By Steven Chen
The Great Neck Chinese Association (GNCA) recently hosted a successful Education Panel Discussion at the Great Neck Main Library.
Six Great Neck Public Schools (GNPS) principals shared their expertise as panelists: Sharon Fougner of E.M. Baker, Emily Zucal of Lakeville, Dr. Gerald Cozine of North Middle School, Dr. James Welsch of South Middle School, Daniel Holtzman of North High School and Dr. Christopher Gitz of South High School.
More than 130 Great Neck residents attended the session, including current members of the GNPS Board of Education (BOE) and the school district superintendent, Dr. Teresa Prendergast.
Before the panel discussion began, GNCA presented its Lifetime Community Service Award to Dr. Lawrence R. Gross, the recently retired BOE member who served the school district for more than 36 years.
The panel discussion answered the event topic, What Makes a Successful Student? The principals presented some of the criteria necessary for becoming a successful student, which included academic and athletic achievements, as well as the curiosity and thirst for learning.
Panelists also answered a variety of questions from the audience, ranging from the planned changes to the New York State Common Core standards to the possibility of adding a selection of languages at the elementary-school level.
The principals also discussed how the school district helps new immigrant families and students assimilate into the schools and the community, and highlighted some of the programs that the schools have to help students find their inner peace.
The key takeaway was that grit, perseverance and fortitude are more important than intelligence and talent. Being action takers, and striving to be responsible contributors to the society, will automatically allow our children to be successful students.