Maspeth High School is making a difference during a school year where nothing seems to have stayed the same. At the beginning of the academic year, school leaders had to plan for a new school learning environment: one that consisted of hand sanitizer stations, temperature readers, air purifiers, disposable masks and electrostatic sprayers. Jesse Pachter and Stefan Singh, Assistant Principals of Maspeth High School, knew that the purchasing of these items would make a positive difference for the safety and security of all students and staff, but there was more that needed to be done.
Maspeth High School’s afterschool program is one of the main components of the school. With a catalog consisting of over forty clubs and twenty-seven athletic teams, students are provided multiple opportunities to feel part of the MHS community after school, rather than leaving at the end of the day to go home. But with the cancellation of all PSAL activities, social distancing guidelines and a new blended learning schedule, all clubs and teams were either cancelled or transitioned to hosting virtual meetings and events. That is when Jesse Pachter, AP and Athletic Director, got together with Physical Education Teacher and PSAL Coach Dalia Avivi to come up with a new afterschool club that could take place outdoors and try to provide the Maspeth High students a sense of normalcy.
Introducing: Maspeth Making a Difference
With the new idea in hand, Mr. Pachter contacted Juniper Park Civic Association President Tony Nunziato to survey the community and come up with a plan of action to help address some of their concerns. The two discussed the importance of street cleanups, park beautification projects and the removal of graffiti. Since then, the club has gotten together twice a week and has been seen cleaning up 57th Avenue, Eliot Avenue, Frontera Park, Juniper Valley Park, Elmhurst Park, 69th Street and the LIE Service Road. They have also removed graffiti from private residences, the LIE overpass and local construction sites.
Since starting the club many more partnerships have formed as well. Maspeth Making a Difference has partnered with Captain Hall and the 104th Precinct in the removal of graffiti, Our Lady of Hope Church and Father Pete with an upcoming Holiday Toy Drive, and Assemblyman Brian Barnwell to assist in snow removal for senior citizens who live within the district.
The members of the club have certainly made a difference in the community so far and look forward to continuing to make a positive impact in any way that they can. Pachter has said the surrounding neighborhoods have welcomed them with open arms and he looks forward to working with all members of the community for years to come.