I would like to take this moment to thank all those involved in making our third annual SEF SEPTA (Special Education Parents Teachers Association representing the Sewanhaka High School Ditsrict and the elementary districts of Elmont and Floral Park Bellerose) Titans Turkey Bowl such a great success. This event was started to enhance disability awareness in our community. We had more than 30 players this year, combining students with disabilities, peer mentors from both elementary schools participating in the Hance Family Foundation “you and me” program, and the Floral Park Titan football players. All joined on the field for a fun filled day of touch football at the Floral Park Recreation Field. The morning started off with breakfast donated by supportive parents and representatives from the Hance Family Foundation. The weather cooperated with a beautiful fall day full of sunshine. The Titan coaches, led by Ed Laskowski took the reins by 11 a.m. to start the game. The kids played their hearts out as the spectators cheered with support from the sidelines. The game ended in a tie and a medal ceremony was conducted immediately after the game. Each player was awarded a medal from our guest of honor, the one and only “Santa,” followed by lunch served by Buddy’s BBQ. All participants enjoyed hot cider, hamburgers, hotdogs, hot pretzels and snacks. Everyone had a fabulous time and it would not have been so successful without all the help and donations from so many.
I would like to thank the following people for their support: Titans President Al Cappelli; Deb, Ed and the entire Laskowski family; Titan coaches John Fitzpatrick and Jim Flanagan; Mike Early, who came to coach the kids after working all night; Buddy Moore for volunteering his grill and BBQ skills; Kim Flanagan, Rich Whiting, Rich Esposito and Felicia Scala, who made sure no burger was left un-flipped; Richie Sparacio, owner of O’Dowds Public House for his generous donation of hot cider and beef; Pete Previte for his annual donation of hot dogs; and the employees from the Recreation Center who made sure the day ran smoothly with Christmas music enjoyed by all.
In addition the unsung heroes must be thanked: the teachers, administrators and teaching support staff, especially Lanie Barreyre whose consistent efforts and enthusiasm allows this program to continue; the Hance Family Foundation, for their generous donation; the volunteers from the local high schools: Cody Plante, John Paul Incantalupo, Michael Milatello and Erin Bucchino; Joan Lawrence, for all your help with registration; and the Floral Park community who came up to lend a hand, watch the game, take photos, and join in the fun. A big round of cheers goes out to the Titan players who understand the meaning of support and teamwork and all the kids who joined us on the field, including Peer Mentor Charlie Meyers, who sprained his hand at a soccer game the day prior and still came out to support his friends and teammates. A special thanks goes out to the Floral Park Police who made sure Santa’s arrival was safe and secure and Santa himself who delivered the spirit of Christmas through his love and support to us all this holiday season.
The Floral Park Bellerose School District and our community have taken the lead in sending out the message that Disability is just another form of “Ability,” that acceptance and awareness can make a difference and one small football game can make a memory last a lifetime! Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy New Year!