My Turn, Life-changing incidents abound

Lynn Stankowitz of North Babylon writes about her Lynn Stankowitz of North Babylon writes about her challenges. Photo Credit: Handout

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My family had a great deal of financial difficulties that precluded me from attending college upon graduating from high school in 1965; I had to go to work to help the family.

I was often sorry that I did not have the opportunity to further my education, but life did go on: I married, had two children; we bought our first house, and I became a stay-at-home mom for a long time.

One summer evening when my husband came home from work, I asked him what he thought I had done that day. He was quite surprised and even more happy to find that I had registered for two courses at Suffolk Community College. It was my "life-changing incident."

After two semesters as a part-time student (I was working in an elementary school as a cafeteria aide and volunteering as the PTA president at the same time), I enrolled as a full-time student. Eventually, I made the dean's list every semester and became a scholarship recipient. I went on to graduate summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts from St. Joseph's College in Patchogue. After that, I went on to what is now LIU Post, where I earned my master's of science degree.

I worked for 10 years as a special-education teacher and then went back to school and earned my certificates in school district administration and supervision.

My wonderful husband has been nothing but supportive throughout my endeavors, whether it be by attending meetings or school field trips with me, taking care of home and hearth while I prepared for classes and tests, or by paying for tuition with never a complaint!

Upon completing the education requirements for supervision, I was immediately hired as the Lindenhurst High School Special Education chairwoman -- a position I held for 10 years.

During this period, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and took a four-month leave of absence. After I returned to work with the full support of teachers and administrators, I started to plan for my retirement. I made the decision to retire in June 2010.

There are still times when I miss the camaraderie of the district and the high school building itself. The people working for the district are one of its many strengths, but I have since been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and now I have another life-changing event for which I must channel my energy.

Incidentally, thanks to Facebook, I am in touch with many of those with whom I worked or supervised -- administrators, teachers and students.

I have been truly blessed, and I can say it's a wonderful life!

--Lynn Stankowitz,North Babylon

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