Tag Archives: Parent Teacher Association

Community-driven Astoria resident celebrates 100th birthday


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Being active, spending time with loved ones, and eating “very good Italian food” are the keys to a long and happy life, according to 100-year-old Frances Lopresto.

The Astoria resident celebrated a century of birthdays on Saturday together with longtime friends, local politicians and four generations of family members at Il Bacco restaurant in Little Neck.

“It made me feel real young,” said Lopresto, who was dancing the night away in her wheelchair just a day shy of her 100th birthday, according to her family.

Along with being involved for more than 30 years in the real estate and insurance business with her husband of 50 years, Charles, who passed away in 1984, Lopresto was active in civic, religious, charitable and political organizations.

“I felt that reading the newspaper and meeting different people made me feel good and I continued to be better and bigger each time,” Lopresto said.

She held positions in parent-teacher associations of schools that her children attended and was a member of the Astoria Civic Association as well as the board of directors of the United Community Civic Association of Jackson Heights.

The mother of four was also a member of and helped raise money for the Boys and Girls Club of Astoria/Long Island City and Saint Rita’s Roman Catholic Church’s Guidance for Unwed Mothers. She is still an active member of the LIC Lions Club.

Frances Lopresto with her four children while she celebrated her 100th birthday on Aug. 30. (Photo courtesy of Angela Lopresto)

Frances Lopresto with her children during her 100th birthday celebration. (Photo courtesy of Angela Lopresto)

“She juggled very well because it was things she loved to do, you have to like things to achieve and go forward,” said her daughter, Angela, who followed in her mother’s footsteps in real estate. “She achieved much and people recognize that and that’s what is nice about it. She had a very busy and active life.”

Lopresto was also vice-chairwoman of the Queens County Republican County Committee from 1974 to 1980.

Although she is currently physically limited from participating in many activities, Lopresto still enjoys remaining active by taking strolls down Ditmars Boulevard in her wheelchair and going out to eat with friends and family.

She has 12 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. One of her sons, John, is a former state assemblyman, her other son Thomas is an attorney, and her youngest son, Charles, is a sitting Supreme Court Justice working in the Queens County Criminal Court.

When asked what advice she gives others for living a long life, she said people should “keep working and eating well.”

“I came from good Sicilian blood,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed my life and I would do the same thing over again.”

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Parents oppose P.S. 140 phase out


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

File photo

The Department of Education (DOE) has issued a proposal to phase out a Jamaica elementary school – but the community will not go quietly.

“My daughter is heartbroken,” said Lashawna Colliard, whose daughter, Alexis, is in the fourth grade at P.S. 140.

The school, due to consistently bad grades on its yearly progress reports, has been on the looming chopping block since last October, and administrators and the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) have been working feverishly to improve conditions. A final decision whether to phase out the school or not will be made in March.

“It’s extremely disheartening,” said Wydia Gavin, PTA vice president. “The principal has done a lot of revamping and placing people strategically where they would be effective; this proposal hasn’t allowed him to prove that there have been significant changes made.”

Principal David Norment joined the P.S. 140 staff in February 2012, becoming the school’s fourth principal within just one year. According to PTA members, Norment came into a “messy situation.”

“Since he came in, he’s been working diligently with his staff to produce the proper scores that they need to see changes and improvement,” said Gavin. “You won’t get to see the progress because [the DOE] deadline doesn’t factor in his changes.”

This school year, P.S. 140 credits itself with a 50 percent reduction in suspensions, a 93.8 percent attendance rate – the highest in 12 years – building improvements and multiple new school sports and art programs.

The school’s superintendent, Beverly Ffolkes-Bryant, held an assembly Tuesday, January 8 with the students and explained the situation, along with the phasing out process.

“[Alexis] called me as soon as the assembly was over,” said Colliard. “She said, ‘Mommy, they’re closing my school!’ [The DOE] shouldn’t do it, not yet.”

A new administration would take over the P.S. 140 building this September, if the DOE approves the plan, and take charge of Pre-K through second grade. Third through fifth grade would still be a part of P.S. 140. The new administration would gradually phase out P.S. 140 by taking over a grade a year, so that all grades are incorporated by September 2016.
Bryant also held a parent information session, and there will be a public hearing in February. The DOE will consider all parent testimonies, and will hold a final vote in March.

The PTA has rallied parents and encourages them to call or email the DOE, voicing their concerns. They will continue to hold workshops, put out phone blasts, and keep the community informed.

Other Queens schools set to possibly be phased out include the Law, Government and Community Service High School as well as Computer Applications & Entrepreneurship High School; P.S. 156 faces a truncation of its middle school.

 

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