Maurice W. Downing Primary School in Malverne is set to host their annual Downing Night Out ceremony on March 22.
Last year, the event had its most successful year yet, raising $10,000 and hosting over 150 members of the school community. The monies raised benefit all MWD students through enlarging the PTA budget and funding events such as Family Movie Night Under the Stars, Pumpkin Patch, Reindeer Games, Super Family Fun Night, among many other programs.
This year’s Teacher of the Year for the event is Malvernite Alina Janosel. Janosel has taught at Downing for 12 years as a kindergarten teacher, and 18 years overall. PTA members agreed that she was loved by her students as well as their parents. Janosel devotes many hours to her classes, creating engaging lessons and STEM activities that range from in-class arctic expeditions to testing out science lab concoctions by mixing up love potions for Valentine’s Day. PTA member Hayley Kelch said that Janosel creates a learning environment where children are not afraid to explore and get messy that they succeed with her support.
“She just goes above and beyond every day for her students,” Kelch said. “She’s at the forefront of the curriculum in the school, and she helps her students to be comfortable in a classroom setting.”
Claudia Miletic, another PTA member, said that her child used to be anxious and shy about kindergarten. “Many kindergartners are leaving their home for the first time,” Miletic said, “But Mrs. Janosel understands that, and she nurtured him just like any parent would.”
The school’s annual event used to be exclusively held for women, but in recent years, it has opened up to men and all members of the community.
“A strong school district is what makes a strong town,” Kelch said. “The success we have here is a benefit to all.”
This year’s theme for Downing Night Out is the “Garden Party.” Proceeds raised will fund a state-of-the-art outdoor garden classroom at MWD. The PTA hopes to install fixtures, furniture and equipment that will transform the school garden space into fully equipped, all-season, outdoor classroom, in which students and teachers can use for numerous activities. This will mean more outdoor science, exploration, story time, art and clubs. The outdoor garden is expected to be complete sometime next year.
Downing Night Out will take place at St. Mary’s Knights of Columbus Catering Hall on Hempstead Ave. in Lynbrook.