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Class of 2017 Turns the Page


As the sun wrestled through the clouds, the 342 members of the high school’s Class of 2017 marched in a sea of red-and-white caps and gowns into Boomer Esiason Stadium on June 23 to start the school’s 90th commencement ceremony. The graduates nevertheless experienced a rain of inspiring words about honesty, competition and perseverance from fellow students and administrators as they prepared to turn the page on a new chapter in their young lives.

The high school band, directed by Christopher Neske, performed the processional music. Brittney Berke, accompanied by Vincenzo Mediate, led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Kendra Canavan sang the “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The vocal quartet of Roy Anderson, Amanda Baranek, Berke and Kurt Eide delivered the school’s alma mater. Members of the school’s Class of 1967 were presented with certificates recognizing their golden anniversary of graduation. 

“Dreams are important because they are what motivates us,” said Principal William Brennen in his opening remarks. Emphasizing the importance of character building based on honesty, he encouraged the graduates to develop and pursue goals and show appreciation for their parents, teachers and others who help them along their journey. 

Quoting from Adam Smith and Charles Darwin, valedictorian Jack Palmeri extolled competition as essential to productive activity in each person’s life and for whole nations, saying that it furthers innovations, sparks creativity and advances civilization.

“It’s what influenced individuals such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs to strive to be their best,” Palmeri said. “Without competition, society would have no drive, no determination and no choices. Competition is what separates the great United States of America from the rest of the world.”

Salutatorian Alexandra Belyea reflected on how her accomplishments throughout her East Islip school career would have been unattainable without the guidance of her teachers, friends and parents, who always told her to be nice, kind and happy and befriend those that would make her a better person.

“In the end, people will only truly care about and remember the type of person you are,” Belyea said. “As we all move past high school, it is crucial to be a positive influence in society and surround yourself with genuinely good people who raise you up instead of pull you down.” 

Superintendent John Dolan encouraged students to pick career paths that would energize them, set their goals high and chase them with unbridled enthusiasm.

“Make good choices and take responsibility for them, and be sure to follow your moral compass,” he said.

Board of Education President Christopher Zachry told the graduates that they would fail only if they didn’t believe in themselves through life’s inevitable obstacles and unexpected events. He stressed that time, unlike money, is a commodity that they can’t afford to lose because it can never be regained.

“If there’s something in your heart that you want to do, don’t put it off,” he said. “Don’t waste time. Don’t wait until you’re 25 or 30. Start working towards it now.”

Field Day a Fun Favorite at Timber Point


At Timber Point, students from kindergarten through second grade enjoyed a fun-filled Field Day full of activities, including an obstacle course, hula hooping, box car races, potato sack races, balance activities and a ball toss game.

“Field Day has always been a favorite year-end event for Timber Point,” said physical education teacher Pat Bush. “It is such a rewarding experience to watch the students participate in all the activities. They worked together, demonstrated good sportsmanship and had a tremendous amount of exercise while maintaining their smiling faces. Congratulations to them all.”

Eighth Graders Enjoy Backyard Bash


Celebrating the end of the school year and future learning opportunities at the high school this fall, eighth graders at the middle school participated in the annual Backyard Bash on June 19, enjoying music, dancing, food and games with their classmates.

“Once again, our eighth-grade students thoroughly enjoyed this year-end celebration,” said Principal Mark Bernard. “We wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.”

BOE Annual Reorganization Meeting on July 6


The East Islip Board of Education will hold its annual reorganization meeting on Thursday, July 6 at 7 p.m.

All community members are invited to attend.

EI: Where Amazing Things Happen Every Day


A Successful Spring Concert Series


East Islip closed out another school year of growing musical skill and diligent practice with a terrific May series of spring concerts representing musicians from the high school, middle school, and John F. Kennedy and Ruth C. Kinney elementary schools.

The programs of the six concerts, all held at the high school’s Rydzeski Hall, included classical compositions by Bach, Dvorak, Haydn, Holst, Mozart, Stravinsky and Vivaldi; traditional and folk tunes from various traditions; pop songs like “From a Distance” and “Happy”; and dramatic pieces from films and musicals such as “Hairspray,” “Les Miserables,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Jurassic Park” and “Moana.”

“Our spring concert series was a brilliant success,” said Dr. Robert J. Wottawa II, the district’s director of art and music. “Our children’s hard work and dedication is a reflection of their teachers’ passion for their teaching craft, performance level, and high expectations.”


NHS Fundraises for Fox Foundation

Demonstrating the students’ commitment to helping worthy causes, the high school’s National Honor Society collected $1,200 at a recent car wash fundraiser for the benefit of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

Exemplary Videos and Strummed Guitars Highlight Film Fest


Offering everything from videos to guitar performances, the high school’s fifth annual Film Festival highlighted the exemplary work created by film students during the school year. Held in in the school’s television studio, the event held was again hosted by teacher James Connell’s video production and broadcast television classes, and featured videos in numerous genres and formats, as well as live guitar-and-vocal performances.

“My special thanks go out to students such as Steven Murello, who provided many of the Film Festival’s videos,” said Connell. “Steven has been an incredible asset to the program over the years and will be missed as he pursues his filmmaking aspirations at the School for Visual Arts in New York City next year and beyond.”

EI Fields 19 Special Olympians


East Islip entered a team of 19 student-athletes in this year’s Special Olympics Long Island Spring Games South, hosted by Bellport High School on May 7.

Physical education teachers Laura O’Donnell and Diane Wahrenburg became Special Olympics coaches and started a training program at East Islip Middle School last year, entering six middle school student-athletes in the 2016 games. This year, the team more than tripled, growing to include both middle school and high school students, as well as an additional coach, Julie Susskind. 

After eight weeks of training, the athletes attended a special breakfast, held in honor of the team, on the Friday preceding the event, hosted by the middle school and sponsored by SEPTO. Their families, coaches and district administrators were on hand to celebrate and congratulate the athletes on their hard work and to wish them luck at the games.

The students competed in two events each at the Special Olympics, including the turbo jav throw, softball throw, tennis ball throw, 50-meter dash, 100-meter dash and 100-meter walk. Middle school athletes Anthony Agresta, Madeline Director, Ryan Guerra, Krish Khajuria, Jake Kozak, Janissa Lloyd, Timmy McCall, Julia Modico, Michael Pacheko, Sarah Spruyt and Christopher Urraro took numerous gold, silver and bronze medals and ribbons in their events. High school athletes Delaney Conlan, Danny DiOrio, Jon Michael Jacobs, Emily Maccarone, Robert Phillips, Michael Quagliara, James Stiso and Kelly Stupplebeen also came home with multiple medals and ribbons.

“We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day for our Special Olympics athletes to compete,” said Wahrenburg. “I am proud of each and every one of them, and I am grateful to be a part of our team and this organization.”

“The kids were excited about competing in the events that they had spent weeks training for,” said O’Donnell, who noted that the coaches look forward to putting together an even bigger team next year. “They were proud of their personal achievements and cheered on their friends. It was a day of victory and pride for everyone involved.”

The students were also honored at the district’s June 8 Board of Education meeting.

MS Trio Succeeds at STEM Challenge


The middle school sent a team of three students to the Team Packard 2017 STEM Challenge at Northport High School this spring. Brandon Palomba, Emily Puglisi and Olivia Zhang, all members of the school’s STEM Club, competed in four different challenges against 32 teams representing 10 different school districts. East Islip’s team placed second in the Density Challenge.

“These kids worked hard all year attending the STEM Club, and their hard work paid off,” said club adviser Darcie Schlott.

Senior Awards Night


Dozens of the high school’s outstanding seniors from the Class of 2017 were recognized at the school’s annual Senior Awards Night, held on June 5. The students received well-deserved awards and scholarships from presenters who included Superintendent John V. Dolan, Principal William Brennan, district administrators, local sponsors and community members.

“It is always great when students are recognized and rewarded for their hard work and commitment to their education,” said Principal William Brennen. “Kudos to all of our recipients and their proud parents.”

Girls Golf Team Is on the Rise


The high school’s girls golf team recently finished a successful season, with three students earning All-League recognition: ninth-grader Sofia Ferezza, sophomore Jamie Smith and eighth-grader Sophia Stryjewski.

A young team with a majority of freshman and sophomore starters, the Lady Redmen displayed consistent improvement throughout the season on skills and match performance. The lineup included five new fulltime starters – Smith, Stryjewski, freshman Sophia Bates, sophomore Danielle Muroff and sophomore Cassidy Triolo – alongside three returning veterans, Ferrezza, junior Krissy Mercurio and sophomore Nicole Muroff. Ferrezza, Smith, Stryjewski and Triolo all posted new individual low scores this year. Season highlights included a 7-2 victory over rivals West Islip for the first time in three seasons.

“They will be a team to watch over the next several seasons,” said coach Judith Fischer.

TP Students Raise $12K for Children’s Hospital


Students at Timber Point put their math skills to work to raise $12,040 in the school’s 14th annual Math-A-Thon to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. During those 14 years, Timber Point’s contributions to St. Jude have reached an impressive total of $135,600.21.

At a May 16 assembly, Principal Danielle Naccarato congratulated the kindergartners, first-graders and second-graders on a job well done. They were joined by Superintendent John V. Dolan, who handed out medals to the participants.  

“All of the students’ hard work really paid off,” said teacher Michelle Kilkelly, who coordinated the event with fellow teacher Carolyn McGee. “Our thanks to the Timber Point staff and families for making this another successful year for the Math-A-Thon.”

Ginty and Moschetto Qualify for States


Following their superlative track performances at the NYSPHSAA Section 11 State Qualifier, held on June 2 and 3 at Port Jefferson High School, seniors Jackie Ginty and Andrew Moschetto moved on to the New York State meet. Ginty won first place and was named Suffolk County champion in both the 100-meter race, with a time of 12:21, and the 200-meter, with a time of 24.91. Moschetto took second place in the 200-meter race with a time of 22.01.

Ginty and Moschetto competed on June 9 and 10 at the NYSPHSAA Championships at Union-Endicott High School in upstate Broome County. Ginty took sixth place in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Moschetto took sixth place in the 200-meter dash.

Other results for East Islip boys track athletes at the state qualifiers included Moschetto earning third place in the 100-meter race; senior Mike Krebs finishing sixth in the 200-meter; junior Anoune Basse finishing eighth in the long jump; junior Rob Skidmore finishing 13th in discus; and the 4x100 relay team of Basse, Krebs, Moschetto and Mike Quast earning third place.

Other results for East Islip girls track athletes at the state qualifiers included sophomore Christie Czajka finishing in 12th place in the 800-meter race, eighth-grader Hannah Smalley finishing 12th in the 1,500-meter; junior Nina Senn earning eighth in discus; and the 4x100 relay team of Jackie Ginty, Katie Ginty, Shannon Lauinger and Alexandra Stewart finishing in seventh place.

Freshmen Explore Treatment of Native Americans


After reading about the treatment of Native Americans during the 1800s in the allegorical short stories “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves” by Karen Russell, and  “Cheyenne Again” by Eve Bunting, East Islip High School students in Greg Kguloian’s freshman English class went on a virtual field trip, conducting research on the Dakota Access Pipeline situation in North Dakota as it unfolded and developed, and comparing current and past treatment of Native Americans. They explored the facts and history behind eminent domain and the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which requires the government to provide just compensation to the owner of private property to be taken. After doing the appropriate research, the students formulated arguments to consider their essential curriculum question for the year regarding the individual’s role within his or her society.

“The educational merit of this project went far beyond anything we’ve done in our class before,” said Kguloian. “It had real-world and real-time ramifications regarding the environment. It was both poignant and timely in regards to the treatment of Native American lands as they hung in the balance of promised sovereignty vs. national energy interests. The takeaway from the short stories was to help our young people see history from the point of view of the Native Americans, learn about what they lived through and then ask themselves, ‘Is it right?’ The interaction between my pupils was extremely impressive. Every one of them was engaged and couldn’t wait to share what they discovered via their research and even their conversations with family members, friends and relatives.”

EI Takes Second at Law Day Tournament


Competing against 15 other teams from Suffolk, Nassau and New York City, the high school’s Mock Trial team took second place in the New York State Law Day Tournament, hosted by Northport High School on April 21. East Islip was represented by students Shannon Dodenhoff, Joshua Koretz, Ewere Emma McGaugh, Tyler O’Neill and Christian Thomesen, accompanied by their coach, social studies teacher Patsy Lester.

The civil law tournament, now in its 43rd year, was sponsored by the New York State Bar Association and the Law, Youth, and Citizenship Committee. Teams of five students were given 12 minutes to prepare a legal case based on a one-page summary of facts. At the end of the 12-minute prep period, the students had to argue the case as attorneys and witnesses against another school’s team. A coin toss determined which team was plaintiff and defense during each round. This year’s cases included negligence, defamation, assault and battery, product liability, vicarious liability, and breach of contract. 

East Islip’s team went undefeated through five rounds, picking off strong teams such as Syosset and Plainview-Old Bethpage. Facing hosts Northport, they came in second in the championship round, which featured a judging panel that included New York State Bar Association Past-President A. Thomas Levin, District Court Judge Hon. James C. Hudson, Professor Thomas Schweitzer of Touro Law School, and Queens Assistant District Attorney Josh Mandel.    

Broadcaster Wins Big at Hofstra


The hardworking staff of the high school’s The Broadcaster student newspaper proudly took home 23 awards from the Long Island Press High School Journalism Awards ceremony, hosted at Hofstra University on May 30.

The night started off with an introduction by Beverly Fortune, the chief operating officer of Morey Publishing. Following Fortune’s speech were opening remarks by Josh Schnepps, a publisher for the Long Island Press, and his mother Victoria Schnepps, the program’s founder, and a keynote address delivered by Evan Cornog, dean of Hofstra’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication.

Following these inspiring speeches, Long Island Press high school program coordinator David North presented the event’s awards to their respective winners, with prizes given in 106 different categories.

The night was a success for both the Broadcaster staff and individual members. The Broadcaster itself earned an honorable mention for Newspaper of the Year, won second place in both the Layout-Section category, for its sports section, and in the Layout-Issue category, for the paper’s February 2017 issue.

Senior Sarah Hillman took home the first award of the night, winning third place in the Arts Review-Book Review category for her critique “Flaming Over Firestarter.” Junior Cierra Colon was next to receive an award, taking first place in the Arts Review- Local Music category for her article “Meet Long Island’s Newest Knockout Band: Nexus.” Carla Garavito, another senior, won third place in the Arts and Entertainment category for her recap of the Oscars in “A Wrong Winner Overshadows the Oscars.” Junior Kerri Kolensky received second place for her article “Finding Emily and Finding Myself” in the Aura Diaz Award for First Person Perspectives. Emily Glennon, senior and editor in chief, took third place in the next category, Business, for her article “EI Alumni Creates Self-Made Business.” Fellow senior Julia Piazza and Garavito both received second and third place awards in the category of Fashion Feature for their articles “Students and Teachers Strut Their Stuff at EI Fashion Show” and “Straight off the Streets: The Best Looks from Around the World,” respectively. Junior Scott Long earned second place in the Q&A-School-Related category for his questionnaire, “What Keeps Athletes Motivated?” Junior Sarah Bloom and seniors Defne Duyku and Taylor Kozak received second place in the Photo Essay category for their work on The Broadcaster’s November issue centerfold, depicting photo highlights from the school’s homecoming.            

For three of The Broadcaster’s staff members, the night was especially successful. Sophomore Victoria Keenan and seniors Michael Dondero and Kozak walked away with four awards each in a wide variety of categories. Keenan garnered first place in both the Arts Review-Film and Opinion-Pop Culture categories for her articles “A New Adventure on the Great Wide Movie Screen: A Beauty and the Beast Review” and “It’s a Tale Keeping Up With New Times.” She also received second place in the ceremony’s Storytelling category, giving readers a glimpse of her summer adventures in “Ithaca College Makes the Summer of a Lifetime,” and a third-place nod for her piece “The Heart Behind Organ Donations” in the Short Feature category.

Dondero’s artistic abilities took him far, earning a first-place award in the Cartoon-Political category for his work accompanying the article “Are Fur Coats Worth the Lives of Our Furry Friends?” He also earned second place in the Illustration category and third place in the Cartoon and Cartoon-Entertainment categories.

Kozak’s creativity also led to her success throughout the evening. Her winning advice earned her a third-place spot in the Column-School category for “Committing to a College? Here’s What You Need to Know.” Her creative use of the high school faculty also earned her second place in the Q&A category for her Roving Reporter question for November’s issue, “What would you be if you weren’t a teacher?” Kozak achieved two awards in the Photo Essay category, with her photography for both homecoming and the school’s SADD Fashion Show winning her second and third place awards.      

“With over 2,000 submissions, student journalists from all over Long Island and our high school alike demonstrated that a collective passion for truth, writing and sharing knowledge with the world can truly bring about the most honest nature of society,” said Keenan.

Giraffe Calf Spurs Middle School Library Contest


The middle school’s library held a contest to guess the gender and weight of April the giraffe’s newborn calf. The Animal Adventure Park near upstate Binghamton had been holding a contest to name April’s baby. On April 15, April delivered a healthy calf named Oliver, weighing 129 lbs.

There were three winners in the contest: AJ LaMacchia guessed 143 pounds earning third place, Kayla Sciallo guessed 117 pounds, for second, and Rayanne Abdelbaky won first place with a guess of 120 pounds. Each student won a prize of a a giraffe clip and Rita’s Ices gift certificate.

“We had been waiting and watching April’s progress daily in the library, along with more than 1 million people at the end of a long and virally popular pregnancy,” said librarian Valerie Ware Comneck. “We learned a lot about giraffes and the fact that there are only approximately 600 West African giraffes left.”

Four Fifth-Graders Earn Leadership Awards

Four East Islip fifth-graders – Max Berlin and Isabella Procaccini of John F. Kennedy Elementary School, and Angelina DeAmicis and Jesse Najera of Ruth C. Kinney Elementary School – 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 four students and other Suffolk County award winners attended an NYS AHPERD awards ceremony on May 3, held at Longwood High School in Middle Island. They were nominated by their physical education teachers for their leadership skills and for how they help their peers.  

Summer School 2017



Valedictorian Jack Palmeri


The high school’s Class of 2017 valedictorian is Jack Palmeri.

An AP Scholar with Distinction, Palmeri is a member of the school’s Math Honor Society and Academic Team. From freshman through senior year, he annually earned the High Minds in Motion Scholar-Athlete Award. He competes on the varsity track team and volunteers at the Emanuel Lutheran Church soup kitchen in Patchogue.

Palmeri won the Rensselaer Medal merit scholarship last year for his superlative academic achievements in mathematics and science, and will major in engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

Salutatorian Alexandra Belyea


The high school’s Class of 2017 salutatorian is Alexandra Belyea.

An AP Scholar with Distinction, she serves as secretary of the National Honor Society, and is a member of the Foreign Language Honor Society, Tri-M Honor Society, SADD Club and Interact Club. She was also honored as a Breakfast of Champions recipient.

Belyea will attend the State University of New York at Binghamton, where she will major in history and minor in education.

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


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


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.

Booster Club's Redmen Golf Outing Set for July 13

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.


JFK Fourth-Graders Show Kindness to Shelter Pets


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.

Timber Point Gets "Trashed"


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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.


Board Celebrates Science Winners at JFK and RCK


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


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

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


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.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017