Her experiences as an undergraduate were unique and life-changing.
Taking Advantage: Bella Totino ’87 Gives Back Opportunities
by Chris Gasiewski“It was a great overall experience, athletically and academically. I’m truly thrilled with everything I experienced there. It was a great fit for me.”
Like many Adelphi alumni, Bella Totino ’87 calls her time on campus “the best four years” of her life. Her experiences as an undergraduate were unique and life-changing.
As a freshman, Ms. Totino and her teammates on Adelphi’s softball team were featured on one of the sport’s biggest stages—the NCAA Division I College World Series. There, Adelphi became a household name when pitcher Julie Bolduc hurled the first perfect game in World Series history against Utah State. Combine that with a second trip to the series a year later, and Ms. Totino has memories that last a lifetime.
“It was kind of surreal,” she said. “No one knew who we were, and to share it with those teammates, it was just amazing. I feel absolutely blessed to experience everything I did at Adelphi.”
Having been around athletics her entire life, Ms. Totino always knew she wanted to be a physical education teacher and coach. And Adelphi provided the resources for her to achieve both.
After graduating with a B.S. in Physical Education (she also earned an M.S. in Sports Management in 1992), Ms. Totino spent a year teaching at Our Lady of Miraculous Medal in Queens before moving to Munsey Park Elementary School in Manhasset Public Schools in 1988. She has taught elementary physical education there since, and she took on a more administrative role in the athletic department six years ago.
“Ms. Totino is a knowledgeable leader in her field of physical education,” said Dr. Jean Kendall, Munsey Park principal. “She embodies and models teamwork and has been a significant influence in the development and implementation of the physical education program for students in our school, an active participant in our School Leadership Transition Team and a committed facilitator of the School Master Schedule, to name a few of her accomplishments.”
Carolyn Pagnano, director of health, physical education and athletics for the Manhasset district, added: “Bella is a consummate educator, role model, hard worker and loyal friend. Bella is always there in time of need. Whether it is to help a little kindergartener tie their shoes, or a seventh grader open their locker or a middle school coach who is looking for guidance and support, Bella is there giving back.”
Ms. Totino, a consistent donor, has also given back to Adelphi, and in more ways than the University’s philanthropic initiatives. She often tries to help younger student teachers become acclimated to the profession. “I want to be able to share these things and give them a foundation that they can build upon,” she said. She also was Adelphi’s softball coach for a year and served in the same role at Hofstra for 11 seasons, as well as a stint as Manhasset High School’s girls’ soccer coach.
Her goal was simple: “Anything I can do to help out; anything to make their life easier, so they can have the kind of great experiences that I had,” she said.
She might not have achieved her coaching goal of guiding a team to the College World Series, but she has been forever grateful for the opportunities that she had. That includes teaching in Manhasset Public Schools, where she was originally hired through the help of a friend.
“It’s probably one of the best districts in the world to work in,” she said. “You are given all of the resources you need. I work with great people. It’s a great place to be from bottom to top.”
She said she couldn’t have been there without her time at Adelphi.
“It was a great overall experience, athletically and academically,” she said. “I’m truly thrilled with everything I experienced there. It was a great fit for me.”
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