Wave Editor At 50th Anniversary Graduation
Howard Schwach, editor of The Wave in Rockaway Beach, will attend the Commencement ceremony at LIU Post on May 4 – the 50th anniversary of his own graduation from what was then called C.W. Post College.
Schwach will return to a campus much changed from the one where he played ball, edited the school paper and took a degree in history with a minor in education. The campus’ main academic buildings and residence halls didn’t yet exist when he graduated in 1962. C.W. Post had been founded only eight years before, and Schwach was a member of the fourth graduating class.
“It was a great time, because everything was wide open,” Schwach said. “I remember it fondly. Everything was new. There were no traditions.”
Schwach began his college career at New York University. In 1959, when a classmate was thinking of transferring to the new college on Long Island’s north shore, Schwach tagged along. “I decided on the spot to transfer, too,” he said. “It was such a beautiful place.”
The newly established campus did not yet have many buildings, but it had a baseball team, and Schwach played second base. He was a teammate of Richie Scheinblum, who went on to play for the Cleveland Indians and several other teams.
Schwach, however, was not destined to be a pro ballplayer. He recalled facing a pitcher for St. John’s named Larry Barnath, who eventually signed with the Mets. “The first time he threw me a curve ball, I knew I wasn’t going to the major leagues,” he said with a laugh.
After graduating, Schwach served two years in the Navy, then embarked on a career as a teacher in New York City schools. He also spent nine years as a writer for the Weekly Reader, the news magazine for elementary school students. After hours, he wrote for The Wave, the weekly paper in his hometown of Rockaway.
In 2001, Schwach retired from teaching and became editor of The Wave, just in time for two of the biggest stories in the paper’s history: the 9/11 terror attacks, which claimed the lives of 70 Rockaway residents, and the crash two month later of American Airlines Flight 587.
Thankfully, The Wave hasn’t had a story of that magnitude since. But there’s plenty of news, and it keeps the 72-year-old Schwach busy – which is just how he likes it. “You’re always on the go, and I think that’s good,” he said. “I tell people I have the best job in New York City.”
Schwach and his wife, Susan, a retired dental assistant, have two children – Robert, who recently retired from the New York City Police Department, and Amy, executive director of the North Shore Synagogue in Syosset, N.Y.
They also have three grandchildren – Ryan, 13, Corey, 10 and Lauren, 5.