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Memorial Day Weekend Message from Superintendent Dolan

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"Litter Bugs": Timber Point’s Creative, Creepy Critters

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Second-graders at Timber Point celebrated environmental awareness this spring through the construction of “Litter Bugs.” The students designed insects using recyclable materials, and researched each insect to write informative paragraphs to coincide with their creation.

“Our students were amazed at their creativity as well as that of their classmates,” said teacher Carol Wilson.

RCK's Graney Succeeds at Science Fair

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Lilyana Graney, a fourth-grader at RCK, finished in the top 10 at the Brookhaven National Laboratory Elementary School Science Fair on May 6, earning an honorable mention medal. Her project, “A Bird’s Color Feast,” sought to discover whether birds have color preferences for their bird feeders.

“We are so proud of her and the great work she did with her project,” said RCK Principal Hillary Bromberg.



Softball County Championship Game Rescheduled to May 27

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East Islip's Lady Redmen varsity softball team defeated Walt Whitman on May 23, to advance to the Suffolk County AA championship game, which will be held at home in East Islip, on the rescheduled date (due to weather) of Saturday, May 27 at 2 p.m.

 

Cleary School for the Deaf Spring Showcase on June 9

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Booster Club's Redmen Golf Outing Set for July 13

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The East Islip Athletic Booster Club's 15th annual Redmen Golf Outing will be held on July 13 at Timber Point Country Club. See the attached flier for more information.

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JFK Fourth-Graders Show Kindness to Shelter Pets

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Donna Marshall, a fourth-grade teacher at JFK, began a campaign this year with her class called Be Kind, and collected animal toys and supplies for a local animal shelter.

“The kids were so excited to bring in their donations,” said Marshall. “This will surely make a difference in the lives of these shelter pets.”


The Fifth Annual Medical Career Day

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In partnership with Northwell Health, the high school’s Medical and Health Technology Career Academy hosted its fifth annual Medical Career Day on April 21, with activities throughout the school for students in grades 8-12. Taking part in the event were 80 Northwell Health medical and business professionals who work in their facilities across Long Island.

High school and middle school students visiting the event had the chance to investigate 40 medical exhibits in the school’s gymnasium, manned by Northwell Health employees, along with medical and health career information tables. The school’s library and auditorium were the sites of informative lectures and presentations by professionals on health-related topics such as teen driving, sports and concussions, and drug awareness and prevention. The speakers also discussed careers at Northwell Health and job interview tips.

“This event was a wonderful opportunity for our students to get to know the employees of Northwell Health and to learn about the many different careers that make up the health industry,” said Guidance Director Israel Malinowitzer, who organized the event. “We are extremely grateful to Matthew DePace from Northwell Health, along with Vincent Cunningham and Ed Fraser, for making this event possible for the last five years. Our students and faculty learn so much, and we are pleased that this year, our eighth graders were also able to take part in the day.”

Kathleen Dinota Honored as a Teacher of Excellence

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High school chemistry and AP Seminar teacher Kathleen Dinota was honored at the second annual Teacher of Excellence Awards ceremony, hosted by State Sen. Phil Boyle at the Bay Shore Fire Department on May 4.

“We celebrated the achievements of 16 outstanding educators and school professionals who have dedicated their lives to teaching and helping their students learn, thrive, and reach their fullest potential,” said Boyle. “Our school communities are so very fortunate to have such passionate educators.”

Dinota, who is retiring this year, taught at East Islip for 26 years, and at William Floyd School District before that. For the past several years, she has taught AP chemistry, honors chemistry and science research. This year, she also taught AP Seminar, which is the first course in the AP Capstone diploma. Dinota is in her third year as a participant in the New York State Master Teacher program, and works for the New York State Education Department as an education specialist in the development of the PS chemistry exam. She and her husband are lifelong residents of the East Islip School District and have been involved in the school and community in a variety of roles.

“I am deeply honored to have been chosen by the district for the award,” said Dinota. “East Islip has a faculty that is comprised of truly caring, compassionate and dedicated educators and I am humbled to have been recognized. I am proud to have worked here for the past 26 years.”


A Worthwhile Day of SADD-ucation at the HS

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The high school held a SADD Awareness Day on April 21, bringing attention to topics such as suicide, drinking and driving, texting and driving, and bullying.  Along with the school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions Club, visiting organizations came to participate, including Allstate, Response Hotline, Youth Enrichment Services and the Sunrise Counseling Center, and students had the chance to try on goggles to simulate impairment and add their thumbprints to an “X the TXT” banner.

“This event was very worthwhile,” said SADD adviser Bridget Lopiccolo. “It is important to have students be able to ask questions and get responses from organizations that are there to help when someone is in crisis. It is our goal at SADD to help educate and promote awareness of the destructive decisions that students may make.”

Arts Accolades in PTA Reflections

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Four East Islip students – Elizabeth Hillman, Fallon Juengerkes, Michael Orgera and Kiara Zeledon – made it to the state level of the 2016-2017 PTA Reflections contest, an annual national student recognition program that seeks to encourage artistic creativity in the classroom and at home. Inspiring original works of art in the categories of dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography and visual arts, this year’s common theme was “What Is Your Story?”

RCKl third-grader Kiara Zeledon’s entry in the field of dance choreography, “Human”, won the Suffolk County Award of Excellence and New York State Award of Excellence, going on to compete at the national level.

“I did a lyrical contemporary dance about how I feel when I try out for parts in dance class and don’t get them,” said Zeledon, who won at the county and state level last year for her dance “Girl on Fire.”

Another RCK student, fifth-grader Fallon Juengerkes, received the Suffolk County Award of Merit in the literature category for “The Best Day and the Worst Day of My Life.”

“I thought deeply about the best and worst days of my life,” said Juengerkes. “I wrote about when my mom was going through treatments for breast cancer and how I felt when she was finished and all better.”

JFK fifth-grader Michael Orgera earned the Suffolk County Award of Excellence and New York State Award of Merit in visual arts for his piece “Looking through the Lens.” Orgera won a National Award of Excellence last year for his work “Mom,” which is now featured as part of a special exhibit at the Department of Education in Washington, DC.

East Islip High Schools senio Elizabeth Hillman won her second consecutive Suffolk County Award of Merit for her music composition “The Journey Continues.”

The students were honored at a recent Board of Education meeting, and presented with certificates by Board President Christopher Zachry and Superintendent John V. Dolan.


Middle Schooler Yankus Honored for Volunteerism

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Middle school seventh-grader Johnathan Yankus was recently honored for exemplary volunteer service with a Certificate of Excellence and President’s Volunteer Service Award by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. He was recognized for this achievement at the April 20 Board of Education meeting.

Presented annually by Prudential Financial and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the Spirit of Community Awards honor young people across America for outstanding volunteer service. The Certificate of Excellence is granted to the top 10 percent of all applicants, while the President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes Americans of all ages who volunteer significant amounts of time to serving their communities.

Yankus volunteers at the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead, where his favorite assignment is working in the Butterflies, Bugs & Birds exhibit.

“Johnathan encourages the birds to land on him so people can see them close up and the visitors can have the birds walk on them,” said guidance counselor Peter Ludlow. “He also works with the Keep Islip Clean program where he helps to keep the marina and its beach clean. He is sad to report that he has picked up over 300 cigarette butts in a single day.”


Timber Point Students Put Puzzle Together for Autism Day

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The district’s four elementary schools – Connetquot, John F. Kennedy, Ruth C. Kinney and Timber Point – celebrated Autism Awareness Day on April 7. At Timber Point, each grade level wore an assigned color and created puzzle pieces that were put together to create large letters spelling “TP.”

“It was a very successful day,” said Principal Danielle Naccarato.

Budget Passes, Carpluk and Zachry Reelected

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The East Islip School District's 2017-2018 budget passed on May 16, with 1,851 yes votes outweighing the 722 no votes. The district thanks the community for their participation and support.

For East Islip's five-person Board of Education, voters reelected two incumbents, Board President Christopher Zachry (1,029 votes) and Vice President William Carpluk (1,137 votes), both running unopposed.

 

Softball Squad Are "Special" Volunteers

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The high school’s varsity softball team volunteered for the annual Special Olympics event held at Bellport High School on May 7. Each team member partnered with an athlete and took him or her to their events throughout the day.

“It was great to have Eric again,” said junior Katie Burk. “We missed him last year and I’m happy we had the chance to reunite with him.”

Sophomore Allison Dell’Orto bonded with her athlete and was excited when she took first place in both of her events.

“It was great seeing her compete and get that gold medal, I was so proud of her,” Dell’Orto said.

SADD Car Wash Rescheduled

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The high school SADD Club's car wash has been rescheduled due to weather conditions. The new date is Saturday, June 10 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m at Applebee's in East Islip. The cost is $5 for cars, $7 for trucks/SUVs.

Timber Point Gets "Trashed"

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In honor of Earth Day, three performers from Bash the Trash visited Timber Point on April 21 to share their love of the planet and music with students from kindergarten through second grade. The assembly was presented via the school's PTA.

For more than 25 years, Bash the Trash has melded science, sound and environmental awareness, using an array of recycled items to make music. The trio’s unusual instruments and catchy, ecology-minded songs captured the attention of the audience, who were encouraged to go home and build their own sound-making devices out of household recyclables and junk.




Earth Day Walk Sustains JFK's Environmental Spirit

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Students, staff and parents of the JFK school community celebrated Earth Day on April 21 with a walk around the grounds of the school, where solar panels will soon be installed to provide clean energy for the school. Students held banners in recognition of the day’s importance.

“As a school, we took time to remember how fortunate we all are to be living on planet Earth, which sustains our lives,” said Principal Deborah Smith. “The purpose of our walk was to encourage everyone to stop and think of ways we can protect our environment. In honoring the day, we hope that we can empower others to be responsible global citizens who respect the world we live on. The time we spent outside was to encourage understanding of environmental consciousness and remind our students that it is their obligation to foster an appreciation for our planet and conserve it. It was a wonderful day to be outside and celebrate nature.”

Fifth-graders at the school had participated in a poetry contest in recognition of April as Poetry Awareness Month. For the Earth Day celebration, the contest winners recited their poems to inspire their audience to take action to save the planet. The young poets included George Arena with “Happy Earth Day,” Allison Bradley with “Early Morning,” Stefano Carcone with “Happy Earth Day,” Shannon O’Rourke with “Thankful,” Lindsey Roses with “The ABC’s of Earth Day,” Aidan Sanders with “Blue” and Luke Tese with “Thoughts of Two Men.”

At the conclusion of the walk, the entire student body of 468 students, under the direction of music teacher Jim Santoro, performed a rap song to encourage environmental consciousness. 

Superintendent John V. Dolan attended the walk and told the students, “Make good choices, because every decision affects one’s future.”

Seventh-Graders Perform Cello Demo

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In a special demonstration performance, middle school orchestra teacher Judith Fischer and three of her seventh-grade students – cellists Wendle Huang, Mia Mendozza and Gabrielle Olds – played an unusual cello duet at the April 6 Board of Education meeting.

The three student-musicians performed the baroque “Lully gavotte”, while Fischer played the Marin Marais composition’s piano part on her cello. Teacher and students then shared various techniques with the audience, explaining how those techniques apply to their music.

All three students, described by Fischer as “wonderful, talented and dedicated,” will perform the piece at the NYSSYMA Solo Festival this month.


12 Win Best in Show at LI Media Arts

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Twelve talented students from the high school were awarded “Best in Show” at the 2017 Long Island Media Arts Show, recognizing their creativity and hard work in the fields of video as well as visual arts such as photography. The competition was held on March 31 at Five Towns College’s Performing Arts Center in Dix Hills.

“The Media Arts Show really stepped up its production values this year,” said teacher James Connell. “There were several interactive experiences that the students who attended could engage with. We had students taking film classes, as well as students joining live television and radio broadcasts throughout the day.”

Best in Show winners from Connell’s video production classes were writer/directors Steven Murello and Kaela Sanders. Murello won for “Old Soul,” a film about a young man making a connection to his grandfather's past; it starred Eddie Sallie and Brook Helmsorig. Sanders earned her prize for “Handsprings,” a music video film inspired by current punk rock music; it starred Kathryn Bingham and Kyle Bishop.

“As always, our students represented their craft well,” said Connell. “Coming home with two video Best in Show awards was great, and the other videos submitted by seniors Tom Murphy and Kara Tejada were also very well received by the judges and audiences at the show. I am extremely proud of the hard work and extra effort my students put in each year, helping East Islip High School shine at this event,” said Connell.

Participating visual arts students came from Joy Taylor's and Heather Toomey's photography classes, Jen Geduldig's electronic illustration classes, Liz Gibbons' 2D design classes and Dan Figliozzi's AP drawing classes.

Best in Show visual arts winners included Sanders as well as Alexa Benitez, Defne Duyku, Sarah Hillman, Destiny Kohlhepp, Stone Locke, Tristan Makinen, Kara Tejada, Zoe Stengel, Damian Vargas and Sam Zimmer.

“We had a record number of students attend as well as receive Best in Show awards this year, and even the judges noticed how East Islip had a powerful presence at this year’s show,” said Toomey. “I am proud of all the students that participated, as it is not easy to take criticism from professionals, and they all took advice and criticism with poise and professionalism.”

“This was a very good opportunity get feedback from professionals to improve my work,” said Amanda Seegers.

“It was a lot of fun to look at artwork from other students across Long Island to get inspiration,” added Chris Palmer.

“I was nervous at first, presenting my photographs, but in the end, the evaluator feedback was really helpful,” said Sarah Renner, from Joy Taylor’s class.

“This was my first year attending, and I was nervous about putting myself in such a vulnerable position with my artwork,” said Kendra Canavan. “It was a little overwhelming, but I made friends and was asking more evaluators to look at my work by the end of the day. I was proud to be a part of this event.”

NHS Clothing Drive Yields 6,000 Pounds

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The high school’s National Honor Society sponsored a clothing drive to raise funds for Kyle Engblom and the NBIA Disorders Association. Members Rachel Florenz, Christine Llewellyn, and Victoria Mayer organized the event as their Leadership Project.

Honor Society members canvassed the entire community with fliers, asking people to bring any items to the high school parking lot on April 28. Engblom, who has a rare disease known as FAHN-FA2H, joined the NHS the entire morning and afternoon as more than 6,000 pounds of clothing and shoes donations came pouring in. Carecycle, a clothing recycling company, will donate 20 cents per pound of the total amount raised to the NBIA Association.

Founded in 1996, the nonprofit NBIADA is dedicated to families affected by NBIA, a rare genetic, neurological movement disorder characterized by the progressive degeneration of the nervous system due to iron deposits in the brain. The NBIADA’s goals include raising funds to further research on the disease, providing emotional support to families, educating the public, and monitoring and informing about ongoing NBIA research.

Freshman Gomez Wins Huntington Fine Arts Scholarship

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David Gomez, a high school freshman studying drawing under teacher Daniel Figliozzi, attended a scholarship competition in March at Huntington Fine Arts, and won second place, proudly walking away with a $500 scholarship to attend advanced art classes at the prestigious Greenlawn art school. HFA’s scholarship competition provides freshmen, sophomore and junior students on Long Island with the opportunity to draw the live figure.

“This life drawing technique and process is challenging, but essential for further collegiate study in fine arts,” said Figliozzi.

“I was very stressed knowing that I was going to participate in this competition,” said Gomez. “However, when I got there, it turned out to be wonderful place and I really enjoyed it. They also had dogs roaming around the building, which were very motivating. While there, I most enjoyed the instructors, who were kind and helpful.”

An excited Gomez returned to school eager to share his experience.

“After the competition, I was somewhat sure that I had done well because the instructors were very complimentary of my work,” he said. “After learning that I had won the second-place prize, I was happy and proud of myself. I am excited to take the painting class there this spring and summer.”

The win for Gomez was no surprise to his teacher.

“When I saw David’s first drawing this year, I immediately knew he would do well in this competition,” said Figliozzi. “I advised David to go into it with confidence, and to not worry about what other students were doing. He is a tremendous talent and will do wonderful things with his art…and he’s only just begun.”

Classmate and former HFA student Michael Dondero spoke to Gomez before the competition, sure of his chances and advising him to take the painting course there, which he himself enjoyed.

“David has a lot of potential to be one of “the greats” of East Islip,” said Dondero. “As a freshman, he already displays a confident drawing technique and a plethora of imaginative ideas.”

Gomez has always loved art.

“I like art because it allows me to create new ideas and imaginative things,” he said. “I am excited to continue to take art at East Islip, broadening my skills and learning new media.”

Gomez plans on continuing to broaden his practice by taking courses in AP art, electronic illustration and drawing in the coming years at East Islip.

Girls Lax Varsity Volunteers at Run for Autism

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Members of the high school’s girls varsity lacrosse team volunteered during the EJ Autism Foundation’s 11th annual four-mile Jigsaw Run/Walk for Autism on April 23. The team, which participates in the event each year, ran one of the water stations during the race, held at the East Islip Marina.

Players who volunteered included Hannah Bernardos, Hannah Calarco, Allison Chiarelli, Kaitlyn D’Amico, Julia DeMaggio, Kate Flamio, Alexa Fusco, Lindsay Guzzetta, Kendall Mittleman, Jenna Murphy, Taylor Roth, Rachel Schlesinger, Melissa Sconone, Nicole Surace, Madalyn Von Hassel and Sara Wright, along with coach Steve Levy.

“Thirteen Reasons Why” Message

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See below for a message from Superintendent Dolan regarding the Netflix series “Thirteen Reasons Why,”  and a sheet of talking points regarding the show from Suicide Awareness Voices of Education.

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Board Celebrates Science Winners at JFK and RCK

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During a recent Board of Education meeting, the district honored winners of the annual JFK (Jesse Hodge, Abigail Lemke, Drew McCarthy and Gianna Trager) and RCK (Lilyanna Graney, Frank Muscarello and Michael Stadelman) science fairs.

The students proudly received certificates of achievement from Superintendent John V. Dolan and Board President Christopher Zachry. Accompanying them were Director of Math and Science Janet Jones, JFK Principal Deborah Smith, RCK Principal Hillary Bromberg, and teachers Christine Cirillo, Jessie Ferraro and Kathleen Shaum.

Hodge and Graney will compete at the Brookhaven National Laboratory Elementary School Science Fair on May 6.

Teddies Teach First Aid at TP

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Using teddy bears and other stuffed animals as “patients,” kindergarten students at Timber Point learned the basics of first aid during the school’s annual PTA-sponsored Teddy Bear Clinic.

During the April 7 event, Tim Dackow, a representative from Northwell Health’s Southside Hospital provided instruction on bicycle, pool and general safety, using hands-on participation. The kindergartners enjoyed roleplaying as doctors, nurses and EMTs by “treating” the plush patients.

“What a fun way to learn about safety,” said PTA President Susan Kiernan.

In light of the teddy bear clinic’s popularity among students and teachers alike, a representative from Cohen Children's Medical Center attended with Dackow to facilitate the CCMC’s future mirroring of the program in Nassau County.


Board Honors High School Track Stars

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The Board of Education honored five high school track athletes – Anoune Basse, Jacqueline Ginty, Michael Krebs, Andrew Moschetto and Michael Quast – at its April 20 meeting for their outstanding performances at the New York State indoor track and field championships.

The 4x200 relay team of Basse, Krebs, Moschetto and Quast finished fourth, while Ginty earned fifth place in the 55-meter dash.

A “Beacon” of CAD Creativity

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High school senior Joe Mignone, a second-year Computer Aided Design student in Hal Kench’s advanced college CAD course, spent the school year’s third quarter designing a scale-model of Beacon Academy in AutoCAD 2015 3D for his Independent Quarter Project. He then printed the model on his own time using the 3D printer at the Smithtown Public Library, and presented it to the class.

Beacon Academy is a location in “RWBY,” an American 3D web series set in the fictional world of Remnant, where young people train to become Huntsmen and Huntresses to protect their world from the creatures of Grimm.

“Joe’s skills with AutoCAD rival my own,” said Kench. “He absorbs all of the functions of the program effortlessly. It has been a real pleasure to watch him master the program over the past two years.”

Mignone will study computer science this fall at Stony Brook University.


East Islip’s Superb SCMEA Selections

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A total of 67 of East Islip’s superb student-musicians from the elementary and secondary levels were selected to perform in the Suffolk County Music Educators Association’s All-County Concerts this spring.

From the middle school, clarinetists Jack Baranek, Jenna Borelli and Stephen Coleman; trumpeter Robert Graziano; and trombonist Ryan Jacobsen were chosen for the Division I Central Band; while trumpeter Michael Baldino, tuba player Robert Finn, flutists Ella Micalizzi and Oliva Pena, and horn player Damon Swinson II were chosen for the Division III West Band. Vocalists Abbey Lacy and Marisa Triolo were chosen for the Division I Central Chorus, while sopranos Madison LaTronica and Kaitlyn Rice, and baritones Kieran Tohill and Josh Vogel were chosen for the Division III West Chorus. Violinists Kate Alexander, Isabella Fantauzzi and Keira Ann Tantillo; viola players Allison Benowitz, Lauren Holmes, Keira McCaffery, Melissa Mirabelli and Nicholas Wodicka; cellists Nina Gerace, Sebastian Higgins, Nicole Mazza, Amanda Rooney and Brooke Stephens; and bassists Rhiannon Donahue and Brandon Zane were picked for the Division I Central Orchestra; and violinist Lucas Bates, trumpeter Joseph Graziano, bassist Mia Lembo, viola players Michelle Mirabelli,  Noelle Naccarato and Samantha Siebert; and clarinetist Shannon Wodicka were chosen for the Division III West Orchestra.

From JFK, trombonist Jack Wodicka was chosen for the Division I Central Band; vocalists Julia Fink and Samuel Martinez were picked for the Division I Central Chorus; and violinist Hanna Ross was picked for the Division I Central Orchestra.

From RCK, flutist Alyssa Deutsch and clarinetists Andrew Perez, Jada Poindexter and Batuhan Yildiz were chosen for the Division I Central Band; vocalists Ryan Kelpie and Terri Sonnanburg were picked for the Division I Central Chorus; and viola player Kayla McKenna and cellist Ethan Greene were selected for the Division I Central Orchestra.

Representing the high school, trumpeter Christopher Zanone and clarinetists Vincent Guiliano and Cassidy Triolo were chosen for the Division II West Band; tenor Connor Barnes, sopranos Alexandra Bertolini and Victoria Tiernan, bass Christopher Molinari, and altos Madison Lane and Katelyn Spina were picked for the Division II West Chorus; and violinists Emily Alexander, Marcela Gallardo and Victoria Keenan; trumpeter Max Calarco. cellists Trevor Garnett, bassist Peter Gerace, horn player Liam Greene and flutist Alexandra Stewart were selected for the Division II West Orchestra.


Middle School Builders Club Lends a Hand to Kiwanis

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Middle school Builders Club members Rebecca Belz, Deirdre Carney, Gianna Fabio, Sara Manweiler, Giavanna Perrone, Brooke Rizzuto, Matt Shields, Caitlyn Surace and Maggie Ulrich recently volunteered their time to the local Kiwanis Club in preparation for the organization’s 30th annual gala.

The students were accompanied to the event by club adviser Joe Ancona. The event marked 30 years since the Kiwanis Club of the Islips and Bay Shore was established.

Broadcaster Rewarded with Recognition

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The current staff of the high school’s award-winning newspaper, The Broadcaster, continue to uphold the paper’s longstanding tradition of success. At two recent competitions this past week, The Broadcaster was once again noted for excellence in newspaper production.

At the Quill Awards, an annual Long Island high school newspaper competition hosted by Adelphi University and part of Adelphi’s Press Day event, the staff equaled or bested their peers from other Nassau and Suffolk high schools, bringing home five awards in six possible categories.  

The staff as a whole took first place for best layout, awarded for excellence in design and layout, and an honorable mention for most outstanding newspaper.

Kerri Kolensky took first place in the best opinion piece category for her story “Finding Emily and Finding Myself.” This award is given to a thought-provoking personal column or opinion piece that reflects the writer’s voice and expresses an issue that affects the high school community.

Mike Dondero also won first-place in the best illustration or cartoon category, an award judged on the quality of the illustration and its connection to high school life. His drawing accompanied the paper’s November editorial on violence in the world today.

Nicole Humpf’s “It's a Reunion for Rydzeski” earned her an honorable mention in the best news story category, which is awarded to a well-crafted hard news story that deals with a relevant issue at school or the world at large.

Broadcaster adviser Joan Dlouhy and Editor-in-Chief Emily Glennon were invited to sit on the Quill Awards panel and participate in a discussion presented to the attendees on 1st Amendment rights and censorship of high school newspapers.

The Broadcaster also picked up two more prestigious awards at the LIU Post Best of High School Journalism Awards. Glennon won an honorable mention for her feature story “EI Alumni Creates Self-Made Business,” while the entire staff of the paper was recognized for its outstanding work, capturing third place for “Best High School Newspaper.”    


RCK's Amazing "Night at the Museum"

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For the school’s third-grade ELA and Art Night, RCK featured walls of displayed artwork and a very special “Night at the Museum.”

The students chose historical figures to research, then wrote speeches using biographical information. During art classes, they drew portraits of their chosen figures during the portrait unit. On the night of the event, each third-grader came dressed as their figure, standing as still as statues in front of their presentation boards, which were set up on tables. A yellow circle at each station was used as a button, and when visiting parents pushed the buttons, the “statues” came to life and gave their speeches.

“The students did an amazing job and I was truly impressed,” said Principal Hillary Bromberg. “All who visited that night enjoyed pushing the buttons and watching the children perform.”

Elaborate "Aida" Wows Audiences

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For this year’s spring musical, the high school’s Musical Club presented an elaborate production of "Aida,” wowing audiences over three nights in March at the school's Rydzeski Hall. An intimate, epic and timeless tale of love in ancient Egypt, “Aida” was based on the based on the opera by Giuseppe Verdi. The score by Elton John and Tim Rice won both the Grammy and Tony Award.

Aida was played by Alex Bertolini. Michael Robert Krebs played the conflicted Egyptian captain Radames. The role of the heartbreaking princess Amneris was performed by Victoria Tiernan. Roy Anderson portrayed the evil minister Zoser, father of Radames, who employs sinister techniques to gain the Pharaoh’s throne for his son. Kyle Westgate-Addessi played the wily Nubian slave Mereb, who befriends Aida and assists her captured father, Nubian King Amonasro, portrayed by Alexander O’Neill. Michael Kelly made his East Islip stage debuts as the Pharaoh, while Karina Gallagher portrayed the Nubian slave Nehebka.

The talented ensemble cast also included Jenna Anderson, Fiona Ashe, Emily DaSilva, Karina Gallagher, Mikayla Henderson, Mikaela Naccarato and Sarah Powell as the Palace Women; Jake Acocella, Connor Barnes, Marc Espinosa, Richie Hughes, Michael Kelly, Vincenzo Mediate, Alexander O’Neill, Evan Ostrowski and Kyle Ostrowski as the Ministers and Soldiers; and Shequira Ashley, Kayla Cappe, Emily DaSilva, Beth Hillman, Sarah Hillman, Rachel Kuhlman, Emma Mendolia, Jen Nolet, Judy Orellana, Angelina Parisi, Jenni Profera and Sara Rapuzzi as the Nubian Slaves.

Director and club adviser Brad Frey headed the creative team which included choreography by Samantha Berkowitz and imaginative costumes by Jeanine Ecklund; both joined the Music Club this year along with William Lackner, who handled set design and construction direction. Megan Lombardi served as stage manager, assisted by Michael Dondero, who also headed set design. Joanne Pafundi served as assistant stage crew director, backed by Rebecca Kraemer as costume chief. The master carpenters were Tommaso Rotella and Tim Trapanese. Photography was by Sarah Hillman and make-up by Sabrina Frenino. The dance captains were Mikaela Naccarato and Sarah Powell, and on stage wings were managed by Hunter Engrassia and Allison Epstein. The scenic designer and EIMU organizational chief is Jacqueline Motsiff served as scenic designer and top Music Club organizer, while Dr. Robert J. Wottawa II, the district’s art and music director, handled program design.

The pit orchestra, conducted by Frey and assisted by associate conductor and keyboardist Michael Stevens, included drummer Eric Ayala; percussionist Joe Pinz; guitarist Kurt Eide; bassist Joshua Koretz; keyboardist Zachary Schurman; reed players Vincent Harty, Anthony Jinete, Sarah Quinn and Cassidy Triolo; horn player Liam Greene; trumpeter Max Calarco; violinists Sophia Bates, Joe Bauco, Julia DeMaggio, Marcela Gallardo, Victoria Keenan, Kerri Kolensky, Connor Lennon, Caroline Meehan and Katrina Shea; viola players Victoria Goldfader, Elisa Mingo and Isabel O’Neill; and cellists Anthony Cialdella, Emma Elliott, Nicole Humpf and Skylar Pipitone.

“I have been involved with so many fine high school productions, but this one was truly special,” said Frey. “Tim Rice and Elton John teaming up with one of the most passionate love stories ever written is a director’s dream, and I am so proud of the cast and crew for venturing to stage such a popular and difficult musical. They have given me such pride and joy witnessing what they were able to create both on and off the stage, surpassing my wildest expectations. Their talents, resourcefulness, genuineness and spirit are a model for all to follow.”

Proud Publishers at JFK

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At JFK, writing and technology combined recently to turn students into proud authors and illustrators, culminating in a publishing party.




Somber Strikes on Ghost-Out Day

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At the high school’s 14th annual Ghost-Out Day on March 23, the Students Against Destructive Decisions Club held a powerful campaign to bring awareness to the tragic cost of substance abuse.

Every 20 minutes during the day, a gong sounded over the loudspeakers, and a student dressed as the Grim Reaper entered a classroom. As a real-life scenario was read to the class, depicting a person being killed due to drugs or alcohol, the Reaper walked around the room and chose someone to “strike.” Over the course of the day, the Reaper struck 16 times, and the selected students wear black T-shirts denoting their status, remaining silent for the rest of the day as a reminder of the young lives lost every 16 minutes due to substance abuse.

“This is always a very somber day and encourages discussions about avoiding drugs and alcohol and not becoming part of this deadly statistic,” said teacher and SADD adviser Bridget Lopiccolo, who organizes the event each year. “Sadly, today’s statistic is actually every eight minutes, which is stunning. I can’t even physically get around our school and do the readings and striking every eight minutes. We need to make this stop, and we need to work together as a community and school to educate our students to not fall into this sad path. This is a national problem and something needs to be done. It is SADD’s mission to help save our students. Unfortunately, many of them have lost a loved one due to drugs or alcohol, and my response was to tell them not to become part of this statistic. I told them that we care and love them too much to see that happen, and that they should save themselves and their friends by staying away from drugs and alcohol.”

Connetquot Kids Give Back with Birthday Boxes

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Second-graders at Connetquot wanted to give back, so they decided to send one or two “birthday boxes” per class to the children in need via Birthday-in-a-Box. The charity program was created in 2005 to serve homeless children in domestic violence shelters, scattered sites, motels and other locations. Each birthday box contains everything necessary for a great birthday celebration.

Excited to be able to help provide these fun birthday parties, the Connetquot students brought in items such as party hats, cake mix and candles and packed them into boxes wrapped in colorful wrapping paper.

“It made me feel happy to help kids that can’t afford to have birthdays,” said second-grader Julianna Schmidt.

Redmen Runners Succeed at States

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The high school’s 4x200 relay team of Anoune Basse, Mike Krebs, Andrew Moschetto and Mike Quast finished fourth in the New York State indoor track and field championships, held on March 4 at Ocean Breeze Track & Field Athletic Complex in Staten Island.

In the NYSPHSAA event’s 55-meter dash, senior Jackie Ginty finished in fifth place for all New York State public schools and sixth for state federation schools, earning her All-State status for the second consecutive year.


JFK and RCK Stay Sharp in Hoops

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JFK and RCK recently participated in the 31st annual Town of Islip Sharpshooter Basketball Contest for fourth- and fifth-grade students, with four young athletes eahc from the two schools winning the initial school-level competitions to move on to the town competition.

Sponsored since 1993 by Islip’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, and the Islip Elks, the Sharpshooter “Just Say No to Drugs” challenge tasks local schoolchildren with scoring as many baskets as possible in one minute, serving to improve their basketball skills while providing an alternative to drug and alcohol abuse.

JFK’s first-place winners at the school level were Brayden Black, Luke LaFata Erin McCarthy and Grace Zanni. Runners-up were Max Berlin, Ethan Benardos, Anna Franchi, Emma Johnson and Emma Stein.

RFK’s first-place winners at the school level were Thomas Costarelli, Leah Dolson, Kirsten Sorbi and Travis Stockton. Runners-up were Justin Adams, Luca Centauri, Alisa Mendez and Terri Sonnanberg.

In the final round of the 2016 competition, with Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter and Councilwoman Mary Kate Mullen in attendance, JFK’s Zanni earned third place among fifth-grade girls, while RCK’s Costarelli and Dolson both finished in fourth place overall in the fourth-grade boys and girls divisions, respectively.

Timber Point Celebrates Authorial Accomplishments

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At a recent Author Celebration, students in Carol Wilson’s second-grade class at Timber Point  completed their understanding of narrative writing and proudly shared their written pieces with family, friends and administrative staff. The students showcased the important components of the school’s new writing curriculum as they expressed sensory details, voice, transitional phrases, emotions and appropriate sentence structure.

“My second-graders received written compliments from our guests and were amazed to hear such positive feedback about their pieces,” said Wilson. “I am very proud of all their hard work and effort, as each step of the process enabled the students to become accomplished writers.”

Eighth-Graders Organize Blood Drive for Team Taylor

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Samantha Ryan and Samantha Seibert, both eighth-graders at the middle school and members of the local Girl Scout Troop 984, recently organized a blood drive to support Team Taylor and achieve their silver award.

Both students attended the March 9 Board of Education meeting, where they gave a presentation about the blood drive and histiocytosis. The blood drive is scheduled for Wednesday, May 31 at the East Islip Fire Department, located at 30 E. Main St. in East Islip. 

Artists Create Mural for Wrestlers

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Michael Dondero and Cynthis Stasio, two of teacher Daniel Figliozzi’s senior art students at the high school, volunteered to create a large-scale mural for the school’s wrestling team. The mural, located on the wrestling room doors, was a vision proposed by Athletic Director Stephen Restivo. The students brought the work to fruition using enamel paint.

“Even though I don’t do sports, it was nice to contribute to one of the other departments at our school,” said Dondero.

“I enjoyed doing the mural and contributing to not only the art department, but the school itself and the athletic department,” said Stasio.

Both Dondero and Stasio plan to attend art school this fall.



Pi-Eating Day at the Middle School

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On March 15, the middle school celebrated Pi Day a day late but certainly not short of fun. Teachers and administrators, including Principal Mark Bernard and Superintendent John V. Dolan, faced off for a messy pie eating extravaganza. Students and staff throughout the building cheered on the hungry participants, who also included Assistant Principals Nicholas Bilotti and Jason Stanton, and teachers Brian Deedy, Wendy Frees, Kristina Marinaro and Rayna Modugno.

The contest served to kick off the school’s first IXL math tournament, arranged by Math and Science Director Janet Jones and the middle school math teachers. Students were given almost three weeks to complete as many math problems as possible.

JFK’s Young Scientists Identify Prey Through Pellets

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Fourth-grade scientists at JFK recently explored animal kingdoms, the food chain and food webs, culminating in the dissection of owl pellets.

In their studies, they realized that much can be learned about a barn owl’s diet by analyzing the types of bones in the pellet the owl regurgitates after swallowing its prey whole. The students dissected the owl pellets together and used reference materials to identify the prey animals by their bones. Dozens of tiny bones were compared to those on a poster of animal skeletons to reveal the types of prey consumed. The hands-on experiment led to a true understanding of how the food web really works.

Saturday, May 27, 2017