Bethpage Park summer jobs offer variety, community connection      

Concession stand employees work at Bethpage Ballpark, July 18, 2018, in Central Islip. (Photo by Caroline Ledoux.)

By Parker Schug
Bayport-Blue Point High School

and Zoe Gordon
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

A man in an orange shirt selling Quacker whistles. A woman cheering when a fan wins a raffle prize. A teen walking up and down the aisles selling cotton candy to children in the stands. These are some of the summer employees you may see at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip, home to the Long Island Ducks.

“We have 72 home games during the course of the season, so we need a good amount of people to fill roles,” said Michael Polak, director of media relations and broadcasting. “These roles include everything from ushers to on-field hosts.”

Whether it’s the advantage of watching your favorite sports team, making money, working with friends, or simply just getting experience, some teens believe that taking a summer job at the baseball park is an obvious idea.

“I think it’s cool because if you work at a sporting event it’s the benefit of working and having fun,” Stephan Schmitt, an 18-year-old Ducks fan from Roosevelt, said Wednesday. “It’s also really important to get experience working.”

The Ducks hire about 250 employees each season. Many are young adults hoping to work their way up in the sports business, according to Michael Pfaff, president and general manager of the Ducks.

“What you’ll see with a lot of the full-time positions in sports is it’s very hard to land a good internship, and it’s hard to land a good internship without exposure in an organization,” Pfaff said. “It’s a good first step.”

Waddle In employees Melissa Kelly (L) and Kelly Conway sell souvenirs at Bethpage Ballpark, on July 18, 2018, in Central Islip. (Photo by Caroline Ledoux.)

Many employees are brought into the Ducks’ staff through the annual job fair, which was held on March 3.

Polak said that, along with being passionate about working for the Ducks, aspiring employees should strive to be diverse in their skill set.

“The more versatile they are, the more intriguing they are as an employee for the Ducks,” Polak said.

Fans Colleen Schalk and Allison Caminiti, whose daughters performed in an Irish dance routine in honor of Irish Night, described employees at Bethpage Ballpark as “very helpful.”

“They are all very friendly and polite,” Schalk said.

Former on-field host Robert Shapiro, 49, of Hicksville, who worked for the team in 2000 and 2001, said the job was a thrill. “I was performing in front of 6,000 fans. If I was 23 at the time and not married, I’d probably still be working there.”

Chelsea Sibri: Drawn to journalism and medicine

By Parker Schug
Bayport – Blue Point High School

Seventeen-year-old Chelsea Sibri has demonstrated her drive since childhood.

“I’m a very energetic and fun person, but when it comes to work, I’m very hardworking,” said the 17-year-old year old senior at The Scholars’ Academy, in Rockaway Park, New York.

As a young girl with the dream of becoming a doctor, Chelsea worked to reach her goal. Later, after discovering her interest in reporting, Chelsea began to excel in English class. Her newfound passion made her reconsider her dream, but for now she’s pursuing both science and journalism. “I am thinking about double-majoring,” she said.

Chelsea says she has always understood the value of perseverance. As the child of two immigrant parents, she saw the effects of diligence.  “They taught me that with hard work, you really do make it,’ Chelsea said. “That was motivation to work hard.” According to her friend Jonathan Mora, “Chelsea continuously pushes herself.”

Her go-get-it attitude is evident in all that she does. “I will be taking AP Biology, AP Psychology, AP English and AP Art History. I am on the swim team, I’m vice president of my Chemistry Club and I am part of the school newspaper,” she said. As if challenging herself in school is not enough, Chelsea also volunteers in a doctor’s office to get more experience in the medical field.

Despite her busy schedule, she still manages to have fun by going to concerts and exploring the city. “Life can be short so I really want to make the most of it,” she said.

At home, Chelsea is industrious, helping her mother prepare meals. She will continue on her intended path  with the great support from her family, especially her older brother Anthony, who she describes as “a parental figure”.

As much as she prides herself in being self-sufficient, her niece, Angeles, stated, “Chelsea’s not afraid to ask for help because she knows that it’ll help her in the long run.”

Although Chelsea was preparing for a career in the medical field by taking challenging science courses, she was also drawn to the intensity of journalism. What ultimately sparked her interest in media was where she was raised, just 45 minutes from Manhattan.  Ozone Park was a good place to get exposed to the excitement of reporting. “There is so much media in the city, and that impacted me. It presented a big opportunity.”

Chelsea feels that the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute For High School Journalists will be a crucial step in deciding whether or not journalism is for her. “I’m looking forward to the amount of writing we will do,” she said. “I feel like this week at Stony Brook will give me a closer look into what journalism really is.”

Whatever her career choice, Chelsea plans to continue writing. “Writing is my hobby,” she said. “It’s a great way to release stress.”

Tuesday: Learning from each other

Emily Palazzotto, Manoli Figetakis and Rachel Schneider. Photo by Parker Schug. (July 17, 2018)

We are nearing the end of our second full day as The Greene Team.

The past 48 hours have been packed. Whether we are in the newsroom, outside shooting videos and taking photos, or getting in a quick meal, we are always doing something. Despite our 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. schedule, we’ve made sure to squeeze in time to get to know each other at night.

So far, I am over the moon about this program. I’ve met some incredibly hard workers, and we’ve been being taught by the best of the best. One of my favorite mentors has been John Williams. Not only has he taught us the intricacies of photography, such as how to get the perfect exposure, but he has reminded us that each photo we take should tell a story. “Sometimes our ‘mistakes’ create something beautiful,” he said when admiring Chelsea’s photo of a bench pattern being struck by the sun.

I never thought I’d enjoy photography the way I do. While I have struggled a bit, I am determined to get better. At first I did not completely understand why we were setting our ISO, shutter speed and f/stop at certain numbers, but with practice it became easier to understand. The same went for shooting videos. I didn’t completely grasp what was necessary to capture in each b-roll, but again, by filming over and over again, I became more comfortable. My passion for journalism has driven me to make the most of my week here at Stony Brook University.

While I have enjoyed the hands-on learning experience, one of my favorite parts of the past two days have been speaking to those around me. During our lunch break, I spoke to Zoe and Taylor from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. On our first day of the program, I was reluctant to ask them about their feelings and the state of their community after the recent tragedies. But they were comfortable opening up about it.

Not only did they change my perspective, but they made me understand the reality of the situation like never before. I was so inspired by their strength, and their ability to speak about these issues. Because of people like Taylor and Zoe, changes are being made in society, in politics, and in our everyday lives.

I have learned a lot about journalism, but even more about important issues impacting the world we live in. I feel so fortunate to be part of The Robert W. Greene Summer Institute because of all that I have discovered—and for what’s to come.

Brainstorming and breaking ice

Today I arrived at the Greene summer institute. Even though this was my second time leaving my family for a summer program, it was hard. After a few weeks of fun, I wasn’t looking forward to parting ways with my family, friends and the beach at home. However, I was looking forward to doing what I loved.

After a quick orientation and getting settled into my room, my family was out the door. It was crazy to imagine that this will be my reality one year from now, except for the fact that they won’t be leaving me for a week, it will be for an extended period of time.

Finally, it was time for brainstorming. As we sat on the almost-too-comfortable couches, myself and other Greene students shared our ideas for potential story topics, each relevant to our own lives. Finally, I was able to gain a greater understanding of how to begin the writing process. Just by starting with a general topic, we were able to break it up into separate ideas and come up with potential sources. At the end of our brainstorming session, we had a whiteboard full of topics that we were all interested in, and could write powerful, passion-filled stories about.

During our brainstorming session, I had a few realizations. To start, I need to read/watch/listen to more news. In order to be an effective journalist, one must know what’s going on in the world. Even if it is just news over breakfast, as we will be doing this week, it will be enough to have a greater understanding of the happenings in our surroundings. While brainstorming, I was also reassured that journalism is the path for me. The amount of joy the creative process of brainstorming brought me, was undeniable.

Later on in the afternoon, we young journalists indulged in some ice cream, then hung out in our dorms. As I spoke to the other girls in the dorms around my own, I discovered how different my school is from all others. We spoke about school rank, exams, pressure from peers and administration, and it made me all the more grateful for the community that I am part of. While grades are important, it does not override the importance of doing what you love, and learning while doing so. Not once have I felt the pressure described by some of the girls, and I feel that that is the reason I am, who I am.

Overall, it was a lovely first day. I am looking forward to the hands on learning we will be doing. I am also excited to be in the seat of a journalist throughout the next week, because I love the drive and hard work it takes to be part of this career. Here’s to a week of enlightenment, exploration, and bonding! The Greene Team is ready to report!