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Congratulating Graduates

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Not even a little rain could dampen the spirit of the community as Ward Melville High School’s Class of 2015 marked an educational milestone on June 28 and officially became the District’s latest alumni.

The ceremony was filled with congratulatory remarks from members of the student body, including valedictorian Eric Wang, salutatorian Jayne Green and Student Government President George Zenzerovich, as well as Principal Dr. Alan Baum and Board of Education Present William F. Connors.

As a lasting mark on the school that houses many of the students’ memories, the class gifted their alma mater with a set of new banners to decorate the campus and serve as a symbol of Patriot Pride.

Before graduation caps flew high into the air, Sophie Hintze led her peers in the traditional turning of the tassels and Dr. Baum presented the graduates to resounding applause from the audience.  

  

 

 

Academy Graduation

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A strong sense of pride and achievement hung in the air as the 18 members of the Three Village Academy Class of 2015 concluded their high school years and participated in the program’s graduation celebration.

During the ceremony, students Eli McClain, Kyra McNiff and Melvin Rosa reflected upon their time at the Academy and how the program aided them throughout their academic journey. Principal Gus Hueber bestowed a few lasting words of advice to the graduates: “As you leave the Academy, continue to be good to yourself. Create the life of your dreams and believe that you are capable of making it happen.”

Each graduate received a Ward Melville High School diploma and was invited to participate in the high school’s graduation ceremony with his or her peers.  

Congratulations to the Academy Class of 2015:
 
Brooke Benoff
Kyle Berenger
Timothy Chadha
Tyler Citera
Alyssa Concolino
Aaliyah Dixon
Torri Dunn
Serafina Durette
Tabitha Dyrcz
Layla Halabi
Toni Marie Klimecki
Rachel Martin
Eli McClain
Kyra McNiff
Robert Mojica
Melvin Rosa
Logan Ryan
Jasmine Santiago

Moving Up to JHS

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Memories and success stories flooded the minds of parents, students and educators in the Three Village Central School District as the elementary schools marked a milestone in the lives of this year’s sixth-grade class.

During the moving-up ceremonies, students reflected upon their years in each building, while faculty and staff members presented awards honoring individual scholars’ academic, athletic and community-minded achievements.

Melodic interludes at each ceremony showcased the students’ myriad of musical talents and left audiences with fond memories.

Just before the conclusion of each ceremony, the schools’ graduating classes were announced. As the students left their schools on this special day filled with an array of emotions, they were well prepared for life’s adventures ahead.




Picture Perfect Promotion Ceremony

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Sunshine blanketed the front lawn of P.J. Gelinas Junior High School as the building’s ninth-grade class took part in the school’s first outdoor moving-up ceremony this June.

Surrounded by proud parents, family members and educators, the students began the ceremony with a processional and took their seats as the Gelinas brass choir trumpeted a melodic tune. Administrators in attendance praised the soon-to-be high school students for their dedication, determination and scholastic aptitude before reassuring them that they were well prepared for the road ahead. Principal William Bernhard listed many of the accolades the class has collectively achieved during their time at Gelinas and reminded them that “anything is possible in your future if you really put your mind to it.”

Memories of the students’ time at Gelinas were punctuated through two students addresses, delivered by Matthew Grillo and Michael Giaquinto, as well as musical performances by Julia Pollina, Julia Campanella and the ninth-grade chamber choir.

As their names rang in the warm summer air, the students walked to the dais to receive their moving-up certificates and officially move up to Ward Melville High School.

  

A Picture’s Worth 1,000 Words

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Shortly before moving up to junior high, Minnesauke Elementary School sixth-graders had the chance to walk down memory lane and celebrate their developing artistic talents by reviewing a collection of self-portraits they created throughout their elementary years.

With the help of art teacher Christine Becker, the students marveled at how their skills have improved since first sketching themselves in kindergarten to this year’s most recent project.

High Praise for Art Teacher

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Elementary art teacher Maria Maritato has been named the Region 10 Art Educator of the Year by the New York State Art Teachers Association.

Ms. Maritato has been a dedicated member of the district’s art department for the past 12 years. She was recently elected to the NYSATA Board of Trustees and has served as the Region 10 secretary. In addition, Ms. Maritato is an adjunct professor at Dowling College. 

Ms. Maritato was nominated for this honor by members of the NYSATA Region 10, which is the Suffolk County Division, based on her outstanding criteria including contributions to the field of art education and service to the regional and state organization. She will be recognized for this honor during the NYSATA awards presentation in Rochester, New York, in November 2015.

Commending Achievements

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The Board of Education honored and celebrated a myriad of accomplishments of both the district’s students and staff members at its June meeting.

W.S. Mount Elementary School second-grader Ryan Scriven was honored for his award-winning piece in this year’s New York State Association for Pupil Transportation School Bus Safety Poster Contest. Ryan received third place in Suffolk County for the K-2 division. His poster followed the contest’s theme of making the school bus a bully free zone.

Secondary student-scientists from R.C. Murphy and P.J. Gelinas junior high schools were honored for their successful competition seasons.

Murphy’s Science Bowl team was commended for their win at the Brookhaven National Laboratory/Long Island Regional Middle School Science Bowl contest. The team competed in the National Science Bowl Contest this spring.

Gelinas’ Science Olympiad team was also recognized for their 10th place finish at the National Science Olympiad Competition and for earning eight medals in the contest, including three first-place awards.

Gelinas eighth-grader Sahil Sangwan represented his school and district during this year’s National Spelling Bee in late May, making it to the third round.

The Board also thanked student representative George Zenzerovich for his year of service and presented the soon-to-be graduate with a scholarship for his continued education.

All-National Musicians

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As a result of their hard work and dedication, Ward Melville High School juniors Matt Hoffman and Rajiv Moturu have been selected to perform in the National Association for Music Education All-National Honor Ensembles program. Matt will take part in the mixed choir for tenor 1 and Rajiv the symphony orchestra for violin.

The students applied for this prestigious program by submitting video recordings of previous All-State audition performances, two teacher recommendations and an online application.

The 2015 All-National Honor Ensembles program will take place at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Conference Center from October 25–28.  The final performance will be at the historic Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee.


Mount Math Masters

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W.S. Mount Elementary School’s Mount Math Masters teams captured first and second place at the Suffolk County Math Tournament at Stony Brook University. Additionally, the students received 10 individual trophies for earning top 10 honors at the contest.

The school was represented at the contest by two sixth-grade teams, which were comprised of a mix of sixth and fifth-grade students. They competed against 52 teams made up of more than 250 contestants at the event.

They prepared for the event under the direction of Linda Earls by participating in the Math Olympiads, monthly challenges given around the country. For the first time this year, a Mount student – Alex Lin – received a perfect score in the Math Olympiad.

Congratulations to the following individual trophy winners:

Claire Yang (fifth-grader) – First place
Alice Liu (sixth-grader) – Second place
Carolyn Liu (fifth-grader) – Third place
Jedidiah Tan (sixth-grader) – Fifth place
Julia Zhu (sixth-grader) – Sixth place
Alex Lin (fifth-grader) – Seventh place

Free-Throwing Champ

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W.S. Mount Elementary School student Julia Greek earned second place at the New York State Free Throw Competition. Julia started her road to the state contest by first competing in the Suffolk County and Long Island rounds. Her success in these preliminary competitions earned her a spot to compete at West Point in the 9-year-old girls’ division at the State championship.


IG/Pi/Enrichment Program Report Presentation

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Fun-Filled Field Days

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Tug-of-war, potato sack races and fun exercises with basketball hoops were just a few of the exciting events the district’s students had the chance to participate during Field Day in June. At Arrowhead Elementary School, the students were divided into two teams – green and gold – and vied for bragging rights as they worked collaboratively to earn points for their group.

 

Minnesauke’s Music Masters

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Minnesauke Elementary School’s advanced band, advanced orchestra and sixth-grade chorus participated in the Long Island Music Festival at Suffolk Community College, where they each performed three compositions for evaluation. 

The trip was a huge success, and all three groups achieved an A+ superior rating from highly qualified judges. Following their performances, the groups had the chance to enjoy the afternoon at Adventureland.

New AP at RCM

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The Board of Education has appointed Jonathon Rufa as assistant principal of R.C. Murphy Junior High School, effective July 1. Mr. Rufa will take the reins from Kevin Finnerty, who was appointed as a Ward Melville High School assistant principal earlier this year.
 
Mr. Rufa is a familiar face in the district, having served as Murphy’s dean of students for three years and most recently as the transitional lead teacher for physical education and athletics at both junior high schools. During this work in the district, Mr. Rufa assisted with student and staff supervision, facilitated department meetings, and was engaged with daily school operations, including parent conferences, discipline and elements of student management. He was also a member of the instructional support team.

During his tenure in Three Village, Mr. Rufa has been a valued member of the district’s coaching staff, having led the high school’s junior varsity baseball team during the springs of 2014 and 2015 as well as the Murphy’s baseball team during the springs of 2012 and 2013.  





Celebrating the Red, White and Blue

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Patriotic music echoed throughout the district as elementary school students gathered to celebrate Flag Day.

At Nassakeag Elementary School, students and staff gathered around the flagpole to mark the occasion through song and written words. The advanced band kicked off the program with a marching band performance of the “Marine Hymn,” and members of the Boy and Girl Scouts helped to ceremoniously raise the flag. Throughout the event, each grade level joined together to sing patriotic songs, the combined orchestra and band performed and the winners of this year’s poetry contest shared their entries before receiving a flag from the American Legion Harbor Post 417.   


Celebrating Milestones

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R.C. Murphy Junior High School students and staff members marked a milestone for the 325-member ninth-grade Class of 2015 as they celebrated this year’s moving-up ceremony.

Gathered in the school’s gymnasium, the administrators welcomed and congratulated the soon-to-be high school sophomores on their years of achievement and dedication.

“From day one of your seventh-grade year, it was clear to me that you would be a group that would set the standard for what we expect from our students at R.C. Murphy Junior High School,” said Principal Vincent Vizzo. “I wish you every bit of success as you journey to Ward Melville High School, and in every endeavor you choose for your future.”

Members of the teaching staff presented departmental awards and Assistant Principal Kevin Finnerty announced the winners of this year’s Presidential Academic Fitness Award. Mr. Vizzo oversaw the presentation of Character Achievement Awards and congratulated the recipients of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. The students then crossed the dais one by one to receive their traditional moving-up certificates.

Mr. Finnerty concluded the ceremony by addressing the special connection he has with the class. “You will always have special place in my memories, as tonight I am moving up to the high school with you,” he said. “Since our first days together three years ago, you have continued to impress and inspire me with your dedication to school, eagerness to excel and, most importantly, your good character.”




Career-Oriented Experiences

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W.S. Mount Elementary School’s third- through sixth-grade students had the chance to learn about a variety of professions during the building’s annual Career Lab program.

Local professionals, many of whom are parents of Mount students, conducted interactive and informative workshops throughout the morning program. Featured careers included a social marking executive, physical therapist, doctor and federal law enforcement officer. Students also learned how to become a beekeeper by observing a portable hive and tested their skills at ghost writing using their writers’ notebooks.

Sixteen different professionals volunteered during this year’s program.


Successful Showing at States

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Ward Melville High School’s chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America, advised by business teachers Alyssa Chesney-Gold and Carol Vonnes, had a remarkably successful presence at the FBLA State Leadership Conference in Rochester, New York.

During the three-day conference, the team competed in various events focused on different elements of the business world. Vying against more than 600 students, Ward Melville’s students brought home 23 awards, including two first-place, five second-place, three third-place, seven fourth-place and six fifth-place. Eighteen members also secured spots to compete at the National Leadership Conference in Chicago, Illinois in June.

In addition, Ward Melville FBLA member Thomas Li was named the winner of the T-shirt and pin design artwork contest of the 2015 FBLA National Leadership Conference. Commemorative shirts and pins bearing his design will be available for purchase during the national conference.



Walking for Warriors

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Arrowhead Elementary School sixth-graders laced up their shoes and participated in a walk that raised more than $5,400 for the Wounded Warrior Project.

The students prepared for the event by creating informational flyers and collecting pledges and donations. They also lined the bus circle with inspirational signs about the charity and sold Wounded Warrior Project bracelets and pins during a schoolwide donation day. The names of all donors were placed on a large banner that was on display during the walk.

Role Reversal

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P.J. Gelinas Junior High School ninth-grader Matthew Grillo had the chance to leave his books behind when he switched roles with William Bernhard and acted as principal for the day.

Matthew, one of the school’s student government presidents, began the morning by welcoming the student body over the public address system and spent the day meeting with staff members and students. In turn, Mr. Bernhard followed Matthew’s class schedule and participated in his courses, which included playing the drums in band. He explained that the program offered him the chance to interact with and learn from the student body.

The two did take a brief hiatus from the switch at one point in the day to allow Matthew to sit for an exam.


Collaborative Book Drive

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Setauket Elementary School collected more than 20 boxes of gently used books as part of a month-long drive held in collaboration with Stony Brook University.

The Scholars’ Book Drive donates books to poverty-stricken areas on Long Island and abroad while simultaneously working with high school and middle school students to develop their leadership skills. Families that live in the areas receiving the donations were invited to select books from the collection of titles, and any remaining books were donated to Better World Books.  

Scoring on the Green

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Ward Melville High School’s boys and girls varsity golf teams secured top honors this season as they took on some tough competition.

For the first time since the inception (1985) of the Boys Varsity Golf Long Island Championship Ward Melville has won the cup. The team defeated 45 Suffolk teams and then defeated the Nassau winners at Bethpage Black to claim the title. Jack Faraci, a senior and four-year member of the team, was the low scorer and helped the team secure their victory. Gerry Mackedon and Jack qualified to attend the New York State competition at Cornell University where they placed 7th and 11th out of the 99 best Varsity golfers in the state.



Ward Melville High School girls varsity golfer, Danielle Greene, became the first female in school history to win a Suffolk County Individual Championship. She shot a two-day total of 152 (76/76) on Dogwood and Spruce at Middle Island Country Club. Presently, as a varsity athlete, Danielle compiled a career record of 69-3.She will represent Section XI in the state tournament the weekend of June 12th for the fourth consecutive year.

Battles to Top at Botball

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Ward Melville High School’s Robotics Club defended their record and captured first place at this year’s New York/New Jersey regional Botball competition. The team won first place in the seeding rounds, outstanding documentation, the judges’ choice for best use of sensors, and third place in double elimination. The team was advised by John Williams and Steven Rogers.

A Golden Ticket

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W.S. Mount Elementary School’s Drama Club performed their first musical – “Willy Wonka” – before packed audiences this May.

The 45-member cast dedicated countless hours toward making the production a success, rehearsing from December through May under the direction of teachers Dan Hayes and Gretchen Tranchino and choreographer Lauren Horn. The lighting design for the show was provided with the help of several Ward Melville High School students.

New Director Appointed

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The Board of Education has appointed Nicholas Schroeder as the new interim executive director of health, physical education and athletics, effective July 1.

Mr. Schroeder joins the district with more than 45 years of educational experience. He began his career as a physical education teacher before climbing the administrative ladder. He served as the director of health, physical education and athletics for the Smithtown Central School District from 1987-2003 and has remained active in the field since, serving in an interim position for several school districts.

In addition to his administrative experience, Mr. Schroeder has coached various sports throughout his career, including high school football and basketball as well as college lacrosse. He was inducted into the Suffolk Sport Hall of Fame in 2014 and was named the New York State Athletic Administrators’ Director of the Year in 2003.

Experiencing All Night in a Day

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The message of Elie Wiesel’s Holocaust book, “Night,” resounded off the walls at Ward Melville High School as approximately 80 students participated in an interactive and multidisciplinary workshop called “All Night in a Day.”

Students from Tammy Catalfamo’s and Ira Sterne’s history classes, along with those from Andrew Pelosi’s Holocaust elective course, began the workshop by visually understanding how individuals were transported to concentration camps. They packed into a small square in the front of the auditorium – the same size as the cattle cars that were used – and then one by one took a seat as the individuals they represented perished during the trip.

Throughout the remainder of the morning, the students listened to a book reading and paused several times to participate in workshops and activities. These included reading nonfiction pieces, viewing artwork, listening to a musical selection and discussing the role today’s society plays in preventing this type of event from reoccurring. 

“This book is one of the most powerful books I have ever read and is one I believe each student should read before graduating high school,” said Ms. Catalfamo, who designed the program. “We hope to extend the program to more classes in the future.”


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