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Class of 2018 Top Two – Congratulations Ibuki & Eli!

Class of 2018 Top Two photo
After 13 years of dedication and perseverance to academics, extracurricular activities and community outreach, seniors Ibuki Iwasaki and Eli Doyle have been designated valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, of the Class of 2018.

“I’m extremely honored,” Ibuki said, “especially because some of the valedictorians and salutations in the past were people whom I really looked up to both in and outside of school. I’ve always aimed for good grades…becoming valedictorian was definitely a goal of mine.”

Ibuki has earned a 101.40 GPA. She is president of the high school National Honor Society, a member of the Mathletes team, Science Olympiad and Latin Club. She has been on the varsity tennis team since eighth-grade and was undefeated individually in the league this year.

Her list of awards is comprehensive and include being a National Merit Scholarship recipient, AP Scholar with Distinction, a gold medalist for three years and a silver medalist for one year on the National Latin Exam, and a first-place and third-place winner in Science Olympiad individual events.

Her musical talents include having a perfect score for three years at the Level VI New York State School Music Association Festival and being selected for All-County, Long Island String Festival and Suffolk County Music Educators Associations festivals. Ibuki’s community involvement revolve around playing violin; she has been a concert mistress in a youth orchestra and the school orchestra; has performed chamber music at the pre-college program at Stony Brook University and has volunteered to perform at the village library and local daycare and nursing home. She is also tutors Japanese-speaking people the English language.

Last summer, Ibuki interned at Brookhaven National Laboratory in her first official research experience. Before that, she spent time at a laboratory at Stony Brook University where her mother is a research scientist.

As the salutatorian, Eli will graduate with a 100.85 GPA. Like Ibuki, he challenged himself by enrolling in many Advanced Placement, college-level and honors courses. Beyond the classroom, he excelled on the field, playing tennis since ninth-grade and participating as part of the stage crew for school plays, musical and concerts.

“One of the perks of being in a small school is that there is a very cooperative attitude, even among the most competitive of the students,” Eli said. “This is something we all take for granted, but I wouldn’t have achieved this honor without help and support of my awesome classmates and dedicated teachers.”

Eli has been a member of Science Olympiad since sixth-grade, on the Mathletes team, the Academic Team, and a member and officer of the Student Organization for all four years of his high school career. He also had the unique opportunity to take part in the prestigious Simons Summer Research Program at Stony Brook University where he studied ferroelectric materialism the physics lab.

Eli has received honors from the Suffolk County Junior Tennis League, a Coach’s Award for Team Sportsmanship and the American Math Competition Level 10 in 2015. He was also a recipient of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award in 2015 and The Robert A. Belfer Family Fellowship Award for Travel and Study in Israel in 2016.

“Ibuki and Eli are two exceptional students,” Principal Christine Austen said. “In addition to being at the top of their class, they are both well-rounded, very involved in extracurricular activities and each of them has received numerous accolades to date. They are on to great things in the future and I wish them continued success.”

Although she is awaiting word from several colleges and looks to major in physics, Ibuki has been accepted to MIT, where she is considering attending. Her post college plans include working in a STEM-related career. Eli plans to major in Applied Physics at Brown University and is already considering graduate school.

Jazz Musicians Participate in HS All-County Festival

Jazz Musicians Participate in HS All-County Festival photo
Jazz Musicians Participate in HS All-County Festival photo 2
High School student jazz musicians Cole Fortier and Trey Pisano recently participated in the Suffolk County Music Educators' Association All-County Jazz Festival at Miller Place High School.

Cole, a member of the All-County vocal jazz ensemble and Trey, a member of the All-County instrumental jazz ensemble, both performed a program of contemporary jazz standards led by world-renowned guest conductors.

Students compete in Latin Certamen

Students compete in Latin Certamen photo
Knowing that “Et tu, Brute?” were Julius Caesar’s famous last words in Latin was helpful to the students who recently took part in the Latin Certamen at Stony Brook University. Five of the district’s teams made the finals and carried away awards.

Port Jefferson competed against students from 14 schools across Nassau and Suffolk counties in the fast-paced, academic contest that poses questions about Latin grammar, vocabulary, word derivations, Roman life, history, mythology and literature.

Students compete on the level of Latin in which they are enrolled. Two eighth-grade teams competed on Level I, two ninth-grade teams competed on Level II, one tenth-grade team competed on Level III and three teams competed on the Advanced Level.

Coached by Latin teacher Anne Algieri, the Port Jefferson teams who placed at this year’s Certamen included:

First Place - Level IA team
Kasumi Layne-Stasik
Andrew Patterson
Stefano Rabeno
Caelan Schretzmayer

Second Place - Level IB team
Hugo Onghai
Annie Maier
Kate Sommerstad
Hunter Volpi

First Place - Level II team
Aaron Held
Mattea Rabeno
Grant Samara
Peggy Yin

First Place - Advanced Level A team
Emma Gutmann
Ibuki Iwasaki
Cezanne Lojeski
Luigia Than

Third Place - Advanced Level B team
Katie Ambrozy
Ava Schully
Sabrina Schully
Annalisa Welinder

Good Luck!

Good Luck photo
High School junior Natalya Patriquin will join nearly 400 of the nation’s leading middle school and high school equestrians this weekend to compete for top honors in the Interscholastic Equestrian Association National Finals.

On behalf of your school community, we wish you great luck!

VIDEO: After-School Yoga For Port Jeff Athletes


The wonderful world of reading

The wonderful world of reading photo
In a continuing effort to promote literacy, students at the elementary school were treated to a special guest performance by magician Tommy James. The high-energy combination of music, sound effects, jokes and an overall message of the importance of reading and the valuable resources a library has to offer was a learning opportunity for the K-5 students. At the end of his performance, all the students were asked to stand and take the “Readers Oath” to read each and every day. He then surprised them with the magical appearance of a live bunny on stage.

“As always, we want students to know that reading can be fun, educational and relaxing all at the same time,” said librarian Selinda Stout. “The experience taught them that books help us to discover the world around us.”

A poetic tribute to a Holocaust survivor

A poetic tribute to a Holocaust survivor photo
Students in Kayleen Everitt’s eighth-grade English classes took a unique route in using their intellectual skills to examine and understand world history: before welcoming Werner Reich, a Holocaust survivor, as a guest speaker, they honored him with a poetic tribute of their own inspiring thoughts.

After an introduction by student Kyle Johnson, who thanked Reich for sharing his firsthand account of the events of the Nazi Germany genocide, student Kasumi Layne-Stasik read German theologian Martin Niemöller’s well-known poem “First they came…” and explained that the students rephrased it in their own writings to correspond with issues of today including among other topics gun violence, conservation and equality between men and women in hopes of inspiring change.

Student Sofia Ulinski then introduced Ella Barrett, Jordyn Capone, Kate Carlson, Zoe Intardanado, Andrew Patterson and Abigail Rolfe who read their own poems before Reich shared his compelling story of survival and message of tolerance and acceptance.

“They did an incredible job and were courageous and brave for sharing their creative work in front of the entire grade,” Everitt said. “I am most proud of their creativity, civic awareness and leadership.”

Sixth-graders participate in Mathematics League

Sixth-graders participate in Mathematics League photo
Port Jefferson Middle School students had an educationally enriching experience when they participated for the first time in the New York Mathematics League.

Sixth-graders Emily Ambrozy, Eric Chen, Viviane Kim, Nicholas Smirnov and Carman Stanton worked as a team and ranked 20 out of 71 schools in the state on the academically oriented competition, which consisted of a variety of math topics, including algebra, geometry and problem-solving.

According to math teacher Megan Ryan, the students were excited to participate and be recognized for their mathematical achievements.

“They enjoyed the challenge and are encouraged to continue to develop their exploration of mathematical ideas,” Ryan said. “It was a positive experience for them to decipher some of the difficult math solutions.”

A bird’s eye view of student artwork at Village Center

Port Jefferson Art Show banner
Art Show flyer
Students from the District are showcasing their creative works through the month of April at the Port Jefferson Village Center’s Spring Art Show.

The third-floor colorful display features artwork from the district’s K-12 art students as instructed by Port Jefferson art teachers: Richard Anderson, Meghan Hallock and Nancy Randazzo at Edna Louise Spear Elementary School, Stacey Schuman at Port Jefferson Middle School and Lynne Edsall at Earl L. Vandermeulen High School.

The artwork is available for view from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily.

Middle Schoolers shares artistic talents for a good cause

Middle Schoolers shares artistic talents for a good cause photo
A cold winter’s evening didn’t stop the determined students, their families and faculty and staff who participated in the middle school’s paint night event to raise money for the North Shore Animal League's Bianca's Furry Friends Campaign.

Arranged by middle school English teacher Allison Giannusa and principal’s secretary Kathleen Hanley, the festive fundraiser featured raffle baskets and artistic talents as participants created three cats under a full moon on their individual canvasses. The event raised $1,650 for the feline adoption center.

National art award for Dylan Dugourd

National art award for Dylan Dugourd photo
High School sophomore Dylan Dugourd has been named a national medalist in the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Less than 1 percent of the nearly 350,000 works of art and writing submitted to the competition, sponsored by The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, earn a national medal.
Dugourd’s video game design was selected by creative professionals as the most accomplished in the nation and recognized with a silver medal. He is invited to attend the national ceremony at Carnegie Hall in June where he will receive a certificate commemorating his achievement and participate in a series of student showcase events.

“Receiving the award is motivating,” Dylan said. “To be able to share my creation on this level is exciting. It shows me that my hard work is paying off.”

Bee participants honored by Board of Education

Bee participants honored by Board of Education photo
Fourth- and fifth-graders put their knowledge of the world, the past and the written word to the test as participants of school’s National Geographic Bee, National History Bee and Scripps Spelling Bee.

Although they took the tests already, Principal Thomas Meehan continued to pose questions in those academic areas to the numerous students who were named champions in the school’s Bees as they were honored at a recent Board of Education meeting.

“We are so proud of their accomplishments and the opportunities offered through our SEAL program,” said Meehan, of the school’s Studies Enriching Academic Learning program for students in grade 3-5, headed by Dr. Kate Zvokel.

School Spelling Bee champions are fifth-graders Isabelle Chen and runner-up Sara Freitas. National History Bee School Champions took a multiple-choice test, which qualified them to move forward to both the regional exam and the regional finals. Those students are fifth-graders Jan Goldgaber, Aoife Hogan, Max Joyner, Ana Kelly, Leo Marsala, Evan Monaghan, Jack Snyder and Christian Urea; and fourth-graders Christopher Nam and Max Kronberg.

In the SEAL National Geographic Bee, five winners from each grades’ SEAL class competed against one another. The first-place winner took an online exam to qualify for the state bee. Those students are fourth-graders Christopher Nam and Mari Fukuto and fifth-grader Emily Snyder who won first, second and third, respectively.

Elementary students embrace the power of literacy

Elementary students embrace the power of literacy photo
To promote the importance of literacy, the elementary school has named five “Star Students” from each grade level as part of the school’s version of the American Library Association Celebrity READ Campaign, which takes place several times per year.

Star Students Myla Kelly – grade 1, Clara Pearce – grade 2, Allie Blumenthal – grade 3, Madison Testa– grade 4 and Cassidy Worrell – grade 5 were selected by librarian Selinda Stout for their excellent attitude, behavior and work ethic in the library.

In honor of their achievement, the students’ photos were displayed on the bulletin board outside of the library along with a summary of their favorite book.

Middle school Science Olympiad qualifies for state competition

Middle school Science Olympiad qualifies for state competition photo
Teamwork, cooperation and an engaging interest in science, technology, engineering and math helped bring the Middle School Science Olympiad team to third place at the Suffolk County Regional Division B Science Olympiad competition, recently held at Candlewood Middle School in Dix Hills.

Coached by science teacher Adam Bouchard and assisted by science teacher Deborah Hagmeyer, students in grades 6-9 competed against 32 teams in events which tested their skills in earth science, biology, chemistry, physics and engineering. Team members received medals in 20 events. They will compete at the state competition at East Syracuse-Minoa High School in Syracuse, New York, on April 13-14.

Medal Winners:
Second Place, Anatomy – Grant Samara and Peggy Yin
Seventh Place, Anatomy – Gani Ates and Sapphire Perera
Fifth Place, Crime Busters – Hugo Onghai and Kasumi Layne-Stasik
Fourth Place, Disease Detectives – Grant Samara and Hugo Onghai
Second Place, Dynamic Planet – William Wu and Liam Gameng
Fifth Place, Ecology – Teppei Fukuto and Andrew Patterson
First Place, Fast Facts – Aaron Held and Peggy Yin
Third Place, Herpetology – Andrew Patterson and Kasumi Layne-Stasik
Second Place, Hovercraft – Grant Samara and Arik Sen
Second Place, Meteorology – William Wu and Liam Gameng
Fourth Place, Microbe Mission – Hugo Onghai and Peggy Yin
Fifth Place, Optics – Selena Ueno and William Wu
Fourth Place, Potions and Poisons – Gani Ates and Pratham Sethia
Eighth Place, Road Scholar – Aaron Held and Arik Sen
Second Place, Rocks and Minerals – Grant Samara and Aaron Held
Eighth Place, Roller Coaster – Teppei Fukuto and Sooah Kwak
Second Place, Science Quiz Bowl – Aaron Held, Andrew Patterson and Peggy Yin
Fourth Place, Wright Stuff – Andrew Patterson and Stefano Rabeno
Fifth Place, Wright Stuff – Michael Melikyan and Max Paulus
Fourth Place, Write It Do It – William Wu and Selena Ueno

Empowering Port Jeff students with wellness seminars

Empowering Port Jeff students with wellness seminars photo
Port Jefferson School District’s partnership with the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence continues to serve as a valuable resource in educating students about the importance of making good decisions.

The Student Wellness Seminar Series, coordinated by Dr. Danielle Turner, the district’s director of health, physical education and athletics, and two social workers from LICAAD, is held after school approximately once per month. High school and middle school students are encouraged to take part in the seminars that focus on topics that may affect their lives, including self-esteem, stress management, anxieties, drug and alcohol use, and social media behavior.

The most recent one, presented by Lauren Navarra, LICAAD’s student assistant program coordinator, not only highlighted emerging drug trends, but emphasized ways for students to put healthy coping skills in place.

VIDEO: PJ Robotics



A budget hearing of the Port Jefferson School District Board of Education will be held on May 8, 2018, 7:00 p.m., at Earl L. Vandermeulen High School.  The regular monthly business meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. following the budget hearing.  Call to order will be at 6:00 p.m. for the purpose of entering executive session.

A plus for Port Jefferson Mathletes!

A plus for Port Jefferson Mathletes photo
The high school’s Mathletes team enjoyed another successful season, with the A team – consisting of the top five math students at the school –placing third in the Small School Division and seventh overall in the Suffolk County Mathematics Teachers Association contest.

Coached by high school math teacher Dennis Christofor, 25 students in grades 9-12 competed in five competitions with six challenging questions throughout the winter.

Among the A team, Annalisa Welinder placed 12th in Suffolk County, scoring 20 out of 30 correct. Eli Doyle and Ibuki Iwasaki placed 29th in the county, scoring 17 out of 30 correct. They competed with more than 800 students who participate in high school Mathletes in Suffolk.

In May, the students will be recognized at the SCMTA awards dinner at the Watermill in Smithtown.

Update on Budget Process – April 11

At last night’s meeting, the Port Jefferson Board of Education tabled a motion to adopt a proposed 2018-19 school budget and a proposed contingent budget. If passed, the proposed budget plan would be put before voters this May. This decision was based on the recently announced tentative settlement agreement that the Town of Brookhaven is negotiating with LIPA.

As many in the community are aware, the Town announced last week that they were close to a deal on the lawsuit it was facing that challenged LIPA’s assessed value and alleged repayment of back taxes. Despite our best outreach efforts, the district has been unable to receive the details of this tentative settlement – in particular, what it would mean financially for the Port Jefferson School District for the 2018-19 school year. As such, the Board felt it was necessary to refrain from taking action on a proposed budget until the details of this agreement are made available.

We are hopeful that the parameters of any deal will be made available to the district prior to the required April 20 proposed budget adoption. 

Honoring an educational role model

Honoring an educational role model photo
The Port Jefferson Board of Education recently recognized Dr. Jodi Cahill, the district’s director of special education, for earning her education doctorate degree. In honor of this achievement, the district presented her with a commemorative certificate at a recent Board of Education meeting.

Dr. Cahill’s work of providing a meaningful and rewarding education for Port Jefferson School District students has been enhanced by her work in defending her doctoral dissertation. It also sends a positive message and sets an encouraging example for all students.

District hosts celebrated music festival

District hosts celebrated music festival photo

The sounds of music were a welcome sign of the spring season as the Port Jefferson School District hosted the New York State School Music Association Solo and Ensemble Evaluation Festival.

In addition to students from the district, more than 800 music students from neighboring communities converged to participate in the NYSSMA event. Students from Comsewogue, Middle Country, Sachem, Smithtown and Three Village school districts and the private institutions The Laurel Hill School and The Stony Brook School, performed for a NYSSMA adjudicator who provided constructive feedback and a score to each participant.

As a host for the event, Port Jefferson music faculty and student volunteers helped guide visitors throughout the building, monitored evaluation rooms and worked closely with state NYSSMA representatives to make sure that the festival ran efficiently.

“Special congratulations to all participating student-musicians, volunteers and our entire Port Jefferson staff for creating a positive and memorable musical experience for students across Suffolk County,” the district’s Director of Music and Fine Arts and festival chairperson, Dr. Michael Caravello said.

Port Jefferson students share musical talents at SCMEA Festival

Port Jefferson students share musical talents at SCMEA Festival photo
Port Jefferson students share musical talents at SCMEA Festival photo 2
Thirty-three students from our schools were selected to participate in this year’s Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association All-County Festival.

Paige Braile, Grace Brown, Isabelle Chen, Alexa Eichinger, Jared Furjanic, Viviane Kim, Jinah Kwak, Nathaniel Lawler, Alexander Layne-Stasik, Abigail Levine, Rose Meliker-Hammock, Gavin Onghai, Kay Ranjbar, Andrew Schretzmayer, Nicholas Smirnov, Jack Snyder, Carman Stanton, Devon Welsch, Alexa Wonderland and Cassidy Worrell were selected to perform with other Suffolk County fifth- and sixth-graders in Division I.

Middle School seventh- and eighth-graders selected for Division II were Alexa Ayotte, Sophie Blumenthal, Luke Dickuth, Teppei Fukuto, Nicolina Giannola, Kasumi Layne-Stasik, Natalie McGuigan, Andrew Patterson and Ruby Ray.

High School ninth- and tenth-graders selected for Division III were Sinan Ates, Rachel Park, Jack Reilly and Nicole Schully.

After three days of rehearsals, the students participated in a final performance at Central Islip High School in early March.



Celebrated music scholarship for Port Jefferson student

Celebrated music scholarship for Port Jefferson student photo
Port Jefferson Middle School student Hugo Onghai has received a scholarship for study at the Young Artist Program at SUNY Stony Brook.

The eighth-grader was nominated by his orchestra teacher, Christian Neubert, and was selected for a $500 Suffolk County Music Educators Association Joseph R. Herbison Summer Scholarship.

Hugo, a cellist in the school’s 7/8 orchestra as well as a pianist, will have the opportunity to broaden his musical horizons by working with other talented young musicians under the guidance of faculty members at Stony Brook University.

He was presented with the award at the start of the recent SCMEA Division II concert, for which he was accompanied by Dr. Michael Caravello, director of music and fine arts for the Port Jefferson School District.

‘Shining Above the Rest’ at Port Jefferson Schools

‘Shining Above the Rest’ at Port Jefferson Schools photo
Five individuals from the school district community were honored with Educational Service Awards at the 17th Annual SCOPE School District Awards Dinner.

With the theme “Shining Above the Rest,” the recipients were honored in categories that recognized their leadership, fiscal responsibility, dedication and countless hours of service in improving the educational experiences of all district students.

The recipients who were honored are Dr. Mark Doyle, Board of Education member for School Board Service; Elisa Scott, PTSA treasurer for Community Service; Michel Krivosta, high school science teacher for Teacher Service; Maureen Griffin, elementary school principal’s office for Support Staff Service and Fred Koelbel, plant facilities administrator for Administrator Service.

Connecting with community through song

Connecting with community through song photo
Port Jefferson Middle School musician Alexa Eichinger performed the national anthem at a recent Port Jefferson Lions Club meeting. The honor for the sixth-grader was an opportunity to showcase her growth and self-discipline as a musician and meets some of the challenges of the district’s academic standards for music.

She was accompanied to the meeting by her parent and Dr. Michael Caravello, director of music and fine arts.

Simons Research Program fellowship for David Rotunno

Simons Research Program fellowship for David Rotunno photo
With an interest in machine learning and equipped with letters of recommendation from teachers Dennis Christofor, Kyle Dunlop and nominated by science teacher Michel Krivosta, high school junior David Rotunno will spend his summer at the prestigious Simons Research Fellowship Program.
The program, housed at Stony Brook University for 6.5 weeks from June through August, is a prestigious honor for some of the best science students from all over the country.

Rotunno will work in the Department of Computer Science with Dr. Minh Nguyen, whose interests are in computer vision, machine learning and time series analysis, and Dr. Roy Shilkrot whose research focus is in human computer interaction, computer graphics and computer vision and augmented reality.

“I’ve worked hard and am incredibly grateful for this opportunity to work alongside such brilliant computer scientists,” said David, who would like to study applied mathematics and computer science in college.

Reid Biondo presents research at eminent science fair

Reid Biondo presents research at eminent science fair phto
Junior Reid Biondo recently attended the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair, a competition for the most advanced high school projects.

His research, “Convolutional Neural Network Classifier for Antarctic Seals,” was based upon a long-standing association with Dr. Heather Lynch, an associate professor of ecology and evolution at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. Reid conducted research in the Lynch Lab for Quantitative Ecology during his freshman and sophomore years of high school. He wrote code to take geotagged images from the internet and analyze them to gain a better understanding of specific Antarctic seal distribution.

Reid had the unique opportunity to be the only student from the school to attend the eminent event and present and explain his work to experts in their subject areas from local universities, scientific institutions, professionals and peers from other high schools. He was accompanied by science teacher Michel Krivosta.

“The LISEF competition was a great opportunity to be around other students with similar interests in research,” Reid said. “I look forward to continuing my research efforts at Stony Brook University this summer.”

Young authors celebrated

Young authors celebrated photo

Students at the elementary school had the opportunity to share their writings with their families, teachers, administrators and Board of Education members during a recent Young Authors Celebration.

Students from grades K-5 had their published works available for reading and comments, and the many subjects they wrote about was a clear indication of the school’s achievements in this academic discipline.

Following the celebration, many of the parents attended the Board of Education meeting where Claudia Smith, pre-K-grade 8 assistant principal, conducted a presentation on the students’ progress with the structured writing program of Fundations and Columbia Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.

Encouraging kindness at the middle school

Encouraging kindness at the middle school photo
Thoughtfulness and understanding were at the forefront of the recent middle school Random Acts of Kindness initiative. Along with teacher Monica Consalvo, students decorated the school bulletin boards to display the message, “Be SOMEBODY who makes EVERYBODY feel like a SOMEBODY.” There were also quotations about being kind and festive student-designed heart posters.

One day was designated Smile Day, when student volunteers handed out “smile stickers” to each student as they entered school. The event was to promote the idea that “today is going to be a great day – SMILE.”

Students extended their compassion into the community by collecting toiletries that were distributed to the Welcome Friends of Greater Port Jefferson, a community organization that provides meals for people in need.

“Although small, these endeavors helped to show students that through the power of one, we can make a difference in the lives of others,” Consalvo said.

Second-graders analyze and interpret artwork

Second-graders analyze and interpret artwork photo
Through studying the work of several Abstract Expressionist artists such as Franz Klein, Lee Krasner, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Cy Twombly, second-graders in Meghan Hallock’s art classes have discovered how to select a feeling or emotion and achieve that mood using color, line and shape in their own works.

“I think it’s so important to teach young artists how to analyze and interpret art,” Hallock said. “Students are learning how art can convey meaning and not just be a pretty picture on a wall.”

As part of the state learning standards for the arts, analyzing and interpreting artwork by engaging in the process of art criticism is a valuable tool for students to learn, allowing them to gain insight into the works’ meaning.

Hallock provided each student a template to use for the critiquing process which asked them to describe the painting using the art elements, think about what the artwork was about and what feelings they experienced, ask the artist questions and give a compliment. Students worked with a partner and critiqued each other’s paintings. When they finished, they shared what they wrote and answered each other’s questions.

VIDEO: Middle School Drama Club


Rave reviews for ‘Me and My Girl’

Rave reviews for ‘Me and My Girl’ photo

The high school Drama Club’s production of “Me and My Girl” was a resounding success, based on the remarkable talents of all involved.

Based on the popular musical set in the late 1930s, the production engaged many students who took part in all aspects of its final stage performance – actors, pit orchestra, stage construction crew, makeup crew and those running the front of the house. The months of planning and rehearsing under the leadership of director Tony Butera helped to create another audience favorite for the Port Jefferson school community.

Drama Club presents ‘Me and My Girl’

Me and My Girl logo
The High School Drama Club will present its production of “Me and My Girl” based on the popular musical set in the late 1930s. Showtimes are Friday, March 16, and Saturday, March 17, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 18, at 2 p.m., at the high school auditorium.

After months of rehearsals and approximately 60 students involved in the production from backstage crews (lighting, sound, prop building, set building) to the orchestra pit and in the cast, the show will certainly be another successful hit for the drama club.

“This is truly a community effort as teachers, parents of current students, parents of students who have long since graduated and community members voluntarily contribute to the productions,” said adviser Tony Butera, who is grateful for the ongoing support of these people as well as alumni who come back to play in the pit, help create props and assist on make-up crews.


Showcasing their skills at Port Jeff’s PTA Talent Show

Showcasing their skills at Port Jeff’s PTA Talent Show photo
The talents of the students at Edna Louise Spear Elementary School rivaled some well-known television variety shows during the recent PTA Talent Show.

“Ode to Joy,” “Hot Cross Buns” and “It’s a Hard Knock Life” brought much delight to the audience. Other musical performances including piano, recorder, ukulele and a rollicking rockabilly rendition, graced the stage along with dance and gymnastics routines. Giant tagboard masks featuring the face of school principal Tom Meehan and some favorite teachers were certainly an audience favorite.

The evening of entertainment brought out families, school staff and community members to the annual PTA-sponsored event.

‘Oh, the places they’ll go’: Port Jeff students celebrate Dr. Seuss

‘Oh, the places they’ll go’: Port Jeff students celebrate Dr. Seuss photo
‘Oh, the places they’ll go’: Port Jeff students celebrate Dr. Seuss photo 2
‘Oh, the places they’ll go’: Port Jeff students celebrate Dr. Seuss photo 3
The hallways and library of the elementary school were a colorful celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday and the nationally recognized Read Across America Day.

Organized by school librarian Selinda Stout, students at all grade levels served as guest readers and recited their favorite Dr. Seuss stories to their classmates.

Stout commended each student for their courage in expressing the rhythm and cadence of their selected stories. “The guest readers amazed me with their ability to stand up in front of their friends and read,” said Stout of the rewarding experience in promoting literacy and encouraging the practice of independent reading.

Pre-K-5 grade readers were:

Deia Colosi
Joseph Curley
Avery Eisaman
Myla Kelly
Evangeline Kozlowsky
Kristin Lucero
Thea Mangels
Sienna McCabe
Austin Nam
Jake Owens
Brianna Russo
Charlie Severin
Ava Sexton
Dylan Sproul
Gianna Viviano
Alexa Wonderland
Jay Yeon
Marley York

The school recognized the dual events by encouraging students to participate in Dr. Seuss-inspired trivia questions throughout the week with the opportunity to win coupons donated by Applebee’s, Panera Bread and Port Jeff Bowl. The faculty lounge was also decorated with balloons donated by Party Hardy in Miller Place, a cake donated by Port Jeff’s La Bonne Boulangerie and Dr. Seuss-themed snacks for the staff.

Senior Trey Pisano shares musical talents in Albany

Senior Trey Pisano shares musical talents in Albany photo

Senior Trey Pisano performed with the New York State School Music Association All-State Instrumental Jazz Ensemble in Albany as part of Music in our Schools Month.

The month of March is designated each year as Music in Our Schools Month and serves as an opportunity for students and teachers from around the state to meet with government officials in support of music education and perform at the state capitol building.

Middle school students raise the curtains and funds for charity

Middle school students raise the curtains and funds for charity photo
Dance routines, songs, violin and ukulele performances, and a piano sonata written by one student’s mother were part of the entertaining Port Jefferson Middle School 12th Annual Talent Show on March 2.

Dozens of students participated either as performers or part of the stage crew to the applause of the delighted audience. Student announcers Farzana Shakeri and Kiersten Parmegiani also gave a nod to Dr. Seuss’s birthday as they dressed as his beloved characters Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Under the direction of teacher Allison Giannusa, the event was also an opportunity to collect canned goods for local food pantries and raised $867 for Friends of Karen, an organization that assists families with a child diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.

A magical evening of music at Port Jeff’s Tri-M Cabaret Night

A magical evening of music at Port Jeff’s Tri-M Cabaret Night photo

The first evening of March was the inaugural Cabaret Night at the high school. Organized by the members of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, guests listened to a wide variety of musical selections performed by the students while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and desserts.

The event, under the leadership of music teacher Christine Creighton, served as a fundraiser for the Tri-M music honor society’s annual scholarship. The Tri-M Music Honor Society is a program of the National Association for Music Education, designed to recognize secondary music students for their musical ability, academic excellence, school involvement and community service. Throughout the year, Port Jefferson students work to broaden the musical horizons of fellow students and community members.

Is it science or art? Fifth-graders explore kinetic connections

Is it science or art? Fifth-graders explore kinetic connections photo
Is it science or art? Fifth-graders explore kinetic connections photo 2
Fifth-graders learned about the interconnection of science and art in a recent kinetic art project in Richard Anderson’s and Meghan Hallock’s after-school Art Club.

After answering questions to figure out what materials to use for their sculpture, how to balance it and how it would transform when it moved, each of the students used their imaginations and some skills for their constructions.

Joined by Karen Levitov, director and curator for the Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery at Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts, and Stony Brook University art students, the fifth-graders wrote art words and science words and learned their relationship as they each created a piece of artwork that depended on movement for its effect.

Two seniors named National Merit Finalists

Two seniors named National Merit Finalists photo
Seniors Ibuki Iwasaki and Luigia Than have advanced to Finalist standing in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

The two academically talented students took the qualifying test as juniors and are now among approximately 15,000 high school students nationwide who were awarded the distinction. In the next several months approximately half of those students will be selected to receive a Merit Scholarship award, which is based on their abilities, skills and accomplishments.

Both Ibuki and Luigia are accomplished and well-rounded students. Their Finalist designation exemplifies the district’s high level of student achievement and academically rigorous program for all students.

National Merit Scholarship winners will be announced in the spring.

Twins honored by BOE for athletic accomplishments

Twins honored by BOE for athletic accomplishments photo
Seniors Jack Collins and Joey Collins were recognized by the Board of Education for their contributions to the district’s athletic program throughout their high school and middle school years.

In an uplifting tribute by Dr. Danielle Turner, the district’s athletic director, the twin brothers were praised for their individual commitment, character, leadership and ability to overcome challenges that stand in the way of success.

Jack, the senior quarterback for the football team, was a two-time Newsday grid-iron great; named All-County and third team All-State; set school records including completions (143), yards passing (2261, second in Suffolk County) and 18 touchdown passes; and was the first Port Jefferson football player to be named the Most Valuable Player in Suffolk County Division 4 football. He is looking at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rochester Institute of Technology or Case Western to continue his football career next year.

Turner also read words of praise for Jack from football coach Andrew Cosci and baseball coach Jess Rosen, and for Joey from wrestling coach Mike Maletta for his successes on the wrestling mat during his high school career.

“Jack and Joey have changed the way many of their peers, teammates and teachers view the world,” Turner said. “Their character, commitment and dedication to Port Jefferson athletics and to their community is without equal.”

Port Jefferson students featured on LI News Radio program

Port Jefferson students featured on LI News Radio program photo
What do a seventh-grade varsity tennis player, a peer tutor and a three-sport participant have in common?

They are just a few of the exceptional students from our district who will be featured on the Spotlight on Long Island Schools show on LI News Radio, 103.9 FM, to air on Saturday, March 3, at 10:30 a.m.

High school students Samantha Acampora, Jack Collins, Shane DeVincenzo, Max Okst and Kyra Sommerstad; middle schoolers Benjamin Perez-Flesler and Nicolina Giannola; and elementary school student Lucy Sarlo shared stories of their academic, athletic and community service accomplishments and activities. They were joined by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Casciano, Athletic Director Dr. Danielle Turner, High School Principal Christine Austen and Middle School Principal Dr. Robert Neidig.

Hosted by Robert Vecchio, the question-and-answer format, 30-minute show highlighted the varied accomplishments of these students as well as mentioned the high school’s designation as a Blue Ribbon School this academic year.

Tune in to hear their impressive stories of balancing academics and other achievements on March 3.

Reward School accolades from BOE

Reward School accolades from BOE photo
During its mid-February meeting, the Board of Education made a special recognition to members of the high school for their collective efforts in having the building named a Reward School by the New York State Education Department, an honor that it has achieved consecutively since the 2012-13 academic year.

During the meeting, Vice President Mark Doyle spoke on behalf of the entire Board of Education, and congratulated the administration, staff and students of the high school for its commitment to educational excellence and outstanding student performance.

The school was one of only 155 schools across New York State to receive the Reward School recognition this year. The high school annually boasts numerous Advanced Placement Scholars, and National Merit Semifinalists and Commended Students, in addition to many athletic, musical, civic and volunteer accomplishments of its students.

Administrators Give Back to Community

Administrators Give Back to Community photo
In an effort to give back to the local community, Board of Education President Kathleen Brennan and district administrators recently teamed up to participate in the Rotary Club of Port Jefferson’s Winter Golf Fundraiser.

The cold weekend activity in early February was an opportunity for them to collaborate with other Rotary members through purposeful action. The proceeds from the event not only encouraged civic engagement but was a way to help benefit local charities.

Putting STEAM into the Arts

Putting STEAM into the Arts photo

Music teacher Lisa Scrom teamed up with librarian Selinda Stout to offer second-graders a unique interdisciplinary lesson.

Students in Laura Kelly’s and Carleen Parmegiani’s classes worked with Ms. Scrom on a musical composition unit and as a culmination, they connected it with science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The students composed their own songs using rhythms they learned and the pitches do mi sol. They notated them on staff paper, added lyrics and learned how to play the songs on the instruments in class, and then used iPads to program the robots in the library to perform their original compositions.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018