‘A long labor of love’ for Island Park school

After nine months and a $5.1 million bond, elementary school reopens


There was a time in her career when a major concern for Dr. Rosmarie Bovino, then the director of the Chinese International School in Hong Kong, were the typhoons that regularly swept into Hong Kong from the China Sea.

Today, Bovino is the superintendent of schools for the Island Park schools and has now faced down and conquered a hurricane that was more devastating than any typhoon she faced in her five years in the Far East.

The district has two schools — the Francis X. Hegarty school, which houses students from kindergarten to grade and the Lincoln Orens Middle School, which houses grades six through 8. Island Park students go either to Long Beach High School or West Hempstead High School after completing middle school.

The raging waters of Sandy swamped both buildings last Oct.

The elementary school suffered eight feet of water in the boiler room and three feet of water throughout the rest of the building. While Lincoln Orens reopened weeks after the storm, Hegarty did not reopen until last week.

Standing inside the elementary school’s gymnasium on Sept. 3, Bovino glowed as she looked at the rejuvenated room and the young students who were leaving their parents to go to their classrooms with their teachers.

“This has been such a labor of love to get back into this building,” Bovino said. It took a community, the community of Island Park.”

District residents overwhelmingly passed a $5.1 million bond earlier this year, Bovino said, adding that her staff worked tirelessly right after the storm to find students that had been forced to other communities by the flood waters and then to get the school and the new core curriculum ready for the traditional school opening last week.

Bovino, 60, who has now been in Island Park for 12 years – eight as the assistant superintendent and the remainder as superintendent -- sat back in her new office in what was once the town library building last month and told the Herald about her experiences during the aftermath of Sandy and her plans for the coming school year.

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