2003-01-25 / Columnists

Chatting With Chapey

By Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey

By Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey,
Democratic District Leader

Parade Committee Honors Six Student Essayists

On Sunday, January 19, 2003, six winners were awarded scholarships from the James Conway Sullivan Queens St. Patrick's Day Parade and Cultural Committee.  A total of $3,000 was awarded with $500 going to each winner.  The scholarship committee consisted of Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Chairperson, Rosemary Sullivan (mother of James Conway Sullivan, the parade founder), Christine Benn, Reverend Robert Hoatson and John Dolan.  Thanks to Michael Benn our parade chairperson for establishing this worthwhile committee.

The scholarships were an outgrowth of the legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Joseph Crowley (now a Congressman) to expand the human rights violations to include the Great Irish Famine also called the Great Irish Hunger.  The original Human Rights Violation legislation was passed by the New York State Legislature in 1994 and included Genocide, Slavery and the Holocaust.  On October 9, 1996 the Great Irish Hunger was added to the human rights violations.

The curriculum regarding the Great Irish Hunger was developed for dissemination in the schools.  The National Association for Social Studies gave the curriculum its distinguished curriculum award for its content and for being aligned with the New York State learning standards.

The scholarships were awarded based on a competitive essay contest.  Each winner was chosen from among their peers.  All of the participants are to be congratulated. Their essays were indicative of their interest in scholarly endeavors.

The winners are: Megan Boyle, Kerri Gallagher, Adebola Adegbite, Michael O'Connor, Natalie Jean and Josephine Adjei Bosompen.  Megan Boyle noted that the Waldorf Astoria and the Empire State Building were contracted by her great-great grandfather, James J. Conroy.  Kerri Gallagher pointed to the profound effect that the Irish have had on music, food, religion and the economy.  Adebola Adegbite stated that the worst famine in Europe in the 19th Century was the Irish potato famine.  As a result the Irish came to America to seek a better life and to fulfill the American dream.  Michael O'Connor stated that he is proud to be a cousin of Congressman Joseph Crowley and a grandson of Patricia Young O'Connor, our Democratic State Committeewoman and Margaret Murphy Moran - all of whom have promoted Irish causes.  He interviewed them as a part of his project.  Natalie Jean found that the Irish significantly contributed to the American culture. 

The Irish offered a vision of society that was community oriented.  They prospered in politics, sports and entertainment.  Josephine Adjei Bosompem looked at the struggles of the Irish in America.  She concentrated on Eugene O'Neil, a Pulitzer Prize winner, Joseph Kennedy, the father of the first Catholic President and John Joseph Hughes, the Archbishop of New York.  The winners all noted that the Irish struggled to be accepted in America but they triumphed over adversity and worked hard to achieve their goals.  The Irish are proud to be Americans.

The scholarships were awarded at the annual Hearts and Shamrocks Dance on Sunday, January 19, 2003 sponsored by the James Conway Sullivan Queens St. Patrick's Day Parade and Cultural Committee.  Congratulations to the scholarship winners and their families.  If you do not have tickets to our annual dance on February 15, 2003 at Antuns, please call me at 718-945-0500.  The donation is $75.00.

Presently, I am working with Councilman Joseph Addabbo and Patricia McCabe (his very capable assistant) to continue to improve our community.  We are working to erect a bus shelter on Beach 129th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard.  We are also responding to the needs of the community by working to re-install the pay telephones of Beach 129th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard.

Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader, Michael Benn, President of the James Conway Sullivan Queens St. Patrick's Day Parade and Cultural Committee and City Councilman Joseph Addabbo congratulate the scholarship winners: (left to right) Megan Boyle, Kerri Gallagher, Adebola Adegbite and Michael O'Connor.  Congratulations to all the students who participated.

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