It’s been an interesting year for District 13’s various summer programs, which are well under way at Howell Road School. But spirits are high despite a change in venue and some extremely hot weather.
This is the first year that the summer recreation program has been held at just one school. Typically, the children and their counselors are spread out among two schools, but there is construction going on throughout the district, making Howell Road the only building available. And even that school wasn’t ready at the start — the first week of the program was held at North High.
Denise DeMeo, the summer school principal, said the transition from North to Howell went smoothly for children and staff in the recreation program. There is also a summer hockey league, special education and ESL classes, and a music program being run by the Central High School District.
The recreation program is the centerpiece of District 13’s summer activities. There are 269 children ranging from incoming kindergartners to soon-to-be sixth-graders. They are led by a staff of 34 people, including counselors, teachers and building directors, and helped out by two dozen volunteers.
“It’s a really relaxed atmosphere,” said counselor Vincent DiSibio. He attended the program as a child, then became a volunteer when he was in ninth grade at North High. Soon to begin his senior year at Fairleigh Dickenson University, DiSibio finds it hard to imagine a summer without being part of the program.
He leads a group of fifth- and sixth-grade boys, and says his primary responsibilities are making sure they are having fun and staying safe. DiSibio added that he sees himself as a role model for them.
Chris Snagg, who attended Howell Road School and graduated from Central High, is working with the program for the eighth time. As a sports exercise major at Adelphi University, he said he enjoys being able to organize events for his campers that keep them active.
Watching the children make new friends is the most rewarding part of Snagg’s job. “I get to leave them with a month-long full of memories,” he said.