The seven volunteer members of the Huntington School Board were recognized this past Monday night by second grade and third graders and by Huntington High School artists and musicians, who saluted the trustees’ service to the community and their commitment to the academic and co-curricular programs that are the hallmark of the district.
Trustees do not earn salaries or stipends. They don’t receive health insurance or retirement benefits. They are legally responsible for overseeing a budget of nearly $130 million along with hundreds of full-time and part-time employees. It’s not an easy job.
Huntington trustees Christine Biernacki, Linda Tine-D’Anna, Tom DiGiacomo, Bill Dwyer, Bari Fehrs, Jennifer Hebert and Xavier Palacios were recognized with an impressive performances by vocalists and a string quartet and a display of beautiful photography during this week’s business meeting.
Huntington trustees, like their colleagues serving on more than 700 school boards across the state, are true volunteers. Elected by the community, they receive no compensation for their service other than the satisfaction they feel for seeing that the young people who live here receive the free and full public education to which they are entitled to under the state constitution.
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo proclaimed School Board Recognition Week as a way of honoring the thousands of trustees who “continually strive for improvement, excellence and progress in education.”
Primary school principals introduced their students who read short statements thanking the seven school board members for their work on behalf of the youngsters. The warm words touched everyone in the auditorium.
District Director of Fine and Performing Arts Eric Reynolds later introduced four exceptional stings musicians and unveiled the photographic artwork. He expressed his appreciation to trustees for their unbending commitment to the arts in the district.
The student group included:
Flower Hill Primary School: Joseph Herman, Violet Palacios, Karly Maldonado, Jean Carlos Murillo Marroquin
Jefferson Primary School: Rhys Carrillo, Keyri Gudiel Ramirez
Southdown Primary School: Greyson Banner, Asa Sachs
Washington Primary School: Kellen Anderson, Abigail Arelt, Simone Bazile, Alessandra Bennett, Amelia Brown, Annabel Cassatto, Paige Falk, Amber Murtazza, Vader Renkewitz, Lena Sullivan, Katie Van Horn
Huntington High School: Arielle Harvey, Haley Mortell, Ella Siepel, Hannah Bailan, Vianca Hands, Nicholas Kretschmer, Bianca Lella, John O’Brien
The trustees participate in dozens of meetings during the course of a typical year. They attend scores of school events, participate in training conferences related to their service and field countless phone calls and e-mails from residents anxious to share their opinions. They are all a familiar presence around the district.
What could possibly motivate a person to volunteer their services for a position that involves so much time and work? Trustees state that it stems from their desire to see the young people of the community enjoy the most broad based classroom education and co-curricular experiences possible. It’s not an easy task, but students across the district uniformly speak highly of the time they have spent on every grade level and in all eight school buildings.