Our Local Hero

| msilverstein@queenscourier.com |

Last Friday night, I had the privilege of joining my sister, my family and over 250 of my fellow Bayside High School alumni at Citi Field, as the New York Mets honored a great man, Bayside High School Coach Steve Piorkowski. Coach Piorkowski was honored by the Mets with their Spirit Award.

Coach Piorkowski has been a teacher at Bayside High School for many years. He was actually my gym teacher when I was a student at Bayside High School. Coach Piorkowski is most known as the legendary Lady Commodores softball, basketball ans bowling coach.

This past January, Coach Piorkowski was diagnosed with Myeloma and a compression fracture and absorption of his C6 vertebra. The cancer tumor in his neck actually broke his neck making it hard to even hold his head up. After months of treatment and surgery Coach Piorkowski is cancer free and on the road to recovery.

Coach Piorkowski is a great teacher, friend, coach and mentor. Coach Piorkowski has had a profound impact on the lives of so many Bayside High School students. My sister Gayle Silverstein was the captain of both the Bayside High School basketball and softball teams during her career at Bayside High School. I saw firsthand how Coach Piorkowski impacted my sister’s life. Coach Piorkowski made her a better player, student and human being. My family considers Coach Piorkowski our hero.

You don’t often meet a coach who has such an impact on his or her player’s lives, but Coach Piorkowski is one of those rare gems. He has built one of the greatest girls high school basketball and softball programs in all of New York City. Due to Coach Piorkowski’s leadership the Bayside Lady Commodores are usually in city championship hunt year after year. Many of his players have gone on to win scholarships to universities across the country. We are lucky as a community to have Coach Piorkowski teaching our children.

NFL Hall Of Fame Coach Vince Lombardi once said “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand”. This basically sums up Coach Piorkowski’s coaching philosophy. He’s tough but at the end of the day he has taught our children some very important life lessons.

I am so honored to have had Steve Piorkowski as my teacher, but I am even more honored to call him my friend. Thank you Coach Piorkowski, for all of your years of service to the students at Bayside High School and thank you for making our community a better place. I want to say congrats on your award, I can think of no one more deserving. You are our hero!