(Recorded on April 14, 1994)

~ Introductory Text by John Sherin ~

Part One

A REGISTERED NURSE from Pilgrim Psychiatric Center freelancing at local hospitals described life since M-T. A mother of two children, married, divorced, and starting a new relationship, she had been to Ireland and the Philippines, where she hopes soon to reside for part of the year. She recalled the guidelines "Take Responsibility for Yourself” and “Focus.” The evening brought to mind a particular Community Meeting which triggered memories. A law enforcement officer who works at MacArthur Airport and volunteers with the Brentwood Ambulance, where he remains active in his community, traced his involvement with the school to his employment with the Lindenhurst School District during a teacher strike there. As a high school student, his job interfered with his classes in Brentwood, so he visited M-T to investigate his options since his brother was already attending. Paraphrasing, he never looked back. “M-T changed my life,” he said. Once soft-spoken, he changed into a self-confident negotiator for M-T with the Board of Education. His involvement continued after graduation, to which he once returned in 1984 to redirect student anger at the closing to their responsibility for having allowed it to happen. No alternative school he ever visited came close to what he remembered. “We were ahead of our time.” Pursuing his degree in engineering at Suffolk Community College, his brother recalled his emotional state and violent drawings that creatively and artistically enabled him to give voice to what he carried inside. M-T, he insisted, helped him express the positive parts of his nature. His murals were outstanding. “I’m happy,” he said, “and that’s the bottom line." We’d been given “a special gift - to take responsibility for ourselves.” "Once I got there, everything before that was a wash,” exclaimed someone who described her prior feelings of hopelessness. Here was a place where she could grow and live up to her potential. “Just watching people around me blossoming is something I will never forget.” For the first time in 13 years, she and other old friends reconnected. They expressed pleasure at seeing each other and spoke of shared memories and special times, like a canoe trip up the Nissequogue River.

Part Two

A SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER found his path at M-T. He told about coming from Stony Brook after hearing about the school. He even paid tuition to the Brentwood School District for the privilege of attending. He and his wife met in school, and following college he became a vocational counselor running recreation programs in school districts where he must attend board meetings to appeal for funding. He recalled how students from M-T routinely attended board meetings, something he'd never witnessed. When he first received the invitation, he briefly wondered if he still owed Brentwood tuition money. He didn't. He was the first and last student to pay tuition to M-T. The Board ended the practice because they anticipated resistance from the community once they heard M-T was educating students from outside Brentwood. Another student theorized it might have been fear of the program succeeding beyond all expectations. Not so. It was the 1980’s and “Back to Basics” was shutting doors of alternatives across the United States.

Part Three

M-T HAD SUCCEEDED in preparing people for the “real world” according to this same person who works with people from vocational settings. “Coming out of Maslow, I felt ready. I had good people skills.” “The need still exists for this kind of school,” others said. ”It taught you how to think, how to problem solve.” A young man with unresolved feelings surrounding the last years of M-T spoke of his inability to confront those he held responsible. The problem, he said, “came from within” and was not a matter that students could have fixed. The remaining moments featured a live performance of an original composition entitled “M-T Rooms."