Excerpts from Irene Steinberg Shapiroís
e-mail, (who attended Awards Night with Ruth Altman, Susan Wallach Weiss,
and Eileen Rollo Pontrello):
On June 2, 2008 after 51 years, I returned
to FRHS to present the Class of 1957 College Scholarship Award to Nanayaa
Serwaa, Class of 2008. As I went through the main entrance, I immediately
noticed three security guards stationed at a front desk, the first
of many changes. To my dismay, the center rotunda was smaller than I remembered,
and the halls were narrower. Ruth, Sue, Eileen and I were directed
to a room in the basement, decorated with balloons and painted that dingy
blue, available only through the NYC Board of Education. The turnout was
small and the Principal did not attend. But nothing could dim the
happiness that beamed from our winnerís face. She was dazzling - young,
pretty, calm, assured, articulate and very
charming. Nanayaa should be proud with her outstanding record and her accomplishments
reflecting emotional maturity, intellectual rigor, strength of character,
and the ability to commit to a goal. Given her circumstances, her achievements
I found the Awards event to be very moving.
I was so aware of how much the school has changed in the past years - it
has certainly been a fall from grace. I had to smile when a young man received
the Philip Tietze Award. I donít think he, (or anyone other than the four
of us), knew who Mr. Tietze was, but I immediately remembered his huge
stature and bellowing voice of authority.
I was also moved in another way. Usually when
I make a donation, I write a check, mail it to some large organization,
and hope that it trickles down to a worthy project. But here I could see
before me the actual beneficiary of my donation. I looked at that happy
face and realized my contribution would directly impact this girlís life.
My money might buy a textbook, pay for some lab material, or just a coffee
with friends in the Student Union. I felt so good and so proud to see the
results of our Class of 1957ís award. This scholarship will help Nanayaa
reach her goal of becoming a doctor, do good in the world, and I will know
in some way I have helped and am a part of whatever Nanayaa achieves.
Excerpts from Ruth Altmanís email:
While the ambience at FRHS left much to be
desired, I was able to look beyond that and focus on Nanayaa and her accomplishments.
Nanayaa received several other awards and clearly is an outstanding student.
While talking to her, I was even more impressed
with her accomplishments. Nanayaa and her older sister, presently in her
first year at SUNY, Buffalo, moved to Far Rockaway two years ago. For her
to have made such a remarkable adjustment as a teenager to a new city,
new environment, and a new school, and to have achieved so much is a compelling
reason for me to believe she will make it in this world. I do think she
will need more help along the wayómostly financial, and it is something
we might explore in the future. I felt really good about our award
recipient and am very confident she will do us all proud.
From me, Linda Stone Shure:
I so wish I was able to be at the FRHS Awards
Night with Irene, Ruth, Sue and Eileen this past Monday night. For me,
there is no better feeling than to experience the excitement and gratitude
of someone who is the recipient of my efforts and monetary contributions.
Many of us have worked hard this year to raise
a substantial amount of money to present to an exceptional and worthy student
from the school where we all began our dreams 50 years ago. To have some
impact on a young adult, starting out with her own dreams, is to me, what
brotherhood and charity is all about. I personally feel it is recognizing
and appreciating what I presently have and giving me an opportunity to
assist someone young and capable to make her own unique contribution, making
our world a better place for my children, grandchildren and friends.
I just want to mention that we have had 26
alumni a part of this Award. Not all have e-mail addresses, like Jacqueline
Kuch Callen and Joan Kleinman Tushen. I will mail this to Jackie but do
not have a current address for Joan. If anyone does, please print and mail
to her. The rest of us who can be very proud are:
Susan Wallach Weiss
Rosalind Seidenstein Schull
Brenda Finkel Liebling
Alan and Lucy Katz
Helen Meyer Weinstein
Ellen Cohn Levy
Babette Schorr Bandler
Emily Rand Breitner
Gail Bookvar Jurrist
Cynthia Freeman Wellins
Irene Steinberg Shapiro
Eileen Rollo Pontrello
Linda Stone Shure
We should all be very proud of pulling this
off, scattered and disconnected as we are, except for our four year shared
experience from 1953 to 1957. (Of course, some of us shared lots
of fun years together at P.S. 104, also).
Any additional donations from anyone from any
year are welcome. Please contact me via e-mail: