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Online Calendar for the 2021-2022 School Year

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Board Ushers in New School Year

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The Three Village Central School District Board of Education commenced the start of the 2021-22 school year during its reorganizational meeting on July 7. During the meeting, newly elected trustees Susan E. Megroz Rosenzweig and Shaorui Li along with reelected trustee Deanna Bavlnka were sworn in and began their three-year terms of office. In addition, Ms. Bavlnka was elected to serve as the new president of the Board of Education and Ms. Rosenzweig was appointed to serve as the Board vice president. Ms. Li was appointed as the district clerk Pro Tem.

A Garden of Peace and Reflection

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Two rising Ward Melville High School seniors – Harrison Rosenzweig and Andrew Vicari – have created a COVID Peace Garden at the school to provide the community with a place to quietly reflect in a serene and restorative setting. The garden, which is located outside the building’s greenhouse, was officially dedicated during a ribbon cutting ceremony on June 23.

The pair noted how they wanted to create a peaceful space where people could reflect on what they have worked through, what they have lost and all of the good that has survived and thrived through the pandemic.

“At the height of the COVID pandemic, we were overwhelmed hearing daily about the staggering loss of life,” Harrison said. “On a smaller scale, we watched everyone around us, young and old, suffer with the inability to connect in person with friends and family, to learn and work collaboratively, to experience so many of the little things that make life feel normal and joyful.”

“We also wanted to honor and celebrate the essential workers who helped us get through some of the most challenging days in modern history,” Andrew added.

“This experience taught us that no matter how bad things get, no matter how much unknown we have to face … the sun really will come up again tomorrow,” Harrison said.

With the support of the school administration, the students created bracelets which they sold online and during lunch periods to raise money for the supplies to clear the area, replenish the soil and order a plaque. Most of the beautiful plants were generously donated by Olde Towne Gardens nursery.

‘Anastasia’ at Ward Melville High School

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Ward Melville High School student-actors took to the stage in early June to perform a wonderful rendition of the musical “Anastasia” before adoring audiences, both in person and virtually.

The students rehearsed under the leadership of director Linda Contino throughout the school year in the hopes of performing live, and perform it live they did! A combination live track alternates with a dynamite small pit. The livestream of the performance was even enjoyed as far as Italy!

“Anastasia” is the historical fiction tale of Anastasia Romanov, one of the daughters of Tsar Nicholas who reportedly survived the rebellion against the regime in 1927 Russia and how she had to take a journey into her past to find her present.

Special thanks to Lisa Schindler for sharing these photos as the district looks back with pride on this remarkable performance.

Class of 2021 Graduates with Legacy of Resilience and Adaptability

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The resilient and adaptable Ward Melville Class of 2021 officially marked the end of their educational journey in the Three Village School District during the annual commencement exercises, held on the front lawn on June 28. The ceremony featured all of the traditional graduation aspects and provided families and students with the opportunity to celebrate this momentous academic milestone.

The graduates marched through the balloon arches as the Ward Melville Symphony Orchestra played “Pomp and Circumstance,” followed by the singing of the national anthem by Caitlyn Calise, Steven Fontana, Matthew Kronenberg and Hunter Pszybylski.

During his address, Principal William S. Bernhard defined the meaning of the word “try” as “to care and prepare,” all anyone can do in this world. “Ask yourself if you really tried the first time … then come up with a plan to succeed,” Mr. Bernhard said.

Student Government President Jesse Behar reflected on his time at Ward Melville High School and called attending school there a “gift.” Additionally, he announced that the class gift would be a 20-by-20-foot tent for district outdoor programs, which symbolizes the class’s legacy of making the “impossible possible.”

Class of 2021 Valedictorian Chana Lyubich and Salutatorian Allen Hu also delivered eloquent commencement speeches, imparting words of wisdom and collective sentiments about their hopes for the future. Allen explained that each one of the graduates “entered the pandemic as one person and came out as another.” He cautioned his peers to take care of themselves and said, “Be balanced in yourself and cautious in your words but remember that you are never alone.”

Chana’s remarks focused on inevitable change and not knowing where the future lies. “In actuality, lasting change is often more gradual and is brought about through the actions of everyday people,” she said. “All of us – regardless of our future careers and trajectories – can make the difference in the world through the small choices that we make.”

Prior to handing out the diplomas, Mr. Bernhard gave out two special awards. John Woram was recognized for his bravery and courage in fighting cancer, while Connor Hughes was recognized with an award for perfect attendance throughout all 13 years of school.

Assistant Principal Vince Cereola then read the names of each graduate as they marched across the stage to receive a diploma from Mr. Bernhard to the cheers of family and friends. Class of 2021 representative Brooke Walters led the class in the traditional turning of the tassels, marking the graduates’ transition to alumni of the Three Village School District.

As the Ward Melville High School bell rang, the graduates tossed up their caps to conclude the ceremony and joined their family, friends and faculty for photos and to say thank-yous and farewells.

Moving Up to Ward Melville High School

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After a year filled with many firsts, R.C. Murphy and P.J. Gelinas junior high schools’ students and families were excited to embrace tradition this June during the schools’ coordinated, commemorative moving-up ceremonies for the ninth graders. In uniformed events that took place on the main front lawn of the schools, the junior high school Class of 2021 gathered, surrounded by proud guests, to mark the start of their next journey in the district.

After congratulatory remarks by the building administration, each student was called to the dais to receive their moving-up certificates and individual departmental accolades.

Painting With the Principal

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Paul J. Gelinas Junior High School students demonstrated their creativity during an innovative painting project with Principal Corinne Keane.

Before Mrs. Keane became principal, you could find her in the art classroom at Gelinas. Her love for art and design has been a passion that she wanted to continue to share with the Gelinas students. Throughout the pandemic Mrs. Keane has used art as a way to reduce the daily stress of the unknown. Wanting to connect with students and create a dialogue, she invited students to join her in her efforts, allowing them a sounding board, a creative way to express themselves and a way to cope with the stressors of the school year. The Painting with the Principal Project came to life.

Each panel that hangs shares an inspirational quote or thought for students and staff to reflect on as they walk the halls. The goal of the project is to cover every end panel of the locker banks and fill the Gelinas halls with color and inspiration.

Pouches Made With Care and Love

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P.J. Gelinas Junior High School, R.C. Murphy Junior High School and Minnesauke Elementary School National Junior Art Honor Society chapters recently teamed up on a creative project to help others. The students created cancer-care pouches for Stony Brook University Hospital chemotherapy patients. Each student designed their own pouch for donation and filled it with care products before donating to the hospital.

One Book, One School Project

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This school year, P.J. Gelinas Junior High School participated in the annual One Book One School Project, in which all in the school community are invited to read the same book.

This year, Gelinas chose the perfect book to embrace optimism and activate their purpose in this history-making school year. Jess Ekstom’s book “Chasing the Bright Side” inspired Gelinas students and staff alike this school year. It focused on the idea that we are in control of writing our own stories and the things that we cannot control (such as the pandemic) cannot stop us from having a great and productive school year.

Using the theme of optimism, the book was brought to life through classroom projects and discussions and the theme of the yearbook. To bring the school year to a close, author Jess Ekstrom visited Gelinas. She spoke to students, staff and parents about the power of optimism and how it has inspired her story.

Stickers to Inspire Good Decisions

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Ward Melville High School’s SADD club, advised by Alison Herrschaft and Michelle Walker, continues to find ways to prevent poor decision-making through activism and education for youth and community.

This year the club designed a sticker for a “Sticker Shock” campaign, targeting the purchase and sale of alcohol to minors. The chosen sticker was selected and printed with the support of the Drug Prevention Coalition of the Town of Brookhaven. The goal of the campaign is to spread awareness of a critical community issue by placing the stickers designed by the students on alcohol products, pizza boxes or other store products to remind businesses and customers not to sell or purchase alcohol for minors.

On Wednesday, June 9, members of the club facilitated the Sticker Shock campaign with two local businesses. Setauket Pasteria and 7-11, on the corner of Old Town Road and Route 347, both participated and allowed the SADD club students inside their businesses to cover any alcohol product with their stickers. Over 500 stickers were placed on items within the store to promote awareness and prevention of this critical issue.

Backyard Fun During Physical Education Classes

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In early June, Setauket Elementary School students had some early summer fun during their Backyard Games unit in physical education class. The students participated in some classic and new backyard games, including cornhole, Ladder Ball and Kanjam, just to name a few.

Arrowhead School Garden Club

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To learn more about the project, please click here.

Exploring the World Through Science

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Science exploration for sixth graders at Minnesauke Elementary School was abundant during a recent virtual assembly program with experimental particle physicist Chris Bee.

Dr. Bee conducted a presentation on his work at the world’s largest particle physics laboratory, located in Switzerland. Students had been exploring the properties of matter and the periodic table as part of their studies, but when Dr. Bee showed photos of Atlas, the largest volume detector ever constructed, the children were in awe. They observed a particular experiment in which protons collide with such force that new particles are formed. They were invited to ask questions, and many students were interested in seeking answers about black holes and groundbreaking discoveries that better describe our universe.

College and Career Day

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Each of the elementary schools in the district recently participated in College and Career Day/Week to bring awareness to the importance of education and choosing the right career.

The goal of this event was to help students recognize their ability to achieve their dreams and to start expanding their knowledge of different types of postsecondary options. Minnesauke, Nassakeag, Remote Elementary, Setauket and W.S. Mount schools completed a College and Career Day. Arrowhead Elementary completed a College and Career week.

Parents and guardians from all elementary schools sent in videos regarding their careers and gave advice for students who are just beginning their career exploration. The most common piece of advice: Find a career that fits your skills, abilities and talents, but most importantly, find a career that makes you happy.

Stewards for Bike Safety

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Recognizing that Long Island has many dangerous roadways, Ward Melville High School DECA club members recently put their skills to use to help promote the importance of following the rules of the road to protect bicyclists. Through a contest organized by the Brookhaven Bike Coop and sponsored by Friends of the BBC, teams created innovative marketing campaigns consisting of print posters, social media ads and video to highlight this important topic.

The teams’ work was then judged by local elected officials and Ashley Liu, Robin Xiong, Claire Yang and Lillian Zhi were determined to the be winners of the Bike Safety Ad Campaign. These students were presented with certificates of appreciation during the district’s June 15 Board of Education meeting and a check for $1,000.

Making History With the Seal of Biliteracy

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For the first time, two Ward Melville High School seniors – Victor Lançon and Steve Budnick – have earned the Seal of Biliteracy, an award presented by New York State in recognition of students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages.

The New York State Seal of Biliteracy recognizes high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in one or more languages, in addition to English. The intent of the award is to encourage the study of languages, to identify high school graduates with language and biliteracy skills for employers, to provide universities with additional information about applicants seeking admission and placement, to prepare students with 21st century skills, to recognize the value of world, classical and home language instruction in schools, and to affirm the value of diversity in a multilingual society.

The students were required to create a culminating portfolio project which revolved around a central theme of the student’s choosing. The students researched the theme using various resources, such as texts, podcasts, interviews and other digital sources, recorded in-person conversations and wrote reflections so as to develop the theme into a more specific, delineated thematic statement. The students presented it to the Three Village Central School District Seal of Biliteracy Committee.

BOE Recognizes Newly Tenured Educators

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During the district’s June 15 Board of Education meeting, the district honored and celebrated more than 30 staff members who reached an important milestone in their educational careers – earning tenure. With the help of school administrators and Board members, each staff member was individually recognized and presented with certificates to mark the achievement.

A New Era for Patriot Baseball and Softball

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Ward Melville High School and the district’s athletic department recently hosted commemorative ribbon cutting ceremonies for the new turf baseball and softball fields.

Last year, Ward Melville’s baseball and softball teams only had the chance to play on the new infield turf for one week before sports were shut down due to COVID-19. This year, the teams enjoyed the completed projects, which included new outfields, fences, foul poles and bleacher areas.

“These ceremonies and fields will mark a new era for our baseball and softball programs which will be comprised of many games, practices, clinics and, I know, some future championship games,” said Kevin Finnerty, executive director of health, physical education, recreation and athletics.
Sunday, July 25, 2021   |  District Home