P.S. 304’s ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ Card Party

P.S. 304’s tenth annual ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ Card Party had spirits shining bright on Thursday, April 6 at Villa Barone Manor.

The Card Party Committee comprised of some of the PTA members and Parent Volunteers worked to make this an event to remember.

The motto of the evening was ‘Shine Bright Like A Diamond’.

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By Robert Wirsing

Source: Bronx Times Reporter

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Bronx Times - April 19, 2017 at 3:46 pm

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Study: SUNY Maritime offers high ROI

Study: SUNY Maritime offers high ROI
Throggs Neck:

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By Patrick Rocchio

Bronx Times

SUNY Maritime continues to rank high in terms of graduates’ starting pay and ‘return on investment’ in terms of tuition.

The state college located in Throggs Neck, which trains students in engineering and seafaring careers, ranked fifth in the nation in SmartAsset’s recently released third annual study in terms of where college students are getting the most return on investment for their educations.

The school ranked in a top ten list that included Ivy League schools Stanford, Harvard and Princeton and prestigious technical universities like Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Georgia Tech.

With an average starting salary of $69,700, according to the study, and tuition costing $7,446 with scholarships and grants averaging $5,886 per year, the school received a 86.94 ‘college education value index’ in the study.

Another annual study conducted by, also found in three separate years from 2014 to 2016 that SUNY Maritime bachelor’s degree graduates earn the highest mid-career salaries in the country, with a bachelor’s degree graduate earning $144,000 ten years after graduation in 2016.

The school’s assistant director of career planning and development, Michelle Reina, said that she believes the higher salaries have to do with the offshore maritime and engineering fields the students attend the college to enter.

The nature of the curriculum does not allow time for self-reflection or academic exploration, with many of the students spending between 45- to 90-days at sea over summer recesses, she said.

The school has its own training vessel, the Empire State IV, she said, and for the students who choose an offshore maritime track at the school, this is a classroom.

“It is a unique field,” she said. “You come here knowing exactly what you want to do and get into.”

While many students pursue engineering careers on land, said Reina, many SUNY Maritime students work to obtain a Coast Guard license permitting them to work as merchant mariners, said Reina.

Once they graduate and are certified they could be at sea four or five months at a time, she said.

“They don’t have days off, they are working every holiday,” she said. “That is really where their salaries (rise)…it is definitely students that are shipping out that increase the overall salaries.”

She added that she does not believe it is a field for everyone, and that typically the students who do become merchant marines sail for five to ten years and then transition back to land-based employment.

“When they transition back to land, it makes them so much more marketable,” she said. “If you can run a power plant on ship, you can run it on land.”

A number of graduates who do not go to sea or accept engineering positions work in the shipping industry, just on land in the import/export or marine insurance fields,” she said.

Before a student would become a part of the school community, they would have to show a real interest in the maritime engineering field, said Reina.

“If they come here saying ‘I want to do political science or liberal arts,’ it is completely the wrong school,” she said.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260?4597. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

Source: Bronx Times Reporter

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Bronx Times - April 17, 2017 at 5:26 pm

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Bronx Shotojuku Hosts Jiu Jitsu Seminar

Bronx Shotojuku presented a free Japanese Jiu Jitsu seminar on Saturday, April 8 inside its 2907 Scott Place dojo.

Hosted by certified instructor sensei Richard Schnell, the educational seminar taught crisis avoidance, criminal profiling, 3’ safety zone, empty hand defense, joint locking, combat exercises, police tactics, pick pocket and hand bag defense.

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By Robert Wirsing

Source: Bronx Times Reporter

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Bronx Times - April 14, 2017 at 7:13 pm

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Softball coach receives $20,000 on Ellen Show

Chris Astacio, head coach of the Jordan L. Mott Lady Tigers softball team, was recently presented a check from Walmart for $20,000 for his commitment to his players at the Morrisania middle school.

He received the check from Ellen Degeneres, a partner in community service with Walmart, during the March 20th episode of the Ellen Show.

Astacio, a Physical Education teacher at the school and a cancer survivor, started the program in 2013 to create a sense of community among troubled pre-teen girls.

During the Ellen Show, Astacio and three of his star players – Bryana Francisco, Kylie Montalvo, and Carolyn Rosario – sat across from the host as she praised him for his work.

“What you are doing is so important because these girls are telling us what they’re lives would have been like without you,” Degeneres told Astacio during the segment.

For Astacio, the appearance on the daytime talk show exhibits just how far the softball program has come.

Astacio joined J.H.S. 22 as a P.E. teacher in 2013 and immediately noticed the school had its share of fights, especially among the female population.

Astacio, who played baseball at John F. Kennedy High School, decided a softball team might be an easy answer to the school’s problem.

“I was mistaken,” he said with a laugh.

During the 2013-2014 school year, only seven girls stepped up to join the team.

To make matters worse, some of the girls didn’t even like each other and the team had no real equipment.

“All we had was a cracked wiffle ball bat and a few plastic balls,” said Astacio.

After going into his own pocket to buy some more equipment, he was able to convince a few more girls to join.

He said the team dealt with a lot of dysfunction for the first seven months, losing all but one of the ten games they played.

For the 2014-2015 school year, Astacio was much more prepared.

During the previous school year, he had enlisted a fundraising website called to outfit the team.

By the second year, he raised enough money through the site to fully equip the team.

In addition, the team roster had grown to 20 girls and he was able to keep all of them.

That year they went undefeated for most of the season, losing only their last two games.

Unfortunately for Astacio, while things were going well on the field, he was suffering off the field.

Doctors found cancer cells in his stomach during the 2014-2015 school year.

He eventually had to share his diagnosis with the team.

“That was the hardest day of my life,” said Astacio, who had become like a father to many of the girls.

According to the coach, many of his players had fathers with whom they were not close to or who had passed away.

Many of the girls told him he couldn’t die because he was the only father they had, he recountered.

Thankfully, in June 2015, Astacio received good news that the tests revealed he was cancer free.

Now things are full speed ahead for the Lady Tigers.

Astacio said this year, he had 60 girls try out for the team.

“I felt so conflicted,” he said. “I wanted to keep everyone but I couldn’t.”

The softball coach plans to give the entire $20,000 to the Lady Tigers program.

“I knew as soon as Ellen handed me that big check that day, it was meant for my daughters in softball,” he said.

Reach Reporter Robert Christie at (718) 260-4591. E-mail him at

Source: Bronx Times Reporter

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Bronx Times - April 7, 2017 at 7:30 pm

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Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s STEM Symposium

Over the course of Monday, March 20 and Tuesday, March 21, more than 350 students from local high schools in NYC participated in the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s Latinos on Fast Track STEM Leadership Symposium, sponsored by the U.S. Army, at Lehman College.

The students participated in an interactive leadership workshop designed to help them achieve success in school and post-secondary endeavors.

They also heard from a panel of STEM professionals who shared their experience in various STEM fields and encouraged the students to pursue their educational and career aspirations.

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By Robert Wirsing

Source: Bronx Times Reporter

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Bronx Times - at 7:26 pm

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