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Former Teacher Talks of Importance of Columbus Day

PELHAM, N.Y. – Columbus Day is one of a handful of official federal holidays in the United States. A former teacher and current Pelham resident questioned how many people know the history behind the day.

Lois Soccodato now works at Village Wine and Liquor but taught as a reading specialist at William H. Holmes Elementary School in Mount Vernon for more than 30 years. She became immersed in the history of Christopher Columbus during her time there because she taught it to her students every year.

But she does not think adults are as cognizant of it as her students.

"Unfortunately, a lot of adults are not mindful of the history of Christopher Columbus and just view it as a day off," Soccodato said.

Several offices will have the day off because of the federal holiday. Both the town hall and village hall in Pelham will be closed Monday and will reopen with normal hours on Tuesday. The post office in Pelham will also be closed, along with the village hall in Pelham Manor.

Soccodato said that, as a teacher, she would do some project with her students for Columbus Day, including making artwork depicting the three ships on which Columbus and his crew sailed.

Soccodato also used to reap the benefits of the holiday when she was a teacher. But her schedule is a bit different now that she runs a liquor store.

"I'm working (on Columbus Day). I have a boring life," Soccodato said. "Business owners have no holiday."

Are you aware of the historical details of Columbus Day? Join the conversation, leave your comment below. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @DailyPelham .

Contact Pelham reporter Andrew Meola at

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