Letter: Thank you, teachers

05/23/2013 6:00 AM |
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Riley Avenue School in Calverton.

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Riley Avenue School in Calverton.

To the Editor:

With graduation approaching, I cannot forget the dedication, inspiration and guidance of specific teachers and programs that tremendously benefited our son, Carlos.

While I have often railed against the unsustainability of the benefits and retirement packages at the expense of the beleaguered taxpayer, as well as the general edge that government workers have over those in the private sector these days, the aviation program provided by BOCES through the Southold School District and specific mentors set the stage for a truly exciting and richly rewarding career start for Carlos.

With over 2,000 flight hours already logged and positions from Guam to Ottawa, including flight instruction, first captain and advanced training of other pilots, he has been able to follow his dream.

An early mentor, Mrs. Madigan at the Riley Avenue Elementary School in Calverton channeled some of his apparent attention deficit issues in kindergarten into model rocket building and launching, which captivated him. Later on, after he made the cut into the aviation program, Mr. Dzenkowski was a role model and mentor.

Because of his and others’ dedication, and Carlos’ interest and aptitude for aviation, Carlos earned his private pilot’s license before graduating and was the keynote speaker at the aviation graduation ceremony. All this helped turn a youth who was not particularly thrilled with traditional academics into a good college student with an ongoing passion for aviation and a dedicated purpose in life.

This is all more than I could ever have foreseen during some of the more trying times early on. So, yes, for some graduates who may not have developed a clear idea of what kind of career they would like, or even what their skills and aptitudes are, I would always recommend looking into government work. But for other, such as our son, who have abiding passions, I recommend first following up on what they’re passionate about.

I’m sure they also have had mentors that they and their families will remember for years to come.

Thanks to the schools and teachers who made it possible for Carlos to embark on a rewarding career. At least for now.

Harry Katz, SOUTHOLD

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