June Partners Newsletter – Celebrating Safely & Responsibly
Fun Math Apps For Kids!
Have students practice math while playing games this summer! Click here
for a list of 25 apps - many of them free - that will keep students thinking!
Taking the Next Step
R.C. Murphy Ninth-Graders Move Up to High School
Surrounded by family, friends and teachers, the ninth-grade class at R.C. Murphy Junior High School in the Three Village Central School District took a ceremonial step into their futures when they took part in this June’s moving-up ceremony.
“From your first day of seventh grade, it was clear to me that you would be a group that would set the standard for what we expect from our students,” Principal Vinny Vizzo said to the ninth-graders. “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 that path. I wish you all every bit of success, not only as you journey to Ward Melville High School, but in every endeavor you choose for your future.”
During the ceremony, members of the teaching staff presented departmental awards and Assistant Principal Kevin Finnerty announced the winners of this year’s Presidential Academic Fitness Award. Mr. Vizzo oversaw the presentation of Character Achievement Awards and teacher Brian Pickford congratulated the recipients of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. Complementing the evening’s program was a musical interlude, directed by vocal teacher Anthony Pollera. As the words of Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me” filled the gymnasium, the strong bonds of friendship that exist within the graduating class became evident. In keeping with tradition, the Murphy Class of 2013 left behind a gift for future generations to enjoy – the beautification of the school’s garden located near the library.
Reflecting on the personal connection he has with the class, Mr. Finnerty noted in his closing remarks, “Some of you might not know this, but three years ago it was not only your first day here at Murphy, it was mine as well. We have grown and matured together, navigating the ups and downs of junior high life. I have enjoyed greatly my experience with you and know that a bright future is ahead.”
Turning the page to the next chapter of their lives, the Murphy Class of 2013 proceeded out of the gymnasium eager to begin September as the Ward Melville High School Class of 2016.
Complete silence fell over the library at Nassakeag Elementary School when Holocaust survivor and author Ruth Minsky Sender spoke to the school’s entire sixth-grade about her individual experiences during one of the most troubling times in world history.
Ms. Minsky Sender, who is also the grandmother of two students in the school, described how the dreams she had for her future came to a halt following the German invasion of Poland, where she was born. The heart-wrenching stories she shared ¬– from the loss of her family to the day her oldest friend became a Nazi soldier ¬– painted a clear picture of this devastating part of the history that the students had been studying in class.
Addressing the importance of her message, she said, “We must never forget what happened. I want the students to understand that being indifferent can be just as bad.”
At the end of the program, each student received an autographed copy of Ms. Minsky Sender’s first book “The Cage,” now in its 30th printing.
Wartime Heroes Come to Life
Several of the more influential individuals from the Revolutionary War came back to life this June when Kara Gorski’s fourth-graders at Minnesauke Elementary School took part in a Revolutionary War Wax Museum. As a conclusion to their studies on the period, the students selected a hero or heroine from this important era in American history, completed a research project on their life, and embodied that individual during a classroom wax museum.
On the day of the exhibit, the students, dressed as the individuals they had researched, remained still until a visitor tapped their desk to make them “come to life.” Once awakened, they delivered a speech from the viewpoint of their researched subject, including an overview of their family life and the important role they had played in the American Revolution, as well as other interesting autobiographical facts.
“The students are always excited about this project,” said Ms. Gorski, who has coordinated the effort with her classes for the past eight years. “They are able to make connections with these individuals that they may not otherwise make. It enhances their understanding of not only their chosen person, but also those selected by their classmates.”
This year’s museum featured individuals significant on a national level as well as those more locally based.
Fun-Filled Field Days
The time-honored Field Day tradition marked the approaching end of the school year at Setauket Elementary School this June. Dressed in colorful shirts and grouped according to class, the entire student body had the chance to take part in a number of fun-filled events as their family members and teachers cheered them on. From a homerun derby and relay races to a tug-of-war and even a lacrosse challenge, this year’s events helped to promote teamwork, sportsmanship and physical exercise in a friendly manner. Younger grades received support during their events from the school’s sixth-graders, who volunteered to assist at several Field Day stations and act as role models for their peers.
Presentation on the District's IG & PI Programs
SACC Registration is Open June 10 - July 12, 2013
A Board of Math
Plain pieces of wood were transformed into well-constructed birdhouses when Paul Wilgenkamp’s sixth-graders at Minnesauke Elementary School in the Three Village Central School District put math into action this spring. Given an oversized piece of uncut wood, the students were required to complete measurements and apply their knowledge of proportions to determine how to create a birdhouse based on plans of a different scale.
“Proportions is often one of the harder mathematical concepts for the students to grasp, and I felt this project employed a simple enough concept that really reinforced the challenging subject matter,” stated Mr. Wilgenkamp. “In order to get to the final step – the assembling of the house – the students had to use a series of higher-order thinking skills and put the lessons learned in the classroom into action.”
Working independently, and with support from Mr. Wilgenkamp and school math lab teacher Colleen Maier, the students used rulers, protractors and compasses to figure calculations, which they transferred directly onto the wood. Based on their calculations, the students determined the length and width of the sides of the house, the circumference for the front entry hole, and the size of the base and roof slabs. Once the “board of math” was complete, Mr. Wilgenkamp and parent volunteers Bill Beasley, Erik Dimech and Erik Pearson cut the boards into the birdhouse sections. The students assembled their birdhouses in class and took them home in hopes that a local feathered friend would make it their new home.
“This was a great project that made math really fun,” remarked sixth-grader Jenna Dimech. “It really helped me improve my understanding of the things we were talking about in class and made me see how they apply to a real-world problem.”
Student Compositions Showcased
The beautifully crafted musical compositions of 11 Three Village Central School District students were selected for performance during this year’s Long Island Composers Alliance Annual “Music by and for Students” Concert at Hofstra University. The Alliance seeks to present the most outstanding compositions by Long Island student composers under the age of 19. There were a total of 16 compositions featured at the concert.
Speaking to the significance of this honor, music composition teacher Dr. Dan Deutsch noted, "I am proud of all of the student composers for their achievement. The president of the Long Island Composers Alliance told me that the decisions on the awards were especially difficult because all of the pieces were so excellent."
The Three Village Central School District congratulates the following young composers:
Harrison Bassin (Arrowhead Elementary School)
Jessica Guo, Steven Holmquist, Victor Jiao and Elizabeth Wang (W.S. Mount Elementary School)
Varun Jindal and Rebecca Zhang (Nassakeag Elementary School)
Haasitha Korlipara and Emma Martinez (Setauket Elementary School)
Michelle Hu (R.C. Murphy Junior High School)
Adam Goldberg (Ward Melville High School)
As several of students’ pieces were scored for multiple instruments, some of their classmates in Three Village helped bring their pieces to life. Performing at the concert were students Katherine Barnitt, Emily Dana, Kieran McAuliffe, Maria Scutari, Madeleine Vaillancourt and Adora Zhang.
Adam Goldberg, Steven Holmquist and Elizabeth Wang won the further distinction of receiving Arline Diamond Memorial Awards for most outstanding compositions in their age categories. They received cash awards and performed their pieces in an encore concert at the South Huntington Library.
Welcome to the U.S.
As an extension of their social studies curriculum, fifth-grade students at W.S. Mount Elementary School in the Three Village Central School District stepped back in time when they participated in an immigration simulation. From the moment the students, who were dressed from head to toe as immigrants, stepped off the school bus and entered the building, they were transported to the early 1900s and were challenged to play the role of an individual immigrating to the United States.
Prior to the event, the students researched a family member who had immigrated to the United States and then created a fictional individual based on their research. On the day of the immigration simulation, the students acted as that individual and embodied his or her persona.
“This annual event helps us reinforce the steps of the immigration process in a very tangible way, as we are allowing the students to experience it from the perspective of a 1900s immigrant,” stated teacher Janet VonBargen. “By acting as immigrants and filing through the process, the students gain a deeper understanding of not only this time in history, but also the experience their ancestors had when coming to America. It is a fitting conclusion to our classroom unit on the topic.”
Upon arriving at school, the students made their way into the cafeteria, or “Ellis Island,” and began the process of becoming an immigrant. Parent and staff volunteers were on hand in the school’s mini-gym monitoring the different immigration stations, which checked the immigrants’ background, vocation, character and health, and ultimately cleared them for citizenship. Once accepted as citizens, the students were asked to review a copy of the federal constitution, were given a commemorative U.S. citizen identification card stamped with their fingerprints, and were asked to recite the Loyalty Oath. At the conclusion of the program, the fifth-graders gathered in the auditorium to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and the Loyalty Oath in unison.
Student Photographers Earn Top Honors
For the second year in a row, Ward Melville High School juniors Trevor Munch and Alan Wei had their photographs selected as honorees in the 2013 Jostens Photo Contest. Their photos were chosen out of more than 5,000 entries from around the country. Trevor’s photo, titled “Smiles,” placed second in the Student Life category, while Alan’s photo, “Patriots,” received an honorable mention in the Photo Illustration category. Both photos were taken as part of the students’ work on the high school’s award-winning, nationally recognized yearbook, Invictus.
Joining the list of those honored earlier in the year, three more Ward Melville High School student-athletes have been recruited to sign National Letters of Intent with some of the nation’s top colleges, and six students have been invited to compete on the athletic teams of several top Division III schools.
The Three Village Central School District congratulates the following Patriots:
Division I & II
David Gibbs – Siena College, lacrosse
Robert Mendez – Rollins College, lacrosse
Daniel Nemirov – Cornell University, lacrosse
Matthew Befumo – Arcadia University, lacrosse
Daniel Decker – Fairleigh Dickenson University, lacrosse
Kevin Doherty – Endicott College, lacrosse
Brendan Dooley – Springfield College, lacrosse
Taylor Ringold – SUNY Purchase, baseball
Danielle Valente – Molloy College, soccer
Talented Students Place at State SkillsUSA Competition
Ward Melville High School seniors and cosmetology students Nicole Flaherty and Skye Fores were named second-place winners in the banner contest during this year’s New York State SkillsUSA competition. At the same state contest, senior Adam Ciota placed third in the area of culinary arts after making several delicious food items.
SkillsUSA is a nationwide club for career and tech education students. Some of the club’s major activities are the skills competitions held at the regional and state levels. Each BOCES facility has a chapter, and students at each center are chosen to compete by their teachers.
Teacher Publishes Children’s Book
Setauket Elementary School special education teacher Susan Sangiamo can now add the title of published author to her resume, as her book "Meet Lefty St. James" was recently released. Using her knowledge of baseball from her experiences with her son and educational training as a teacher, Ms. Sangiamo's book follows the story of a young boy who struggles with mathematics until he connects the subject to his love for baseball.
"It has always been a dream of mine to write a children's book," she said. "Many of the concepts included in the story are topics that the students are learning about in class but perhaps haven't thought about in the context of a baseball game."
As a teacher, Ms. Sangiamo has taken workshops on how to tie literature into math lessons, training she put into use when penning the short story. Many of Ms. Sangiamo's students quickly became fans of the book, having read it several times. The entire school will have a chance to read the story as well, as it has been added to the collection in the school library.
Having PRIDE and Creating Cultural Changes
Ward Melville High School students, faculty and staff came together to foster a culture of kindness during a day centered on compassion, acceptance and awareness – an event they called Patriot PRIDE (Peace, Respect, Integrity, Dependability, Encouragement) Day. Keeping in line with the school’s PBIS program and New York State Dignity for All Students Act regulations, the program offered students many outlets for hearing and experiencing the countless ways that they can help create a culture of kindness.
“We hope that by taking this day to pause from our usual routines and focus on kindness, we will all reinvest ourselves in our ability to cultivate a positive environment where everyone feels they belong,” stated Ward Melville Principal Dr. Alan Baum.
The event, which was planned by a committee comprised of representatives from almost every program department at the school, offered students the opportunity to participate in 17 different thematic workshops in addition to hearing from renowned public speaker Tom Thelen. During large group assemblies, the students listened to Mr. Thelen speak about his personal experiences with bullying and the steps they can take to build their self-esteem, develop resiliency and establish a culture of kindness. “The small decisions you make today can have a profound impact on your future,” he told the students. “The power to change lies in the choices, the little choices, you make along the way.”
The workshops covered a variety of areas, including the Get.A.Voice project created by R.C. Murphy art teacher Laurie Mandel, retired Ward Melville teacher Tom Lyon’s work with the Heifer International organization, Ward Melville graduate Brooke Ellison’s personal story and work with the Stony Brook University Stem Cell Facility, and information on local outlets such as Long Island Cares. Several high school teachers also volunteered to conduct workshops, including music teacher Laura Stiegelmaier, who led students in a traditional drum circle using hand drums from around the world, and school clubs encouraged students to sign pledges to be bully-free and share words of inspiration.
Speaking on behalf of herself and fellow social worker and program coordinator Glenda Gregory, Michelle Virga said, “We feel so grateful to the community members and staff who volunteered their time to speak to our students and give them opportunities to see how compassion and kindness make a difference in the real world, and how they can make a difference here in Ward Melville.” She went on to add, “We had many people supporting this effort, including our committee members, technology staff, custodial staff, administration and parent volunteers from our PTSA. The feedback we are hearing from staff and students is overwhelmingly positive, and many hope that it does indeed become an annual tradition.”
Mount Math Teams Break Records
W.S. Mount Elementary School’s Mount Math Masters Club once again dominated at the sixth annual Suffolk County Math Tournament, held at Stony Brook University, and even set three new tournament records. The previous records were held by former Mount teams. Out of the 53 teams from 13 districts in Suffolk County, Mount’s two sixth-grade teams came in first and second place, and team members received five of the 14 individual trophies presented at the end of the contest.
Dubbed “the most dominant team in tournament history,” this year’s Mount Math Masters broke the tournament record for highest point total for two teams from the same school with 135 total points out of a possible 160, breaking the record of 133 points shared by the school’s 2012 and 2010 teams. The school’s Team B broke the individual event record of 43 points (set by Mount’s 2010 team) by earning 48 of a possible 50 points. Team B also broke the Mount-held record for most perfect 10s on the individual event, scoring four this year.
Mount’s Team B was led by Keene Lu (second overall), Daniel Ma (third), Daniel Schwartz (fourth), and Tommy DiPietro (sixth), who all scored 10 out of 10 on the individual event, and was supported by Kelsey Ge (tied for 21st). Mount’s Team A was led by Jessica Guo (10th) and Komal Grewal (tied for 16th, bolstered by Victor Jiao, Colin Patton and Maya Pena-Lobel.
These juggernaut Math Masters teams, which placed third and fourth in 2009, first and second in 2010, first and third in 2011, and first and second in 2012, were all taught by Linda Earls.
The Mount Math Masters Club, comprised of fifth- and sixth-graders, practices for the contest throughout the year by participating in Math Olympiad Challenges. The top scoring members are selected to compete in the annual county competition.
During the contest, the students compete in an individual session, where they work on their own to answer 10 very challenging math problems in 30 minutes, before moving on to the team session, where they compete in teams of five to answer 10 extremely challenging math problems in 20 minutes.
A Perfect Score on ACT
Ward Melville High School junior Raymond Yin has achieved something earned by less than one-tenth of one percent of test takers – a perfect score on the ACT college admission and placement exam. On the exam taken earlier this year, Raymond earned the highest possible composite score of 36.
When asked how he prepared for the exam, Raymond cited taking practice tests and relying on what he had learned in his classes. “I was very relieved, ecstatic even when I received the results,” he said. While he still has another year of high school ahead of him, he is thinking of pursuing a degree in science or economics in college.
Racking Up Awards
HS Music Groups Earn High Praise at Music in the Parks
Music groups comprised of approximately 300 Ward Melville High School students took top awards during this year’s Music in the Parks festival, held in Monroe Township, N.J. in May. Each group performed a selection of pieces and was adjudicated by two judges. The student groups received both written and recorded comments from the judges and were scored on many musical aspects, including blend, balance, accuracy, pitch, rhythmic precision and musicianship. The Three Village Central School District congratulates the following groups and their teachers for these amazing accomplishments:
Ward Melville High School String Orchestra – First Place Superior
Ward Melville High School Symphony Orchestra – First Place Excellent
Ward Melville High School Jazz Ensemble – First Place Superior
Ward Melville High School Symphonic Band – Second Place Superior
Ward Melville High School Women’s Choir – First Place Superior
Ward Melville High School Mixed Choir – First Place Superior
Overall Orchestra –Ward Melville High School String Orchestra
Overall Jazz Ensemble – Ward Melville High School Jazz Ensemble
Overall Choir ¬– Ward Melville High School Women’s Choir
Esprit d'Corps Award – Ward Melville High School Choirs
Honoring Newly Tenured Staff
The Three Village Board of Education and administration paid special tribute to the dedication and hard work of several staff members and granted them tenure during a recent meeting. Congratulations to the following newly tenured staff members:
Arrowhead Elementary School
Noreen Howland – Librarian
Nicole Washington – Speech
Max Greenstein – Teaching Assistant
Gina Petermann – Teaching Assistant
Jennifer Walsh – Teaching Assistant
Minnesauke Elementary School
Christina DeSantis – Teaching Assistant
Mount Elementary School
Brenda Papazissimos – Teaching Assistant
Judith Roddin – Teaching Assistant
Nassakeag Elementary School
Cindy Tietjen – Librarian
Setauket Elementary School
Daniela Reduto (Ranft) – Teaching Assistant
Jennifer Vecchio – Special Education
Maria Dunn – Teaching Assistant
P.J. Gelinas Junior High School
Steven Manco – Teaching Assistant
Carol Yasson – Teaching Assistant
R.C. Murphy Junior High School
Susan DiPierno – Teaching Assistant
Justin Peterson – Music
Ward Melville High School
Chelsea Conrad – Teaching Assistant
Mary Coonerty – Teacher, Special Education Coordinator
Luke Gaddis – Teaching Assistant
Robin Pieslak – Speech
When I Grow Up…
W.S. Mount Students Experience Professional Careers During Career Lab
W.S. Mount Elementary School kindergarten through sixth-grade students had the chance to learn about a wide variety of interesting professions during the school’s annual Career Lab program. From occupations in the medical field to areas of law enforcement and even environmentally focused jobs, this year’s event covered a range of professional topics.
The program, which has become a Mount staple over the past few years, is organized into a series of workshops, each designed to introduce students to a different career in a very hands-on way. This year, students interacted with more than 20 professionals representing nearly 20 different careers and had the chance to learn about both the educational and hands-on training required for their chosen field. Included in the workshops were seminars on beekeeping, the study of Long Island’s aquifers and the busy work on the stock trading floor.
Envisioning Technological Changes
R.C. Murphy Junior High School’s seventh-grade science research class had the chance to study a technology of interest and predict what that technology might be like 20 years from today when they participated in the ExploraVision Program, sponsored by Toshiba Industries and the National Science Teachers Association. As a result of their project, "Carbon Nanotube Water Filter," students Arthur Bances, Christopher Donnelly, David He and Ryan Kaplan were named honorable mention awardees, which meant that their project ranked in the top 10 percent of all ExploraVision projects submitted this year.
The students explained that their concept focused on the way in which water is filtered, not only for personal consumption but for commercial uses as well. They determined that the most practical use for the carbon nanotube would be realized at dams and other large aquatic areas with running water.
ExploraVision is a science competition that encourages teachers and students to make real research and development a part of their curriculum. The seventh-graders worked in small groups to explore ways to make their visions become a reality. The students named honorable mention winners received a certificate and a gift from Toshiba Industries.
The Three Village Central School District’s National Junior Art Honor Society inducted 55 new members this May during a ceremony that brought together students from both P.J. Gelinas and R.C. Murphy Junior High Schools. During the ceremony, which was held in the auditorium at Gelinas, current members addressed the audience to explain the criteria for admission into the NJAHS as well as the pillars on which the society was built.
Students who are members or are being inducted must hold an art average of 95 or above and an overall average of 90. The groups at both buildings do countless service projects that bring art to the schools and community. The NJAHS is led by Dr. Laurie Mandel at Murphy and Michael Sacco at Gelinas.
The district congratulates the new inductees:
Isabel Della Salle
Laina Salem Mott
To read copies of the speeches, click the links below.
Secondary Science Teams Rank Among Top 10 Nationally
Extending their award-winning competition season, this year's Ward Melville High School and P.J. Gelinas Junior High School Science Olympiad teams had one of their most impressive showings to date, as both teams placed among the top 10 teams in their divisions at the National Science Olympiad Tournament. During the contest, held this May at Wright State University in Ohio, Ward Melville was ranked fifth and Gelinas placed eighth. In addition to their overall ranking, Gelinas earned medals in four events (one gold, two bronze and one fifth-place medal) while Ward Melville won seven medals (two silver, one bronze, one fourth-place medal and three fifth-place medals) in this very competitive national tournament.
"It is truly a pleasure to be a part of the most talented Science Olympiad team in Ward Melville history," stated Ward Melville coach Steve Malusa. “It was very exciting and gratifying to see all the hard work from this year culminate in the national tournament,” added Gelinas coach Gary Vorwald. “As a teacher and coach, you always want your students to strive for their potential. Science Olympiad has been one of the most gratifying experiences I have had in education. I am honored to have the opportunity to work with such gifted students, and it is so rewarding to see that my efforts have had an impact in helping them achieve their goals.”
Only 60 teams from across the nation were invited to compete at this prestigious competition. Invitation to the national tournament is based on a team's rank at their state competition. Earlier this year, Gelinas’ team placed first in the Rustin Invitational, Eastern Long Island Regional and New York State tournaments. Ward Melville placed first in the high school division at the Eastern Long Island Regional and New York State tournaments.
Ed Daguerre, Monica Gerber, Christopher Marotta and Gary Vorwald coached Gelinas’ team. Steve Malusa, Kathy Rocklein and Mark Suesser coached the Ward Melville students.
Ward Melville National Science Olympiad Team Members
P.J. Gelinas National Science Olympiad Team Members
Mount Students Named Distinguished Artists
Based on their creative submissions, four W.S. Mount Elementary School students were named distinguished artists in “The Portfolio Project: Art Students of Long Island,” currently on display at the Anthony Giordano Gallery at Dowling College. These students, which include fifth-graders Kiley Hamou, Cherrie Lan and Katherine Liu and fourth-grader Celine Owens, worked with art teacher Maria Maritato on their detailed applications.
For consideration in this year’s Portfolio Project, the students were required to create five pieces of artwork: a self-portrait, a research-based piece and three personal choices using any medium. Additionally, the students were required to draft written statements about their pieces and be prepared to speak articulately about their artwork using appropriate art vocabulary and terminology. The students practiced with Ms. Maritato prior to the portfolio adjudication this spring at Sachem High School East, where it was announced that their portfolios had received perfect scores.
The exhibit, which ran this May, was aimed at highlighting the finest work by Long Island art students. The organizers of this special exhibition are the teachers of the New York State Art Teachers Association, a nonprofit professional organization founded in 1948 for the purpose of advancing the cause of art education. The Portfolio Project is an initiative of NYSATA that was developed in cooperation with the New York State Education Department. It is an authentic assessment tool that is based on the New York State Learning Standards and provides students with an opportunity to present portfolios of their work at regional adjudication sites. The student portfolios provide evidence of understanding and student learning in the visual arts.
A Picture Tells Story of Culture
P.J. Gelinas Junior High School ninth-grader Fangrui Tong has been selected as a winner of Astoria Federal Savings' 2013 Teen Photo Contest. Fangrui's photo was of her younger sister, whom she dressed and accessorized to meet the competition's theme of "Culture and Traditions."
In recognition of her accomplishment, Fangrui and her art teacher, Mike Sacco, will attend an awards reception on June 12 at Astoria Federal's headquarters in Lake Success, N.Y. At the reception, Fangrui will be presented with a certificate and prize. Additionally, her photograph will be on display along with the other winning entries.
In recognition of the school's support of arts education and Fangrui's achievement, the P.J. Gelinas art department will receive a $100 classroom grant.
Three Village Budget Passes
The Three Village Central School District thanks all members of the community for their participation in this year’s budget vote and trustee election. The district’s 2013-2014 budget passed by a vote of 3198 to 1741. Congratulations to trustees Jonathan Kornreich and Susanne A. Mendelson, who were re-elected to the district’s Board of Education.
A Lasting Memory
Minnesauke Students Create Community Tree
For their artistic end-of-year project, the fifth- and sixth-grade classes at Minnesauke Elementary School have created a beautiful community tree that was recently unveiled in the main hallway of the school. Working with art teacher Christine Becker, the students helped form the artistic sculpture, which was inspired by Gustav Klimt’s “Tree of Life.”
Working as a school community, each student, and many staff members, designed artistic wooden circles that, when put together, formed the leaves of the tree. After the puzzle pieces were decorated, the fifth- and sixth-graders painted the background to the design and parts of the tree while Ms. Becker put the finishing touches on the swirls of the branches. Together, during class time, the students glued all of the pieces in place to create a beautiful rainbow effect.
The finished project, which stands 6 feet tall and 16 feet wide, is not only a beautiful display of the students’ artistic talents, but also a representation of the school’s diversity and unity as a school community.
Support for Soldiers Overseas
Nassakeag Elementary School students, faculty and staff showed their support for American troops serving overseas by collecting hundreds of personal care items, nonperishable food products, supplies and even toys during a schoolwide Boxes for the Soldiers drive. The monthlong effort was coordinated in time for Memorial Day and as part of the Brookhaven Veterans Association at Brookhaven Lab’s Adopt a Platoon Committee. Nassakeag teachers Judy Larsen and Joan Sperry oversaw the project at the school, which drew enough donations to fill 44 large boxes with comfort items. In addition to the donated items, the students also wrote letters to the troops, thanking them for their service. It is expected that the donated supplies will benefit a platoon currently serving in Afghanistan.
STARS on Display at Minnesauke
A sea of gold blanketed Minnesauke Elementary School as a fitting ending to the school’s spirit week. As part of the building’s character education program, Minnesauke adopted the STARS initiative, which recognizes students who have exhibited the positive character traits that form the acronym – Sharing, Trustworthiness, Acceptance, Respect and Service. On the last day of this year’s spirit week, the entire school – teachers, students and support staff – wore their Minnesauke STARS shirts as a symbol of their solidarity and collective mission to create a bully-free school environment.
Science Olympiad Teams Rank in Top 10 at National Competition
Congratulations to the P.J. Gelinas Junior High School and Ward Melville High School Science Olympiad Teams for their successful performances at this year's National Science Olympiad Tournament. During this very competitive national tournament, Ward Melville's team placed fifth and was awarded seven event medals. Gelinas' team was ranked eighth and earned four event medals. A total of 60 teams from across the United States competed in the tournament. Please check the district website again soon for complete coverage.
Big Hearts, Tiny Hats
For a service-learning project geared toward helping the surrounding community, the eighth-grade students in Cynthia Carrucciu’s Family and Consumer Science classes at R.C. Murphy Junior High School made knitted hats for the neonatal intensive care unit at Stony Brook University Children’s Hospital. During the 10-week class, the students learned how to use round looms to knit and shape small hats for the delicate young patients. To date, the students have created more than 100 hats.
In addition to the community service aspect of the project, the hands-on learning experience brought to life several science lessons discussed in class – in particular, those surrounding birth weight and the importance of regulating a baby’s temperature.
Hatching a Love for Science
After observing and waiting patiently for almost a month, the first-grade students at Minnesauke Elementary School in the Three Village Central School District watched as a special science project they had been caring for hatched and came to life – quite literally. Since mid-April, the five first-grade classes have been handling and nurturing baby chick eggs as part of their study on embryology and the life cycle of an egg to a chicken.
Over the course of the month, the students learned about temperature and humidity in the incubators, the cycle of the chicks’ development, and the different parts of an egg and chick. They also candled the eggs to observe the changes in the growing embryo. As a cross-curricular project, the students kept scientific journals in which they wrote their observations and read both nonfiction and fiction stories about the subject matter. This year’s hatching was highly successful, and many of the class families have agreed to care for the young chicks after the unit is complete.
Juniors Recognized for Superior Writing
Ward Melville High School juniors Adity Sampath and Katelyn Winter have been recognized by the National Council of Teachers of English for their superior writing submissions to the NCTE’s annual Achievement Awards in Writing contest.
For the contest, the students submitted timed writing prose pieces following the theme of a “Personal Mount Rushmore” as well as a sample of their best writing from their writing portfolios. For the timed piece, the students had to select four individuals who have had a profound and inspirational effect on their lives and represent their personal ideals. Adity’s timed piece focused on the role music has in her life and those individuals associated with her musical passion. Katelyn’s piece focused on her family, in particular her mother and three aunts. The students’ completed submissions were judged by a national panel and were found to have demonstrated effective and imaginative use of language to inform and move an audience.
According to its official website, the NCTE’s Achievement Awards in Writing is a school-based writing program established in 1957 to encourage high school students in their writing and to publicly recognize some of the best student writers in the nation.
District Spring Newsletter
Board Passes Resolution Regarding High Stakes Testing
The Board of Education approved the following resolution during its meeting on May 14th.
Superior Rating for HS Wind Ensemble
The talented Ward Melville High School Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Laura Gustavsen, has made a name for themselves along the Eastern Coast, as they recently were awarded first place with a rating of “Superior” during the Festivals of Music competition at the Duxbury Performing Arts Center in Massachusetts. During the competition, the ensemble performed two advanced pieces of band music: "Gandalf," the first movement of Johan DeMaij’s symphony "The Lord of the Rings"; and "A Boy's Dream" by Jay Bocook. Considered to be exceptionally challenging, these pieces are ranked as Level 6 NYSSMA selections and as such are generally only performed at the college level.
Ms. Gustavsen noted of DeMaij’s original band composition: “Although [‘Gandalf’] was written around the original book and not the movie, it is an old standard in the band repertoire that commands much respect, and I thought the students should be exposed to it.” She added of the Bocook piece, “In addition to teaching old standards, I want them to know about new compositions…the second piece we played is a very creative and imaginative work that challenges the students in many ways.”
During the competition, three college band directors, including the legendary Frank Battisti, judged the students’ performances. The judges were quite complimentary towards the students, while also making educationally based critiques along the way. Following their performance, the students were invited to attend a workshop with one of the judges.
Second-Place Writing Award for Ward Melville Sophomore
Ward Melville High School 10th-grader Sarah Martin was named a second-place winner in the Kenneth F. Gambone Writing Contest sponsored by the Long Island Language Arts Council for her winning piece, “Lying Amongst the Flowers We Speak.” English students from all over the island participated in this writing contest, responding to the prompt “A Leader is…” as well as submitting a separate writing piece from their portfolio. Sarah will be honored at a luncheon sponsored by Norman Cohen and Everbind Publishers.
Senior Named 2013 National YoungArts Foundation Merit Winner
Ward Melville High School senior and professionally trained dancer Anna Cradock has been named a 2013 National YoungArts Foundation Merit Winner. The YoungArts Foundation recognizes talented 15-18-year-olds in the visual, literary and performing arts. This year, YoungArts named 685 winners from 46 states, selected from a pool of more than 10,000 applications nationwide. Winners were selected through a multitiered, blind adjudication process and evaluated by celebrated masters in the artistic fields.
As a Merit Winner, Anna was invited to perform at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City. To prepare, Anna took master classes with some of the top ballet performers and was invited to dance two solo pieces during a performance in May.
Anna has studied ballet for nine years with the Seiskaya Ballet of St. James. She will be attending Indiana University of Bloomington in the fall, where she plans to major in ballet and possibly double major in physical therapy.
A Part of Legislative Change
Arrowhead Elementary School sixth-grade students in Christina Maffia’s Pi class learned about the change that can come from being civic-minded when Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn visited their class.
Last school year, after speaking about the subject in detail with Ms. Maffia and watching the informative movie “Gasland,” the students wrote letters to Legislator Hahn about the concept of fracking. Fracking is a drilling technique which involves injecting toxic chemicals, sand and millions of gallons of water under high pressure directly into the ground to release natural gas in shale deposits. At the time, there was talk of bringing the extracted liquid for treatment/disposal on Long Island, a proposal that could have seriously damaged local drinking water.
With the students’ letters in hand, Legislator Hahn urged her fellow elected officials to support a bill that banned fracking fluid from coming to the island. This bill was ultimately passed and the students were excited to have been a part of the environmental cause.
During a recent visit from Legislator Hahn, the students had the chance to review a copy of the bill and were presented with certificates of appreciation by the legislator. Additionally, she spoke about how a bill becomes a law and how important it is for individuals of all ages to become involved in their local government.
Career Day at Nassakeag
For the fourth- through sixth-graders at Nassakeag Elementary School in the Three Village Central School District, the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” became a little easier to answer following their participation in this year’s Career Day. The program, which was coordinated by teacher Judith Larson with assistance from the PTA and staff members, has been offered at the school for the past five years and grows in popularity with each new class.
“I believe today gave the students a sense of what their parents may do for a living, as one of my student stated, ‘Now I get what my dad is talking about.’,” said Ms. Larsen. “It provided them with information on new career options and exposed them what other careers involve. I can honestly say, the students were very surprised and intrigued at what they learned about the various careers presented.”
During the morning, the students had the chance to attend two interactive workshop sessions that featured 21 different types of careers. Visited by professionals who work within the Three Village community and beyond, the students had the chance to learn about the training and education needed for professions such as a chef, acupuncturist/chiropractor, bagel store owner/baker, hair stylist, oral surgeon, and even a filmmaker and radio show personality. Adding a special touch to the event, the school faculty and staff members wore apparel from the college they attended.
Young Literary Wonders
Two young authors in the Three Village Central School District have received acclaim in the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association's 27th Annual Poetry Contest. Out of the approximately 4,000 entries, W.S. Mount Elementary School sixth-grader Maya Pena-Lobel was named second prize winner in Category B – individual poem, grades 5-6, and P.J. Gelinas Junior High School seventh-grader Olivia Schmitt won honorable mention in her respective category.
Maya submitted to the contest of her own volition after learning about it from her brother’s English teacher at Ward Melville High School, Brian McAuliffe. “I really started to enjoy poetry in the fourth grade and since that time have filled many notebooks with my own poems during my free time,” she said. “I’ve been looking for a contest to enter for a while, and when I found out about this one, I was happy that I met all of the criteria for submission. Sometimes poems come to me at the most unexpected times – like only a few days ago during the state math exam – and I write them down as quickly as possible.” Maya’s original poem for the contest, titled “The Journey of a Lifetime,” focused on an imaginary road that she used as a metaphor for life. She wrote about the challenges individuals face in life and the ways in which they can overcome those difficulties.
Olivia has made a name for herself in the literary contest circuit this year, having also won honorable mention in BlueNose Edutainment's Chasing Mavericks writing contest. Olivia’s poem for the Walt Whitman contest, “The Opening,” focused on the bumps along the road of life and how positive opportunities are presented when a new “road” appears.
Both students, along with their families and teachers, have been invited to a celebration in Huntington in early June where they will be presented with their awards and have the chance to hear music from Walt Whitman’s time period, view an exhibit about Walt Whitman and tour the historic house.
The students in R.C. Murphy Junior High School’s ninth-grade fashion and clothing class have put their sewing skills to a worthy cause this year, as they have created more than 60 mini-pillows for patients at the Fortunato Breast Health Center at Mather Hospital. Based on size, the students’ creations assist those recovering from surgery while traveling in the car or when in need of comfort. Working since early this year, the students have dedicated much of their spare class time to the cause.
“We are always looking for ways to connect our projects with a need found in the community,” stated teacher Cynthia Carrucciu, who has coordinated the effort for the past two years. “Last year we created approximately 60 pillows, and I’m proud that we have already surpassed that amount this year. Sewing is skill that the students can use well into their future, and it is my hope that they will continue to find opportunities for philanthropic work even after this project is complete.”
Each of the completed pillows is not only stuffed with love, but also individual notes wishing the recipient a speedy recovery.
Planting a Seed for Learning
As a culmination to their science unit on plants, the first-grade students in Michael Dragotta’s class at Minnesauke Elementary School in the Three Village School District planted donated marigolds in the school’s front yard. As part of the unit, the students studied the different components of a flower and their functions and worked to grow sunflowers and beans.
Mr. Dragotta noted that the end-of-unit planting has become somewhat of a Minnesauke tradition, as his classes have been undertaking this project for the past 12 years. “It is a nice conclusion to our classroom studies and in a very visual way drives home many of the lessons that the students completed,” he said, noting that it also serves as a community service project. “The students are excited to help beautify the school grounds in time for spring, and they feel proud seeing the flowers grow each day.”
The class’s parents provided the flowers and many of the supplies used during the project.
Displays of Creativity
Two- and three-dimensional art and technology pieces created by Three Village Central School District students were once again on display during the district’s Spring into Art and Technology Showcase held at the Ward Melville Heritage Organization. This year’s show, which included hundreds of pieces – from crafted chairs to pictures, paintings and sculptures – was a great success and was widely attended by individuals throughout the community.
Cleaning Up and Reducing Waste in Honor of Earth Day
Nassakeag Elementary School students celebrated this year’s Earth Day by participating in a variety of earth-friendly activities.
The sixth-grade students in Robyn Weinstein’s class once again coordinated a Waste-Free Lunch Week, which aimed to reduce the amount of waste created during the school’s lunch times. Leading up to the week, the sixth-graders made announcements and visited classrooms to inform their peers about the initiative and the ways in which they could participate. “We encouraged everyone to use reusable items for their lunch such as Tupperware and real silverware – basically anything that doesn’t end up in the trash can,” said sixth-grader Colleen Loughlin. The school’s PTA also generously donated a $5 Barnes and Noble gift card to each class to help motivate the students to participate and some teachers, like Ms. Weinstein, doubled the gift cards as an added reward. At the end of the week, the cards were distributed to one student per class based on his or her efforts.
On average, the school produces 10 garbage cans full of trash per day that weigh approximately 70 pounds each. As a result of the students’ collective efforts, during the weeklong project, the school only discarded 28 cans, resulting in 1,540 less pounds of trash being produced at Nassakeag.
“It is up to us to control what happens in the future,” said sixth-grader Connor Tweedy. “Because of the environmental actions we take today, our future can either be a good or a bad one.”
The student council, which is advised by Adele Gibbons, also helped to clean up the earth as they coordinated the school’s annual Grounds Cleanup Day. Equipped with protective gloves and trash bags, the students walked the perimeter of the school and removed any waste items left behind.
Two Murphy Students Named Winners in National Writing Competition
R.C. Murphy Junior High School eighth-graders Michelle Sun and Michelle Hu have been named winners in the National Council of Teachers of English 2013 Promising Young Writers Program. Nationally, 211 students were nominated to compete in this year’s competition, 51 of which came from New York State. Out of these submissions, only eight New York students were honored as winners.
As part of the competition, the Three Village eighth-graders each submitted two pieces of writing, which were read by national judges. Papers were judged on content, purpose, audience, tone, word choice, organization, development and style. Drawing on the theme “Unexpected Connections,” Michelle Sun wrote a story on the life of twins, while Michelle Hu wrote a thought-provoking piece about nuclear war and individuals’ social mistakes. The students’ second compositions were lighter in nature: Michelle Sun wrote a series of vignettes called “Transportation Protection,” while Michelle Hu described her experiences on the school’s Science Olympiad team in a piece called “Changing the Stars.”
Murphy English Department Chairperson Catherine Duffy was very pleased to learn that two of the four students nominated from Murphy were among the eight students recognized statewide as winners. "I speak on behalf of the entire English department when I say we are so proud of Michelle Hu and Michelle Sun being selected for this honor,” she said. “We look forward to reading more of their published writings in the future."
The school’s other two nominees were eighth-graders Craig Deng and Mirette Nunez, who were presented with certificates of participation from the NCTE.
HS Juniors Qualify for National Merit Scholarship Competition
Based on their performance on the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, 38 Ward Melville High School 11th-graders have met the strict requirements to enter the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Competition. This honor means that these students scored in the top three percent in the nation on this exam. The names of those students proceeding in the competition for the National Merit Scholarship Program’s various scholarship opportunities will be announced next fall.
The Three Village Central School District extends its congratulations to the following scholars:
Celebrating World Cultures
W.S. Mount Elementary School students and families traveled to countries such as Germany, Mexico and Thailand as they took part in this year’s “Passport Around the World” event. Upon arrival, each student was issued a “passport,” which they had stamped after visiting the variety of informational booths on display throughout the school.
Gathering in the school’s auditorium, attendees had a chance to watch a creative World Showcase, which included musical performances, displays of martial arts, dances and cultural highlights from some of the countries featured. Throughout the event, attendees also had the chance to sample a variety of foods and complete several crafts based on the particular country’s culture.
FBLA Team Advances to Nationals
After an impressive finish at the Future Business Leaders of America State Leadership Conference in Rochester, N.Y. this April, 15 Ward Melville High School team members have qualified to compete in the National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, Calif. in June.
During the three-day state conference, the team, which is advised by business teachers Alyssa Gold and Carol Vonnes, competed in a variety of business events, each of which focused on a different element of the business world. Ward Melville’s presence at the 2013 SLC was one of their most successful to date, as club members were named state winners in 20 events, including 13 first-place finishes, and earned a total of 36 awards. Congratulations to the following students who were recognized during the state conference:
Stephanie Chen – 1st Place, Intro to Business Communications; 5th Place, Intro to Business
Lauren Dennis – 2nd Place, Global Business
Kyra Durko – 1st Place, Banking and Financial Systems; 2nd Place, FBLA Principles and Procedures; 3rd Place, Intro to Business
Dinko Franceschi – 3rd Place, Emerging Business Issues; 5th Place, Business Procedures
Theo Gibbs – 1st Place, Banking and Financial Systems
Eric Li – 1st Place, Technology Concepts; 2nd Place, Game Design and Programming
Harrison Li – 1st Place, Business Calculations; 4th Place, Entrepreneurship
Michelle Liao – 3rd Place, Spreadsheet Applications; 4th Place, Entrepreneurship
Rachael Mayrose – 1st Place, Marketing; 1st Place, Business Procedures
Ian O’Brien – 2nd Place, Global Business; 3rd Place, Hospitality Management
Ramya Rao – 1st Place, Intro to Parliamentary Procedures; 5th Place, Basic Decision Making
Alexa Rohan – 2nd Place, Global Business
Philippe Tarjan – 4th Place, Entrepreneurship
Eric Wang – 1st Place, Principles and Procedures; 3rd Place, Emerging Business Issues
Megan Wang – 3rd Place, Electronic Career Portfolio
Carly Weber-Levine – 1st Place Banking and Financial Systems, 2nd Place Intro to Parliamentary Procedures
Sandy Yin – 1st Place Marketing, 2nd Place Computer Game Simulation,
William Yoo – 3rd Place Emerging Business Issues
Carolina Zheng – 1st Place Networking Concepts, 1st Place Cyber Security, 2nd Place Game Design and Programming
Sander (Yongqi) Zhu – 3rd Place Intro to Tech Concepts, 5th Place Computer Problem Solving
The following students will be attending the FBLA National Leadership Conference competing in the following subjects in Anaheim, California from June 27-June 30:
Lauren Dennis - Global Business
Michelle Liao - Spreadsheet Applications
Ian O’Brien - Global Business
Alexa Rohan - Global Business
Sandy Yin - Compter Game Simulation
Harrison Li - Business Calculations
Carolina Zheng - Computer Game Simulation
Eric Li - Computer Game Simulation
Theo Gibbs - Banking and Financial Systems
Rachael Mayrose - Business Procedures
Eric Wang - FBLA Principle and Procedures
Ramya Rao - Intro to Parliamentary Procedure
Stephanie Chen - Intro to Business Communications
Carly Weber-Levine - Banking and Financial Systems
Kyra Durko - Banking and Financial Systems
2013 Summer Enrichment Brochure
A Cultural Exchange Sparks Outreach Efforts
If seeing creates a better level of understanding, then Ward Melville High School student-musicians from the school’s Camerata, concert choir and women’s choral ensemble certainly have fostered a deeper appreciation for the way of life of the Maasai tribe of Kenya. For the second year, Ward Melville High School students have had the chance to learn about this tribe through a cultural exchange assembly with Chief Joseph Ole Tipanko, a teacher and ambassador to the United Nations, and fellow tribesman John.
During their visit, the representatives spoke about their united effort to raise funds to build schools as well as better the lives and the quality of life in this tribe. The members’ presentation focused on the Maasai’s culture, lifestyles and practice of peace among its people. Additionally, they spoke about the tribe’s history, community values, religious beliefs, leadership and political infrastructure and policy. The students had the chance to view traditional garb from the tribe, purchase jewelry pieces in support of the group’s effort and learn a traditional Maasai song.
“Today’s program was a symbol of how music unites us globally,” said teacher Linda Contino. “The students were able to learn about this culture firsthand from the individuals who are so directly connected to it, and it provided an outlet to increase our community’s awareness of the struggles that these individuals face on a daily basis.”
In an effort to assist the representatives with their mission, the school collected more than $400 and close to 30 pairs of gently used adults’ and children’s shoes. As education for young girls is a rarity in the region, the students’ monetary donation will provide the funds for three Maasai girls to attend boarding school and aid in the protection of their human rights.
Junior Thomas Brown, who has a personal connection to a similar fundraising effort in another Long Island school district, spearheaded the project. This is the second year the school has participated in the initiative and the second year it has been able to sponsor three girls’ boarding school expenses.
Celebrating Earth Day with Artistic Projects
In an effort to reduce their carbon footprints and create a greener tomorrow, students and staff members throughout the Three Village Central School District marked this year’s Earth Day with a variety of environmentally conscious activities.
At Nassakeag Elementary School, the sixth-grade art club worked with teacher Erica Cacciatore on group art pieces. Using acrylic paint and large canvases, the close-to-40 students researched the topic of Earth Day and then created drawings to visually depict what the day means to them. The completed pieces were put on display just prior to Earth Day for all to enjoy and as a reminder to be earth-friendly.
Setauket Elementary School’s first-grade classes transformed trash into treasure as they fashioned useful items out of commonly discarded household products. From juice and milk cartons to water bottle caps and cardboard, the students created both practical and imaginative pieces. Tying into their literacy lessons, the classes wrote a descriptive overview of their project and, with the help of their teachers, read poems and sang songs about Earth Day and recycling.
“As part of our science unit, we talk about the importance of recycling and how certain items such as plastic don’t break down,” explained teacher Eileen Biamonte. The students’ projects were put on display on Earth Day, and each class had a chance to rotate through the classrooms’ “Earth Day museums.”
Patriots Sign on Dotted Line
Nine Ward Melville Seniors Commit to College Athletic Programs
The athletic season for nine Ward Melville High School seniors will continue next fall, as these students have committed to compete on the athletic teams at some of the nation’s top Division I, II and III colleges and universities. As is customary, Division I and II students marked this commitment by signing National Letters of Intent with their chosen institutions of higher education.
“This is no small accomplishment – it is the culmination of many years of hard work and dedication to not only your academics, but also your chosen sport,” stated Erin Blaney, the district’s executive director of health, physical education, recreation and athletics. “I am confident that you will go on to represent both Ward Melville and your new school well in the future.”
The Three Village Central School District extends its congratulations to the following student-athletes and wishes them well next year:
Division I & II
Alexa Antipas – Ohio State University, Fencing
Sara Buckley – Manhattan College, Swimming
Matthew Corrie – Pace University, Football
Alex Fitzgerald – Lehigh University, Track
Colleen Lampe – Marist College, Swimming
Alexa Rohan – Stanford University, Fencing
Courtney Cleary – SUNY Geneseo, Volleyball
Harley Kaiserman – Roger Williams University, Tennis
Kevin Doherty – Endicott College, Lacrosse