THERESA OROPALLO –
CHAIR, BABES AGAINST CANCER
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
I lived in a two family railroad-room
style house in the East New York section of
Brooklyn. It was a little Italian enclave. My
grandparents and mother's three single sisters
lived on the first floor. My parents, older
brother and I lived on the second. However,
other than sleeping, we used the two-family
house as one. Everything was done downstairs
as a nine member family.
My earliest memories are of the “Cottage
Industry” we were part of. Since my Dad
was a linotype printer and he brought rolls
of labels home for the family to cut and bundle
after dinner. That's how I learned to count.
The industry came to an end once machines
replaced us and by 1954 we bought our first
TV and watched after dinner.
My Dad was friendly with his schoolmate,
Jackie Gleason, and when were children the
future star visited and entertained us in that
two-story house. I remember my brother
charging his friends five cents to be in our
front yard to see him as he left. He always
took the time to rub a few heads.
WHERE DID YOU GO TO SCHOOL?
I attended P.S. 155 on Herkimer Street
until the 4th Grade when I transferred to the
parochial school. While there I was awarded
a scholarship to Bishop McDonnell High
School in Crown Heights, which required a
ride on two trains from my home.
From there I went to St. John's University in
Queens from 1963 to 1967 and then received
my Master’s Degree in 1972 while working
WHAT DID YOU DO AFTER COLLEGE?
I started my teaching career at Richmond
Hill High School in Queens in 1967. While
there I became the Coordinator of Student
Activities and soon after, the Assistant
Principal-Guidance. In 1988, after 21 years
at Richmond Hill, I left to become an Assistant
Principal at Northport High School on
Long Island. Three years later I became the
DO YOU HAVE A FAMILY?
My current family consists of two nephews,
their wives, my sister-in-law, a wonderful
great-nephew, Logan, 9 years old, and a
beautiful great-niece, Mya, 8 years old. They
live in Florida and I enjoy visiting them. I also
have a cousin in an Adult Learning Center in
Brooklyn. My current family also includes the
many wonderful friends I have made at the
Towers who are now part of my extended family.
WHERE DID YOU LIVE BEFORE
COMING TO NST?
I lived in Northport for 19 years, and before
that I was in Great Neck Terrace for 15 years.
From my apartment I watched the Towers being
Once I retired I wanted to return to the Great
Neck area but was totally disillusioned by the
claustrophobic feeling I had in every apartment
I viewed until I came to NST. When Linda
Rappaport showed me 12H, I immediately fell
in love with the spaciousness and airiness. That
was exactly 10 years ago and one of the best
decisions of my life.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR
FAVORITE NST ACTIVITIES?
I am a member of the Towers Ladies Golf (I
never really golfed before moving here, but how
could I live on a golf course and not play). I
enjoy the Camera Club and have served on the
Country Club committee. I LOVE the parties
in the VIP Room because I love to dance and
meet new people. I also enjoy walking in the
indoor pool in the morning.
I have been co-chair and chair of the BABES
AGAINST CANCER event. This is very meaningful
to me because my mother died from cancer
when I was 15 years old. I then lost 2 aunts
to this terrible disease and just last February,
my brother. We will find cures.
The money raised from the BABES events
is not only used for research but also to ease
suffering for the patient and his/her family. Car
rides, wigs, spa days and providing a place to
stay in NYC for access to treatment, are just
a few of the amenities our BABES money
YOU ARE KNOWN AS A WORLD TRAVELER.
WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?
I have been fortunate in my lifetime, being
able to indulge my love of travel. In addition
to being in all 50 states and many countries,
I have been to my main love, Italy, eight
times. After over 50 years of traveling, it
would be easier to list what still remains
on my bucket list: Egypt, Japan, Australia
(although I did get to Tahiti) and believe it
or not, Israel.
It's hard to select a favorite but visiting my
Dad's family's hometown, St. Agata, Italy,
was a definite highlight. Sitting with a dapper,
little old man in the town's records room,
checking big, handwritten documents, decades
old, relating to my family, is an experience to
Of course, North Shore Towers is my home
Terry Oropallo is a very familiar figure
at NST. This dynamic retired High School
Principal has been very active in raising funds
for the Babes Against Cancer initiative as well
as a member of the Camera Club where she
spotlights photos from her world-wide trips.
And of course, we can’t ignore her devotion
to golf and membership on the Country Club
4 NORTH SHORE TOWERS COURIER ¢ December 2020