Jon Breen letter to MVHS 3-20-2002

The Jon Breen Memorial Fund

Mount Vernon High School

100 California Road

Mount Vernon, NY 10552

914-683-0131 pm/ 914-467-7802 am


MVHS Class of 1963 Website


March 20, 2002


Dear Friend and Classmate,


I hope this letter finds you and yours quite well in this 39th year since our graduation in 1963. Because next year is our 40th re-union year, our standing committee from the last re-union has had our first organizing meeting, held at my home, this past Sunday, March 17th.


This year Michael Rosenblum, Ayn Silverman, Peter Altieri, Susan Satenstein and I sat down for a few hours and agreed upon certain criteria, which I have listed below:


a)      We all would like it held in the 2nd or 3rd week of June, 2003.

b)      We are exploring the idea of a multi day event at a hotel/conference complex, ie: Arrowood, Rye Town Hilton, the Renaissance, etc.

1)   Hotel rooms available for over-night stays

2)   Friday night get-together in separate bar/nosh area (optional)

3)   Saturday luncheon (optional)

4)      Saturday night dance/light later buffet

c)      We also are considering the idea of an open invitation to any one from the classes 1961 through 1965.


We are all still open to other ideas and suggestions. Please call or e-mail your thoughts as quickly as possible (914-683-0131,


In the meantime I am combining this report with the annual Jon Breen Memorial Fund letter. First of all, the Jon Breen Fund now has over $10,300 in its account. As many of you know, three prizes are given in the name of Jon Breen, to the three top essayists. This year’s topic is “Freedom vs. Security, A Delicate Balance.” Recently, besides the annual award’s assembly, I have started to make arrangements with the honorable Mayor Ernest Davis, of Mount Vernon, Dr. Thomas Turner, Principal of the Mount Vernon High School and Mr. Paul Court, Lead Social Studies Teacher, to have a Jon Breen Memeorial Fund Assembly. At this gathering, the winning essayists will read their papers, there will be a blue-ribbon panel discussion, with questions and answers, and it will either be broadcast or cablecast or both. This should lend an exciting new aspect to the Fund. Again the, Fund will also donate a $500 prize, in the name of the late Henry M. Littlefield, for the top history student in the senior class.





In regards to this past year I have continued my verbal, electronic, and written correspondence with Bill Bernstein, who is retiring from Coca Cola in Atlanta, Jim Cotton, who is now a Selectman in Redding , Ct., Lucy Bisesi who is a new grandmother, Larry Baker, happily selling equities in Ct., Carol Duncan, who is presenting a teaching paper in Lancaster, Pa., Frank Engel, who loves the Pacific Northwest and continues to write beautifully, photograph dramatically and think philosophically, Stan Goldmark, who loves to ski, root for Wisconsin football and sell plastics, Lee Jackel, who has recently eloped and loves to send humorous e-mails, Alan Rosenberg , who is still collecting NBA autographs and is up to his neck in tax returns, Marcia Salonger, who retired from teaching to a new career in real estate, Barbara Tucci, who has married off two handsome sons and summers in Rhode Island, Elaine Knopping, who enjoys living in northern Westchester, Jim Kurtz, who retired and likes to travel, Laura Kosof who is the busy owner of Michael’s Clothing on 79th Street in NYC, Fran Lazar, who is loving life in Dix Hills after retiring as a teacher, Noel McFarlane  who has started a new career, Sue Nassau who enjoyed the Olympics out in her home state of Utah, Dr. Larry Reich, who has started to conquer the legal world in the same way as he conquered to medical profession, and Jim Finch who is the Mount Vernon Commissioner of Public Works and a big booster of Mount Vernon basketball. Also I have heard from Carol Bellew, Al Schultz, Bruce and Phil Dix, Matt Goldberg, and Bob Sabin who has a 30 month old! Stuart Tobin is still practicing medicine in Richmond, KY and he wishes his friends in the class all the best. I also made contact with Norman Raphael, who sent me a check and Arnold Siegel, from the West Coast who has always been generous to the Jon Breen Fund. Peter Altieri remains a great Yankee fan and is looking forward to another championship in the Bronx.


Also of course, my old and close friend Warren Adis and his wife Mary who venture with Linda and me to museum after museum. The Adis family also love skiing in between his Professorship at Iona College. Dr. Lew Perelman and his wife Isabella, keep busy in the Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C. with her music and his consulting. Whenever I get interested in the subject of education, I refer people to Lewis’s famous book School’s Out. You should all find a copy and read it!


Unfortunately for many of us in the Metropolitan area, this has been a traumatic past six months. I know I speak for all of us when I say that the shock has been incredible. We are all entering into a different world. It may presage our passage into a new and more dangerous era of world instability and conflict. Hopefully our country will meet this new challenge with determination and strength. Maybe by the time we hold our fortieth reunion, in about 15 months, this horrible chapter of world conflagration and hate will be behind us. 


I look forward to hearing from you regarding the reunion, your opinions on what we are or should be doing, and your continued support to the Jon Breen Fund. Also I would like to wish to everyone who celebrates the traditional holidays of the spring a sweet and happy Pesach and a joyous Easter.


Richard J. Garfunkel



Letter to Mayor Ernest Davis of Mount Vernon 3-21-02

Mayor Ernest Davis

City Hall

Office of the mayor

Mount Vernon, NY 10550



March 21, 2002


Dear Mayor Davis,


I hope that this letter finds you and yours quite well. As you probably recall we had talked about having an assembly revolving around the winners of the Jon Breen Memorial Fund essay contest annually awarded at the Mount Vernon High School. Each year, with the cooperation and coordination of Mr. Paul Court, the Jon Breen Fund sponsors this essay contest and this year’s topic is Freedom versus Security: A Delicate Balance.


During our conversation at the radio station last year, you indicated that a broadcast of an assembly regarding this contest was one of your interests. I would like to offer this thought. I suggest that the winners of the essay contest read their award winning essays to the senior class, and that a “question and answer” session follows regarding the topic. Along with this effort a panel discussion could accompany the reading of the essays. The panel could be chosen by you, in concert, with Mr. Paul Court or the Principal, Dr. Turner. I believe this event would be quite important and would stimulate the proper “public-policy” debate that we all believe is essential to our democracy. I hope that you will give thoughtful consideration to this concept.


With all that in mind, I look forward to seeing you again at either the tennis courts, or at your office, or at the radio station.





Richard J. Garfunkel