Port Washington Third-Grader’s Selfless Birthday

LongBeach.org.  March 2014

Struck by the devastation caused in Long Beach in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, 9-year-old Tyler Fazzari of Port Washington did something not many children his age would do. In lieu of birthday presents, he asked his friends to donate money to help Long Beach Public Schools. His goal was to raise enough money to buy East Elementary School a new Smart Board. Tyler also received support from family members, who contacted Smart to let them know about Tyler’s ambitious plan. Smart put Tyler in touch with Teq, its regional sales representative in Huntington Station. Representatives at Teq were so impressed with Tyler’s selfless efforts that they agreed to donate a Smart Board, along with a Smart Document Camera and Smart Slate.

“The school got flooded and they needed to rebuild,” said Tyler when he was asked what motivated him to embark on this lofty endeavor. “I feel good that they got everything back.”

“When Tyler’s family told us what he was doing, we were happy to get involved,” added Damian Scarfo, chief executive officer of Teq.

Tyler and his family made a special trip to East Elementary School on May 14 to see the equipment in use in the school’s computer lab and to meet the children who will be benefiting from his generosity. Principal Sean Murray presented Tyler with a giant thank-you card signed by every student in the school. He also gave Tyler the honor of being the first to activate the Smart Board. After the ceremony, Mr. Murray took Tyler on a tour of the building and brought him to meet all his fellow third-graders at East School, who were duly impressed with Tyler’s kindness and resourcefulness.

“We are extremely grateful to Tyler for his efforts to aid in our recovery,” said Mr. Murray. “We are hoping that someday our students will be able to pay it forward.”

$1M in donations continue to reach Long Beach’s students

Students arrive at Lindell Elementary School in Long Beach for the first time since superstorm Sandy. (Nov. 13, 2012) (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

 

A fifth-grade class in Woodbine, Md., collected $2,300 for students at Long Beach’s Lindell Elementary School when they heard the school might not be able to afford to print yearbooks because of superstorm Sandy.

Students in a Texas elementary school pooled lunch money and loose change and donated $7.75 to the Long Beach school district — in quarters.

Ronald Badamo, a 1959 Long Beach grad who lives in Okinawa, Japan, sent $2,000.

The Long Beach school district has received about $1 million in dozens of cash and gift donations since Sandy, which caused $54 million in damage and shuttered all of the district’s schools.

The donations — school and art supplies, equipment, Christmas stockings and gifts for students, and cash — have come from Long Beach residents, alumni and other Long Island schools as well as school groups, companies and individuals around the world. Some have come from families struggling with their own Sandy repairs.

“It has been unbelievable,” said Patty Van Loon, a librarian at Long Beach Middle School. “It’s fantastic that there were people donating from in and outside of the community.”

The donations have helped the district rebuild, Long Beach Superintendent David Weiss said, and have lifted the spirits of students and teachers whose own homes were thrashed by the storm.

Dorothy Byrne, whose 7-year-old daughter Jillian attended West Elementary School, cited a school in Rockville Centre that donated Christmas toys.

“When we heard about that on the announcement speakers, we were like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is so cool,’ ” said Jillian, whose home is still being repaired.

The storm shut down the district for two weeks, destroying libraries, classrooms, musical instruments and thousands of books. West Elementary, the hardest-hit school, had 3 feet of flooding. Sand washed into Long Beach High School along with a foot of water.

West, one of four elementary schools in the 4,000-student district, remains closed, with students attending a crowded Lindell. The other schools have reopened, though some facilities remain off-limits, such as the high school’s gym and a wing of the middle school.

Donations started coming in the day after the Oct. 29 storm, Weiss said.

“People couldn’t help fast enough,” said Heather Puckhaber, a first-grade teacher at Lindell. “We couldn’t get ourselves organized to handle all the donations that were coming in.”

And the gifts continue to arrive as the school year comes to a close, Weiss said.

“These were the kind of items that really allowed not just the school but families to function,” Weiss said.

Longwood Middle School students collected 100 boxes of books and supplies. Carnegie Hall donated 400 recorders.

Tyler Fazzari, 9, from Port Washington, asked his friends to donate money to Long Beach schools rather than give him presents at his birthday party. He raised $1,500 for the schools, and Teq, a Huntington Station educational services firm, donated a Smart Board on his behalf.

Tyler’s mother, Erica, said her son was moved by Sandy’s damage to the schools and wanted to help. The donation drive took place while Tyler’s grandparents were forced out of their Woodmere home by the storm, Erica Fazzari said.

“He got really excited to help the schools,” she said. “There wasn’t a moment where he was like, ‘Oh bummer, I really wish I could receive gifts.’ ”

Elizabeth Altbacker, a band teacher at the middle school, said donations have been instrumental in restocking equipment ruined by salt water. Sandy destroyed more than 50 instruments, she said, but almost all have been replaced.

The new instruments are emblematic of how donations “made such a difference in the kids’ daily routine,” Altbacker said.

“It just made their year so much calmer,” she said.

Long Beach’s plight touched far-off students, too. Maddie Kutler, 14, from Ridgefield, Conn., stood outside a supermarket near her home collecting art supplies that she later donated in a minivan full of materials to West School, officials said.

Wendy Cruz, a Spanish teacher at Brandenburg Elementary School in Irving, Texas, whose sister Francis Ventura is a Spanish teacher at Long Beach High School, organized a drive and collected five boxes of supplies. Several dozen students who could not afford to buy supplies pooled their lunch money and loose change and donated $7.75, Cruz said.

“They have a wonderful heart and I know if they could do more they would,” Cruz said. “To give those quarters away to someone that they know needs it more than they do means a lot.”

 

Way to Go: Tyler Fazzari, Port Washington

Third-grader Tyler Fazzari, who attends John Philip Sousa Elementary School, asked friends and family this spring to donate in a fundraising effort to buy a new SMART Board for East Elementary School in Long Beach. (Credit: Handout)

 

A Port Washington third-grader used his birthday as an opportunity to give a special gift to a Long Beach school hard hit by superstorm Sandy.

Tyler Fazzari, who attends John Philip Sousa Elementary School, asked friends and family this spring to donate in a fundraising effort to buy a new SMART Board for East Elementary School in Long Beach.

When representatives at Teq in Huntington Station learned of the boy’s efforts, they donated the item, along with a SMART document camera and slate.

“The school got flooded, and they needed to rebuild,” said Tyler, now 9. “I feel good that they got everything back.”

In addition, Tyler donated the $1,500 he raised — along with another $250 in gift cards to The Home Depot and Lowe’s — to the Long Beach School District. He visited East Elementary School last month to see the equipment and meet the kids benefiting from the donations.

During the visit, East Elementary principal Sean Murray gave Tyler a giant thank-you card signed by every student in the school.

“We’re extremely grateful to Tyler for his effort to aid in our recovery,” Murray said. “We’re hoping someday our students will be able to pay it forward.”

Way to Go: Tyler Fazzari, Port Washington

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Updated
By MICHAEL R. EBERT

Third-grader Tyler Fazzari, who attends John Philip Sousa

Third-grader Tyler Fazzari, who attends John Philip Sousa Elementary School, asked friends and family this spring to donate in a fundraising effort to buy a new SMART Board for East Elementary School in Long Beach. Photo Credit: Handout

A Port Washington third-grader used his birthday as an opportunity to give a special gift to a Long Beach school hard hit by superstorm Sandy.

Tyler Fazzari, who attends John Philip Sousa Elementary School, asked friends and family this spring to donate in a fundraising effort to buy a new SMART Board for East Elementary School in Long Beach.

 

When representatives at Teq in Huntington Station learned of the boy’s efforts, they donated the item, along with a SMART document camera and slate.

“The school got flooded, and they needed to rebuild,” said Tyler, now 9. “I feel good that they got everything back.”

In addition, Tyler donated the $1,500 he raised — along with another $250 in gift cards to The Home Depot and Lowe’s — to the Long Beach School District. He visited East Elementary School last month to see the equipment and meet the kids benefiting from the donations.

During the visit, East Elementary principal Sean Murray gave Tyler a giant thank-you card signed by every student in the school.

“We’re extremely grateful to Tyler for his effort to aid in our recovery,” Murray said. “We’re hoping someday our students will be able to pay it forward.”

 

Port Boy’s Birthday Wish: Long Beach Sandy Aid

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Nine-year-old’s birthday party Sunday serves as Sandy relief fundraiser for Long Beach.