Dear Manorhaven 2016

John Manorhaven



Manorhaven Dan ManorhavenDear Beloved Manorhaven Elementary School:

The Alexander family recently successfully completed almost a ten year residence in the comfort of our

children’s primary school Manorhaven.  As I watched the last moving up ceremony as I have watched two times before it felt different.  Because that day was  moving day from our second home and moving always seems emotional.  The original Alexander family began their primary education at Manorhaven in the late 70’s with Donald leading the way and Mrs. Loveland at the front desk.  Today might I add Mrs. Loveland is still at that desk.  Donald was followed by Stephen in the early 80’s and Suzanne in the late 80’s.  Then we made our comeback in 2007 when Johnny Boy entered Mrs. Claudia Levin’s Kindergarten class.  Claudia is the perfect fit for those kids but more importantly a perfect fit for those incoming nervous pains like me. The apple of my eye… my pride and joy was going to leave my care and enter into the big bad world!!!  There was just something about her that made the transition to big boy school easier than I ever expected.  We were lucky enough to have her as Daniel entered the school just about the time her children were going to start Kindergarten and Mrs. Levin the cool calm and collective teacher was then the parent nervous just like the rest of us.     Christian’s entrance into the school was a most difficult one as we were struggling with the difficulties parents face when choosing to place their children on medication for his ADHD.  We were placed with Shari Salazar and boy were we blessed.  She had faced this issue personally and with many of the children in her class.  She spent hours of her own personal time with me and held my hand through the process.  I am forever grateful for her and her guidance and I am not really sure I can ever thank her enough.  Second grade provided the boys with the most energetic woman I know.  Bellmann’s bunch and Mrs. Nell’s class were filled with all things fun.  I can remember the Circus show where my very un-athletic Johnny was so nervous to be a part of this event.  Mrs. Nell knew just where to place my boy as a ring master and still today I have that photo in my room.  Mrs. Bellmann well she allowed Lego’s on her carpet at lunch time so therefore that qualifies her as the coolest teacher EVER! Up next were the  “Manorhaven Men” Mr. Lennon and Mr. O’Brein, both wonderful male role models for my boys.  I often think of them when it’s school concert day… poor guys are fixing ties for kids all day long!  Dr. Brevig still to this day is spoken about in my home.  Christian was the only lucky Alexander to have her as a teacher.  She was the perfect fit for my little man, patient and kind and a she takes great pride in her profession.  A new face came into Manorhaven and when I got the teacher letter I asked all around “Who is this Miss. O’Donnell?”  Who is Miss. O’Donnell let me tell you about her she is the most organized human I have ever encountered.  I will forever admire her spirit and her love for all our children.  Christian’s class set up a surprise birthday party for her, each child contributing to the day to make it special for her.  You could just tell how much the children loved her! Our final year at Manorhaven each and everyone of my children were the luckiest to have Mrs. Stacey Drucker.  I can’t imagine anyone else getting my boys ready for the transition to Middle School and on the right road to maturity.  For Christian and Danny specifically children with  learning and attention problems, understanding the rules and procedures of the new school seemed like a huge task for anyone to take on. Thinking about them and the challenge of navigating multiple transitions between classes and organizing books and materials for every subject was too much for me to handle.  Mrs. Drucker more then prepared them for the move all while she was preparing her own children to enter Middle School as well.

With another set of eyes in class, things often run more smoothly and  we can’t thank the educational assistants enough for all they did to help these great teachers all year long.  We must also not forget the kitchen staff that helped feed these boys all these years!  Oh and who does not love Mr. Clark and staff!  These guys always had a positive attitude at the school and kept a clean environment for our children.  The list goes on and on, there was Mrs. Utzig (whom was my husbands teacher as well), and Mrs. O who made computers fun!  Mrs. Regan whom fostered Christian and Daniel’s love for all things physical education but more importantly allowed John to  appreciate her class.  John was always a tall kid for his age, decent coordination but as he would say can’t catch a ball if his life depended on it.  With John being my first son I thought that if you’re not a star athlete by the age of seven, you were doomed for life.  Mrs. Regan taught Johnny that with great effort comes great accomplishments  regardless of his fitness level and each child should celebrate their unique style.  Mrs. Noone certainly was essential in giving my children the access to all things knowledge!  In digital times Mrs. Noone is needed more than ever.

There are names I am sure I missed but please know that each and every one of the Manorhaven family made those almost ten years some of the most wonderful years of my life.   To the head of our family Bonnie Cohen we started this road together in 2007 and I can’t believe how fast time has passed.  You will always be with me.  Thank you for every hug, lesson, smile, and word of encouragement.  Thank your for appreciating their uniqueness, understanding their needs and encouraging curiosity.  Thank you for being their teachers.

Donald and Christina Alexander

The House That Built Me ~ John J. Alexander


The House That Built Me

“Won’t take nothing but a memory from the house that built me.” These words from Miranda Lambert’s country song “The House That Built Me” speak volumes for me as it defines what my house means to me. In my entire life, I don’t think that I have ever encountered a more warm and welcoming home than my own. If we were to ever move, it would be devastating for me, as I have grown emotionally attached to my home. There is no place in the whole world that I’d rather live than 23 Graywood Road, the home of the Alexander Family.

My house has changed in many ways over the years, but the core foundation that is built upon family and friendship still lives on. Some changes included the color, the driveway, or even when we made it larger in what my family calls The Construction in 2009. Despite the changes, my house stayed the same welcoming and fun family home that everyone knows and loves.

As I stroll up the familiar brick walkway, covered with weeds sprouting from the cracks in between the bricks, and glance at the flowers, especially the hydrangeas, my mother’s favorites, that my mother had planted on the left and right in celebration of Spring’s arrival. Already I can hear the people inside talking, laughing, and yelling inside of the blue building, as one comes to expect when arriving at the house.

People walk in and out of our house every single day. If a detective were to check the front door for fingerprints for a case, he would have tons of trouble finding the suspect’s fingerprint. We have our cousin Nicholas next door, so he is always over and smiling enough to light up an entire room, as usual. Five minutes away, the exuberant, ever playful, and curious Michael and calm, doll-like newborn Antonio can’t wait to play at Aunt Tina, Uncle Donald, John, Daniel, and Christian’s house. The babies bring joy to everyone around them. The boys love the insanity and fun that goes on inside of the safety of my house’s walls.

Entering the front door, you can already smell the sweet scent of the candles that my mother has left out and lit, away from the reach of possible babies, of course. The famou wooden table sits proudly in my dining room, parallel to the kitchen, which is everyone’s favorite room. The dining room table has been in our family for as long as I can remember, and running your hand along it will allow you to feel the scratches and wear all over it, but I know that if the table could talk, it would say that everything we have put it through was all worth it. In the kitchen, my mother is always cooking something, and it is always enough to feed an entire army and definitely a hoard of hungry Italians. A pot of tomato sauce is guaranteed to be simmering on the black electric stove if you were to make a bet. Family and friends are a key element to our home, so we have to have enough food to entertain. The glossy wooden cabinets that house the plates and other eating utensils sit proudly above our heads as if to say, “take these plates! Use them! Enjoy!”

Our living room, the next room over, is a bright, airy, and fun room. Obviously, it’s the go-to spot for gatherings. The green walls provide for a calming experience, and the soft, grey couch is just asking for someone to sit on it. The white shag carpet is a favorite when Michael, Antonio, and Nicholas come over, as it is a perfect surface to play with their toys on. Behind the couch is the second half of the long room that is almost like the Room of Requirement from Harry Potter. It serves as a laundry folding room, a mudroom, a snack room for parties, and the home of our Christmas tree in December. It has a door to the backyard, with steps going to the left and right. Standing on that platform makes you feel like a King overlooking his loyal subjects. We have all sorts of photos in the Back Room, as we know it by.

Up the stairs is my parent’s fairly large bedroom with the beautiful window overlooking the backyard, and the windows above their bed that can show you Manhattan through the barren trees during the Winter, and the white vaulted ceilings. Next is my favorite room of all- my room. While it may be the smallest bedroom on the planet, it is my own. I love my blue walls, the pirate ship wheel on the wall, and my sand like carpets. As you can see, when I first moved into my new room, I gave it a nautical theme. The scent of my room is not yet categorized in my mind as to what it smells like yet, but I’d know the comforting and sweet smell anywhere. My room is covered in books and clothes- my two favorite possessions. While it may be a very small room, I love having my own private safe haven to relax in.

I did not touch on every room and part of my house, but that does not mean that those places aren’t special to me. One interesting story about my house that I love telling is that my dad grew up in our current house, and now owns it. In fact, that’s what I hope to do in the future. I like to call it my own “Full House to Fuller House” if it were to work out the way I’d like it to. I hope to one day own my house, just like my dad does now. Miranda Lambert says that she “won’t take nothing but a memory,” but I hope I get to take the house itself when the time comes.Who says you can’t go back home?

Courage – By John Alexander


Here he is my very first born son, now wearing gold for the Port Washington Fire Department Junior Firefighters.  John is their secretary a fitting position for my budding author.  From the time Johnny was a very young man he has had a love for reading and for writing.  In his little corner of the basement he would write short stories in his school marble notebooks.  He said he would own a publishing Company some day and he would name it Basement Stories Inc.  Because that is where it all began for our Johnny Boy.  Many years a go he began writing a book  about the children of the Disney characters and what their life was like.  Well just last year they came out with a TV show and a movie on the topic.  Johnny was devastated as he thought this was his idea but it did not stop him from writing.

This past month the children of Weber Middle School were asked if anyone would like to submit a speech to speak at 8th grade graduation.  John was up for the challenge and began writing what Donald and I think is a fantastic speech.  John read it to his teachers and staff at the school and was chosen to be in the final running.  Out of all the students that submitted an essay Johnny Boy made it to the top 4.  Well unfortunately my Johnny  did not win the chance to speak at the graduation ceremony.  Here it is….Johnny’s courageous spirit.

~John Alexander


Graduation Speech

Blue 8

First off, I must say congratulations to the Weber Middle School Graduating Class of 2016! We got through three years of hard work, and I’m sure that the next few years won’t be any easier, but I know we can do it. I would also like to say thank you to each and every one of my teachers who have gotten me to this exact moment. I couldn’t have done it without you. I would also like to say thank you to the other teachers, each of which I was not lucky enough to have had. You brought each and every one of my friends to this moment as well. I’d like to say thank you to our wonderful Principal, Mr. Shields, who has done a great job in his first year at Weber Middle School. Thank you to the staff for all that you do for us every day as well. Finally, I’d like to say thank you to my amazing, and might I add huge, family for all of the support that they have given me through the years. More specifically, I want to say thank you to our parents, especially my own, who have done so much work and gone through so much sacrifice to bring me to this moment in my life. I could not have done it without them.

One word in the English language that I love is the word courage. I must admit that courage is not my strong suit, as I get nervous about many things. Much like the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz, it takes a lot of courage to be strong and brave. We each need to remember that we all have courage within us, and we don’t need a medal to show it. However, I believe that we need courage to power through the simplest tasks, such as surviving every day life. Sadly, the problem is that the world can be, and at most times is, a very scary place. There are many experiences in life that induce fear, but I have learned to channel that fear and break it with courage. We all need it in our lives, and I hope that what the Weber Middle School Graduating Class of 2016 takes away from this speech is that we must have courage in the journey we call life, and especially on the next road of our life: high school.

We’re moving up to Schreiber High School next year, which could be a scary idea for many, but we must have courage. Walt Disney once said, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” I’m sure that when beginning 6th grade with our brand new school supplies and our best “first-day-of-school” outfit on, we were pretty hopeful that this place would be awesome. However, I know that almost everyone was nervous the night before the first day of school about the change that came as a side effect of moving up a grade. Look at us now. We had the courage to continue each and every day, and we made it to 8th grade.

I know that the entire Graduating Class can agree with me that courage is a difficult concept to gain and keep with us. Before a football game, I’m sure that the team is nervous if they’ll win the game or not. They’re nervous to see the other team and how they play. If the team is noticeably better than them, the team still has to have courage that they can, and hopefully will, win the game. The same idea goes with life. We see the world as a scary place that has people that can perform tasks much better than we can, or the opposing team if you will. We must have the strong belief that we can conquer the other team, or the metaphorical hurdle that the world puts in front of us. Honestly, I was never good at sports, but I know enough about them to know that life is one large sports game. There will always be you, and there will always be the other “team” wanting to beat you. But you remember that there is the rest of the team there to back you up, and you hope that your faith in them will be kept.

            When really thinking about it, what is courage? To the Graduating Class, courage is entering a classroom with your head held high even though you didn’t do well on a test the day before.

-Courage is talking in the hallway when Mr. Bass, the Blue 7 Social Studies teacher, is teaching a class.

-To me, courage is waking up every morning at the crack of dawn for a fresh start at school.

-Courage is going to Health class in 7th grade once a day a whole semester. Courage is going to Drama Club Rehearsal and messing up your dance or lines, looking into Mrs. Portmore- Davies’ encouraging eyes, and then nailing each part of it the next time.

-Courage is losing a game, but then going to practice the next day ready to win.

-Courage is learning about the sad facts of the past, specifically The Holocaust, in 8th grade.

-Courage is especially allowing your mother to be Facebook friends with your Social Studies teacher.

-Courage is having the strength to say that you’re different.

-Courage is singing out loud so everyone can hear and not being afraid of critics, and having pride in who you are and where you come from.

-Courage is stepping outside of the box and making a new friend.

-Courage is coming onto stage for Guys and Dolls, the Drama Club’s winter performance, in a bright yellow suit.

-Courage is doing the whip and other dances like nobody’s watching, and courage is wearing white Vans to school without a care in the world.

-Actually, courage is wearing any shoes at all to school when you know someone will come up to you at least once and yell “WHAT ARE THOSE?”

-Courage is walking into Mr. Enright’s classroom wearing anything but Notre Dame apparel.

-Courage is joining a club for the first time in 6th grade and not knowing anyone at all.

-Courage is walking into school on the first day of sixth grade smelling like a brand new pair of sneakers and freshly sharpened pencils.

-Courage, most of all, is delivering a graduation speech in front of the entire Graduating Class of 2016 and their parents.

I also found that courage is being able to follow your dreams, much like Walt Disney described in his quote. Throughout our 3 years at Weber, we were encouraged to express ourselves in any way we saw possible, whether it be through the amazing arts programs here, especially the Band program and the Drama Club, or through the great sports teams at Weber that are sometimes undefeated and sometimes defeated as well. The reality is that real life can be defeating too. I have always been scared of choosing what I wanted to be when I grew up. Through careful consideration, I had the courage to figure it out, even though the future still scares me. When I grow up, I’d like to be an English teacher or an author and share my love of literature with other people and children just like me. I gained the courage to decide who I wanted to be, even though I’m still figuring that part out. Actually, we all are. Weber Middle School gave me the opportunity to have the courage to understand who I want to be.

Above all, life in general requires a whole lot of courage. We can’t continue on with our lives every day without courage to fail and then do it right the next time. I’ve never had children before, but I’m sure that it requires a lot of courage to be able to get out of bed every day and handle the children. Through movies and tv shows, it seems as if you need courage to go to work every day, especially to be able to face a mean boss or even if you’re struggling at work to get it all done. This year, we learned about how Eleanor Roosevelt was a popular figure during the Great Depression, and as the former First Lady herself once said, “You gain strength, confidence, and courage by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’” This perfectly describes the Graduating Class. The “horror” portion of the quote describes our years at Weber Middle School, except for the fact that our middle school lives were not “horror” inducing experiences. Schreiber High School is the “next thing that comes along.” I’m excited that we can begin writing the next chapter in our lives, and I’m even more excited that we hold the pens. Congratulations to the Weber Middle School Graduating Class of 2016!

Text’s to Mom


When Asked when will I be home from the Firehouse….. This is why they need me home.


How do I explain this one?



After constant requests to make sure he SHUT the door I was sent proof.


America’s Fault for creating the keyboard the way they did.