‘Together we are better’

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During Friday’s ceremony, Hegarty Principal Jacob Russum expressed his appreciation to the students for their efforts. “It’s really an overwhelming and tremendous feeling to be here,” he said. “You supported us. There’s something so powerful about this.”

The ceremony took place in front of the school’s playground, which, appropriately, was funded with the help of another chocolate sale two years ago by the Planning Management Team. Both times, the group purchased cases of chocolate from World’s Finest Chocolate, and in the most recent sale, the PMT customized the wrappers to include a photo of a post-Sandy, water-damaged Hegarty School.

The festivities kicked off with an entrance by Barnum Woods’ student Color Guard. Members of the school chorus sang the national anthem, and then representatives of the East Meadow School District spoke, including Superintendent Louis DeAngelo, Barnum Woods Principal Gregory Bottari, PMT members Todd Weinstein, David Rothman and Don Whearty, and the co-presidents of the Barnum Woods PTA, Jaime McQuillan and Donna Goldstein.

DeAngelo thanked the students for living up to the Barnum Woods motto. “I’m so proud,” he said. “You are all wonderful about using your hearts and giving to others.”

Bottari recounted a tour of Hegarty School that he and the school’s PMT took last January. “The damage that we saw astonished us,” he said. “We felt we needed to reach out and help others.”

McQuillan and Goldstein presented Hegarty officials with an additional $600 with which to purchase books for its library and classrooms. Weinstein, meanwhile, reminded students of the importance of helping those in need. “Although we can’t always help everyone,” he said, “everyone can help someone.”

Members of the chorus returned for a performance of “Lean on Me,” and then elected officials took their turn at the lectern, including the Nassau County Legislature’s presiding officer (and East Meadow native) Norma Gonsalves, State Assemblyman (and East Meadow native) Tom McKevitt, State Sen. Kemp Hannon, Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray and Town Councilman Gary Hudes.

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