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something that is going to go away
over the weekend,” Neve said. “This is
going to be a while.”
Despite the increase in demand,
both organizations have not had to
turn away any families due to lack of
supplies, something both Neve and
Samuels said has taken extraordinary
effort on the behalf of their volunteers
Donations from businesses and the
surrounding community have also
helped fuel the continuing operation of
the food services, the directors said.
Still, both food pantries are experiencing
a rise in operational costs
as food shortages require more purchases
and the the infl ux of families
necessitates more staff.
“We have hired for the mass production,
which is something we did
not plan for,” Samuels said.
To compensate for the increased
spending at Reaching Out, Neve said
he has had to dip into his organization’s
Yet, through it all, Samuels and
Neve said the support they receive
from their community in times of crisis
pushes them to continue their hard
“Even though they are not with us,
they are encouraging us with our donations,”
Samuels said. “It makes me feel
like you are not alone in this, like we
are not taking this on by ourselves. ”
COURIER L 18 IFE, APRIL 17-23, 2020
teachers and students, forming a sort
of family that spanned generations.
“There were a lot of staff members
that had her as her principal,” said
Ciulla, who studied under Brennan
as a middle schooler before returning
to become a teacher. “We present
it as a family. And that’s what she
When Brennan became principal
of I.S. 201, John F. Kennedy was
president, Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr. was named Time Magazine’s Man
of the Year, and gas cost 29 cents per
At the time of her appointment,
not many other women held administrative
roles in the New York City
school system — particularly not in
District 20, where IS 20 is located.”
“When she came in, there may
have been one other woman who was
a principal of a middle school in the
district,” said Joseph LaCascia, who
worked with Brennan at I.S. 201 from
1969 to 2013. “She was a trailblazer.”
For 50 years, Brennan would lead
the school with a steady hand, winning
over students and staff for generations
“She was one of a kind,” said
Elaine Safran, who headed the parent
teacher association for six years
under Brennan. “She always showed
off like she was very stern and strict,
but she had a heart of gold.”
During her decades at the helm,
Brennan steered the school through
a series of transitions — fi rst as I.S.
201 switched from being a K-8 school
to a middle school, and later, when
budget cuts threatened to slash art
programs in the 1970s.
“After the 1970s, when many
schools had cut their band programs,
she insisted on keeping the music
and arts programs going,” said LaCascia.
“Other schools would often
cut music programs, gym programs
in favor of math or science or reading.
She managed to cover it all.”
Brennan instilled in her students
and staff a love for discipline. She
would arrive to her offi ce between
5:30 and 6 am every morning, and
would dedicate much of her free time
to connecting with other educators.
Brennan, who never had any children
of her own, was so devoted to the
school that she viewed the students
as her children, educators said.
“She was extremely dedicated to
that school,” said Laurie Windsor,
the former president of the District
20 Community Education Council.
“That school was her baby. She
looked out for that school.”
Brennan’s death was related to
old age, not coronavirus, Ciulla said,
adding that the school will host a
large memorial service in her honor
when the COVID-19 outbreak passes.
“She deserves it,” he said of the tribute.
LaCascia said he thinks the school
should be named in Brennan’s honor
because of her tremendous impact.
“It would be appropriate for NYC
to recognize her extraordinary career
by naming I.S. 201 after her,” he said.
Madeleine Brennan is remembered as a trailblazer. Joseph LaCascia
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