A Note Regarding the Predicted Weather Forecast for Monday, Feb. 2, 2015

As of 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 1, 2015, please know that we are carefully monitoring the weather forecast and the predicted conditions for the morning, as well as, the remainder of the day on Monday.  We will be in contact with parents and the community as soon as a decision has been made regarding school tomorrow. We do not want to make a premature decision at this time.

In any case, parents and students should begin to prepare for the possibility of a delayed opening or school closing.  As always, the priority will be on the safety of our students.

Winter Musical Performances


Ward Melville High School’s concert band, jazz ensemble II, symphonic band, wind ensemble and jazz ensemble performed in front of family and friends during this year’s late January winter concert. For pictures from the performances, please view the slideshow below.

Photos courtesy of Greg Catalano.



One for the Record Books

Ward Melville High School track stars Tyler Francisco, Peter Hsu, Ryan Jacobson and Jimmy LaGuerre set a new school record. Competing in the 4x400 meter relay at the Millrose trials in New York City, the seniors edged out the previous record by 51 seconds with their 3:29.33 finish. 

Additionally, with this time, the team qualified for the Millrose Games as one of the fastest relay teams on Long Island. This year marks the 108th running of the NYRR Millrose Games. It will place on Saturday, Feb. 14, at the Armory in New York City and will feature the nation’s best high school and collegiate athletes, as well as the world’s biggest names in professional track and field.

Becoming a Published Author

Original works of poetry are the basis for a new published book created by Ward Melville High School sophomore Isabelle Scott.

The literary savant’s book of poetry, “Isabelle’s Muse: Poems of a Grade School Scholar,” hit stores this winter and is now available in hard cover, paperback and eBook formats from a number of sources worldwide. It features of compilation of her original work from grades three through seven and, according to her website, offers “readers a look into the genius of a young mind who expresses her gifts through verse.”

In addition to this accolade, Isabelle has accrued a number of literary awards in recent years. She is a two-time winner of the Walt Whitman Young Poets Award and was a regional spelling bee champion, representing Long Island at the national contest.

A self-described art and literary enthusiast, Isabelle is now working on her second book, a compilation of short stories.

The district’s Board of Education recently commended Isabelle for her publishing credits during its late January meeting. In turn, Isabelle presented each member with a signed copy of “Isabelle’s Muse.”

Junior Pens Winning Poem

Ward Melville High School junior Erika Riley has been awarded an honorable mention in the Leonard Milberg Secondary School Poetry competition of Princeton University. The poetry faculty of the creative writing program writing read hundreds of entries and recognized Erika’s poem, “I’m Not Mad, But,” as a top 20 entry.

Stepping Back to Colonial Times


Solar Power Presentation from the January 21, 2015 Board of Education Meeting

Click for Solar Power Presentation given by Johnson Controls

Leaving their Mark

Nassakeag Elementary School students recently participated in a cross-curriculum mural art project with the help of retired art teacher Frank Marangiello. Classroom teachers worked with art teachers to complete a portion of their grade level’s unique mural. The completed pieces will be displayed in the school’s auditorium. The project was made possible by the PTA.

Spring Community Swim Program Registration - Monday, February 2, 2015

Spring Community Swim registration will be held on Monday, February 2, 2015.   Click here for specific program information and registration form.

Artist Draws Top Prizes in National Contest

Original photography taken by Ward Melville High School junior Grace Zhang has earned top honors at the Fall Photo Contest with ATPI, the Association of Texas Photography Instructors. Each of the five photos Grace entered placed or received honorable mention in the national contest, which drew 6,807 entries from 83 schools.

Grace’s entries will be showcased in the Winner's Gallery on ATPI’s website by the end of the year. Below are the honors she received:

1st place, Beginning - Middle School Formal Studio Portrait - "Flour Hour"
2nd place, Beginning - Middle School Formal Studio Portrait - "Bodies"
3rd place, Beginning - Middle School Nature - "00mfa Yog"
Honorable Mention, Beginning - Middle School Nature - "Rock"
Honorable Mention, Beginning - Middle School Informal Environmental Portrait - "Limbs”

Exploring High-Level Science Topics

As the result of their performance on the qualifying exam, Ward Melville High School junior Roshan Patel, sophomore Kavya Tangella and senior Yongqi Zhu are getting the experience of a lifetime as they participate in the Columbia University Science Honors Program.

The students were accepted earlier this year to the coveted enrichment program, which takes only 380 students from a pool of more than 1,800 candidates. They have been enrolled in one course per semester in the various science departments. For the first semester, Roshan completed a computer science program, Kavya a genetics and biodiversity conservation course, and Yongqi a biochemistry program. The students will be afforded the chance to enroll in future courses during their high school careers.

The qualifying exam tested their knowledge on higher-level mathematics and science topics. According to the program, the average applicant who was granted admission to the SHP did better than 98 percent of a national sample of college freshmen who took the same test in science and mathematics.

A Love of Languages

Wrapped Up in Studies

As part of their studies on ancient Egypt, Nassakeag Elementary School sixth-graders participated in a hands-on workshop with the Long Island Science Center.

During the mummy program, the students deepened their understanding about the ancient process of embalming and the cultural significance of mummification. They also learned about amulets, sarcophagi, canopic jars and pyramid building.

At the end of the program, the students had the chance to make their very own mummy using commonly found items.

Praise for Student Publication

The Ward Melville High School literary magazine, Cinnabar, advised by Lisa Rochford, was awarded first place with special merit by the American Scholastic Press Association, the highest award offered by the organization.

In addition, Sabrina Cohn won a special award for “Sacco Cubism” in the Best Mixed Media Art category.

Winners On and Off the Field

All 12 Ward Melville High School varsity fall sports teams have received the Scholar/Athlete Team Award from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association. This honor is presented to teams who possess a cumulative GPA of 90 percent or higher.

Congratulations to the following teams that demonstrated a strong commitment to their sports and academics.

Team Coach
Girls Cross-Country Tom Youngs 97.787
Girls Swimming Chris Gordon 96.903
Boys Cross-Country Greggory Cantwell 96.863
Field Hockey Shannon Watson 96.658
Girls Tennis Erick Sussin 96.656
Girls Volleyball Charlie Fernandes 96.439
Gymnastics Caryl Crasa
Girls Soccer   
John Diehl 95.319
Boys Volleyball Chris Holden 94.517
Football Chris Boltrek
Boys Soccer Jon Stecker
Boys Golf Bob Spira

Lapping the Competition

Ward Melville High School junior Casey Gavigan has excelled in a way that only a few elite athletes have; she has been named New York State champion in swimming and has helped her team win the Suffolk County Championship title for the 23rd consecutive year.

During the course of the season, Casey broke the school record for the 100-yard backstroke and had a personal best time in the county and state qualifiers, which earned her the opportunity to compete at the New York State Championship and USA Swimming’s Junior Nationals. Casey entered the state championship, ranked fourth in the state, and went on to win first place in the 100-yard backstroke, making her a two-time state champion. Last year, Casey was a member of the school’s 200-medley relay New York State Champion team.

“This outstanding accomplishment has been achieved through the hard work and dedication to her sport that Casey has displayed over the years,” said Erin Blaney, executive director of health, physical education, recreation and athletics. “The amount of time, effort, talent and commitment that is necessary to qualify and win at this level of competition is unimaginable.”

Top Speller Bound for Regionals

After correctly spelling “diabolical,” P.J. Gelinas Junior High School eighth-grader Sahil Sangwan won a bid to compete at the Long Island Spelling Bee at Hofstra University in February. During the event, Sahil went head to head with 19 other Gelinas seventh- and eighth-graderswho won their classroom bees to qualify for the schoolwide contest.

Winning Speller

R.C. Murphy Junior High School eighth-grader Samarah Ahmed was named this year’s top speller during the school’s annual spelling bee championship. After seven challenging rounds and correctly spelling “sheathing,” Samarah was crowned the winner. She will represent the school and district at the Long Island Spelling Bee at Hofstra University in February.

Speller Heads to LI Bee

Setauket Elementary School fourth- through sixth-grade students showcased their spelling talents during this year’s spelling bee.

After 11 challenging rounds and correctly spelling “centenary,” fifth-grader Ryan Himmelsbach was named the school winner. Ryan will now compete against other school winners from across the region in the Long Island Spelling Bee at Hofstra University.

Intel Recognizes Seniors

Ward Melville High School seniors Jessica Ju and Eric Edward Wang have been named semifinalists in the 2015 Intel Science Talent Search, the nation’s most prestigious pre-college science competition. Only 300 students nationwide received this honor.

For her project, “Using Python to Apply Phonological Rules for the Transcription of Korean,” Jessica worked under the leadership of mentor Dr. Jiwon Yun in the Department of Linguistics at Stony Brook University. She developed computer software to accurately translate Korean symbols into textual language. This approach can be used with other languages as well, providing universal translators.

Eric’s project, “A Novel Approach to Water Desalination: Reverse Osmosis by Fabrication of Graphene Oxide Membranes” was completed under the guidance of mentor Dr. Hongyang Ma in the Department of Chemistry at Stony Brook University. Eric devised a graphene nanofilter to purify sea water for drinking. The project was inspired by Eric’s concern for the future availability of fresh drinking water on Long Island.

As semifinalists, the students will each receive $1,000 from Intel with an additional $1,000 going to Ward Melville to continue to provide the opportunities and resources students need to become America’s next inventors and change-makers.

“It is gratifying these intelligent, motivated researchers have been recognized for their work at such an early stage in their careers,” said Dr. George Baldo, the district’s InSTAR science research director. “Their achievements will not only encourage them to continue in scientific research, but also inspire other students. The students’ mentors deserve special recognition for accepting them into the laboratory and guiding them in their work.”

Later this month, Jessica and Eric will find out if they are named one of 40 finalists who will be invited to Washington, D.C., in March to participate in the final judging, display their work to the public, meet with notable scientists and compete for three top awards of $150,000 each.

“It is always rewarding to see students work hard and be recognized for their achievements,” said Principal Dr. Alan Baum. “ Being an Intel Semifinalist is certainly an incredible accomplishment for these two young scholars. Kudos to them and to their teachers and mentors for helping them reach this level of achievement. I wish them both luck as they continue on in the competition.”

Voting on a New Look

Minnesauke Elementary School students had the chance to experience the democratic process firsthand when they voted on a new design for their S.T.A.R.S. T-shirts.

The school’s sixth-graders created various designs that promoted and showcased the different components of the character education program. The winning design was “Keep Calm We Are S.T.A.R.S.” created by Nicholas Belvedere, Christopher Heaney and Jake Rider.

Letter Regarding Inappropriate Apps


Alumni Share Experiences

The high school’s juniors and seniors learned about college life when more than 50 Ward Melville graduates visited them as part of the annual Alumni Day.

The alumni spoke about what drew them to their current school, campus and dorm life, debunked a few common misconceptions, and offered advice on how to make the most out of the college experience. This year’s presenters represented 39 colleges spanning more than 25 states. As a new addition, two recent college graduates spoke about what helped them land jobs at two top financial firms.

“We are extremely fortunate to have such caring alumni who look forward to this event each year,” said school guidance counselor and event coordinator Jennifer Sheppard. “The benefits of hearing the expectations of college life and the alumni’s stories have a great impact on our students, as the information is coming from their peers. Each year we get a new group of alumni who wish to attend, as well as those who have presented in the past. ”

To add to the spirit of the day, Ward Melville faculty and staff wore spirit wear from their alma mater.

Minnesauke Mitten Tree

Minnesauke Elementary School fifth-graders in Sean Dowling’s class joined together with the first-graders in Gina Breunig’s class to collect more than $200 for a worthy cause this winter.

After reading and discussing the book “The Mitten Tree,” the students took note of acts of selfless giving and how giving to others makes them feel. Working to emulate the book’s main character, Sarah, the students helped raise funds for others by completing household chores for donations. The monies collected were used to purchase gifts noted on four leaves on the Minnesauke giving tree.  

At the end of the project, the classroom teachers remarked that although the students will never know exactly who they helped, they certainly understand why they helped and experienced how great it feels to give.

Message to the Parents/Guardians of Arrowhead Elementary & WMHS


Pre-K Program - Open House Rescheduled, now on Sat. Jan. 31 - 10-11:30 a.m.

Click here for more information.