|Print this story||Permalink|
Saturday was a special day for the parents, students, teachers and administrators of the St. Paul's Episcopal School in College Point, which received 10 computers from Democratic state senate candidate Rory Lancman to replace equipment damaged in a fire.
At the school's first picnic to welcome back staff and students, they celebrated the 35th anniversary of the school, the start of the school year and the new computers.
Lancman, who is in a heated battle against state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose), arranged to have 10 computers donated by Mitsubishi Corp. to the College Point school at 13-21 College Point Blvd., which lost the majority of its computers during a fire at the school on Dec. 2, 1999.
"I was walking down the street at the College Point fair handing out fliers when Dawn came up and told me about the fire and what the school needed," said Lancman, referring to Dawnmarie Kelly, co-president of the PTA. "We went out and found a creative way to get this parochial school computers."
He said obtaining the computers for the school was difficult because many foundations only donate equipment to public schools and not to parochial schools.
"For me as a candidate it is important that I show I know how to deliver," Lancman said. 'It was done in a short period and I am not even elected."
The fire started just after the school's headmaster and church's first full-time rector, Father Paul Hamilton, arrived about a year ago. It started in the closet of a second-floor classroom and worked its way down the first floor.
Hamilton said fortunately all of the students happened to be in the church at the time of the fire and were easily shuttled out of the building.
"We had a significant fire and no one was hurt," he said. "There was a lot of damage from the water and smoke. The computer lab was damaged and kids lost clothes and the money they had been saving for their school trip."
Kelly said the stained glass window above the alter, which is right in front of the school, started to glow and many of the people in the church thought it was from the Christmas decorations. But, in fact, "the stained glass blew out from the heat spreading pieces of glass all around the place," she said.
St. Paul's is a small school with 120 students from nursery school to eighth grade. The school doubles up classrooms in order to accommodate the students. Even though two grades are taught in the same room, the curriculum is different for each grade and the school makes sure each child gets the attention they need.
"After the fire, I told people we were going to need the community's help to get through this," Hamilton said. "This is going to catapult our students into the 21st century, the Information Age. It will make a big difference for all the children."
The donated computers will be put in all the classrooms and the school, which is in the midst of a $100,000 renovation as a result of the fire, is still working on getting more new computers to rebuild and remodel its computer lab, the size of a small walk-in closet.
"The computers are really important for the kids because they are like sponges and they learn more in three hours on a computer than an adult can learn in four days," said Kelly. "Everything is computers and if you don't know about computers, it will affect you."
Lorna Hulett, the senior warden and other co-president of the PTA, expressed similar sentiments. She said the computers in each classroom will provide a backup for the lab and the school can start to teach the students as young as 3 about computers.
©2000 Community Newspaper Group
|Print this story||Permalink|
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.