Franklin Delano Roosevelt [FDR] High School (5800 20th Avenue) is having its Golden Jubilee Celebration this weekend. That’s right, founded in 1965, the school has been serving kids of Bensonhurst, Borough Park, Dyker Heights, and beyond for 50 years.
While the Mapleton school doesn’t have the same star power in its alumni rolls as, say, the nearly 100-year-old New Utrecht High School, graduates are imbued with a strong sense of shared identity and loyalty to their alma mater — so much so, that many expect the upcoming bash to feel more like a family reunion than a stuffy alumni dinner (as New York Daily News’ Dennis Hamill notes) .
Victor Goodstone, 62, who was part of the high school’s first graduating class, describes his school pride in this way:
While we too grew up in the same essentially Southern Brooklyn air and sunlight of our older friends who went to New Utrecht, whose alumni rolls contain like a who is who in Hollywood, and Erasmus whose alumni rolls contain many of the most distinguished Americans of the twentieth century, and Lafayette who was the nurturing ground of a number of great American sportsmen, we might not contain many if few notables, but many of our graduates over the years have gone on to lives of accomplishment, have become pillars of their communities, made their marks in numerous fields, and have added to the positive framework of our great nation.
Although not well known, in those places that define celebrity, we have been proud of our Bensonhurst, old Borough Park, Sunset Park, Kensington, and Stuy roots, and day in and day out by living lives of caring, good citizenry, and hard work, does not necessarily mean that although unknown, we too have enhanced our cultures place in the sun!!!
The three-day bash will kick off with drinks in Bay Ridge, followed by a “Golden Oldies” rock and roll show in the high school’s 918-seat auditorium, followed by a formal gala in Coney Island. Learn more about these events and how to purchase tickets here.
As Mr. Goodstone notes, many of the high school’s early alumni have gone on to do great things. Among the FDR graduates that we have been able to dig up, are a record-breaking basketball player, an actress, and a California judge.
Vincent “Vinnie” Johnson (AKA “The Microwave”) – Class of ’75
Vincent “Vinnie” Johnson (born September 1, 1956) was the sixth man for the Detroit Pistons during the team’s NBA championships of 1989 and 1990.
One of eight children, Johnson honed his skills on Brooklyn’s famous street courts. In high school, he was a star player on FDR’s varsity team. Bob Pertsas, Johnson’s assistant coach in high school called Johnson “the most underrated player in Brooklyn,” reports NBA.com.
After graduating, Johnson went on to be a hoops star during a two year stint at McLennan Junior College. Johnson transferred to Baylor University and majored in physical education. At Baylor, Johnson was already breaking records — he was named to the AP’s All-American second-team twice and became Baylor’s second all-time leading scorer.
Johnson was drafted to the Seattle Supersonics in the 1979 and was traded to the Detroit Pistons for Greg Kelser on November 21, 1981, where he would acquire the nickname “Microwave” for his ability to score points in spurts and get heated up quickly on the court.
Since retiring after 10 seasons of service, Johnson has made many great contributions to the Detroit community. He has done radio appearances, he has contributed to the city’s revitalization with by opening Piston Automotive in 1995, and he has contributed to countless Detroit-based charity organizations.
Carol Ann Susi (February 2, 1952 – November 11, 2014) – Class of ’69
Carol Ann Susi was an American actress known most recently for her recurring roll in CBS’s The Big Bang Theory, where she played the off-screen voice of Howard Wolowitz’s mother, Mrs. Debbie Wolowitz.
After graduating FDR High School, Susi moved to Los Angeles in 1970. Shortly afterwards, she landed a role as Monique Marmelstein, Kolchak’s secretary, on ABC’s The Night Stalker. The actress’s other film and television credits include Coyote Ugly, That ’70s Show, Grey’s Anatomy, Married… With Children, and Seinfeld. She also had much experience in live theatre.
Unfortunately, Susi lost a battle with cancer on November 11th, 2014. As a tribute to the actress, Big Bang producers added a photo of her on the side of the refrigerator in Leonard and Sheldon’s apartment.
Above is a photo of Susi in FDR’s first-ever Freshman SING. She will certainly be missed at the upcoming reunion.
Hon. Stephen A. Marcus – Class of ’68
Judge Stephen A. Marcus was the first elected SO president of FDR High School.Apparently that leadership role prepared him for his current position as a judge for the Superior Court of Los Angeles County in California.After graduating from FDR, Marcus received a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a J.D. from Boston University. Marcus received the “Judge of the Year” award by the Los Angeles County Bar Association in 2013.
If you know of any more notable FDR alumni, please share in the comments below.