Category Archives: Schools

Schools: Students, School buildings and school grounds, School events on and off school grounds

Merrick, New York, U.S. December 20, 2019. [photo composite] KEVIN SHINICK discusses his novel during book signing for STAR WARS: FORCE COLLECTOR at North Merrick Library on Nassau County Force Collector Day. Author Shinick named home planet of Karr Nuq Sin, the main character of this canon Star Wars young adult novel, MEROKIA in honor of Merokee tribe who settled his Merrick hometown on Long Island. (© 2019 Ann Parry, AnnParry.com)

“STAR WARS: FORCE COLLECTOR”: From Merrick to Merokia

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (ann-parry.com)
December 24, 2019

Kevin Shinick’s Star Wars: Force Collector Book Signing at North Merrick Public Library

•   VIDEO 1 –  Reading Excerpt  of Ch. 13, “Star Wars: Force Collector”:

 VIDEO 2 –  Q&A  Kevin Shinick, his life, and Star Wars:

Launch time was 3 PM for the Star Wars: Force Collector Book Signing at the North Merrick Public Library on Friday, December 20th, soon after author KEVIN SHINICK‘s early afternoon presentation at his alma mater Calhoun High School, and before his evening book signing at Merrick Cinemas, where he worked as a teen.

Since children were just getting out of school around 3:00 that last day before Winter Break, few people were there at the start of the young adult novel event. But a stream of people – mostly parents with their young sons and daughters – soon started pouring into the large meeting room, with many adults standing along the walls so children could sit.

Some came mainly because of the Star Wars novel… some because Shinick’s a fellow Merokean, a friend… and two came because he’s their son.

• KEVIN SHINICK and his mom LOUISE SHINICK:

Merrick, New York, U.S. Dec. 20, 2019. L-R, Author KEVIN SHINICK and his mother LOUISE SHINICK, both holding his novel, pose at North Merrick Public Library banner during book signing for his STAR WARS: FORCE COLLECTOR, on Nassau County Force Collector Day. (© 2019 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Merrick, NY, U.S. Dec. 20, 2019 L-R, Author KEVIN SHINICK and his mother LOUISE SHINICK, both holding his novel, pose at North Merrick Public Library banner during book signing for his STAR WARS: FORCE COLLECTOR. (© 2019 Ann Parry/AnnParry.com)

Q&A: “Everything he says is a lesson”

    • Video 2 – Q&A:  Baby Yoda, Batman comic books; Best Star Wars Lightsaber Fight; Broadway; Fiction VS Nonfiction; Heidi Gardner; Debbie Gibson; TV Hosting; George Lucas; Eileen Meyers; Robot Chicken; Ringwood, NJ; SNL; Spiderman, Star Wars…

During his animated Q&A, Kevin Shinick talked at length about writing the official canon Star Wars YA novel, Star Wars: Force Connector.

Shinick said, “Working with George Lucas – everything he says is a lesson.”

After the project got the green light, he stayed for a month at Skywalker Ranch, the California home and workplace of GEORGE LUCAS, the film writer, director and producer who created Star Wars.

Shinick was glad he stayed at Skywalker Ranch for a month, so he had a chance to ground himself being around Lucas.

“For the first two weeks I didn’t hear anything he said. I heard wonk wonk wonk wonk [as he repeated to himself] You made Star Wars. You made Star Wars.”

“George Lucas [is] an independent experimental film maker, and he takes chances. [….] He wasn’t doing something to make us love him. He was doing something to show us something we had never seen before.”

“It’s hard as an artist not to get beaten down. You’re doing it because you set an objective and you succeed at that objective.”

“With this book [“Star Wars: Force Collector”] I can find 10 people who love it and 10 people who hate it.”

“Star Wars, too, for some reason, there’s no middle ground. You either have to love it or hate it – there’s no middle ground.”

• KEVIN SHINICK with his childhood friend, pastry chef BRIAN FISHMAN:

Merrick, New York, U.S. December 20, 2019. L-R, Author KEVIN SHINICK and his childhood friend BRIAN FISHMAN hold up cake Fishman decorated with cover of Shinick's book STAR WARS: FORCE COLLECTOR during book signing at North Merrick Library on Nassau County Force Collector Day.(© 2019 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Merrick, NY, U.S. Dec. 20, 2019. L-R, Author KEVIN SHINICK and his childhood friend BRIAN FISHMAN hold up cake Fishman decorated with cover of Shinick’s book STAR WARS: FORCE COLLECTOR during book signing at North Merrick Public Library.(© 2019 Ann Parry/AnnParry.com)

Shinick Rules

Shinick  shared a few of his life rules, wrapped in anecdotes often a bit humorous, self-deprecating – as in his Skywalker Ranch “wonk wonk wonk wonk” saga. Three of the rules he shared:

(1)  You’ve got to keep your community. You’ve got to keep people who support you, have your best interests in heart, who challenge you. People succeed in groups.”

(2)  “You have to know who you are.”
He wanted to be like Han Solo, but it’s his lot in life to know he’s more Luke Skywalker.

(3) 1st half: “Always go to the door that opens.”
He didn’t expect to be a host of “Where in Time is Carmen Sandiago?” but he took it when offered.

     2nd half:  “Don’t be afraid to shut that door.”
After “Where in Time…,” he “got a lot of hosting gigs.” Then one day – as he was driving to a meeting about an offer to host the show Extreme Gong – he had, as he looked back on it, a rather cinematic epiphany:

“I can’t do this,” [he thought to himself] and called my agent – no more hosting.” 

“Every time I did it, something was missing, and people weren’t looking at me as other things. I have to stop this.”

He added that he wasn’t negating hosting – it just wasn’t his dream.

After the book reading and signing, the strong affection and memories Shinick shared with many there at his hometown library burst into hyperdrive, with a force evaporating the time and space since they last met.

 
• TOM SHINICK suggested capturing a photo of his son KEVIN SHINICK with JAKE LEFEBURE, 10, an enthusiastic Star Wars fan (see Video 2 – Q&A):

Merrick, New York, U.S. December 20, 2019. L-R, JAKE LEFEBURE, 10, of West Babylon, holding signed book, and author KEVIN SHINICK, 50, strike funny pose at book signing for Shinick's STAR WARS: FORCE COLLECTOR at North Merrick Library on Nassau County Force Collector Day. Author Shinick named home planet of Karr Nuq Sin, the main character of this canon Star Wars young adult novel, MEROKIA in honor of Merokee tribe who settled his Merrick hometown on Long Island. (© 2019 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Merrick, NY, U.S. Dec. 20, 2019. L-R, JAKE LEFEBURE, 10, of West Babylon, holding signed book, and author KEVIN SHINICK, 50, strike a pose at book signing for Shinick’s STAR WARS: FORCE COLLECTOR at North Merrick Library. (© 2019 Ann Parry/AnnParry.com)

“Star Wars: Force Collector”

KARR NUQ SIN, a teen who suffers from mysterious headaches, is the main character of Star Wars: Force Collector, a canon Star Wars young adult novel published by Disney Books.

Karr leaves his planet Merokia on a quest concerning the fabled Jedi and the Force. Karr travels with his friend MAIZE RAYNSHI and his droid RZ-7 (Arzee).

  • In VIDEO 1, Shinick reads a scene from Chapter 13, when Karr and RZ-7 go to a bar in a cantina on planet Oba Diah.

Shinick named Karr’s home planet MEROKIA in honor of the Meroke tribe who settled his Merrick hometown on Long Island, New York.

That was the main reason I looked forward to covering the event, held on what Nassau County Supervisor Laura Curran officially proclaimed Nassau County Force Collector Day.

Plus, there were similarities in our orbits, including that my younger daughter Laurie was a member of the Calhoun H. S. On Tour Company, under Director SAL SALERNO, about a dozen years after Kevin Shinick was.

In a more tenuous, colorful coincidence, my mom, MARY ANN PARRY, an opera singer, gave brief voice lessons to teen DEBBIE GIBSON, Shinick’s On Tour co-star in Fiddler on the Roof in the late 1980s.

• L-R, KEVIN SHINICK, CHRIS BARRON, and ANN PARRY after Shinick signs copies of his Star Wars novel. (please CONTACT ME if you know photographer’s name):

Merrick, New York, U.S. Dec. 20, 2019. L-R, Kevin Shinick, Chris Barron, and Ann Parry strike a pose at book signing for author Shinick's STAR WARS: FORCE COLLECTOR at North Merrick Library on Nassau County Force Collector Day. (© 2019 need photographer's name)

Merrick, NY, U.S. Dec. 20, 2019 L-R, Kevin Shinick, Chris Barron, and Ann Parry strike a pose at book signing for author Shinick’s STAR WARS: FORCE COLLECTOR at North Merrick Library on Nassau County Force Collector Day. (© 2019 need photographer’s name)


BIO –  Briefly, Kevin Shinick is a Broadway actor; a voice artist; a writer – for films, plays, TV shows, a Netflix comedy, Marvel and DC Comics, a children’s book (“Star Wars: Chewie and the Porgs“), and stop-motion series “Robot Chicken,” which he won Emmy for; a host for TV shows such as “Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?”; writer and director of Spider-Man Live!; the husband of producer Eileen Meyer; and dad of someone who isn’t (yet) a pilot.


• Baby Yoda says: “Winner You Are! Feel the Force -The Book, You Must Enjoy”:

Merrick, New York, U.S. Dec. 20, 2019. Boy holds his winning ticket, with picture of baby Yoda and'Winner You Are! Feel the Force' on it, at book signing for author Kevin Shinick's STAR WARS: FORCE COLLECTOR at North Merrick Library on Nassau County Force Collector Day. (© 2019 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Merrick, NY, U.S. Dec. 20, 2019 Boy holds his winning ticket, with picture of baby Yoda and ‘Winner You Are! Feel the Force’ on it, at book signing for author Kevin Shinick’s STAR WARS: FORCE COLLECTOR at North Merrick Library. (© 2019 Ann Parry/AnnParry.com)


FEATURE PHOTO at top of post: Merrick, NY, U.S. Dec. 20, 2019. KEVIN SHINICK, shown in photo composite, discusses his novel during book signing for his STAR WARS: FORCE COLLECTOR at North Merrick Library on Nassau County Force Collector Day.


Kevin Shinick’s Star Wars: Force CollectorMY PHOTO GALLERY

VIDEO 1 – Reading: vimeo.com/annparry/readstarwars

VIDEO 2 – Q&A:  vimeo.com/annparry/starwarsshinick

Kevin Shinick:  facebook  •  site 

Director Sal Salerno:  site

Sweet Karma Desserts:  facebook  •  site     

CONTACT ME

North Merrick, New York, U.S. September 11, 2019. At Park Avenue School students and staff listen to a patriotic song, and then each class with its teacher pauses in front of the 9/11 Memorial Garden garden in front of the entrance, on their way back into the school. Some shook hands or hugged NICHOLAS CARRANO, 15, of Merrick, a member of Boy Scout Troop 123 and student at Mepham High School. Earlier in ceremony, Principal E. Speidel of the K-6 elementary school talked about the significance of 911 and the 9/11 Memorial Garden, on the 18th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks Sept. 11, 2001.

Building Memories at Park Avenue School 9/11 Memorial Garden

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (ann-parry.com)
September 12, 2019

Early yesterday, the 18th Anniversary of 9/11, I heard a woman’s solemn, amplified voice coming through my open windows and thought it was from a neighbor’s TV playing the annual Manhattan 9/11 ceremony.

Having another idea a few minutes later, I walked outside and looked down the road to Park Avenue School.

North Merrick, New York, U.S. September 11, 2019. L-R, NICHOLAS CARRANO, 15, of Merrick, a member of Boy Scout Troop 123, and Park Avenue School Principal EILEEN SPEIDEL pose for photo after outdoor remembrance ceremony on 18th Anniversary of terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. (© 2019 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

N. Merrick, New York, U.S. September 11, 2019. L-R, NICHOLAS CARRANO, 15, of Merrick, a member of Boy Scout Troop 123, and Park Avenue School Principal EILEEN SPEIDEL pose for photo after outdoor remembrance ceremony on 18th Anniversary of terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. (© 2019 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Hundreds of students, their teachers, and Principal EILEEN SPEIDEL were outside listening to a patriotic song as they faced the 9/11 Memorial Garden and the American Flag flying at half mast in front of the school’s entrance. 

September 11th Remembrance Day

Two days earlier, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation (Senate 41661/Assembly 1801B) for September 11th Remembrance Day.

The new law, effective immediately, calls for a brief moment of silence in public schools throughout New York State at the beginning of the school day each Sept. 11th, to encouraging dialogue and education in the classroom and ensure an ongoing understanding of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and their place in history:

Governor Cuomo: “9/11 was one of the single darkest periods in this state’s and this nation’s history, and we owe it to those we lost and to the countless heroes who ran toward danger that day and the days that followed to do everything we can to keep their memory alive. By establishing this annual day of remembrance and a brief moment of silence in public schools, we will help ensure we never forget — not just the pain of that moment but of the courage, sacrifice and outpouring of love that defined our response.” https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-signs-legislation-establishing-september-11th-remembrance-day-and-moment-silence

The 9/11 terrorist attacks in nearby NYC leveled the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, killing over 3,000 people, including first responders who later died due to breathing toxic air at the sites.

Park Avenue School’s students live in North Bellmore and North Merrick, and residents from both towns were among the victims of the attacks. 

orth Merrick, New York, U.S. September 11, 2019. At Park Avenue School, a teacher hugs NICHOLAS CARRANO, 15, of Merrick, a member of Boy Scout Troop 123 , as her students walk around the 9/11 Memorial Garden on their way back into school after 9/11 ceremony, on 18th Anniversary of terrorist attacks Sept. 11, 2001. (© 2019 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

N. Merrick, New York, U.S. September 11, 2019. At Park Avenue School, a teacher hugs NICHOLAS CARRANO, 15, of Merrick, a member of Boy Scout Troop 123, as her students walk around the 9/11 Memorial Garden on their way back into school after 9/11 ceremony, on 18th Anniversary of terrorist attacks Sept. 11, 2001. (© 2019 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

9/11 Memorial Garden

During the ceremony, NICHOLAS CARRANO, 15, a member of Merrick Boy Scout Troop 123 and a student at Mepham High School, stood next to the school’s 9/11 Memorial Garden, which has a sturdy two-foot tall circular stone wall around a shade tree and flowering plants, a Peace Pole with “Peace” written in 12 languages, two American Flags, and a plaque atop a small stone monument.

Carrano, a graduate of Park Avenue School, was there because this summer he built the current 9/11 Memorial Garden for his Eagle Scout project. The former garden only had that plaque on its wood rectangular border. As Principal Speidel explained, people didn’t even realize it was a 9/11 Memorial Garden because the plaque blended in with the wood.

As students made their way back to the school building, they slowly looped around, and often paused at, the 9/11 Memorial Garden.

Some of the young girls and boys walked up to Carrano to shake his hand, and some teachers who came up to him gave him a hug, as the students looked on.

Back…

I was a member of Park Avenue School’s first 1st grade class, and my strongest memory of that year was facing the front of the building as I stood by it with a group of people, and then writing my name on a piece of paper passed around.

Decades later, when I mentioned that odd memory to my mom, she smiled and explained I was the 1st grade representative at Park Avenue School’s cornerstone ceremony.

North Merrick, New York, U.S. September 11, 2019. At Park Avenue School students and staff listen to a patriotic song, and then each class with its teacher paused in front of the 9/11 Memorial Garden garden in front of the entrance, on their way back into the school. Earlier in ceremony, Principal E. Speidel of the K-6 elementary school talked about the significance of 911 and the 9/11 Memorial Garden, on the 18th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks Sept. 11, 2001. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

North Merrick, New York, U.S. September 11, 2019. At Park Avenue School students and staff listen to a patriotic song. Earlier in ceremony, Principal E. Speidel of the K-6 elementary school talked about the significance of 911 and the 9/11 Memorial Garden, on the 18th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks Sept. 11, 2001. (© 2019 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

…and Forth

I wouldn’t be surprised if the 9/11 Remembrance ceremony is one of the memories Park Avenue School students keep long after they graduate.

And if they have some form of this outdoor lesson each 9/11 at Park Ave, they likely won’t need to ask anyone what it was all about.

PAZ  •  和平  •  PEACE  •   رحمها الله  •  MÍR 
POKÓJ  •  Waffenstillstand  •  ειρήνη 
Barış  •  мир  •  PAIX  •  שלום  •  PACE 


Click each photo above to see larger size.

9/11 2019 Park Ave. School:  PHOTO GALLERY

CONTACT ME