Phillips Avenue honors two retiring staff members as well as the fourth grade class

The staff at Phillips Avenue Elementary School in Flanders rolled out the red carpet for two retiring staff members Friday.

During the parking lot celebration, Phillips Avenue principal Debra Rogers spoke about the unusual end of the school year. 

“We’ve been through a tremendous amount in the past couple months and the Phillips Avenue family never ceases to amaze me with our tenacity, the way that we’ve reached out to families and how dedicated we are,” she said.

The ceremony also featured staff member Elisa Gattuso singing ‘If We Hold On Together’ by Diana Ross.

Longtime school nurse Barbara Salmiery and custodian Darryl Miles are both set to retire this month and each made their way down the parking lot runway lined with their colleagues.

Ms. Rogers described Ms. Salmiery as a woman of “integrity” who goes above and beyond for the Phillips Avenue community. She has worked for the district for 20 years.

“She’s truly just a remarkable woman and will be such a huge loss for us at Phillips Avenue,” Ms. Rogers said.

Mr. Miles, a 32-year member of the district, was described as a “true man of faith” by the principal. “It doesn’t matter what needs to be done to get the job done, Darryl will do it. He pitches in and truly makes stuff happen for the kids at Phillips Avenue,” Ms. Rogers said.

Waiting at the end of the line were their families, as well as two North Fork Trolley cars to transport them for the final “honk-and-wave” parade to greet students throughout the neighborhood.

Members of the Flanders Fire Department and Southampton Police Department also participated in the parade, which doubled as a send-off for fourth graders moving up to Pulaski this year. Due to coronavirus restrictions, schools were unable to hold moving-up ceremonies for the students.