Michael Arnone, part of the Glen Cove Class of 2000,...

Michael Arnone, part of the Glen Cove Class of 2000, came back home to teach at the Connolly Elementary School, where he once was a student in Glen Cove. Arnone poses with the school's principal, Rosemarie Sekelsky, right. (May 21, 2010) Credit: John Dunn

For third-grade teacher Michael Arnone, Room 106 at Connolly Elementary School in Glen Cove is quite familiar.

Arnone, 28, was a third-grade student himself in the same room where a wall of windows still looks out over green grass. He brought his old books from home for his current class - the words "Michael Arnone Room 106" inscribed inside.

"This class is actually pretty special and interesting," said Arnone, walking from desk to desk, helping students with a writing assignment. In his third year teaching in Glen Cove, he just received tenure.

"I always found that it made me happy being around kids and teaching and it was the one job I enjoyed when I woke up in the morning," Arnone said. "I love my kids. I am really nothing without them."

Arnone was a kindergartner at Connolly, one of the Class of 2000, when he was described in a 1987 story as the first in his class to memorize a poem about five little soldiers.

After attending Marist College, he got a master's degree in elementary education at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University.

Glen Cove schools, in particular their diversity, he said, "taught me right from wrong and how to be respectful and exposed me to a lot of other things so when I went away to college, I was more prepared."

When he was hired in Glen Cove, he didn't ask to be assigned to Connolly, he just ended up there. The same with Room 106 - a teacher retired, leaving the room open.

"He is the all-around teacher," said Principal Rosemarie Sekelsky. "He cares about social and academic growth. You see the class and say he has one of the best classes, but he has one of the best because he takes the time."

Arnone said he was quiet and reserved in school and keeps in touch with only a handful of friends from then. But now tenured, he said he plans to spend his career in the Glen Cove district.

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