February 20, 2013 | 431 views
Community fights for sports
High school board hears pleas to save rifle, bowling teams
Students, parents and graduates came out in support of sports teams that could be cut next year under a preliminary budget plan presented by Valley Stream Central High School District administrators.
At the Feb. 12 Board of Education meeting at Memorial Junior High School, trustees were urged to keep the rifle, bowling and golf teams. Just a week earlier, it was revealed that those three sports could be eliminated as district officials seek to cut $2.65 million in order to meet the state’s tax levy cap.
Most of the support was for the bowling teams at the three high schools, as well as the district-wide rifle team.
“Cutting these sports, no matter what sport it is, you’re taking away our lives, our dreams, our heart,” said Central High School junior Chris Messina, a member of the bowling team. “You’re taking away everything.”
Messina, who spoke on behalf of bowlers at all three schools, said he would be disappointed if the sport was cut in his senior year. He also explained that being on the team has kept him motivated to do better in school.
Speaking in support of the rifle team was its captain, Central High School senior Danielle Cuomo. In what was perhaps the most emotional speech of the night, Cuomo cited her many accomplishments, including setting a county record, ranking high in the state and taking part in the Junior Olympics. Being on the rifle team, she said, was also a key factor in her acceptance into the United States Military Academy next year. She will head to West Point in the fall as a cadet and a rifle competitor.
The Valley Stream rifle team has won six straight state championships, and seven of the last eight titles. “I have been blessed to be on teams that have gone undefeated, and they are Nassau County and New York state high school champions,” Cuomo said. “We are a proud group of kids. We work hard for our sport. We work hard at school and we demonstrate a proud posture in our conduct.”