Freshman Tennis Champ ‘JR’ Earns All-State


High school freshman and divisional tennis singles champion Emmanuel “JR” Vacalares has been named an All-County and All-State athlete for 2015.

At the Suffolk Division II Individual Tournament, held on May 11 at East Islip, Vacalares was seeded No. 1 in the singles draw and won all his matches en route to claiming the singles championship. In the final, he defeated third-ranked Lynus Fortaleza of North Babylon by a 6-2, 6-4 score, earning him a spot among the top 16 singles players countywide at the Suffolk County Individual Tennis Championships.

Although Vacalares lost in the semifinals to eventual county champ Chris Kuhnle and was unable to advance to the state tournament, the young athlete demonstrated he has a bright future in high school tennis.

States on Display at RCK


Fifth-graders at RCK recently participated in a State Fair project in which each student randomly selected one of the 50 states to create an exhibit display. Once their states were chosen, the students were given a set of guidelines to follow, and researched their assigned states by using both the internet and books from the school library. The resulting projects were presented as decorated tri-fold display boards, which were displayed in the gymnasium for parents as well as visiting third- and fourth-graders from the school, who participated in a “state scavenger hunt,” answering one question for each states.   

RCK’s Day for Moving Up


For the 137 students of RCK’s fifth-grade class, the June 24 moving up marked a new phase in their East Islip educational careers. For the final time, they sang the school song, “Learning Is the Way Here at RCK,” as they celebrated graduation in the auditorium at the middle school, which they will attend as sixth-graders in September.

“Anything is possible,” Principal Danielle Naccarato told the graduates. “There is only one you, so do it right. Congratulations, boys and girls.”

Class of 2015 Reach for Their Dreams


Donning traditional red and white caps and gowns, seniors of the Class of 2015 took a step close to reaching their dreams as they graduated from the high school on June 26.

The commencement was held on Sal Ciampi Field at Boomer Esiason Stadium in front of a crowd of proud administrators and families. Following the processional march into the stadium, Principal Bill Brennen opened the ceremony with words of wisdom for the students to carry with them as they enter their next life chapter.

“When you leave here today you cannot predict what is going to happen next,” said Brennen. “Most of you have plans, but rarely does anything go according to plan. When your plan goes astray, don’t sweat it. Sometimes those changes are a blessing in disguise. Change and adapt. Don’t be afraid of what life throws your way. The obstacles between you and your dreams are just small stuff. The truth is, your family and the education that you received here at East Islip have prepared you for those challenges and you are certainly capable of achieving the success you desire.”

Reflecting on her years at East Islip, co-valedictorian Lauren Farrell shared a personal experience of facing her fears by donating blood, despite being afraid of fainting. She reminded her classmates to stand up for what is right, even if it is a difficult choice.

“Adulthood is right around the corner, and that means big changes in our lives,” said Farrell. “There will be moments of fear and uncertainty, but facing them is necessary to surpassing them. The lesson I learned was about selflessness. I knew I was going to faint before I even walked in that room, but I still did it because I knew it was the right thing to do. I focused on helping others. Doing the right thing even without being rewarded or acknowledged is what distinguishes the heroes among us. Next time you get the chance, do the right thing and be someone’s hero.”

Board of Education president Steven Behan said goodbye to the Class of 2015 with a short, heartfelt speech, telling the students to dream big.

“Please dream as big as you can,” he said. “Get a plan and get to it. If you help yourself, the people that love you will help you too. Good luck, Class of 2015. Reach for your highest dreams.”

Goodbye Letter from Superintendent Rozzi

Please note the attached goodbye letter from outgoing Superintendent of Schools Linda J. Rozzi.


Basketballers Honor Inspiring Teachers


Continuing an annual tradition, East Islip High School’s varsity boys basketball program recognized the dedication of the district’s elementary school teachers who inspired them. The Class of 2015 graduating seniors on the team paid a surprise visit to their former teachers at Connetquot, John F. Kennedy, Ruth C. Kinney and Timber Point elementary schools, presenting each them with a bouquet of flowers in their classrooms, or outdoors at field day, in the case of JFK.

“The basketball team just wanted to make sure that the elementary teachers are never forgotten,” said coach Robert Schwender. “Having the opportunity to go back to see their teachers is a very emotional event, and it’s a great moment for the teachers, too, to see the end result of their work, in the person of the graduating seniors. All of our teachers have left a lasting impact and taken part in the molding of each student-athlete who graduates from East Islip.”

The Circus Comes to JFK


The circus came to town at JFK on June 17 and 18, literally taking over the school’s physical education classes. Assisted by physical education teachers Keith Gerard and Jennie Nagengast., experts from the National Circus Company presented a series of circus workshops, teaching skills such as acrobatics, juggling, stilt-walking, plate-spinning and other circus tricks to students from grades 3-5.

By the end of a single class, many students had mastered the basics of juggling and other circus skills, which demand that both sides of the brain be used equally and simultaneously.  

“These skills are great for hand-eye coordination, concentration and focus,” said Gerard. “The presentation also helped reinforce what the students are learning in their physical education classes.”

“It was great to see how our students built up their coordination and their self-confidence, and in the process, enhanced other parts of their learning,” said Principal Aileen O’Rourke.

The program was provided by the school’s PTA Arts in Education Committee.

Middle School Fun in the Sun


The annual Backyard Bash at East Islip Middle School on June 22 gave graduating eighth-graders an opportunity to celebrate their academic achievements and enjoy some food, fun, games and sunshine as summer began. Even Principal Mark Bernard joined in, flying headfirst down an inflatable slide.

“This was a very special eighth-grade grade class, and I look forward to hearing of their triumphs at the high school and beyond,” said Assistant Principal Jason Stanton.”

Middle Schoolers Learn Good Governance


Six members of the middle school’s student government participated in the 36th annual Islip Elks Youth in Government Day on May 6, joining student representatives from other area schools to jointly learn about the Town of Islip and its government.

The students met with Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter, and toured the MacArthur Waste to Energy facility and MacArthur Airport Fire-Rescue’s fire station, both at Long Island MacArthur Airport.The day’s festivities concluded with lunch at the O-Co-Nee East Diner Restaurant for lunch and the presentation of participation certificates.

“Our students were very enthusiastic about their day of learning how the town government makes citizens’ lives better,” said student government adviser Dawn Zeffiro.

After the event, the students were asked to write essays about what they had learned. Two of the middle schoolers in student government won the essay contest, with Anthony Marino winning first prize for sixth grade and Isabella Toto earning first for seventh grade. 

Marino, Toto and Zeffiro attended the Elks Lodge’s Flag Day ceremony at Islip Town Hall on June 14, where the students were presented with certificates and $50 gift cards.

Coffin Claims Teeny Award


East Islip High School’s Jon Sawyer Coffin won the Best Supporting Actor in a Musical award at this year’s 2015 Islip Arts Council Teeny Awards, for his role as Riff in “West Side Story.” The ceremony was held June 7 at the Noel S. Ruiz Theater at the CM Performing Arts Center in Oakdale.
“It’s great to be a part of a community that celebrates achievements in not only athletics and academics but in the arts as well,” said Coffin. “I am honored to receive the award.”

Other nominees were Danielle Pafundi for Best Lead Female in a Musical, Shannon Ransom for Best Female Cameo in a Musical and Alyssa Stephens for Best Supporting Female in a Musical. Andrew Sciallo earned the Director's Choice Award. Students Cami Clemons and Laura Coffin served as “Miss Teenys,” bringing awards out to the presenters.

East Islip was asked to perform at the Teenys for the first time in five years, with Jack Burke-McGoldrick, Coffin, James Kelly, Michael Krebs, Nick Motta, Evan Oldshein, Jake Osburne and Caleb Shulman wowing the audience with their rendition of “Gee, Officer Krupke.”

The Teeny Awards is a student arts recognition program patterned after the Tony Awards and sponsored by the Islip Arts Council. Its mission is to recognize and celebrate the talented students who participate in theater across the Town of Islip, encourage them to pursue their dreams, and to stimulate local interest while developing an understanding of the value of theater education in a well-rounded school curriculum.

Track Pair Compete at State Championships


After placing second in discus for Suffolk County, East Islip High School senior Lexi Bolster earned a trip up to Albany to compete at the New York State track and field championships on June 12-13, where she tossed the discus 98 feet, 10 inches to earn 17th place overall. Bolster leaves East Islip holding the school discus record of 115 feet, 10 inches. She will attend SUNY Albany in the fall.

Meanwhile, after earning her third consecutive county high jump championship, fellow senior Faith Penny returned to the state meet, where she won the Division 1 title with a school record-breaking jump of 5 feet, 8 inches. Before the start of the meet, Penny, who will continue her career at the University of West Virginia, was awarded the Section XI award for Sportsmanship.

“Congratulations to Lexi and Faith on a great season and an outstanding career,” said Lady Redmen track coach John Reynolds.

Singing of Pride and Patriotism


Second-graders at Timber Point celebrated their moving up to a new school next year with special “On Our Way to JFK” concerts. At the June 16 and 17 events, directed by music teacher Diane Starost, the students dressed in patriotic red, white and blue and sang “The Star-Spangled Banner”; “Hello Around the World,” a greeting song in eight different languages; Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”; and the closing “This Land Is Your Land” to the delight of staff and visiting parents.

“We are so proud of the students for preparing and memorizing this program with such enthusiasm,” said Starost. “We wish them the best of luck as they move over to John F. Kennedy Elementary.”

‘Smashed' Symbol Raises Awareness at EIHS


The annual “Smashed” program came once again to the high school on May 11, planting a frighteningly damaged auto on the lawn in front of the school, where it will stand as a stark symbol of driving dangers until June 19.

This Town of Islip initiative, in partnership with the school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions Club, is designed to remind student drivers and passengers that the “100 deadliest days” period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, also including events such as proms, graduations and Independence Day, is actually the most dangerous time of the year for road accidents. 

“Our hope is to save a life and to remind students that one destructive decision can change your life," said East Islip SADD adviser Bridget Lopiccolo.

BOE Annual Reorganization Meeting on July 9

The East Islip Board of Education will hold its annual reorganization meeting on Thursday, July 9 at 9 p.m., preceded by an executive session at 7:30 p.m.

All community members are invited to attend.

Timber Pointers Enjoy ‘Day at the Races’


Students at Timber Point reveled in a special series of “A Day at the Races” activities during their Field Day celebration on June 4. Fun activities included an obstacle course; a giant egg and spoon competitions; and box car, rubber chicken, ice cream cone and potato sack relay races.

According to teacher Patricia Bush, the events were more than just fun, but provided health benefits for the youngsters, including cardiovascular fitness, hand-eye coordination, agility, balance and strength.

At the conclusion of each session, the tired young athletes enjoyed well-earned ice pops provided by the school’s PTA.

Connetquot's Pool Smart Winner


Gianna Traeger, a second-grader in Maria Marinelli’s class at Connetquot, won first prize in this year’s Suffolk County Pool Smart poster contest. Legislator Tom Cilmi paid Traeger a surprise visit at Connetquot to announce her achievement, and presented her with a certificate.

Open to all elementary school students in Suffolk County, the contest promotes the importance of pool safety by requiring the students to create a poster titled “Be Pool Smart” that illustrates one or more of 10 different safety tips. One first-place poster is selected from all of the submitted entries, to be used as part of a countywide message from the Suffolk County Department of Health Services in its seasonal safety campaign. 

“Gianna is a talented artist who made everyone so proud with her beautifully designed poster,” said Connetquot Principal Deborah Smith. “The poster will now be distributed throughout the county to remind everyone about taking every precaution when around a pool.”  

Recognizing Retirees for Superlative Service


Recognizing long years of dedication and service to the schools, the district honored new retirees at the Board of Education meeting on June 11, including John Rotzman, the district’s longtime assistant plant facilities administrator; special education teacher Maryann Coughlin; social studies teacher Valerie Tator; foreign language teachers Marylou Ferrieri and Joseph Tursi, all from the high school; high school librarian Wendy Turkington; JFK teaching assistant Diane Cordina; paraprofessionals Patricia Brosseau, Maryann Esposito, Joyce Ferrante, Mary Guarisco, Kathleen Hector, Phyllis Henry, Barbara Keeley and Carol Pearlman; clerk typist Mary Ann Dailey; groundskeeper Peter Cavanaugh; and districtwide maintenance mechanics Mario Cardillo and John McGinn.

Also recognized at the meeting were Class of 2015 co-valedictorians Lauren Farrell and Valli Mani, Rensselaer Medalist Harrison Gieraltowski, 2015 Carnegie Hall National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America musician Michael Stevens, and students of the high school’s Environment Green Career Academy. The latter’s spokesman, senior Thomas DiOrio, delivered a presentation on their rain garden green infrastructure initiative.

Rocket Science Rules at RCK


Fifth-graders at Ruth C. Kinney put their rocketry research to the test with an exciting demonstration at the adjacent high school field on June 5. The event was the culmination of a month’s worth of studying the science of rocketry, the scientific method and Newton’s three laws of motion, using BOCES kits supplied by the district.

“With the students’ knowledge of the scientific method, there was a great deal of discussion regarding the variables that could effect the outcome of a rocket launch,” said teacher Robert Chiarelli. “The students were very aware that the slightest variations could effect the flight of their rockets.”

During the week before the launches, as excitement and anticipation grew, the students focused on instructional reading, examining the assembly instructions and lists of parts before breaking into groups and constructing the rockets. The RCK students also read nonfiction articles regarding the history of NASA and space exploration in the United States, and watched newsreel videos of rocket successes and disasters throughout America history, including the Apollo and space shuttle programs.

“During the process of making the rockets, we learned what a nose cone and launch lug are,” said student Kuba Kolodziejak. “When we finally finished our rockets and launched, we got to catch them. It was spectacular.”

JFK’s Pair of Young Leaders Honored


Two students from JFK, Dylan Baranek and Annalyse Maccarino, recently received the annual Physical Education Leadership award from the Suffolk Zone Chapter of the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. The pair attended an AHPERD awards ceremony at Longwood High School along with other Suffolk County award winners.

Baranek and Maccarino were nominated by their proud physical education teachers at JFK, Keith Gerard and Jennie Nagengast, for demonstrating leadership skills and showing high character qualities while interacting with their classmates.

Broadcaster Brilliance Nets Numerous Awards


The 2015 staff of the high school’s official student newspaper, The Broadcaster, continued a winning tradition by again earning a first place award for excellence from the American Scholastic Press Association. This marks the fifth consecutive time that East Islip students’ efforts have received recognition by the ASPA, a national organization of high school newspaper competitions based in College Point, New York.

ASPA judges reviewed issues of the paper’s print edition and analyzed content, artwork, design, organization, editing and creativity. They used a detailed rubric as a scoring tool to evaluate each area, and awarded 885 out of a possible 1,000 points to The Broadcaster.

The Broadcaster also earned a remarkable 17 awards – a new school record – at the annual Long Island Press High School Journalism Awards, hosted by Hofstra University on May 27. 

Second-place Long Island Press honors for East Islip in reporting and writing went to Mike Borelli (in the School New Story category), Katie Burke (for Q&A and School Q&A), Camila Cabrera (for Food Commentary and Pop Culture Opinion Piece) and Chris Sumano (the Aura Diaz Award for the First Person category as well as Opinion Piece and Social Commentary). Third-place reporting and writing awards went to Gab Deveglio (Arts Review – TV), Andrew Sciallo (General Opinion), Dennis Tavares and Matt Wenk (Q&A), and Meg Tohill (General Column).

In the newspaper design, illustration and headline areas, Mike Dondero won three awards (second-place and third-place awards for Entertainment Cartoon, and a third-place for Political Cartoon). Other third-place winners were Kevin Rosand (Single-Page Layout) and Clare Walter (Feature Headline).

“The staff of the Broadcaster is a great group of students who work so professionally together,” said journalism and English teacher Joan Dlouhy, the adviser for The Broadcaster. “From their brainstorming sessions, to interviews, writing and editing, they always encourage and support each other along the way. This is why we have been so successful. They have a passion for journalism and the results are outstanding.”

New Superintendent Appointed


At a special meeting on Tuesday, June 9, the East Islip Board of Education appointed John V. Dolan as the district’s new superintendent of schools, effective July 1, 2015.

“We are very happy to welcome a person of John's caliber to our district,” said Board President Steven Behan. “He is a true academic leader, and we are confident he will serve our district well as its new superintendent. His love of education will continue to push our district toward achieving and maintaining the high academic standards we have come to expect.”

“I want to thank the Board of Education for this opportunity,” said Dolan. “I look forward to a long and enriching relationship with the Board of Education, parents, community and staff on our shared goal of supporting and guiding all of our students. I am committed to building upon the success of East Islip by helping every child succeed to the highest level.”

Dolan has been an educator for almost 20 years, the past five of which he has worked as a principal at Sachem North High School in the Sachem Central School District. During his time in Sachem, Dolan helped to create and implement many different programs to enhance students' education. He successfully implemented the character education program “Manners Matter,” which helped reduce suspension and disciplinary referrals. He implemented teacher website programs to facilitate a better school-to-home connection, as well as revamped the master scheduling process to be more student-centered and efficient based on student needs. 

Prior to his administrative experience in Sachem, Dolan began his educational career in the Patchogue-Medford School District, where he taught history and economics before becoming the dean of students. He then took a job as the assistant principal at a middle school in Smithtown before being promoted to principal at Smithtown West.

Dolan holds an MBA from Adelphi University and administrative certifications from Dowling College.

His contract will run through June 30, 2018.

High Schoolers Jazz It Up at Treme


The East Islip High School Jazz Ensemble, directed by Ron Fox, performed for the second year in a row at Treme, a jazz club restaurant in Islip. The May 3 event was presented by the Jazz Educational Connection, which features high school jazz ensembles as openers for professional jazz ensembles at the venue.

The group played outstanding renditions of Freddie Hubbard’s “Blues for Miles,” William Potts’ “Big Swing Face,” Mike Carubia’s “Hablemos,” Dizzy Gillespie’s “Manteca” and Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” to a large audience including parents, friends and relatives.

“This was a wonderful opportunity for the group to perform in a professional jazz venue,” said Fox.  

Seniors Showcased at Awards Night


East Islip’s finest from the Class of 2015 were honored on June 2 at the high school’s annual Senior Awards Night. After a U.S Marine Corps flag salute, the proud seniors were called to the auditorium podium to receive more than 90 different awards and scholarships from local sponsors.

“Senior Awards Night is a wonderful event that brings parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles together to celebrate these young men and women, and showcase their hard work over the past four years at East Islip High School,” said guidance director Israel Malinowitzer, who has organized and hosted the ceremony for the past 14 years.

Trio of All-Leaguers Play at Girls Golf Tourney

Three members of the high school’s girls varsity golf team – juniors Kristen Linz and Kate Maretsly, and senior and team captain Justina Marku – earned All-League status and participated in the Suffolk County girls golf championships at Middle Island Country Club on May 26 and 29. Marku shot well enough to return for the second day of the tournament, which includes the county’s top four teams and top 30 golfers.


Volunteering for Environmental Education


Ecologically minded students from the high school’s Environment Green Career Academy volunteered for the first time to participate in Seatuck’s Eco-Carnival, held on April 25 at the Suffolk County Environmental Center preserve in Islip, where they manned booths and educated visitors about local flowers and wildlife.

The high schoolers helped set up the day before, working with Seatuck staff to rake and clean the preserve, as well as setting up locations where visitors could come and learn about the different types of flowers that are found on Long Island as well as the plants that are invasive to the area. They also constructed a booth to help visiting elementary students learn about wildlife on the property, such as insects and birds; helped set up a stage for entertainment by a local singing group; and designed game areas for the elementary students. During the day of the Eco-Carnival, the visiting children were also given a tour of the salt marsh located at one end of the preserve, with the high schoolers lecturing about ospreys and quail.

In preparation for the event, Career Academy students worked on presentations in their environment research class with science teacher John Reilly.

Career Academy student Tom DiOrio, who has interning with Seatuck since last September, was instrumental in facilitating East Islip’s inclusion.

“Tom’s hard work, dedication and commitment to the Career Academy program has paved the way for our students to be more active with the Seatuck organization, and will help provide future Career Academy students with internships,” said Career Academy director Israel Malinowitzer.
Environment Green Career Academy alumni Gabrielle Alper, John Bullis, Mary Kate Bullis and James DiGiovanna were also in attendance, to assist at the event and mentor the current Career Academy students.

“I am proud of all of the Environment Career Academy students, and their willingness to give back to the community and educate Islip Town’s children about our environment and our wildlife,” said Malinowitzer.

Booster Club's Redmen Golf Outing Set for July 9

The East Islip Athletic Booster Club's 13th annual Redmen Golf Outing will be held on July 9 at Timber Point Country Club. See the attached flier and brochure for more information.


Timber Point's Young Authors


Second-graders in Patrice Mercurio’s class at Timber Point recently wrote, edited and illustrated their very own storybooks as part of a project that Mercurio dubbed “Meet the Author.”

The children spent two weeks working through the writing process, beginning by individually brainstorming their story ideas and mapping out the plots on their story organizers. They named their characters and created problems to be solved in their stories, then each sat down independently and conferenced with Mercurio. The students revised their work by adding details to expand their stories and help make them more interesting.

Using a peer editing process to correct any mistakes, the second-graders then handed in their final copies to be typed and bound into storybooks. Once the books were bound, each student illustrated their work one page at a time, and designed the covers. The finished storybooks were displayed for their parents during the Curriculum Cruise in May, and the young authors will read the books to Timber Point’s younger students.

“We are trying to motivate the students to continue writing and sharing their wonderful imaginations with others,” said Mercurio. “They will hopefully write many more books in their academic future.”

Greatness Grows at Spring Concerts


East Islip’s spring concert season proved a delight for the ears and a testament to the depth of student talent and the rigorous curriculum of the music program, befitting a district that was again named a Best Community for Music Education by the NAMM Foundation.

The youngest student-musicians, from the fourth and fifth grades at John F. Kennedy and Ruth C. Kinney elementary schools, each showed off their progressing skills at dual concerts, one held during the day at the school itself, in front of peers and staff, and an evening show for parents held at the high school’s Rydzeski Hall auditorium.

RCK’s musicians performed with great enthusiasm on May 4, with the fourth-grade band enthusiastically tackling “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

“I am so proud of my fourth-graders for playing this piece from memory, and want to congratulate them all on a job well done at their first concert,” said RCK orchestra director Angela Stewart.  “As for the fifth-grade orchestra, I am likewise very proud of their many elementary musical accomplishments and wish them the best in the middle school orchestra.”

At JFK’s May 5 concerts, students performed music from various time periods in both the beginner and advanced orchestras and bands.

“Our JFK musicians shined like superstars at their concert,” said orchestra director Jaime DeMaria. “We couldn’t be more proud of these amazing children, and I feel so lucky to have taught such a talented bunch.”

JFK’s beginner band performed several pieces including “Appalachian Folk Dance” by Robert W. Smith, while the advanced band performed a selection of tunes arranged by Michael Story, including his own “Ovation” and “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. “The Gettysburg Address” proved a particular highlight, with teacher Karl Von Glahn dressed as Abraham Lincoln, reciting the speech alongside the band’s performance.

“The musical setting contains pieces of Civil War songs, and as a Common Core lesson, the students learned about both the speech and the music composition,” said band director Ron Fox.

East Islip Middle School’s concerts, held at the high school on May 6 and 11, featured eight different ensembles, with highlights including opening “Aladdin” by the concert band, the girls chorus’ rendition of traditional Scottish song “Over the Sea to Sky,” a Queen tribute by the concert choir with soloist Nia Kalodimos, and the eighth-grade string orchestra’s performance of music from “The Hunger Games.”

“The seventh-grade girls chorus members have really grown as musicians over the course of the school year,” said the middle school’s chorus and choir director Patricia Bryan. “I was very proud of their performance, particularly with the quality of tone they are beginning to produce. I was also extremely proud of all the soloists and will miss this eighth-grade class next year.”

The culminating concerts by the high school’s musicians, held on May 15 and 18, showcased seven sensational ensembles. The string orchestra’s richly textured rendition of newer piece “Arlington Sketches,” by Elliott Dell Borgo, was one of many memorable moments, along with the same group's ”An Irish Part in Third Class” from “Titanic,” where they were accompanied by an Irish step dancer, the concert choir and vocal jazz ensemble’s joint take on Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors,” the concert band’s ”Russian Sailor’s Dance,” and the Japanese-language “Hisakata (The Gentle Light of Spring)” from the women’s choir.



Tuesday, July 07, 2015