Chatting with Chapey
by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader
Barbara Larkin: A Caring and Concerned Professional
Barbara Larkin has dedicated her professional career to teaching children at PS 114. Teachers do make a difference. Barbara Larkin has made a very positive difference in the lives of numerous children and their families during her 32-year career at PS 114.
It was with mixed emotion that I attended her retirement party at the Beach Club in June. Barbara is a true teacher. She brings the qualities of caring and concern to all her activities. According to Roget’s Thesaurus teachers educate, instruct, civilize, illuminate, demonstrate, coach, guide, enlighten, direct, train, prepare and develop their students. Barbara personifies these qualities. Barbara is an integral part of the PS 114 family and PS 114 is an integral part of Barbara.
Barbara taught the 3rd grade. I feel that this is a very important level because it is the point at which youngsters are moving into the wider world of education. They develop interests and knowledge that will be beneficial to them as they move ahead in school and in their lives and careers. A strong educational foundation is a big asset in life.
So, I was sad to hear that PS 114 was losing a dedicated teacher. However, after speaking at length to Barbara she told me that she will continue to have a connection to PS 114. She will always be available as a resource. She will continue to be active in the community and she will have more time to devote to her family and to traveling. She will use her teaching skills in other areas.
Barbara Larkin has a BS from St. John’s University and an MS from Queens College. Barbara is married to Peter Larkin. She has two grown sons. Peter Larkin is also a community activist. He is knowledgeable, interested and involved.
Barbara’s mother, Vincentia Becker, is a warm and nurturing person who brought up her daughters with a sense of community spirit. As they were growing up she stressed the importance of giving back to the community.
Barbara shared some highlights of her accomplishments in the community with me which I will share with you: "a) I was instrumental in the installation of desperately needed replacement windows at the school after learning that they were not part of a stated ‘full exterior modernization’.
b) I volunteered my time to supervise the chess club during lunch period.
c) A new flagpole outside the school was obtained through my efforts.
d) The dangerously rusty fence, which surrounds the schoolyard, was replaced through my efforts.
e) I collaborated with the Community Board, the Red Cross, Office of Emergency Management, 100 Precinct, religious leaders, principal and students of Xaverian High School, caring neighbors and wonderful parents of children attending local schools within 48 hours to successfully implement the distribution of food and drink to the 4000 grieving relatives and friends of those who lost their lives as a result of the plane crash on November 12, 2001. Additionally, welcoming signs in both English and Spanish were created for them by Belle Harbor residents.
f) I organized the collection of baseball equipment, summer clothing, crayons, pencils and over $500.00 worth of materials from Scholastic Books which were later donated to needy residents of the Dominican Republic.
g) Following the tragedy of 9/11 and crash of American Airlines Flight 587, which killed 260 passengers and crewmembers, and five residents in our neighborhood who were at home at the time of the disaster, I collaborated with American Airlines and the New York City Department of Parks. As a result of my efforts 28 Aristocrat pear trees were planted near the crash site in front of the Belle Harbor School to commemorate all those lost in this tragedy."
Barbara Larkin is currently the President of the Belle Harbor Property Owners Association. I wish Barbara Larkin and her family happiness and success as she begins this new phase of her life.