2005-11-04 / Columnists

Channel View Researches Housing Boom

During the summer, Channel View School for Research created a Jumpstart Program for current and incoming ninth graders who wanted to earn additional high school credits. The course, taught by Barbara Mannion, was designed to teach students to write effective research papers. Their topic of study was the advantages and disadvantages that the housing boom will bring to the Rockaways.

Many of these students are from Arverne, Edgemere and Far Rockaway, and felt that the positives outweighed the negatives. Anieka Wilson, who participated in the study, wrote, “Although there are many downsides to the expansion of housing in the Rockaway community, there are many things that we will benefit from in this expansion. One benefit is the new 30,000 square foot YMCA sport and recreation center that will be built on the corner of Beach 73 Street. This building will provide not only recreation but it will provide the unemployed with jobs.”

However, there are still the negatives that need to be worked out in the expansion process, such as the problems of overcrowding of schools, parking, and pollution. They also felt that many poor and middle-class families would not be able to afford to buy and rent in the community once construction around the peninsula ceases. Student Shyaene Bernard also wrote of concerns about the new residents moving in to take advantage of the ocean and beaches, but not enough lifeguards to accommodate them. “Rockaway is famous for our wonderful beaches. Many families go out there and have fun, but with a lack of lifeguards and so many people around, dreadful accidents are bound to happen.”

As part of their research, students met with Howard Schwach, Managing Editor of The Wave, and interviewed him on his perspective of the changing face of Rockaway. They also met with Laura Sporny from Arverne by the Sea, the largest constuction plan in the Rockaways, who gave them a tour of the new homes being built; and Jonathan Gaska from Community Board 14, who spoke with the students.

As part of the course, students learned the difference between writing an argumentative and persuasive research paper. They also learned how to evaluate useful URLs and search engines, and how to analyze websites critically. In addition, they also learned to discern the difference between primary and secondary sources, and writing effective bibliographies.

Students learned to rely not only on the Internet but a multitude of sources, such as the tour of Arverne by the Sea, firsthand interviews with community members, and available materials from the library and Rockaway’s Newcomers guide. For the most part, the students look forward to the great changes that will take place in the next five years, and hope projects like Arverne by the Sea will create economic growth and revamp the Rockaways.

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