Fighting Malaria in Africa
With an eye toward preventing deadly mosquito-borne illnesses such as malaria, three Ward Melville High School students traveled across the country this summer to complete a pilot project in Africa. The initiative, which was coordinated by the non-profit organization The Screensaver Foundation, was spearheaded by co-founders Ward Melville graduate Emily Holtzman and sophomore Julia Holtzman. The foundation provides low-cost, cut-to-fit screen windows for huts and dwellings in poor villages.
Partnering with California-based Bug Off Screen Company, the sisters worked with sophomore Noah Kepes to enclose more than 60 dwellings in the village of Croisement Peulh with protective screens. Dozens of children greeted their convoy when it arrived in Croisement Peulh, and the chief of the village brought the entire tribe out to meet the team and discuss the project.
“These huts and dwellings had irregular sized openings for doors and windows, which are needed for ventilation because it’s very hot,” said Emily. “We needed a product that was impervious to mosquitoes, flexible and inexpensive, and yet able to maintain airflow. We managed to obtain enough Bug Off screens to outfit the entire village – every door and every window.”
Julia said that the Foundation’s next step was to offer villagers microloans to start their own screen installation businesses. “We don’t think charity is the answer,” she said. “We think of The Screensaver Foundation as social entrepreneurship. We want to find Senegalese companies that can produce the screens, Senegalese men and women to buy them and be paid to install them in other villages. They can make money while fighting a pandemic.”
Arrowhead Lane Paving Starts on July 17, 2015
Please see the attached notice
from Arrowhead regarding paving and traffic issues in the Arrowhead Elementary school.
An immeasurable array of emotions filled the air as the Ward Melville High School Class of 2014, along with family members, friends and educators, gathered to mark an educational milestone – this year’s high school graduation ceremony. As the symphonic band performed “Pomp and Circumstance,” those in attendance rose to greet the graduates as they encircled the front lawn and took their prominent seats on either side of the dais.
Board Begins New Year
During the Board of Education’s annual reorganization meeting on July 1, district clerk Kathleen Sampogna administered the oath of office to reelected trustees Inger Germano, Irene Gische and Dr. Jeffrey Kerman. Additionally, William F. Connors Jr. was elected to serve as president of the Board of Education, Ms. Gische as vice president and Ms. Germano to continue in her role as district clerk pro-tem. The Board’s next meeting will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 27 at the North Country Administrative Center.
Climbing the Academic Ladder
After seven years in elementary school, Three Village sixth-graders bid a fond farewell to their classrooms and teachers as they took the next step in their academic journeys this June. During moving up ceremonies at each of the buildings, the students collectively reflected on their time in elementary school and looked toward their first year of junior high with anticipation and excitement.
During the ceremonies, principals and administrators in attendance praised the sixth-graders for their dedication to their academics, involvement in community service and ambition for their futures. At W.S. Mount Elementary School, several students shared their fond memories of the past several years and their hopes for the future.
“We are here today to commemorate a new beginning and a happy ending,” said sixth-grader Clara Sullivan. “We are here today to celebrate success, hard work and learning – not only math, science and reading but learning to be a person and learning that happiness isn’t measured in years; it is measured in memories.”
Before concluding the events, each student was presented with a commemorative moving up certificate and several were honored with achievement awards and scholarships on behalf of the TVTA.
Alumni Musical Revue
Past and soon-to-be Ward Melville High School graduates took to the stage to not only showcase their musical talents, but also help raise money for next year’s school musical. The fourth annual Senior Alumni Summer Recall Show included cast members from the Class of 2007 through present day, highlighting a number of songs they originally debuted as students. Hits included “Magic to Do,” “Till There Was You,” “The Last Midnight,” and “All I Ask of You.” A pit orchestra was also on hand to lead the students through their revivals and to showcase several new melodies.
The production was once again coordinated by vocal teacher and musical director Linda Contino. This year’s show was dedicated to Michael Owen, an assistant principal and large supporter of the musicals at Ward Melville, who will retire in June after 24 years of service in the district.
The school extends its thanks to the following event performers and contributors:
Sarah BarnittKayla Benaburger
Regina Clairvoyant Jessica Contino
R.C. Murphy Junior High School student-musicians captured top honors at this year’s Music in the Parks festival at Hershey Park in Pennsylvania. During the event, the ninth-grade orchestra, chamber orchestra and ninth-grade chamber choir performed before a panel of judges, and each received a first-place finish as well as the rating of superior. Additionally, the chamber orchestra was ranked “Best Overall Orchestra,” and the ninth-grade chamber choir was named “Best Overall Choir.”
The orchestras were under the direction of Taryn Cinquemani, and the choir was directed by Anthony Pollera.
Educational Professionals Receive Tenure
The district’s Board of Education and administrative team celebrated the professional accomplishments of 17 individuals during a newly tenured staff recognition in June. In celebration of this significant milestone in the professionals’ careers, each tenure candidate was individually recognized and presented with a commemorative certificate.
Superintendent of Schools Cheryl Pedisich and members of the Board of Education commended these professionals for their years of service to the school district and dedication to the field of education. “I am extremely proud and thank you for being a part of the Three Village family,” said Ms. Pedisich. “We look forward to working with each of you for many years to come and are fortunate to have you help prepare our students for their futures.”
The following individuals received tenure:
Christina Aguinaga – R.C. Murphy Teaching Assistant
Maria Arcuri – Setauket Teaching Assistant
Kathleen Axelsen – P.J. Gelinas Teaching Assistant
Brian Biscari – Minnesauke Principal
Jaime Brennan – Arrowhead Teaching Assistant
Stacey Schreiber-Cross – Ward Melville Teaching Assistant
Gary Dabrusky, Ed.D. – Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources
Jessica Degamon – P.J. Gelinas Teaching Assistant
Kevin Finnerty – R.C. Murphy Assistant Principal
Randi Kowalenko – Ward Melville Teaching Assistant
Maryann LaMonica – Ward Melville Teaching Assistant
Eric Lauritsen – Districtwide Teacher
Jonathon Rufa – R.C. Murphy Teacher
Jessica Scionti – P.J. Gelinas Teaching Assistant
Jennifer Shea – Minnesauke Teacher
Christine Swain – Setauket Teaching Assistant
Deborah Verbesey – Setauket Teaching Assistant
The district’s Board of Education capped off their final meeting of the year by honoring and celebrating the achievements of several students and staff members.
P.J. Gelinas Junior High School seventh-grade science research students Maya Pena Lobel, Noah Mond and Elizabeth Wang were praised for achieving high honors at the New York State Science Congress at Brookhaven National Laboratory. The group earned first place in the middle school division for their research project, “Attention to Retention: Factors that Affect Memory.”
As part of the district’s ongoing commitment to create a bully-free environment, Minnesauke Elementary School’s character education program – STARS – was honored for earning recognition by the Suffolk County Anti-Bias Task Force. The program, which promotes the traits of sharing, trustworthy, accepting, respectful and serving, was highlighted for being an innovative school-based program that advances understating and promotes respect.
The Ward Melville High School Robotics Club was honored for their first-place win in this year’s BotBall competition. The team competed against 21 teams from the New York and New Jersey area to secure their overall first-place finish and earn first in the seeding found, first in documentation and second in the double elimination. This year’s team was led by team captains Michael Brockey and Akilesh Tangella.
In recognition of his contributions at each of their meetings throughout the year, the Board gave thanks to Ward Melville High School student representative Anthony Gabriele for his voluntary year of service. During each session, Anthony shared information about happenings at the high school, highlights from past events and provided a well-versed student’s perspective on decisions the Board was facing. Anthony was presented with a commemorative certificate and scholarship in honor of his efforts.
Honoring Scholars with Awards
The district recently honored a number of students for their outstanding dedication to community service during the President’s Volunteer Service Award Ceremony. According to the program’s website, this program is the premier volunteer awards program, encouraging United States citizens and residents to live a life of service. For photos from the event, please watch the slideshow below:
Photos provided by Greg Catalano.
Field Day Fun
Minnesauke Elementary School sixth-graders celebrated the end of elementary school during one of the school’s time-honored traditions – the annual field day program. Field day provides K-6 students with the opportunity to engage in spirited athletic events and culminate their years in a fun manner with peers. For pictures of this year’s Minnesauke field day, please view the slideshow below:
Photos provided by Greg Catalano.
Historical Lessons from a Survivor
Nassakeag Elementary School sixth-graders listened attentively as Ruth Minsky Sender, a Holocaust survivor, author and grandmother to a current student, shared her remarkable story of courage and survival. During the visit, she spoke about being one of seven children living in Poland and her eventual move to the Lodz Ghetto. She reflected on many of the stories documented in her three memoirs, the experiences she had while in a labor camp in Mittelsteine and how she was eventually freed.
This was Mrs. Sender’s second year speaking with the sixth-graders at Nassakeag.
Immunization Requirements for the 2014-2015 School Year
Please follow this link to view the new immunization requirements for any student entering kindergarten, grade 6 or a new entrant to the district in the 2014-2015 school year.
All Through the Year
Nassakeag Elementary School kindergarten students celebrate their first year of school during their June play. To learn more about the event, please watch the video below:
Celebrating the Flag
In honor of the nation’s colors, students and staff throughout the Three Village Central School District participated in ceremonial Flag Day events in mid-June.
At W.S. Mount Elementary School, the front lawn was blanketed in a sea of red, white and blue as the building celebrated the flag through written word and song. Members of the Boy and Girl Scouts assisted with the posting of the colors and the school’s combined orchestra and band performed the national anthem. This year’s essay and poster contest winners proudly shared their prize-winning submissions with those in attendance and received commemorative flags from the American Legion Harbor Post #417 members in attendance. Additionally, each grade level performed a patriotic song, including “I Love Red, White and Blue” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag.” Closing out the ceremony was the Mount tradition – the presentation of the Jeannine Martin Sportsmanship Award. This year’s recipients were Matthew Fiorella and Olivia Marshall.
Moving Up from Murphy
Parents, family members and friends filled the gymnasium at R.C. Murphy Junior High School to celebrate the collective academic achievements of this year’s ninth-grade class during the building’s moving-up and awards ceremony.
“From day one of your seventh-grade year, it was clear to me that you would be a group who would set the standard for what we expect from our students at Murphy Junior High School – be hard workers, display an amazing effort, appropriate behavior and, most importantly, have respect for yourself and your teachers,” said Principal Vincent Vizzo, as he addressed the 325-member class. “Seeing you grow over the past three years, I am certain that we as a school and community have created a successful future for you. Now it is up to you to continue on your path. I wish you every success in your future endeavors at Ward Melville High School and in everything you do in life.”
Throughout the event, many students were honored for individual success in academic subject areas, as well as physical fitness, volunteer service and acts of character. Before members of the class received their commemorative moving-up certificates, several scholarship awards – the TVTA Scholarship Award, TVTA Service Award and the Three Village Musical Theater Co. Scholarship – were presented. Additionally, the ninth-graders presented their class gift to the school – a beautification project for the entrances to the auditorium and main doors.
State Science Honors
P.J. Gelinas Junior High School seventh-grade science research students Maya Pena Lobel, Noah Mond and Elizabeth Wang achieved high honors at the New York State Science Congress, recently held at Brookhaven National Laboratory. The group earned first place in the middle school division for their research project “Attention to Retention: Factors that Affect Memory.”
During the contest, 27 of the top middle school research projects from across New York State were present. The Gelinas students qualified for the state congress by placing second in the behavioral science category at the Long Island Science Congress, held earlier this spring. The students were mentored by Gelinas science research teacher Vicki Guarascio.
Stocking Pantry Shelves
Along with the district’s two other pantries, the R.C. Murphy Junior High School food pantry services countless families throughout the year, providing a valuable service to local families in need. To aid with this mission, students regularly engage in food and supply drives to ensure that the shelves remain stocked. This spring, the school received a generous donation of supplies from local Girl Scout Troop 2867.
Ward Melville High School French students earned top marks on this year’s French National Exam, and several students were awarded plaques of honor after scoring in the top 10 for Suffolk County. In addition, two of the students received bronze medals of honor for ranking fifth and sixth at the national level. The district congratulates the following students:
Chapter Rank Level 4
1 Grace Whitney * National rank 5th
2 Alexander Douglas
4 Kriti Jindal
4 John Welde
7 Tess Duryea
7 Jared Rifkin
8 Jana Abumusallam
8 Elena Kirillov
10 Matthew Cornell
Chapter Rank Level 5A
2 Charlotte Broadbent
2 Olivia Hu
5 Katerina Baduk
9 Jonathan Finke
10 Samantha Marfoglio
1 Francisco Fischer * National rank 6th
Anti-Bullying Program Honored
Minnesauke Elementary School’s STARS program – the building’s anti-bullying, character education program – was honored by the Suffolk County Anti-Bias Task Force for being an innovative school-based program that advances understating and promotes respect among students. The STARS program, which was created last year and fully implemented this school year, stands for Sharing, Trustworthy, Accepting, Respectful and Serving. Representing the school during the ceremony was STARS program coordinator Leia Woodruff, Assistant Principal Linda Messina and PBIS Committee members Christine Beck, Christine Becker, Melissa Heck, Kate Hunter and Jennifer Shea.
Throughout the year, the school focuses on the five character traits outlined in the program. Each month, students who go above and beyond in demonstrating these traits are nominated for a Wii/pizza lunch with the principal, and staff members are also recognized for being “Guiding Lights.” Those “caught” displaying one of the STARS character traits are celebrated on a display in the main office. To continue to promote the program’s mission, students and staff members proudly wear their Minnesauke STARS T-shirts on a particular theme day each month. Additionally, the school’s PBIS committee and Ms. Woodruff created age appropriate books to help teach the program in the classroom and monthly STARS character calendars were made to help foster the home-to-school connection.
Adding Up to Winning Results
W.S. Mount Elementary School’s math team – the Mount Math Masters – once again achieved high scores at this year’s Suffolk County Math Tournament. The building’s two teams competed against 55 other Suffolk County teams comprised of fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders in two different categories, individual and team. Both Mount teams competed on the sixth-grade level, even though there were several fourth- and fifth-graders on the rosters. Advancing past this year’s tough competition, the Mount teams earned both first- and third-place trophies at the event.
“This was certainly the most challenging competition we have experienced at the tournament,” said team adviser Linda Earls. “I am delighted with the hard work and dedication the two teams have demonstrated.”
This year’s Mount Math Masters team members included:
Matthew Fiorella – sixth-grade
William Sun – sixth-grade
Colin Patton – sixth-grade
Jedidiah Tan – fifth-grade
Alexander Lin – fourth-grade
Keene Lu – sixth-grade
Jonathan Huang – sixth-grade
Alice Liu – fifth-grade
Claire Yang – fourth-grade
Carolyn Liu – fourth-grade
In the individual competition, which included participants from all grade levels, the following students were presented with individual trophies for outstanding scores:
Jonathan Huang (sixth-grade) – Seventh place
Alexander Lin (fourth-grade) – 10th place
Alice Liu (fifth-grade) – Second place
Keene Lu (sixth-grade) – Fifth place
Colin Patton (sixth-grade) – 11th place
William Sun (sixth-grade) – Fourth place
Connecting to Community
R.C. Murphy Junior High School’s Community Connections Club, advised by teachers Emma Domino and Virginia Ferraro, has been applying the skills learned in their family and consumer sciences classes to form positive connections with the surrounding community.
Over the past several months, they have completed several hands-on initiatives aimed at assisting various professional organizations and local individuals. The group has coordinated a clothing drive for young teens through the SCO Family of Services, collected bottle caps for pediatric oncology IV tubes, made a dozen blankets for the Stony Brook Medical Center, knitted and crocheted more than 90 hats for the Stony Brook neonatal unit and raised $160 for the Save Our Strength organization, which distributes funds, clothing, food and school supplies to U.S. children in need. Additionally, with the help of the building’s international food classes, the group helped to deliver prepared meals for the Murphy Food Pantry, which services local individuals.
“If we can involve students within their local community at the junior high level now, it is our hope is that their community involvement will continue through adulthood, and they will be a lifelong involved community member,” said Ms. Ferraro.
Minnesauke Shows 'Locks' of Love
As part of their character education program, Minnesauke Elementary School students and community worked to help others through a Locks of Love charity event. To learn more about the program, please watch the video below:
Creative Pieces Featured in Local Paper
The Village Times Herald newspaper has published a number of creative
pieces submitted by district students in this year's edition of "Pens
& Pencils." To take a look at the students' work, please download
the PDF below:
Board Honors Science Teams
The Board of Education honored the accomplishments of this year’s Science Olympiad teams from P.J. Gelinas and R.C. Murphy Junior High Schools during their early June meeting. Each team member was presented with a certificate of recognition and commended for the many medals they were awarded during their regional, state and national competitions.
Gelinas finished this year’s season with an 11th place ranking at the National Science Olympiad Competition and took home first-place honors at both the state and regional contests. Murphy placed fifth at the state competition and ranked second during the Eastern Long Island Regional Science Olympiad Tournament.
Joining Town Recycling Efforts
As part of the school’s continued recycling efforts, Setauket Elementary School kindergartners in Lori Bard’s and Kelly Freeman’s classes were selected to beautify a 55-gallon drum for the Town of Brookhaven Painting and Recycling Program. With the help of their teachers and several parent volunteers, the classes created a “Setauket Cares” design on the receptacle to symbolize their commitment to keeping their neighborhood free of waste.
The painted piece will be placed in a town park within the surrounding area and will be used to promote the town’s single-stream recycling program.
Band Performs for Baseball Fans
Minnesauke Elementary School band students performed in front of a packed audience during the Long Island Ducks game against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. The students were applauded before helping the crowd cheer the Ducks to a 3-2 victory.
Photo credit Greg Catalano.
Marching Band Debuts New Uniforms
The Ward Melville High School marching band debuted their new uniforms and entertained the crowd during this year’s Stony Brook and East Setauket Memorial Day parades. The district thanks the Three Village Educational Foundation for their financial support, which led to the replacement of the band’s uniforms that dated back to 1977.
Photo credit Greg Catalano.
Arrowhead Elementary School students in Tammy Oestreicher’s class worked with their fifth-grade buddies to become published authors. As part of the school’s anti-bullying and character education program, the students have been learning what it means to be a positive role model and the importance of making good choices. The students applied those lessons during their mentoring program to create books titled “Being a Friend Means…” The completed pieces included illustrations and sentences describing the qualities of a good friend. Each student received a keepsake copy of the project and a commemorative book was donated to the school library.
The buddy program has been a longstanding tradition with the class. The fifth-graders volunteer their lunch and recess time to work with Ms. Oestreicher’s students and will continue their efforts next year as sixth-graders. Throughout the year, they work on different community service, holiday-based and social and emotional awareness campaigns. In April, they raised funds for autism research through a Light it Up Blue program. Working with the student government, the buddies sold bracelets and treats to raise $483 for Autism Speaks.
Head of the Class
Out of a class of approximately 580 students, Ward Melville High School seniors Harrison Li and Carolina Zheng have been named the Class of 2014 valedictorian and salutatorian. Harrison will be heading to Harvard University this fall, and Carolina intends on studying computer science at the University of Pennsylvania.
Commenting on this achievement, Principal Dr. Alan Baum said, “They are two terrific students who have worked exceptionally hard. They pursued rigorous and challenging courses of study, and the dedication they put into their work is to be highly commended. Kudos to each of them, their families for raising such great kids, and their teachers who have helped nurture their academic achievements. I couldn’t be happier for them, and I look forward to learning about their future accomplishments.”
Gelinas Team Competes Nationally
P.J. Gelinas Junior High School’s Science Olympiad team placed 11th in this year’s National Science Olympiad Tournament. During the event, the students competed against 60 teams from across the United States in 25 events. As a result of their preparation and dedication to the program, Gelinas medaled in seven events.
The district congratulates the entire team, captains Ian Baram, Adam Dzurney and Kirti Nath, as well as coaches Gary Vorwald, Ed Daguerre and Monica Gerber. Students earning medals at this year’s national contest included:
First place: Disease Detective – Kirti Nath and Arianna Parkhideh
Second place: Solar System – Drake Eggelston and Sam Tan
Third place: Heredity – Ian Baram and Kirti Nath
Third place: Air Trajectory – Matt Todd and Finn Wander
Fourth place: Road Scholar – Adam Dzurney and Andrew Zhang
Fifth place: Helicopter – Michael Lu and Nestor Tchachenko
Sixth place: Rocks and Minerals – Drake Eggelston and Emily Huang
Musicians Shine During Spring Concert
Ward Melville High School student-musicians entertained audiences during this year’s series of spring concerts. During the spring concert II, the jazz II and Ward Melville Honors Jazz Ensemble, concert band, symphonic band and wind ensemble performed a number of complex pieces. These included “Passages and Enchanted Spaces,” “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “Southwest Saga,” “Machu Picchu-City in the Sky” and “St. James Infirmary.” In recognition of the wind ensemble’s recent performance at the National Invitational Band Festival at Carnegie Hall, conductor Laura Gustavsen was presented with a commemorative plaque by high school Assistant Principal Michael Owen.
The bands’ final concert – the Pops Concert – will take place on Tuesday, June 10, at 6 p.m. outside of Ward Melville High School.
Photos provided by Greg Catalano.