As part of the town’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, seven local Hispanic-American residents, including Great Neck’s Ronald Gimondo and Silva Akerman, were honored on Sept. 27 by North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth and the town board for positively influencing the North Hempstead community.
Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated in the United States from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 and provides an opportunity to recognize the contributions made by Hispanic and Latino Americans and to celebrate the group’s history, heritage and culture.
The celebration begins on Sept. 15 because it’s the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16, 18 and 21, respectively.
“The individuals we are honoring for Hispanic-American Heritage month are truly an inspiration to us all,” Bosworth said. “They have put so much effort into bettering our community and the amount of dedication and devotion they have to the Town of North Hempstead is admirable.”
Gimondo was nominated for the award by Councilwoman Anna Kaplan for having a “positive influence” in the North Hempstead community as the current principal of John F. Kennedy Elementary School. The year of 2016 marks Gimondo’s 24th year working in an elementary school setting, his 11th year in Great Neck and his sixth as principal. His years of experience as an English as a Second Language teacher and assistant principal have prepared him for the challenges that the principal of the John F. Kennedy School faces daily.
“Mr. Gimondo’s mother emigrated from Argentina and his father from Italy. He is proud of his South American heritage,” the award proclamation says. “As principal of the Kennedy School, he is happy to help his Hispanic-American students and their families on a daily basis. The JFK community can count on Mr. Gimondo to be dependable, knowledgeable, trustworthy and loyal. He leads by example with integrity and has earned the respect of the staff, parents and, most importantly, the students.”
Akerman was honored by Council-woman Lee Seeman and has lived in Great Neck Estates since 1980. In Argentina, she was a biochemist and worked at a major hospital in Buenos Aires. After moving to Great Neck, Akerman conducted research in oncology at North Shore University Hospital and left to become a tutor in science at Great Neck North, where she still tutors. Akerman became vice president of the South Middle and South High School PTA and started Friends of the Library for the Hispanic population. She was a founding member and VP of the Hispanic Community of Great Neck (HCGN). She also started the Hispanic College Night.
Betty Rodriguez of Mineola, Yanira Chacon-Lopez of Westbury, Chris Alvarez of Albertson, Tony Colon of Garden City Park and Blanca Fabian of Port Washington were also honored.