Port Richmond High School Announces New Hall Of Fame Inductees

Principal Andrew Greenfield has announced the selection of the 2022 class of the Port Richmond Hall of Fame. The Port Richmond High School Alumni Hall of Fame Selection Committee recently met to review applications and the following individuals have been chosen for the class of 2022. They will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Port Richmond High School Balish Auditorium on Thursday, May 26, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.:

The Honorable Judge Carmen Cognetta, Class of 1964– Judge Cognetta graduated Port Richmond High School in 1964 and went on to Siena College in Loudonville, NY, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. After college, he returned to the city to attend New York Law School. After one year of law school, he joined the US Air Force and served with the 95th Fighter Intercept Squadron at Dover Air Force Base and Atlantic City NJ. He returned to law school and received a Juris Doctor degree in 1973. After law school, Judge Cognetta entered private practice for a short time before deciding to enter public service law. He was soon appointed Assistant District Attorney of Richmond County and was also appointed Assistant District Attorney for the Special Narcotics Prosecutor in Manhattan; in this capacity he worked on some of the biggest drug cases in New York City. He was recruited by the NYC Fire Commissioner, to be the Deputy Inspector General of the Department in charge of internal affairs and discipline trials. At the age of 36, he was appointed as a Family Court Judge. Judge Cognetta was one of the youngest judges ever appointed at that time. He presided in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. He also served as President of the Advisory Board of the Residential Treatment Center of South Beach Psychiatric Hospital.

Judge Cognetta submitted his idea of “Special Tees”, a tee shirt business to employ adults with mental illness, to the state. The business was selected as one of five pilot programs in the state to employ the disabled, and it was the only selected program to last more than five years. The business has been a model for many similar programs that still exist today. Judge Cognetta also joined the board of a new non-profit organization, The Institute for Community Living, that provided programs and residences for the mentally ill. The program grew and it developed the main protocol for dealing with MICA’s (Mentally Ill Chemical Abusers), who were the majority of homeless livingon the streets. He eventually became the Vice President in charge of Property and Development. He oversaw the construction of over ten facilities that housed and supported the homeless. Judge Cognetta then became counsel to the New York City Council serving with Councilman Michael McMahon. Judge Cognetta wrote most of the recycling laws for New York City; he also worked on New YorkCity’sfirst Comprehensive Solid Waste Management plan, which is still in effect today. When then-Councilmen McMahon was elected to Congress, Judge Cognetta became the Congressmen’s counsel and co-director of his District Office.

Through the years, Judge Cognetta has been dedicated to helping his alma mater, Port Richmond High School. He was a founding member of the Port Richmond High School Alumni Association in 1984. He served as President, and then as treasurer for over 15 years. In 1993, Judge Cognetta was instrumental in getting a school directory company to search for and produce a school directory of the alumni. Judge Cognetta convinced the directory company that Port Richmond was the high school to take a chance on, as they mostly worked with colleges and specialized schools. The Alumni Association now has a database of over 10,000 alumni. The Alumni Association is responsible for raising over $250,000 in funds to provide scholarships for graduating students and to purchase items needed for school programs not provided for by school funds. Judge Cognetta served as the graduation keynote speaker for the class of 1985 and also headed his 1964 class committee that arranged class reunions for the 10, 25, 30, 40, 45, 50 and 55th reunions. He was also instrumental in helping to form the Port Richmond High School Hall of Fame at its inception, twelve years ago.

He has had a passion for politics since he first handed out political pamphlets at the tender age of thirteen. He has served as the treasurer of numerous campaigns.

Judge Cognetta is active in his church, where for over forty years has he has been a long-term member of the church council. He has served as president, treasurer and advisor to the church’s youth group. He was the founder of the Richmond Adoptive Parents Group and served as the Staten Island representative to the Board of Directors of New York Legal Services. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Staten Island Legal Services office. Judge Cognetta was appointed by the Chief Judge of the State of New York to be President of New York State Task Force on Permanency Planning. He recently reactivated the Randall Manor Civic Association after it had been dormant for over ten years. Judge Cognetta has received dozens of community service awards including the Distinguished Service Award from the Richmond County Bar Association. He has made outstanding contributions in the field of adoption and has been recognized by the American Academy of Adoption Lawyers. He has received the Outstanding Service to Youth Award from the Staten Island YMCA Counseling Service and, most recently, the Community Spirit Award from Community Resources. Judge Cognetta stilllives in Randall Manor with his wife of forty-one years, Christine. He is most proud of his daughter Catherine, an English teacher at Ft. Hamilton High School, and his son-inlaw Justin, a member of New York’s Strongest, and his granddaughters, Emma and Zoe. It is because of his many accomplishments in the legal field and his service to Port Richmond High School and the North Shore of Staten Island that the Port Richmond High School Hall of Fame has chosen The Honorable Judge Carmen Cognetta to be honored as an inductee into the Port Richmond High School Hall of Fame.

Dr. Patricia Lieveld, Class of 1976 – Dr. Lieveld was born and raised in Port Richmond. After she graduated Port Richmond High School in 1976, she earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degree in pharmacy from the Arnold and Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy at Long Island University. Dr. Lieveld then relocated to New Orleans, where she was a professor of nursing and pharmacy at the Louisiana College of Pharmacy of Xavier University for twenty-two years. When Hurricane Katrina devastated the area in 2006, she relocated to Texas, where she worked as a professor of pharmacy in the Feik School of Pharmacy of the University of the Incarnate Word. Dr. Lieveld coordinated Feik’s Faculty Development Program, was involved with the Applied Pharmaceutical Care course, and lectured in other courses including Pathophysiology, Behavioral Pharmacy, Professional Communications, and Disease State Management. Dr. Lieveld became a member of the Women’s Global Connection in 2008. She traveled to Bukoba, Tanzania several times with WGC to work on their mission project. Dr. Leiveld worked tirelessly with her partners in the BUWEA (Bukoba Women’s Empowerment Association) on better solutions for sanitation issues and water access. With the Women’s Global Connection, and the Women’s Earth Alliance, as well as the BUWEA, she worked on tackling the global water crisis. Dr. Lieveld conducted extensive research, with a focus on which practices worked best to create and build rain water harvesters. She also provided workshops toteachthe womenof the villagehow to build these harvesters so they wouldhave safe drinking water for their towns and families. Prior to the implementation of the harvesters, women would have to walk up to eight hours per day to fetch dirty water from the river. She gave her time, dedication, and inspiration to the project, which is now named the Lieveld Rainwater Harvester Project. The first rainwater harvester was built in 2012, one year prior to Dr. Lieveld’s death. There are now a number of harvesters in various village locations, serving countless numbers of people. Dr. Lieveld was honored at the 2015 Women’s Global Connection “Women and Water” Gala, as well as earning the William Mulcahy Award for Ecological Stewardship in 2014. A memorial for Dr. Lieveld was built at a rainwater harvester site at the BUWEA soy plant in Tanzania. It is because of her many accomplishments as a Pharmacologist, Professor, Researcher and Developer that the Port Richmond High School Hall of Fame has chosen Dr. Patricia Lieveld to be honored as an inductee into the Port Richmond High School Hall of Fame.

Karen Lynch, Retiree – Ms. Lynch grew up in the Bronx with three brothers and one sister. Her love of sports began very young, and some of her fondest early memories are of throwing the ball around with her siblings. She was a star athlete at John F. Kennedy High School where she played basketball and softball. Ms. Lynch played basketball for Wagner College, where she also started learning the ropes of coaching. Upon graduation, she became a full-time coach. After coaching at Wagner College, and a few other schools in Staten Island, Ms. Lynch came to Port Richmond High School to teach in the fall of 1989. She taught science in the Instructional Support Services department. Having already made a name for herself in the coaching world, she was welcomed with open arms to the football program at Port Richmond. Ms. Lynch is the only woman to ever coach high school varsity football on Staten Island (one of two in the city overall). Not only did Ms. Lynch coach the varsity football team, but she also coached the softball team for twelve years as head coach, and six years as assistant coach. Ms. Lynch won nearly eighty percent of her games, including a 26-0 season in 1996. She learned and then taught others to put in the time and effort, both on and off the field. Ms. Lynch always wanted her students to perform well and show true Raider spirit not only as athletes, but as model citizens. Whether in the Deans’ Office, the field, or the classroom, Ms. Lynch was a true motivator who always pushed her students to be better people. During her time at Port Richmond, Ms. Lynch won seven city titles and five runner-up titles, as well as six Staten Island crowns and seven seconds. Among other awards over the course of her career, Ms. Lynch also won four city championships, three Metro-Bowls, and in 1984, she was the CUNY Conference Basketball Coach of the Year at the College of Staten Island. In 2020, Ms. Lynch was inducted into the Staten Island Sports Hall of Fame, the twenty fourth woman ever to be inducted. Ms. Lynch is also an animal devotee and activist. In recognition of her educational and coaching career, Ms. Karen Lynch has been honored as an inductee into the Port Richmond High School Hall of Fame.

Andrew M. Saperstein, Class of 1985 – Andy graduated as Salutatorian of the Port Richmond High School Class of 1985. While at Port Richmond, he was selected to participate in the Japanese-American Student Exchange Program, received the New York City Board of Education Chancellor’s Roll of Honor, the Governor’s Scholastic Achievement Citation in recognition of character, citizenship, scholarship and service and won a Regent College Scholarship. He also served as Editor of Port Richmond’s Student Newspaper (The Crow’s Nest) and was Captain of the Tennis Team. He went on to the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with dual degrees in Finance from the Wharton School and Economics from the College of Arts and Sciences. Upon graduation he worked as an investment banking analyst for Salomon Brothers and later earned a JD from Harvard Law School where he graduated Cum Laude. Following Law School, Andy joined McKinsey and Company as a financial services consultant and was elected Partner. In 2000, Andy joined Merrill Lynch as the Chief Operating Officer for the Wealth Management Division. He later found his home at Morgan Stanley, joining in 2006 as Chief Operating Officer of National Sales and was named Head of National Sales following the acquisition of Smith Barney in 2009. After working in a series of progressively senior roles Andy was named Co-President of Morgan Stanley in 2021. As Co-President, Andy leads the Wealth Management Division as well as global Firmwide Marketing and serves on the Morgan Stanley Operating Committee. Andy has served as a trustee of the Morgan Stanley Foundation, the firm’s charitable arm focused on giving back, providing children with a healthy start to life, supporting diverse communities, and fostering employee engagement. He currently serves as an Executive Committee Board Member for SIFMA, a Board Director for the Child Mind Institute, and an Advisory Council Member for Teen Cancer America. Among other recognitions, Andy has received the Leadership Award from Partnership with Children in 2016 and the Legacy of Hope Award from Hopes and Heroes in 2019. These awards honor Andy’s and Morgan Stanley’s ongoing philanthropic efforts supporting children’s health and well-being, as well as service and community leadership. In recognition of Mr. Saperstein’s exemplary qualities – personal, academic and professional – we are honoring him as an inductee into the Port Richmond High School Hall of Fame.

Jim Schoepfer, Class of 1974 – Mr. Schoepfer was a star football player during his time here at Port Richmond. He played under Coach Nick Bilotti and alongside Gary Barton, also Hall of Fame Members. Mr. Schoepfer was a tight end and defensive end. He is a two-time Staten Island Advance Football Star, twotime New York Daily NewsAll Star, and selectedto theSecondTeam AllCentury. Mr. Schoepfer was Captain of the Football team in 1973 and also voted MVP. He played basketball as well as football while here at Port Richmond, and graduated in 1974. Upon graduation, he was offered scholarships to more than fifteen Division 1 schools. Mr. Schoepfer ultimately chose the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. During his senior year of college, he was selected to play in the prestigious Blue/Gray game, which was comprised of the best Division 1 players in the country and was nationally televised. Although Mr. Schoepfer sustained a career ending injury during his senior year at the University of Tennessee, it did not slow him down. Mr. Schoepfer, along with his brother-in-law John Whalen, initiated the Clysdale division to the local running scene on Staten Island. Mr. Schoepfer was the top Clysdale runner in his weight division 225 and above, for many years. He competed in numerous triathlons and later went on to run in the NYC Marathon. He also came in 2nd in his weight division in the Marine Corp Marathon. Mr. Schoepfer became one of the proud owners of two Circles Restaurants, one in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn and the other here in Staten Island. Circles Restaurants were a neighborhood staple for many years and offered delicious bistro-style food. Mr. Schoepfer then worked his last 10 years as a Local One mechanic with the Schindler Group and was responsible for overseeing all of the elevators and equipment that moves the staff, players and fans throughout Yankee Stadium. Mr. Schoepfer is a pillar in his community. His son James played football at Port Richmond, and his son Stephen ran track as well as played lacrosse and drums in the marching band at Port Richmond. His wife Barbara was also a very active member of the Port Richmond High School PTA. In recognition of his sports career and entrepreneurial spirit, Mr. Jim Schoepfer has been honored as an inductee into the Port Richmond High School Hall of Fame.

Banner Image: Cambridge University Hall Of Fame. Image Credit – K. Mitch Hodge  

Shannon Claudio

Port Richmond High School strives to provide equity and access to every student by ensuring all team members are equipped with the capacity to be agents of change in the lives of our students, thereby, raising the expectations for success, and inspiring all students to reach their highest potential. We do this by building the leadership and instructional capacity of all stakeholders, establishing and strengthening partnerships, engaging families, celebrating our achievements, and ensuring that we continue to challenge and examine systems, practices, and instructional beliefs that perpetuate the achievement gap.

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