Dear Wildcats and Other Interested Persons,
Welcome to The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 27.
Thanks to our fabulous Webmaster, Keith Aufhauser (1963), you can regale yourself with the first twenty-six newsletters (and other Wheatley data and arcana) at Conversely, if you are completely uninterested in Wheatley matters, please ask me to remove you from my distribution list.
I edit all submissions, even material in quotes, for clarity and concision, without any indication thereof. I do not censor ideas, which may not be my own.
Save the Date – The Seventh Annual Wheatley School Alumni Association NYC Lunch – Monday, January 28, 2019 – Details to be Announced Shortly
Steve Ehre – Wheatley Social History
I started at Wheatley in 1965, so I did not know Kenneth Martin, Class of 1960; but I refer to his commentary in Newsletter # 26. When I arrived, Wheatley was a 7-12 school. North Side and Willets Road were K-6 grade schools and greatly divided by religion based on housing. A decision was made, founded on several factors, to introduce and implement what was then called the Princeton Plan…a way to integrate Blacks and Whites (developed in Princeton, NJ). It was originally introduced by East Williston Schools Superintendent James Erviti (IMHO the most innovative Supt. we ever had, although at times a difficult man). Back then, North Side was almost 100% Christian and Willets Road was almost 100% Jewish (diversity came to both schools later). So, using the Princeton Plan, North Side was converted to a K-4 and Willets Road to a 5-7. Yes, busing was a BIG part of the fight. It also allowed Wheatley to accommodate the growing population, and the many transferring from St. Aidan’s School. WR and NS were expanded, to a degree. I do not believe any of the decision makers are still alive, although Jane Ann Smith, the best!, might be. As an aside, teachers from Wheatley, like Sam Philips and Ray Diamond (two I remember), either volunteered or were assigned to go to Willets Road from Wheatley....one teacher did not want to go and soon got another job at Garden City High School….the term “down to” was deliberately changed to “over to” Willets Road…(yes, it was important).
Totally unrelated: when I first came to Wheatley, there was a tradition unlike any other public school I have ever heard of . . . there were NO LOCKS on the lockers in the halls!!!!!!…a tradition that started with the opening of Wheatley… (and there was no such thing as a book bag). Within a few short years that started to change, and within 10 years almost everyone had a lock. Then an issue arose about what to do with book bags on the hall floors, as many would not fit in the small, thin lockers….and many teachers complained about the messy look and claimed it was a mortal danger . . . as was hand-holding and gum-chewing (our country’s downfall stemmed from these crucial issues . . . in fact David Halberstam devoted a whole chapter to this in his brilliant book, The Best and the Brightest). In the fall of 1967, the faculty had their THEN weekly, untimed (both since changed by contract) . . . staff meeting at 2:45PM in the OLD LIBRARY (what is now the science offices and labs). The meeting lasted until about 5:15 PM and was solely about gum chewing and handholding in the halls . . . true story … not exaggerated!!! There was no resolution (I won’t tell which teachers said what, but I do remember!), but a study group was set up…and I have no idea what transpired after that. As in most schools, gum was deposited under the desks. If caught, the punishment was to clean/scrape all the desks in that room . . . yuck. My memory still works…Enjoy…Steve Ehre (Coming soon, Wheatley during the late 60s and 70s and The Day The Girls Wore Pants!!!)
BTW, Jane Ann Smith was a long serving Board of Education member…VERY bright (I think she was a Chemical Engineer)…and a prime mover, with Dr. Erviti, of the School Within a School and Sensitivity Training Groups (we renamed them Adult-Youth groups, with students and parents in the group). I left Wheatley in June of 1996 after 31 years…did my first year at Southside High School in Rockville Center. Wes Wathey was the principal and ran the faculty meeting, along with Assistant Principal Colin Bentley. In a contract soon thereafter, we insisted on only one school meeting per month and limited the time to, I think, one hour.
Carol Vogt – More Wheatley Social History
The entry from Ken Martin, the Class of 1960’s STUDENT OF HISTORY, in the last newsletter made for interesting reading. I think he and other alumni from the 60s and 70s might like to know that the issues he raised ultimately created some significant changes in the way different religious/cultural groups related at Wheatley.
I started working at Wheatley in the Social Studies Department in 1983. A few years before I arrived there had been some conflict about whether to have a Christmas tree in the lobby as part of the December holiday decorations. What I have been told (and some other faculty alumni may have some corrections to make in what follows) is that the conflict was resolved by the formation of an Intercultural Unity Club, under the direction of Dr. Betty Belasco (known during her earlier years at Wheatley as “Dr. Simendinger”), the head of the Science Department and someone who held a lay position in the Episcopal Church. ICU changed the December focus from any particular holiday decoration to a school-wide luncheon the week before vacation. There was no regular cafeteria service that day, and students were asked to bring food to share that reflected their cultures. Everyone paid for their lunch and the money raised was donated to a local charity, mostly to the Interfaith Nutrition Network on Long Island. ICU also sponsored other events throughout the year to foster religious diversity and multiculturalism.
In 1986 (pretty sure that’s the right year), Dr. Belasco resigned as ICU advisor and I took over. I was joined a year or two later by Dr. Jacqueline (“Jackie”) Borruso, a gifted and beloved ESL teacher. We became co-advisors and expanded the luncheon to include an intercultural assembly that featured music, dancing and other kinds of performances that reflected the growing diversity at Wheatley through the 80s and 90s. At one point during these years, when Michael Glennon was Principal, the God Squad (Rabbi Mark Gellman and Father Tom Hartmann) did a school-wide program for students and staff that addressed religious and intercultural issues.
I think it would be fair to say that the work of ICU and other things that happened at Wheatley (including significant changes in the social studies curricula) and in the world at large encouraged students to talk about the Holocaust and also taught them a lot about their classmates' diverse backgrounds and experiences. One only has to pick up a newspaper (or go online!) to know that finding a balance between "birds of a feather flocking together" and identifying as united Americans, committed to the civic ideals that were behind the creation of this country, is no easy task, and the issues that Ken Martin raised are still with us. But it's also true that students at Wheatley have been exploring the religion, culture, and mores of others for quite a while.
Jerry Mintz – 1961 – Ping Pong and Education
Hi, Artie! I just had cataract surgery on both eyes and became one of the lucky 1% that had complications with the second one. They seem to have fixed it with the third one a week ago. Assuming I fully recover, my table tennis game should be as strong as ever. I'm still working with an Olympic coach teaching three times a week; she considers me to be one of the best teachers of beginners. And I'm still running the Alternative Education Resource Organization (www.educationrevolution.org). Our 15th annual conference will be in Portland, OR this coming year, from June 26-30. Any Wheatley People in Portland? It's also AERO's 30th anniversary.
1962 – John Bagdon – Thinking about The Holocaust and Anti-Semitism
Writes John – “I, too, have been somewhat vexed about The Holocaust, as well as the history of anti-Semitism, and I have discussed it with many rabbis and other Jewish people. A wonderful man in my art class, in NYC, recommended a book titled ‘Why the Jews ?’ It spells out the origins of anti-Semitism, as well as the reasons it still exists today. There are also films that address the subject that Ken might be interested in seeing.”
1964 - Robert C. Kirk – Deceased
Writes sister Patricia Kirk Hefferan (1961) – “I am sad to report that my brother Robert C Kirk died on December 26th, 2018. He had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma but kept a step ahead of the disease with the advancement of new treatments. His blood work done three days prior to his demise was within normal limits. His wife Stacey, to whom he was married for a lifetime, survives him. My sister, Nancy C. Kirk (1971) died almost 3 years ago, so I am now the sole survivor of our family.
Bob received undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in electrical engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ. His first job was with a power company in Nantucket. He then was employed by DEK, a software and hardware company for 15 years, breaking the $100,000 salary bar, quite an accomplishment at the time. He left the company and held a variety of jobs over the years. He and Stacey had lived in Salem, Oregon for 20 years; approximately two years ago they moved to Corvallis.
Bob was an avid private pilot and owned a plane for a number of years. I used to take him out to Zahn's Airport, in North Amityville, NY (it closed in 1980) once he turned 13 years old, and that is where he received his private pilot's license. Eventually, keeping a plane was too costly, so he time-shared with some people for a while but eventually gave up flying. He did take a small job with CAP (the Civil Air Patrol), where he first got his license, teaching young students the basics of flying.
Bob and Stacey were very private. As per Bob’s wish, there was no church service, no funeral, no burial. He was cremated, and Stacey is keeping that ashes at her home. For those who knew Bob, I wish I had more information, but I do not.
Carol Brunner Whittier – 1965 – Fond Memories of Alma Mater
Writes Carol – “I have been apart from Wheatley for many years and have few direct contacts with fellow graduates, but I enjoy your newsletters tremendously and often recognize a name, though I may not have known the person well, or at all. All the memories are heartwarming, and the comments, stories, and, yes, even the obituaries, are thought-provoking. I cherish my Wheatley education and am always thankful for the diverse people and ideas that were all acceptably part of our lives at The Wheatley School. Also, thanks to Ike Evans and Malcolm McNeill, who do a great job connecting my class.
1965 – Ray Christian – Wake…and Sister’s Comments
Writes Classmate Louise Kampa Triano – “These are the flowers that Malcolm McNeill had sent to Ray Christian’s wake from Wheatley ‘65. I had the honor of attending this afternoon and meeting Ray’s 3 sisters. What I planned on being a 15 or 20 minute visit became over an hour of listening to stories about Ray. I was very moved to be told how happy Ray was to reconnect with Wheatley and attend the reunions. Saleem Pernath (f/k/a Gibb Geery) also attended, so Wheatley ‘65 was diversely represented. Ray’s youngest sister, Kim, the artist that painted him as a Marine, was very close to him. Her email address is KIM.WERFEL@GMAIL.COM if anyone wants to reach out to her.”
Writes Ray’s sister Kim Werfel – “Dear Art, Wow - Your tribute to my brother Ray had me in tears. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I only attended Wheatley as an 8th grader, from 1968-1969, after which I went to St. Mary's High School in Manhasset. Ray's seven-year-older sister, Delia, also attended a Catholic high school. Our sisters Kathleen (1968) and Margaret (1975) graduated from Wheatley. Ray LOVED the Wheatley reunions. He didn't have great memories of Wheatley, probably because he was 2 years younger than everyone else in his grade and felt out of place socially, but he had a warm, healing experience attending those reunions. He spoke at length to me about them - you all touched his heart. I so thank you for that! Art, you do an incredible service keeping up such a newsletter. Thanks again. This made my day. And have a Happy New Year. PS: Four of Ray's 1965 classmates, Henry Alpert, Ken Katz, Peter Till, and Louise Kampa Triano, chipped in to make a donation to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation in memory of Ray. As the acknowledgement letter said, ‘It is evident that Raymond Christian touched the lives of many and will continue to do so through this gift.’”
1965 – Suzanne Sterritte Maurer – Leading Tennis Player in Florida
Writes a colleague of mine – “I have a house in Florida, where I have been developing lots of tennis buddies. Coincidentally, the chief of my Saturday morning group mentioned your name, because she knows what I do. She told me you write the Wheatley High School newsletter. Her name is Suzi. Her sisters are Nancy (Theado 1963), Kathy (Brown 1967), and Betty (Hickey 1970). Susie is lovely, a great organizer and terrific athlete. I played doubles with her today and will be playing with her the next two Saturdays. She sends her regards.”
1966 – Allan Silver – The Good Life in North-West New York State
Writes Allan – “Several years ago I moved to Eden, New York, a small town of 8,000 people south of Buffalo, in Erie County, with a land area similar to Nassau County. I’m enjoying living in farm country, with my significant other, watching my grandchildren grow up. I am on the Environmental Board and the Planning Board; and for fun I kayak, snow shoe, and attend Yoga classes.
Also, I’m still practicing law; I kept my downstate clients and have new clients in Western New York. One week I am arguing a case in the Appellate Division, First Department, in Manhattan, for a hospital, and the next week I am representing an agri-business in the Steuben County Supreme Court. Life is good.”
1969 – Bar Mitzvah Photo – Guess Who – Answers at End of Newsletter
1970 – Andrea Chock Carlin – On Bonnie Glassman Crohn
Learning of the passing of my dear friend and sister-in-shenanigans Bonnie Glassman Crohn has reminded me to stop putting off acting on my thoughts and impulses to reconnect, for all too often it’s too late. We stayed in touch through marriage and children, and then life seemed to get in the way, and we drifted apart. Bonnie and Frank hand-carved my husband Brian and I a sign when we got married, in 1977. It hangs proudly on our motor home today, one of a very few pieces from our past we have kept and cherished throughout the years. Brian even carved an addendum with our first names, to include our beloved dog.
1971 – Barbara Burri – From Engineering to Animals
Writes Barbara – “Before someone sends you my obituary, here’s my autobiography:
I left Wheatley with the thought of being an engineer; did 2 years at Nassau Community College; transferred to Union College; got a BS in Civil Engineering…and never worked a day in my life as an engineer. I went on to get my MBA at Syracuse; my experience running the Rathskeller at Union served me well in running the Jabberwocky Café in Syracuse; but a life in college bars had to be left behind.
I ended up in Medford, Massachusetts in 1979 after visiting my friend LeAnne Grillo (1975) in the Boston area…after upstate NY, the Boston area was great. Spent some years working as a business analyst for TASC a defense contractor; a few years at Wang (seems like everyone in this part of New England worked for Digital Equipment Corp. or Wang at some point); went on to Weather Services Inc, EDS, and Weather Services Corp, all in either Business analysis or IT. We got merged and acquisitioned, and in 2002 I went back to school to become a Veterinarian Technician, go figure…cut my salary by 60% but increased my happiness by 200%. I now teach part-time at Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth NH, in the Vet Tech department. I like teaching so much that I went back to school, yet again, to get a Master’s in Education. I work full-time for the Veterinary Information Network, as a content wrangler; for me it’s the perfect storm of IT and vet tech rolled into one. I train dogs professionally as well, and I just got back my first service-dog puppy. I was raising him for Canine Companions for Independence, but he did not complete the 6 months of professional training, and he came back to me and my other 2 labs, Merlin and Hawke.
Once divorced, once widowed, I now spend too much time on Facebook or at dog activities, and I enjoy a great life in Plaistow NH (almost on the Massachusetts state line). I’m still in touch regularly with LeAnne, and a few other of my Wheatley Friends. It’s all good. Barb”
1973 – Bonnie Greenberg – Song Success
Writes Bonnie – “The song I produced for the documentary “RBG,” “I’ll Fight,” written by Diane Warren and performed by Jennifer Hudson, was recently shortlisted for an Academy Award and, also, nominated for a Critics Choice Award, as was the film!”
1973 – Kevin Shumelda – Renaissance Man
I am now age 63. I began working as early as age 12, and due to early employment I was fortunate enough to purchase my first property at age 23. In January 2017 I purchased and moved into my sixth house - a new single-family home on a lake.....with no mortgage! That June I was fortunate enough to have fully retired at age 61. I finished my career working for the US Government "Alphabet Intelligence Agencies" (FBI, CIA, NSA, DIA, etc.), the Department of Defense, and US Government Contractor organizations, for which I recruited, interviewed, and hired analysts and engineers with high security clearances, often using a polygraph. I obtained DOD Top Secret/Single Scope Background Investigation clearances.
During my time at Wheatley I participated in Soccer (I was a JV Captain in 12th), Wrestling and Track (Pole Vault & running 440 meters) besides pursuing my academics. In all grades 8-12 I scored in the top 10 of my grade in the US Marine Corps Physical Fitness tests (2nd place in 11th and 1st place in 12th). I also made Varsity Club my senior year. After HS I went to SUNY Nassau Community College and then SUNY Oswego State University and received my Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees. I then spent four years in Florida in law enforcement. A shootout situation prompted a "rethink,” so I left police work and moved to the Washington DC area, went back to school, and graduated from a one-year computer school. After that I obtained a Professional Certification in Human Resources. Later, I graduated from the University of Maryland Graduate School and obtained my Master’s Degree. Interests over time have included Tennis, Racquet Ball, Martial Arts (Shotokan), Automobiles, Automotive Autocross, Crewing on 30-40 ft. racing sailboats on the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River, and Motorcycling. I have good memories of North Side School, Ringolevio, Wheatley Hills Golf Course, Williston Park, Roslyn, Glen Cove, Jones and Hempstead Harbor/Bar Beaches. Memorable friends include Chuck Cashin, Frank Caporaso, Dougie Browning, Tucker Geery, Jeff Sinnott, Roger Smith, Randy Hundertmark, Michael Laskau, Louise Russo, Marie Zorn, Kathy Clemente, Joe Pistocchi, Teddy Preston, Joe Heyenoort, Robert McDonald, Robert, Alan, and Joseph Angell, and Bruce and Craig Landau. I am healthy, happy, contented, living well and now enjoying my retirement.
1974 – Roy Kozupsky – For All These Things a Person is Judged
Some mental nourishment for the holidays about the Jewish faith: One of the central, basic teachings of Judaism is that you are a responsible human being. First and always, you are responsible for yourself. What you do with your life, with your body and soul, your mind, your intelligence, your creative talents, all of these are charged to your account. It is the height of irresponsibility - a sin - to neglect one’s health and physical well-being; to disregard the nurture and cultivation of one’s mind and spirit; to be indifferent to the needs of the soul and to deprive it of the nourishment that the religious life can provide. V’al kulam - for all these things a person is judged. Judaism further teaches us that a person does not have to live alone in the world; you are part of a group, a people; you are part of humanity. You are therefore responsible for the welfare of your neighbor, whether the person is next door or a continent away. You are responsible for the well-being of your fellow Jews, wherever they may be…and charged to your account is your treatment of all human beings, the advantaged and the disadvantaged. V’al kulam - for all these things a person is judged.
1977 – Hilary Joseph Hopkins - Deceased
He leaves behind Jeffrey 1963, Christopher 1969, and Mary 1979. Kevin 1966 and Timothy 1971, pre-deceased Hilary.
1980 Robert (“Bob”) Koenig – Still Rockin’
Writes Bob – “My old Pop-Rock band, THE KEYS (1987-1994), have a CD reissue available now on Zero Hour Records from Australia!! https://www.zerohourrecords.com.au/product/the-grand-reopening
(That’s Bob in the back)
Seems that this label collects and compiles music of various Power Pop bands around the world. So here from Long Island is the Keys!!”
(That’s Bob at the far left)
1991 – David Sakhai – Dinner with Classmates in the Big Apple
Writes David – “Above is a recent photo of (L to R) me and my classmates Aaron Wertheim and Keith Hamlin, at an impromptu dinner in Manhattan.”
2000 – Ravi Tibrewala – Engaged
Writes Ravi – “Hey Arthur, I got engaged to Diana Mislang, my girlfriend of over three years, who is a Nurse Practitioner at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx. I work for Allstate, and we just bought a new house in Long Beach, NY. I will send you more updates as I keep living. Ravi Tibrewala (from the best Wheatley class of them all, 2000).
Faculty (Bob Brandt) - Thank you again for the wonderful service you preform for the Wheatley Community.
Faculty (Carol Vogt) - thank you for this newsletter and the opportunity it gives all Wheatleyites to connect with one another.
1958 (Ed Brown) - Thanks Art. I do like receiving these newsletters. I don’t want to say that I “enjoy them,” because there’s hardly ever any entries from any of my classmates (’58), but I do feel that it provides me with a sort of continuing “emotional connection” with my Alma Mater. Ed.
1960 (Joanne Festa) - Thank you so much for the information concerning the Holocaust. The Newsletter is most informative, and I thank you again for being committed to it. BTW, Mr. Doig was my favorite teacher for two years of American History. I have spoken of him quite often over the past 58 years. A memorable teacher/man. ‘What the world needs now is love, sweet love.’ Happy Holidays. Smiles, Joanne
1960 (Michael “Moon” Mondshein) - As usual I enjoyed reading about us. Please relay my thanks to my classmate Ken Martin on his wonderful piece on the holocaust; I shall never forget it. A very happy holiday and best wishes for a great new year.
1960 (James Turco) – Art, just got finished reading another one of your super-informative Newsletters. Got to thinking how much that I’ve been looking back on the past rather than the future and realized with a smile it was because there is a lot more of it there! Wishing you and yours the best of the Holiday Season and lots of good health and memories. Jim and Renee (immediately below)
1962 (John Bagdon) - Dear Arthur, Thanks for doing such an amazing job with the Newsletters. Where do you find the time?
1965 (Carol Brunner Whittier) - Thank you for all that you do to keep us connected in some way.
1966 (Katherine (“Kathy”) Maxim Greenleaf) - Another excellent read - thanks so much, Art.
1966 (Allan Silver) - Arthur, A wonderful edition. The Newsletter is terrific. I was sorry to learn of Bonnie Glassman’s death. She was a very kind and interesting person. I am not surprised she became a hair dresser, as she used to cut my hair.
1967 (Scott Frishman) – Great job with Newsletter # 26. So sad about the passing of Bonnie Glassman (1967); that really stinks. I’ve known her husband’s first cousin, from the jewelry business, for many years.
1967 (Richard Price) - You are doing a great job…keep it up.
1967 (Jill Simon Forte) – Thanks, Arthur and The Wheatley Team, for your continued work and effort. You are special. I thoroughly enjoy the info.
1968 (Tom Glaser) - Thank you for the great job you do with the Wheatley updates.
1968 (Sue Mittenthal) - Thanks for continuing to keep us informed.
1970 (Andrea Chock Carlin) - As always, Art, thank you for continuing to be our lifeline to our past: the good, the bad & the ugly. I especially appreciate that we all keep each other in our thoughts and recollections. Other than the real ‘old timers,’ I have recognized each and every person featured, a testament to our close-knit community and an acknowledgment that our formative years were more significant than they appeared at the time.
1972 (Debra Soffer Beilin) - Thank you ðŸ™