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Showcasing musical talents at SCMEA Day of Tuba Festival

Showcasing musical talents at SCMEA Day of Tuba Festival photo
Five Port Jefferson School District students band students recently participated in the Suffolk County Music Educators Association’s 38th Annual Day of Tuba Festival at Central Islip High School.

Eighth-grader Frank Andriani, sophomore Gani Ates, junior Sinan Ates, sixth-grader Max Joyner and eighth-grader Christopher Mark joined more than 200 exceptional tuba students from across Suffolk County. Their talents were showcased on one stage during a remarkable performance alongside professional musicians including renowned tuba guest artist Velvet Brown.



A work session meeting of the Port Jefferson School District Board of Education will be held on November 27, 2018, 7:00 p.m., at Edna Louise Spear Elementary School.  The purpose of the meeting is a presentation highlighting the ELV High School English Department and any other business items that may be needed.  The meeting will be live-streamed via the school district website.

The regular monthly business meeting of the Port Jefferson School District Board of Education will be held on December 11, 2018, at Edna Louise Spear Elementary School.  Call to order will be 6:00 p.m. for the purpose of entering executive session to discuss legal and personnel matters.  Regular business meetings of the Board of Education are live-streamed via the school district website.  Business meeting agendas are available on the district’s website the day prior to the meeting.

Vocalists Perform at Walk for Beauty

Vocalists Perform at Walk for Beauty photo
Six members of the high school’s chamber choir – Grace Crugnale, Cole Fortier, Kitty Kirsch, Mattea Rabeno, Hannah Skula and Peggy Yin – along with music director, Maria Diaz, performed at the Stony Brook Village Walk for Beauty and Hercules on the Harbor 10K on Oct. 21st. Sponsored by Suffolk County Leg. Kara Hahn, the event helped raise money for breast cancer research at Stony Brook Medicine.

Unique Celebration of Music

Unique Celebration of Music photo
Fourth-grade music students Jonah Boerboom, Allie Blumenthal, Iris Park and Julie Friedman recently attended the SCMEA PEAK Festival. The PEAK Festival (Parents, Educators and Kids), is a unique celebration of elementary classroom music. Port Jefferson’s students performed music alongside their parents and music teacher Danielle Post.

Eating the Colors of the Rainbow

Eating the Colors of the Rainbow photo
In a collaborative effort with St. Charles Hospital, registered dietician Alyssa Morando visited Edna Louise Spear Elementary School and spoke to students about nutrition and healthy lunch choices. Ms. Morando also handed out forms for the students to help pick out the name of the hospital’s new surgical Davinci robot. The choices - Chip, Edison, Dr. Charles, Dr. Roboto and Surg-io are in the running and the most votes for a particular name will be unveiled in December, based solely on the student’s votes.

Good Luck at States!

Good Luck at States photo
The Port Jefferson Boys varsity cross-country team was undefeated in the League season winning the Division IV championship. They also won the Suffolk County Class C title. Brian Veit was the county champion and Cooper Schoch finished second. Five of the runners were All-League athletes. The team also had five of the ten top finishers in the county race.

“The team was dedicated and tough,” coach Rod Cawley said. “They worked as a unit and overwhelmed most of our competition. We are also very young: five sophomores, one freshman and a senior. We are looking forward to the next two years!”

Senior Aileen Schretzmayer finished 5th in Suffolk County and has also qualified for the New York State meet. “Aileen has been our MVP for cross-country for the past two years,” coach Don Slingerland said. She has also been first team All-League and All-Division and served as the team captain.

Eli Joyner, Royce Perera, Grant Samara, Brian Veit, Aileen Schretzmayer Cooper Schoch, Gray Joyner and Owen Okst are to be commended their hard work and dedication in representing Port Jefferson’s successful cross-country teams at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association state meet hosted by Section XI at Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park, NY on Saturday, Nov. 10. Good luck!

Golf Glory!

Golf Glor phoot
Senior Shane DeVincenzo was crowned Suffolk County Golf Individual Champion for the second time, a rare accomplishment. A four-time state qualifier, he shot 73-70 over two days at Rock Hill Golf Course and won by seven shots over his closest competitor.

All-County honors were also bestowed on senior Josh Gelfond, who according to Ruoff, has worked hard to develop a very solid golf game.
Congratulations to the Port Jefferson golf team took third place in all of Suffolk County. A great achievement for Shane, Josh and Billy Alter, Jeff Alter, Alex DiCarlo and Charlie Rolfe.

Honoring a Classmate’s Memory

Honoring a Classmate’s Memory photo
The Port Jefferson School community was out in full force at the Out of the Darkness walk, held recently at Jones Beach. Dozens of students and staff members walked as part of Team Dylan, which honors the memory of Port Jefferson student Dylan Berger. Collectively, the school community raised $2,490 through the school’s Gay Straight Alliance, the International Club and a staff dress-down day. The funds will directly benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

“We are proud of the many students who step up to help raise awareness on suicide and depression,” Kristin Britt, adviser to the GSA said. “When they foster a better understanding of themselves and their friends and classmates, they gain the capacity for empowerment and help in sharing the fact that there are always safe outlets, supportive environments and always someone to talk to.”

Students Read in a Neutral Zone

Students Read in a Neutral Zone photo
Perseverance and teamwork were the name of the game when Earl L. Vandermeulen High School varsity football players visited Gina Santini’s fourth-grade class as part of a community service project.

The football players – Jonathan Bachmann, Sam Caltagirone, Nathan DiGregorio, Ryan Holmes, Patrick Kleaka, Bryce Lewis, Michael McGuire, Matt Murphy, Daniel Shaughnessy, Jordan Suarez, Eric Zimmermann and Gabe Zoda – participated in the event along with cheer captain Katie Ambrozy, in the event organized by the team’s booster club, parent Holly Caltagirone and coach Andrew Cosci.

After reading “Game Day” by Tiki and Ronde Barber, the players took turns answering questions from students from how they balance their schoolwork and sports to plans for the future. The reading session culminated with the athletes taking the fourth-graders outside to teach them how to throw a football.

“The camaraderie of these athletes is inspiring,” Mr. Cosci said, adding that the event is something he looks forward to having the students participate in, as they serve as role models and encourage the younger students to form and maintain friendships throughout their school years.

Special Education Parent Teacher Association

septa logo
The District’s newly formed Special Education Parent Teacher Association encouraged memberships and are pleased to announce that Edna Louise Spear Elementary School came in with the most teacher/aid memberships. They beat the Port Jefferson Middle School by a little over a half of a percent. Because this contest was so close, SEPTA is thanking both schools with a bagel breakfast on Nov. 9.

Port Jefferson SEPTA, a group of parents and educators coming together to support, inform, and advocate for the needs of our special education students, appreciates the enthusiasm and support from the school community and looks forward to a successful year. SEPTA meetings are held in the Elementary School Large Group Room, the next one is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m.

With a host of meetings, guest speakers and special topics, keep informed by visiting the SEPTA website at

November Meeting Dates

meeting dates image

Environmental Experiential Lessons

Environmental Experiential Lessons photo
Taking a school field trip is often an enhancement to classroom studies and high school students had an opportunity to do just that when they climbed aboard an actual research vessel in Shinnecock Bay. Students from Marine Biology, AP Environmental Science, and Living Environment classes, along with science teacher Jonathan Maletta, spent a recent day with scientists from the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. The SoMAS scientists provided a wealth of information during the unique voyage. Students learned about water quality parameters, such as dissolved oxygen content and turbidity, in the bay and the Atlantic Ocean. They also sampled marine sediment to understand the geologic features of the bay.


Undefeated photo
The Port Jefferson Middle School football team capped off an undefeated 2018 season. “The attitude and effort of this group of athletes made for a special experience,” coach Jesse Rosen said. “We look forward to seeing them progress as student athletes.”

Community Service Award for Senior

Community Service Award for Senior photo
Senior Lia Desmond was nominated and recognized with the Thomas Cutinella Foundation Service Award for her work in helping to make a positive impact in the local community. Lia was honored during a varsity football game halftime ceremony by the Long Island Radio Broadcasting’s Tour For 54, which honors local high school students with the award to help raise awareness for the Thomas Cutinella Foundation, named in memory of the athlete and working to inspire and share the fundamental beliefs and values that defined his life. Clocking in more than 880 community service in her high school career, Lia is a member of the Section XI Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, secretary of the Peer Leadership Club, a member of the Varsity Club and the varsity volleyball team.

Art Students Paint the Town

Art Students Paint the Town photo
Districtwide art students and teachers participated in this year’s Harvest Festival Window Painting Contest, sponsored by the Port Jefferson Harbor Education & Arts Conservancy. To participate, student teams were assigned a storefront window in the village to paint in a Halloween or autumn theme.

Promoting Unity

Promoting Unity photo
Members of the high school Gay Straight Alliance shared the mission of the organization to seventh-grade students at Port Jefferson Middle School during National Coming Out Day. Dozens of students from both schools are involved in the student-led organization, which works to bring awareness for a safer, more supportive school environment, free from bullying and harassment, not only for the LGBT community but for all students. The students also hosted a bake sale with proceeds earmarked for the Out of the Darkness Walk for suicide awareness and prevention that they will participate in on Oct. 28 at Jones Beach along with advisers Kristin Britt and Dinarae Camarda.

Port Jeff Proud!

Port Jeff Proud! photo
Thank you to the Port Jefferson School District community for the input provided on the new logo for all district athletic teams. Seen here, the votes were for this one, which will be consistent regardless of the team or sport. It will appear on apparel that student-athletes, faculty, parents and team supporters purchase for their personal use.

Information and entertainment from ‘The Morning Show’

Information and entertainment from ‘The Morning Show’ photo
A new collaboration at the high school has students excited to get to the classroom to start the day’s work – producing “The Morning Show,” a joint effort between the technology and English departments.

According to English teacher Michael Augello, the initial goal was to produce a show that both informs and entertains. Each show allows collaboration and creative input from the student anchors and a spot interview that highlights teachers, students, teams, programs, events and other things going on in the school and community.

On the technical side, students are learning from technology teacher Brian Chalmers how to shoot and edit their own stories, which includes setting up a shot with proper lighting, arranging and connecting microphones, framing the subject within the shot and editing during post-production. They also learn how to manage and operate cameras, the control room, the teleprompter and other equipment necessary in producing the show.

With Mr. Augello, the students learn how to find and create stories and determine not only how the story affects their audience, but how best to engage their audience in telling the story. During interviews, students must frame their questions in an order that makes sense and in a way that gives their subject room to discuss and explain – a real flowing, conversational interview, not just simple yes or no answers. Being an anchor is a great educational challenge for the students by developing and enhancing their organizational and public speaking skills. They are responsible for writing the script and developing transitions between segments all while speaking clearly and conversationally toward the camera.

The first successful air date was early October and the students work to produce each program just one day in advance. It is broadcast throughout the building during homeroom so everyone has a chance to stay involved in the happenings of Earl L. Vandermeulen High School.

Promoting Wellness

Promoting Wellness photo
In a partnership with the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, the Port Jefferson School District recently hosted the first of its Promoting Wellness – Community Forum Series.

Adam Birkenstock, a licensed clinical social worker and a representative from LICADD, was the guest speaker. His program, “Helping Our Children Manage Stress in the 21st Century,” addressed the important health and well-being issues that affect many students.

The interactive evening helped parents/guardians understand their essential roles in how to assist teens in managing and reducing stress and anxiety. His topics included academic and social stress, stress management, mindfulness and the impact of technology on stress.

“We are grateful for Mr. Birkenstock’s shared expertise with our school community,” Earl L. Vandermeulen High School Principal Christine Austen said. “As many of our students recognize that knowledge is power, this partnership is an opportunity for further community engagement in their well-being.”

The next event in the proactive series will be “The Ugly Truth,” a powerful presentation about the opioid epidemic presented by the Suffolk County Police Department. It will be held on Monday, Nov. 26 in the Port Jefferson Middle School Multipurpose Room at 6:30 p.m.

VIDEO: Fire Safety


Inspiring Change with ‘Ryan’s Story’

Inspiring Change with ‘Ryan’s Story’ photo
Middle school students were introduced to a powerful speaker who began his presentation by letting them know that the story they would hear would be sad, but his intention was to have them all think and act differently about the issue of bullying.

He succeeded.

A voice of hope in the suicide prevention movement, John Halligan who lost his thirteen-year-old son Ryan to suicide, shared a video montage of his child and spoke of his life and challenges before his death in 2003.

According to English teacher Allison Giannusa who coordinated the presentation, many of the 6-8 grade students took away several positive messages including optimism, as well as learning from mistakes and, most importantly, that they are loved. As a follow-up to the presentation, the students reflected on what could have been done differently to prevent Ryan’s death.

Encouraging Unity

Encouraging Unity photo
When students, peers and adults recognize and respond to bullying behavior, a powerful message is sent that it is not acceptable. To share in that message, middle schoolers wore orange to signify their stance on Unity Day on Oct. 24.

The theme of the day was to unite against bullying and all social studies classes in the school viewed a Powerpoint and video presentation, detailing the nationally recognized event that promotes kindness, acceptance and inclusion.

Seventh-grade teacher Monica Consalvo, who annually coordinates the schoolwide campaign, helps to reinforce the strong message of anti-bullying programs.

“We want students to embrace Unity Day’s message and make the commitment to be accepting of people’s differences,” she said.

Elementary Educator Makes History for District

Elementary Educator Makes History for District photo
Fifth-grade teacher Megan Roth-Ueno is making history for the Port Jefferson School District. After a rigorous application and selection process she has been named a New York State Master Teacher, the first for the district. She will join a reputable group of innovators and leaders in STEM education who bring a unique perspective to enhancing their students’ education.

According to Roth-Ueno, as a classroom teacher it is often difficult to learn firsthand what is happening in other schools and programs. It generally requires being out of a teacher’s own classroom in order to visit other schools. The New York State Master Teacher Program will enable her to learn about other programs outside of the school day and help her become more aware of her cohort’s schoolwide programs and eventually work to create and plan curriculum together.

“The NYSMTP is an opportunity for me to collaborate with and learn about what other educators are doing in their classrooms,” she said. With a realigned New York State science curriculum in the process, her enthusiasm for collaboration also sparked an idea to create short instructional science videos with her new colleagues.

Teaching since 1995 and in the Port Jefferson schools since 2000, Roth-Ueno co-founded the Suffolk County Elementary Math Tournament just over 10 years ago as there was no elementary opportunity in Suffolk County. Its growth and annual tournament at Stony Brook University, is supported by the Institute for STEM Education, where Roth-Ueno is excited to be in a room of several hundred students who are enthusiastic about math.

“We are extremely proud of Mrs. Roth-Ueno,” said Port Jefferson School District’s Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Jessica Schmettan. “It is a testament to her dedication and hard work.”

Girls Soccer Team Kicks for Cancer

Girls Soccer Team Kicks for Cancer photo
The girls varsity soccer team held their annual Pink Game in support of Kicks for Cancer, a local initiative that combines athletics with fundraising for cancer research. With a bake sale and gift cards and high-end raffle prizes the girls raised more than $1,000 to support the cause in a winning game against Amityville.

Along with coach Taylor Forstell, the school community congratulates team members Francesca Antonelli, Heidi Biedenkapp, Paige Bruno, Morgan Bullis, Alexandra Carlson, Kate Carlson, Holly D’Accordo, Kailey D’Accordo, Madison Feinstein, Hailey Hearney, Kerrigan Hurney, Farrell Johnston, Sophia Knapp, Reese Koban, Jacqueline Lambe, Gina Lucero, Beverly Ann Maier, Lena McFarland and Abigail Rolfe on this outstanding achievement.

“We are so proud of the efforts of our athletes to not only play the game but understand how to help make a difference in the lives of others,” Port Jefferson School District’s Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics Adam Sherrard said.

Welcoming Cultural Diversity

Welcoming Cultural Diversity photo
The district’s ENL department welcomed newcomers and current students and their families to a festive celebration of food and fun at the elementary school. With a multicultural menu and handmade sushi rolls shaped as the popular Minion character, the families had an opportunity to learn about the Port Jefferson School District community and tips and resources on how to participate in their child’s education.

Welcomed by ENL teachers Mary Lyons, Christina Marino, Regina Paquette and Jennifer Walling, and with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Casciano, high school Principal Christine Austen, middle school Principal Dr. Robert Neidig and Assistant Principal Claudia Smith present, it was an informative evening. A representative from the Port Jefferson Public Library also conducted a presentation about the resources it offers.

The K-12 students enjoyed their time together both at the dinner and in the gymnasium for some friendly and sociable activities and the newcomers were gifted with Port Jefferson sweatshirts courtesy of the high school’s International Club.

First-graders learn to Stop, drop and roll

First-graders learn to Stop, drop and roll photo
First-graders learned about fire safety and prevention tips during National Fire Prevention Week Oct. 7-13.

The students were excited to see a red fire truck arrive at the school and more excited to learn that music teacher Christian Neubert, who is a volunteer firefighter, was at the steering wheel.

Mr. Neubert introduced two members of the Port Jefferson Fire Department, Andrew Altamirano and Paul Penske, a 2018 graduate of Earl L. Vandermeulen High School. Together, the trio demonstrated the life-saving tools used by firefighters, shared safety tips and showed the students their fire gear before each one had an opportunity to take a look at the inside of the fire truck.

The students then had classroom discussions and created posters with their newly acquired knowledge of fire safety.

Top Performer on the Field!

Top Performer on the Field! photo
Congratulations to Royals quarterback Sam Florio, who was chosen as a Newsday Gridiron Great! He was recognized for completing 9 out of 14 passes for 237 yards and five touchdowns in a 35-7 win over Hampton Bays. He is the third Royal to be selected for the achievement. Great job Sam!

Senior to Represent Music Program at State Conference

Senior to Represent Music Program at State Conference photo
Congratulations to senior Ava Schully who was selected to participate in the New York State School Music Association All-State Winter Conference in Rochester, NY from Nov. 29-Dec. 2.

Ava will perform on cello with the All-State String Orchestra. She will sit among the finest student-musicians across New York State.

The rigorous process for selecting an All-State musician includes teacher recommendations, audition scores at the NYSSMA solo evaluation festival during the prior spring and participation in other performing organizations.

“Congratulations to Ava for representing the Port Jefferson School District’s music program with pride,” said Michael Caravello, the district’s director of music and fine arts.

Combining Athletics and Altruism to Spike Out Cancer

Combining Athletics and Altruism to Spike Out Cancer photo
High school students combined athletics and altruism when the girls varsity and junior varsity volleyball teams hosted a Dig Pink breast cancer awareness fundraiser on Oct. 5.

The team members sold paper volleyballs to decorate a large poster adorned with pink ribbons and titled Spiking Out Cancer. Their efforts raised more than $1,500, which will benefit the Side-Out Foundation, an organization that unites high school volleyball players and coaches as they work to help further breast cancer awareness, education and patient services.

A royal thanks to coach Douglas VonBargen and the girls volleyball teams: varsity members, seniors Ashley Catoggio, Taylor Catoggio, Lia Desmond, Brett Dooley and Samantha Miceli; juniors Samantha Ayotte, Kelli Booker, Emily Bossert, Kylie Melzer, Ava Napoli and Chloe Simunek and sophomore Evelyn Walker; and junior varsity players, sophomores Emily Brown, Calli Saieva, Selena Ueno and Peggy Yin; and freshmen Olivia Alvarez, Lucy DeWitt, Emily Hearney, Kasumi Layne-Stasik and Payton Melzer.

The team set up an online fundraising platform, for those who may want to contribute:

Port Jefferson School District Armed Forces Tribute Project Fundraiser

This fundraiser is sponsored by the New York Jets football team to support the Port Jefferson School District. For every 300 level seat sold, the district receives $5. For every seat 200 level seat or lower, the district receives $10. The funds this season will be used to support the PJSD Armed Forces Tribute project.


Honored for a Commitment to Learning

Honored for a Commitment to Learning photo
Seventh-grader Michael Melikyan’s motivation, hard work and dedication paved his way to earn a student of the month award and recognition by the Rotary Club of Port Jefferson.

Michael’s conscientious commitment to the learning process is a primary reason why he was nominated by English teacher Deirdre Filippi and unanimously selected by the entire seventh grade faculty for the honor.

County honors for notable musical achievements

County honors for notable musical achievements photo
Four high school students will represent the district’s music program when they participate in the New York State Council of Administrators for Music Education All-County Music Festival.

Sinan Ates, Rachel Park, Ryan Robertson and David Rotunno will take part in the festival at Connetquot and Half Hollow Hills East High Schools on Nov. 7th, 15th and 16th. They were selected along with other student-musicians from across Suffolk County on a competitive basis with New York State School Music Association scores as the main criteria along with teacher recommendations.


Wall of Fame inductees honored for integrity, compassion and community service

Wall of Fame inductees honored for integrity, compassion and community service photo

A ceremony was held to celebrate the newest inductees into the school’s Wall of Fame on Oct. 5. The three honorees – Honor Gracey Kopcienski, David Okst and Heather West-Serignese were recognized for their extraordinary achievements in the local community.

The intimate ceremony, held in the school’s library, was followed by a tour of the building led by the school’s Student Organization. Introduced by Principal Christine Austen, who thanked them for their generosity and spirit and reiterated the importance of giving back to community, each honoree was lauded by a member of the Student Organization. They were presented with plaques to take home, enjoyed lunch and an unveiling of the plaques on the Wall of Fame.

Honor Gracey Kopcienski, Class of 1950, who died in 2016, was honored posthumously. Her son Matthew (Class of 1989), daughter Elizabeth Schwartz (Class of 1972), and son-in-law Joseph Schwartz (Class of 1971) represented her – her husband was in St. Maarten helping with hurricane relief efforts. Elizabeth Schwartz spoke of her mother and father as people who understood the struggles of others and were the kind of people who always did something to help. She hoped her mother’s plaque on the wall would be inspiration to the students who walked past to also become the kind of people who do something to help others.

David Okst, Class of 1985, who enjoyed a successful high school and college career as a scholar-athlete, is a coach for the Port Jefferson boys varsity cross country and winter and spring track teams. He was introduced by senior Reid Biondo and recognized for his extensive kindness, compassion, community service and altruism.

Heather West-Serignese, Class of 1999, now a resident of Nashville, TN, was recognized for public service, school/community service. She was nominated by her business partner Emily Ciancarelli for her local contributions as well as her exceptional life accomplishments. In addition to being an accomplished chef and working in many cities around the country, she started the non-profit organ East End Play Dates, which now has multiple chapters, to support mothers and their children.

Gymnasium Floor Replacement

As a result of the significant water damage caused by the September storm, the gymnasium floor at Earl L. Vandermeulen High School has begun to buckle. To ensure the safety of our students and staff, the district has begun to remove the damaged flooring and will be installing a new floor in the coming weeks. As such, the gymnasium will be closed and physical education classes will be relocated.  The project, which is expected to take 4-6 weeks, will be covered by the district’s insurance policy. It is our hope that the work will be complete in time for the start of the winter sports season.

It’s all about that bass!

It’s all about that bass! photo
Sophomore Jack Reilly had an exceptional musical experience when he attended the School of Orchestral Studies of the New York State Summer School of the Arts.

Jack, who plays bass, was part of a group of approximately 80 students with outstanding talent in instrumental music who were selected through a rigorous statewide audition process to participate in the prestigious program held at Skidmore College and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

During the four week program, he spent approximately 40 hours per week in rehearsals and performance and worked with instructors on developing his skills. He was coached in musicology and ensemble performance and attended seminars, lectures and concerts.

Jack began his musical studies at Edna Louise Spear Elementary School and credits music teacher Dr. Vanessa Salzman and Director of Music and Fine Arts Dr. Michael Caravello with his continued interest in perfecting his musical skills throughout his high school career.

National Merit Honors for 5 Seniors

National Merit Honors for 5 Seniors photo
Noted for demonstrating exceptional academic promise, five students have been named Commended Students in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Seniors Joshua Gelfond, Ju Eun Ha, Ryan Robertson, David Rotunno and Ava Schully, have been recognized for their outstanding performance on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

The students are among approximately 34,000 high school students nationwide who were awarded the distinction by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Congratulations on this achievement!

A Homecoming Win for the Royals

A Homecoming Win for the Royals photo

Capping off a week of school-spirited events and a parade complete with floats from each grade level, the Royals football team took the homecoming win against Bayport-Blue Point 34-16 on Saturday, Oct. 6.

Many spectators were in town to celebrate their 40-year high school reunion and joined in the festivities by riding in the parade and cheering on the Royals. Others lined the streets of Port Jefferson Village as the students and Disney-themed floats, student-musicians led by music teacher Mark Abbonizio, families, Board of Education members, teachers and administrators shared their royal pride.

Ace in Academics and on the Green

Ace in Academics and on the Green photo
Congratulations to senior Shane DeVincenzo, who has received a scholarship to attend Fairfield University as a member of its golf team for the 2019-20 school year. He intends to major in Business.

Shane’s numerous accolades as a student in Port Jefferson extend beyond his GPA of 95.33, his senior class load – which includes Advanced Placement macroeconomics and AP calculus, Honors English, College statistics, physics, physical education and ceramics – his National Honor Society membership, his above average SAT scores and as a member of the varsity wrestling team.

He has been a five-year varsity starter, four time All League, three time All County, three time state qualifier, two time All Long Island and two time All State winner. Shane also qualified for the Federation Cup in 2017 and was the individual Suffolk County champion in the 2017-18 season, winning the title by six shots over the second place finisher. He made a hole-in-one in match when he was a sophomore and shot 33 on nine holes. Shane holds an individual record of 28-3-1 over the last three years prior to the start of this season which he is now 4-0.

“Shane is the hardest working kid I’ve ever been around in my career coaching and working in golf,” Charles Ruoff, Port Jefferson boys varsity golf coach said.

Senior Named Rensselaer Medal Winner

Senior Named Rensselaer Medal Winner photo
Congratulations to high school senior Annalisa Welinder who has been named a Rensselaer Medal winner for her excellence in math and science. She was nominated for the award by science teacher Michel Krivosta who retired in June after 40 years of teaching in Port Jefferson. The merit scholarship has a value of $100,000, guaranteed for four years of study at the institution, determined by her application and ultimate acceptance. Its goal is to motivate the next generation of leaders, scientists, innovators, scholars and humanitarians, among others.

Students Come Together in Unity

Students Come Together in Unity photo
Students in the Port Jefferson School District took time during a recent Saturday to work on a mural in the district’s English as a New Language classroom. Not only adding color but a sense of unity was the goal when students and ENL teacher Jennifer Walling brainstormed ideas for the project.

The undertaking was all designed, painted and completed by the students, with student-artist Gabriela Sanchez managing the design of the globe and selecting the word “hello” in various languages that she wrote by hand.

“We were inspired by a photo that we saw online and loved the multi-cultural hands as not only does it represent the world and bring us all together but it signifies who we are as an ENL community,” said Ms. Walling.

The languages represent the diverse cultural backgrounds of the students and the room’s festive artwork is an invitation to a mini haven for the students before or after school and during study halls and lunch periods.

A Royal Homecoming

A Royal Homecoming photo
Share our Port Jeff pride on Saturday, Oct. 6 with our homecoming parade that features the creative floats of our four high school classes Cheer on our student-musicians as they perform throughout the village streets and march alongside teachers, families, administrators and other spectators starting at 11 a.m. as you make your way to the game starting at 2 p.m. against Bayport-Blue Point. Come out and show your royal pride!

Peace in Port Jefferson

Peace in Port Jefferson photo

The Port Jefferson School District celebrated the International Day of Peace through activities sponsored by the Earl L. Vandermeulen High School Student Organization.

As part of the observance, Student Organization members decorated school hallways, lockers and classrooms with messages of peace and shared music with positive, peaceful themes that was broadcast over the loudspeaker between classes.

Visual arts students districtwide worked collaboratively to create artwork centered around the idea of togetherness and world peace. They worked in a variety of mediums including acrylics, watercolors, colored pencils, pastels and ink to depict Tibetan mandala designs, pin wheels for peace, sunflowers from observation, and symbols representative of peace.

With an opportunity to be selected for display at the Suffolk County Executive Offices, some of the students’ works were submitted to the annual Shanti Fund Peace Art competition.

Sharing a Carnegie Hall Experience

Sharing a Carnegie Hall Experience photo
Students in Maria Diaz’ seventh- and eighth-grade chorus class at Port Jefferson Middle School enjoyed a musical lesson when classmate Chloe Pipia shared with them her experience at the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York concert at Carnegie Hall. She spoke to them about her favorite song, Rollo Dilworth’s “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around.” Listening to a recording of the song and highlighting the piece’s energetic rhythms and great melody, she and the students discussed what they appreciated about the piece of music.

ELA Extravaganza

ELA Extravaganza photo
Earl L. Vandermeulen High School students had an interesting culmination to their summer reading project. After reading Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis,” they came together to discuss the famed piece of literary work.

“We wanted to give students frequent, informal and meaningful opportunities to test the waters of literary analysis and hone their skills,” said English teacher Eva Grasso. The process gave students a new understanding of the piece of literature being examined, as well as the process of literary analysis.”

The in-class discussions for the students were opportunities to ask questions, clarify confusions and share observations before taking part in a grade 9-12 inter-class discussion to hear different viewpoints on the story’s character development, structure, style, symbolism and other content issues.

According to Ms. Grasso, these discussions left more students engaged and more questions addressed.

Accolades for 22 AP Scholars

Accolades for 22 AP Scholars photo
As a result of their scholastic dedication and performance, 22 of our high school students have been recognized by the College Board as AP Scholars.

The designation was given in recognition of each student’s demonstration of exceptional college-level achievement through their performance on national AP exams. Of the 22 students, five were named AP Scholars, eight earned the recognition of AP Scholar with Honor, nine were named as an AP Scholar with Distinction and two were named National AP Scholars.

The students recognized are:

AP Scholar
Monica Alexander, Arda Ates, Phoenix Jampol, Jillian Lawler and Olivia Weldon.

AP Scholar with Honor
Katherine Ambrozy, Joseph Cangemi, Gavin Chambers, Tianna Couch, Ju Eun Ha, Ryan Kim, Kyle Onghai and Giuseppina Than.

AP Scholar with Distinction
Gavin Barrett, Reid Biondo, Cameron Cohen, Joshua Gelfond, Eadan McSweeney, David Rotunno, Ava Schully, Annalisa Welinder and Robert Zeidler.

National AP Scholar
David Rotunno and Annalisa Welinder.

On behalf of the entire school community, congratulations!

Annalisa Welinder Named National Merit Semifinalist

Annalisa Welinder Named National Merit Semifinalist photo
The Port Jefferson School District community congratulates senior Annalisa Welinder who has qualified as a semifinalist in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Annalisa’s love of learning and outstanding academic talent extend beyond the advanced courses she takes in school. She is a member of the Academic Team, the Latin Club and Mathletes. She also competes on behalf of the school on both the tennis and track teams.

In addition to her impressive academic accomplishments, Annalisa has attended Julliard’s pre-college division music program since fifth grade to perfect her exceptional violin skills. She also takes an applied linear algebra class through Suffolk County Community College. Reading, graphic design and writing poetry round out her varied interests.

The Voice of Her Peers

The Voice of Her Peers photo
Senior Chloe Andriani will serve as the voice of her peers as a student representative to the Board of Education in the 2018-19 school year.

Chloe’s role will be to report on student activities and upcoming events at the Board’s monthly meetings. She was elected to the position by her classmates at the end of the last school year.

In addition to serving as a nonvoting Board of Education representative and being a successful, well-rounded student, Chloe is a member of the Environmental Club, Interact Club, Latin Club, Leo Club, National Honor Society, Science Olympiad and varsity cheer team. She is also senior class president of the Student Organization, on the softball team, performs in the school’s orchestra and has been involved in dance for the past 14 years.

Lessons in Empathy

Lessons in Empathy photo
Edna Louise Spear Elementary School students started the academic year on a positive note of learning to understand decision-making skills and a popular book had a starring role in their discussion. Assistant Principal Claudia Smith read Ryan T. Higgins’ popular “We Don't Eat Our Classmates” to all the kindergarten and first grade classes. After reading the story about forming friendships and good choices in regards to behavior, they had the opportunity to share instances of making mistakes and learning from them.
Tuesday, November 20, 2018