2004-12-17 / Community

FRHS Memorabilia Flowing Into Museum

By Howard Schwach


Alumni from the “glorious past” of Far Rockaway High School have been contacting the Rockaway Museum, located at 88-08 Rockaway Beach Boulevard; to provide memorabilia for the upcoming “Far Rockaway High School Revisited” exhibit that is expected to open at the museum in March.

Included in that material is the collection of John Gillespe, who played defensive end for the 1970 Seahorses in its first undefeated season ever enjoyed by the team. His contribution, on loan to the museum for the run of the exhibit, includes his letter jacket (he says he didn’t take it off for three years), a team football celebrating one of the team’s early wins and his “Most Valuable Player” plaque.

Another contribution comes from the grandson of Ed Ruff, who has his grandfather’s scrapbooks from the 1940’s detailing team victories as well as clippings from newspaper stories about Rockaway men who went to fight WW II.

Both contributions will be prominently displayed in the upcoming exhibit. And, although the museum, now entering its tenth year, has lots of Far Rockaway High School yearbooks and memorabilia stored away in its archives, it needs the help of the school’s alumni to come up with those very special items that defined the high school years – prom pictures or memorabilia, athletic awards, uniforms, class pictures, pictures of extracurricular activities, letter jackets, cheerleaders uniforms and the like.

In addition, the museum plans to run videotapes of alumni talking about their time at FRHS. Those tapes, which should be 3 to 5 minutes in length, will run as a continuous loop in the museum’s technology corner.

Material for the exhibition may be either donated or loaned to the museum. Items on loan must remain with the museum for the run of the exhibition – planned for March through December, 2005.

“We want this exhibition to be something special,” said Howard Schwach, the chairperson for the museum’s Exhibit Committee. “We want to span the entire history of the school with alumni remembrances and memorabilia from every decade from the 1920’s, when the building first opened, to those who graduate this year.”

Schwach and his family will be loaning “Dolphin’s” from 1929 (his father’s), 1934 (his mother’s), 1957 (his own), 1959 (his wife’s) and 1983 (his son’s) to the exhibit.

Those who provide material to the museum will be invited to a gala opening ceremony next year and their names will be affixed as the donor.

One of the central pictures to be exhibited is a large mural-sized picture of the school’s 50th Anniversary Dinner with many familiar faces of staff at that time as well as hundreds of alumni.

Other material includes yearbooks and artifacts from the 1920’s to the 1980’s. Further information on the upcoming exhibit can be accessed on the web at www.farrockaway.com.

Those interested in further information on contributing to the museum can contact the museum’s docent, Micki Coughlin from noon to 4 p.m. at 718-634-4000.

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