The District 22 community came together on Thursday afternoon, March 24th, to celebrate the life and legacy of the late Denise Nopper, the beloved Principal of P.S. 119, who served the district for some 30 years before she passed in December, leaving behind a trail of broken hearts.
Much more than a colleague, she was a close friend to District 22 Superintendent Julia Bove, who struggled to fight back tears as she spoke of Ms. Nopper in a moving ceremony, attended by her family, friends and coworkers, and punctuated by music performed by the student chorus. Bove said that she couldn’t find the words to express her pain and sorrow over the loss of her dear friend, whom she likened to a four-leaf clover – “hard to find and lucky to have,” a woman who loved St. Patrick’s Day and the simple pleasure of spending time on the beach.
Nopper also loved the color purple, which was present in all the thoughtful little details, from the roses offered to her family members and the event program to the very curtains used to unveil the artwork being dedicated to her memory, a magnificent painting by Angela Rotondi of Rockaway Beach – her happy place, where her name appears to be written in the sand for all time. The canvas will continue to be on display in the hallway as a reminder of her, below which reads, “Words are few, thoughts are deep, memories of you we will always keep.” “Whenever you go to the beach, think of her, look for her, she’ll be there,” Bove said, with a heavy heart.
P.S. 119 is located at 3829 Avenue K.
Photos courtesy of Heather Fiorica