Tag Archives: P.S. 41

Bayside students stay fit to help feed children in Africa

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Students at one Bayside elementary school are staying fit while also helping to save lives.

Since the beginning of March, 268 students, 40 teachers and other faculty members at P.S. 41, located at 214-43 35th Ave., have been taking part in UNICEF’s Kid Power program which encourages students to be more active, while also feeding children in Africa.

During the program, the students wear Kid Power Bands, which measure their steps and unlock Kid Power Points, which are later converted to funds that go toward food packets.

At P.S. 41, which is one of 16 New York City schools participating in the program, third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students take part in the challenge and have been racking up points.

“The essence of it is that the more that they exercise and the more that they’re active, the more packets are being sent to children to eat,” said Sari Latto, principal at P.S. 41. “It’s a win-win. We get healthier children, and those [other] children can live because they are being fed. So the kids are very excited about it.”

Before receiving their blue power bands, the students learned about the program. They received lessons on poverty conditions in other countries, saw a video of malnourished children and the conditions they live in, and were told the importance of them receiving the food.

Each student was then given a band to wear on his or her wrist, and teachers were provided with tablets that sync with the bands to tally up points for the classes.

“It’s extraordinary. The children are excited about moving more and being healthy, they recognize the value of that, they feel better, they like it,” Latto said. “They are realizing that, as young as they are, they are able to do something for other children in the world so that they can live. And that’s a very empowering feeling for a child.”

Out of the classes participating from P.S. 41, one third-grade class has stood out with a total of 4,503,745 steps, equaling 769 food packets, as of Monday.

With their numbers, Class 3205, taught by Cindy Wong and Helen Kim, reached the highest points in all of the city schools and won a trip to see the New York Knicks practice later in April.

“It’s wonderful and very exciting for us and it’s great that we’re able, through this organization, to teach them how to do good now and in the future,” Wong said. “It’s motivating a lot of them to keep active.”

To get the points, the students have done sports such as soccer and basketball, danced in Zumba classes, and also taken part in gym activities.

For the third-grade students participating in the program, it is more than just taking home the grand prize; they also want to make a difference.

“It’s not just about winning in the city, it’s actually about helping more kids,” said 8-year-old Oliver.

His classmate, 9-year-old Cian, also said that even though it’s great that the class was the top in the city and will be able to see the Knicks, the important part was knowing they helped feed the children in Africa.

“It’s really good just to help out children,” he said.


Street to be co-named for Bayside teacher who died from cancer

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Former P.S. 41 science teacher Geri Cilmi’s motto to her students in the Bayside school was “You get what you get, and you don’t get upset.”

So when she was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2007, instead of fretting about it, Cilmi took all the necessary treatment and fought the disease with a smile, her husband, Tom, said.

“She was fantastic,” he said. “[Doctors] were amazed at her attitude and everything was just hunky-dory.”

But the cancer attacked strong in 2011 and Cilmi, a mother of one and beloved public school teacher of four decades, died that May. To honor her memory and achievements, a former student, Thomas Fennell, requested a street be co-named and Community Board 11 approved it. Family and friends will gather on June 20 as Councilman Paul Vallone unveils the new Mrs. Geri Cilmi Place at 214th Lane behind the school.

Cilmi began teaching in 1967 as a substitute teacher in Brooklyn elementary schools. When she shifted to P.S. 41 in 1989 she became a full-time science teacher. She retired in 2008.

Photo courtesy Thomas Cilmi 

During her time at P.S. 41, Cilmi was loved by colleagues and students for her extraordinary effort as a teacher. Cilmi hosted science nights in the school, where parents and students were able to do a variety of experiments. She applied for numerous grants for the school, including one from NASA for a weather station. She also set up the school’s garden. She was vice president of the Elementary School Science Association (ESSA) and made various science presentations for children.

“She was one of those people that were a natural teacher,” said second grade teacher Diane DiBlasi, who worked with Cilmi at P.S. 41 for two decades. “She opened up the world to so many children in a positive way.”

Outside of teaching, Cilmi was a bright woman who loved to dance and a devoted mother who raised her son to be a Harvard University-educated doctor. She listened to The Beatles and Elvis Presley, and loved to draw. Cilmi desired to write a children’s book, but never had the chance.

Tom will be present at the ceremony and believes his wife deserves the honor.

“It gives me the feeling that she really accomplished something,” he said. “She touched a lot of people and an awful lot of children.”




Bayside elementary school raises money to help Sandy victims

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Sandy Students

P.S. 41 raised $1,600 to donate to two Long Island families devastated by Sandy.

The school’s “Fifth Grade Apprentice” group held a small assembly on December 20, 2012 to present the Fitch and Denardo families from Long Beach with gift cards and toys. There are seven children, including two sets of twins, in the Fitch family and three children, whose father is a Marine, in the Denardo family.