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Student refurbishes garden in teacher aide's memory

Northport High School senior Will Aguirre refurbished the

Northport High School senior Will Aguirre refurbished the library garden at Bellerose Avenue Elementary School in honor of a late teacher's aide. A Boy Scout, Aguirre posed with the Bellerose principal Lori Beekman. Photo Credit: Northport-East Northport School District

A Northport High School student recently spearheaded a project to refurbish a garden at Bellerose Avenue Elementary School in memory of longtime teacher's aide Fran Jasinkonis.

Senior Will Aguirre improved the East Northport school's library garden as a lasting tribute to Jasinkonis, who was fondly known as "Mrs. Jazz" and worked at the school 27 years before her retirement. She died in 2017 at age 83.

Jasinkonis was known for her efforts to model "respect, acceptance and kindness to all students," district officials said.

Aguirre, 17, created a rock garden, fixed a slate patio and brick garden wall, and recapped the wall with bluestone slabs. He built and installed a bench and mounted a plaque that honors the veteran educator as "a beloved member of the Bellerose community."

A dedication ceremony was held in the library garden on Nov. 9.

"Every person I spoke to about her had such wonderful things to say," Aguirre said, adding that the project "came out even better than I envisioned."

A member of Boy Scout Troop 41, Aguirre pursued the project as part of the community service component to become an Eagle Scout, the highest rank attainable. He recruited about 15 friends and fellow Scouts to help.

Aguirre is a saxophonist and officer in the high school's marching band and is on the bowling team. He is a member of the National Honor Society.

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