BOE Workshop and Budget Presentation on Feb. 25

The East Islip Board of Education will hold a workshop meeting and budget presentation on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m., in the ECC cafeteria at 1 Craig B. Gariepy Ave. in Islip Terrace. The community is invited to attend.

Wrestlers Head to County Tournament


Four wrestlers from the high school have qualified for the Suffolk County championships, to be held this weekend at Hofstra University. Winning at the League V tournament were sophomore Ryan Kim (wrestling at 132 pounds) and seniors Eric Flynn (152 pounds), Shane Garcia (195 pounds) and Jarett Molin (145 pounds).

Garcia won the League V championship via pin in 5:27, earning him an award for the most pins in the least amount of time. Flynn, Kim and Molin all placed fourth in their weight classes.

RCK Fourth-Graders Display Details at Science Fair


A copper-cleaning experiment by Marissa Damian was the winner at the recent annual fourth-grade science fair at RCK. Damian’s prize-winning project attempted to discover the best agents to clean copper using a penny, and the reasons why each agent had certain effects on the penny.
Damian will represent RCK at the Brookhaven National Laboratory Elementary School Science Fair on May 7.

Second runner-up Travis Stockton investigated if a person’s sense of smell affects the sense of taste, while first runner-up Sienna Katteridge tried to determine if it was possible to create a square-shaped bubble using straws. 

“All of the fourth-grade students worked really hard on their projects and it showed,” said Principal Hillary K. Bromberg. “I was so impressed with the details and creativity that went in to presenting these projects.”

Middle School Honors Hope for Histiocytosis


Students and staff sported blue shirts at East Islip Middle School on Jan. 26 in recognition of Histiocytosis Awareness Day, which had been declared via a Suffolk County bill sponsored by Legislator Tom Cilmi. Both the bill and the day were inspired by East Islip student Taylor Ryan, who has been living with the rare disease Langerhans cell histiocytosis since 2010.

According to Taylor’s mother, Teresa Ryan, $323 was raised for the Taylor’s Hope Foundation for histiocytosis research by selling awareness bracelets during the event.

Fantastic Photos Earn Albany Display


Remarkable photographs by two high school students – junior Samantha Carroll and sophomore Sophia Gerace – were selected for display at the New York State Art Teachers Association’s 26th annual Legislative Student Art Exhibition. The work will be displayed in the Legislative Well in Albany’s Capitol Building from Feb. 29 through March 3.

Carroll’s piece, “Life Between the Lines,” was inspired by a project on early 1900s photographer August Sanders.

“Using his style of photography, the skills and techniques taught in our photography class, and my own ideas and creativity, I was able to create the content in the image,” said Carroll.

For her photograph “Radiance,” Gerace found inspiration in a light in her home.

“I took this photo for an assignment on shadows and reflections in darkroom photography,” she explained. “My parents’ beautiful light in their bedroom was the inspiration for the project; it reflects pretty patterns onto the ceiling and walls whenever it is turned on. While taking this photo, I had to angle a film camera upwards and focus on the light while it was on. After I took the photo, I developed the film and then enlarged and developed the photo in the darkroom, which is one of my favorite processes.”

Co-sponsored by the New York State Alliance for the Arts in Education and organized by NYSATA in collaboration with New York State United Teachers and state legislators, the exhibit showcases the state’s art programs and provides student-artists with an opportunity for statewide recognition. It is held each spring, culminating in a March 3 reception for students, parents and teachers, where legislators from across New York celebrate the artistic accomplishments of their aspiring artist constituents.

“Samantha and Sophia have demonstrated exceptional skill at darkroom photography,” said their teacher, Heather Toomey. “Their hard work has paid off, and I am proud of their accomplishments.”

JFK Science Fair Sparks Learning


Innovative and creative research projects by more than 150 fourth-grade students were on display at JFK’s annual science fair. Students, staff, families and friends attended the Jan. 26 evening event, and judges included several elementary and secondary teachers, a school nurse, and students from the high school’s Science Honor Society.

After much deliberation, the winner was announced as Emma Danowski from Lauren Fitzmaurice’s class, with her project, “How Clean Are Your Hands?” The runner-up was Jake Sambo from Jessie Ferraro’s class, for his project “Building a Better Bridge.”

Danowski’s project will move on to the Brookhaven National Laboratory Elementary School Science Fair on May 7.

“It was a wonderful experience for all,” said Principal Aileen O’Rourke. “Learning about science is at the heart of a science fair project. Our society relies more on science every day, and science fairs are a great way for students to become more knowledgeable about how the world around them works.”

Virtual Victory for HS Business Students


The high school’s International Business Globalization Career Academy students successfully participated in the preliminary event of the annual Virtual Enterprises International business plan competition, held on Jan. 15 at Farmingdale State College, earning a spot in the next round.

East Islip’s six-person team, known as VE Connected, included Haley Abesamis, Alaina Daly, Melissa Marra, Michelle Suter, Sean Touhy and Crystal Vessalico.

“These six students did an amazing job with their presentation and an outstanding job answering questions from the judges after the presentation was completed,” said Career Academy director Israel Malinowitzer. “These students had to do two presentations that day in front of two different groups of judges. Then the scores from the two presentations were used to decide which teams would move on to the next level.”

More than 40 virtual business firms competed this year for the top seven spots, seeking to move on to the semifinals at the American Portfolios Financial Services building in Holbrook. Of those seven, two will be chosen to take part in the final phase, the national competition on April 17.

Making Sets for 'Cinderella'


Beginning last November, students enrolled in East Islip High School’s musical theater technology class began production on the sets for this year’s East Islip Middle School musical, “Cinderella.”

In this full-year art elective course, taught for the past two years by Toniann Mannino, students create the set design and production for the high school Drama Club production as well as the middle school and high school musicals.

Staying after school when possible, the students built an impressive set for the middle school’s actors, comprised of a 12-foot castle with rotating eight-foot sides. The castle transforms into Cinderella’s house interior, a town square and a clock tower. They also constructed a platform for the musical’s royal thrones, and assisted on rehearsal and show nights to move the set as needed for scene changes to ensure the success of the musical.

“We begin each musical by drawing out our ideas two-dimensionally,” said Mannino. “Once our designs are approved by the musical’s director, we begin production. The students cut every piece of wood, hammer every nail and paint every detail until set completion. My students are very talented and dedicated to creating an amazing set and I am extremely proud of them.”

“Cinderella” will be playing on Friday, Feb. 5 and Saturday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. in the Middle School auditorium.  

The High School's 13 All-County Performers


Thirteen outstanding high school musicians were selected to perform at the annual New York State Council of Administrators of Music Education All-County concert, held on Nov. 20 at Huntington High School. NYSCAME’s All-County program showcases the best 11th- and 12th-grade musicians in Suffolk County to perform in bands, choruses and orchestras.

Junior Kurt Eide (trombone) and seniors Jack Burke-McGoldrick (trombone), Laura Coffin (oboe) and Jake MacMorris (tuba) performed with the All-County Band; juniors Devin Thelemann (bass), Kevin Jacobsen (trumpet) and Michael Stevens (horn) and seniors Sarah Commisso (viola) and Karli Pipitone (cello) performed with the All-County Orchestra; junior Kendra Canavan (alto) and seniors Ashley (alto) and Shannon Ransom (alto) performed with the All-County Women’s Chorus; and senior Danielle Pafundi (soprano) performed with the All-County Mixed Chorus.

World Record for MS Musicians


Middle school musicians Ryan Bauer and Andrew Stanzione participated in the 11th annual SCMEA Day of Horn, earning a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

This year’s Day of Horn, held at Northport High School on Jan. 22, featured the largest horn ensemble in the world, prompting Guinness Book officials to attend to record the event. 

“It was such a fun, musical and educational day for both students and teachers,” said middle school band director Concetta Stevens. “And how cool is it that our middle schoolers will be in the Guinness Book of World Records?”

Museum Provides Creative Challenge for AP Artists


Representatives from Huntington’s Heckscher Museum of Art visited the high school’s Advanced Placement art classes on Dec. 14 to provide a digital presentation of the museum’s exhibitions as well as introduce the students to the “Long Island’s Best: Young Artists at the Heckscher Museum” program. Students in the 2D design and drawing classes explored works digitally, discussed professional works and the multiple interpretations of a variety of works.

This unique arts-in-education program, which culminates in a juried art exhibition, offers high school students the opportunity to create work inspired by items on display at the museum and to exhibit their art in a museum setting.

“The in-school field trip was beneficial because it gave me time to think about my concentration for my AP exam,” said senior Destiny Nalls, an AP 2D design student. It also gave me a good opportunity to enter the Long Island’s Best competition and express my creativity.”

“Our AP students are extremely hard working and dedicated,” said teacher Heather Toomey. “They are talented and creative, and participating in programs like this will offer them valuable opportunities that will enhance their college applications as well as provide them with creative challenges where they can express themselves visually through their art. I was impressed by their critiquing abilities – they were professional and insightful. It was also really fantastic that the program provided everyone with free passes to visit the Heckscher Museum in person to view the artwork on exhibit.”

“The Heckscher’s visit to our school was enriching and beneficial for our AP art students, introducing them to a variety of artworks currently on exhibit at the museum,” said teacher Dan Figliozzi. “I am excited to see what original works our students create in response to the works exhibited. This really is a great opportunity for all students to share and exhibit their work to a larger public audience.”

Eight from EI Lauded by LISFA


Eight exceptional music students from East Islip were selected for this year’s Long Island String Festival Association concerts, recognizing them as being among the top string orchestra players in Suffolk County in their age group. They were chosen by LISFA based on recommendations from their orchestra teacher and scoring results from last year’s New York State School Music Association Solo Festival.

High school senior cellist Karli Pipitone, junior double bassist Devin Thelemann and freshman violinist Victoria Keenan; and from the middle school, eighth-grade double bassist Peter Gerace, will all perform at LISFA’s Suffolk Secondary concert, to be held Jan. 31 at Ward Melville High School in East Setauket.

Seventh-grade viola players Noelle Naccarato and Michelle Mirabelli, and seventh-grade double bassist Mia Lembo; and John F. Kennedy Elementary School fifth-grade violinist Keira Ann Tantillo, all from the middle school, played at LISFA’s Suffolk Elementary concert, held Jan. 17 at Smithtown West High School.

“We are so very proud of our hardworking orchestral students,” said Robert Wottawa, the district’s director of art and music. “This once-a-year opportunity provides our string students with the experiences of working with professional conductors and students from all across Long Island.”

Kindergarten Registration in March

Please see the attached document for information on kindergarten registration, which will take place at the district office board room from March 7-10.


Cooperative Collections for Troops Overseas


Patriotic students at the middle school’s Builders Club have continued to find ways to honor those who have served in the U.S. military, both veterans and currently deployed service personnel.

Most recently, the club worked cooperatively with middle school teachers Melissa Henderson and Barbara Huether, running class collections, creating cards and decorating boxes for two Marine Corps units overseas. Shipping was provided by several parent volunteers and school staff members.

The Builders Club students were also invited to American Legion Post 94 in Babylon, where they thanked the veterans.

‘Respect’ed Students at JFK


Through its popular Book of the Month program, students at JFK read a book monthly and focus on a specific character trait that is embodied in the story.

December’s book for JFK was “Brother Eagle, Sister Sky” by Susan Jeffers, illustrating the character trait of “respect.” Each class recognized a student who exemplified this trait. These students were honored on the “Star of the Month” bulletin board and received a certificate and treat from Principal Aileen O’Rourke.

Winter Track Runs at Hispanic Games


The high school’s boys and girls winter track teams headed to the Armory in New York City on Jan. 9 to compete in numerous events at the 23rd annual Hispanic Games.

“It was a great event to attend,” said coach Ralph Tubello. “They ran against the top competition in the country, which will help prepare the boys and girls for their up and coming league championships.”

Spelling Bee Winner Shows ‘Tenacity’


After 11 gripping rounds, sixth-grader Toniann Santamaria correctly spelled the word “tenacity” to win the middle school’s annual Scripps National Spelling Bee. In second and third place, respectively, were seventh-graders Jillian Bradley and Mia Lembo.

A total of 42 students participated in the bee, which was coordinated by teachers Brian Deedy and Ann Mingione. Michelle Wagner served as the announcer.

“This year’s spelling bee was packed with many students, parents, staff, and administrators, and our classroom winners were excited to compete,” said Mingione. “Congratulations to all who participated."  

Redmen Wrestlers Win Big at Valley Stream South

The high school’s varsity wrestling team competed in an individual tournament at Valley Stream South in December, boasting 10 place winners, six finalists and three individual champions. Mike Barra (160 pounds), Shane Garcia (195 pounds) and Cody Piscitelli (120 pounds) all won their respective weight classes, while Jarret Molin (145 pounds), Joe Picece (138 pounds) and Anthony Senft (106 pounds) all placed second. The Redmen placed second overall in the team standings.  

Young JFK and RCK Programmers Learn Coding


Students at John F. Kennedy and Ruth C. Kinney schools joined 100 million students in more than 180 countries worldwide to participate in December’s Hour of Code computer programming activity during Computer Science Education Week. All students received a certificate upon completion of an hour of coding.

“It was wonderful to be a part of this global coding activity, and the students loved it and proved to be quite talented in computer programming,” said RCK Principal Hillary K. Bromberg. “They were excited to see how the Blockly system of code made their Minecraft characters move, and were so proud of themselves when they were able to determine what command was needed to complete the tasks. It was also interesting to show them the JavaScript written underneath the Blockly commands they were using.”  

Seal Support Earns Connetquot Vote


In an earnest environmental effort, students at Connequot Elementary voted to support a seal as part of a recent fundraising initiative.

The entire student body had been involved in collecting water bottles and recycling them, and decided to donate the recycling funds that were raised to help a rescued sea animal at the Riverhead Foundation. In a school election coordinated by kindergarten teachers Karin Hipp and Dave Kennedy, the students cast ballots to decide to assist either a sea turtle or a seal.

The election resulted in Connetquot supporting “Scraggy the Seal,” and a bulletin board announcing the results was created by paraprofessional Patty Stengel and put on display at the school. 

“Our students learned important lessons about recycling, helping endangered animals and being responsible citizens through the power of voting,” said Principal Deborah Smith.

Gallery Greatness for Two HS Artists


Outstanding works by Kristianna Schlosser and Kara Tejada, both Advanced Placement art students at the high school, were selected for the LIU Post “Advanced Visions 12: High School Artists of Excellence” show.

Schlosser’s photograph “Abandoned Wonderland” and Tejada’s drawing “Skewed Self Portrait” will be shown at this juried exhibition at the Student Art League gallery, now located in the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library at Post. The exhibition began on Dec. 15 and will run until Jan. 27, when Schlosser and Tejada will be honored at a Post artists’ reception.

“I am excited and proud of Kara,” said Dan Figliozzi, who teaches AP drawing at East Islip. “She has continually impressed me with her highly saturated portraits. I am happy to know that her work will reach a larger audience by being featured in this show. I’m also excited to see how her work will evolve this year, through the development of her concentration section of the AP drawing exam.”

Heather Toomey, who teaches AP 2D design, said, “Kristianna has been a photography student for three years, and is talented and skilled with Photoshop manipulations. It is an honor to be exhibited in a gallery and I am so proud of her for her continued accomplishments in photography.”

Seniors Find Neverland in NYC


High school seniors from Linda Leach’s English 12 and Carene Mahoney’s AP English classes took a field trip to New York City on Dec. 9 to see “Finding Neverland” on Broadway.

Based on the Academy Award-winning film of the same name, the musical was brought to life by the team behind “Shakespeare in Love,” “Chicago” and “Pippin.”

“The play reveals the inspiration behind J.M. Barrie’s classic story of Peter Pan, depicting the struggle of the writing, editing and staging of the play through both story and song,” said Mahoney.

While visiting Manhattan, the students were also able to take in some of the city’s holiday sights, from the Macy’s “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus” display to Christmas trees at Bryant Park and Rockefeller Center.

Heartwarming HS Winter Concerts


The sounds of the season filled Rydzeski Hall on Dec. 21 and 22, as stellar young high school musicians displayed talents earned over years of practice at two remarkable winter concerts. The material ranged far and wide, from classical pieces by Vivaldi and Tchaikovsky, to traditional Jewish and Puerto Rican songs and the familiar themes from “Star Wars.”

The first night featured the string orchestra, directed by Susan W. Rydzeski; the women’s choir, directed by Bethany Affelt; the concert choir, directed by John Patrick Murphy; and the concert band, directed by Christopher Neske.

Showcased during the second evening were the honors symphony orchestra, directed by Rydzeski; the honors choir, directed by Affelt; and the honors wind ensemble, directed by Neske.

“This holiday season, our students exhibited professionalism with a performance that moved and engaged the audience, from the light show of our string orchestra, to the heartwarming delivery of the honors choir,” said Dr. Robert Wottawa, the district’s director of art and music. “The success of these concerts is due to the hard work and dedication of not only our students, but our outstanding teachers who maintain high expectations during daily rehearsals.”

Sunday, February 14, 2016