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Winnicki (left) at Relay for Life

Letter to the Editor

Dear Families, Students, Principals, Teachers and Staff:

I am sending a BIG Thank You to all who made the Greenpoint-Williamsburg Relay for Life a successful District 14 initiative to support the American Cancer Society in their pursuit of cancer research that saves and improves lives of so many of our relatives and friends and ultimately, leads to “finishing the fight.”

Last Saturday, many of our schools showed up at the Relay for Life event and demonstrated what one strong school community can achieve when joining hands, forces, and creative ideas behind the important cause.

As we lined up behind the District 14 banner and to the marching tunes of the PS 257 band, we were joined and applauded by our elected officials and community representatives who are always there for us: Assemblyman Lentol, Assemblywoman Davila, Evelyn Cruz from the Office of Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, and Tesa Wilson , the D14 CEC President. The Greenpoint Lions, MS 126 Leos and St. Nick’s Alliance were also there to support our efforts and participate in the event.

Relay for Life brought our district schools together with local high schools: the Grand Street Campus with Dr. Jusino and Tommy Torres donated the space, while a dynamic dean and Greenpoint parent, Kelly Witkowski, led the cheerleaders from the Williamsburg Prep High School.

As I am awaiting the final tally of your amazing efforts (we are approaching $15, 000) to support the Relay, I want to thank all the Principals, Assistant Principals, Parent Coordinators, teachers, staff members, PTA presidents, parent leaders and families who made this district-wide initiative a success. We are a community that gives back and we believe that this is part of our character education to teach our students what the words service, compassion, citizenship, responsibility and respect mean. Throughout our engagement with the Relay for Life, we also had an opportunity to learn about families and friends of our students, about their brave fights with cancer. As Carmen Rosario, the Parent Coordinator from PS 120 said, “it was an eye opener how our families care about this cause and how generous they are to support it.” And, as PS 31 teacher LouAnn Gallo, informed me, “the fundraising thermometer continues to rise.” I am also grateful to the American Cancer Society, with Nancy Colt and Ben Messner, Senior Representatives, for bringing our district schools and the Wyckoff Hospital together, so we can foster a new collaboration that can benefit our students and their families. I also want to thank Caylin Nieto, who partnered with our schools and coordinated activities and programs supporting the fundraiser.

Once again, thank you for your tremendous support, amazing ideas for fundraising, and for your generosity in working towards “finishing the fight.”

Thank you for your dedication.

Alicja Winnicki

Alicja Winnicki is Community School District 14 Superintendent

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