Members of School 5's Student Council will host a sports memorabilia show this Saturday that will feature a 1909 Honus Wagner card, owned by Oceansider Keith Pearsall. Expecting this "Mona Lisa" of baseball cards will attract many memorabilia fans, the students hope to raise considerable amounts of money to put toward developing the Schoolhouse Green project, an historical site on Foxhurst Road that will feature a replica of Oceanside's first school house.
Both Pearsall and Steve Kriss, the principal at School 5, are charter members of this project. One day they got around to talking about Pearsall's rare Wagner card that is possibly worth $1 million. Pearsall mentioned about how he uses the Wagner card and others from the 1909 tobacco series - included one each of Ty Cobb and other players who were the first inductees to the Hall of Fame - to various fund-raisers, and how many people showed up to see them. At one showing, for the Baltimore-based Grant-A-Wish Foundation, an estimated 1,000 people an hour came to see his Wagner card, which Pearsall displays in a lucite holder.
"I asked him if he were willing to do a fund-raiser for the Schoolhouse Green foundation," Kriss said.
"If we'd go to Baltimore to do it, we'd certainly go to Merle Avenue," Pearsall said.
Kriss introduced the idea to Betty Bavaro, a fifth grade teacher and Student Council advisor, who brought the idea to her students. The council focus is on making School 5 a better place, but the organization branches out to the community, Bavaro, explained. Among the council's recent out-of-school projects was its visit to the Oceanside Care Center on Valentine's Day, when they gave out flowers and sang songs to the seniors who live there.
"Instead of just working on School 5," Bavaro said, "I thought the fund-raiser for the Schoolhouse Green project would be another good opportunity to expand our volunteering in the community."
The Schoolhouse Green project was spearheaded by Oceansiders Betsy and Robert Transom to build a replica of the original schoolhouse in Oceanside on a green on Foxhurst Road (near Long Beach Road) near where that schoolhouse once stood during the 19th century.
"The children will be able to visit feel what is was like to step inside an 1838 schools," Betsy Transom said, "and historical information will be on display in a gallery at the rear."
Transom met with Bavaro and the Student Council and explained about the project and how they all could be part of helping to build it.
Once they signed on, the students researched information about the famous Wagner card and the great Pittsburgh Pirate shortstop himself. They wrote letters to various sports franchises, including football and hockey teams, to see if they would want to be part of the project. Among the items on the display at the memorabilia show will be an puck autographed by the New York Islanders.
Different baseball cards and other baseball memorabilia will be sold at the fundraising event, as two local memorabilia businesses Norm Siegal of Doubleheader Baseball Cards & Memorabilia in Oceanside, and Larry D'Alio from Island Vendors in Island Park, will set up shop at the fund-raiser.
"They've truly worked together and volunteered their time selflessly, not only to help their school but to help their community." Bavaro said about her students. "These are the type of kids who want to help their community."
The memorabilia show will be held at the Castleton Court gymnasium at School 6 on June 12 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.