Opening Doors to Creativity

Outstanding written pieces created by R.C. Murphy Junior High School and Ward Melville High School students garnered recognition at this year’s Regional Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Competition. Sixteen students were honored in the contest, and four, who received the highest honor of being named Gold Key winners, will now have their submissions judged at the national level.

Ward Melville High School senior Erika Riley received a Gold Key for her short story “Bad Ideas”; senior John Raney received a Gold Key for his poems “Poet’s Fire,” “Seeds,” “The Great Beast,” “Bookworm” and “On the Wings of a Letter”; and junior Eleni Aneziris received a Gold Key for her poems “To Dust” and “The View from the Couch in the Far Left Corner.” R.C. Murphy Junior High School ninth-grader Cameron Liquori won a Gold Key for her short story “Hero.”

Gold Key winners are recognized as the top 1 to 2 percent of all participants in the Northeast region. Their writing will be forwarded to the national level, where it will be considered for a Gold Medal. National medalists will be announced in mid-March.

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is one of the nation's largest, longest-running, most prestigious literary arts programs that honors students in grades 7-12 for their original works.

Congratulations to the following honorees:  

Ward Melville High School
Eleni Aneziris: Gold Key in Poetry; four honorable mentions in Poetry; one honorable mention in Memoir
Amanda Liu: Silver Key in Poetry
Sachin Patnaik: Silver Key and honorable mention in Poetry
John Raney: Gold Key in Poetry, Silver Key in Writing Portfolio; honorable mentions in Poetry (two), Flash Fiction (two) and Writing Portfolio (one)
Erika Riley: Gold Key in Short Story; honorable mention in Flash Fiction, Writing Portfolio and Poetry

R.C. Murphy Junior High School
Samarah Ahmed: Honorable mention
Maddy Avni: Silver Key
Justin Diamond: Silver Key
Ivy Guan: Honorable mention
Julia Hu: Honorable mention
Noor Kamal: Honorable mention
Cameron Liquori: Gold Key in Short Story
Serena Liu: Honorable mention
Ilsa Shahzadi: Honorable mention
Emily Toth: Honorable mention
Amy Xie: Silver Key

Celebrating Shining Behaviors

As part of the school’s PBIS program, R.C. Murphy Junior High School students and staff members are celebrating positive and character-building behaviors this February through their “Let Your Heart Shine” campaign.

Roughly 200 positive quotes have been displayed on pink papers throughout the building and via a PowerPoint in the library. Members of the SHARP club also created a display outside the library with teachers’ responses to how they let their hearts shine. In turn, students had a chance to write how they let their hearts shine on banners set up in the cafeteria.

To recognize those exemplifying positive behaviors, students “caught” letting their hearts shine will be recognized by their teachers, have their names displayed in a showcase, and be entered into a drawing to win gift certificates to the school store.

BOE Resolution re: Governor’s School Reforms

The following resolution was adopted by the Board of Education at the February 25th Board of Education Meeting


WHEREAS, Article XI, Section 1 of the Constitution of the State of New York provides that the legislature shall provide for the maintenance and support of a system of free common schools, wherein all the children of the state may be educated;

WHEREAS, Article XI, Section 1 of the Constitution of the State of New York provides the legal authority given to the Board of Regents and to the legislature to provide for the maintenance and support of public schools;

WHEREAS, the New York State Board of Regents and the State Education Department exercise the powers and functions delegated to them through the Education Law;

WHEREAS, the Board of Regents and the State Education Department establish policy by adopting rules and regulations within the limitations of state law;

WHEREAS, said regulations have the authority of law unless they are overruled by decisions of the State’s courts;

WHEREAS, Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution of the State of New York outlines the powers and duties of the Governor;

WHEREAS, Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution of the State of New York does not grant the Governor of the State of New York control over the funding, nor the establishment of Educational Policy;

WHEREAS, the Governor of the State of New York, in his “State of the State” speech this year, outlined a variety of reforms to New York State Educational policy which, if the legislature succumbs to the reforms, the Governor will elect to fund a 4.8% increase in the educational budget, up from a 1.7% increase if the legislature does not elect the reforms;

WHEREAS, the Board of Education of the Three Village Central School District of Brookhaven and Smithtown believes that the Governor is overstepping his constitutionally derived powers and duties by demanding a change in educational policy for which the Board of Regents and the State Education Department hold Constitutional authority;

WHEREAS, in denying the funding that is needed to maintain the integrity of education for the children of New York State, the Board of Education of the Three Village Central School District of Brookhaven and Smithtown believes that the Governor is depriving the children of New York State with their Constitutional right of a system of free common schools;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Board of Education of the Three Village Central School District of Brookhaven and Smithtown demands that the Governor relinquish to the Board of Regents and the State Education Department their constitutional right to establish educational policy.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Board of Education of the Three Village Central School District of Brookhaven and Smithtown demands that the Governor adequately fund New York State public schools.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Board of Education of the Three Village Central School District of Brookhaven and Smithtown demands that the Governor of the State of New York decouple the adequate funding of public schools for New York State children from the request for educational policy reform for which he has no constitutionally derived power.

Pennies Add Up

Thousands of pennies flooded into P.J. Gelinas Junior High School this winter for the school’s spirited Penny Wars competition.

During the weeklong drive, coordinated by seventh-grader Sophia Adams, students and staff members donated pennies during their homeroom periods to benefit the Setauket-based organization Room 4 Love. As added excitement, students could deposit quarters in another class’s jar to lower that homeroom’s final tally and, at the same time, increase the overall donation, which ended up totaling more than $800. Christian Alessi’s homeroom was rewarded with tasty treats from Crazy Crepes for winning the contest. 

“I coordinated this initiative as part of my Bat Mitzvah project as a way to help the community,” said Sophia. “It was amazing, and I am very impressed with how many donations we received. My brother conducted a similar project several years ago, and I’m happy that my cause received as much support as his.”

Room 4 Love was established in 2012 by district students Maggie and Bella Diehl with the help of their parents. The group works with another local organization, Friends of Karen, to provide bedroom makeovers for local children with cancer and their families.


Sharing Cultures

As part of their social studies course, John Strub’s ninth-grade classes at R.C. Murphy Junior High School are sharing a bit of their culture with peers through an alternative learning project.

In lieu of one quarterly journaling entry, global history and Advanced Placement World History classes have the chance to help their peers make connections to their ethnicity or culture through song, dance or performance art. Most recently, students performed traditional Spanish and Hindi songs, played a French concerto on the cello, and shared a song and peasant dance native to Crete in Greece.

“The project enables the students to experience these regions beyond the academic component and gives opportunity for them to obtain a well-rounded picture of the country,” said Mr. Strub. “It is an enrichment to their classroom study and shows how ethnicity and culture can be expressed in many ways, and that there is a commonality in shared human traditions that comes across in arts and culture.”

Sweeping Invitational Tournaments

The award-winning Science Olympiad program at P.J. Gelinas Junior High School got a jump start on this year’s competition season by taking part in two invitational tournaments in separate states on the same day this February.

Two teams took part in the Rustin Invitational Tournament in West Chester, Pennsylvania, while two other teams participated in the Westport Invitational Tournament in Westport, Connecticut.

At Rustin, Gelinas teams placed first and sixth out of 48 teams from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and Delaware. Each team of 15 students competed in 25 events. The Gelinas varsity team won medals or ribbons in 16 events, including eight first-place, two second-place, two third-place and one sixth-place medals. The JV team also won medals or ribbons in 16 events, including three second-place, three third-place, one fourth-place, one fifth-place and three sixth-place medals.

At Westport, Gelinas placed fifth and seventh out of 21 teams. These teams were led by some experienced team members, but mostly composed of seventh- and eighth-graders competing for the first time. The Gelinas A Team placed fifth and won four first-place and one second-place medals. The Gelinas B Team placed seventh and won four first-place, one second-place and three third-place medals.

The purpose of these invitational tournaments is to help the teams prepare for the competition season. Gelinas will now form three teams to compete in the Eastern Long Island Regional (Suffolk County) tournament on Feb. 28 at Candlewood Middle School in Half Hollow Hills.

Exploring the States

PJ Gelinas Presents Suessical the Musical - March 18 - 21, 2015

March 18, 19 & 20, 2015 at 7:00 pm

March 21, 2015 at 1:00 pm (Limited Seating) and 7:00 pm

 Gelinas Jr. High School Auditorium

 All Tickets (Reserved Seating)


$15.00 (Seniors)
Click here for flyer

RC Murphy JH Presents Mary Poppins - March 24 - 28, 2015

RC Murphy JH Musical Theatre Presents "Mary Poppins"!
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, March 24-26 at 6:30 pm
Friday & Saturday, March 27 & 28 at 7:30 pm

Tickets $15
631-730-4831    click here for flyer

Student-Musician Performs with MYO

As a result of a challenging audition process, Ward Melville High School junior and talented student-musician Constance Mulford has been selected as a feature artist for the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York. She will join the members of the MYO Horn Quartet during two recitals this March.

The group will hold a free performance at St. Mark’s Church in Islip on Sunday, March 1 at 3 p.m.  The recital will feature works by F. Strauss, Geliere, Mozart, Liszt, Vaughan Williams, and the first movement of Robert Schumann’s “Konzertstuck for Four Horns.”

This recital will serve as a preview for the quartet’s debut as featured artists at the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York Suffolk Principal Orchestra’s winter concert, to be held on March 22 at the Staller Center for the Performing Arts at Stony Brook University. The orchestra will perform under the leadership of retired Three Village orchestra teacher Phil Preddice.

Spreading Smiles to Seniors

R.C. Murphy Junior High Schools Foreign Language Honor Society visited the Atria Senior Living facility to deliver roses and cards for Valentine’s Day. During the trip, the students met with residents and spent time with them during dinner.

The FLHS is advised by teachers Emiliano Geoninatti and Kerri Golini.

Creating Mosaic Masterpiece

P.J. Gelinas Junior High School seventh- through ninth-grade students in Victoria Santiago’s, Jenna Perotti’s and Rob Fenster’s classes created a beautiful mosaic for the guidance department with the help of art teacher Christopher Esser.

Using upcycled materials, the students worked collaboratively to create a spring-themed piece for the lobby. The completed piece was revealed during an unveiling ceremony attended by teachers and administrators.

As the project promoted teamwork, collaboration and creativity, the school plans to afford students the chance to create a new piece for the area each year and rotate the display of previous pieces to different areas of the building.

The Reporter - Winter 2015 Newsletter Now Available!


Joining Together in Music


Three Master Teachers

As the result of a challenging application process, district educators Pam O’Brien, Peter Schuchman and Gary Vorwald have been named New York State Master Teachers. These three teachers bring Three Village’s total Master Teachers to five, the second highest number on Long Island. 

The Master Teacher program encourages educators to mentor their peers and deepen their own scholastic and professional development. They will join a network of more than 500 outstanding educators who demonstrate a deep understanding of their content area, pedagogy and communities.

Ms. O’Brien has been teaching for 26 years, the last 14 of which have been at Ward Melville High School. During her time in the district, she has taught a range of courses, but most recently the majority of her schedule has been Advanced Placement Statistics. “I am excited about the Master Teacher program and I am looking forward to learning lots of new things and getting the opportunity to collaborate with other teachers,” she said.  

Mr. Schuchman has taught for 12 years at P.J. Gelinas Junior High School and has a total of 13 years of educational experience. At Gelinas, he teaches Regents/honors-level earth science and the Earth SMART course. Of the honor, he said, “I am looking forward to being an integral part of a professional learning community of fellow Master Teacher educators who are focused and motivated to be both pioneers and proponents of well-developed, comprehensive STEM field education.” He added, “The Master Teacher program will afford me another avenue to collaborate with similarly minded teachers around the area and across the state. Additionally, it will allow me to expand the instructional opportunities for my students and colleagues by engaging with this new network of educators and then bringing the information back to my own school.”

Mr. Vorwald has taught in the district since 1998 and has been an educator for 28 years. During his time in Three Village, he has taught nearly every science course offered at P.J. Gelinas, and is the school’s current department chairperson and lead coach of its award-winning Science Olympiad team. “This award is quite prestigious, and I am looking forward to meeting with other Master Teachers to help get ideas that could enhance my own knowledge as well as teaching strategies,” he said. “I have always been involved at a professional level working with teachers, and I look forward to helping colleagues in the field enhance their instructional techniques.”

For the prestigious honor, the teachers were required to demonstrate their success in the classroom and model teaching practices. They had to provide transcripts and recommendation letters and complete a teaching demonstration, writing sample, personal essay and interview.

Frozen Tundra of Learning

As a conclusion to their study of the Arctic, Nassakeag Elementary School kindergarten students participated in a hands-on learning activity with the help of their classroom buddies.  

The Arctic Adventure, which has become a staple in the grade-level’s curriculum over the last several years, provides students with the chance to strengthen their understanding of the animals, environment, people and traditions of the Arctic. In a classroom transformed into a frozen tundra, students visited seven education stations. They took part in activities such as ice fishing, sculpting animals with clay and feeling “blubber.”

LI Champ & National Contender

P.J. Gelinas Junior High School eighth-grader Sahil Sangwan is headed to the SCRIPP’s National Spelling Bee after being crowned the winner of this year’s Hofstra Regional Spelling Bee.

Sahil outspelled the approximate 115 participants at this year’s regional contest, who spanned grades four to eight. Each had qualified for the event by winning their school’s spelling bee. The regional contest went 10 rounds and was noted to be one of the most competitive in recent history.

Sahil will now compete against approximately 300 students from around the country at the national contest this May. The broadcast will be televised on ESPN.

A ‘Soup-er’ Sized Fundraiser

W.S. Mount Elementary School students and staff combined their love of football with their desire to help others by participating in a two-week “Soup-er Bowl” food drive for local food pantries.

During the event, which was coordinated by the site-based management team and several sixth-grade students, the Mount community collected hundreds of non-perishable food items. In the spirit of competition, the donors used their contributions to vote for the team they thought would win this year’s Super Bowl by placing the items on tables decorated with each team’s name.

To increase participation in the drive, Principal Kathryn White and Assistant to the Principal Brian McCarthy each supported one of the competitors and vowed to donate an additional 100 items if their team lost. Unlike the actual Super Bowl game, Mr. McCarthy’s Seahawks edged out Mrs. White’s Patriots with a final of 297 to 254 donations, respectively.

Showcasing Kindness

As part of the district’s character education program, students and staff members regularly engage in positive learning opportunities and events. This January, Arrowhead Elementary School focused on the importance of standing up to bullying and promoting kindness during a series of events.

With the help of talented actors from Theater Three, the students learned how to stand up to bullying during two in-school productions. “Class Dismissed: The Bullying Project,” which was viewed by the fourth- through sixth-graders, focused on acts of bullying within a school setting and via social media. “Stand Up, Stand Out,” which was shown to the kindergarten through third-graders and involved live actors and puppets, put a twist on familiar fairytales and addressed how the characters dealt with bullying.

During the week of the Great Kindness Challenge, students and staff members dressed according to different theme days and completed as many acts of kindness as possible. These included taking part in activities at kindness stations in the cafeteria and working with social worker Judy Forgione to create outdoor “kindness rocks,” which included each student’s thumbprint symbolizing their commitment to the cause.

A Learning Touchdown

Snow Closure Information

Dear Parents and Guardians:

The winter season is certainly upon us with the full blast of cold weather and icy or snowy road conditions. The decision to dismiss early, delay or close the schools is based on careful consideration and analysis of weather forecast and road conditions. Our top priority is to ensure the safety of our students and staff, while also considering the impact to instruction.

Every year, in anticipation of weather-related cancelations, the district builds makeup days into the school year calendar. With the snow day used on Monday, February 2, Three Village has used all three of its planned makeup days. If the district is forced to close schools for any additional days, school will be in session for students and staff on Friday, April 10, 2015. If any additional days are needed, we will update you accordingly.

Please be reminded that as a result of using all three snow days school will be in session Friday, May 22, 2015 and Tuesday, May 26, 2015.

Details regarding snow closings can be found on the district’s homepage, Please check the website for updates relating to future snow days.

We thank you for your attention to this message and your continued patience as we work through our challenging winter weather.

Spring 2015 Continuing Education Brochure

Please click here to view the Spring 2015 brochure.

All-Eastern Musician

Ward Melville High School senior Jake Vincel was selected to perform as a violinist with the symphony orchestra, an All-National Honor Ensemble, at the NAfME Eastern Division Music Conference in Providence, Rhode Island, this April.

He was selected for this honor based on a rigorous application process, which factored in his performance at the All-State Festival of the NYSSMA Winter Conference and the NYSSMA solo evaluation festival.

“It was surreal when I heard the news,” said Jake. “I was having a bad day at the time, so hearing that I had been selected as a violinist gave me a huge confidence boost. I am looking forward to practicing the repertoire of music and meeting other violinists at the conference.”

Jake aspires to study music performance in college.

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.