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Strummer fun for music students

Strummer fun for music students photo
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Numerous Port Jefferson students take advantage of the musical offerings to keep up their skills on their respective instruments at the annual Summer Music Camp at Port Jefferson.

From beginner woodwind and string lessons and jump-start programs to prepare for New York State School Music Association solo performances during the academic year, the camp is an opportunity for students to learn from music teachers Mark Abbonizio and Christian Neubert and share in an enjoyable and positive educational experience.

The beginner ukulele class is one of the favored choices for students to master the many chords, measured strumming patterns and popular songs in a foot-tapping and rhythmic environment.

PORT JEFFERSON SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING NOTICE

The regular monthly business meeting of the Port Jefferson School District Board of Education will be held on August 14, 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.

State athletic distinction for high school

State athletic distinction for high school photo
To culminate a successful year of athletic accomplishments, the high school was officially named a 2018 School of Distinction by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association on July 12. The high school joins nine other schools in NYSPHAA’s Section XI and only 30 across the state to be recognized with the honor.

The School of Distinction awards were established to help unite varsity coaches in challenging their teams to achieve a statewide honor. To earn the distinction, a school must have 100 percent of its varsity teams qualify for and receive the Scholar-Athlete team award during their respective sports seasons. All of Port Jefferson’s 22 varsity teams for the 2017-18 school year were awarded Scholar-Athlete recognition, in which the average GPA for 75 percent of the roster was greater than or equal to 90.

Congratulations to the student-athletes, coaches, teachers and administration for a continued focus on excellence in the classroom as well as the individual accomplishments and teamwork in their respective sports.

Board members sworn in at reorganization meeting

Board members sworn in at reorganization meeting photo
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Three members of the district’s Board of Education took the oath of office at the annual reorganization meeting on July 10. Renee Tidwell and Ryan Walker each raised their right hand and swore the oath administered by District Clerk Janice Baisley to commence their first three-year terms as trustees. Re-elected incumbent Tracy Zamek was also sworn in by Mrs. Baisley to begin her second term. The board reinstalled Kathleen Brennan as president and elected to appoint Mrs. Zamek as vice president. Mrs. Baisley was then sworn in by Mrs. Brennan to serve the 2018-19 school year as district clerk.

Summer Message from Superintendent Dr. Paul Casciano

Summer 2018

As we end another academic year in the Port Jefferson School District, we are proud and pleased of the many successes of our students, teachers and events happening in our schools. The 89 young men and women of the Class of 2018 epitomize the excellence and success we expect of our students, who represent all that is good about Port Jefferson.

As our graduates move on to new challenges and exciting opportunities, we continue in our efforts to keep our district a safe, nurturing, top-notch educational environment for all.

This year, our Board of Education and administrators have been progressive and steadfast in working together, taking bold steps to strengthen current security practices throughout all district buildings. We have completed numerous security improvements, commencing with a complete audit by the Suffolk County Police Department Homeland Security Section. We have been proactive with measures that allow staff and students to practice more complex safety drills, have placed additional security personnel in each building and have expanded our visitor management system at the elementary school.

As approved by the members of the community, our 2018-19 budget includes infrastructure investments such as installing vestibules in each building to screen all who enter the facilities and relocating the middle school main office to the front of the stairwell on the second floor.

Other improvements include a school emergency notification system project with the Suffolk County Police Department, which automatically bypasses normal communication channels and immediately dials the 911 center supervisor. Additional initiatives are being developed in cooperation with the SCPD to generate necessary and potentially lifesaving measures in our district buildings. Staff members will meet throughout the year to ensure preparedness and diligence in emergency events.

In early spring, the New York State Senate passed a comprehensive school safety plan to improve school security throughout the state and protect students, teachers and administrators. The Port Jefferson School District will continue to champion the cause for safety, security and mental health support and advocate for funding for additional security technologies and equipment with our state representatives.

Our commitment to the enhancement of the safety and security of all who enter our school buildings goes hand in hand with our goal to continue to teach students who are as bright, confident, cultured and educated as the Class of 2018.

Paul Casciano, Ed.D.

Take a Look Inside This Year’s Prom

Links to Newsday’s coverage of the event are below:

Story
Video
Photos

Congratulations to the Class of 2018

HS Graduation 2018 photo

The 124th high school graduation took place on June 22. The ceremony began with the processional and national anthem performed by the high school concert band under the direction of Christine Creighton and the traditional Color Guard presented by members of the Port Jefferson Fire Department. Board of Education President Kathleen Brennan, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Casciano and Principal Christine Austen offered encouraging words to the 89 graduates. Seniors Billy Scannell and Ben Zaltsman addressed their peers and Joseph Collins, father of twin graduates Joey Collins and Jack Collins, presented the parent speech in addition to valedictorian Ibuki Iwasaki and salutatorian Eli Doyle, who both reflected on the past and celebrated the future with their fellow graduates.

The festive ceremony ended with the release of a huge banner from the school’s rooftop created by retired art teacher Carrie Morgan to celebrate the Earl L. Vandermeulen High School Class of 2018.

Onward and upward for middle school graduates

moving up photo

Port Jefferson Middle School eighth-grade students were honored at the annual moving up ceremony on June 21 at the high school.

With welcome remarks by Principal Dr. Robert Neidig, the 83 students of the Class of 2022 were recognized for their academic and athletic achievements and several special recognitions, Presidential Awards for Academic Excellence and certificates to signify their move to high school. Eighth-grade Student Council President Emily Hearney then addressed her classmates with reflection on their academic years together.

Jessica Schmettan, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, then presented congratulatory remarks and assisted Dr. Neidig with awarding diplomas.

Schmettan offered words of encouragement to the students and commended the school community, friends, classmates and family members for the structured village of support to help the students succeed in high school and beyond.

“The independence and maturity that you have begun to develop in middle school will continue to shape you as young adults ready to take on the world,” she said to the graduates. “Your village will be there [to support you.]”

Fifth-graders share kindness 1.5K miles away

Fifth-graders share kindness 1.5K miles away photo
As part of the fifth-grade social studies curriculum, students held a charity drive to help children in Haiti.

Mrs. Kari Costanzo’s class conducted a schoolwide recycling effort to raise funds for food and supplies for those in need. They also brought in clothing and shoes. Students learned that for just 10 cents, which is the recycling of two water bottles, a child can eat for a day in Haiti.

One student remarked about how thankful she is when realizing how different it is to live in Port Jefferson.

“The students are proud of their accomplishments and understand how they can make a difference in other people’s lives with efforts of kindness and giving,” Mrs. Costanzo said.

A celebration of a primary educational journey

A celebration of a primary educational journey photo

Eighty-seven students from the elementary school were celebrated for their advancement to Port Jefferson Middle School at the annual Grade 5 Moving Up Ceremony on June 20.

Members of the Class of 2025 were honored with achievement and classroom awards, safety patrol and principal recognitions, as well as certificates to signify their promotion to middle school.

Deputy Superintendent Sean Leister, Assistant Principal Claudia Smith, fifth-grade teachers and Pauline Spiller, mother of graduate Cristyn Spiller, addressed the students with words of congratulations and pride.

Principal Thomas Meehan ended the ceremony with closing remarks that highlighted the students’ journey from pre-K through grade 5. To much applause and laughter, he quoted Ellen DeGeneres: “Follow your passion, stay true to yourself, never follow someone else’s path unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path — then, by all means, you should follow that.”

The traditional class gift — a bench with the school logo for the courtyard at the elementary school — was presented by Caroline Orofino, mother of Angela Orofino, and Lisa Becherer, mother of Molly Becherer.

The event culminated with the students singing “This Is Me,” the anthem from “The Greatest Showman” and an ice cream social for graduates and their guests.

Four participate in National History Bee

Four participate in National History Bee photo
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Four students from the district qualified and participated in the National History Bee, which took place recently in Atlanta.

Eighth-grader Andrew Patterson, fifth-graders Aoife Hogan and Jack Snyder and fourth-grader Christopher Nam competed with students from across the country. After succeeding in the classroom level competition, the students attended the regional finals before being invited to compete at the national level.

On behalf of the entire school community, congratulations to Andrew, Jack, Aoife and Christopher on their continuing pursuit of knowledge. Their motivation and enthusiasm for learning will serve them well in their academic career.

A triumphant season for JV baseball

A triumphant season for JV baseball photo
Members of the district’s baseball program were recognized for their impressive accomplishments at the Suffolk County Baseball Awards Banquet, held at Villa Lombardi of Holbrook on June 13.

Brothers Hunter Ginas and Peyton Ginas, a senior and a sophomore, respectively, were honored as All-League 9 All-Stars for the 2018 season; this is Hunter’s third consecutive year receiving such honors. Jordan Suarez, a junior, was honored as an All-League player for the 2018 season. Also, Coach Ryan McCormick was bestowed with Junior Varsity Coach of the Year honors, as Port Jeff’s JV team went undefeated in league play this year.

Educators and Administrators Honored

Educators and Administrators Honored photo
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The Port Jefferson School District Board of Education honored district educators and administrators who were granted tenure in the 2017-18 academic year. They were recognized at a recent Board of Education meeting and each received a plaque for their achievement.

Congratulations to the following district professionals on receiving tenure this year:

Christine Austen, Earl L. Vandermeulen High School principal; Kevin Bernier, high school assistant principal; Dr. Jodi Cahill, the district’s director of special education; Mary Lyons, ESOL instructor; Dr. Robert Neidig, Port Jefferson Middle School principal; Steven Orlowski, special education teacher; Jessica Schmettan, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction; and Claudia Smith, assistant principal of Port Jefferson Middle School and Edna Louise Spear Elementary School.

Also at the meeting, Board members Dr. Mark Doyle and Vincent Ruggiero were recognized for their service to the school community, as was senior Max Okst, who served this year as the student representative. They were each presented with a plaque. Board President Kathleen Brennan commended Doyle and Ruggiero for their tremendous amount of work and consistent participation in Board activities over the years, and she wished Max well in his educational journey.

Fifty-two students honored with Presidential Volunteer Service Award

Fifty-two students honored with Presidential Volunteer Service Award photo
Fifty-two students were honored with the Presidential Volunteer Service Award.

Coordinated by Port Jefferson resident Jackie Hull, the recognition is given to each student for their active volunteer service of between 50 and 100 hours in the community. They were presented with a certificate at a ceremony attended by members of the Board of Education, school community and families for their sustained commitment to civic participation throughout the year.

The district has participated in the PVSA since 2010 when it started with one student earning the award. This year’s honorees were recognized with a combined total of more than 7,300 volunteer hours for the 2017-18 school year.

“These same students typically are very involved in school as well at the community and participate in honors classes, music programs and sports,” said Hull. “The fact that they take time out of their very busy days to help others in [the] community should be commended. I’m glad to have the PVSA to show our appreciation for all their hard work.”

The students are: Chloe Andriani, Aiden Barrett, Ella Kate Barrett, Lexi Becker, Jessica Boswell, Emma Byrne, Giancarlo Caltagirone, Sam Caltagirone, Conor Daily, Kayla Daily, Carley Davidson, Lia Desmond, Lucy DeWitt, Dylan Dugourd, Kayla Fox, Atticus Furjanic, Emily Hearney, Hailey Hearney, Sarah Hull, Grace Keegan, Joshua Kelson, Ameen Khan, Jedd Kronberg, Beverly Ann Maier, Emmett Maier, Aidan Malinowski, Colin Malinowski, Ryan Parmegiani, Skylar Pine, Fiona Reichers, Jack Reilly, David Rotunno, Sarah Ruggiero, Lily Russell, Chloe Savino, Mia Savino, Brianna Scarda, Andrew Scott, Christine Scott, Pratham Sethia, Rishabh Pratap Singh, Rohan Pratap Singh, Camryn Spiller, Jillian Sullivan, Luigia Than, Pina Than, Ava Timpanaro, Kayla Timpanaro, Annalisa Welinder, Lucas Welinder, Peggy Yin and Brooke Zamek.

A celebration of African cultures

A celebration of African cultures photo
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Third-grade students in Doreen Marullo’s and Jacqueline Gandolfo’s class culminated their yearlong social studies curriculum with a festive event – MoMA (Museum of Marullo’s/Gandolfo’s Authors).

Through their studies on communities around the world, the students compared the two African countries of Kenya and Egypt. They researched the culture, geography, history, government and economy of each country. They also read numerous books, took extensive notes to write research books with informational paragraphs, created art projects, composed songs, wrote poetry and presented information about specific topics in a skit. Other grade levels and classes were invited to visit MoMA, while the third-graders acted as tour guides giving information about different aspects of the museum.​

 

Teacher honored for three decades of scientific influence

Teacher honored for three decades of scientific influence photo
Earl L. Vandermeulen High School teacher Michel Krivosta was honored by the Port Jefferson School District Board of Education for her three-plus decades of teaching students in the district. She will retire at the end of the school year.

With a generous tribute by Principal Christine Austen, Krivosta was commended for being a tremendous resource and an outstanding science educator who always held her students to the highest standards of academic achievement and integrity in her classroom.

Austen added that Krivosta’s passion, commitment and selfless dedication for teaching and her daily interactions with students were a testament to her influence as an educator and mentor. Under her guidance and leadership, numerous innovative and creative learning experiments and summer research opportunities at Stony Brook University’s research facilities motivated students to explore and expand their scientific knowledge.

The entire Port Jefferson School District community extends good wishes on her next ventures.

Class of 2018 visits elementary school

Class of 2018 visits elementary school photo
Students and teachers filled the halls of Edna Louise Spear Elementary School to cheer on and offer best wishes to Earl L. Vandermeulen High School’s Class of 2018 during its Senior Walk.

The inspirational event served to encourage the kindergarteners through fifth-graders to continue to be motivated by a commitment to their academic studies, knowing where their dedication to school will lead them.

The younger students made congratulatory signs and offered handshakes and high-fives as they watched the seniors connect with former teachers, visit classrooms and reminisce about their days at their alma mater.

Teacher assistant honored for 21 years of service

Teacher assistant honored for 21 years of service photo
The Port Jefferson School District Board of Education honored Patricia Gang for her more than two decades of service to the children of the district.

Gang was lauded by Edna Louise Spear Elementary School Principal Tom Meehan, who had kind words to share about her work with the students.

Gang started her career in Port Jefferson with the school lunch program and became affectionately known as the “snack lady” by the students, making her the most popular person in the school. She later became a teacher assistant and will retire at the end of the school year.

“She will be missed and we all wish her well,” Meehan said.

Second-graders celebrate ELA skills

Second-graders celebrate ELA skills photo

As a culmination to their English Language Arts curriculum, second-graders held a Hollywood Ending Celebration.

The students in Darlene Wells’ class wrote a fractured fairy tale based on the “The Three Little Pigs,” titled “The Three Little Flamingos and the Big Bad Crocodile,” and “Goldilocks,” their version being “The True Story of Goldilocks.” Other fables that had their point of view, characters or plot development modified included “Cinderella” and “Little Red Riding Hood.”

Once they shared their stories, the students walked down the red carpet. They were each announced by their chosen nickname and posed in front of a Hollywood sign that they created with art teacher Richard Anderson. The festive event included a concession stand with candy and popcorn, a viewing of a collection of photos from the class events throughout the school year, a sharing of memories and the “Classy Awards,” a special award selected for each student.

According to Wells, the students worked on different end-of-the-year projects with the Hollywood Ending theme. Some made a memory book, while others created clapperboards inspired by real-life film production and drew their favorite “scene” to help create the ambiance for the event. In addition, each child was presented with an autograph book that was signed by their classmates.

Celebrating unique qualities

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Students at Port Jefferson Middle School spent weeks learning about autism and individuals with the developmental disability. A parent of one of the students presented an idea to Principal Dr. Robert Neidig to create a bulletin board that celebrates the unique qualities of all people.

With the centerpiece title of “We Are All Unique,” each student created a paper puzzle piece showcasing their individuality and gave them to special education teacher Christina Carlson. She, in turn, presented the pieces to seventh-grader Ryan Whiffen who created the bulletin board on his own.

Student selected for 2018 National Lacrosse Classic

Student selected for 2018 National Lacrosse Classic photo
Middle School student Emily Ambrozy has been named a 2018 Maverik National Lacrosse Classic All-Star. A sixth-grader, Emily will attend the Maverik National Lacrosse Academy and National Lacrosse Classic to be held July 16-19 in Frederica, Delaware.

Emily was chosen to play on the Long Island/Metro New York team along with 18 other athletes from the region. The Academy works to provide a curriculum focused on developing young lacrosse players’ skills to compete at a top high school and collegiate lacrosse program.

Royal pride!

Royal pride photo
The Port Jefferson school community congratulates junior Shane DeVincenzo on his successful spring season of high school boys’ golf.

Shane finished tied for 13th in New York State, was the individual Suffolk County champion and was named All-State and to the Newsday All-Long Island golf team, both for the second consecutive year.

Coached by Chuck Ruoff, Shane’s continued hard work and dedication to his sport are to be commended.

Seniors nominated for elite Dellecave Award

Seniors nominated for elite Dellecave Award photo
Seniors Isabelle Love and Thomas Mark were each nominated for the Dellecave Award.

The two students were the nominees from the high school – each district in Suffolk County nominates one female and one male graduating senior – for the award, which is named after longtime Suffolk County basketball official and founder of the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame Butch Dellecave. In addition to being outstanding athletes, both students were selected for their exceptional character and integrity.

They were recognized along with nominees from other Suffolk County high schools at a recent breakfast ceremony.

A Colorful Celebration of Autism

A Colorful Celebration of Autism photo

Strength building, coordination and navigating a series of challenging obstacles were some of the benefits of the PTSA-sponsored Autism Awareness Obstacle Color Course Challenge.

As a culmination to learning about autism and the strengths and differences of individuals on the spectrum, dozens of students and their families took part in the event that helped to create awareness and acceptance for autism.

Spearheaded by parent Karen Sproul, sunglasses and bandanas were supplied to participants to protect their faces while being doused with a rainbow of cornstarch-based powder, and raffle baskets were auctioned to help raise funds for the PTSA and autism awareness.

“This was a fun and engaging activity for families,” said Port Jefferson Middle School Principal Dr. Robert Neidig. “To promote inclusion and friendship while challenging themselves physically was a rewarding learning opportunity for our students.”

Ensembles perform at NYSSMA Majors Festival

Ensembles perform at NYSSMA Majors Festival photo
Music students from the seventh- and eighth-grade orchestra and chamber ensemble performed at the recent New York State School Music Association Major Organization Festival at Sachem East High School.

Conducted by music teacher Christian Neubert, both ensembles performed several pieces for a panel of adjudicators, who evaluated them on quality of performance and level of musicianship.

The district congratulates the orchestra on its outstanding musical performance!

Art Students Explore Creativity at LongHouse Reserve

Art Students Explore Creativity at LongHouse Reserve photo

Students from the high school connected classroom learning into the community when they had the opportunity to explore LongHouse Reserve, 16 acres of landscapes and a contemporary sculpture garden in East Hampton.

Coordinated by high school art teacher Nancy Randazzo, the students explored various modes of creativity on the spectacular grounds. Featuring art works by Buckminster Fuller, Dale Chihuly, Yoko Ono and William de Kooning, the Reserve’s exceptional integration of nature, art and design was an engaging educational experience for them.

Young Chefs Enhance Culinary Skills

Young Chefs Enhance Culinary Skills photo

Teamwork was the catchphrase of the day for members of the Cooking Club on a recent field trip to Sur La Table in Lake Grove.

The 19 students in the program took part in a workshop with a professional chef where they were taught to make pasta from scratch, rolling it, shaping it and feeding it into a pasta machine. They also made a Caesar salad and dessert before sitting down to share their meal together.

“As hands-on learning opportunities are always a valuable aspect of the educational process, the students were successful in creating the meal and enjoying it together,” said school social worker Kristin Britt, who leads the program in coordination with the district’s speech language pathologist Stacia Schoen.

According to Britt, the focus of the club is social learning, which includes good communication, flexible thinking and cooperation. It also gives students an opportunity to interact with one another, giving them an active voice within their peer groups to become healthier and happier by taking the time to work together over the meals they create.

The Cooking Club is funded by the Royal Educational Foundation of Port Jefferson, which works to strengthen community participation in school programs and provide funds for projects to help assure educational excellence for all students in the Port Jefferson School District.

Five track stars named All-League

Five track stars named All-League photo
Five of Earl L. Vandermeulen High School girls track and field team members were named All-League for the spring track and field season.

Amanda Brosnan (discus), Jacqueline Poten (shot put), Rachel Russ (100 meters), Aileen Schretzmayer (1,500 meters) and Sabrina Schully (long jump), along with coach Don Slingerland, are to be commended for their hard work and dedication in representing the high school varsity track and field team.

Investment principles turn real

Investment principles turn real photo
In addition to learning about how capital markets function and the fundamentals of investing, students in the high school Investment Club participate in several stock market competitions and discuss current events and stock ideas.

A recent visit by Congressman Lee Zeldin reinforced the importance of investing and the benefits of learning how to invest at a young age. The students represented Congressman Lee Zeldin and Congressional District 1 in a national stock market competition against thousands of other students.

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association’s Capitol Hill Challenge presents high school investment teams with a hypothetical portfolio of $100,000 to invest. Last year was Port Jefferson’s first year in the competition, placing fifth in the nation. The students visited Congressman Zeldin in his Washington, D.C., office last year, then he in turn visited Port Jefferson students to thank them for their work and representation this year.

Arranged by high school language teacher and club adviser Robert Farenga, Rep. Zeldin spoke to the students about his work as a congressman, his background and issues facing our country. He also fielded questions from several students on an assortment of economic issues.

Exemplary skills earn senior National Merit scholarship

Exemplary skills earn senior National Merit scholarship photo
High school senior Luigia Than has been named a recipient of a corporate-sponsored scholarship in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program.
She is one of only five Suffolk County and 32 throughout the state of the 1,000 high school seniors nationwide who received the honor.

Luigia is the recipient of the National Merit Battelle Scholarship. A global research and development organization, Battelle company officials “believe that a quality education prepares individuals to contribute effectively to their communities and workplaces.”

Luigia, an accomplished, academically talented and well-rounded student, will enter Stony Brook University in September with an eye on a career in the engineering field.

Honored for sharing student musical pleasures

Honored for sharing student musical pleasures photo
When the Port Jefferson Lions Club members hold their monthly meetings to plan out their projects for the dozen or so local charities they raise funds for, they are often met with some music when they stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

The songs are provided by the talented students of our school district. To thank them for bringing these musical measures to their meeting and for his support of the service organization, the Lions members recently honored Dr. Michael Caravello, the district’s director of music and fine arts, with a certificate of appreciation. He is shown here with Port Jefferson Lions Club President Dean T. Jenkins

Fifth-graders raise awareness and funds for ALS

Fifth-graders raise awareness and funds for ALS photo
When Chris Pendergast visited the elementary school a few months ago to share a message of strength and determination, his words left an imprint on several of the students.

His story of living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, commonly referred to as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease for more than 20 years inspired four fifth-grade girls to host a fundraiser.

Gwenivere Connelly, Julia Fife, Alice Snyder and Emily Snyder sold small stuffed animals, loom bracelets, pencils, erasers, notepads and more to raise $334.35 for the ALS Ride for Life Campaign.

“We are very proud of them for taking this initiative to help out this worthy cause,” said Principal Thomas Meehan.

High academic standards lead to National Merit Scholarship

High academic standards lead to National Merit Scholarship photo
Senior Ibuki Iwasaki has been named a National Merit Scholarship winner in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Ibuki was chosen from more than 15,000 outstanding students across the nation – and only 15 in Suffolk County – who will receive the $2,500 scholarship. She is among the winners across the country who were selected because of their strong combination of exceptional academic accomplishments, skills and potential for success in rigorous college courses.

Ibuki is the Earl L. Vandermeulen High School Class of 2018 valedictorian. She is headed to MIT to study physics in the fall.

Robotics team honored by Board of Education

Robotics team honored by Board of Education photo
Members of the high school robotics team were honored by the Board of Education during a recent meeting.

Technology teacher Brian Chalmers introduced the team members present and thanked the mentors who worked with the students during the build season and competition before the students showcased the capabilities of their robot. His overview emphasized how learning about robotics in a classroom connects to real-world engineering challenges.

“They always give us a really interesting demonstration,” said BOE President Kathleen Brennan of the students’ presentation of the complex robotic system, the design modifications and the obstacles they face during qualifying competitions. “It’s nice to see firsthand the work that they do.”

VIDEO: PJ Val & Sal 2018

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Middle School musicians selected for prestigious ensembles

Middle School musicians selected for prestigious ensembles photo
Four middle school students who benefit from the school’s music program were accepted for the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York. They performed recently on one of the world’s most well-known stages: Carnegie Hall.

Sixth-grader Chloe Pipia was selected to the Suffolk Treble Choir, seventh-grader Sophie Blumenthal and eighth-grader David Lawler were selected to the Suffolk Concert Orchestra on oboe and viola, respectively, and seventh-grader Kenneth Dixon-Lanza was selected to the Suffolk Concert Choir. Sophie and David had to audition for the orchestra with a New York State School Music Association level 4 or 5 solo on their instruments and Chloe and Kenneth auditioned for the choirs by demonstrating vocal technique and range with their NYSSMA solos.

“It was a beautiful theater,” Sophie said, “and an exciting opportunity to be a part of the experience.”

Seven seniors commit to colleges

Seven seniors commit to colleges photo

With coaches, parents, peers and administrators in attendance, seven high school seniors were honored at the 2018 College Athletic Signing Ceremony.
Hosted by the Port Jefferson Athletic Department and introduced by Dr. Danielle Turner, director of health, physical education and athletics, each student committed to playing their respective sports at the collegiate level in the fall.

During the ceremony, varsity head coaches Rod Cawley (track), Andrew Cosci (football), Taylor Forstell (lacrosse) and Mike Maletta (wrestling) commended each student, spoke of their career highlights at Port Jefferson and wished them all well at the next level of their education and athletic endeavors.
The students who will continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level are:

Jacky Chen: Pace University, Football
Jack Collins: University of Rochester, Football
Marquis Feldman: LIU Post, Football
Connor Kaminska: MIT, Lacrosse
Thomas Mark: Christopher Newport University, Lacrosse
Vincent Miceli: Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Wrestling
Samuel Walker: Providence College, Track and Field

Port Jefferson vocalist sings national anthem for the Lions

Port Jefferson vocalist sings national anthem for the Lions photo
Ninth-grader Mattea Rabeno had the honor of being invited to sing the national anthem at a recent Port Jefferson Lions Club meeting.

Mattea was accompanied by music teacher Katherine Butera and Dr. Michael Caravello, Port Jefferson School District director of music and fine arts. After her performance, she was presented with a certificate of appreciation for her efforts.

STEM and skating: unique lessons for Port Jeff students

STEM and skating: unique lessons for Port Jeff students photo
Middle school students had a unique educational experience in which they learned how the concepts of science, technology, engineering and math connect to many parts of everyday life.

Sixth-graders took a STEM field trip to the United Skates of America in Seaford and attended a lesson and hands-on activities that directly related to what they are learning in their classroom. Following the lesson, they roller skated and continued to grasp laws of motion and other aspects of physics. The students also measured and calculated speeds of themselves running and skating and also used mean, median and mode to compare their roller skate sizes.

“I was really impressed with the students’ knowledge of the different STEM ‘superstars,’” said math teacher Megan Ryan, referring to historic and contemporary dignitaries in the STEM field such as Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking and Steve Jobs. “The lessons we participated in were great ways to connect math to real life; and [of the roller skating] it was fun to watch so many students do something they had never done before!”

Student honored for outstanding achievement in chemistry

Student honored for outstanding achievement in chemistry photo
Sophomore Sinan Ates was among the best and the brightest high school chemistry students who were honored by the American Chemical Society. His honor for outstanding scholastic achievement was presented at a dinner and reception at Nassau Community College and recognized students from Nassau, Queens and Suffolk counties.

After a presentation by Dr. Gene Hall of Rutgers University on forensic analytical chemistry, Sinan was presented with a plaque by Dr. Joseph Serafin, chair of the American Chemical Society’s New York section and Dr. Adejare Adeniran, chair of the American Chemical Society’s Long Island subsection.

For his accolades, Sinan had kind words to share about his high school teacher Michel Krivosta, noting that she is a great chemistry teacher; taking a subject and making it interesting so that the whole class pays full attention.

She, in turn, had this to say:

“Sinan is one of those students who really grasps the concepts of what he learns in the classroom. He is very deserving of the honor.”

Gaining intrinsic rewards for community service project

Gaining intrinsic rewards for community service project photo
Goodwill and compassion are just two of the traits of student volunteers who took part in a camp cleanup on a recent weekend.

The 11 students from the high school’s Interact Club and seven students from the middle school joined members of the Rotary Club to help maintain the grounds and ready the buildings for campers with special-needs who attend Center Moriches’ Camp Paquatuck over the summer months.

The students raked leaves, planted flowers and cleaned bunks in preparation for the upcoming camp season.

According to adviser Deirdre Filippi, the endeavor is always a success and the student volunteers always have a great time. During this visit, two of the student volunteers inquired about returning back to the camp on their own on the weekends to continue assisting the directors with any help they may need to get ready for the summer programs.

“I think their initiative speaks volumes of the kinds of things we do and the intrinsic rewards that are gained when people work together for the greater good of our community,” Filippi said.

Port Jeff students take their musical talents to Carnegie Hall

Port Jeff students take their musical talents to Carnegie Hall photo
Five high school student-musicians had the opportunity to rehearse and perform at Carnegie Hall with other highly talented Long Island students.

The students were accepted as part of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York. They are junior Katie Ambrozy, selected to the Symphonic Choir, juniors Jillian Lawler and David Rotunno, selected to the Symphony Orchestra and freshmen Nicole Schully and Ava Schully, selected to the Symphonic Orchestra and Principal Orchestra, respectively. They had to audition in a competitive selection process based on a New York State School Music Association Level 4 or 5 solo on their instruments or voice.

Music students perform national anthem

Music students perform national anthem photo
Elementary and middle school band students showcased their patriotism when they performed the national anthem at Bethpage Ballpark to kick off a Long Island Ducks game during the Memorial Day weekend.

Organized by the district’s PTA and elementary school music teacher Mark Abbonizio, the event doubled as a fundraiser for the Class of 2025.

School librarian is shaping the next generation of innovators

School librarian is shaping the next generation of innovators photo
Knowing that students need the skills to be prepared for the future in a technology-driven world, elementary school librarian Selinda Stout set out on a mission to introduce all K-5 students to block coding in the school library.

For her efforts, she has been named a Sunburst Digital Innovator.

Ms. Stout wrote a case study for the educational curriculum software company on the implementation of the Dot and Dash robots in the school library. She first discussed with her students many different types of robots. Her next step was a collaborative project with music teacher Lisa Scrom, where students wrote their own compositions and then used iPads to program the robots in the library to perform their original songs.

Her culminating project was a March Madness Basketball Challenge. Using coding concepts the students learned, they investigated how distance and energy affected the launchers’ aim and competed against one another where the robots actually shot hoops. She also created surveys for the students to share their experience with these powerful and playful tools that served as an introduction to computer science.

“We are so proud of Ms. Stout for the work she has accomplished with robotics and coding for our elementary students,” said Jessica Schmettan, the district’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. “These type of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) opportunities help our students develop critical 21st-century skills which directly align with the district’s digital literacy goals.”

To read more about the project, click below

http://wonderworkshop.sunburst.com/ww_case-study_stout.pdf

Two honored for superior mathematical abilities

Two honored for superior mathematical abilities photo
Congratulations to eighth-grader William Wu and ninth-grader Grant Samara for placing first and second, respectively, in the district and third and fourth, respectively, in the county on the Suffolk County Math Contest. They were honored at the recent Suffolk County Math Teachers’ Association awards dinner and are pictured here with high school math teacher Dennis Christofor.

A celebration of mathematical accomplishments

A celebration of mathematical accomplishments photo

Students from the high school and middle school have acquired numerous awards through Suffolk County Math Teachers Association contests.

Accomplishments this year in which students earned awards include a one-hour math contest, administered by Middle School Principal Dr. Robert Neidig. Congratulations to the following Suffolk County Math Teachers’ Association contest winners:

Sixth-grader Eric Chen: First place in PJMS, first place in Suffolk County.
Seventh-grader Michael Melikyan: First place in PJMS, first place in Suffolk County.
Algebra: Eighth-graders Arik Sen and Stefano Rabeno – first place in PJMS.
Geometry: 10th-grader Julia Hennessy – first place in ELVHS.
Algebra 2: Ninth-grader Grant Samara – first place in ELVHS, third place in Suffolk County.
Algebra 2: Eighth-grader William Wu – second place in ELVHS, fourth place in Suffolk County.
Pre-Calculus: Ninth-grader Peggy Yin – first place in ELVHS.
Pre-Calculus: 11th-grader Ryan Kim – second place in ELVHS.
Calculus: 11th-grader Joseph Cangemi and ninth-grader Sinan Ates – first place in ELVHS.
Calculus Plus: 11th-grader Annalisa Welinder – first place in ELVHS.

The American Mathematics Competition, a national exam, tests problem-solving skills and mathematical knowledge in students. The 75-minute exam was held after school and administered by high school math teacher Dennis Christofor. Congratulations to:
AMC 10:
First Place – Grant Samara, ninth grade.
Second Place – Sinan Ates, ninth grade.
Third Place – Hugo Onghai, eighth grade.

AMC 12:
First Place – Annalisa Welinder, 11th grade.
Second Place – Luigia Than, 12th grade.
Third Place – Eli Doyle, 12th grade.

The Port Jefferson School District is proud to recognize the accomplishments of these students in working to strengthen their mathematical capabilities.

All-County Mathletes honors for high school trio

All-County Mathletes honors for high school trio photo
The high school Mathletes team earned third place in the small school division this year and three of the top performers were recognized at the recent Suffolk County Math Teachers’ Association awards dinner.

Annalisa Welinder, who placed 12th in Suffolk County, scoring 20 out of 30 correct, and Eli Doyle and Ibuki Iwasaki, who placed 29th in the county, scoring 17 out of 30 correct, received All-County Mathletes honors.

Coached by high school math teacher Dennis Christofor, they competed in five competitions with six challenging questions each throughout the winter, along with more than 800 other students who participate in high school Mathletes in Suffolk.

Excellence on National Latin Exam

Excellence on National Latin Exam photo

Students enrolled in Latin earned exceptional marks in the 2018 National Latin Exam. To recognize their success, each student was praised for their achievements at a ceremony in the high school library. The students, who were among 143,000 students from across the nation and 24 countries to take the annual exam, were presented with certificates of accomplishment by Latin teacher Anne Algieri.

Seventh-grade students enrolled in Latin IA took the Introduction to Latin Exam. At this level three awards are given for outstanding performance on the exam: Perfect Paper Certificate plus a purple ribbon for a perfect score of 40, an Outstanding Achievement Certificate plus a purple ribbon for a score of 35-39, and an Achievement Certificate for a score of 31-34.

Teppei Fukuto Perfect Paper Certificate plus a purple ribbon
Benjamin Perez-Flesler Perfect Paper Certificate plus a purple ribbon
Olivia Schlegel Perfect Paper Certificate plus a purple ribbon
Brendan Capodanno Outstanding Achievement Certificate plus a ribbon
Luke Dickhuth Outstanding Achievement Certificate plus a ribbon
Kenneth Dixon-Lanza Outstanding Achievement Certificate plus a ribbon
Jack Keegan Outstanding Achievement Certificate plus a ribbon
Sooah Kwak Outstanding Achievement Certificate plus a ribbon
Tabitha Schully Outstanding Achievement Certificate plus a ribbon
Giancarlo Caltagirone Achievement Certificate

The following students received awards for their outstanding performance on the Latin I Exam.
David Lawler gold medal, summa cum laude
Kasumi Layne-Stasik gold medal, summa cum laude
Beverly (Annie) Maier gold medal, summa cum laude
Hugo Onghai gold medal, summa cum laude
Andrew Patterson gold medal, summa cum laude
Stefano Rabeno gold medal, summa cum laude
Kate Sommerstad gold medal, summa cum laude
Caelan Schretzmayer magna cum laude
Hunter Volpi cum laude

Andrew Patterson and Hugo Onghai each achieved a perfect score on this exam.

The following students received awards for their outstanding performance on the Latin II Exam.
Liam Gameng gold medal, summa cum laude
Grace Keegan gold medal, summa cum laude
Ameen Khan gold medal, summa cum laude
Royce Perera gold medal, summa cum laude
Mattea Rabeno gold medal, summa cum laude
Michela Rabeno gold medal, summa cum laude
Grant Samara gold medal, summa cum laude
Nicole Schully gold medal, summa cum laude
Peggy Yin gold medal, summa cum laude
Aaron Held silver medal, maxima cum laude
Veronique Velazquez silver medal, maxima cum laude
Lucas Welinder silver medal, maxima cum laude
Sapphire Perera magna cum laude

The following students were recognized for outstanding performance on the Latin III Exam:
Kyle Onghai gold medal, summa cum laude
Giuseppina Than gold medal, summa cum laude
Felicity Hyams cum laude

The following students were recognized for outstanding performance on the Latin IV Exam:
Katherine Ambrozy gold medal, summa cum laude
Ava Schully gold medal, summa cum laude
Annalisa Welinder gold medal, summa cum laude
Gavin Barrett silver medal, maxima cum laude
David Rotunno silver medal, maxima cum laude
Cameron Cohen magna cum laude

This is the fourth consecutive year that Ava Schully and Annalisa Welinder have received gold medals.

These students were recognized for outstanding performance on the Advanced Latin Exam:
Ibuki Iwasaki gold medal, summa cum laude
Luigia Than silver medal, maxima cum laude
Emma Gutmann magna cum laude
Joseph Samara magna cum laude

On behalf of the school community, congratulations!

Turning imagination into creativity at student art shows

Turning imagination into creativity at student art shows photo
Turning imagination into creativity at student art shows photo 2
Turning imagination into creativity at student art shows photo 3

Students throughout the district – inspired by their respective art teachers and the masters – showcased their artistic skills at the three schools’ art shows throughout the month of May.

Photography, pointillism, crafts, sculpture and graffiti were just some of the subjects students touched upon in turning their imaginative ideas into reality.

Under the direction of elementary art teachers Richard Anderson and Meghan Hallock, middle school art teacher Stacey Schuman and high school art teachers Lynne Edsall and Nancy Randazzo, students have learned to flex their artistic intelligence throughout the school year, culminating in a must-see springtime event.

Presenting musical prowess at ‘Petting Zoo’

Presenting musical prowess at ‘Petting Zoo’ photo

Springtime is a musical time in our schools and an opportunity for high school students to share their talents and instruments with elementary students.

The annual Instrument Petting Zoo was recently held at the elementary school, where members of the high school instrumental ensembles gave third-grade students a chance to get an up-close look at the instruments of the band and orchestra.

Under the direction of band teacher Christine Creighton, the high school students came well-prepared and encouraged the younger ones to ask questions about how the instruments work as they performed. For many of the younger students, this was a chance to experience the excitement of holding the instruments correctly, some of them for the first time.

The third-graders had a worksheet to indicate their top three choices and in the coming weeks will select the instrument they would like to begin learning in the fall.

Elementary band teacher Mark Abbonizio even got the kindergarten students involved in the festive event. While some listened attentively to the music and high school students’ instruction, several of them helped hold the signage at each station that introduced the instrument.

‘Ab ovo usque ad mala’ at Latin Club’s Roman Banquet

‘Ab ovo usque ad mala’ at Latin Club’s Roman Banquet photo

In a feast fit for a king, the high school and middle school Latin Club members, along with adviser Anne Algieri, hosted a Roman Banquet at the Port Jefferson Village Center.

More than 50 students and their family members were in attendance at the ninth annual event. To recognize ancient Roman culture, students dressed in togas and tunicas, recited ancient Latin poems, performed traditional songs and feasted on traditional Roman foods.

Modeled on an ancient Roman banquet, the menu’s theme was “Ab ovo usque ad mala” (from eggs to apples), the equivalent of the modern expression “from soup to nuts.”

Sunday, July 22, 2018