As dozens of professionals – from entrepreneurs and dentists to police officers – gathered in the gym at Friday morning, an eager mob of seventh graders awaited.
It was career day for about 150 middle schoolers, and Career Café coordinator Scott Lieberman had put together an ambitious slate of topics for the students to choose from.
But the district had to scramble to fill the category of pro athlete after the guest speaker the school invited – former Yankee Rusty Torres – was with two separate incidents of felony sexual abuse of an 8-year-old girl. Torres was employed by the Town of Oyster Bay at the time and has been suspended from his $83,000 per year town position without pay.
Friday’s event was one of three career days Lieberman ran throughout the year for the school district. In fact, Torres, a youth baseball coach with the Town of Oyster Bay, appeared at a .
“He was supposed to attend [this] event,” Lieberman said.
The moment those criminal allegations came to light, however, Lieberman dropped Torres and found three strong replacements: Penn State cheerleader Terence O’Shea, Hofstra women’s basketball assistant coach Bill Ferrara Jr. and Michael Gibson, director of women’s basketball operations at Hofstra.
“We covered our bases last minute,” Lieberman said. “It worked out.”
O’Shea, 20, of Plainview, was particularly intriguing. He recalled his own career day moment as a seventh grader, listening to the dad of a friend talk about engineering. Today, O’Shea is an engineering major.
“An engineer, no one has a picture of them in their head,” O’Shea said. “So that was a good opportunity for me to see what they actually do.”
Now O’Shea is on the other side of the table.
“Hopefully the presenters will spark some interest and get them thinking about the future,” Lieberman said.