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Thursday, May 26, 2016
‘Smash’ hits the Rock!
(Page 2 of 3)
Heidi Gutman
East Rockaway students paint the set.
East Rockaway High School
443 Ocean Ave.
Ocean Ave.
East Rockaway, NY 11518

“This isn’t just an auditorium,” said East Rockaway Schools Superintendent Dr. Roseanne Melucci. “This is the heart of our school community. This is the stage our school community uses for public meetings [and] celebrations of our students’ successes. This is the stage where our students’ grandparents, mothers and fathers stood to graduate from this school, and this year’s class of 2013 must continue in the tradition. We must restore this space to be better than ever to show this community that there is hope and there is progress and that we are going to be OK.”

The tidal surge that hit the school during Hurricane Sandy caused an estimated $10 million in damage. The auditorium was flooded by over four feet of water, which destroyed the stage, seats, curtains and props. At the time, the students were planning to present the musical “Seussical,” and they ultimately performed excerpts of the production on a Malverne school stage last month, as a fundraiser for the ERHS auditorium.

“Our Lowe’s heroes are eager to help the students at East Rockaway get their theater performance-ready,” said Joan Higginbotham, the company’s director of community relations.

“During our site visits last year … we saw firsthand how the current economic climate has not only decimated our nation’s art programs, it has delayed desperately needed repairs in school theaters,” said Timothy Allen McDonald, founding chairman of iTheatrics. “‘Smash,’ Lowe’s and Rebuilding Together are doing more than improving school theater programs across the nation — they are shining the spotlight on inspiring schools deserving of support. We hope that community members and businesses will follow their lead and find their own ways to make a difference.”


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In the year 2000, the East Rockaway High School (ERHS) alumni accepted donations for replacing the seats in the ERHS auditorium. In thanks for the donation, a brass plaque was attached to the right armrest of a seat donated for with an inscription originating from the alumni donation. A charge for the plaque and inscription was the donated amount.

At my last reunion I found my inscription on the armrest of a seat I donated for. This was a truly "thank you for your donation" and served as a remembrance to previous alumni for all to see at events and school assemblies.

Will these plaques be removed from the old seats and placed on the new seats? They should be as they do have a historical value and record to be remembered.

A second plaque should be added to the seat stating the origin of the first plaque. Donations could be solicited for this additional plaque.

Please submit this comment as a suggestion when costing the new auditorium. The ERHS alumni association would be more than happy to supply the names of the doners and inscriptions to preserve the previous history.

Thank you and with best regards,

Charles J. Hermes

Class of '55 ERHS

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