Vote for Volunteers to Earn Top Prize

P.J. Gelinas Junior High School is in the running to win the top prize in this year's Holiday Community Service Challenge sponsored by Team UP 4 Community. Gelinas was nominated for the school’s cheerleaders’ efforts to support veterans during the recent LI Marathon. Voting goes until Monday, Dec. 12. Cast your ballots now (and daily) to help our district win the $3,000 grand prize! Here is where to vote:

Exploring Career Opportunities


R.C. Murphy Junior High School ninth-grade students learned about a wide range of professions during the school’s annual Career Day in November.

The program afforded students the opportunity to speak with professionals in a one-on-one setting. The presenters encompassed a wide range of fields, including engineering, counseling, finance, law enforcement and several medical professions. Technology-integrated careers played a large role in this year’s event, a concept that seemed particularly interesting to students.

“When setting up this year’s fair, we aligned presenters to show the students how their career can be more than just one profession,” explained Ginger Ferraro, Murphy teacher and event coordinator. “For example, the police officers were set up near security professionals and emergency responders to show the transition one can make during the second half of their career.”

As the students are technically in their first year of high school at Murphy, the school’s annual fair aims to spark an interest in the type of career path they might want to pursue so they can properly choose related elective courses in high school.

“I was particularly interested in meeting with the professionals in advertising and learning how they use their creativity to tell a story that entices the reader,” said ninth-grader Joe Cereola.

Author Workshops

P.J. Gelinas seventh-grade students learned about specific literary techniques when published author Kara Taylor conducted a series of in-school writer’s workshops.

In concurrence with the seventh-graders’ current study of realistic fiction writing, the workshop offered a pertinent lesson on the application of symbolism and imagery. Ms. Taylor spoke with the classes about the ways she uses these two approaches in her books and how they can significantly enhance the reader’s experience. The students also participated in a number of hands-on exercises, which helped to strengthen their understanding of a writer’s use of language to create a vivid image for the reader.

Food Drive


Every Drop Counts

In connection with a seventh-grade reading assignment, R.C. Murphy Junior High School students, staff and parent community took action this fall and coordinated a fundraiser to help the more than 8,000 children living in Flint, Michigan, who were exposed to lead in their drinking water.

Before the start of the school year, the students read “Water Wars,” a fictional story about a dystopian society plagued with corporate greed and a lack of available drinking water. With the topic of the book and the news of Michigan’s water problems in mind, the school worked to make a difference in the lives of those living in Flint who may experience medical problems due to the exposure to contaminated water.

Students, staff and faculty purchased paper “drops of water” to be sent to the Flint Child Health and Development Fund, which will provide interventions that support positive health outcomes for the affected children. The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has pledged to match every dollar raised, up to $5 million. The Murphy school community raised $1,500 for the cause.  

Lifesaving Blood Drive at Minnesauke

Minnesauke Elementary School sixth-graders recently helped to put a dent in the national blood shortage by coordinating a blood drive at their school in November.

Prior to the drive, the students spoke with representatives from the New York Blood Center and learned about blood donation. The conversations were connected to the students’ science curriculum and focused on the components of blood, how it circulates in the body and who makes an ideal blood donor.

During the event, the students volunteered as “little doctors,” assisting donors with filling out their paperwork and serving post-donation drinks and snacks.  

As a result of the outpouring of support, Minnesauke collected a total of 36 pints of blood to assist those who may need it in an emergency or for people who require long-term treatment.

Thanksgiving Traditions

As an extension of their social studies curriculum and with Thanksgiving just around the corner, kindergarten students at Arrowhead Elementary School in the Three Village School District recently had the chance to experience the holiday in a hands-on way.

During the grade-level’s annual Thanksgiving Adventure, the students learned about the first Thanksgiving, the Mayflower and Plymouth Rock. Using their creativity, they made macaroni necklaces, turkey napkin holders, Native American headdresses and Pilgrim hats. They also learned how to tell a story using Native American symbols, pretended to plant corn in small cups and shared stories in a teepee. After arriving at the event on the “Mayflower,” each student took a turn signing a “Friendship Promise.”

The adventure culminated in a Thanksgiving feast for all the classes.  

Mixing up Thanksgiving treats


Minnesauke Elementary School second-graders in Michael Licausi’s class and Brian Harvey’s sixth-grade class recently used their math and culinary skills to create tasty Thanksgiving treats for the residents living at Echo Arms Adult Home in Port Jefferson Station.

With the help of their class moms, the students stirred together batter for homemade pumpkin bread and filled more than 50 bread tins with the mixture. As a result of the class’ effort, the students were able to create enough loaves to ensure that each resident would receive their own tasty care package.

In addition, to further ensure the holiday was a festive one at the facility, the sixth-graders also made large decorative “Happy Thanksgiving” signs and colorful placemats.   

Students Delighted with Dinoman Visit

Nassakeag Elementary School second-grade students learned about the earth in a fun and interactive way when Dinoman, a science series that performs all over the country, recently visited. During the program, the students learned about the age of our planet, how it is divided into eras, how fossils are formed, dinosaur behavior and the newest discoveries in paleontology.

Setting the Table


Minnesauke Elementary School students in Kate Hunter's class celebrated Thanksgiving by making centerpieces for the Echo Arms Adult Home in Port Jefferson Station.

Using their creativity, the students fashioned the colorful pieces using flowers, pictures of themselves on fall foam shapes and handmade decorations. The completed centerpieces were delivered to the facility just in time for the November holiday.  

The fifth-graders in Kristen Bernardo's class also completed a similar project, as they created centerpieces for the Stony Brook Veterans Home.

Dec. 8, 9 & 10 - Sweeney Todd - Ward Melville HS

Sweeney Todd
December 8, 9, 10 at 7:30
All tickets $20 until Dec 1 - After December 1, please call 631-730-4357

Parental guidance is suggested, as some material in Sweeney Todd is of an adult nature.


Lessons from the Farm


R.C. Murphy Junior High School students in Emma Domino’s international foods classes learned about locally grown produce during a recent visit to the Sang Lee Farm in Peconic.

During the visit, the students toured one of the farm’s planting fields and identified the different items being grown. Representatives from the farm explained how it operates in an organic manner by establishing certain plants or herbs that repel insects. Students were able to harvest, taste and even bring home samples of crops such as broccoli, bok choy, turnips and arugula.

The students also walked through the greenhouses and storage barns at the farm stand. There, two of the farm’s chefs worked with the students to prepare a stir-fry using the vegetables they had just harvested.

Lessons on H2O


As an extension of their classroom science curriculum, Nassakeag Elementary School fourth-grade students learned about water conservation and the water cycle during two interactive programs.

During a workshop with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, the students explored what they can do to help local bays and watersheds. They discovered how various kinds of pollution make their way into the bay and ocean and how this affects local marine life. The topics were visually emphasized during a hands-on demonstration that called for the students to work together to build a storm drain system.  

In addition, representatives from the Suffolk County Water Authority spoke with the classes about the water cycle, as well as the source of drinking water on Long Island and the importance of protecting it.

Prestigious Award for Yearbook Staff

Ward Melville High School’s 2016 Invictus yearbook staff continues to earn high honors and praise.

Most recently, the talented students responsible for creating the “This or That” edition were awarded a Columbia Scholastic Press Association Crown Award, the highest recognition given by the CSPA to a student print or digital medium for overall excellence. The association will announce the winners of the Gold Crown and Silver Crown in March.

“Being recognized by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association is an incredible honor and speaks volumes about the dedication and talents of our students,” said Principal Dr. Alan Baum.

Award Winning Musician


Teachers Take Center Stage


Music teachers throughout the Three Village Central School District took center stage this November to perform in a special faculty concert called “From Bach to Rock and Back Again.”

During the event, the 25 teachers showcased their talents by performing 16 pieces, which included singing “Cell Block Tango” from the musical “Chicago” and performing “Mozart Meets Led Zeppelin” on string instruments.

The sold-out event raised more than $6,000 for the Three Village Music Boosters. Proceeds from the concert will directly support the district’s music department and student scholarships.  

WMHS Football Team Heads to County Championship

Come cheer on the Ward Melville High School varsity football team as they make their first championship appearance in 29 years.

The team will compete in the Suffolk County Division I Championship game against William Floyd High School on Friday, Nov. 18 at the Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium at Stony Brook University. The game will begin at 7 p.m. and the cost for admission is $6.

Letters to Veterans


In honor of Veterans Day, first-grade students in Michael Dragotta’s class at Minnesauke Elementary School put pencil to paper this November to create dozens of colorful cards for local veterans.

The students applied their creativity as they drew patriotic pictures and drafted letters thanking the veterans for their service. The cards were donated to the Long Island State Veterans Home at Stony Brook University.

The project was of special significance for Mr. Dragotta, a veteran who served in Operation Southern Watch aboard the USS Nimitz.

Casting Their Votes


Although not yet old enough to vote in the actual election, students at W.S. Mount Elementary School experienced the process this November during a schoolwide mock election.

Similar to the official election, each student received a voter registration card before casting his or her vote with a paper ballot. They not only voted for the presidential candidate they thought should be elected, but also on a new Mount school mascot. The students selected Donald Trump for president and the meerkat as the new mascot.

The event was organized by the fifth-grade classes and teachers, who were on-site during the vote to oversee the process and assist with any questions the young voters had. The simulated event tied into the fifth-grade social studies curriculum, as the classes are currently studying the Western Hemisphere and comparing the forms of government found throughout the global region with the United States’ system.

Creative Sculptures


R.C. Murphy Junior High School students enrolled in Brian Baker's creative crafts class teamed up with the school’s seventh-grade art classes to create a fantastic halloween display.

As part of their course work, the seventh-graders studied the subtleties of facial expressions by looking at the work of “Peanuts” creator Charles Schultz and “Calvin and Hobbes” creator Bill Watterson as well as text emojis. They then created a ceramic jack-o’-lantern ornament depicting a specific facial expression using decorative wire and plaster cloth wrap.

The students also created ceramic jack-o’-lantern candleholders that could withstand the test of time. After creating a stencil of their jack-o’-lantern face, students scored and slipped together slabs of clay to construct a box form. They then carefully cut out the details of their design to let the light of the candle inside shine through.

The completed projects were on display outside the Murphy art rooms for all to enjoy.

Outstanding Mathematicians

P.J. Gelinas Junior High School seventh-grader Jacqueline Wu, eighth-graders Nancy Zhong and Julia Zhu, and ninth-grader Leo Takemaru have each been selected as a Long Island Young Scholar of Mathematics and accepted by the Institute of Creative Problem Solving for Gifted and Talented Students at SUNY College at Old Westbury to pursue mathematics and mathematical science applications.
To qualify, they competed against approximately 600 of the top-ranking students nominated from school districts on Long Island. Selection by the institute implies that a student is among the top one-tenth of 1 percent in math of all students on Long Island in his or her grade.  

The students will spend 60 hours in class over the course of 20 Saturday mornings and on related outside projects. The curriculum will cover various mathematical topics not included in the standard course of study. Many of the institute’s graduates have gone on to win prestigious awards.

Suffolk County All-Stars

Ward Melville High School boys basketball players Matt Hudzik and Alex Sobel were selected from a pool of hundreds to represent their county during this year’s Suffolk vs. Nassau All-Star Basketball games held at the Town of Oyster Bay PAL facility in Hicksville.

The pair was selected for this honor based on their performance at the grade 9-12 tryout. Matt represented the school on the senior team and Alex represented on the underclassman team.

According to Ward Melville coach Alex Piccirillo, “the two young men represented the Three Village community with class, sportsmanship and hard work.” Mr. Piccirillo was selected by his peers as the Suffolk County All-Stars coach.

Patriots in Playoffs

The following Ward Melville High School teams have advanced to the playoffs and will be competing in the coming days. Help cheer them on!

The undefeated league, county and Long Island championship Field Hockey team will compete in the New York State semifinals at 10 a.m. this Sat., Nov. 12 in Binghamton. If they win, they will compete in the finals on Sunday at 12:30 pm.

The girls’ Cross Country team, which have already been named league, division and county champions, will compete at the New York State Championship at 10:30 a.m. this Sat. Nov. 12 in Binghamton.

Art Inspired by Peace

A creative poster made by P.J. Gelinas Junior High School seventh-grader Jacqueline Wu was selected as a winning submission in the 2016 Shanti Fund Peace and Wisdom Art Competition.

For over 12 years, volunteers of the Shanti Fund have been promoting peace through education and imploring students to create works of art that showcase Ghandi’s mission of celebrating life with peace and love.

In honor of her winning piece, Jacqueline earned a $147 gift card (the age Ghandi would be today) and will honored during a Nov. 16 reception at the H. Lee Dennison Building in Hauppauge.

Performing for Runners


The Setauket Elementary School band helped to provide some spirit and entertainment during this year’s Hercules on the Harbor 10K run through Stony Brook Village. In addition to cheering for participants, the students performed the national anthem, under the baton of teacher Rich Wiederman.

Fall Newsletter Now Available



Pitch-Perfect Pianist

P.J. Gelinas Junior High School seventh-grader Amy Liu has been selected as one of 12 students from New York State to perform at the 11th Annual New York State School Music Association Piano Showcase in Rochester at the 2016 NYSSMA Winter Conference. This is the second year she was chosen to perform at this celebrated event.

To receive this high honor, Amy earned a perfect score of 100 on her NYSSMA Level 6 solo, a positive adjudicator recommendation and a well-received video application. At the conference, she will perform Alberto Ginastera’s Danzas Argentinas, Op. 2, No. 3.

Amy is a dedicated musician who began her piano study at the age of 5 and was accepted to the Manhattan School of Music Precollege as a piano major in May. In addition to piano, she also performs on both flute and piccolo in the Gelinas wind ensemble. 

Scientific Discoveries

R.C. Murphy Junior High School seventh-graders participated in authentic science research during a recent collaborative project with Stony Brook University anthropology professor Dr. Catherine Markham.

As part of the project, the students studied Dr. Markham’s photo research gathered at both Sweetbriar Nature Center in Smithtown and a park in Kenya. They learned how she had used a “camera trap” procedure to collect images from stationary locations at both sites to gather information about animals living in those regions. The trap collects a series of repetitive images over a short period of time once the attached sensors detect movement.

Having understood the process, the students then worked on their observation and inference skills by examining the evidence collected and recorded data from the pictures. They took note of findings such as the phase of the moon, the number and types of animals present, and the perceived temperature.  

Launching Technology Lesson

In their technology classes, seventh-grade students at P.J. Gelinas Junior High School are learning about a variety of physics concepts this year, including centrifugal force, gravity, inertia and momentum.

To kick off their studies, the students experienced these concepts in action as their teachers used a giant catapult, called a trebuchet, to launch pumpkins high into the air. During the daylong event, the entire studentbody had the chance to see how the trebuchet operates and learned about the concepts in motion.

Throughout November, the seventh-graders will build miniature trebuchets and test their launching capabilities using small pieces of clay.

All-National musician

As a result of a comprehensive audition process, Ward Melville High School senior Benjamin Shea has been selected to perform in the All-National Mixed Chorus. He will take part in the festival’s showcase in Grape Vine, Texas in November.

Promoting Unity


We’re Off to Solve Mathematics

Students who struggle with mathematics at Minnesauke Elementary School will soon have the chance to build their skills thanks to a new and inventive math-themed art project completed this fall by teacher Paul Wilgenkamp, with the help of retired Three Village art teacher Frank Marangiello.

A giant yellow brick road, similar to the one made famous in “The Wizard of Oz,” now covers the floor in the school’s math center. Inscribed in the design are numbers aimed at helping students with multiple factors, least common multiples, prime numbers and math properties. There is also a negative space – drawn in black and white like Kansas was depicted in the movie – that shows the connection between positive and negative integers. Through various activities, the students will  travel the path of the yellow brick road and venture out on different mathematical quests.

“It is our hope that as students progress through these activities, they will have the courage, heart and brains to feel at home with fact fluency,” said Mr. Wilgenkamp. “With the opportunity to practice, they will be feeling like math wizards in no time.”

Learning to Code


Support for Runners and Veterans

P.J. Gelinas Junior High School cheerleaders helped to support and cheer along the runners in the Suffolk County marathon fundraiser for veterans held this October. Along the route, they were commended for their actions by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

United Against Bullying


Nassakeag Elementary School students and staff helped to promote the nationally recognized Unity Day this October by joining together to create an artistic symbol of peace.

Keeping with their new character education motto “Nassakeag CARES,” the school crafted colorful leaves with anti-bullying messages. The completed designs were affixed to a large tree themed bulletin board in the building’s main hallway to show that the school is working to stop bullying one leaf at a time.

The school will update the messages on the board each season as a way to promote unity and anti-bullying throughout the year.
Nassakeag CARES stands for Compassionate, Accepting, Respectful, Embracing and Successful.

Walking for Education


As part of their continued efforts to encourage students to make healthy life choices, Nassakeag Elementary School hosted its annual Walk for Education under sunny skies this October.

During the event, students and staff walked laps around the school’s property to fundraise for cultural arts and other PTA sponsored programs. As a result of their efforts, Nassakeag collectively raised over $2,200 in pledges.

Inspired Writers


R.C. Murphy Junior High School students and staff put pencil to paper this October to explain what inspires their writing in celebration of National Day on Writing.

The students responded to one of several prompts presented to them in the form of hashtags, including #writeyourownstory and #whyIwrite.
Once completed, all the responses were put on display outside of the English classrooms for students to read their peers’ reflections and celebrate the power of writing.

Arrowhead Cupcake Challenge to Smash Out Pediatic Cancer

Top Music Honors

In recognition of their outstanding musical talents, 14 Ward Melville High School students have been selected to perform in this year’s New York State School Music Association Winter Conference, and 40 have been chosen to perform in the New York State Council of Administrators for Music Education/Suffolk County Music Educators Association All-County Music Festival.

Selection to these festivals is based on the students’ NYSSMA scores from the previous spring, as well as teacher recommendations.

The All-County Festival will end in a musical showcase on Nov. 18 at Northport High School. The All-State concerts will take place in Rochester in December.
The district congratulates the following students:

All-State Musicians
Sophie Cicale
Emma Cowan
Allison Dana
Jared Gozinsky
Connor Heaphy
Crystal Her
William Jin
Andrew Kim
Julia LaRotonda
Ellen Li
Jason Rahner
Alexis Salerno
Cody Stair
Michal Zadok

All-County Musicians
Shawn Brennan
Ryan Carlozzo
Small Chase
Kathryn Chen
Sophie Cicale
Isabella Colombo
Emma Cowan
Allison Dana
Brandon Feng
Maya Fischer
Jared Gozinsky
Connor Heaphy
Christopher Helenek
Crystal Her
Thomas Howell
Julia Hu
Michelle Hu
Sarah Jiang
William Jin
Andrew Kim
Eleanor Kopp
Lawrence Lan
Julia LaRotonda
Ellen Li
Jonathon Lin
Serena Liu
Dylan Maggio
Johnny Mo
Matthew Okrent
Chelsea Plank
Jason Rahner
Matthew Roberts
Alexis Salerno
Maxwell Schoenfeld
Benjamin Shea
Kai Southard
Cody Stair
Marina Vostrova
Alex Wiggins
Michal Zadok

Seniors Earn Siemens Honors


Ward Melville High School seniors Brandon Feng, Kirti Nath, and Nestor Tkachenko earned top honors in the 2016 Siemens Competition for Math, Science & Technology. All three were named semifinalists and Nestor advanced to Regional Finalist status.

As a Regional Finalist, Nestor will present his group research project, “Can Cars Fly? Eddy Current Magnetic Levitation as Viable Technology,” to the Siemens committee for additional honors. The topic for his project was something that captivated his interests since the first grade, when he visited the University of Michigan with his parents. His research explores the potential of eddy current coil levitation for commercial use. This levitation occurs when an alternating current is sent through a conducting coil, which is placed above a nonmagnetic plate; in this case aluminum.

“This technology has the potential to revolutionize transportation since the ideal efficiency is a factor of 10 better than that of some of the most efficient cars,” said Nestor. “Eddy current coil vehicles would essentially enable Maglev train-like transportation that is much more mobile and personal. In order for this technology to be implemented commercially, roads would need to have aluminum plating under them, which is quite plausible considering the relatively low cost of aluminum compared to asphalt.”

Brandon’s project, “A Robust Sensor Network-based Estimation Model for Wind Fields” focused around estimating wind fields from solar irradiance data taken from solar panels in order to maximize panel efficiency.

Kirti’s project, “Assessing the developmental and metabolic toxicity of neuroactive pharmaceuticals using early life stage zebrafish,” focused on the fate of pharmaceutical compounds once released into the environment and the consequent implications of this phenomenon on wildlife.

Fire Smart

In recognition of Fire Prevention Month, students throughout the district learned valuable safety information from local firefighters during in-school programs.

Members of the Stony Brook Fire District conducted two interactive assemblies at W.S. Mount Elementary School and visited students in their classrooms for follow-up conversations. Throughout the daylong event, volunteers reinforced the importance of having a predetermined family meeting place, the need to regularly replace smoke detector batteries and the phone number to call in case of an emergency.

Outside the building, students were able to tour two working fire apparatuses and take a close look at the firefighters’ lifesaving equipment. Students were then provided with a keepsake firefighter’s helmet and informational goody bag.

With Thanks and Appreciation


In observance of the New York State School Boards Association’s School Board Recognition Week, the school community came together to honor the district’s Board of Education members.

As each Board member serves as a liaison to one of the district’s schools, representatives from each building spoke on behalf of their trustee, the district clerk and the student representative, before presenting them with a token of their school’s appreciation.

What's for Lunch?


River Life


P.J. Gelinas Junior High School students conducted authentic research and studied one local waterway this October as part of the annual Day in the Life of the River event.

Three research classes from Gelinas went to different parts of the Nissequogue River watershed, including Stump Pond in Blydenburgh County Park, which is the headwaters of the river, and Short Beach in Saint James, where the mouth of the river enters the Long Island Sound. During their visit, the students collaborated with professional naturalists and conducted a biodiversity study. They collected physical data from the river and surrounding area, including information on currents, tides and weather, performed chemical tests to determine the water quality and created a map of each study area.

All of the data collected by the Gelinas students and other participating school districts will be uploaded to the Portal to Discovery website, and will become a permanent record of this day in the Life of the Nissequogue River.  

Studying Local Waters

R.C. Murphy Junior High School Earth SMART classes learned firsthand about the aquatic inhabitants living in a local waterway during a recent field trip.

The 60 students boarded the Celtic Quest charter boat out of Port Jefferson and enjoyed a brief fishing experience before dredging the harbor to study the benthic organisms. At the conclusion of the trip, the students tallied all the fish caught and completed a lab based on the data gathered during their excursion.

Suffolk County Marathon Information


Inspiring Creativity


The front of Minnesauke Elementary School has been transformed into a fall-themed display, showcasing 31 unique and crafty scarecrows.

As part of the Displays of Minnesauke Scarecrows project, each class was challenged to create a large scarecrow based on a central theme. Working with their teachers and parent volunteers, the students brainstormed concepts and collected materials before getting to work. Completed projects ranged from a bookworm and brainy scarecrow to ones with sports themes.

The fall-themed projects are on display as part of the school’s Harvest Festival and will remain up until the end of October.

Taking Care of Teddy


W.S. Mount Elementary School kindergarten students had the chance to act as emergency room doctors during a recent workshop with representatives from Stony Brook University.

Before suiting up as doctors for the “Teddy Bear Clinic,” the students were given important safety tips to keep in mind when riding in a car or on a bicycle. Then, wearing protective gloves, hairnets and facemasks, they took care of their most precious stuffed animals by adhering bandages and fitting braces and splints.

The program not only provided the young children with a variety of safety tips, but also helped ease their apprehensions of going to the doctor.

Students "APP"-ly Themselves


Writing for a National Platform

An educational piece written by P.J. Gelinas Junior High School art teacher Michael Sacco is being featured in the November issue of School Arts Magazine, a national publication.

The article, titled “Gridded by Design,” details a project Mr. Sacco conducted in his art classes and features the artwork of former Gelinas students Ariana Beasley, Darby Kent, Sandie O’Brien and Cleo Watson.

This is Mr. Sacco’s sixth article featured in School Arts. An electronic copy of the article can be viewed by clicking this link

Sex Offender Notification October 2016


Wednesday, December 07, 2016   |  District Home