FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM APRIL 11, 2019 • THE QUEENS COURIER 21
Bayside students head to problem-solving competition
BY JENNA BAGCAL
A group of talented fi ft h-grade students
Late Queens labor leader Kevin Lynch, 73, to be honored
BY BILL PARRY
Labor leaders from across the tri-state
area will gather together later this month
and celebrate the life of Kevin Lynch, a
Glen Oaks resident and a towering fi gure
in the movement.
Lynch was a longtime director of organizing
and political action for major
unions in New York and New Jersey.
He died on March 8, at North Shore
University Hospital. He was 73 years old.
Lynch is survived by his wife, Queens
County Supreme Court Justice Bernice
D, Siegal, and his daughters Rebecca
Della Lynch, Deputy Director of the
Working Families Part of Wisconsin and
Sara Alexandra Lynch, a Fellow with the
Defender Association of Philadelphia.
“Our father’s life’s work was to befriend,
empower and honor the working people,”
Lynch’s daughters said in a statement.
From his early days as a teenager,
working as a union longshoreman on
the docks of New York, and his time as a
young man serving in the Peace Corps in
the mines of Bolivia, our father delighted
in getting to know the lives and families
of working people, and was energized
by their struggle. A true organizer,
he helped gather over a million people
in Central Park at the United Nations
Disarmament Rally, and over the last
decade partnered with labor groups to
bring back the May Day rallies to New
York City. He was a devoted father, who
took tremendous pride in our accomplishments
big and small. He gave us a
love of justice and family and the world
around us. He will be missed by many,
his family most of all.”
Among the trade unions to which he
devoted his organizing, political and
strategic skills were UAW District 65,
AFSCME DC 1707, the Teamsters Local
Union 840 IAM District 15RWDSU 338,
CWA 1180 and the New York City Central
Labor Council. Lynch stood for worker
solidarity and immigrant rights and was
a powerful speaker at airport workers rallies
in the long campaign for dignity and
“Kevin Lynch was a powerful champion
for working people in Queens and across
New York,” 32BJ SEIU President Hector
Figueroa said. “He took so much joy
in organizing and helping workers build
power, especially in sectors and communities
that were historically overlooked by
the labor movement. I remember him as
a powerful advocate for black, Irish and
South Asian workers and his work will
continue to serve as an inspiration to so
many of us.”
As a founding member of the Working
Families Party, Lynch was successful in
partnering labor unions and refocus electoral
politics, holding elected offi cials and
politicians accountable to working families.
“What made us loyal to Kevin Lynch
followers was that he taught us in words
and deeds nearly every day. Kevin loved
working people; it was that simple,”
NY Working Families Party Executive
Director Bill Lipton said. “Long aft er labor
leaders his age had retired, Kevin was out
every day early in the morning talking to
workers in sectors and communities that
others had overlooked. It was always clear
to me that it gave him great joy to go out
and organize, to listen to working people
and help them build power and strategize.
More than anyone, he taught me and so
many others the power of solidarity. He
taught us how power and wealth will try,
in so many diff erent guises, to divide us
from each other. He was one of the people
I admired most in this world.”
When Lipton awarded Lynch a lifetime
achievement award at the WFP
Progressive Leadership Conference,
Lynch recalled growing up as a Bronxborn
son of Irish immigrants, and paying
union dues for more than 50 years.
“Growing up in my house, my mother
used to say ‘If you leave the church you’ll
break my heart, you cross a picket line and
I’ll break your legs,’” Lynch said.
As a citizen of both the United States
and Ireland, Lynch was a founder of the
Irish Arts Center in Hell’s Kitchen.
Judge Siegal, Lynch’s wife of 31 years
believes, “Kevin’s determination came
from fi ghting for Irish unifi cation, to be
free of political and capital oppression.
Th at came in tandem with his Jesuit education
and work as an advocate for working
people, from the mines in Bolivia and
rice paddies of Vietnam ultimately to the
streets of New York.”
She is organizing the celebration of
his life which will be held on April 27 at
District Council 1707 at 420 W. 45th St.
at 2 p.m.
from a Bayside public school is
headed to the world fi nals of a national
problem-solving competition in May.
Th e team of seven from P.S. 203 in
Oakland Gardens will compete against
students from around the globe in the
Odyssey of the Mind World Finals,
which they qualifi ed for back in March.
Th e students earned fi rst place at the
regional competition and second place
at the New York state fi nals, according to
P.S. 203 teacher and team coach Katerina
Approximately 850 teams from the
United States and other countries will
compete in the world fi nals, which
will take place on the Michigan State
University campus. P.S. 203 is the only
New York City public school represented
at world fi nals.
Stavropoulos has been coaching students
in Odyssey of the Mind (OotM)
for nine of the 11 years that the school
has participated in the competition.
According to the program’s website,
OotM is “an international creative problem
solving competition that engages
students in their learning by allowing
their knowledge and ideas to come to
life in an exciting, productive environment.”
Students from kindergarten through
12th grade choose one of fi ve longterm
problems and must fi nd a creative
solution. Th e problems involve students
building structures, writing scripts and
creating artwork among other tasks.
“It’s always diff erent. Diff erent kids
bring something new to the competition
every year,” Stavropolous said. “Th ere
are so many ways to solve the problems.
Teachers can’t tell students ‘yes’ or ‘no’,
so it’s both impressive and freeing for
Th is year, the Bayside students chose
to portray Leonardo DaVinci’s workshop
through a creative performance.
Stavropoulos said that students began
the months-long preparation back in
October, which involved meeting two
times a week for two hours each session.
“Th ere was a lot of brainstorming,
looking things up on the computer and
trial and error,” Stavropoulos said.
Th e fruits of their labor included an
original script with student-made costumes,
props and scenery — including a
replica of the “Mona Lisa.”
Teachers choose students to participate
in the competition based on recommendations
from their colleagues.
Stavropolous said that qualifying students
possess “various talents” and those
chosen include creative thinkers, outgoing
students and team players.
Stavropoulos shared that this is the
third time P.S. 203 students have qualifi
ed for the world fi nals. In 2013 and
2018 students won 10th and ninth place,
World Finals are May 22 to 25 at
Michigan State University. To learn
more about the competition, visit odysseyoft
Courtesy of Rebecca Lynch
Photos courtesy of P.S. 203