Life Story for Michael Griest
Michael E. Griest, 77, a longtime resident of Peekskill, passed away on August 9, 2016 at home. Born on October 27, 1938 in Charlotte, MI. On December 27, 1981 at the Peekskill Presbyterian Church, he married Frances Kalata, who survives him. He was a faithful member of the Peekskill Presbyterian Church, he also served as chaplain of the Hudson Valley Hospital Center. Mike was a 45-year member of the Cortlandt Hook & Ladder Co. 1 of Peekskill. Mike was an active member of his City playing many roles, two in particular were the characters of Uncle Sam in the Peekskill July 4th Parade and Abe Lincoln for the Peekskill Lincoln Society ceremonies. Mr. Griest was a beloved social studies teacher in the Peekskill City School District for 32-years until retiring in 1993. He also was a principle of the Night School Program in the district.
Mike enjoyed traveling, especially cruises with his wife and family. Along with his wife of 34-yrs., he is survived his son Shawn M. Griest and his daughter Kimberly (Mitchell) Benjamin; he was predeceased by his son Jeffrey Griest. He is also survived by his 3 granddaughters: Sabrina and Jennifer Benjamin, and Cayenne Griest; and his sisters, Christine Haley, Patricia Lavengood and Peggy Aupuck. The family will receive friends on Friday, August 12th from 4-8pm at the E.O. Curry Funeral Home, Peekskill. A Funeral Service will be offered 10am, Saturday, August 13th at the Peekskill Presbyterian Church, South St., followed by interment in Hillside Cemetery, Cortlandt Manor. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Peekskill Presbyterian Church, 705, South St., Peekskill, NY 10566. To offer condolences or donations, please visit: www.eocurryfuneralhome.com
MR. VINCENT COROZINE - (1960 to 1977)
Here are some "highlights of my days with the PHS Band as a student and as its director"
1. I have already sent you the account of how I entered the PHS Band at the end of grade 6...being the youngest member ever to get into the band. (click HERE to go to the “Hail To Our Colors” page)
2. Around 1948, Peekskill was playing football against North Tarrytown High School at the North Tarrytown field. In the last few seconds the quarterback (George Flood?) threw a high shot to 6'7" Jim Cooke (cookie), who jumped high in the end zone, caught the pass, and Peekskill won the game. Immediately, a riot broke out on the field, and in the stands. I remember the band members wanted to join in the mayhem. Mr. Shulman signaled them to sit down and take out our National Anthem. We played "The Star Spangled Banner" three time through and the riot stopped! Music surely has an effect on folks...."to soothe the savage beast."
I'm not sure that this would have the same effect today, but it certainly made an impression on me!
3. The band was going to perform at the Highlander Stadium (name?) on Welcher Ave for a night game. We practiced "I Want a Girl, Just Like the Girl That Married Dear Ol Dad" and memorized it. We put lights in our caps....(twist them to light them). The band did a clever revolving formation of the letters MOM and DAD. Before we began the formation, all the lights were turned off in the stadium, we turned our cap lights on and did the song in the dark. It was quite a spectacle. Show business at its very best!
4. Each year the band would march along Washington Street and then up Ringgold St to the school, where there would be a Halloween Dance, with dunkin' apples, cider and donuts. It was quite a fun time for all of us. One Halloween, as we were marching along Washington St. near the huge wall, a few pranksters dropped a couple of dead fish into the two tubas carried by Lenny Kaplan and Dave Loshin. Wow, did the band room stink for weeks until we got it fumigated!
5. Going to away games on the bus was always a special treat. As a seventh grader I looked up to Bud Treadwell, Bobby Renza, Vic Clemente, Bernie Yudowitz, and others as being "cool." These guys had it all together...and the Cheerleaders and Twirlers were really "cool." They treated me like their little brother and pampered me...I was in heaven!
6. Following a home game...if we won the game, the band would march through town announcing to the folks in the city that we won. Hundreds of students would form a "snake dance" in twos, behind the band. It was quite a sight to behold. We won most games due to having Billy Strumke and Emilio Pimienta on the team. The morale was very high in the band and on the team during my years as a student.
7. As the director of the band, beginning in 1960, we had the marvelous opportunity to play two half-time shows for the NY Jets at the Polo Grounds (we were the last band to play there...they ripped it down afterwards....I wonder if it had anything to do with our performance?) Peekskill Day took place the next year at the new Shea Stadium...we performed a 14-minute half-time show. Watching the Jets practice at the Peekskill Military Academy field was really an event. Joe Namath, Don Maynard, Dave Herman and company put on quite a show.
8. On a beautiful Saturday morning, we boarded our three or four buses and headed for Yonkers to play Gorton High School. I instructed the band to sit in the stands and wait for my signal to line up to go on the field for the pre-game show. Gorton had no band, so we played the National Anthem. Not realizing it, Gorton High School had just painted their bleachers with dark green paint. And our red and blue uniforms now had splotches of green on the pants and capes. We sent the cleaning bill to Yonkers and they paid it along with a long apology.
9. I remember the first time I saw a television set was in 1947 at the Hudson Valley Exposition at the State Armory on Washington St. (In fact, I have a photo of me with my sax in uniform, along with Ernie Conklin, Bernie Yudowitz and an unknown man behind the counter) . I was in awe of this new invention.
10. Ed Shulman was a tremendous influence on my life. His caring attitude, humble spirit and understanding of showmanship really impressed me. After his heart attack in 1960, I was released from the West Point Band three days a week to teach his classes. The next year the Board of Education created a position for me, and Ed and I worked together until his death about eight years later. He was one of the main reasons why I went into music teaching. After taking my first position as band director of East Hartford High School in East Hartford, CT. I sat down with Ed and he outlined what I should do with the marching band...step by step guidance. My six years in the PHS Band and my seventeen years as a music teacher at PHS left a profound stamp on my life, for which I am eternally grateful.
Vince Corozine class of 1953
Mrs. JUDY KAPLAN, Librarian and Media Specialist has been extremely helpful to us by providing
many of the Yearbooks that we have published. Mrs. Kaplan will retire this year (June of 2010)
after devoting 27 years to teaching. I am printing my letter to her and her subsequent reply:
Dear Mrs. Kaplan,
The Yearbooks have changed over the years. Back to my own 1940 class, and prior, they were pretty crude when compared to the slick books that are used today. I don't know when your career at PHS began but I have also noticed that there has been a significant change in the student body. PHS today is truly multinational, so much so that instead of typing in a name like Lent, Conklin, Mary and Joseph, etc. I have to go pretty much letter for letter in order to get the names correct. I am sure I make some unintended mistakes.
We are having quite a fuss here in Florida about classroom size and the cost of maintaining the teacher/student ratio at current levels.That is another thing that I have observed. We had anywhere from 40 or more students to a class and today I believe that ratio is much less, at least here in Florida. So I have been wondering what changes you may have observed in the student body and in the high school adventure both for the teachers and the students.
Emma Patterson was the librarian in my day. I was not the best student in the class by any means but Miss Patterson and I got along very well. I was always an avid reader (still am) and we used to have a "Study Day” on Wednesday. That consisted of the students filling out a card for and with their homeroom teacher, supposedly to go to the classes where they felt they needed a brushing up. The cards would be stamped by the teacher to validate that the pupil had indeed been there. I used to fill in as much library as I could and spent the time reading. Miss Patterson also wrote a couple of novels, set in Revolutionary days.
I feel now, in retrospect, that I have not devoted enough of the web pages to the teachers and the workings of faculty and administrators as to how they determined the curriculum and actual running of the school year after year.
I never met Emma Patterson, though I've heard some about her. I'm fascinated about the 'library' time you used to spend. We don't have that same system of 'choice of activity.' Students do come to the library during lunch, or from a class with a pass, or with their whole class. Most often they come to use computers rather than books, like they used to. And yes, the student body is very international/diverse and I also come across 'new' names all the time. It's a constant learning experience. Class sizes vary from 10 to 30. Many of our classes are nearly 30 or 30. There's also concern here that class sizes will increase, especially in the younger grades where classes have been kept small, usually under 20. I've been here 27 years and I haven't seen much difference in class sizes. The big difference has been a shift from ability level classes to inclusion classes where abilities are mixed. There's also been a large increase in Advance Placement courses for college credit in the last five years. We used to have just a few, and now have about 12.
Sorry I don't have the exact numbers near me.
And certainly yearbooks have become glossier and flashier as technology has shifted to make it possible. The technology, overall in the school, intensifies all the time. Currently all of the middle school and parts of the other schools have interactive white boards in the classrooms for instruction. A large chunk of district budget goes to upgrading and maintaining technology. There are computers in every classroom, the high school has 3 computer labs, 4 carts of laptop computers, online databases for attendance, report cards, homework, and all student records. Class reports are done on powerpoints as often as they are the traditional term paper.
It's a constant endeavor just to keep up with what students have at home
April 13, 2010.