A Bargain Week

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I saved over $200 this past week by staying in town and treating myself to some wonderful athletic and cultural events. I could have spent the $75 for a ticket to Citi Field (not counting the $25 parking fee) to see a baseball game, but instead I enjoyed being with fellow Levittowners watching the varsity playoff games between Division Ave. and MacArthur high schools for free. (In case you were wondering, I rooted for Levittown, which of course won.)

I could have paid $60 dollars (not counting $40 parking garage fees) to go to Lincoln Center to listen to a symphony orchestra concert. Instead I got a prime seat at Division Ave. High School’s auditorium to hear two hours of the school’s various orchestras playing some amazingly professional music. The choice of music was varied, creative, and highly enjoyable. The ride home took only five minutes instead of the long slog back from Manhattan. And did I mention it was free?

I could have spent $25 for admission to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (not counting the $20 Long Island Railroad round trip cost) to see classic artworks. Instead I went to the high school’s art show where hundreds of creative and dynamic works of art were on display. The art included many media including painting, drawing, photography, textiles, and sculpture. Soloists provided live music in the hallways and the outstanding string orchestra played for the visitors in the main room. As an added feature, the robotics room was open and a variety of student-built inventions were in action. And they served cookies. All free.’

Besides my penchant for a bargain (and it doesn’t get much better than free) my visits to the local schools were simply enjoyable and inspiring. For all our concerns about the youth of today, these venues show that there is so much to be positive about. The teachers are bringing out the best in these young people and though I know so many of these students, I had no clue about their amazing artistic and athletic talents. I’m glad I spent time seeing what they are capable of.

Every year the school districts have a budget vote and communities throughout Long Island readily pass the proposed budgets. Homeowners are paying for the education of our youth. I recommend that people see the results of their tax dollars at work by visiting local schools, whether they currently have their own children enrolled or not. It’s well worth the time.

I was left with one question after my enjoyable week: “What happens to all that talent when the students grow up?” Our community is filled with parents and single adults who used to play instruments or take photos or paint pictures. Did they give up their artistic expressions when adulthood demanded new uses for their time? Are these talents lying dormant, waiting for an opportunity to express them again? If so, the inspirational visit to our schools might re-awaken the sleeping talents to be expressed in new ways in our churches and community.

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Pastor of St. Bernard's since 2013 and known for his engaging homilies and community presence, Father Ralph Sommer is also a treasured columnist for the Levittown Tribune.

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