2002-06-22 / Columnists

Chatting With Chapey

By Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey

Lighting the Flares for Education

The initial concept behind "Lights On For Education" was a statewide push by parents and educators to secure adequate funding for our schools.  This year the Valley Stream education community gathered for its 40th anniversary celebration of "Lights On For Education". They have continued the annual event in an effort to showcase the positive happenings in our schools.

The ceremony included representatives from different areas of education; such as Dr. Geraldine Chapey representing the NYS Board of Regents who define what the curriculum for education will be in NY State; New York State Assembly and Senators who determine the portion of state taxes that will come back to our districts and assist in passing laws governing safety and wellness for the students; the district superintendents who define the budget on the local level and provide leadership in education; the local school boards who allow the community to have a voice in our schools; the school principals, teachers, paras and secretaries who interact with our children everyday; the librarians, school counselors and psychologists who develop the minds of the children and open the way for life long learning; the school nurse who works to keep our children healthy; the custodians and maintenance staff who keep the school clean and safe and provide an appropriate environment for learning;  the cafeteria workers who provide the essential ingredients for healthy meals which are the fuel for learning; and the parents who are working with the educational professionals to assist our children in reaching their highest potential and meeting their educational goals.

Catherine Shea, the science department head in the Valley Stream schools, does an outstanding professional job for our children.  She works to ensure that each child broadens his/her horizons and reaches out to achieve their maximum educational goals. Through her efforts children expand their vision of the world.  Catherine Shea is a devoted and dedicated educator. She is an outstanding example of how educators can make a difference.

The "Lights On" program began in New York State in 1962.  All around the state lights were illuminated and left on for twenty-four hours while meetings were being held throughout the state.  These community sessions were called to discuss legislation affecting schools. Today the Valley Stream school have enhanced and elaborated their festivities to include a "Lights On" event with displays and presentations on the academic, performing arts, display arts and physical education programs in the schools. They are showing the community what the children have accomplished.  The children themselves explain their educational endeavors to their parents, legislators and community leaders.

Education is a key tool for success.


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