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North Merrick Staff Takes on Harlem Wizards

(Credit: North Merrick UFSD)
(Credit: North Merrick UFSD)
Editor’s Note: The following was written and submitted by representatives of the North Merrick School District. 

Last Thursday night’s game between the Harlem Wizards and the North Merrick Magic was a resounding success.

The Magic consisted of at least 25 members of the district’s faculty as well as Superintendent of Schools, David Feller. Given the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy, a night of family fun was just what was needed – especially at this wonderful time of the year.

Mission accomplished as all the tricks, ball handling, fancy passing, and audience interaction brought us an awesome night to remember.

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Bringing this event to North Merrick was truly a team effort involving close collaboration between the district’s PTAs and the North Merrick faculty. As per one of the PTA co-presidents: “We are so grateful to all our teachers/staff who volunteered to play and make this night so much fun for the children.”

Many parents, staff, and Student Council volunteers were also on hand to sell refreshments and to help with supervision. Thank you to PTA Presidents and parent coordinators Fayth Leavitt, Joanne Garcia, Chris Ward, Patty Sarantakos, Kristin Maldonado and Lisa Allen. 

The community turnout was tremendous as the Calhoun High School gym was filled to capacity with more than 900 cheering people in attendance which included children, parents and staff members. This event was also used as an opportunity to provide assistance for those most impacted by Hurricane Sandy as many donations were made to help Long Island Cares. Ten big boxes of needed items were collected, including non-perishable food items and cleaning supplies – the equivalent of about half a truck load!

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Thanks are extended to Camp Avenue PTA co-President Chris Ward who made the successful outreach to this worthwhile organization. The Student Council is donating the money raised at the Wizards to the American Red Cross - they already sent a check in the amount of $668.50. This concern for others is a major reason why North Merrick is such a special place!

Coach Michael Riggio is to be commended for doing an outstanding job with the North Merrick Magic (faculty) team. Christine Talbot, a faculty member who helped to organize the event commented that, “the tremendous turnout and powerful energy from the crowd made us proud to be a part of the community – we couldn’t wipe the smiles off of our faces – it didn’t matter if we knew how to play or not, great fun was had by all!”

The Harlem Wizards successfully engaged the audience through their antics and routines. Equally impressive was the lengthy roster of staff members and volunteers who included: Andrea Aldorasi, James Barton, Thomas Biggin, Amy Blacker, Colleen Bossert, Maria Castle, Stephen Chan, Annmarie Cosgrove, Elizabeth Cramer, Lisa Drewes, David Feller, Gina Geloso, Michael Giambruno, Virginia Giglia, Lisa Greve, Diana Hooker, Samantha Jones, Abba Krebs, Jill McDaid, John McDaid, Chris Monaco, Kerri Moore, Karen Nolan, Kathryn Pascarella, Roseanne Petraglia, Camp Avenue Principal Ron Reinken, Michael Riggio, Suzanne Rupp, and Christine Talbot. Old Mill Road music teacher Rebecca Southard kicked off the game with a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

One parent’s comment truly summarized the general feeling that was shared by all: “We are proud that we could be part of an event that was such a great experience for the North Merrick community.”

Congratulations to the schools’ PTAs, faculty association, administration and staff, and the public for supporting such a worthwhile and fun event. Pictures of the event can be found at the district’s website and by clicking here.

What did you think of the Harlem Wizards' visit to Merrick? Tell us in the comments below.

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