Quietly Giving Back

Left to right: Adam Pollack, Brian Garcia, Alex Enriquez, and Ben Pollack delivering a clients luggage to their Fire Island home.
Left to right: Adam Pollack, Brian Garcia, Alex Enriquez, and Ben Pollack delivering a clients luggage to their Fire Island home.

This story could very easily be about Ben and Adam Pollack, two high-achieving students who are now seniors at Syosset High School. And it could just as easily be about Brian Garcia and Alex Enriquez, two South Huntington sixth graders whose lives have been anything but normal. But it’s not. This story is about two incredible teachers who have worked together to give back in our community.

But let’s start with the Pollack brothers. These Syosset seniors wanted to show that with entrepreneurial spirit and determination, young people could create and operate a successful business, before college or even without going to college.

The Pollack boys created and now operate a highly successful small business on Fire Island called “wagoning,” and they wanted to share their experience by mentoring younger students. Through their neighbor, Oakwood teacher Ms. Jennifer Lembo, the boys desire to teach others was brought to the attention of Ms. Alice Macner, a teacher and Ms. Lembo’s coworker at Oakwood.

Mentoring in South Huntington is not anything new. We have highlighted before the wonderful work being done with the mentoring component of our Excel program. But perhaps what quietly slips by are the many instances in which our staff members discreetly give back to the community. They simply do, because it’s the right thing to do, and their compassion for others doesn’t end with the dismissal bell. 

Ms. Lembo and Ms. Macner taught Brian and Alex as they progressed through Oakwood, and both teachers knew these two would be perfect candidates for the Pollack brothers’ mentoring opportunity. “Both Jenn and I picked up Brian and Alex and had them spend the day with the Pollacks on Fire Island, where they learned how to meet the ferry, transport the passengers’ suitcases, and charge a fee for their service. It was a day of sharing and fun for all of us involved,” said Ms. Macner. “Brian and Alex learned valuable lessons from their mentors and earned their very first pay check for their work.”

Both Ms. Lembo and Ms. Macner would have preferred that we left their names off this story altogether and make it all about the boys. But what we are finding is that these two educators are not the only ones in the district who routinely give of themselves.  Whether as are members of their church or synagogue or a community outreach program, there are many staff members who quietly mentor in their community.

We thank both Ms. Lembo and Ms. Macner for their compassion. And we thank all of our unsung staff members who give so much of themselves so that we can all have a better community.