Students, faculty, administrators and local dignitaries in and around the Manhasset School District gathered on Monday to celebrate Manhasset Secondary School’s status as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.
Earlier in the day, school officials handed out navy blue T-shirts, with the front containing the seal of the Department of Education and the latter containing with the school’s motto, “Excellence Through Effort.”
A sea of T-shirts appeared at a faculty meeting in the secondary school’s auditorium on Dec. 9, where principal Dean Schlanger and district superintendent Vincent Butera thanked the teachers for their work in helping to earn the title.
Representing the student body, Student Senate President Quinn Reinhardt and Senior Class President Jack Grygiel gave remarks, with Grygiel performing impressions of physical education teacher Mark Giordino and math teacher Derek Jones and Reinhardt thanking the present faculty.
“Many schools have great students, great administration and great teachers, but we at Manhasset have all three, which makes us so special,” Reinhardt said. “I’d like to thank and recognize all the teachers in this room for your inspiring work and for the great job you’ve done teaching me and the rest of the student body.”
Schlanger and Butera also welcomed Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth, Town Councilwoman Veronica Lurvey, New York State Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso and Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, whose twins are part of the senior class.
“It’s nowhere more evident than in the Office of the District Attorney how important it is to have strong schools, to have schools where students are taught with dignity, where students are well-prepared for the future, where students’ minds are opened so that the lures of things like drugs, guns and gangs don’t attract them,” Singas said. “As a mom, I can say that I’m so grateful that my children had the experience of working with all of you. And really, we don’t have to look much further to see that this is an incredible place and that these kids are well prepared because of the foundational work that all of you do every day.”
Bosworth, a former member of the school board in Great Neck, commended the Board of Education, led by president Patricia Aiken, and commended the rest of the district as well.
“We feel that Manhasset is ours, since the Town Hall is just down the block,” Bosworth said. “We take such pride in all the accomplishments that we read about and see all the time coming from this school, coming from the middle school, from the elementary schools.”
A musical interlude was then performed by the school’s string orchestra, and Butera and Schlanger then regaled the audience with stories of their trip to Washington, D.C. to accept a plaque at a banquet for honored schools.
Science teacher Gary Chen had joined Butera and Schlanger in Washington, representing the faculty at the banquet, and closed the afternoon by paying tribute to the school’s cleaning staff, executive assistants, and fine arts department. Chen also brought up a moment he witnessed after school hours.
“I was coming up the stairs, and I heard a student conversing with a cleaner in their native language,” Chen said. “That really spoke to Manhasset. It spoke to what you do as teachers, what you do as cleaners, what you do as sports staff, as administrators, as a board. That really encompassed my time here, and it’s the reason I’m so thankful that I share this building with all of you.”