Monday, November 22, 2010

Staten Island History at Moravian Cemetery

On October 26th, 2010, the students of the Verrazano Learning Community (LC) 1, Jenna Cozzolino, Thomas Peruggia, Lauren Hornek, Michael Nappi, Joseph Bushman, Rachel DiVirgilio, Nicole Arce, and Medine Kovacevic, went on a school trip to the Moravian Cemetery. Their English professor, Professor Gianoulis, organized the trip, and accompanied the students on the trip. Their sociology professor, Professor Sigler, also attended the trip. Throughout the hour and a half tour, the tour guide talked about the history of some of the family grave sites that the group had seen as well as the sites that were in the cemetery. As the group came upon different grave stones, Professor Sigler cracked jokes about the different names on headstones, which gave everyone a laugh.

The students of LC1 had a great time taking funny pictures, enjoying each other’s company, exploring the cemetery, and learning about the history of the people that were buried at the cemetery. As the group passed multiple grave sites, the tour guide spoke about how some of the street signs on Staten Island were named after the families that were of great significance to New York or were wealthy and had a lot of property. The students were impressed by the amount of knowledge that the tour guide possessed about Staten Island and New York history/           

Further along in the tour, the group came upon a Receiving Tomb.  According to the tour guide, the Receiving Tomb was created as a place to store the bodies of people who died during the winter months due to the difficulty in digging a grave when the ground becomes frozen. Currently, the Receiving Tomb also holds bodies that are waiting to be buried because of the lack of room in some areas of the cemetery.  As the tour continued, the group came upon a recent tomb that had a built-in skylight, and Professor Gianoulis had thought it was “absolutely beautiful, and thoughtful as well”.  Before everyone knew it, the tour was finished. Everyone thought it was an all-in-all wonderful, fun, educational, and interesting experience.

Written by the Verrazano Students of Learning Community (LC) 1 in English 111

Edited by Medine Kovacevic

Photos by Jenna Cozzolino

Monday, November 8, 2010

Scholarships and Selective Opportunities: Advice for New Verrazano Students

On Thursday, October 28th the Verrazano School hosted a VELA event to help prepare underclassmen for the process of applying to internships and graduate schools.  Geoff Hempill from the Career and Scholarship served as the moderator of the student panel.  Attendees heard from three Verrazano upperclassman, Deryn, Irvin and Melissa, and each touched on various aspects of the application process.

Melissa, a member of the CUNY Pipeline Program discussed her experience with research in the field of psychology as well as the benefits of CUNY Pipeline.  She encouraged freshman and sophomores to try out several clubs and gain a variety of experiences while they still had the time in order to figure out what they were passionate about. Melissa also talked about applying to graduate school and the many steps one must take to be a successful applicant. Such steps included researching universities and their programs either the semester or summer before you apply, getting the GRE out of the way over the summer and writing one’s personal statement in enough time to have it proofread and edited if necessary. She also advises students in the sciences to get involved with research early in their college career, not only for the benefit of their resume but also because it would allow them to find mentors in that specific field. Research, as Melissa pointed out, could also lead to a job after graduation and in today’s economy this could prove to be a valuable back-up.

Next Deryn, a Lipper intern with the Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust gave students advice on the ups and downs of applying to internships. She encouraged them to research organizations they would be interested in working with and sending out a resume. Many organizations will appreciate a student who takes the initiative to email and inquire about opportunities that might be available. Deryn also reminded the underclassmen that applying as a freshman or sophomore can be very difficult since many institutions give their internships to juniors or seniors who have had more experience in the field. During this time Deryn suggested that students get involved on campus since extracurricular activities would not only help to build a resume but would also allow them to network with members of the faculty and administration.

Lastly Irvin, a JK Watson Fellow spoke about his internship experience with several companies and non-profits. He explained that thanks to these internships he was able to realize what he wanted to do after college and got the courage to change his major. Irvin brought up the importance of networking and how fellowships such as Watson allowed him to connect with a group of students who had a wide array of interests and who would no doubt become useful contacts in the future. Irvin, as well as the other panelists, emphasized the importance of connecting with professors in one’s intended major. These connections, they said, would not only come into use when looking for a letter of recommendation but also because professors can offer valuable advice in regards to graduate programs.

In conclusion each panelist echoed not only the importance of networking but also putting yourself out there and making contacts in the area you are interested in studying. Getting involved early will allow you to accomplish more, and make a larger impact on not only your resume but also the college community. Finally the majority of college students will have changed their major by graduation so if you find something you love pursue it and turn it into a marketable attribute.    

Melissa, Geoff, Irvin, and Deryn
Links to related internships and fellowships:
CUNY Pipeline Program
Museum of Jewish Heritage - Lipper Internship
Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship

 - Deryn Cro, Student Correspondent

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fresh Kills Park - Reinventing a Landfill

During a recent Jersey Shore episode a certain Staten Island guidette was given the moniker “Staten Island Dump”; and while fitting to this young woman’s character it is an insult that will soon be outdated and unfamiliar to the next generation of Staten Islanders.  Currently the 62 year old Fresh Kills Dump is undergoing a major transformation from being the city’s former garbage disposal to one of the largest recreational parks in the country. Yes a park, specifically a park which will be three times the size of Central Park, have 2,200 acres and will take up 6% of Staten Island’s landmass.

Buried deep underneath the new park will be over 150 million tons of trash which is either currently, or in the process of being, safely capped off so as not to cause any issues. Several processing plants are also currently in existence to ensure the proper disposal of runoff that occurs underground. The park is expected to be completed around 2040; it will include a bird watching platform, boating as well as a stage for concerts and various productions. There will also be seedling and tree nurseries to promote the return of native vegetation and animals. This extensive project was first conceived back in 2001 when the Parks and Recreation Department first approached the city. A planning competition was held and from there plans were created and recently construction has already begun on the playground near Travis Ave which borders what will become the Fresh Kills Park.  

Not only will this park promote the return of nature to an extensive landmass and boost tourism to the island; it will also hopefully help to shed a stigma of Staten Island that is as old as the garbage itself. 

Sunday October 3, 2010 the Parks and Recreation Department is hosting a sneak peek at Fresh Kills Landfill, for those who wish to view the plans for the future park from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.  Read more about Fresh Kills Park.

- Deryn Cro, Student Correspondent

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pizza Party!

Last Thursday we held the first Verrazano pizza party of the academic year in our lounge, and it was a great success! Nearly 50 students were there, including many of the first-time freshmen as well as sophomores and juniors who were just accepted to Verrazano this summer.  Thanks to the students who attended, and we look forward to seeing everyone for pizza in October.

Students in Verrazano Learning Communities 1 and 5

Friday, September 3, 2010

Where in the world is Verrazano?

Having lived on Staten Island for the past three years I have become accustomed to hearing the name Verrazano on a daily basis. After all, we have a bridge and an honors program named after the famed explorer and Giovanni and I are even friends on Facebook! However, after spending time working in Delaware over the summer, it turns out the people of Delaware also have an interest in this explorer of long ago. As many of you already know, Giovanni da Verrazano was an Italian explorer who sailed under the French crown during the sixteenth century. He is best known for exploring the middle Atlantic Coast and spotting what would later be known as the Hudson River. You might not be so familiar with his work concerning Lewes and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Yes that’s right, Delaware. You see, 500 years ago when Verrazano was exploring the Atlantic coast he happened to chart some of the water surrounding an area called Cape Henlopen. You know what Cape Henolpen is right? No, not ringing a bell? Well basically Cape Henlopen is the hook at the very bottom of Delaware where Lewes and Rehoboth are located; Verrazano charted the water around that little hook that no one besides people from Delaware has heard of. In fact the people of Delaware didn’t even know this had all happened until it was discovered during an archival study done by some professor in Italy.

So how have I become so knowledgeable regarding this aspect of Verrazano’s career you ask? Well over the summer I was interning at the Lewes Historical Society and one day noticed a case containing a large stone. This stone, it turns out, is from Verrazano’s castle in Italy which was given to the historical society by the current owner when he came to Delaware for the monument unveiling. Yes that’s right dear reader, the monument unveiling! Having discovered this small piece of information about Giovanni, which has practically no historical importance, what were the citizens of Lewes and Rehoboth to do? Well build a rather sizeable monument of course! So if you ever find yourself on the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk, I beseech you to visit the Giovanni Verrazano monument which commemorates his exploration of America and is located at the end of Olive Ave.

- Deryn Cro, Student Correspondent

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Introducing Our Student Correspondent!

Hello Verrazano Voyager Blog readers! My name is Deryn and I am a junior in The Verrazano School majoring in History and English. In the coming semesters I will be blogging about all things Verrazano and encourage you to submit entries as well! If you know someone in the Verrazano School doing research, a service project or anything noteworthy let us know. You can e-mail us at

Now a little bit about myself, again I am currently a junior at CSI and like all things History and English. I am planning on going to graduate school for library sciences and spend most of my free time going to museums or buried in a new book. I look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions for the blog and hope you enjoy reading!

- Deryn Cro, Student Correspondent

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Semester Welcome

The fall semester starts today, and we're happy to welcome 81 members of the Class of 2014 to The Verrazano School for their first semester at CSI!  These incoming freshmen join the 200+ sophomores, juniors, and seniors who comprise the Verrazano student body.   The freshmen represent 33 different high schools in Staten Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, Westchester County, and New Jersey.  Included among these incoming freshmen are thirty National Honor Society members, one valedictorian, one salutatorian, an Eagle Scout, and several student government members including a senior class president.  A number of incoming Verrazano students have played on varsity sports teams as well as volunteered many hours at various non-profit organizations during high school.

We welcome the transfer students who were accepted to The Verrazano School for the upcoming semester, and we also welcome faculty members who are teaching in the freshman learning communities and other Verrazano courses. 

With our first graduating class, the Class of 2010, now in graduate school and pursuing various career paths, we look forward to maintaining connections with former students, working with the current students, and congratulating many more successful Verrazano graduates in the years to come. 

Here's to the 2010-2011 academic year!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The New Blog

Welcome to The Verrazano Voyager!  We hope you'll visit often to learn about what is happening in the life of The Verrazano School at the College of Staten Island.  We look forward to sharing updates about student accomplishments, activities, learning communities, and much more.