Fifth-grade students at John F. Kennedy Elementary School in East Islip faced an exciting turning point in their educational lives on June 21 as they were honored with a moving-up ceremony, preparing them to attend East Islip Middle School this fall as sixth-graders.
In attendance were East Islip’s Superintendent of Schools John J. Finello, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and Personnel Alise Becker-Santa, Assistant Superintendent for Business Carl Fraser, Assistant to the Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Susan Kosser and Buildings and Board of Education President Glenn Reed.
Reed addressed the students and their proud parents, and spoke of the central importance of connections – between family, friends, school and community. “Today we celebrate the connections of your class and teachers,” he said. “Congratulations, parents! Having had three sons go through JFK, I can only say it gets even more exciting.”
JFK PTA President Lisa Christy then took the podium. “We want you to have the best of everything so you can be your best selves,” Christy said. She teared up as she noted that her daughter Hannah, who was among the graduating fifth-graders, was her final child to pass through JFK. “My advice is to always seize opportunity and work hard to make the world a better place,” she added.
After commenting, “We never say goodbye at JFK,” O’Rourke and the fifth-grade teachers – Danielle Chiappetta, Anne Conte, Lisa Haller, Karen Krawchuk, Teresa Lacy, Michael Marra and Joanne Segreto – handed out student awards.
Colin Fitzgerald and Melissa Sconone received Physical Education Student Leadership awards from the Suffolk Zone of New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.
The President’s Academic Achievement Award, presented to students who achieve high academic success and all 3’s and 4’s on all New York State assessments, was given to 51 of JFK’s fifth-graders: Olivia Bates, Hanna Benardos, Kelsey Bensen, Stephen Bernhardt, Alexandra Bertolini, Alexa Bishop, Jenna Bosco, Joseph Bucci, Brianna Campson, Christopher Carroll, Nicole Catanzarite, Brandon Cerciello, Brandon Chiacchiaro, Hannah Christy, Ryan Conway, Brendan Cox, Emily DaSilva, Allison Dell'Orto, Colin Fitzgerald, Joseph Fragala, Allison Franzese, Anthony Gamba, Trevor Garnett, Kylie Goess, Jonathan Guadagno, Christina Haig, Brooke Hommel, Andrew Johnson, Joshua Koretz, John LaFrancesca, John Leddy, Jolie Lenox, Anthony Levey, Robert Mastrosimone, Matthew McHugh, Annie McLean, Stephanie Milito, Kendall Mittleman, Jenny Murphy, Nicole O'Connor, Alyssa Orlando, Michael Pagnotta, Brittany Payton, Daniel Peterson, Maggie Ruland, Joan Simonetti, Jamie Smith, Jamie Trapani, Paul Tuma, Kimberly Villano and Alexander Wett.
Receiving the Citizenship Award, which recognizes students who inspire and encourage other students to strive to be better citizens, were Alexa Bishop, Jenna Bosco, Christopher Cerrito, Nicholas Conzo, Lauren DeCanio, Colin Fitzgerald, Allison Franzese, Kylie Goess, Isabella Gutierrez, Jolie Lenox and Andrew Nelson.
Maggie Ruland was honored with the New York State Controller’s Achievement Award for Academic Excellence and Achievement, for demonstrating leadership potential and a commitment to public service.
Two of JFK’s fifth-graders, Annie McLean and Stephanie Milito, were given the New York State Attorney General Triple “C” Award for Character, Courage and Commitment, for exemplifying those three important qualities.
The Michael J. Otten Memorial Award, honoring a student who shows perseverance, dignity and commitment, was awarded to Thomas Bergen.
Principal O’Rourke presented the students with their moving-up certificates, one class at a time. She then introduced what she termed, “a beautiful song about counting on each other” as the children sang a moving rendition of “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars. At the ceremony’s conclusion, O’Rourke told her departing students, “You are now sixth-graders! Congratulations and enjoy the summer.”