A Year of Charity for JFK’s Student Council


While looking forward to another exciting year this coming fall, the student council at John F. Kennedy Elementary School reflected on their busy last school year of charitable and community-centered activities.

The council began last September with a renewed commitment to the Ronald McDonald House, collecting the tabs from aluminum cans, which were then delivered to a collection site to support the family-oriented activities provided by the charity. In October, the entire student body took home bright orange UNICEF boxes to gather $1,008.68 in donations while they were out celebrating Halloween, managing. In December, the council teamed up with East Islip High School’s Math Honor Society and the U.S. Marine Corps for a Toys for Tots toy drive, collecting 87 new toys that were delivered to Long Island children. For the popular February project Pick a Pop!, student council members willingly gave up their recess to work at lunch periods, earning $500 for the school’s fifth-grade moving up committee. Last spring, the council students tackled school spirit, soliciting themed outfit ideas from their classmates for Spirit Fun Fridays. 

“We can't thank all the students, parents and extended family members enough for being so supportive of all our endeavors,” said Principal Aileen O’Rourke.

Freshmen Caucus on FDR Address


High school freshmen in English and history teacher Greg Kguloian’s classes recently worked on the “Civics - Back to the Future” project, forming caucus groups to delve into the meaning of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1933 inaugural address, in which he famously noted, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Each four-person caucus group worked together to ponder the meaning of FDR’s phrase and generate ideas on what their generation can look forward to in the future and what their fellow Americans can do to provide a better life for all. Each caucus group was given 10 minutes to discuss, debate and prepare a short formal speech that addressed each of the three given points and provided encouragement and hope to the audience of their peers. 

“My aim was to help my students understand what a caucus is,” said Kguloian, noting the timeliness of the project in relation to this year’s electoral process.  “I also wanted my students to understand the process in light of what a candidate and then an elected public official may say during our ‘difficult economic times.’”

His freshmen had recently read “Of Mice and Men” and had read “To Kill a Mockingbird” in middle school the prior year; in Kguloian’s view, the shared motif of personal and economic uncertainty inherent in those novels tied into the students’ collective understanding of what Roosevelt was talking about in his 1933 address.

“I was hoping it would be good, but these kids really paid attention, thought it out and said things in their speeches that were really deep,” Kguloian said.

BOE Business Meeting on Sept. 15


The next Board of Education business meeting will be held on Thursday, Sept. 15 at 8 p.m.  at 1 Craig B. Gariepy Ave. in Islip Terrace.

See below attachment for a complete 2016-2017 Board meeting schedule.


Arts Alive LI Poster Concert Winners


More than a dozen middle school students in Frances Weller’s art classes participated in the Arts Alive LI 2016 Poster Contest. Eighth-graders Alexis Barber and Alexa Fusco were both recently named winners in the grades 6-8 category, with Fusco earning first place and Barber placing third.

Arts Alive LI, a program of the Long Island Arts Alliance, sponsors events throughout the year to highlight the importance of the arts on Long Island.   
Fusco and Barber, who will attend the high school as freshmen in September, will be recognized at an awards ceremony in September at the LIU Post campus in Brookville, and their creative artwork will be on display at the Long Island Children’s Museum in Garden City during October in celebration of National Arts and Humanities Month.

Districtwide Committee Application for 2016-2017

Our district embraces a shared decision-making approach which involves all constituencies – parents, staff and administrators – in discussing matters that will have an impact on our students and our district, now and in the future. We encourage parents and community members to avail themselves of the opportunity to be selected to participate on the districtwide committees we established throughout the school year. If interested, please complete the application to serve on such committees. The deadline for receipt of these applications will be Friday, Oct. 14.


Patriotic Eighth-Grader Serves Those Who Served


Eighth-grader Alexa Sanchez, a member of the middle school’s Builders Club, recently cooked a special Italian dinner with her family for veterans at Project9Line.

“The veterans at Project9Line truly appreciated that the Sanchez family remembered them and cared enough to prepare a meal for them,” said Project9Line music instructor Dennis O’Donnell. “Eyes widened as we set the table, and smiles abounded as they enjoyed the offering. As a father to a soldier, I thank them for showing the veterans that they care.”

“It was truly a pleasure and an honor to be able to give back a little something to those that have sacrificed so much for our great country,” said Sanchez, who will attend East Islip High School in September. “It was definitely something that everyone should do to help out those who have served.”

Car Refurbishing Builds Pride


Recent high school graduates Donald Ahlers, Joe Gresh and Anthony Pagano – all students in the school’s career development program – spent a rewarding senior year as interns at the local Lee’s Auto Body, refurbishing a special car for donation to the school. Showing great attention to detail, the students learned technologies including wiring, paint stripping, glueing and welding while working under the guidance of job coach Scott Hoelldobler and Lee’s owner Gary Teich.

In the internship program with Lee’s, the students spent an hour a day, twice weekly during the school year, working at the auto body shop. The school’s connection with Lee’s started out small three years ago, but has proven valuable, according to Hoelldobler. “My colleague Kelly Kern asked Gary Teich if he would be willing to help out the East Islip career development program,” said Hoelldobler. “He said he would give it a try. Things worked out so well that he hired one of the students part-time at his shop after the student graduated that June.”

At the beginning of the last school year, Lee’s purchased a damaged 2006 Mercury Grand Marquis. When Teich, a 1982 East Islip alumnus and vice president of the East Islip Chamber of Commerce, was informed that the school was looking for a car for its security guards, he decided to turn the car into a project for the students that Lee’s could give to the school.

“Throughout the school year, the boys worked on the car every week,” said Hoelldobler. “The kids took doors off of another Grand Marquis and put them on the donor car. They also changed out the locks so that one key would fit all of the locks. They changed out the taillights, and hooked up the light bar on the roof. They welded and sanded parts and used body filler. They participated in every aspect of putting a car together. ”

“The kids worked very hard, and the results show it,” said Teich. “This was a rewarding project on so many levels for all involved. Scott and Kelly do such a great job with the students, showing them patience, perseverance and guidance. I think we have all benefitted from their values. We are so proud of Joe, Anthony and Donald for all their efforts.”

The emblem on the doors and hood was designed by Matthew Teich, Gary’s son and a member of East Islip High School’s Class of 2016. Hoelldobler noted that the three career development students helped with the creative process, providing feedback for tweaking the image. The “100” on the car represented Lee’s Auto Body’s 100th year in business, and its red and white paint job not only reflects the school colors, but holds special meaning for Gary Teich. He chose a 1982 “Corvette Red” for the stripe –1982 for his graduation year, and the "Corvette" part in honor of his sister, Honey, who owned a Corvette repair shop in Bohemia and passed away last December. Steve Behan, a member of East Islip’s Board of Education, helped Teich paint the car, and it was eventually donated to the school’s security team at a May board meeting.

Hoelldobler believes that the value of the program goes beyond mere mechanical experience. “I hope that I have not only been a job coach for Anthony, Donald and Joe, but rather a life coach and mentor,” he said. “I have watched these guys develop into fine young men, each growing in different ways. And Gary doesn't only teach the kids about auto body work. From day one, he covered all aspects of work ethic, respect for others and taking pride in your own work. He has taught the kids that by always learning more, they become more employable, and that paying attention has rewards.”

Hoelldobler sees successful programs such as this one as a symbol of the district and community’s solidarity and support of its students.  “It is truly wonderful to see the East Islip business community give these folks a chance to contribute,” he said. “As I have said many times at various chamber of commerce meetings, ‘If you give these kids a chance, I assure you that two things will probably happen. First, you will be thrilled with their work, and second, you will probably get more out of this experience than the kids will.’ Everyone can contribute to their community, if given the opportunity and the right level of support. In my opinion, East Islip is showing everyone else how to do it right.”

District Calendar and Directory Posted

The East Islip School District 2016-2017 district calendar and directory has been posted and is attached below.


Butterfly Lessons at RCK Integrate Art and Science


Near the end of each school year at Ruth C. Kinney Elementary, the anticipation in the air builds as third-graders anxiously await the caterpillars that will be delivered to their rooms for them to study as part of the school’s annual butterfly lesson integrating art and science. This year was no different, as the students observed as the caterpillars lived and ate in their small cups until they grew big enough to form chrysalises and emerge as beautiful butterflies.

As a part of this science and art integration project supporting STEAM education, Dana Belfiore-O’Connell led the students in studying the various species and their anatomical parts. Using observation skills, students created butterfly artworks, each with a head, thorax and abdomen, as well as traditional markings and unique wing shapes found in the various species. Art ideas such as symmetry and color scheme were explored as the students utilized transferring and coloring skills to blend their butterflies’ colors.

Kindergarten Orientations Set for Sept. 2

Kindergarten orientations at Connetquot and Timber Point are scheduled for Friday, Sept. 2 at 2 p.m. We are all looking forward to seeing you then!  More information will be forthcoming in your child’s welcome back letters that will be mailed home the week of Aug. 22. Thank you and enjoy you summer vacation.

High School Med Students Ride on Local Ambulance


More than a dozen students in the high school’s Medical and Health Technology Career Academy rode as volunteers with Bay Shore-Brightwaters Rescue Ambulance during the past school year, some saving lives in the process.

“This was a unique opportunity for these students,” said Career Academy teacher Lisa Neri, who noted that the student volunteers had responded to hundreds of emergency calls ranging from cardiac arrests and traumas to drug overdoses, working with an vital organization that became what they called their “second home.”

“What they enjoyed most was the hands-on nature of their service,” Neri said. “During high intensity moments, their skills and training were put to work, with students asked to take vitals, control bleeding and even ventilate patients. They also formed close and enriching relationships with the other members at Bay Shore-Brightwaters Rescue Ambulance, who taught them the basics of EMS.”

Many of the East Islip participants recently passed their probationary training test, and some have been encouraged by their time on the ambulance to further their medical abilities by attending an EMT-B course.

A Fresh Film Fest at the HS


Providing the opportunity to showcase student film projects created throughout the school year, the fourth annual East Islip High School Film Festival was held May 25, hosted by teacher James Connell’s video production and broadcast television classes in the school’s television studio.

The Film Festival programming for 2016 included a wide variety of videos ranging from educational digital video packages, short independent films, comedies and horror films, as well as live musical performances by students such as Kate Maretsky and Karli Pipitone, who sang and played guitar on songs from popular film soundtracks. Interactive games were played in which members of the audience were selected to get up and play a game show in the television studio’s green screen, and a live Twitter feed gave students in the crowd a chance to provide instant feedback on the event as it was happening. Many of the students dressed in costume.

“This year’s Film Festival was a great success and was extremely popular with the students of East Islip,” said Connell. “We always try to keep everything fresh and exciting for the crowd.”

HS Students Practice Future Workplace Skills with Sir Research-a-lot


“In an age of internet-based research, my students actually enjoyed doing their required research papers this year,” said high school English teacher Greg Kguloian, who initiated the Sir Research-a-lot Fact-Finding Enterprise during 2015-2016, which he defined as an independent research and report cooperative turned that turned into a startup company for life experience. “My intention was to recreate a mock workplace to show my kids how what they learn in school can actively prepare them for college and careers,” he said.

A follow-up to his prior Lit.2 Life cross-curricular lessons, which revolved around the theme of “related and connected” and bridged both personal and American history with literature, the Sir Research-a-lot program found freshmen English students researching either the Great Depression (via John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men) or the Civil Rights Era (via “Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun”), while sophomores investigated World War II (through Eli Wiesel’s “Night” and John Knowles’ “A Separate Peace”).

“These students are getting a taste of what it’s like to do relevant and appropriate research and formally present it in the MLA format,” said Kguloian. “They will need these skills to be successful in college or potential future careers. By creating our own practice place of academic business, the pupils are able to see how they too can make their own startup company, work with others and produce a valuable intellectual product. They have taken the experience of working with some literary canons and uncovered information that is related to those classic works of literature, and they have taken ownership of these discovered facts and made something productive out of their research. Although this student-centered research company is not real, the experience of working with others to create something of value really is.”

MS Leaders Club Hits the Trees


To celebrate the accomplishments of the Middle School Leaders Club for the latest school year, 45 club members traveled to the Adventure Park at Long Island in Wheatley Heights to challenge their bodies and minds on the obstacle courses in the trees.

This year’s Leader Club group was the first to attempt this field trip, according to adviser Diane Wahrenburg, who said, “I was a bit nervous and wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew these students would step up to the plate and challenge themselves, which is exactly what they did.”

Prior to climbing on at least three courses each, the club members were instructed on how to use their harnesses and clips properly so they would be attached to the safety cable for each course at all times.  The courses were color coded and progressed from lower, easier courses, to higher and more difficult courses.  Club members mustered their courage to jump off platforms, test their balance and strength, and zip line through the trees. Mental toughness was also a definite requirement.

“With the encouragement and help of their friends, some of our club members completed courses they did not think they could handle and pleasantly surprised themselves by pushing out of their comfort zones,” said Wahrenburg. “At the end of the day, everyone was happy, tired and feeling accomplished.”

Timber Pointers ‘Lend a Hand’


Students at Timber Point “lent a hand” to complete the school’s "We’re All in This Together" mural in the cafeteria.

Marianne Borruso-Gilmore, a member of Timber Point’s PTA, donated her time to paint the original mural in August 2015. Fellow PTA members Sue Kiernan, Dawn LaMacchia, Dawn Sandler and Colleen Varley worked throughout the year to help every student and teacher, Principal Danielle Naccarato and the remainder of the Timber Point staff in taking turns placing a handprint somewhere in the mural.

“The children were excited to see each handprint then turn into a flower, forest creature or the planet, reminding us that we are all on this Earth together and we must take care of it and each other,” said Borruso-Gilmore.

Other features in the mural include the “Timber Point Express Train,” with a different food group in each train car, as well as the “Wonder Wall,” which serves to remind the children to never lose their sense of wonder.

“The message of the mural is that we are all different but we are all important, and every child’s hand was needed to fill in the spaces and make the mural beautiful,” said Borruso-Gilmore. “It was wonderful to see everyone come together to create it.”

HS Musician's Quintet Earn First Prize


High school music student Michael Stevens recently performed with his woodwind group, the Noname Quintet, in the first ever M-Prize International Chamber Competition, taking the $5,000 first prize in the Junior Winds Division.

The competition took place in May at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where two intensive performance rounds were held. The semifinalists were chosen from over 170 chamber groups from 13 countries, making this competition – which offered a $100K grand prize in the Senior Division – bigger than any other competition of its type.

“In February, during our regular quintet rehearsal, we recorded ourselves and just decided to send it in,” said Stevens, who begins his senior year in September. “We didn’t expect this.”

After being informed that they had made the live semifinal rounds, the young student-musicians had their work cut out for them.

“In the period of just less than a month, we prepared enough music to give two full-length recitals,” said Stevens. “Our coach at Juilliard had us perform every week up until the trip, and in some cases, we would start a piece at our 9 a.m. Saturday rehearsal, then perform it that night in a recital. It was crazy how much we crammed in.”

The Noname Quintet, as they are called, stem from the Juilliard PreCollege Division and are coached by Prof. Bärli Nugent. In addition to Stevens, the group includes four New York area music students, all of whom graduated high school in June: bassoonist, Steven Ekert (Harvard Class of 2020), flutist Nicholas Ioffreda (Princeton Class of 2020), clarinetist Alec Manasse (Juilliard Class of 2020) and oboist Laura Michael (Yale Class of 2020).

Stevens has been playing French horn and piano since the age of five. He current serves as principal horn of the Juilliard PreCollege Orchestra and as a member of the New York Youth Symphony. He is touring Europe this summer as co-principal horn of the Carnegie Hall National Youth Orchestra.

Zachry Named New BOE President

Christopher Zachry was chosen as the East Islip Board of Education's new president for 2016-2017. First elected as a trustee in 2014, Zachry was named president on July 5 during the Board’s annual reorganization meeting. He replaces former President Philip Montuori Sr., who remains as a trustee.

William Carpluk, who also joined the Board as a trustee in 2014, was named as vice president.

Softball Stars Earn Postseason Honors


Four members of the high school’s strong softball squad earned post-season honors. Juniors Jackie Carty and Courtney Greene and sophomore Alise Colandro were named All-County athletes, with Greene also named to the All-Long Island first team, while freshman Ashley Benvengo was named All-League and League IV Rookie of the Year.

“I am very proud of these four athletes,” said coach Jason McGowan, who was named League IV Coach of the Year. “They put in the work during the offseason, and it showed. It’s an honor to coach them.”

Greene, a pitcher and the team’s junior captain, had an outstanding season, leading the Lady Redmen to the Suffolk County final after losing in the second round of the playoffs. Behind Greene’s solid pitching performances, East Islip rattled off five straight wins to reach the final. As a pitcher, Greene won 17 games and set a new school record in striking out 176 batters in 155 innings. She notched her 500th career strikeout this season as well, finishing the year with 518 career strikeouts, also a school record.

According to McGowan, Greene’s season was highlighted by an epic matchup with Eastport-South Manor in the semifinal, in which she pitched 12 innings, struck out 13 batters and hit a home run that cut the lead in half. On offense, Greene batted .327 (.375 in the playoffs) and scored five home runs (including four playoff homers), 32 hits and 27 RBI.

Greene has committed to play softball for Molloy College starting in the fall of 2017.

Colandro, the team’s catcher and leadoff hitter, had a breakout season after earning League IV Rookie of the Year last year. According to McGowan, Colandro had one of the best offensive seasons in the history of East Islip softball, batting .435 while compiling a school-record 47 hits. She also scored 26 runs and stole 19 bases, and in the playoffs, batted .394 with 13 hits and eight runs.

“Alise caught every inning of every game this season, which is a credit to her toughness and her resiliency,” said McGowan. “Alise was clutch during the playoffs and was the catalyst of our county finalist team. When she got going, the team got going. She handled our three different pitchers this season with ease and was a vocal leader on the field. We look forward to Alise leading us again next year.”

Carty, playing shortstop for the first time, and batting third, led East Islip with six home runs, tying a school record, including three in the playoffs. She also scored 27 runs, walked 21 times (another school record) and had 27 RBI. With no seniors and only two juniors on the team, the four-year varsity player emerged as a leader on and off the field.

“Jackie was our emotional leader and a major factor in the team’s success,” said McGowan. “Her hustle, performance in the clutch and desire to be great are what makes her so special.”

A three-sport athlete, Carty has committed to play soccer at Molloy College in the fall of 2017.

HS and MS Fall Sports Physicals and Practices

The middle school nurses will be available on Wednesday, Aug. 31 from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. to collect sports physicals and to hand out orange cards.

The high school nurses will be available at the high school to collect physicals and orange cards on the following days from 8 a.m.to 11 a.m.:
   Monday, Aug. 15 through Thursday, Aug. 18
   Monday, Aug. 22 through Thursday, Aug. 25

See the attached document for JV and varsity summer open workout schedule, as well as first practice and tryout dates and times.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016