Tag Archives: P.S. 31

Bayside elementary students dive ‘Under the Sea’ for their musical

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Paulina Tam


Bayside’s P.S. 31 is mounting an ambitious stage production of “The Little Mermaid,” an adaptation of the 1989 Disney animated musical classic.

In the school’s production, huge movable sets of underwater caves and boulders grace the stage alongside the sea — long, blue, flowing drapes that are flanked by student crew members on each side. Costumes consist of colorful wigs, feathers and sequins.

Director and music teacher Will Coppola and producer and art teacher Ashley Ciccotelli were nervous when initially approaching the design and construction of the set.

“How were we going to make one tiny little elementary school stage both the beach and the underwater scenes?” Coppola said. “We found out that we can use fabric to create the waves and the lighting to create the underwater scenery.”

Stage fright and keeping the students focused through many rehearsals were some of the challenges that Coppola and Ciccotelli faced since the cast’s first rehearsal in January.

“We have to constantly remind ourselves that the students are only 9 or 10 years old but they perform — in my opinion — so professional in quality that when I see them outside of class I think ‘Oh, they’re still kids,’” he said.

Student Grace Wansor plays Princess Ariel. Coppola remembers having her for a class during her first year teaching at P.S. 31.

“She barely spoke in my class,” he said. “I can definitely say that I was completely floored when she auditioned for the part. She was not even on my radar and then she tried out and blew us all out of the water.”

Emilia Salazar did not get a leading part last year but she listened to and watched the film on repeat while continuously practicing her singing and acting skills until she landed the role of Ursula.

“I’m just a little nervous for the show but I’m going to fight through it,” she said. “I want to give it all I got so people would think that this is the best musical that P.S. 31 has ever put on.”

“The Little Mermaid” will take place in P.S. 31’s auditorium on Thursday, June 12, and Saturday, June 14, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 each.




Residents rally against Bayside school

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Bayside residents are not happy with a recent proposal to place a school in their neighborhood.

Dozens of community members gathered on the corner of 48th Avenue and 210th Street, where the Department of Education (DOE) has proposed placing a 416-seat primary school. The new school, about a half-mile away from P.S. 31, would replace Keil Brothers Garden Center and Nursery. However, State Senator Tony Avella, Assemblymember Nily Rozic and local residents are up in arms over the idea.

“We’re here to express our outrage at the board for trying to push this through without consulting us,” said Avella. “They tried to make this happen before the community could get properly organized, and the DOE has also refused to allow a representative from Community Board 11 to attend the meeting where they’ll be discussing it.”

The opponents contend that placing the proposed school between the backyards of several residential homes would drastically increase traffic congestion, noise levels and parking problems. They also say property value in the area would see a significant decrease.

“This is wrong and out of character for this community,” said Rozic. “Just because it’s the summer doesn’t mean we’re not here and don’t want to talk about what goes on in our community.”

Although the City Council Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses was scheduled to hold a public hearing about the proposal, it has since been rescheduled for next month. Residents hope they will be able to voice their strong opposition then.

“It is simply disgraceful to not include the community board,” said Avella. “We’re going to push back against this and tell the DOE that this does not work for us.”