The Wheatley School 60th Anniversary Celebration

Dear Wheatley Administrators, Faculty, Staff, Students, Parents, Alumni, and Neighbors,

You, your friends, and family are hereby invited to The Wheatley School 60th Anniversary Celebration, co-sponsored by The Wheatley School and The Wheatley School Alumni Association.

This festive event will take place over the weekend of October 14-16, 2016, at and around The Wheatley School, 11 Bacon Road, Old Westbury, NY 11568.

Friday 10/14/16, 1pm Alumni Career Panel Room 450
Friday 10/14/16, 7pm Individual Class Gatherings The Community at Large
Saturday 10/15/16, 3-4pm Formal Ceremony Wheatley Gymnasium
Saturday 10/15/16, 4-5:30pm  "Meet and Greet" Various Classrooms 
Saturday 10/15/16, 5:30-8pm   Dinner and Class Photos Cafeteria and various locations
Saturday 10/15/16, 8-9pm Affinity Groups Various Locations
Saturday 10/15/16, 9-10pm Clean-up and Farewells  Everywhere
Sunday 10/16/16, 10am-1pm Individual Class Brunches Everywhere

Doors open at Wheatley on Saturday, 10/15 at 1:00. Limited parking will be available at The Wheatley School; overflow parking will be available at the I. U. Willets Road School. Shuttle busses will run as needed.

Saturday Menu

Roast Beef, Corned Beef, Pastrami, or Turkey on Rye, or Tuna Salad on Whole Wheat, or Grilled Vegetable Wrap (all with two side salads), or Salad Orientale with Chicken; Dessert; Coffee; Tea.

Hotels that have promised special rates October 13-17:

  • Long Island Marriot in Uniondale - $169 - 800-228-9290 or 516-794-3800
  • Viana Hotel and Spa in Westbury - $199 - 516-338-7777
  • Homewood Suites in Carle Place - $169 - 516-747-0230

To obtain preferential rate you must mention “Wheatley 60th Celebration” when reserving . Sales tax of 11.625% not included in rates noted.


  • Register by July 31 - $70,
  • Register between August 1 and September 30 - $75
  • Register after September 30, including walk-ins - $85
  • Registration for former and current administrators, faculty, and staff – FREE! (But let us know [] that you plan to attend.)

(Note – We don’t want anyone to miss out on this event for lack of funds. Please e-mail confidential requests for reduced fee or no fee to


  • Photograph of individual classes - printed and distributed at the event - $20
  • Commemorative Wheatley 60th T-Shirt - All Cotton - Printed with Wheatley Logo and “The Wheatley School 60th Anniversary Celebration” - $12 (must order by 9/1)
  • Donations for the event itself - Completely Optional

Any surplus funds will be donated to the East Williston Education Foundation.

Register via PayPal or by snail-mail. Go to WWW.WHEATLEYALUMNI.ORG and follow the simple directions. On-line registration may work best from a computer (rather than a smartphone).


The Wheatley School 60th Anniversary Celebration Planning Committee c/o The Wheatley School Alumni Association, WWW.WHEATLEYALUMNI.ORG, 646-872-4833


60th Anniversary Celebration Scheduled: October 14 - 16, 2016 at The Wheatley School.

Minutes of the 1/13/16 Meeting of the Wheatley 60th Celebration Planning Committee

1961 - Jeanne Messing Sommer
1962 - Joseph Iannotti
1963 - Marianne Lamitola Downey
1964 - Ellen Solow Holzman
1965 - Peter Till
1966 - Alison Kent Bermant; Suzanne Stone
1967 - Arthur Engoron
1969 - Lynn Greenbaum
1971 - Daniel Reich
Former Wheatley Principal - Rick Simon

Wheatley School Alumni Association 4th Annual NYC Luncheon - 47 alumni attended.  Favorable reviews covered the food, the open bar, and the service

Wells Fargo Bank Account - Art opened a “business account; sole proprietorship” under the name “Wheatley 60th Celebration.”  As of the distribution of these minutes, Art and Lynn are the signatories to the account.

Online registrations - Marianne, Joe, Art, and Wheatley Alumni Association Webmaster Keith Aufhauser (1963) are creating an on-line registration/payment option through PayPal.  Payment can be made by standard credit card and/or through a PayPal account.  Actual receipts are approximately 96.5% of the amount paid.  Paypal e-mails a receipt (to Art) indicating who paid how much for what.  Joe and Marianne say that the PayPal can also mail comprehensive cumulative reports in CSV format.  The PayPal registration form will also seek/allow for donations.

Tax free exemptions: The Committee is looking into obtaining a tax-exempt form that can be presented to vendors to avoid paying sales tax. may be able to provide such a form for approximately $100.

Affinity Clubs were discussed as a way to engage classmates.   Rick suggested that the current advisors and current students in the yearbook, newspaper, and athletic coaches, could plan special issues/events.

Photographs . It was suggested that classmates submit photos from their high school days that could be looped into a video at the event and possibly included in the decorations.

Wheatley Historic Video- that was a give-away at the 50th could be updated with clips from the last 10 years.

Custodians, security, maintenance and bus drivers expense:  Lynn is communicating with Assistant Principal Karen Klapper about these expenses.

The EW Union Free School's District Superintendent Elaine Kanas and her aide, Jackie Pirro, are being asked if the District could subsidize some of these expenses (but we cannot count on that).

Registration at the event. Materials should be put together before everyone arrives.  Preparation is key.  The School should be open two hours before the official starting time of 3:00 to facilitate registrations.  Rick and his secretary did all the photocopying of pictures and putting together of the packets for the 50th. Karen Bass Putterman did this for the Class of ’65 reunion and Peter offered to ask her to help.

Community Service opportunity for current students who would like to get community service credit could be asked to help with putting together the packets and staffing the registration tables at the event. It was suggested to ask Karen Klapper for help with photocopying the pictures that include the names.  This should be done in advance.

T-shirts or golf shirts? T-shirts seemed to be the preference.

Career Panel. Ellen mentioned she has already reached out to alumni.  Rick mentioned that at the 50th, there were 40 people willing to speak and he broke them into different groups and times.

Hotel reservations: Marianne reserved hotel rooms at the Marriott, Roslyn, Vienna Hotel & Spa and Homewood Suites.

Next meeting dates: March 10, April 13 and May 10, all at 6:30PM.


Wheatley 60th Anniversary Celebration Committee
Minutes of the Fourth Meeting - 10/13/15
(Next Meetings: Wednesday 1/13/16 and Thursday 3/10/16)

Attendance was taken:
Sean Feeney - Wheatley Principal
Jean Messing Sommer - 1961
Camille Napoli Cannizzo - 1961
Marianne Lamitola Downey - 1963
Ellen Solow Holzman - 1964
David Sobolow - 1964
Arthur Engoron - 1967
Scott Frishman - 1967
Lynn Greenbaum - 1969
Larry Nitzky - 1969
Robert Abramowitz - 1970

The Food Subcommittee recommended, and the Full Committee unanimously approved, Ben’s Kosher Deli to cater the event.  Ronnie Dragoon, the owner, was easy to work with; he is also the father of two Wheatley graduates (Joshua 1997 and Jamie 1998).  Ben’s will provide boxed meals.  Because of its location and modus operandi, Ben’s can, if need be, within a half-hour, accommodate a significant number of more-than-expected walk-ins (i.e., people who did not pre-register).  A sample box was brought to the meeting, and everybody regretted that they had already had dinner.  Various creative ideas were suggested: pasting a customized sticker on the inside of the box; adding “Willy Wonka Golden Tickets” to some or all boxes, etc.

Oh yeah, the food.  Possibilities include turkey, roast beef, corned beef, pastrami and tongue sandwiches; Caesar salad, with or without chicken and croutons (gluten free, anyone?); grilled vegetable wrap; cole slaw; pickles; water; coffee or tea; salsa; chips; pretzels; cookies, paper goods, apples, grapes, etc. (check out  Ben’s will also supply napkins, utensils, and condiments.  The Full Committee thanked the Food Subcommittee for its wonderful work and authorized the Food Subcommittee to tell Ben’s that we will be using its services.

A suggestion that walk-ins be barred was rejected in favor of planning for them.  Art estimates that somewhere around 20% of the people who attended the 50th Anniversary Celebration (total attendance approximately 1,250) were walk-ins.  The idea of charging walk-ins a premium was kept open.

Money Matters
The members discussed, somewhat philosophically, what to charge for the event.  One school of thought, let’s call it “standard budgeting,” is to figure out what everything will cost, perhaps add some contingency money and money to donate to the school, and charge accordingly.  Art championed “reverse budgeting”: figure out the “right” price, based on what people expect to, can, and will pay, and then spend accordingly.  The collective memory (somewhat clouded by “senior moments”), was that $50 per person was charged for the 50th.  Both budgeting methods, as well as cosmic symmetry, resulted in a $60 per person figure for the 60th Anniversary Celebration.  Left open was whether to charge present and former faculty members and administrators, etc. the same price, less, or nothing at all.

Dr. Feeney suggested that a donation not be built into price and instead be a separate line item on the registration form.  The Class of 1965, holding their 40th, donated $11,000 to the East Williston School Foundation. [The Committee discussed various methods of collecting money and funneling some to Wheatley and/or the Foundation.]

Wheatley can accommodate 300-400 cars in its parking lot.  Cars may not park on the grass (although this was done last time).  Willets Road has ample parking space and shuttle busses can run from there and possibly North Side (which does not have much parking space).  School District busses can be used, and paying the drivers should not be a huge expense.

The committee discussed providing or selling name tags, lanyards, T-shirts, etc.

Clean-Up and Security
Custodians can be hired for “time and a half” (approx. $70 per hour).  They can help set up and, mostly, clean up.  The food boxes will create a lot of trash (query whether they will or can be recyclable).  District employees can also be hired for security, at the door and otherwise.

On-Line Registration
Art said he would arrange for registrations, payment, donations, dinner choice, etc., by website.

Classes, groups, teams, etc. should be photographed in one location pursuant to a widely distributed schedule.  If possible, the photos should be printed and distributed that night.  They should also be posted and/or purchased on-line.  Someone should look into photo booths, now common at parties of various sorts.  Perhaps attendees should be encouraged to bring their own cameras.

Music - To be or not to be
The committee was in “discord” over music.  Opinions ranged from “lots” to “none.”  Nobody  advocated for a band.  Some members advocated for a disk jockey with or without dancing, probably in the gym or the auxiliary gym.  Some said the volume is always too loud, no matter what you do (but nobody will be forced to be near the music).

Marianne showed some lovely programs that she printed herself for a Class of 1963 event.  Art said he knows a printer in NYC that does excellent work.  Maybe the school can produce the programs.

The schedule of the 50th should be a template for the 60th (see

              Friday afternoon - 1:00(?) - alumni career panels.

              Friday night - individual class gatherings.

              Saturday afternoon - 3:00 to 4:30 - formal ceremony in the gym, consisting of short speeches, perhaps a video, and perhaps the Wheatley Orchestra, current and alumni.

              Saturday afternoon - 4:30 to 6:00 - Meet and Greet” in classrooms.  Contiguous graduation years should be assigned to contiguous rooms.

              Saturday evening - 6:00 to 8:00 - Dinner and class photos.  Each decade assigned a time-slot to obtain dinner.

              Saturday evening - 8:00 to 9:00 - Affinity groups - clubs, sports, music, theater, auto-shop, etc.

              Saturday evening - 9:00 to 10:00 - Clean-up and farewells.

Sunday morning - Individual class brunches, etc.

The Full Committee, the Subcommittees, and an Executive Committee
Committee and subcommittee members should be strongly encouraged to attend meetings.  “You’re either on the bus or you’re off the bus” (Tom Wolfe quoting Ken Kesey).  The whole committee and subcommittee system should be formalized.  Art agreed to take care of this and to send out meeting (and any other) notices the way they vote in Chicago (or is it Boston?): early and often.  Art also agreed to be “Event Chair” (mostly because he has a huge database of alumni contact information) and to consider organizing an “Executive Committee.”

The next two meetings
The next meetings will be Wednesday 1/13/16 (added on) and Thursday 3/10/16 (previously scheduled).

N.B. Minutes by Art, from Notes by Lynn

Committee Meeting Notes June 24, 2015.


(The next meetings are 10/13/15 and 3/10/16)

In Attendance: Janet Hart Entine - 1958 Michael Jablon - 1961 John Rigrod - 1961 Jeanne Messing Sommer - 1961 Jon Bagdon - 1962 Joe Iannotti 1962 Marianne Lamitola Downey - 1963 Ellen Solow Holzman - 1964 Alison Kent Bermant - 1966 Ken Distler - 1966 (by significant other) Suzanne Stone - 1966 Art Engoron 1967 Scott Frishman - 1967 Lynn Greenbaum - 1969 Danny Reich - 1971 Robin Hack Silverberg - 1971 Mae Kurman - Parent (David 1971; Janet 1972; Ellen 1973; Amy 1977) Gail LaPasta Gannotti - 1974 Corinne Cassely Cutrone - 1978 (Minutes by Lynn and Art)

District Superintendent Elaine Kanas is excited about our endeavor. Art said that he would reach out to her. The excitement among graduates is palpable and widespread. The Alumni Association is in contact with many of Wheatley ’s earliest faculty and administrators, including Principal Wathey and Professors Pagliaro, Rosenstein, Bogert, Ehre, McCormack, Signorelli, and Bernstein (“Bullet Bob”). Art said he would continue looking into the legal and financial status of the Alumni Association and the 60th Anniversary Celebration. Perhaps a bank account should be set up with two signatories who live near each other. Perhaps a third-party vendor, such as EventBrite, should be used. Art pointed out that a thorough report on the 50th Anniversary Celebration, which presumably will be used as a template for the 60th, can be found at:

Robin suggested that “Walk-a-Thons” are “petering out.” Perhaps Sunday morning should be a picnic, with bagels and coffee, etc.. Art said he likes picnics but that generating attendance at them is problematic in his experience. Danny suggested that more younger/recent graduates should be involved in the 60th. Art said he would try to do a better job of “keeping them in the loop.” Ellen and Art agreed to reach out to retired teachers. (Queries:, Were they asked to pay to attend the 50th? Should they be asked to pay to attend the 60th?) Marianne suggested that a bicycle ride be organized as an event. Someone suggested commemorative T-shirts. Alison suggested mini-reunions of clubs, teams, and other “affinity groups.” Photography should be better organized; many people missed being in their class photos. A schedule of “which classes when” should be posted around the school. John suggested having photo booths (which are all the rage at weddings and similar events). Food should be better organized (long lines plagued the 50th). The prevailing sentiment was “KISS” (keep it simple, stupid). Pizza, hot dogs, finger food were mentioned. (Please, no food fights!). The following committees exist: Food - Scott, Jeanne, Suzanne Career Panels - Ellen and Janet Decorating - Merrie Sesskin (1971) T-shirts - Marianne Lanyards - Corrine Finance - Marianne, Art, Corinne Facilities - (committee in formation) Program - (committee in formation) Fund-raising - Robin, Janet, Corinne

The End

Committee Meeting Notes March 16, 2015.

Present at the meeting:
Jerry Mintz - 1961; Camille Napoli Cannizzo - 1961; Deborah Kerstein Brosowsky - 1961 (and 1962); Leo Smith - 1962; Marriane Lamitola Downey - 1963; Ellen Litwin Fingerman - 1963; David Sobolow - 1964; Ellen Solow Holzman - 1964; Hank Alpert - 1965; Peter Till - 1965; Art Engoron - 1967; Scott Frishman - 1967; Linda Kapinos Frysztacki - 1968; Lynn Greenbaum - 1969; Robert Abramowitz - 1970; David Kurman-1971; Merrie Sesskin - 1971; Ellen Barnett - 1974; Gail LaPasta Gannotti - 1974; Kevin Mulrooney - 1986

October 14, 15, 16, 2016 were confirmed as the official dates.
The questions presented:  What needs doing? Who's going to do it?

Possible schedule (modeled mostly on the 50th):

Friday Afternoon - Career Panels/Seminars at Wheatley

Friday Night - Each Class or group of classes to arrange get-togethers on their own.  Suggestions welcome for possible venues (restaurants?  bars?  houses of alumni?).

Saturday Morning - Perhaps summer-recreation-style games or tournaments, such as chess, checkers, and/or ping-pong.

Saturday Early Afternoon - The Main Event.  In the Gym (the auditorium is too small, with a capacity of 686).  Speakers should be encouraged to be brief (several 50th attendees criticized what they considered to be the excessive length of the speeches and the program).  The Wheatley Orchestra and/or band should perform, along with alumni musicians (sent sheet music/scores beforehand).  Video of Wheatley history (perhaps the one from the 50th?).

Saturday Late Afternoon - Individual Classes in Individual Classrooms.  As much as possible, contiguous graduation years should be near contiguous classrooms,

Saturday Early Evening - Dinner.  Criticisms of last year included that the two food lines moved too slowly (over 1,000 people attended); and the food itself seems to have been unmemorable.  Robert Abramowitz strongly suggested pizza and/or other informal food.  Suggestions - heroes; salad; bagels. Food trucks in the parking lot were suggested by some, opposed by others.  Query - How many pizzas would we need for 1,000+ people? Suggestion - seating should be “open” rather than by class.  Query - Would pepperoni pizzas significantly increase our incidence of cancer because of the sodium nitrite content?

Saturday Late Evening - All agreed that the “Bands in the Gym” program at the 50th was less than a smashing success: few people attended; the music was too loud to allow talking; there was very little (if any) dancing.  Suggestions include an acoustic jam session (“a hootenanny”) in the gym, or just a continuation of dinner in and around the cafeteria.  Robert Abramowitz strongly advised against a D.J., on the grounds that they are always too loud.

Sunday Early - Annual charity walk-a-thon, ending at Wheatley, with a program outside the gym (weather permitting; or inside if not).

Provisional Committees and Volunteers

Food - Camille Napoli; Scott Frishman
Career Panel - Ellen Solow Holzman (who taught at Wheatley for several decades)
Decorating - Merraine Sesskin
Finances - Art Engoron
Lanyards, nametags, T-Shirts and other giveaways - Corinne Cassely Cutrone (1978); Marianne Lamitola Downey (T-Shirts)

Miscellaneous Thoughts and Suggestions

People treasured the lanyards (two even brought them to the present meeting).  These may have been supplied by Arthur Brown, 1967.  The nametags should be large enough to read easily (we’re not getting any younger).

The photographing of classes was not well-organized last year; many people missed out.  Perhaps people should be encouraged to bring cameras.  Many people will bring “smart phones” with photographic capability.

Perhaps there should be a tent on the grounds, perhaps with a dance area.

Perhaps other committees should be organized.

Recent graduates should be encouraged to attend in greater numbers.  Art Engoron said he will attempt to increase the size of the e-mailing list for recent grads.  Perhaps recent (and older) grads can be communicated with via Facebook and other social media.  Older grads may consider the 60th an opportunity to see each other one more time.

Do we need to address any privacy concerns?

Perhaps the TWSAA website should include more information.

Would Carol Leifer, 1974, be interested in acting as MC, or performing?  ("I recently became vegan because I felt that as a Jewish lesbian, I wasn’t part of a small enough minority. So now I’m a Jewish lesbian vegan.")

Should we attempt to run a surplus, to be used for the scholarship fund, or a permanent physical gift to the school?  Comment - Despite community demographics, Wheatley still has a significant number of needy students.

Should T-shirts be made?  Ask Marianne Lamitola Downey of the Class of 1963,, (Subject line “WHS tee shirts”) who recently did this.

Should the Wheatley Sports Hall of Fame be highlighted or acknowledged somehow?

Retired Administrators, Faculty and Staff should be invited.  Art Engoron and Ellen Solow Holzman both have (or have access to) contact information for some of them.

At the other end of the age spectrum, Gail LaPasta Gannotti suggested inviting current students to join the organizing committee.  (Editor’s Note - Excellent idea; and let’s make sure that we invite them to the event itself!)

Nobody was sure how much attendees were charged for the 50th.  (Art Engoron’s Quicken records indicate that on 2/5/06 he wrote out a check to “The Wheatley School” for $100.  This was probably for two people).  Assuming it was $50 per person, should we charge $60 for the 60th?  Principal Feeney previously indicated that the school does not want to “play banker” or be involved in financial matters.  Could the Wheatley Scholarship Fund set up a separate account?  Should an Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) “charitable” organization be set up?  Should we just set up a bank account under the name “Wheatley Sixtieth Committee”?  Can payment be made  on-line, by credit card or Paypal or EventBrite?

Some people think a private event organizer should be hired.  Some people disagree.

Do we need a nurse present?  Insurance?  Do we need to notify local police?

How about an art show in the reception area (or elsewhere)?

We will have to coordinate with the School about custodial services and parking.








Minutes of the First Exploratory Planning Meeting Held December 15th, 2014

December 15, 2014:
To volunteer and/or comment in any capacity, please e-mail Art Engoron :WHEATLEYALUMNI@AOL.COM
Sean Feeney - Principal
Karen Klapper - Assistant Principal
Rick Simon - Former Principal
Jeanne Messing Sommer - 1961
Jerry Mintz - 1961
Camille Napoli Cannizzo - 1961
Joe Iannotti - 1962
Marianne Lamitola Downey - 1963
Ken Distler (represented) - 1966
Art Engoron - 1967
Lynn Greenbaum - 1969
Robert Abramowitz - 1970
Danny Reich - 1971
Corinne Cassely Cutrone -1978
Julie Zawolik - 1979

PURPOSE: To discuss the possibility of organizing a 60th Anniversary Celebration (“The Event”) for The Wheatley School.
The next meetings of The Committee:
Monday, March 16
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
September, 2015
All are invited to join The Committee.

Weekend of October 14, 15, and 16 (Friday-through-Sunday).
Alternative date: The following weekend, October 21, 22, and 23.
Principal Feeney has agreed not to schedule Wheatley’s homecoming football game and charity walk-a-thon (which are held on the same weekend as each other) to conflict with the Event.

No money will come from Wheatley School funds.
Arthur Engoron will explore
(1) forming an association or not-for-profit corporation or similar entity and opening a bank account specifically for The Event;
(2) the possibility of registering for The Event through the website.
Art Engoron will also contact the Class Correspondents
and, through them, to all alumni, former teachers, administrators and staff TO generate participation, enthusiasm, and attendance at The Event.

PHOTO DISPLAY: Creation of a photo and/or artifact archive on the Wheatley School Premises, that could be viewed during The Event.

PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER: Aiming for MORE than posed, class photos.

WEB ACCESS AND DISTRIBUTION: Encourage attendees to bring and contribute photos to the Web distribution center.

Should be efficiently managed to prevent long lines. Provision should be made for food for-last-minute attendees

Some parking could be at North Side and/or Willets Road, with shuttle buses.

The live music in the gymnasium last time was not well attended.; The schedule could be changed or shortened to reflect this.

Friday afternoon sessions should be replicated.

For separate, intimate events.

Ping Pong or Chess tournaments were suggested.

Decorating; Parking; Food; Photography; Saturday ceremony; T-Shirts and other giveaways.

Overall, the Event could follow the template that the 50th Anniversary Celebration established, with improvements.

To volunteer and/or comment in any capacity, please e-mail>.
Above summary as recollected by Art with help from Lynn Greenbaum