Saluting the flag at Barnum Woods


Patriotism was in focus at Barnum Woods Elementary School in East Meadow as students donning red, white and blue stood with their parents on the school’s front lawn for its annual Flag Day ceremony on June 14.

“Once again, our Flag Day ceremony gets bigger and bigger and we have so many people to thank for that,” said Barnum Woods Principal Greg Bottari.

Guest speakers included Town Councilman Dennis Dunne Sr., Town Clerk Sylvia Cabana, Legislator Kevan Abrahams, David Rothman, representing New York State Assemblyman John Mikulin, PTA Council Outgoing President Robin Fitzpatrick and Incoming President Veronica Nicastro, Superintendent Kenneth Card, Board of Education President Matthew Melnick, retiring teacher Janice Oldak, PMT President Melody Schiller, Chamber of Commerce Vice President Richie Krug and Chamber Secretary James Skinner.

The day’s events also highlighted the East Meadow nonprofit Coins for a Cure, which has raised money to combat childhood cancer since 2005. It was founded by Susan Lombardi after her daughter Melissa, 26, was diagnosed with soft-cell sarcoma in 2003.

When Lombardi decided to turn her trauma into activism, she said, Barnum Woods immediately took to the cause and “surrounded our family with love and compassion.” She added that her daughter is celebrating what she refers to as a “sweet sixteen” because it’s her sixteenth year in remission.

Following the ceremony, students clad in red, white and blue waved flags and walked for a mile through the community as part of Walk in the Woods, the school’s annual health walk, started in 2013 by fifth-grade teacher Gene Vassel and nurse Daryle Abeshouse.

Teachers and parents accompanied students who took advantage of the warm, late spring day by chatting with friends as they took part in the exercise walk around the school building.