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Finley embraces new student spaces

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After nearly a year of work, the Robert M. Finley Middle School and Glen Cove Education Foundation celebrated the grand opening of the school’s student lounge and courtyard area on Oct. 21. The lounge, formerly the school’s home economics and career room, now houses an air hockey, ping-pong and foosball table for students’ use. The courtyard was also filled with additional games and has tables for students to enjoy their lunches outside.

Middle School Principal Nelson Iocolano said that the school’s Positive Behavior Interventions and Support committee spearheaded the student lounge and courtyard projects after the committee met with other PBIS members from all over Long Island. Assistant Principal Tom Pye, who oversaw the committee, said that the new spaces would be available to students who receive approval from their teachers based on their good behavior.

“More than 60 kids are using the space right now and it can serve about 300 kids a week during their lunch breaks,” Pye said.

As Pye credited the idea behind the lounge to schoolteachers Kelly Durham and Jackie Burnett, he added that the project could have never been completed without the funding from the Glen Cove Education Foundation, a nonprofit that works to raise money for new programs and initiatives in the Glen Cove City School District. Danielle Fugazy Scagliola, the president of Education Foundation, and school officials said that transforming the courtyard to a place to one that students could enjoy was a difficult venture.

The courtyard had long been sealed off and was inaccessible. School officials needed the help of the Glen Cove Fire Department to reopen the space. Tony Ranieri and Roland Cabo, of Gold Coast Property Maintenance, volunteered to clean up the area, which had been overrun by the roots of two large trees. Angelo Stanco, of American Paving, also volunteered to power wash the courtyard tiles. The middle school’s Junior Honor Society students helped plant flowers throughout the space in September.

“To have this open for the students is great because now they have a place of their own for a little relaxation time,” Fugazy Scagliola said.

Pye added that the school is looking to acquire extra tables in order for students to still enjoy their lunches in the new spaces during bad weather. He added that as the spaces continue to evolve, the school could even open it up for future community events.