New Visions Elementary School commemorated its 20th anniversary with a heartfelt celebration on May 10 where former staff members and current administrators shared fond memories of the school’s humble beginnings.
The event also featured a special unveiling of a model plane, symbolizing the school’s commitment to innovation and exploration.
Principal Jessica Romero commenced the ceremony by extending a warm welcome and expressing gratitude to all attendees for their ongoing support of the school district.
“Being the principal of New Visions School is truly an honor and privilege,” Romero said. “I began at New Visions five years ago and working in this stunning building, with such an excellent group of educators and students is inspiring.”
Kishore Kuncham, Superintendent of Freeport Public Schools and a key figure in the school’s early days, took center stage, offering glimpses into the challenges faced during the school’s inception. He highlighted the remarkable journey from the groundbreaking ceremony to the realization of the school building.
“This is a very important milestone, it took so much for this building to happen,” Kuncham said. “In 2003, when the building opened, it had been nearly 30 years since a new public school was built in Nassau County. There is so much history in this building and the efforts those in our community and school groups put in to help bring it to life is truly astounding. Thank you for being here to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of New Visions, we are so happy to have our students grow and learn here.”
During the event, several teachers from the school’s early years shared their personal stories, emphasizing the collaborative efforts and frequent meetings that were instrumental in shaping the school’s vision. Kuncham also had the opportunity to read some writings from students two decades ago, capturing their excitement and anticipation as they transitioned from a leased facility to the new school. Some students expressed hopes for internet access, computers, and even daily servings of ice cream in the new cafeteria.
Marie Codispoti, a teacher at New Visions School, shared a poem titled “Masterpiece.” The poem reflected her personal memories of the transition from the Holy Redeemer Church school building, which had been leased by Freeport Schools, to the newly established New Visions School.
New Visions Elementary School stands out for its distinctive curriculum, where each school in the district specializes in a specific area of study. Bayview Avenue School emphasizes arts and sciences, Archer Street School revolves around micro-society, and Leo F. Giblyn Elementary School embraces the ‘Passport to Learning’ theme, focusing on global studies and cultural exploration.
As part of the anniversary festivities, a model plane, provided by the Cradle of Aviation, was unveiled in the grand lobby. The plane pays tribute to Eleanor Smith, a trailblazing aviator from Freeport, after whom Smith Street is named. Eleanor Smith was the first woman to receive a pilot’s license and gained fame for her daring flying feats, including illegally flying under New York City bridges. Another plane, donated by the Cradle of Aviation, is also on display in the school’s lobby.
Recounting the school’s humble beginnings, Kuncham shed light on the obstacles encountered during its establishment. Notably, he emphasized the increased enrollments, highlighting the pressing need for a new educational facility.
At the time, Kuncham held the position of Assistant Superintendent for Business and played a vital role in securing a school building through a lease agreement with Holy Redeemer church. Finding suitable space to construct a new elementary school proved to be a daunting task, given the circumstances. Kuncham described the journey of garnering support from residents, assuaging concerns about property values, and addressing fears of eminent domain.
Kuncham’s expressed the district’s pride in creating a state-of-the-art learning environment that would shape the futures of countless students. Looking back, he reflected on the significance of New Visions Elementary School as the first magnet school on Long Island. Its establishment marked a historic moment, offering a beacon of hope for quality education to local residents.
The realization of this vision was made possible through meticulous long-range planning and a successful bond issue that paved the way for the school’s construction and expansions to other educational institutions within the district. By seizing every opportunity, including exploring various locations throughout Freeport, Kuncham and their team ultimately secured the land on which the present-day New Visions Elementary School stands.
Two decades later, the potential of New Visions Elementary School has been fulfilled. Kuncham acknowledged the immense joy derived from witnessing the fulfillment of their vision, wherein dreams take flight and the futures of students are shaped. Beyond mere brick, the school stands as a testament to the commitment made to generations of learners who have passed through its halls and those yet to come.
New Visions Elementary School has not only served as a pioneer magnet school but has also achieved the distinction of being a Blue Ribbon School, a prestigious honor bestowed upon only a few educational institutions. Blue Ribbon Schools are prestigious accolades granted by the Department of Education to exceptional educational institutions. This recognition celebrates schools that have attained remarkable academic excellence or have made significant strides in narrowing the achievement gap among students.
“This all really matters, having a proper and amazing learning center for our students,” Kuncham said. “We have made the lives of so many students that have come through and those who will come through in the future for us to be able to have a great place for them.”