FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM MAY 14, 2020 • THE QUEENS COURIER 3
St. Francis Prep reaches toward the STARs to support students
BY CARLOTTA MOHAMED
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, St.
Francis Prep has launched a new program
ensuring that every single student receives
a Franciscan education. On May 5, St.
Francis Prep President, Brother Leonard
Conway, launched the #TerrierSTAR
Program — or Student Tuition Assistance
and Relief — that will continue through
June 19 across all social media platforms.
In recent weeks, Conway had reached
out to families advising them that no student
would be asked to leave if their family
was suff ering hardship due to the
impact of the pandemic.
“Many of our Prep families have been
beset by the loss of a job, a business closure,
disappearing income, illness and
even the passing of loved ones,” Conway
said in a heartfelt video released on May 5.
“Some of the stories have been absolutely
To ease the burden, Conway allowed
for deferral of tuition payments, pledging
that no student will be denied a St. Francis
Prep education. Over $2 million in payments
have been deferred and will require
intervention and/or underwriting at some
point, Conway said.
Concurrently, the school, whose beginnings
date back to 1858, saw alumni
reaching out to off er any assistance. One
alum, John Tuff y, from the class of 1956,
emailed Conway off ering to donate his
“One particular area of need really
spoke to me. It occurred to me that
some, perhaps many, good and dedicated
St. Francis Prep students’ fi ne
education might be in peril because
their parents fi nd themselves in economic
distress due to coronavirus
related layoff s or displacements
and unable to make tuition
payments,” Tuff y said. “We,
as Christians and individuals, were
formed by the model of humility
and caring of our patron, St.
Francis, just can’t let that happen.”
On May 7, St. Francis Prep received a
special video message from alumni, Julie
Chen Moonves, TV news anchor and CBS
producer, who agreed to match donations
to Prep’s TerrierSTAR Program.
Moonves, a member of the class of 1987
and Hall of Famer, recognized Prep’s faculty
and students, who have been adjusting
to the new normal of online learning.
“Th is has been a very diffi cult time for
the entire Prep community,” Moonves
said. “Prep took me in as a sophomore
and they helped put me on that path —
Prep changed my life. “Together, let’s help
keep these kids on their path. High school
is and should be four years. Prep is indeed
St. Francis Prep sends over 99 percent
of its seniors to college. Last year
alone, the graduating class earned over
$169 million in merit scholarships. Th ree
departments — guidance, art and music
— have been awarded the prestigious
“Program of Distinction” from the Middle
States Association of Colleges and School.
Th ere is an incredible array of honors,
advanced placement and elective courses
in each department. Students have a
wide range of extracurricular activities to
become part of, and the athletics program
off ers both traditional and unique sports.
Th e average amount still owed by a
student and family for this semester is
$1,500. Most will not be able to pay off
that amount. St. Francis Prep is requesting
sponsorship to a family with $1,500
(or multiple families). Otherwise, consider
a partial sponsorship by donating $300
(one-fi ft h); $750 (one-half) or whatever
you can aff ord.
St. Francis Prep has arranged for
monthly payment options if donors prefer
to pledge their support over time.
To make a donation to St. Francis Prep’s
#TerrierSTAR Program, visit alumni.
For more information contact Th e
Offi ce of the President, 718-423-8810, ext.
232, or Th e St. Francis Prep Development
Offi ce, 718-423-8810, ext. 269.
Councilman wants to use public golf
courses as social distancing space
BY ANGÉLICA ACEVEDO
Councilman Costa Constantinides is
calling on the city to open Queens’ public
golf courses to the public, saying it would
provide more pedestrian space for residents
to keep a safe distance from one
another while getting fresh air.
“Golf courses throughout Queens are
sitting dormant right now, which only
deprives people of vast open
space,” said Constantinides.
“Instead of targeting black
and brown communities
Photo courtesy of Costa Constantinides’ offi ce
through this crisis,
the city should be
focused on creative ways
to unlock open space
for people to safely get
fresh air. It’s on us to
fi nd those solutions so
our 2.3 million residents
remain healthy, and the
weather gets nicer.”
Queens is tied with the Bronx for having
the most public golf courses in New
York City, which are controlled by the
Department of Parks and Recreation.
Th ey include Clearview Park Golf Course,
Douglaston Golf Course, Forest Park Golf
Course and Kissena Golf Course.
Constantinides, a progressive and environment
centered candidate for Queens
borough president, argued that the four
courses should be opened as pedestrian
green space. His call comes a few days
aft er the city announced it may be
limiting the number of people at
some NYC parks.
All public golf courses are
closed until further notice due
to the COVID-19 pandemic
— but Constantinides believes
opening them will provide
Queens residents with extra
open space so they can keep six
feet away from others while getting
However, the Astoria native still
urged Queens residents, at the epicenter
of the health crisis, to stay
home as much as possible,
cover their faces
when they’re not
d i s t anc i n g ,
Family-run LIC business receives
funding to stay afl oat during pandemic
BY JACOB KAYE
As families, businesses and industries
across the country struggle fi nancially
during the COVID-19 crisis, some have
received much-needed relief, including a
family-run Long Island City small business.
While the Paycheck Protection
Program has received scrutiny – just this
week, New York State Attorney General
Letitia James asked major banks to specify
how they’ve distributed the loans –
some small businesses in Queens have
gotten the money they need to stay afl oat
and pay their employees.
According to Chase, the bank has provided
50,800 New York state businesses
with loans, with each loan averaging
around $136,000, totaling $6.9 billion
in loans. Long Island City Surfaces &
American Stone is one of those businesses.
“It’s helped a lot,” said Meli Litis, the
CFO of Long Island City Surfaces &
American Stone, a construction company
that received PPP funding with the
help of JPMorgan Chase.
Th e PPP is a federal program designed
to help small businesses through the
economic crisis caused by the pandemic.
In many cases, the money has
gone to small businesses in Queens and
throughout the country. In others, the
money has gone to somewhat larger
businesses, causing outcry from some
small businesses owners and small business
institutions, including the Queens
Chamber of Commerce.
But for Long Island City Surfaces &
American Stone, which has several locations
including one in New Rochelle, the
initial epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak
in New York, times were dire and
the money was needed.
“We had to shut down totally,” Litis
Her company, which has about 50
employees across all locations, is a family
run business that services many aspects
of the construction process. With a statewide
halt on construction, the company
embarked on creative solutions to
help aid them through the rough spot,
including creating an online presence
and applying for PPP.
Th e process of applying for PPP funds,
which has been diffi cult for many, was
made easier through Chase, she said.
“Chase was amazing to the whole process,”
Litis said. “It was pretty much a
Litis and her co-workers have used
the shut down to “bring stuff up to par,”
and to “be productive in the time that
As for the future, Litis hopes all the
employees she had prior to the coronavirus
shutdown return and that things
go back to normal. But still, she feels that
day may be a long way away.
“I’m hoping everything’s going to be
normal again,” Litis said. “But realistically,
it’s not. Th ings are not going to be
the same. It’s going to take a long while
before anything comes back to normal.”
Courtesy of St. Francis Prep
St. Francis Prep alum, John Tuff y, class of 1956,
and wife Leslie. Tuff y off ered to donate his stimulus
check to support students and their families
struggling fi nancially during the COVID-19