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Wednesday, December 17, 2014
A 114-year-old educational legacy ends
Graduates remember Far Rockaway High School as it ceases to exist
ANN E. FRIEDMAN
Courtesy Irene Steinberg Shapiro
Far Rockaway High School’s 114-year legacy will come to an end as the last graduating class walks across the stage on June 27. The building will be used to house several charter schools.

As Far Rockaway High School prepares for its last graduation on June 27, its alumni seek to remember the final graduating class and the school where they shared their most treasured memories.

The high school at 821 Bay 25th Street is being closed due to a decline in scholastic performance and graduation rates. The closure was announced in 2007. The building will remain open and house multiple charter schools. Among the school’s most notable alumni are three Nobel Prize winners: Baruch Samuel Blumberg, Richard Feynman and Burton Richter, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Congressman William Brunner and former Knicks player John Warren.

Woodmere resident and Class of 1945 graduate, Florence Miller, has wonderful memories from high school and said she saw the handwriting on the wall. “The area has changed so drastically,” she said. “Its one of the worst schools in the city and I figured, well maybe it’s time for it to close.”

During her student days, Miller was involved in the Red Cross, worked in the principal’s office and was in charge of getting advertisements for various school publications. “When I went to the school the area was still good and the school was wonderful,” she said. “It was the best in the world.”

More than 5,000 attended the school’s centennial celebration in 1997. It was there that the Alumni Association formed and members decided to commemorate their alma mater.

Alan ‘Skip’ Weinstock, Class of 1963 and a Concord, Calif. resident, decided to head the group and he bought the domain name, www.farrockaway.com, so alumni could post pictures, stories and reconnect. The website currently boasts more than 6,000 alumni who registered their contact information with Weinstock so their fellow classmates can contact them.

With the news of the high school closing, Marty Nislick, Class of 1962, wanted to do something for the last graduating class so he contacted Weinstock. “He (Nislick) suggested that the Alumni Association honor one of the graduates of the Class of 2011 with a cash scholarship,” Weinstock said. “Originally Nislick suggested $150 but after reaching out to the alumni, we’ll most likely be giving $2,000.”

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