Great Hollow Middle School, all of whom supported the students of Island Park through various fundraising initiatives and donations.
“Their vision, generosity and hard work made this magnificent playground possible” Dr. Bovino said. “All of these people, in their own time, contributed effort and love to all of us here in Island Park and especially to the children so that this playground could be built after Superstorm Sandy.” Island Park administrators, past and present board of education members, PTA members and teachers were joined by several state, county and local representatives. State Senator Todd Kaminsky, Nassau County Legislator Denise Ford, Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino, Councilman Anthony D. Esposito, Mayor of the Incorporated Village of Island Park Michael McGinty and Island Park Public Library Director Jessica Koenig and her staff all came out to show their enthusiasm for this meaningful event.
After Dr. Bovino welcomed attendees, including an audience of kindergartners through fourth-graders, the Pledge of Allegiance and “God Bless America” were recited. Hegarty Principal Jacob Russum also offered greetings and introduced students Kieren Emerson, Alice Haggerty, Nikki Kane, Scott Mayer and Dylan Travers, who expressed their perceptions of the new playground. Among the favorite features they noted were the slide, soft-safety flooring, basketball court and colorful equipment. “This is the result of the committed efforts of representatives from multiple entities” Mr. Russum stated. He expressed that the theme in this gathering is community, as every day there are children using the facility. “Hundreds of children have given their help to those at Hegarty. This is our opportunity to say thank you and express our appreciation.”
Hegarty’s Select Ensemble provided musical entertainment and performed Pharrell Williams’ song, “Happy.” This was followed by remarks from Barnum Woods Elementary School Principal Gregory Bottari, who introduced student Nicholas Goldstein and praised him for selling the highest number of candy bars to help fund the playground. Cantiague Elementary School Principal Gina Faust, Island Park Board of Education President Jack Vobis, New York District Kiwanis International District Secretary David Rothman and Village of Island Park Mayor Michael McGinty addressed the audience as well.
Mr. Vobis emphasized the value in this showing of support for students.
“They’re the future of Island Park” he said. He thanked the students for their hard work each day and encouraged them to enjoy the new facility and be happy. The group gathered to officially cut the ribbon, which signified the playground’s completion and the culmination of many collaborative demonstrations of care and compassion.