Smithtown Schools Receive a New ‘Welcome’ by Gappsi group long island

by / Tuesday, 15 November 2011 / Published in Uncategorized

Smithtown, NY. Over the last year, almost all of Smithtown’s schools and District Office have received new masonry welcome signs and landscaping. The stone, landscaping and electrical work were all donated by a company co-owned by a Smithtown graduate who wanted to show his appreciation for the education and guidance he received throughout his public education experience. For Mike Specchio, the endeavor became a way to share his pride in Smithtown schools. “When people drive by our schools, I want them to see a unified look for all of the schools, and I want them to see something that generates pride,” said Mr. Specchio. Gappsi Group, the company headed by Giuseppe Abbrancati and his partners including Mr. Specchio, created the welcome signs for almost all of the school buildings in the district.

Early in 2010, Smithtown West Principal John Coady began discussing with Assistant Principal Daniel McCabe ideas to help identify and beautify the entrance to the high school. “West had no identifying marker that let people know they were entering our campus, and we were brainstorming ideas on what we could do to welcome students, parents and visitors to our school,” said Mr. Coady. “We thought that having a stone wall created with the school name embossed on a plaque would be an attractive welcome to everyone who came up our driveway; Mr. McCabe then set out to solicit bids from interested companies.” As the idea was being discussed, Ann Marie Specchio, a staff member at Smithtown West overheard the plans and spoke to her son, Mike. After graduating from what was then Smithtown Central High School in 1996, Mike joined Gappsi Group and began his career. “After my mom told me about the bid proposal, I went up to the school and thought back to all of my experiences here. I wanted to give back to the school and the district. I wanted to repay them somewhat for giving me a foundation to build on. After talking with Giuseppe Abbrancati the founder and CEO of Gappsi, we decided to donate the work to the school and once we began we decided we would expand our vision and redo all of the buildings in the district. Giuseppe is also a Smithtown resident, and he shares my thanks for the education our students receive,” explained Mr. Specchio. Gappsi Group has been a local business for almost twenty years creating landscaping and other home improvements with an expertise in masonry and natural stone.

“After we decided to donate the welcome signs, we set about designing and planning the work with all of the partners in the company. This project was a collaborative effort and we wanted to create these signs so that each had a unique quality while maintaining continuity from building to building. Mike Walsh and Rolando Adamovicz designed the stone work and landscaping. Charles Cocchiola supplied carpentry, Pete D’Abrosio and Peter Moran worked on the masonry and Kevin Anderson added to the project with his insight. We began working in mid-2010 and have completed work at Branch Brook, Smithtown, St. James, Mills Pond, Accompsett, Tackan, Dogwood Elementary Schools, Great Hollow, Nesaquake and Accompsett Middle Schools, Smithtown West and District Office on New York Avenue,” stated Mr. Specchio. Still to be completed are Smithtown High School East and Mount Pleasant Elementary.

Edward Ehmann, Smithtown Superintendent of Schools remembered Mike Specchio as an energetic student who would be destined for success once he harnessed his talents and drive. “Mike and I had many conversations about his future while I was principal. He was always involved, and I told him that once he graduated and found his footing, he would be a great success and a good man.” Mr. Ehmann noted that one of the goals of the Smithtown School District is to instill in students a sense of community and the fulfillment from volunteering to serve others. “As I visit the schools in our district, I am grateful for the outstanding work Mike and everyone at Gappsi accomplished. On behalf of the Board of Education and all of the parents and students in our district, we are very honored by all the time, material and work that were donated to our schools and the district. It is fulfilling for all of the teachers, the staff, the Board to see students giving back and honoring the education they received in Smithtown.”

“Every morning when I drive into the school entrance, I look at the sign and the landscaping and can’t believe the difference it has made in the appearance of our campus. I have had parents say to me that the sign is such a presence and it radiates a welcome to our school,” said Mr. Coady. “I have had many people call the company and thank us for the work we did. They can’t get over that we would donate back to the district, but like I said, Smithtown Schools gave me the tools to succeed and now that I can repay them in some way, I am happy to show them my gratitude,” said Mr. Specchio.

Each of the Smithtown schools has a natural stone wall with a plaque of the school name in the center. The walls are surrounded by a cement walkway, shrubbery and perennial flowers, and landscape lighting. “I think this a wonderful thing that Gappsi did. This really brightens this corner and is a welcome to downtown Smithtown, which is sorely needed,” Jeanette LaRock, a long-time Smithtown resident stated when asked about the work completed at District Office on New York Avenue and Main Street.

Smithtown corner of New York Avenue and Jericho turn pike

Smithtown corner of New York Avenue and Jericho turn pike

Suffolk County 27543-H1 9-10-99 to present, 15435-H1 7-1-88 to 7-1-97  Nassau County H2209100000  Southampton L002384  NYC and The Five Boroughs 1321423

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