Join us for Lunch At The St. George Plaza which will feature performances by Staten Island school bands.
Bring your lunch and enjoy our new tables and chairs.
Mark your calendars for these upcoming performances:
We hope you will join us.
Borough President Vito Fossella and the Staten Island EMS Task Force recognized the important and heroic works of the Emergency Medical Services community during National EMS Week with a special breakfast and ceremony this morning in the Staaten.
The 29th Annual Emergency Services Recognition Ceremony honored several EMTS, paramedics, instructors, and students. The event is unique to Staten Island.
We congratulate all the winners and thank them for everything they do for Staten Island.
Here are this year’s winners:
Emergency Medical Technician of the Year Awards:
Borough President Vito Fossella presented awards to this year’s “Readers Are Leaders” Exceptional Readers during a ceremony at the Joan & Alan Bernikow Jewish Community Center of Staten Island.
"Readers Are Leaders" challenged fourth-grade students in Staten Island's public, parochial and private schools to read a minimum of five books at grade level or above during a five-week period from Feb. 20 through March 24. Students then submitted a report or project on their favorite book that they read during the period.
ach school picked one Exceptional Reader, who received an award from the Borough President. The program was started by then-Councilman Vito Fossella in 1996 and since its inception, fourth-grade students have read more than 780,000 books for the annual challenge. That's over 29 billion words read by Staten Island students!
"Readers Are Leaders" is sponsored by Community Media of Staten Island and the Staten Island FerryHawks.
Here are this year’s Exceptional Readers:
Borough President Vito Fossella Presents Michael J. Petrides Award To Outstanding High School Senior
Molly Ibrahim, a senior at Tottenville High School, received the Michael J. Petrides Award from members of the Petrides family and the Michael J. Petrides Award Scholarship Committee during a ceremony last night
The annual award is given to a graduating high school senior who excels in math and science.
Each Staten Island high school is asked to submit a single nominee, from which the honoree and runner-up are selected. The award is named for Michael J. Petrides, a legendary Staten Island educator who died in 1994.
"Tonight, we highlight the young minds who have achieved a level of academic excellence that will lead them to exceptional college careers," said Borough President Fossella. "It is an honor to present the Petrides Award to a remarkable Staten Island student. Congratulations to our winner and to all the impressive nominees."
Michael Petrides, the grandson of Mr. Petrides, addressed the students during the ceremony.
“My grandfather was an engineer,” Mr. Petrides said. “He loved the disciplines of Math & Science because they cut to the chase. There was always an answer. What made my grandfather unique was that he was able to use his talents in these fields and apply them to help Staten Island become a better place to live.”
Molly is a student in Tottenville High School's most rigorous and challenging Science Institute Program and holds the highest cumulative grade point average of 106.34%. She was recognized as an Advance Placement Scholar, the 2022 National African American Recognition Scholarship recipient, and the 2020 Mahragan El Keraza Diocese Winner.
Her activities at Tottenville are countless: She has been a member of the Varsity Cross Country and Track and Field teams, along with being the Student Organization's Senior Senator, member of the Literacy Advisory Council, New York City Youth Speaker, Borough Student Advisory Council, Minds Matter Mentee, Colors for Coats Program Coordinator, Coptic Orthodox Diocese, Youth Climate Action Coalition, Games of Change Game Exchange, Future Health Professionals, and participant in the 2022 American Mathematics Competition 12B. She will be attending Brown University in the fall where she plans to pursue her studies in the medical field.
Omosefe Noruwa from Curtis High School was named the second-place honoree. Anika Thakkar from St. Joseph Hill Academy was named the third-place honoree.
Here is the full list of nominees: Nathaniel Amshen, CSI High School for International Studies; Omosefe Noruwa, Curtis High School; Mennah Elnaggar, Gaynor McCown Expeditionary Learning School; Natalie Gulan, Michael J. Petrides School; Brian Gillen, Monsignor Farrell High School; Julia Guzman, Moore Catholic High School; Ceyda Topcu, New Dorp High School; Nadiya Crisano, Notre Dame Academy; Evan Randeniarachchi, Port Richmond High School; Anika Thakkar, St. Joseph Hill Academy; Joseph Dalton, Staten Island Academy; Tara Isabel Lago, Staten Island Technical High School; Benjamin Prince, Susan E. Wagner High School, and Molly Ibrahim, Tottenville High School.
St. George Celebrates Arbor Day was a collaboration between Vito, the NYC Citywide Administrative Services and the St. George Civic Association.
The group focused on the Borough Hall plaza, Paulo Park, and the surrounding area. Trees were given away for the community to enjoy and share initiatives that Vito is launching to help revitalize the area, such as Lunch at the St. George Plaza. Tables and chairs will be available daily, weather permitting, for those who would like to use the space. There will be musical performances by Staten Island school bands on select days. Schedule of those dates will be posted.
DCAS put in new landscaping around Borough Hall, painted handicap ramps, repaired lighting fixtures, and power washed and deep cleaned Borough Hall and its perimeters.
Special thanks to all who came out to support and help make St. George a better place to work, live, and play --- including but not limited to: Nonprofit Staten Island, On Your Mark, the National Lighthouse Museum, Community Media of Staten island and the office of the City Clerk.
We would also like to say thank you to our continuous partner, the City Department of Sanitation for providing cleanup materials, helping us remove bags of litter, and helping us make our efforts a success.
To join a nearby cleanup or to report a location that needs to be addressed by our team, visit our Don't Trash On Me page.
The rain didn’t stop us today when Borough Hall kicked off the first performance of the new “Lunch at the St. George Plaza” series with the Susan E. Wagner High School Jazz Band – we brought the music inside!
On select dates in May and June, school bands from across the Island will perform from noon to 2 p.m. on the St. George Plaza outside of Borough Hall. Chairs and tables will be set up for your enjoyment.
We want to extend our congratulations to the members of the Susan E. Wagner High School Jazz Band for being selected as one of the 15 nationwide finalists to compete in Lincoln Center's 28th annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz & Band Competition & Festival from May 11 to May 13. They are the first NYC school to be selected for the competition. We wish them the best of luck and thank them for their performance.
Stay tuned for the upcoming schedule of dates and we hope you join us for “Lunch at the St. George Plaza.”
Borough President Vito Fossella Weclomes Monsignor Farrell High School Soccer Champs To Borough Hall
Borough President Fossella welcomed the Monsignor Farrell High School 2022 varsity soccer team into Borough Hall on May 2 to congratulate them on their remarkable season which culminated in winning the CHSAA championship crown.
“I get to do great things like I am going to do today -- and that is to honor you for winning the city championship for the first time in 21 years,” said Borough President Fossella, a 1983 Farrell graduate.
He said the team was carried by the spirit of Michael Bielawski, a 14-year-old Farrell soccer player who died last May.
“I know last season was very special, touching and sad in some ways,” he said. “We wouldn't be here today without your guardian angel, Michael, guiding you through.”
Head Coach Ed Hynes said the season was dedicated to Michael, whose family was also in attendance this morning.
“We will never forget Michael,” Coach Hynes said. “We wore his number 29 on our sleeves. We have to say Michael has a lot to do with it.”
Farrell President Lou Tobacco said the team showed “dedication, passion and commitment” to their sport.
“Those are habits that will take you anywhere you want to go in life,” he said. “We’re very proud of you. To the parents and to the coaches, we thank you.”
Borough President Fossella presented each of the students and the coaches with championship rings and Certificates of Appreciation.
Borough President Vito Fossella was proud to salute Vietnam veterans during a “Night of Recognition” held by members of the North Central Kiwanis Club of Staten Island at the Staaten in West Brighton.
The evening honored 61 veterans and paid tribute to the 85 men from Staten Island who were killed in action during the Vietnam War.
Each veteran was introduced by name as they entered the ballroom.
“Thank you to the North Central Kiwanis Club and this honor for Vietnam veterans,” said Borough President Fossella. “This flag and the USA still stand for freedom and our common denominator. Thank God for the North Central Kiwanis Club. To all of you who served we say, ‘thank you.’ We here on Staten Island honor you every day of the year.”
(Photos courtesy of Nicholas Farah)
Borough President Vito Fossella cheered on the Staten Island FerryHawks during a rally at Borough Hall as they get ready to kick of the season.
“Last season, we started to see a lot more families with young kids and that’s what the target audience is here,” said Borough President Fossella. “We’re very excited to welcome the players here — not everyone is from Staten Island — but we want you to know you have a second home here.”
A new broadcasting partnership was also announced with the College of Staten Island and Monsignor Farrell High School.
Eric Shuffler, the team’s president, called the rally “pretty awesome.”
“Every time I come to Staten Island, I am reminded of what a special responsibility we’ve been given with this stadium,” he said. “We really view the team and the stadium as a community asset and a community responsibility. We want to make the North Shore an exciting destination where we can drive economic opportunities.”
Team manager Homer Bush, who played for the New York Yankees when they won the World Series in 1998, said they are “building a team with talent and young players who can lead.”
“We held our first scrimmage yesterday,” he said. “They all played well -- good at bats, throwing strikes, making good pitches. We’re off to a wonderful start and we’re excited for the season.”
Borough President Fossella ended the rally with two words: "Play ball.”
Borough President Vito Fossella attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the first-of-its kind offshore wind training school on Richmond Terrace in Mariners Harbor. It is the first to be certified in New York State.
The school is located on a floating barge to allow the students to travel around the waterfront throughout the city. The students will be given a certification at the completion of the program.
“This is not just another company taking root here, this is an industry that will be here for decades to come,” Borough President Fossella said.
At the ribbon-cutting, he watched as NYC Comptroller Brad Lander was strapped into a
For more information, visit https://tmi-waterfront.com/.
Borough President Vito Fossella, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis urge Walter Reed National Military Medical Center To Revisit Pastoral Care Contract
Borough President Vito Fossella and Rep. Nicole Malliotakis wrote a letter to Captain Felix A. Bigby, Interim Director of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, urging him to reverse the decision to award a contract for Catholic pastoral care to a secular for-profit company.
In the days leading up to Holy Week 2023, the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center issued a “Cease and Desist Order” to the Friars of Holy Name College who have ministered to our active members of the military and veterans for almost two decades.
Below is the text of the full letter:
"We write to register our concern and dismay regarding the recent treatment of both the Friars of Holy Name College (FHNC) and the Catholic Archdiocese of the Military Services in the days leading up to Holy Week 2023.
It is our understanding that the FHNC have ministered at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) for almost two decades and that a new contract for Catholic pastoral care has been awarded to a secular for-profit organization.
It is our further understanding that in the days leading up to Holy Week 2023, the FHNC was served with a “Cease and Desist Order.
Apart from the untimely and inappropriately heavy-handed legal tactic of WRNMMC, we are concerned that the Medical Center’s actions come dangerously close to denying the captive population of hospitalized patients their First Amendment rights to practice their religion in a federal facility. The Medical Center’s last-minute decision to provide Catholic services of the Celebration of Mass and the Administration of Confession by an ordained Catholic priest during the Holy Week does little to allay our concerns regarding the future of Catholic services at WRNMMC after the new, secular for-profit company contract is in place. Oftentimes in convalescence, a patient requires a mixture of medical care with spiritual care, with both being very important.
Clearly, WRNMMC’s recent decisions need to be revisited to ensure that the members of our military who so unselfishly and heroically made sacrifices for our country will enjoy the very freedom of religion they fought to protect."
In an effort to lure production companies back to Staten Island, Borough President Vito Fossella is urging the State Legislature to pass Gov. Kathy Hochul's Film Production Tax Credit Proposal.
Due to the uncertainty of the New York tax credit status, local film studios have suffered a drastic decline in production with many companies deciding to shoot in New Jersey which has a competitive tax credit.
“Production is down almost 90% from what it was a few years ago,” said Borough President Fossella during a press conference outside of Broadway Stages in Charleston on Monday, April 3. “Here we are in the first week of April and we have had one day of production. Historically, there were about 225 days of production, and on any given day, we would have 200 people working versus zero -- just do the math. We’ve seen it's crystal clear that when there was a tax credit, this place was flourishing. Without the tax credit, this place is dead.”
Among the biggest losses was the production of “Wu-Tang: An American Saga,” which spent $60M in filming its first season at Broadway Stages before filming the second and third seasons in New Jersey.
“They had their production offices on Staten Island, their carpentry shops, set dressing shops, scenic shops -- everything was on Staten Island,” said Tony Argento, the founder of Broadway Stages.
Borough President Fossella said filmmakers know Staten Island’s varied landscapes provide the perfect backdrops ranging from urban to rural settings. Film production also benefits small businesses with crews eating in our restaurants, shopping in our stores, and staying in our hotels.
“We urge the state legislature -- and we know they have a lot on their plate -- to pass the tax credit,” he said. “This is important for New York State, and specifically for Staten Island, because of the economic activity that flows from it.”
Borough President Vito was joined by Freshkills Park Administrator Mark Murphy and Borough Parks Commissioner Lynda Ricciardone in announcing the Freshkills Challenge, a 10K obstacle race.
The Freshkills Challenge will take place on April 30, serving as a replacement for the popular High Rock Challenge. As with the High Rock Challenge, the race will continue to honor NYPD Officer John Kelly, who was killed in the line of duty in 2000.
There will also be a new race this year: The Borough President’s Cup will pit members of the NYPD, FDNY, Sanitation Department, and Parks Department against each other to vie for the title of the fastest team among the city’s uniformed employees.
"We're very lucky here on Staten Island," said Borough President Fossella. "We have the best Borough Parks Commissioner, we have the greatest Police Department, the Fire Department is unmatched, and the Sanitation Department is very strong."
Murphy gave a hint of what participants can expect in the Freshkills Challenge without divulging the full course of obstacles.
“The Freshkills Challenge is not just a 10K gravel-road race for runners,” he said. “It’s a spartan-style race that will challenge the racers both physically and mentally and will challenge them on land and in water.”
Those interested in participating can pre-register or can register at the race on April 30.
Borough President Vito Fossella, Cancer Prevention in Action Partnership, Unveil New HPV Vaccine Ad in the St. George Ferry Terminal
Borough President Vito Fossella, Columbia University’s Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Richmond University Medical Centerhave partnered under the Cancer Prevention in Action (CPiA) grant to release an advertisement in the St. George Ferry Terminal about human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
The ad will run on the screen over the main ferry gates through April 2. The ad focuses on the HPV vaccine’s ability to prevent cancer, and tells viewers that they can get the vaccine starting at age nine by talking to their doctor or school-based health provider.
“The HPV vaccine is one of the few evidence-based tools in our tool box for preventing multiple cancers," said Dr. Ginny Mantello, Director of Health and Wellness for Borough President Fossella. "We owe it to our community, to parents, caregivers as well as their children to educate and update them on this valuable resource. We are grateful to the Columbia University Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center and RUMC for their partnership and help in moving this work forward and reducing the burden of cancer on Staten Island,” .
HPV can cause six different types of cancers in men and women, and is responsible for almost all cases of cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine, typically administered as two to three doses for children and adolescents beginning as early as age nine, is cancer prevention. It prevents over 90% of these six types of cancer, including cervical, vulvar, vaginal, penile, anal, and oropharyngeal (back of the throat) cancers. Among New York City’s five boroughs, Staten Island has the lowest HPV vaccination rate for adolescents with only about 22% of 13-year-olds having completed the HPV vaccination series, as compared to around 60% throughout New York City.
The Cancer Prevention in Action grant from the New York State Department of Health and Health has allowed this partnership to work together to provide education about HPV and the HPV vaccine to the Staten Island community.
“The Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia has been privileged to partner with Drs. Ginny Mantello and Ana Mendez and their extraordinary teams to develop and evaluate programs of outreach to reduce the cancer burden in Staten Island, which has some of the highest cancer rates and lowest HPV vaccination rates in New York State,” said Dr. Mary Beth Terry, Associate Director of the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement at Columbia University’s Cancer Center.
Dr. Ashley Stephens, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, has given three grand rounds lectures to medical professionals with CPiA about the science behind the HPV vaccine and how to overcome vaccine hesitancy among patients. Two of these lectures were at Staten Island University Hospital to their medicine and pediatrics departments, and one was at the pediatrics department at Richmond University Medical Center.
“The HPV vaccine is one of two vaccines that we have to prevent cancer, the other being Hepatitis B," said Dr. Stephens. "The vaccine is a very effective cancer prevention tool, and it’s so important that we equip health care providers with the tools to talk about this vaccine with their patients.”
Dr. Stephens has also worked alongside Dr. Ana Mendez, Chief of Ambulatory Pediatrics at RUMC’s Patient Centered Medical Home, to bring HPV education to the RUMC patient population and to train school-based health center staff at high schools about how to offer the HPV vaccine, manage HPV vaccine hesitancy, and answer common questions about the HPV vaccine.
“As healthcare providers, it’s our duty to educate our patients and their parents on the benefits of the HPV vaccine, providing them with the tools necessary to make an educated and informed decision on whether or not to receive the vaccination,” said Dr. Mendez.
CPiA has also partnered with Project Hospitality to bring HPV education to a primarily Spanish-speaking population on Staten Island. Dr. Mantello connected CPiA to Project Hospitality’s health pop-ups, which she helped to organize. These events provide free health screenings, vaccinations -- including the HPV vaccination -- and resources to people who would be otherwise unable to afford or access care.
They continue to partner with Project Hospitality on HPV vaccination education, along with skin cancer prevention education, which is also part of the work they do on Staten Island. “HPV vaccination and skin cancer risk reduction policy change and education are the core tenets of CPiA’s work. This year we plan to expand our partnerships with local organizations to work on reducing the cancer burden in Staten Island,” says CPiA Staten Island Project Director Maya Lipsman of Columbia University’s Cancer Center, Office of Community Outreach and Engagement.
For more information about the Cancer Prevention in Action program in Staten Island or if you are interested in scheduling HPV education for your organization, please email Maya Lipsman or visit the Take Action Against Cancer website.
Columbia University’s Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) was recently awarded a three-year grant by Cancer Prevention in Action (CPiA) of New York State Department of Health and Health Research, Inc. The award supports the HICCC’s work on skin cancer risk reduction and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination education in Staten Island. The HICCC is the first and only site in New York City to receive this competitive award by the CPiA program. HICCC has partnered with Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC) and the Office of the Staten Island Borough President to complete the activities of this grant. These partners make connections with local organizations to implement sun safety policies and deliver HPV vaccination education.
Borough President Vito Fossella reunited Joey DeRobertis and Mary Ansbro in a small gathering in his office after their chance meeting on crowded subway car headed to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade led to a heartwarming serenade.
“What we saw last week between these two young wonderful people, it was a beautiful moment that brought joy to a lot of people,” said Borough President Fossella. “Most importantly to the families, we say thank you for giving us these two young, beautiful people. It is a reminder of how much in life is love and unity that conquers everything -- and of all places, on the subway.”
Joey was singing while taking the R train to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade with his friends. Mary, a student at the Hungerford R. Hungerford School, who was on the train with her family, requested he sing a song with her name in it. Joey, a 2022 graduate of St. Peter’s Boys High School, was happy to oblige and had the perfect song at the ready: “The Wanderer” by Dion.
Passengers on the subway car joined in the singsong with the line, “Oh well, there's Flo on my left arm and there's Mary on my right.” At the end of the song, Mary gave Joey a big hug.
Borough President Fossella was so moved by the touching scene that he invited the duo into Borough Hall.
He put Joey on the spot and asked him for a reprise. Without hesitation, Joey launched into “The Wanderer” as Mary sat behind Vito’s desk. Borough President Fossella said the act of kindness “hit home” on Staten Island.
“It’s representative of and reflected in what we like to think our community is all about -- being there for each other, making someone smile, making someone laugh,” said Borough President Fossella. “Joey, you did that last week for Mary, and we wanted to take this moment on behalf of the half-a-million people here, and I am sure beyond Staten Island to thank you. Sometimes, we give a certificate of appreciation, but because this is a song-based, we’re going to give you a note of appreciation.”
To Joey and Mary, we thank you for making us all smile.
Borough President Vito Fossella and District Attorney Michael McMahon hosted a Vietnam Veterans "Welcome Home Breakfast" on Wednesday in the Hilton Garden Inn.
The breakfast was a way to finally say "thank you" to Vietnam Veterans, many of whom did not receive a warm welcome when they arrived back to the United States after their service. In a special touch, the breakfast took place on the 50th anniversary of when the last troops left Vietnam and the final group of American prisoners of war were freed and left Hanoi.
"We would not have the life we have today if it were not for those who dedicated their lives to protect the freedoms and people of our great nation,” said Borough President Fossella. "Our Vietnam Veterans were not appreciated appropriately when they came home from war, but we are forever grateful for their service and heroism and will continue to thank them every chance we can."
A “white table” was in the room to honor prisoners of war and soldiers who went missing in action. The table was set with silverware, a rose, a lit candle, a white tablecloth -- and an empty chair.
Also in attendance were Korean War veterans and Lt. Anthony Aquaro, a 102-year-old World War II veteran and retired firefighter.
At the end of the breakfast, the veterans were presented with a custom challenge coin as a symbol of thanks and appreciation.
To all of our veterans and those still serving today, we offer our thanks.
Vito announced the continuation and expansion of the veteran discount program during a press conference in Rab’s Country Lanes in New Dorp.
He was joined by Staten Island Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC) President and CEO Michael Cusick and Staten Island Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Linda Baran, along with veterans and business owners.
The veteran discount program was started in 2012 by then-Assemblyman Cusick.
“One thing we all share on Staten Island, regardless of where you live or who you are, is that we love and cherish our veterans for their service to our nation,” said Borough President Fossella. “Our veterans are what makes this the greatest country in the world.”
There are more than 200 participating businesses which provide veterans with discounts of up to 10% for goods and services.
“Our businesses are very patriotic – they want to help our veterans,” said Assemblyman Cusick.
Businesses wishing to participate can fill out this form on the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce's website. Veterans wishing to receive a discount card can call Bobby Aanonsen at the SIEDC at 718-477-1400, ext. 827
Borough President Vito Fossella, District Attorney Michael McMahon Announce Bread Of Life Food Drive
Borough President Vito Fossella was joined by District Attorney Michael McMahon and students from across Staten Island to announce the 32nd annual Notre Dame Bread of Life Food Drive during a press conference in Borough Hall.
For the second year, the food drive’s catchphrase is "Fight Hunger, Not Each Other," which gives students an opportunity to contribute to the community in light of recent violent incidents in schools.
Students in both public and private schools will collect food for the drive, which will be distributed to 25 non-profit organizations on Staten Island that serve individuals and families in need of food.
“We always hear about a handful of bad kids, but the vast majority want to help their fellow sister and their fellow brother,” said Borough President Fossella. “That is what the Bread Of Life Food Drive is all about. This has been a labor of love for us for so many years because it is so important to the people of Staten Island.”
Across the country, 285 cities in 34 states participate in their own Bread of Life Food Drives.
“It started right here on Staten Island and it became a national model by building on the love that is so strong here,” Vito said.
District Attorney McMahon touched on the catchphrase.
“Recently, there has been violence within and among the population of young people here in our borough and that is very concerning to us,” said District Attorney McMahon. “By focusing on the love between us and not the anger, this program is going to make sure we all have a bright future. I know that you are all leaders in your schools and will bring that message back.”
Bread of Life Executive Director Joseph Delaney thanked the students who participate each year.
“Last year, when we totaled up what we collected in the Bread of Life Food Drive, there was a 12% increase in school donations than the previous year,” he said. “I attribute a lot of it to this get together, to your impetus in getting this started and to this work that you are doing for us.”
Claire Atalla, the CEO of Catholic Charities of Staten Island, one of the recipients of the food drive, said the nonprofit recently shifted one of its main priorities to food insecurity.
“You would be surprised to know that many of your Staten Island neighbors are food insecure,” she said. “They are people who live paycheck to paycheck, who can barely make ends meet, who are disabled, who are single parents, who are the victims of domestic abuse, who are between jobs. It can happen to any of us at any time and our job is to rally around our neighbors to make sure we help each other out. ‘Fight Hunger, Not Each Other’ is a true testament to what we need to do.”
Since its inception, the Bread of Life Food Drive has collected and distributed more than two million food items. This year, participating schools will collect non-perishable items through April 1. The food will then be boxed at Monsignor Farrell High School and delivered to the recipient organizations.
'Be Bold, Be Creative, Be Innovative': Five Borough Minecraft Challenge Open to Staten Island Public School Students
Creativity, building, innovation, letting your imagination run wild -- that is what is behind the Department of Education’s Minecraft Education Challenge.
Borough President Vito Fossella announced Staten Island’s participation in the five-borough competition for public school students in grades K-12 during a press conference at Wagner College on March 8.
He was joined by Department of Education representatives and Wagner College President Angelo Araimo. Also participating were students from Staten Island Tech, CSI High School for International Studies, New Dorp High School, Tottenville High School, Curtis High School, Susan E. Wagner High School, and McKee High School.
In the Minecraft Education Challenge, students will build a space that answers the question: “How can we create a safe, connected, resilient, and sustainable borough that moves NYC forward without leaving anyone behind?”
“Education can be exhilarating, it can be boring, it can be a lot of different things, but in this case, you can have as much fun as you want,” said Borough President Fossella. “This is a blank canvas. Be bold, be creative, be innovative.”
To participate, Staten Island students can create a team and submit their design by April 5. The teams selected will move onto a qualifying round and compete against other borough schools in a live challenge. The winning teams from the qualifying round will compete for the Borough Champion on May 13 at Wagner College.
That team will move on to the Mayor’s Cup and vie to become NYC Battle of the Borough’s Champion.
“Let yourselves shine,” said Borough President Fossella. “There are no limitations to this, you have the freedom of you own mind to be your tour guide -- and at the end of the day, we want to bring a winner home to Staten Island.”
Borough President Vito Fossella was surrounded by students from P.S. 78 to announce that the public playground adjacent to the school will be secured exclusively for their use during their recess.
The announcement came a month after the Stapleton school’s windows were pierced by bullets from a nearby shooting. Nobody was hurt in the incident.
Securing the playground exclusively to the P.S. 78 students is a collaboration with the City Department of Education, the City Parks Department, and District Attorney Michael McMahon.
“We walked around the playground and within a couple of days, thanks to the way government should work for the people starting with the mayor and all the way down to the Department of Education and the Parks Department, we were able to secure this facility for the children everyday between the hours of 9 o’clock and 2 o'clock for them to enjoy,” Borough President Fossella said during a press conference on March 8.
Principal Jodi Contento said collaboration is one of the core values taught at P.S. 78.
“Nobody could do it alone,” she said. “For me, this is about taking something negative that happened -- and we’re thankful that nobody got hurt -- and turning it into a positive. What happened was we were able to identify one of our needs. So, when the DA and the Borough President came, they asked us what it was that we needed. I told them that one thing that could be a quick fix is that we don’t have a playground. We don’t have a place that is just for P.S. 78."
She said gates and signage will be installed to alert the community about the new use of the playground during weekdays.
“This is a public playground, and of course we want the community to enjoy it, but we have to ensure that my 600 students who are going to come outside have a place to play that’s safe during these hours,” she said.
The students passed around the microphone to talk about the importance of having a playground to call their own.
“We need recess, because we have to take out all our energy, because in class we’re just sitting down and learning,” said Stanlee Uruchima, president of the third-grade student council. “We want to run around and play games and have fun.”
Borough President Vito Fossella joined Councilman David Carr to announce a more than $3M renovation to the Midland Beach Playground announce a more than $3M renovation of the Midland Beach Playground, which is adjacent to P.S. 38. The renovations will feature new play equipment, a safety surface, seating, landscaping, and fencing.
He recalled walking by the park when he was a student at Egbert (I.S. 2) Intermediate School.
“It’s a vital part of the community,” said Borough President Fossella. “I used to see this park all the time and nothing has really changed. It does serve P.S. 38, and it serves it well, but anybody who drives by here on a nice spring or summer afternoon knows that this is very well used by the Midland Beach community. This is why we come together because the public space, the parks, and the playgrounds make life just a little bit better, especially for young families who want to watch their kids enjoy aimless time instead of watching their phone.”
The allocations include $2.4M in funding from Borough Hall and $1.8M in City Council funding.
“It’s an investment that’s definitely needed because it’s been well over two decades since there was substantial investment to make this a truly operating playground,” said Councilman Carr.
A community input meeting will be held in the spring, which will include students from P.S 38.
“We like to meet with the kids because they’re the ones who give us the best ideas for what they want to see in their local playground,” said Joe Homsey, chief of staff to Staten Island Borough Parks Commissioner Lynda Ricciardone.
Watch the full press conference here.
(Photo courtesy of the Staten Island Advance/Paul Liotta)
Borough President Vito J. Fossella celebrated "Ralph Lamberti Day" to thank our 12th Borough President for his powerful advocacy of Staten Island during an intimate ceremony with family and friends at Borough Hall.
Mr. Lamberti served as the Deputy Borough President from 1974 to 1984 and then as Borough President from 1984 to 1989.
“There are so many memories,” said Mr. Lamberti, sitting at his old desk alongside former Borough President James P. Molinaro. “It wasn’t just about sitting inside -- but about going outside to make a difference for the public. The public was involved in everything we did.”
Borough President Fossella said the role of the Borough President is to act for the improvement of Staten Island and to work across party lines.
“No matter who we are or where we’re from, it doesn’t matter,” said Borough President Fossella. “The reality is that we all love Staten Island, and we just want to make this place better for our kids and grandchildren.”
Mr. Lamberti's wife, children, and grandchildren spoke about his use of the term “we are family,” to incorporate all of Staten Island.
“Recognition at this point is very meaningful,” said Mr. Lamberti's wife, Susan. “His life was devoted, and I was happy they mentioned ‘we are family,’ because I think that was the spirit that he shared.”
As the ceremony came to a close, Borough President Fossella presented Mr. Lamberti with a framed portrait.
“Your accomplishments are countless: You fought City Hall to expand services on Staten Island, created more parkland, and secured funding for the arts. As a student at Curtis High School, you played football for Andrew J. Barberi and later successfully urged NYC to name a ferryboat after the legendary coach.”
Borough President Fossella also praised Susan for always championing Ralph’s efforts and making her own positive impact on the lives of Staten Islanders.
“To Ralph and Susan, we thank you for your everlasting commitment to Staten Island,” he said. “You are true examples of selfless leadership.”
Borough President Vito J. Fossella gathered his fellow elected officials and representatives from a number of city agencies to discuss traffic and transit issues plaguing Staten Island, as well as to share ideas about potential solutions, during a Transportation Summit in Borough Hall on Tuesday.
“It’s common knowledge that one of the most important quality-of-life issues on Staten Island is traffic and transportation,” said Borough President Fossella. “We thought it would be worthwhile to collect all the elected officials and representatives, as well as some of the major stakeholders who get things done, to highlight what we thought are the major priorities to improve traffic conditions, to enhance safety, to expedite the flow of traffic while maintaining safety and to speak with one solid voice on these priorities.”
Here are the priorities they outlined:
Borough President Vito KJ Fossella kicked off the 27th annual “Readers Are Leaders” challenge at PS 8 in Great Kills on Tuesday, addressing the fourth-grade students about the importance of reading.
“This program is to encourage and to inspire those who like to read, but it’s also trying to get to those who don’t necessarily like to read,” said Borough President Fossella.
“Readers Are Leaders” challenges fourth-grade students in the borough’s public, parochial and private schools to read a minimum of five books in five weeks.
Students then submit a report or interpretation in their own creative way on their favorite book read during the five-week period -- it could be in the form of a skit, a diorama box, video, interview with a favorite character, book report, or another creative way the student chooses. Each school then selects one “Super Reader” to receive an award at a ceremony in May.
The challenge began in 1996 when Borough President Fossella was the Councilman representing Staten Island’s South Shore and it was later taken over by Borough Hall. Since its inception, fourth-graders graders have read more than 780,000 books for the annual challenge -- that amounts to over 29 billion words read.
“It’s something we’re very proud of,” said Borough President Fossella. “It’s one of the better things I ever had the privilege of doing, and I just hope, even if it makes a difference in one child’s life, we’ve done good.”
At the end of program, the PS 8 students wowed us with a dazzling performance of “A Backstreet Valentine’s Day.”
We thank the students and staff of PS 8 for welcoming us into their school and we look forward to another successful year of reading for all of Staten Island’s fourth-grade students.
Schools wishing to participate can email email@example.com.
Borough President Vito Fossella Helps NYPD Launch 'Digital Age:' Cyberbullying Workshops For Schools
Borough President Vito Fossella announced the launch of the NYPD’s “Digital Age,” a boroughwide cyberbullying workshop designed for students and parent during an assembly at Totten (I.S. 34) Intermediate School.
“It used to be if there was an argument or a fistfight in the hallway, it was over in about six minutes,” said Borough President Fossella. “People made up, they forgot about it, and who knows, maybe they became good friends for the rest of their lives. But social media now can take that hallway incident and put it around the school and beyond in three minutes. It could lead to tragedy.”
“Digital Age” will bring specially-trained police officers into school classrooms and assemblies to educate students about the potential harmful effects of cyberbullying. There will be workshops for parents in the evenings to teach them how to recognize and react to the signs of cyberbullying, as well as the ways it can be prevented. Mental health resources will also be provided for students who are the victims of cyberbullying.
Students and parents will be educated about the serious criminal charges that can result from cyberbullying, as well as the false sense of security that deleting posts or profiles completely removes them from browser history.
“The continuing support of the Borough President is essential in helping our Too Good for Drugs program evolve as issues for young people do,” said Detective Derek Brown of Patrol Borough Staten Island. “Our youth are immersed in the digital world so it’s our team’s responsibility to make sure it is a safe space for them to grow as they step into the Digital Age.”
Borough President Fossella called on students to take action when they witness a case of bullying.
“For the life of me, I can’t fathom watching someone who is being hurt, abused, or pummeled and standing there and doing nothing,” he said. “I can’t imagine why you would want to videotape it and broadcast if for the world to see. If you’re ever in that situation, don’t be the one videotaping it -- step in and call for help instead of being a spectator. As much as technology has changed, one thing that hasn’t changed is the fundamental principle of treating somebody as you want to be treated yourself. If everybody does that in life, we wouldn’t have these issues of bullying and cyberbullying.”
Schools interested in setting up a workshop should contact Detective Brown or Police Officer Kevin Moore at 718-667-2200.
Watch the full press conference here.