Tag Archives: Christ the King

Students remember Christ the King teacher Richard Hartman

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Christ the King High School

Christ the King Regional High School in Middle Village lost a family member last week when faculty member Richard Hartman died on Aug. 13 at the age of 75.

Hartman worked at Christ the King for 10 years and coached the high school’s math team to a number one ranking statewide during the 2012-13 school year, among other achievements. His knowledge was only surpassed by his dedication to his students.

Two of his former students, Joe Pennolino, who will be a senior at Christ the King in September, and Alex Singh, a Christ the King graduate, were with Hartman during his final days and remember him for the unyielding support he gave to everyone who knew him.

“Mr. Richard Hartman was a man of pure brilliance with an unlimited passion for teaching,” Pennolino said. “He was always willing to help and was never too busy to [help] the next student in need of assistance. Though he was taken from us too soon, his love for teaching will never be forgotten.”

Over the years, Pennolino and Singh formed a strong bond with Hartman during the math tutoring lessons he would hold every day at the high school. That bond quickly transformed from one of student-and-teacher to a deep friendship.

“We developed a father-son relationship just because we were always together and anything that I needed or he needed we helped each other out, so we were always there for each other,” Singh said. “We always watched movies together. He would come over on the weekends…he loved game shows.”

Hartman cared for his students so much that he would hold tutoring sessions outside of the school and for students from other high schools in the area. He would be there for anybody who needed his help, the students said.

“His job as a teacher and his dedication to students never stopped…if a student called him and asked him a question he would stop whatever he was doing, wherever he was and make sure he found the answer,” Singh said. “He would always try to be there for the students.”

The dedication and care Hartman had for his students was returned as Pennolino and Singh visited the teacher while he was in the hospital battling cancer.

“The nights Alex and I were at the hospital were very difficult because we watched Mr. Hartman struggle to get better, but we knew how happy he was to see us there,” Pennolino said.

When they learned of Hartman’s death, his former students couldn’t believe the news.

“It was a shock because the day before I saw him and he was walking around the room. He was doing well. I couldn’t believe it,” Singh said. “It was a shock. Everything stopped for two days. I didn’t know what to do.”

“I didn’t understand it until the second or third day that he wasn’t going to be in school anymore,” Pennolino added.

Hartman’s legacy will live on in the students that he cared so much for and all of the people who knew him.


Star of Queens: Stephen Lebak, National Merit Scholar, Christ the King High School

| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

Star of Queens


BACKGROUND: Christ the King High School senior Stephen Lebak was awarded the distinguished title of National Merit Scholar. Lebak was part of the one percent of students selected as finalists. He competed with over 1.4 million students from 22,000 high schools nationwide to earn this honor. Lebak also enjoys the distinction of being Christ the King’s first National Merit Scholar.

The Boston native is a member of the mathematics team and tied for first place statewide with three fellow Christ the King students. He is also co-champion of the school’s annual pi contest and can recite up to four hundred digits of pi.

SCHOOL LIFE: In addition, Lebak serves as the editor of the school’s newspaper The Royal Times, and enjoys playing the saxophone in the school’s band. Outside of school, his diverse hobbies range from baking to working with the Rubik’s cube.

“Usually, when I find something that intrigues me, I delve right into it and work fairly hard at it to better myself,” he said.

Lebak was chosen as the salutatorian for the class of 2015.

“Stephen is a very affable, helpful, productive and intelligent young man who is liked and admired by his teachers and fellow students,” Principal Peter Mannarino said. “Stephen’s hard work and determination [set] an example for all students at Christ the King. We wish him the best of good fortune in all his future endeavors.”

RESEARCH: One of Lebak’s current undertakings is an advanced research project organized through the school under the guidance of project mentor Mr. Mackey. Students admitted to this select program come up with their own research topics and work in conjunction with other schools and organizations to further their exploration.

Lebak chose to investigate wind power and turbine construction.

“Turbines usually have three blades, so I figured, why not six?” Lebak said.

As part of his research, Lebak constructed a mini six-blade turbine and used a three-speed fan to simulate wind. He measured the turbine’s output in terms of RPMs. Lebak presented his findings at a large conference hosted by Christ the King on May 6.

FUTURE: Lebak will attend Fordham University at Rose Hill on a full scholarship in the fall. He was admitted to the university’s honors program and has chosen to major in mathematics.
“I visited the campus a couple of times and liked it,” he said. “The honors program there also tends to be small and structured in a way that appealed to me.”


Christ the King boys and girls win basketball titles, advance to state tourneys

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via CTKNY - CK Campus Facebook page


Make it a three-peat for Christ the King Regional High School’s boys basketball squad.

For the third straight year, the varsity Royals captured the Intersectionals title, capturing the CHSAA title with a 59-56 victory over Xaverian High School. Christ the King advanced to the New York State tournament, which begins a week from Friday in Albany.

They’ll be joined in Albany by the Lady Royals, who also captured the city championship and advanced to the state girls basketball tournament.

Led by Coach Joe Arbitello, the Middle Village boys brought home the 2013 and 2014 titles with little surprise, but fought a tough battle with Xaverian to take their third title in a row.

“We had to overcome a lot to win this game,” said Arbitello, whose squad posted a 25-4 record. Credit went to the whole team, including its star player, Rawle Alkins, who was named the CHSAA most valuable player.

Alkins, as it happened, missed the start of the game, as he got stuck in traffic on the way to Fordham University for the championship game. Despite the worry from players and fans alike, Alkins eventually arrived and made contributions toward the Royals’ win.

“I came ready to play,” he said. “It was amazing. No one team has ever won three city championships in three straight years.”

Rebounding was the key to the wins for the entire season, but they didn’t show it during the championship game, as Xaverian out-rebounded them, 32-26. Otherwise, it was a well-balanced team effort turned in by the Royals, who were led by seven caroms off the boards by Tyrone Cohen. Alkins led all the scorers with 21 points.

“We show very good teamwork and play very good defense,” said assistant coach Gene Schatz. “We should be able to win the close games.”

The Royals played tremendous basketball during the season and next year there is no reason why they can’t win for the fourth time. The junior Alkins is playing at the top of his game, reaching a game-high 37 points at one point during the season.

With Alkins set to return and 10 underclassmen scheduled to move up to the varsity squad next season, the foundation for a four-peat appears to be in place.


Christ the King junior plays at national polo competition

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of Christ the King High School

Christ the King junior Christopher Jordan just came back from Houston, Texas, on March 15 after competing in the United States Polo Association’s (USPA) national competition. Jordan, 17, of Ozone Park, currently plays for the Long Island-based Country Farms interscholastic polo team, which is ranked seventh in the nation.

At the competition, Jordan’s team was knocked out in the first round. This would have been the end of Jordan’s time at the competition, but he was approached by the El Dorado polo team from California to captain their team since they were down a rider. Jordan got the approval from his Country Farms team to play for El Dorado, and he led them to a second-place finish in the competition.

Jordan has been riding horses since he was 3 and loves anything that has to do with horses. Aside from competing in polo matches, Jordan is an accomplished equestrian. He is a hunter jumper with the Metropolitan Equestrian Jumping Team.

“He is proud to be an equestrian,” said Scott Jordan, Christopher’s father. “He is a very nice kid and an excellent athlete.”

Jordan began playing polo since he was 14 and has grown into one of the country’s top players. Last year Jordan was honored with the USPA Linford Award for being the most improved player for the 2014-15 season.

“Christopher offers an example of the diversified talents students at Christ the King have,” Christ the King Principal Peter Mannarino said. “We are proud of Christopher’s accomplishments and look forward to his continued success.”

Christopher Jordan is being scouted by several colleges across the country, including Texas A&M and the University of Miami.

“He has surely surpassed what we would have wanted in a child,” Scott Jordan said. “We are completely behind his dreams and we are willing to do whatever we have to do to help him live his dream.”


No reason why Christ the King and Cardozo shouldn’t play every year

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Larry Fleisher


Last March, Christ the King and Cardozo were trying to advance to the state federation championship game in Albany.

The Royals wound up winning a 54-51 overtime thriller in a game that featured Rawle Alkins hitting the game-tying three-pointer in regulation and Ray Salnave scoring 20 points for Cardozo. Eventually, Christ the King won consecutive state federation titles for the first time in program history.

As nice as it was for the two schools to play, the one downside was playing the game in a location three hours north of New York City. The game started at 11 a.m. on a Friday and the stands were hardly packed.

With that in mind, the schools scheduled a regular-season meeting as the fourth game of the Nike vs. Under Armour Showcase at Christ the King on Jan. 11. As the finale of the showcase that featured Christ the King’s girls team, Lincoln, St. Raymonds, Jefferson and Long Island Lutheran, the schools met in front of a packed crowd that featured at least 20 Division I coaches in the stands at various points.

The game wasn’t a reprise of the classic playoff game as Christ the King took control early in the second half and came away with a 76-64 victory over the previously undefeated Judges. The biggest impression was the atmosphere that left both Christ the King coach Joe Arbitello and Cardozo coach Ron Naclerio saying this should be an annual regular-season game.

“We’ve got to play every year,” Arbitello said. “I think it’s something that we have to do every year. He’s the best PSAL team in Queens, we’re the best CHSAA team in Queens. Why not?”
“I have no problem doing it,” said Naclerio, who was presented with a plaque for winning his 700th game before tip-off. “To be the best, you have to play the best and beat the best. I think Joe liked it.”

Having the game played in this kind of atmosphere also prompted the question of why the two best teams in Queens had not played in the regular season in recent years.

“I was a new coach, I don’t know, stupidity on my part,” Arbitello said. “I don’t know. It was stupid. We played last year in the state semifinal game in Albany and there were five people in the gym and it was 11 in the morning. You come here and this is the atmosphere that this game should be played in, not like that.”

There is a rematch at Cardozo on Jan. 29, 2016, at a time to be determined. By then Alkins, Salnave and Aaron Walker will be seniors, while Jose Alvarado will be a junior.

The Royals will be hoping Alkins is feeling much better and that Alvarado’s development will continue.

Alkins played with the flu and scored six points and had 12 rebounds, and when he picked up his fourth foul he suggested the Royals use a zone defense. Alvarado compensated for Alkins being sick by getting 25 points in a variety of ways and Christ the King’s depth also highlighted the win.

“We haven’t been a one-man show all year, but he’s happy to win, and he’s happy his teammates did well,” Arbitello said. “That’s what makes him a great basketball player, not just what he does on the floor.”

The Judges will hope to see more of the acrobatic moves and physical defense from Walker, who had 18 points. They will also aim to win a game that many hope will be a regular-season staple of the Queens high school basketball season.

“I liked what I saw and I hope the kids get better,” Naclerio said. “Some shots didn’t fall and some threes went in and out and they went back and got a quick layup. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.”

The odds are good that the schools could meet in Albany in the state federation playoffs. After an atmosphere like that on Jan. 11, the goal will be to duplicate it on a yearly basis and create a game few will forget.


Senior Andre Walker leads Christ the King to back-to-back state titles

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre


Christ the King point guard Andre Walker, like most high school seniors, didn’t want to lose his final game before graduation.

Walker told his teammates he wanted to go out as a champion in the locker room before the state Federation Class AA championship game against Long Island Lutheran Saturday in Albany, but he saw that dream falling apart as the Royals were trailing the Crusaders by as much as 14 points in the first half.

Then Walker stepped up.

The senior, who has taken a backseat in the scoring category all season, was almost perfect. He notched a game-high 25 points, including 3-for-3 from behind the three-point arc, to defeat Lutheran 58-52 and give Christ the King back-to-back state titles. Walker was named the tournament MVP.

“Somebody needed to step up and he wanted to do it,” junior forward Travis Atson said. “This was going to be his last game before he left high school, and he really didn’t want to go out with a loss.”

In last year’s state title game, guard Rawle Alkins and former Royal Jon Severe, torched Lutheran. So this year the Crusaders prepared for the Royals’ star players. Alkins had just nine points and Atson had only eight.

But this opened up space for other players on the team to shine, and the seniors, Walker, Adonis Delarosa and Bryler Paige, had the necessary motivation. Paige finished with 10 points and Delarosa added six points and 13 rebounds.

Walker attacked aggressively in the third quarter, where he made 13 of his 25 points, proving that he could score if he needed.
“[Fans] only recognize points, but they don’t see what we do,” Walker said. “We can score too, but it’s not our roles on the team.”

Still undecided on where he will continue to play basketball and his education next year, Walker is just happy that he’ll leave Christ the King with winning dynasty intact.

“It feels good,” Walker said. “Only a select few can say they won two state championships, back-to-back.”



Christ the King HS agrees to faculty salary increase

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Christ the King High School

Christ the King High School has been doing well financially in recent years and now teachers will see some of that success in their paychecks.

The school announced a pay raise for faculty members with a new two-year contract. School administrators and the Lay Faculty Association, which represents the faculty, came to the agreement, and made the announcement Monday.

“As a result of good faith negotiations, we have come to an agreement where faculty members will have an increase in salary, all the while maintaining a level tuition for students for the next three years,” said Serphin Maltese, the school’s board of trustees chair.

In November, The Diocese of Brooklyn filed a lawsuit against Christ the King to regain control of the school, because the institution has used its buildings for more than just a Catholic high school. The Diocese said that this violates a long-standing contract, but Christ the King said that agreement is void.

The board of Christ the King started to generate cash by opening up continuing education classes such as dance and Spanish, a day care and a preschool. Additionally, last year they started renting space to a public charter school last year, Middle Village Preparatory.

In the last three years the school has made about $3.7 million from these measures, according to Thomas Ognibene, the school’s lawyer. That money has gone to making repairs and underwriting tuition for students.


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Middle Village charter school to open this fall

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

charter school

Middle schoolers are making the jump to Christ the King’s campus quicker than before — through a new charter school set to open this September.

Middle Village Preparatory (MVP) Charter School received approval January 1 to open its doors this fall to 120 sixth grade students, and will offer an expansive middle school education as well as alleviate overcrowding in the district.

“The last two years, [opening the school] is something that we have really focused on,” said Michael Michel, president of Christ the King Regional High School and the founder of MVP.

MVP will be housed in an area of Christ the King that is currently unoccupied — roughly a 50,000-square-foot section reserved for a new administration and students.

Michel and the founding board are currently searching for a principal for the new charter school and also for a Director of Operations. By the middle of February, applications will be sent to fifth grade students in District 24, urging them to spend their next year at MVP. If 120 students don’t apply, admission will open up to the entire city, and by April, the student body will be selected.

“Families should have a choice. We have good public schools, we have good private schools, but there’s only one charter school in the district,” said Michel.

The 120 selected students will then advance to the seventh grade, and a new 120 students will be selected for the sixth grade, and so on, until a 360-student middle school forms by 2015.

MVP’s mission is already set, and aims to have more individual and focused education for its students with longer school days and an extended year. Subjects such as Latin will be a requirement, and math and English will have double the amount of customary instruction time.



Test drive to help

| mchan@queenscourier.com

A Queens car dealership is looking to drive thousands of dollars in funds to a local high school.

Ford Lincoln of Queens will host a “Drive Smart for Your School” event at Christ the King High School on Saturday, December 1 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Any motorist over the age of 18, with a valid driver’s license, can stop by the Middle Village school, located at 68-02 Metropolitan Avenue, to test drive a Lincoln Ford. For each test drive, Ford Motor Company will donate $20 to Christ the King for a total of up to $6,000, officials said.

The offer is limited to one driver per household.

“We’re very excited to do this,” said Michael Naclerio, vice president of Ford Lincoln of Queens. “Being involved with the school is important. With how tough the economy has been, the cost of school has such an impact on people’s pocketbooks. To be able to help with that is a good feeling.”

Margaret Tapalaga, spokesperson for Christ the King High School, said the funds would help boost various afterschool activities, including clubs and extracurriculars.

“It would go a long way in helping students,” she said.

CK students’ math adds up to wins

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Christ the King

The Christ the King Regional High School (CK) Math Team celebrated its individual and team victories in this year’s NY State Mathematics League competition. Four of the CK students tied for 1st Place out of more than 4,000 students competing. Overall, the team came in 3rd out of over 200 high schools in the state and ranked 1st out of all the religious schools.

“I am so proud of the individual and team accomplishments and look forward to many future successes,” said Principal Peter Mannarino shared.

Christ the King names former NFL player as head coach

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Christ the King

Christ the King High School announced a new head varsity football coach, Tyree Allison, who has already tackled the pros will now share his experience with the Royals.

Allison, who had a cup of coffee with the New Orleans Saints, has signed on to take over the Royals Varsity Football team.  The Hofstra University graduate also played with the Detroit Fury, the Tennessee Valley Vipers and the Mohegan Wolves in the Arena Football League.

“Tyree has been a valued member of our faculty.  We obviously knew of his NFL career and coaching experience on both the High School and Collegiate levels. When the football season ended this year and the coaching positions became available, I was glad to see Tyree submitted his resume,” said Principal Peter J. Mannarino.

Allison, who is also a teacher at the Middle Village School, said he excited for this chance.

“I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity by the Board of Trustees. Since joining the faculty this school has become my second family.  Watching the academic growth of my students has always been my greatest reward,” Allison said.  “I value the time spent in the NFL and know how important proper football training is to being successful in all walks of life.  To be able to share my experience and passion with the Christ the King community as head coach is a wonderful way to give something back to all they have given me.  My goal is to bring a winning tradition to Christ the King football and with the help of my talented staff and these fine student athletes, that’s exactly what we will do.”

The Christ the King won just once this past season while racking up seven losses.

Help give the gift of life

| mchan@queenscourier.com


Carly Rose Nieves will be turning 16 in January, but in lieu of a lavish Super Sweet 16 party most girls her age plan for years, she is putting all her efforts into saving lives.

The Middle Village teen has been battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) — a cancer of the white blood cells that normally fight infections — since she was seven.

Carly received blood transfusions and underwent two years of intensive chemotherapy. Then at age 12, she suffered a relapse of ALL after three years. The relapse placed Carly in the high-risk category, which requires additional intensive, high-dose chemotherapy.
Because of her intensive treatment, Carly — who adores school and managed to graduate as an honor roll student in the 6th grade — had to miss many years of it.

Now Carly — who regrew a full head of hair following the chemo — is out of treatment and in remission. And after being out of school for three years, Carly is back as a freshman at Christ the King (CTK) Regional High School and she is “loving every minute of it.”

“She’s doing awesome,” said her mother, Lisa. “She’s still very tired and weak, but that’s expected for the first year or so. But she manages every morning to get up and go to school. It’s just been a great experience for her because she can socialize now that she has an immune system.”

Now at school, Carly has a great following of friends and administrators who understand.

“There are kids that remember her from last year because she did a speech at their Thanksgiving Mass,” Lisa said. “All the kids in her classes, teachers, everyone at the school — they all seem to get along great. She has good and bad days because of the chemo, but the teachers really understand.”

Still, Carly has not forgotten the friends she made in the hospital and others that are still suffering, including one friend — of Italian and Chinese descent — who relapsed for the second time and has a hard time finding a bone marrow donor match because of her ethnicity.

That’s why Carly, her friends and family are holding another community blood and bone marrow drive for the second year in a row at Christ the King, and they need as many people as possible to donate on December 17 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Those of Asian descent are particularly needed to match Carly’s friend, Lisa said.

“We need to find the positive in all of this, and this is the only way we could think of to try and help as many people as we can. It truly does save a life,” Lisa said, adding that one bag of blood can save three lives.

Last year, they collected 200 pints of blood, registered 54 people to be bone marrow donors and raised $3,000 for Friends of Karen — an organization that supports critically ill children and their families.

This year, they will have a few small raffles to continue raising money for Friends of Karen. Prizes include gift baskets and toy prizes that were donated, including a tricycle and a wooden fire engine.

But mainly, Lisa said, she wants to spread awareness about how important and easy it is to register and donate.

“Carly needed a lot of transfusions during her treatment. The last thing you ever want to hear as a patient or a parent is ‘We ran out.’ That happened to us once. It’s just very scary,” Lisa said. “You can save a life and a family’s life. It’s amazing what can be done from just swabbing your cheeks.”
Lisa explained that cancer patients may require frequent blood transfusions because aggressive treatment often destroys healthy blood cells along with diseased ones. Red blood cell transfusions to fight anemia and platelet transfusions to control bleeding are often needed.

“Carly keeps that in mind all the time,” she said. “She tries to get everyone to be aware. We just want to tell people how easy it is to give the gift of life. What better time of year to do it than the holiday season? It’s better than giving money.”

For more information about becoming a marrow donor, call 1-800-MARROW-2. It’s a simple process that takes just a few minutes of paperwork and a cheek swab.

To learn more about Friends of Karen, go to www.friendsofkaren.org.
And to find out more about the blood drive, on Saturday, December 17 at Christ the King, 68-02 Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village, email lhorner67@gmail.com.