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High Praise for GN Schools

 

SchoolInternet_061715ANorth High School is ranked second and South High School is ranked fifth highest on Long Island, according to Newsweek magazine’s annual rankings. [Read more…]

Community Ed Open House

ContinuingEd2If you’ve never taken a class at Great Neck Public Schools (GNPS) Community Education, you’re invited to see what they are all about. Mark your calendar to attend the first-ever Open House Week, from Monday, Sept. 28, to Friday, Oct. 2. You’ll find classes that are fun, thought-provoking, unique and creative. And the price is right—you’re welcome to attend classes at no cost. Meet the instructors, see the facilities and learn about an exciting program right in your community.

Call Community Education at 516-441-4949 for details and information about which classes will be offered each day during Open House Week.

Fall registration for Community Ed is currently ongoing. Whether it’s fine arts and crafts, fitness and sports, foreign languages, games, humanities, music appreciation and performance, technology or trips and special events, there are hundreds of classes that meet weekdays, evenings and Saturday mornings. Classes meet at the Cumberland Adult Center, 30 Cumberland Ave., Great Neck (one block south of Northern Boulevard off Lakeville Road).

The fall-winter catalog can be found on the GNPS website at www.great neck.k12.ny.us. Scroll down from the top of the homepage and click on the Community Ed icon. You can register online or by phone at 516-441-4949.

Some of the course offerings include Fine Arts—Book Illustration, Caricatures, Chinese Bamboo Painting, Collage, Drawing, Painting, Pastels, Printmaking and Watercolor.

Fine Crafts (all taught in well-equipped studios not found anywhere else in the area), such as Clay Sculpture, Handweaving, Jewelry Design, Pottery, Silversmithing and Stone Sculpture.

Fitness and Sports, including Aerobics, Ballet, Body Workout, Bootcamp, Cardio Fit, Dance Movement for Parkinson’s, Hand-Weight Training, Kettlebells, Line Dance, Pilates, Qi Gong, Seated Exercise, Tai Chi, Volleyball, Water Exercise, Yoga and Zumba.

Foreign Languages, such as Chinese (many levels), Chinese for Kids (grades 1 to 5), French, Hebrew, Italian, Spanish and Yiddish.

Games and Hobbies, including Bridge, Canasta Beginner, Chess, Mah- Jongg (beginner and intermediate) and Photography.

Humanities, such as Book Group: “Arguably, Some of the Best Books in America”; Greek and Roman Literature; Italy: City by City; One-on-One Editorial Assistance; Shakespeare; Supreme Court Decisions; Top Baseball Arguments of All Time; and Writers’ Workshop.

Music and Performing Arts include Opera Appreciation, Piano and Singing.

Technology (classes and customized, one-on-one training) including Excel, Quickbooks, Smartphones, Website Development, Word and more.

Trips & Special Events, such as Mah-Jongg Event and Dinner at Pearl East, Tuesday, Oct. 13; Broadway In Your Own Backyard: Great Composers Performance Series, Thursdays, Nov. 5, Nov. 19, Dec. 3; and Fiddler on the Roof, Broadway revival, matinee performance, with elaborate lunch at Lattanzi, featuring Italian-Jewish cuisine, Sunday, Nov. 22.

ESOL, Equivalency Classes

schoolrank_82615If you’re an adult who wants to learn English, improve your English-language skills or earn a high school equivalency diploma, [Read more…]

South High Staff Judged Best in NY

south high (1)Great Neck South High School has the best high school teachers in New York [Read more…]

Berkowitz’s Husband Is OK

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Photo courtesy of The Vigilant Fire Company

Barry Berkowitz, the husband of Great Neck School Board President Barbara Berkowitz, escaped serious injury Friday evening when the lost control of the car he was driving near the Great Neck Railroad Station. [Read more…]

Community Ed Fall Offerings

SchoolPolicy_020615AGreat Neck Public Schools Community Education fall/winter catalogs were mailed out recently, [Read more…]

Casey Li’s Graduation Speech at South

 

SpeechCasey_071515AI want to start by sharing with you a story my dad told me and my
sister Jenny a few months ago at the dinner table.

It’s about a fisherman.

Every day, he wakes up, catches fish and goes home early. He plays guitar, drinks some beer and then goes to sleep.

One day, a businessman comes
to his village. He sees the fisherman at work and says, “You know what you should do? Make a profit, buy
a few boats and start your own
company. Then, move out of this village into a city and run your expanding business.”

The fisherman replies, “And then what?”

He says, “After about 20 years, you’ll issue an IPO and start making millions of dollars.”

The man says, “OK, then what?”

The businessman replies, “With all your money, you’ll be able to retire to a small village. Then, every day you can wake up, go fishing, drink beer and play guitar.”

Today, it feels like we have our entire lives ahead of us. We’re already thinking about our futures. If we get through college, we might see the world, have nice careers, have kids, get our kids through college and then count down the days until we retire. We may want to make an impact or change the world for the better.

The point of the story isn’t that we shouldn’t work hard and set goals for ourselves. What the story does show, though, is that sometimes the things we spend our entire lives trying to obtain are already right in front of us. We say that if we can just accomplish the next thing, if we can just get into a good college or get a good job—if we can fulfill our next goal, reach the next step, we’ll finally be happy with where we are. But, let’s not waste the time we have trying to finally earn happiness, or success, when we can learn to find it at every step along the way.

Today, we have family members who have come to support and celebrate us. And, if you look to your left and your right you’ll see some of your closest friends by your side. Let’s value our relationships today, and also our high school experiences, the ways in which we’ve grown and the things we’ve already overcome, so that in the time we have, we’re able to cherish and enjoy life to the fullest.

Today is about us. We still have a long way to go, but today we celebrate how far we’ve already come. It’s my honor to say to the Class of 2015—Congratulations!

Thank you.

Nadine Hakim’s North Graduation Speech

 

SpeechNadine_071515AKnots

A jumble of ambition, a pang of fear, a sprinkle of nervousness with a side of excitement—this knot in my stomach is indefinable, but certainly familiar. It was there the first day of freshman year, a blurry, rainy day, and I am sure I was not the only freshman with an uncomfortable knot in my stomach as we scurried into North High’s unfamiliar walls over four years ago. It was there when fourth place in Battle crushed weeks of hard work our sophomore year and again when we experienced the same aching as members of the Junior Tribe and the Senior Street surpassing low expectations. It was there and kept us standing on the edge of the soccer bleachers during the thrilling playoff penalty kick shootout. And it was there even when Mr. Kaplan’s “Doogh” shower during Spirit Week made us laugh so hard that our stomachs hurt. But, what is it, this knot?

Searching for an answer, I considered Harry Potter, despite being a Potter newbie. One night, a wandering Harry experiences a similar ache inside him when he stumbles upon his reflection in an ancient mirror. Rather than seeing just the room behind him, Harry encounters his late parents, whom he’d never known, but always longed to have met. Entranced, Harry brings Ron Weasley to see his parents in the mirror as well. However, Ron only sees himself, older, good-looking, and successful. So, exactly what does this magical mirror reflect?

Here is a hint: The happiest person in the world would look in the mirror and see a reflection of himself or herself, exactly as is. The mirror’s enchantment is that it shows the most desperate desires of a person’s heart. However, viewing the most desperate desires of a person’s heart drives men mad. We are maddened by a reality that may be unrealistic. We are paralyzed by our own misconception of how life should unfold. We keeping looking into the mirror for answers, rather than living in those moments that tie those familiar knots in our stomachs. We keep focusing too much on what will be reflected, and maybe not enough on who we are. The best way to have that reflection gladden us, rather than madden us, is to live lives of meaning.

Being surrounded by our teachers, our parents, but most importantly, the Class of 2015, produces another knot, one that arises from an initial fear of stepping outside the comfortable microcosmic world that Great Neck North established for us. But, the knot loosens a little when I realize that the teachers who have empowered our desire to learn and inspired our ability to succeed, have all along been preparing us to enter a new world by arming us with confidence and knowledge to tackle life. It loosens more as I understand that our proud, wet-eyed parents have supplied us with the unconditional support and endless love that everyday teaches us how to love ourselves. And, the knot loosens even more as I see that the relationships we have built as members of the Class of 2015 equipped each of us with irreplaceable lifelong memories: shimming to Waka Waka, cheering on the bleachers.

Our paths have been intertwined for the past four years, yet we sit side by side in our matching blue caps and gowns, unsure if our paths will ever cross again, but also knowing that there will always be common ground to our paths. Bidding farewell to Great Neck North allows us to retain the great memories while still moving forward in our lives. We ambitiously move forward to change the world as adults rather than hold onto the past like children. And even as some details of our high school memories may fade, we will never forget that passionate ache inside our stomachs—nor should we.

Class of 2015, do not get stuck in the fantasy life that your mirror holds. Do not wake up one day when it is too late and realize you forgot to feel that ache in your stomach; realize you forgot to live. These knots are our joys, our sorrows, the moments that make us who we are. These knots bind us together. We live in those knots and those knots live in us.

Christine An’s South Graduation Speech

 

SpeechAn_071515A“Are you all ready are you ready get set?”

“Are you ready get set are you ready?”

Who still remembers this? And who can believe that we heard these words four years ago?

These unforgettable parting words from Dr. Welsh accompanied us as we made the transition from middle school to high school and they could not be more relevant at this very moment as we make an even bigger leap from high school into college and begin our journeys not only into our professional careers, but also into adulthood.

I distinctly remember one of the most popular questions we were asking high schoolers was the amount of freedom we would be receiving, and it’s funny looking back at it now because I think in college we might start wishing for a little less independence. I mean, suddenly, fresh laundry doesn’t magically appear anymore. There’s no one making sure you got to school because you spent the night (and early morning) finishing a Ko outline or a Graham guide and overslept.

But, I’m not intimidated. In fact, I believe it is not us who aren’t prepared for college, but college who isn’t prepared for us. These past four years, each and every one of us have filled our days with forming invaluable relationships with our peers and mentors, learning about the world around us, exploring our passions, and finding new ones. Great Neck South High School has been incredibly successful in fostering within us an insatiable curiosity and a driving ambition to discover, boldly pushing limits and exploring the unknown. We are future history makers, paving new paths in our respective fields and making, as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow put it, “footprints in the sands of time.”

Are we ready?

Yes, we are.

Let’s go!

Graduation Speech by Ashley Radparvar

 

SpeechAshley_071515A“I’d like everyone—students, parents, teachers and guests, to picture Great Neck North High. Outline it in your head, note its most defining features, its every crevice. Imagine its students passing in and out of the school’s entrance.

“Most of you pictured the building as picturesque, architecturally strong, historic, peaceful and eventful. You will all note its four large columns, the steps leading up to the school’s entrance, the clock tower, and the trees surrounding its gorgeous facade. You will all remember how strong and beautiful the school looks and feels.

“Now I’d like everyone to imagine the school without just one of its characteristics. Imagine the school had lost one of its columns, forfeited one step, cut down one of its bushes, given up its clock tower, or had swapped its bricks for cement. Is this the same Great Neck North High you’ve always known? Of course not—it’s different, it’s new, it’s incomplete, it’s lost its identity.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the picture of Great Neck North’s structure, its columns, clock tower, steps, bushes, bricks, and all—represent us, the grade that stands before you this morning, the Class of 2015.

“Each one of us is different. While one of us excels at singing and dancing, another makes gigantic strides on the basketball court. When one of us goes to work in the lab every summer morning, the other is working on writing and publishing his first book. The student working on her debate speech will be sitting across from a student working on writing his first musical piece on guitar. The guy sitting on the front lawn practicing his monologue for the school play is just meters away from the girl working her hardest to make the varsity cheerleading squad. It is remarkable how so many different, unique and amazing people can aggregate in one grade, in one community. Even more amazing is that it is our different interests and passions that make us so unique and so united as a grade: without such different people, we would not be who we are today, and who we will become tomorrow. Without our own identities, we would not grow as a grade, learn from each other, or unite as one community.

“In this year’s Super Bowl, Katy Perry was backed by shark dancers. While the right shark knew all his moves perfectly to Katy Perry’s song, the left shark ad libbed his own moves, was totally out of sync with the right shark and was not in tune with the beat. Yet who was the most memorable and who was the happiest? The left shark. He wasn’t memorable because he knew the dance forwards and backwards, but because he brought his own personal touch to something he was dictated to do. He was different and unique in his own way, for that he is memorable.

“Today, our unique and united grade will have to diverge onto different paths. Tomorrow, you won’t be walking into Great Neck North as a student, but as an alumnus who has made a mark on the school. And in just a couple of months, you may not even be in Great Neck, but in a different location, a different state, maybe a different country, away from the school that had a part in shaping you into who you are today.

“Look at the people sitting next to you, look at yourself, notice how much you have grown as a person, with your own goals, your own accomplishments, your own feelings, your own ideas, your own actions, your own words, your own identity.

So, in the coming months of packing, and panicking, and nostalgia, remember to never stop being who you are meant to be. Remember, no matter what surprises the future holds, to be true to your own identity, your own passions. Never fear what others may think of you and never fear what is to come, because as long as you keep your identity, you will always be a part of something great. And when we are encouraged to explore our interests even further, delve in the depths of our souls, and find out what we were truly meant to accomplish in life, we must remember to never fear the future and to never question ourselves in our endeavors and in our search for our own identities.

“I’d like to close off with one of my favorite quotations from Dr. David Baltimore, Nobel Prize-winning scientist and alumnus of the school, whom I had the honor of interviewing at the beginning of this year. He says, “My advice is to find out what you enjoy and do it. It certainly worked for me.”

“Congratulations to the Class of 2015 and the best of wishes for the accomplishments that are to come.”