2002-01-26 / Letters

Open Letter To PS 114

Open Letter To PS 114

The following open letter to the staff, children and parents of The Belle Harbor School was written by Gerard V. McCarthy, the school’s retireing Principal:

Many Rockaway residents already know that I will be leaving P.S. 114Q. I have formally announced my intention to retire as Principal of the Belle Harbor School effective February 2002.

Since my arrival at the Belle Harbor School in August 1999 our school has made remarkable strides. All indicators from attendance, reduction in the number of suspensions and reduced referrals to Special Education to our now very high performance on standardized tests verify that the Belle Harbor School is currently in the top 4% of all New York City schools. This was accomplished through the support of our District Office and the hard work of all of our staff members, children and parents. As Principal, I am especially proud of our accomplishments. We truly have hit a HIGH NOTE.

The Belle Harbor School has so much of which to be proud. We are one of the greatest schools in New York City, in New York State and in our United States.

The events of the last four months have had a profound effect on all of us.

The attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and the crash of Flight 587, right in our own back yard on November 12, 2001, have made us realize just how fragile life is and that there is no guarantee of the future.

The choices that we make affect the life we live. No one, while lying on their deathbed, has ever said, "They wished they had spent more time at the office." It is for these reasons that I have decided to retire.

I would be remiss if I didn’t address our students, staff and parents.

To our students – a poem entitled


There is a voice inside of you

That whispers all day long,

"I feel that this right for me,

I know that this is wrong."

No teacher, preacher, parent,


Or wise man can decide

What’s right for you-just listen to

The voice that speaks inside.

To our staff – a quote from Abraham Lincoln

"A child is a person who is going to carry on what YOU have started

the fate of humanity is in YOUR hands." "May your commitment to excellence evidence always the best of what’s right with America."

To our parents-

Remember always the children and only the children are P.S. 114’s clients. They are the reason for the Belle Harbor School’s existence. The children’s knowledge, skills and ability have reached the height that it has attained by providing the opportunity for the teachers to teach and the children to learn. Nothing should interfere with the teaching/learning process. NOTHING.

In closing, I wish only the best for the Belle Harbor School’s new Principal. I know that she/he will be successful because P.S. 114 has the finest staff, the best children and many wonderful parents. May 2002 prove to be an exceptional year for all. May our school reach even greater heights. I am not going to say Good-bye. I will still be here, in each of you, and in our neighborhood. I know I will see all of you on the Peninsula. For those staff members who may be retiring in the near future, I will keep a beach chair right next to me in the soft sugar sand of Rockaway, just for you, where we can sit and talk about our shared experiences at the Belle Harbor School.

Thanks for the memories.


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