Division Avenue High School honors the life of a former student
By Phillip Downes
The Division Avenue High School Student Council hosted a memorial ceremony for former student and active student council member Taranjit Parmar on May 23. In her honor, the student council planted a new tree in the high school’s garden, located in front of the school and to the left of the main entrance.
Taranjit Parmar was a former Division Avenue High School student, part of the Class of 2016. Along with her work with the student council, Parmar was also heavily involved with the Science Olympiad team.
Current student council president Sonia Inderjit was at the ceremony and remembered Parmar, whose life was tragically and senselessly ended last year.
“Taranjit Parmar was a mentor, leader and great friend,” said Inderjit. “She was wholehearted and kind to everyone she knew and will be missed by many.”
Parmar’s life was cut incredibly short by the tragic hit-and-run incident on Nov. 9, 2018, near the intersection of Hempstead Turnpike and Gardiners Avenue, and the driver responsible has since been held accountable by law for his fatal decisions in that crime. The indictment of Daniel Coppolo of Deer Park has been unsealed and is now accessible to the public. He faces charges of second-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting, tampering with physical evidence, second-degree reckless endangerment and reckless driving. But the message of the ceremony in Levittown was not to condemn the perpetrator, but rather it was meant to celebrate the life of an outstanding individual—one that had contributed so much to Division Avenue High School and to the Levittown community.
The student council felt strongly that the tree be placed in the student council garden and the ceremony created an emotional atmosphere for all of those who worked with Parmar, who was a student at Adelphi University at the time of her death. Division Avenue Class of 2016 Alumni Sophia DeFranco reflected on her relationship with Parmar as a friend, classmate and peer role model.
“Taranjit was the most optimistic person I’ve ever met,” said DeFranco. “Whether it was in our shared classes together, in science research competitions or at student council meetings, she always brought a smile to our faces.”
The speakers at the ceremony included student council advisors Gerard Marzigliano and Lynn Castellano, along with former Division Avenue Class of 2016 President Anthony Anzano. The advisors shared the letters of recommendation given to Parmar, which expressed how impactful she was in the school and community. Anzano delivered a powerful speech to the crowd, delivering the message, “We should all open up to the idea of being a little more like Taranjit.”
As the ceremony came to a close, the members of the audience were invited to help plant the Eastern Red Bud tree in the garden as music from Parmar’s favorite artists, including Ed Sheeran and Coldplay, played in the background. Students, alumni, faculty, friends and family all came together to remember the life of this exceptional individual.
This memorial is a symbol of unity in Levittown in the wake of a tragedy. Even those students who were not close with Parmar feel that she needed to be celebrated for her positive influence on her peers and on the school. As the support for this ceremony shows, the life of Taranjit Parmar will not only be missed—it will also be celebrated.