Retiring Riverhead school staffers recognized

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Retiring district employees, from left, Arthur Rowland, Mary Anne Harroun, Joan Heppner,Theresa Hubbard and Michael Slovensky were all honored for their combined 175 years of service Tuesday night.

Six retiring Riverhead school employees, including a math teacher, a bus driver and a school clerk, were honored at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

Board members handed out plaques and read resolutions praising Arthur Rowland, Joan Heppner, Michael Slovensky, Theresa Hubbard and Mary Anne Harroun for their dedication and roughly 175 years of combined service.

A sixth retiree, nurse Jacqueline Paskiewicz, could not attend and will be honored at the board’s next meeting on June 26.

Mr. Rowland has taught mathematics at Riverhead High School and Riverhead Middle School for 35 years, district officials said. A former U.S. Army pilot in the Vietnam War, Mr. Rowland “gave his pupils the structure they needed along with his patience” and was beloved for his dry sense of humor, according to the resolution read in his honor by board president Ann Cotten-Degrasse.

Ms. Heppner began working as a teacher’s aid 38 years ago, and later became a clerk typist at the Middle School. She helped with school events, including the back to school and academic awards nights.

Ms. Heppner also made sure that each student and staff member received a card on their birthday.

A district bus driver for 18 years, Mr. Slovensky received a 15-year accident-free driving award from the district this year. He was a “dedicated and conscientious driver” who was “respected by students, parents, staff and administration,” according to the resolution in his honor.

Ms. Hubbard worked as a computer lab assistant for 23 years in the district.

Ms. Hubbard “went above and beyond her assigned duties” and helped put together the PowerPoint presentations for the district’s moving up ceremony, Ms. Cotten-Degrasse said.

Pulaski Street Elementary School teacher Mary Anne Harroun worked for 31 years in the district. She was a Girl Scout leader, a department chairperson, and was named the Elementary Faculty Member of the Year in 2010.

Ms. Harroun also was a key organizer in the annual PFC Garfield Langhorn Writing Contest, and the board credited her with making the hometown war hero and Medal of Honor recipient a part of the school’s culture.

“I started out as a dreamer and am walking away with my head still in the clouds,” Ms. Harroun once told friends and colleagues, according to a resolution. “The blessing of hard work in an environment your cherish, doing what you were born to do well, it doesn’t get any better.

“It’s quite a view looking at the world from this place.”

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