2005-06-10 / Columnists

Chatting with Chapey

Rockaway Catholic Jewish Council
by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader

Dr. Geraldine ChapeyDr. Geraldine Chapey Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey and Ms. Renee Freeman co-chairs of the Rockaway Catholic Jewish Council also co-chaired the Brotherhood/Sisterhood Awards Breakfast on its 20th anniversary on Sunday, June 5, 2005 at St. Francis de Sales auditorium. Over 230 youngsters, parents, teachers, principals and community leaders attended.

Thank you to Monsignor Martin Geraghty for providing the lovely surroundings of the St. Francis auditorium and for underwriting the breakfast. Monsignor Geraghty’s support for interfaith activities is to be strongly commended. He actively works hard to build strong relationships among community groups and to pursue the goals of the Rockaway Catholic Jewish Council.

Over 185 essays were submitted to the Rockaway Catholic Jewish Council by the public and parochial school students in the Rockaways and in Broad Channel. Renee and Geraldine both noted that the youngster’s essays were inspiring. Each youngster who participated is to be congratulated. The teachers and the principals also deserve special praise for encouraging their students to reach out and love their neighbors. Many of our dedicated principals and teachers took time out of their busy schedules to attend the breakfast on Sunday morning. These educational professionals were certainly going above and beyond the call of duty to attend Sunday’s celebration of their student’s accomplishments. The auditorium was also full of admiring parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings and neighbors.

These families deserve high praise for nurturing their children to meet and exceed their highest ideals. Our families are our first teachers. They set the goals and standards for their children. They are justifiably proud of their children’s accomplishments.

Marsha Weber, the new president of the West End Temple delivered the benediction. Marsha is a highly skilled, capable and dedicated educational professional. She has devoted her life to public service. She is following in the remarkable footsteps of her mother, Evelyn Weber, who was an outstanding principal in the Board of Education of the City of New York. They are to be commended for making such a positive difference in the lives of the children in New York City. They are both outstanding role models.

Thanks goes to our consultants who gave of their time and talent to help us assess the essays: Marilyn Blicksilver, Dr. Maryann Cholakis, Harriet Finkelstein, Jay Kaplan, Kate Leonard, Rose Lieberman, Mary Manti, Frank Pedagno, Gloria Scofield, Eve Stone and Barbara Stonell. Each essay was carefully reviewed. There were so many excellent submissions. It is truly heartening to read each youngsters expression of their genuine concern for their brothers and sisters. The Rockaway Catholic Jewish Council has a very dedicated committee. They are extremely caring and committed to promoting brotherhood and sisterhood. The committee consists of Rev. Paul Landolfi, Kay Devlin, Lillian Leinoff, Ralph Leinoff, Dr. John Russo, Augusta Russo, Charles Thau, Evelyn Thau, Syma Wolf, Renee Freeman and Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey.

Special congratulations to the student essay contest winners. There were four different awards: The Robert Hitter Award, The Theodore Avery Award, The Achievement Award and the Artistic Award. The winners of the Robert Hitter Award are: Ana Arguera, Beka Baidarsshivili, Kayla Berry, Derri-Ann Browne, Joseph Campbell, Anthony Castellano, Sean Cummins, Alison Frederick, Christopher Gigliello, Matthew Greenberg, Kristie Grosseto, Daniel Heesman, Jessica King, Meghan King, Kelly Lavin, Matt Leonen, Surya Nohar, Nessa Mae Pabilana, Michelle Raaf, Rebecca Resner, Kate O’Sullivan, Patricia Sorenson, Deidhra Soria, Julienne Vicens and Kathryn Windels.

The winners of the Theodore Avery Award are: Sydney Acevedo, Jasmine Benjamin, Devin DiMeglio, Toni-Ann Fata, Naima Godfrey, Camille King, Kevin McKelvey, Ashley Petroso, Kareen Porter, Lisa Pulkoski, Wendy Rissmeyer, Melissa Seigerman, Sherae Slocombe and Melissa Whyte.

The winners of the Achievement Award are: Sabrina Abrams, Aquilla Bantun, Daniel Buckley, Byron Cajina, Olivia Harris, Tawan Holder, Tara Iannotti, Melissa Julien, Elizabeth Odunaiya, Samantha Rissmeyer and Brian Shannon.

The winners of the Artistic Award are: Timothy Hogan and Stacey Sullivan.

A big thank you goes to Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer. She had printed and bound a booklet containing each of the winning essays. This is a valuable contribution because it allows the parents, children and teachers to take the essays with them, to review them and read them with their family and have them as a keepsake – a lovely memory of an important event in their lives. Each of the winners received a beautiful certificate and a T shirt with the Rockaway Catholic Jewish Council 20th anniversary emblem.

The Brotherhood Sisterhood Essay Contest promotes tolerance and understanding. At this time in our history it is important to stress our commonalities. We encourage all the youngsters to continue to put their ideas into action. If you would like to join the Rockaway Catholic Jewish Council please send $20.00 to RCJC, 104-02 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Rockaway Park, New York 11694.


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