Community fights for sports
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Nick Novello, a South High graduate, was a member of the rifle team from 2005 to 2008, and competed for four years at Ohio State University. While at South, he also qualified for the Empire State Games and the Junior Olympics. “The opportunities that this team gave me were once in a lifetime,” he said, adding that it would be a crime to cut the sport given the many scholarship opportunities it creates.
Joanne Cuomo, Danielle’s mother and a member of the rifle team herself in the late 1970s, presented the board with a list of athletes from the past two decades who have qualified for full or partial scholarships because of their success on the rifle team.
Denise Diodato, the mother of a rifle team member, noted that the sport has been in the district since the 1930s, and its non-contact nature creates a level playing field for all participants. It is also one of the few co-ed teams.
Angela and Joe Lucente spoke up for the bowling team. Their daughter, Maria, bowls for the North squad. “We will do whatever it takes to keep bowling in the high school budget,” Angela said, adding that her daughter is hoping to get a college bowling scholarship and is even hoping to turn pro.
Michele Marcus, the South bowling coach for seven years, said that the teams at all three high schools have a history of success. Valley Stream makes up three-fifths of Conference VI, she explained, so the elimination of bowling would affect other schools as well.
“For a significant number of our kids, bowling is the only sport that provides the opportunity for them to be a member of a team,” she said. “It means everything to these kids.
“If you ever hear someone mention bowling is not a real sport,” she added, “come out one day and watch the enormous talent of our Valley Stream students.”
Board of Education President Tony Iadevaio said that none of the cuts are final, and that the 2013-14 budget is still in its preliminary stage. No board member wants to make these cuts, he said, but trustees must assemble a budget that the taxpayers can afford. He added that there is no way to make $2.65 million in cuts without some impact on students and staff.