school student Nicos Prokopiou received a Grand Award Honorable
Mention in the environmental engineering category at the Long
Island Science and Engineering Fair on March 23. After
presenting his research to LISEF scientists in February, he had
been selected as a semifinalist and cleared to compete by the
LISEF Scientific Review Committee. His paper was titled “The
Development of Copper Filtration Systems to Decrease the
Viability of Aqueous E. coli.”
At the junior varsity edition of LISEF, three West Islip
research students placed. Samantha Jenks won second place and
Sean Cafferty earned third in the behavioral science category,
while Devin Miller came in third place in plant science.
second-graders recently participated in an egg drop challenge,
designing and creating “structures” that would be capable of
protecting an egg when dropped from the gymnasium roof by a
For this STEM extension activity, a list of suggested supplies
was provided, and students planned and constructed their
structures independently, relying on their knowledge of
properties to determine materials that would be best suited for
their designs. They made predictions about whether each design
would be successful and why, and then analyzed the outcomes.
After the egg drop, students opened their structures to see if
their design had protected the egg from cracking during the
fall. The different designs were compared and analyzed to
determine their effectiveness, and the students were asked to
consider how this activity applies to the real world, which is
full of things that are designed to lessen or eliminate injury.
The high school’s FIRST Robotics Team 871 participated in the
School Business Partnership of Long Island’s Regional Robotics
Tournament at Hofstra University on April 1, winning the
prestigious 2017 Innovation in Control award for its advanced
robotic mechanism control system enabling automatic pick-up and
deposit of game pieces.
The award, sponsored by Rockwell Automation, celebrates an
innovative control system or application of control components –
electrical, mechanical or software – to provide unique machine
functions. The system must be innovative, practical and able to
be described by the students.
students recently participated in Islip Town's 31st annual
Sharpshooter Basketball Contest, with Adriana Balint, Matthew
Greenwald, Victoria Lackington, Jake Lella, Christine Lombardi,
J’Ovanni Maldonado and Chris Rentz emerging as the school’s top
hoops shooters. The students used the skills they have learned
in Manetuck’s physical education classes to compete against
students from other schools in the district.
Sponsored since 1993 by the Islip Department of Parks,
Recreation and Cultural Affairs along with the Islip Elks, the
Sharpshooter “Just Say No to Drugs” competition provides an
alternative to drug and alcohol abuse and an opportunity for
fourth- and fifth-grade students to improve their basketball
skills as they attempt to score as many baskets as possible in
Balint, Lella, Lombardi and Rentz went on to represent Manetuck
at the final, townwide round of the 2017 competition, with Islip
Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter and Councilwoman Mary Kate
Mullen in attendance.
was in the air during March at Manetuck and Bellew, with both
schools holding successful science fairs.
More than 130 students in grades K-5 participated in Manetuck’s
fair, providing them with the opportunity to explore various
STEM topics and share what they discovered with their
classmates. While family and friends enjoyed the fair that
evening, students visited during the school day with their
classes, armed with clipboards that contained an exit ticket
activity that they were required to fill out as they browsed the
various projects, which included topics such as solar power,
plant nutrition, bone mobility, electric circuits, color mixing,
snakes, dinosaurs, homopolar motors, lava lamps, static
electricity and water-powered renewable energy. At Bellew, more
than 150 students participated and shared their findings after
investigating topics like the solar system, electricity, simple
machines, buoyancy and the amount of sugar in a daily diet.
“It was wonderful to see such student enthusiasm about the STEM
field,” said Bellew Principal Rhonda Pratt.
The high school’s business education
department recently inducted 35 exemplary students into
the Business and Marketing Honor Society.
Acceptance into the Business and Marketing Honor
Society, which is a national organization, requires
letters of recommendation from teachers, coaches or
employers; hours of community or volunteer service; and
outstanding grades in business classes. Many of the
graduating seniors who were inducted will go on to
pursue degrees in marketing, accounting and law after
earning college credits through the department’s college
During the ceremony, Adriana Lent, president of the
school’s Future Business Leaders of America, and Elena
Cama, president of West Islip DECA, spoke words of
encouragement and congratulations to their fellow
students. They also talked about the importance of
career and college readiness through business education
courses and participation in clubs such as DECA, FBLA,
the Sports Entertainment Marketing Club and Mock Trial.
Cama and Lent both plan to major in business while
attending college this fall.
Kindergartners in Judith Schwartz’s class at
Oquenock visited “the rainforest” during the school’s
science fair. Each grade at the school participated by
making a different insect or animal for the event.
Meanwhile, David Haas’ fifth-grade class watched a
“volcano” erupt after a student made it for the science
fair. The student who created the volcano for the
science fair used a soda can and painted clay to make
it, then added baking soda and vinegar to initiate a
chemical reaction that resembled lava.
his talent and hard work, high school junior Jake Dieli was
selected to perform with the 2017 Suffolk County Music
Educators’ Association’s All-County Jazz Ensemble.
Other outstanding West Islip student-musicians chosen for
SCMEA’s All-County Band, All-County Orchestra and All-County
Chorus included Bayview fifth-graders Isabella Basini, Vivian
G., Emily Hamm, Brian Hose, Amy McCann and Katherine Pokorney;
Bellew fifth-graders William Borello, Nicholas Locurto, Ryan
Northorn, Devon Prieto and Sophia Stehlik; Manetuck
fifth-graders Mackenzie DeCarlo, Isabella Grimaldi, Daniel
Pipitone and Aaron Tomasello; Oquenock fifth-graders Marissa
Beyhl, Amanda Lundquist and Abigail Trent; Beach Street students
Avery Alessi, Sophia Bahm, Nate Butler, Matthew Cammarano, Lily
Colonna, Emma Fallon, Alex Lee, Sophia Lopez, Lauren McCann,
Gabriel Millet, Andrew Palmer, Sophia Pellegrino, Hayley
Santiago, Erin Thaxter, Kyle Tran, Karina Vartanian and Emma
Zatkowski; Udall students Ruth Boucher, Drake Castonguay, Eve
Castonguay, Lianna Crisci, Amanda Ditaranto, Michael Edgley,
Daniel Himbele, Antonia LaFemina, Elizabeth Lundquist, Alexandra
Mahany, Grace Mineo, Andrew Rao, Luke Schuffenhauer, Alexandra
Scourtos and Dorian Scourtos; and high school students Patrick
Bolin, Mary Ellen Boucher, Ty Carpinello, Adriane Casey, Nicole
D’Asaro, Madison Esposito, Marc Frazier, Robert Hoyler, Joseph
Imburgia, Derek Kim, Lauren Leonardi, Matthew Oldaker, Delaney
O’Shea, David Mahany, Roman Millet, Kathryn Paidoussis. Tristan
Tran, Evan Trommer, Anthony Venezia and CJ Zito.
The Geography Club at Oquenock, consisting of 21 third-, fourth-
and fifth-graders, participated in their annual Geography Bee on
March 13, guided by club adviser David Haas. The questions this
year focused on U.S. geography.
“Congratulations to all of the students for their hard work,”
said Principal Jack Maniscalco.
Kindergartners at Bellew were recently visited by a dental
hygienist from Adelberg Montalvan Pediatric Dental in West
Islip. The students watched a brief educational cartoon video on
the importance of taking care of their teeth, and had an
interactive discussion using fun props and dental tools.
The hygienist showed the students how to brush and floss properly, and
discussed healthy eating and drinking as a means of taking care
of their bodies and teeth. At the activity’s close, the children
were excited to each receive a goody bag with useful information
as well as a new toothbrush.
by freshman Lily Gilmore and sophomore Krista Wolfe, two
talented students from Kristen Caulfield’s studio art classes at
the high school, were chosen for display at the New York State
Art Teachers Association’s 27th annual Legislative Student Art
The Legislative Student Art Exhibition is the flagship event for
Youth Art Month and NYSATA’s largest public display of student
artwork in a government building. Each spring, it provides an
exciting opportunity for students and their families to connect
with their legislators.
The K-12 gallery showing, cosponsored by New York State United
Teachers, ran from March 27-29 at the Legislative Well in
Albany’s Capitol Building.
Oquenock fourth-graders used the message of positivity and
acceptance behind P.S. I Love You Day to create special
character flags. Each student wrote a brief message – ranging
from “thank you for always helping me with my math” to “thanks
for playing with me at recess when no one else would” – on a
heart for the members of their class. These messages were then
glued to strips to create a wonderful keepsake for each child.
“We hope that the students will realize their own self worth
through the kind words of others,” said teacher Kelly Parson.
“This activity really got the students thinking about others,
and the happiness they all showed when their own character flag
was complete was priceless.”
Fourth-graders in Nikki Caputi’s class at Bayview dressed in
character for Biography Day, bringing historical figures like
Christopher Columbus, Milton Hershey, Helen Keller, Pablo
Picasso and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to life in a “wax
museum.” The students performed short skits and answered
questions about their chosen figures.
“This student-friendly format of Biography Day allowed my class
to creatively and dramatically tell about their important person
of history,” said Caputi.
the 11th consecutive year, the middle school orchestras
went on tour at the district’s four elementary schools.
Udall’s seventh- and eighth-grade orchestra traveled to
both Manetuck and Oquenock on Feb. 16, while Beach
Street’s seventh- and eighth-grade orchestra visited
Bayview and Bellew on March 8. Both buildings’
orchestras conducted an information demonstration and
informal concert for the younger students.
During the tour performances, the middle schoolers
played a combination of music from their winter and
spring concerts in addition to demonstrations of
individual instruments, which included music from “Star
Wars: The Force Awakens,” and the “Harry Potter” films
as well as popular tunes such as “Closer” by The
Chainsmokers, “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes
and “Drag Me Down” by One Direction.
“This event allows for the elementary students to learn
about the instruments in the string orchestra and what
the different instruments sound like,” said Lynnette
Fawess, the orchestra director for Beach Street and
Udall. “It is also a wonderful opportunity for the
middle school students to visit and perform for their
former teachers. The students are always proud of their
musical growth and love having the opportunity to share
that with the elementary teachers.”
keeping with this year’s Pick a Reading Partner program theme of
“Ride the Reading Wave,” Manetuck students collectively read
more than 110,000 minutes outside of school throughout the three
weeks of PARP.
As a result of their reading achievement, Principal Dawn
Morrison agreed to participate in an ice bucket challenge at the
end of the PARP closing assembly.
In addition to taking part in activities that encouraged reading
both in school and at home, the students also wrote a book
titled “The Adventures of Gnarley Dude,” with each class writing
and illustrating one page of the book.
The book was read to the students at the closing assembly, then
placed in Manetuck’s library media center.
school student-athletes Hanna Battaglini, Klaire Klemens and
Sierra Koehler competed in the NYSPHSAA indoor track state
Battaglini finished 14th in the state in the 55-meter hurdles,
with a time of 8.89.
Klemens likewise finished 14th in the 1,500-meter race, with a
time of 4:53.19. Koehler ran on the intersectional distance
relay team that broke a county record with a time of 10:22.00
and took first place in the state.
Clever bookworms at Bellew recently came up with a messy
challenge for Principal Rhonda Pratt to complete. If they met
their reading goals in this year’s Pick a Reading Partner
program, Pratt would agree to play the “Pie in the Face Game” in
the school's cafeteria. The students read more than 81,000
minutes; one remarkable fourth-grade class alone read 9,567
“They met their goals, and I had a sweet treat,” said Pratt. “My
special thanks to our PTA for helping to organize daily
fun-filled reading activities and for their donation of
superhero books for the library.”
On a monthly basis, students at Manetuck are given a chance to
show their sterling character and be rewarded. In the school’s
character education program, the Path to Paw-Fect Character, one
student from each classroom is honored with that month’s
character education award. Each award winner receives a
certificate, a paw print pin and a medal. As a group, the
winners are honored at a school-wide assembly, and their names
are displayed in the school’s main hallway.
January’s character education trait was anti-bullying, with
students working hard throughout the month to treat others with
respect, while the character trait for February was friendship.
Students in Diana Saadat’s career and financial management
classes at the high school got a taste of the real world when
they concluded their recent career unit, utilizing their
resources and skills to participate in mock interviews.
After researching their prospective career and creating a
resume, each student sent in a cover letter that granted them an
interview. They were then asked to fill out an application and
were able to sit down and experience all the questions and
pressures that come with a real interview.
school senior Patrick Carter successfully defended his state
diving championship on March 4, earning his second consecutive
NYSPHSAA title with a score of 580.05 at the Nassau Aquatic
Center in Eisenhower Park.
It was the final magnificent event in Carter’s storied high
school career, which also includes five county championships and
several broken records. He will attend the U.S. Naval Academy
Also competing at the 2017 NYSPHSAA swimming and diving
championships was swimmer Nicos Prokopiou, who placed 13th
overall in the 100-meter backstroke and was recognized with the
New York State Sportsmanship Award. Prokopiou had earlier won
four medals in the Suffolk County league swimming championships,
including a first-place finish in the 200 individual medley.
Work by eight
superb young West Islip artists was chosen for display
at the 19th annual Colors of Long Island student art
The K-12 gallery showing, sponsored by Astoria Bank,
runs at the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook from Feb.
24 through April 16.
Selected were Bayview fourth-grader Megan Harte and
fifth-grader Angelo Cristadoro; Bellew first-grader
Madelynn Rush and fifth-grader Alexa Reale; Oquenock
fifth-graders Shea Ronayne and Salwa Rukiyah; and high
school freshmen Lily Gilmore and Olivia Hargraves.
celebration of Black History Month, fifth-graders in teacher
Jill Culver’s class at Oquenock recently painted full-face
acrylic portraits of their black history heroes.
The students prepared by researching many role models, chose
someone they admired and then located a photograph of the
person. During several lessons, the young artists learned to
accurately shape and place facial features, and use different
techniques to style the subjects’ hair. At the end of the
four-week project the fifth-graders explained why they admire
the person they selected and painted.
“It's always exciting when the students can relate to a person
from history or feel empathy or compassion for someone, and are
eager to learn more about them,” said Culver. “It is also a
great opportunity to learn how to paint a portrait in acrylics.”
Christine Chocko’s fourth-grade class at Manetuck was recently
paid a special visit by U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas
Haughey, the great-uncle of one of Chocko’s students. The
students learned about the brave men and women that serve in
America’s armed forces, and Haughey read them the Jill Biden
story “Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops.”
school senior Patrick Carter captured his fifth consecutive
county diving championship while setting the Section XI 11-dive
scoring record with a score of 625.35. His victory at the Feb.
16 event, held at Hauppauge High School, made him the first
Suffolk diver to win five county titles. As a junior last year,
he earned his first state title and fourth county title. He will
defend his state championship title on March 4 at the NYSPHSAA
championship held at the Nassau Aquatic Center in Eisenhower
Earlier, Carter and fellow diver Adriane Casey had put on an
impressive display of skill and athleticism at the Suffolk
County league diving championships, also at Hauppauge. Casey
finished in fourth place and Carter won the league championship
for the fifth year in a row.
West Islip swimmer Nicos Prokopiou broke four school swimming
records this past season and won four medals in the Suffolk
County league swimming championships at Hauppauge, including a
first-place medal in the 200 individual medley. Prokopiou also
qualified for the state championships in the 200-meter IM and
school girls indoor track team members Hanna Battaglini, Klaire
Klemens and Sierra Koehler qualified for the 2017 New York State
Indoor Track championship. Battaglini qualified in the 55-meter
hurdles, while Klemens and Koehler qualified in the 1,500-meter
run. The athletes’ qualifying times earned
All-County honors, and they look forward to competing in the
Meanwhile, the school’s boys 4x800 relay team – Desmond Benton,
Greg Bove, Peter DeMicco and Andrew Lauriguet – took second
place in the indoor state qualifier meet, running a season-best
time of 8:19. Lauriguet will represent West Islip at the state
meet in March after running the fastest high hurdle time in
Suffolk County. He also broke a 43-year-old school record by
running the 55-meter hurdles in 7.70 seconds. He finished in
16th place at the Eastern States Indoor Championships on Feb.
28, held at the Armory Track & Field Center in New York City.
Manetuck students from kindergarten through fifth grade created
heartfelt cards for service members as part of the Valentines
for Veterans program initiated by former Assemblyman Joseph
Saladino, now Oyster Bay town supervisor.
While making the cards, the students and their teachers
discussed the importance of showing gratitude and admiration for
America’s vets throughout the year for their service to the
celebrated this year’s Pick a Reading Partner program for two
Lego-laden weeks in February. The annual PTA-sponsored program,
which seeks to build better readers, featured Lego-related
decorations and installations, staff members dressed in costume
as characters from the 2014 animated film “The Lego Movie,” and
even a Lego version of Principal John E. Mullins Jr.
“During PARP, parents and teachers truly come together to get
the students excited about reading at home with their families,”
said teacher Justin DeMaio, who served as PARP co-chair. “We
planned many exciting things, leading up to our Lego PARP Pajama
Block Party. Of course, the most important part of these two
weeks was that ‘reading is awesome.’”
Julia Kennedy, a Bellew fifth-grader, was named the school’s
National Geography Bee champion on Jan. 27. Fellow fifth-graders
Anthony Scarmozzino and Max Lipschitz finished in second and
third place, respectively. A total of 20 Bellew students from
the Geography Explorers Club participated in the Bee.
“Great job to all of our student participants who went above and
beyond in their quest to learn more about the wonderful world in
which we live,” said Principal Rhonda Pratt.
Kennedy will advance to the next level of competition by taking
a qualifying test to determine state competitors. If she
qualifies, she earns a seat at the New York State competition in
Albany. The final competition is held in May in Washington,
D.C., where students compete for college scholarships.
high school’s varsity wrestling team concluded another very
successful season, qualifying eight wrestlers for the Suffolk
County wrestling championships.
Earning titles as League IV champions were Jason Lella and
Bradley Wilson. Other Lions winning at the league championships
and moving on to the county competition were second-place
finishers Ryan Beyerbach and Billy Nicholsen, third-place
finishers Brodie Culkin and Matt Moynihan, and fourth-place
finishers Brian Calhoun and Drew Paccione.
total of 35 students from the high school’s Marketing Club
participated in DECA’s Suffolk County Regional Competition on
Jan. 4, accompanied by chapter adviser Diana Saadat and
chaperone Shawn Wallace. The competition, held at Suffolk County
Community College in Selden, involved more than 1,800 students
from high schools throughout Suffolk County.
DECA members learn and develop important values such as civic
consciousness, social intelligence, leadership skills and
vocational understanding. Membership in DECA also helps the
students to meet the rigorous New York State learning standards,
both in content and performance.
Second-place trophies were awarded to Krista Ciccarelli and
Briana Ferguson in the Financial Services Team category, and
third-place trophies went to Adriana Lent in Apparel &
Accessories Marketing and Natalie Cosentino in Marketing
Other trophy winners for West Islip included James Loeffler in
Accounting Applications; Andrew Ierardi in Automotive Services
Marketing; Marissa Gustavson and Megan Kerrigan in Hospitality
Services Team; Qi Di Zheng in Marketing Communications; Katelyn
Kohler and Melissa Tonn in Marketing Management Team; Michael
Alini and Anthony Siconolfi in Principles of Finance; Julianna
Budriss in Sports and Entertainment Marketing; and Patricia
Douglas and Jessica Moellendorf in Travel and Tourism Team.
Students who were awarded honorable mention in their events were
Genna Johnson and Melissa Winberry in Food Marketing; Kathryn
Ryan in Principles of Business Management & Administration; and
Anthony Ippolito in Visual Advertising.
Other West Islip students participating were Elena Cama, Lauren
Di Stefano, Heather Dreyer, Hannah Ferrugiari, Megan Flannery,
Robert Huben, Alexa Innes, Thomas Landhauser, Angelina Lombardi,
Emily Michaluk, Devin Miller, Lauren Monteverde, Stephanie
Neglia, Jacqueline Perettine and Matt Russo.
Trophy winners will advance to the 56th annual DECA New York
State Career Conference, to be held March 7-10 at the Riverside
Convention Center in Rochester. More than 4,000 DECA members
from high schools throughout the state will gather to compete in
events, enhance their business skills, meet new friends and
enjoy the camaraderie of the conference.
recognition of their skill and dedication, 13 West Islip
student-musicians were recently selected to perform at the
Suffolk County Music Educators Association’s 12th annual Day of
Horn, held at Northport High School. The students attended
clinics and rehearsals, and performed with over 200 students in
a massed ensemble.
The chosen students were Bayview fifth-graders Daniel Albrecht
and Cameron Barton; Bellew fourth-grader April Allegretto and
fifth-graders Erick Burciaga and Kevin Pilewski; Beach Street
seventh-graders Marina Lankford and Hunter Seda, and
eighth-graders Machlin Fellman and Sophia Randazzo; and Udall
sixth-grader Andrew Rao, seventh-graders Drake Castonguay and
Kristina Veiga, and eighth-grader James Gadaleta.
in Andrea Miller’s science class at Beach Street recently
completed a performance task for their earthquake unit, creating
model buildings designed to be more earthquake resistant.
Using information from both books and videos, they were
introduced to types of seismic waves and what damage and
movements these waves are capable of. They were then broken into
groups and given time to create names for their construction
companies and determine the responsibilities of each child in
their group. Preliminary blueprints were brought in by each
student, and eventually one common design was selected and drawn
by a student “architect.” Student “foremen” decided on materials
and went to a mock store with their lists. Meanwhile, presenters
began the process of writing presentations to the “town”
regarding their building’s basic design and what materials were
After initial construction, the students tested their buildings,
most of which did not survive well. Students then went home and
watched a video on resistant construction techniques such as
isolation bases and flexible materials, and each model building
was modified and revised several times in an attempt to make the
perfect earthquake-resistant building. The results – including
building strategies that were used and which materials worked
the best – were recorded and included in their town
speaker Marc Mero, a former pro wrestler and the author of “How
to Be the Happiest Person on the Planet,” recently presented his
“Champion of Choices” program to the students of Udall. During
his talk, Mero discussed how he reached the pinnacle of sports
entertainment success as WWE wrestling champion, then lost it
all, and in the process, discovered what is most important in
“Marc now has a greater appreciation for his relationships with
people and empowers others to make a difference in their
personal life, school and community,” said Udall Principal
Daniel Marquardt. “He encouraged our students to keep dreaming
and set goals to achieve their dreams.”
West Islip’s elementary, middle and high school music students
spent several months working hard in rehearsals in order to
prepare for their recent winter concerts. In stirring
performances by band, chorus and orchestra musicians from each
of the district’s seven schools, parents and community members
were treated to a wide variety of selections that included
holiday favorites, jazz, pop, Broadway and patriotic tunes, and
“Congratulations to all these outstanding student musicians and
ensembles,” said Director of Art and Music Education Eric
Tim Horan, the district’s director of health, physical
education, athletics, recreation, and family and consumer
science, was recently recognized as the Suffolk County’s Section
XI Athletic Director of the Year.
Students at West Islip’s Oquenock Elementary School spent the
holiday season raising $1,092 for the John Theissen Children’s
The school’s fifth-graders organized the fundraiser
by selling scented pencils during lunch. They also sold
snowflakes that they personalized with students’ names and then
used to decorate the hallways.
Theissen paid a visit to Oquenock and explained to the students
that the money they had raised for the charity would be used to
buy holiday gifts for sick children across Long Island.
Club participants at Beach Street took on two new projects
recently, trying to create the tallest tower that would hold the
most weight, and utilizing old donated toys to design new toys.
Marie DeMarco, the school library media specialist, and
sixth-grade teacher Andrea Miller, were on hand to provide
assistance when needed. The finished design projects were both
displayed in the Beach Street library.
In the architectural challenge, the only materials permitted
were newspapers, tape and skewers. The newspapers were rolled
tightly for stability. “It was a stiff competition, but everyone
created amazing structures,” said Principal Andrew O’Farrell.
For the toy effort, each student used his or her imagination to
make a toy idea become reality. After sketching the design, the
students selected, took apart, rearranged and attached multiple
toy parts, using various tools such as hammers, pliers,
screwdrivers and safety goggles.
“With this fun ‘invent to learn’ experience, our students used
real-life skills to invent, manufacture and name their toys,”
fifth graders at Oquenock recently constructed ice cream cones
out of recycled materials, clay and styrofoam. The project was
the work of the Oquenock Art Club, an after-school group that
meets once a week for four months.
The students created the ice cream cone sculptures out of
recycled yarn, cardboard, styrofoam balls and Model Magic clay.
They painted the sculptures with acrylic paint, choosing between
three mixed colors to create the “flavor” of their choice.
“The students were delighted with their creations,” said teacher
Jill Culver. “They are excited each week to work on their
projects and can’t wait to show their families their awesome
school seniors Emily Beier and Drew Cestaro were recognized as
2016-2017 winners by the Suffolk Zone Chapter of the New York
State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and
Dance at the organization’s annual awards dinner, held at the
Hyatt Regency Long Island in Hauppauge on Dec. 7. The awards are
given to students who best exemplify exceptional physical
performance, character, and citizenship.
Beier serves as captain of the varsity field hockey and lacrosse
teams, earning All-State and All-County honors, respectively. An
active member of the West Islip student senate and ACE peer
mediator, she has volunteered for the annual Walk to End
Alzheimer’s and will play lacrosse for Loyola University this
Cestaro is a member of the varsity football and lacrosse teams,
serving as captain of the former and earning football All-County
honors. He volunteered for the annual Sounds of Silence 5K Run
last spring. In the fall, he will attend Binghamton University,
where he will play lacrosse.
“Both Emily and Drew pride themselves on striving for academic
and athletic excellence, and are true leaders in physical
education,” said Athletic Director Tim Horan.
students at Udall showcased their growing skills at a pair of
Dec. 15 concerts, delighting both fellow students during the
daytime performance, and their parents in the evening. Led by
Orchestra Director Lynnette Fawess, the young musicians were
broken down into two ensembles, one from the sixth grade, and
the other consisting of students from the seventh and eighth
“Our students’ wonderful performance is a testament to their
dedication to the Udall performance music program,” said Dr.
Daniel Marquardt, the school’s principal. “Congratulations to
Mrs. Fawess on another amazing concert.”
Bellew students collected warm winter wear during the holiday
season. New hats, gloves, scarves and cozy socks were used to
decorate a holiday tree in the school’s main lobby. The
donations were later given to the community outreach office at
Our Lady of Miraculous Medal in Wyandanch.
“Without a doubt, our Mitten Tree was beautiful, and the spirit
of giving and kindness shines bright within our school
community,” said Principal Rhonda Pratt.
graders in the Bayview classroom of Ted McManus displayed the
true spirit of the holiday season by helping others in need,
collecting food donations and gift cards to make holiday baskets
for several families in the West Islip community.
“My thanks to all who donated – especially the class moms and
dads – to help make this year’s celebration a huge success,”
More than 90 chorus students from Bellew visited the West Islip
Community Center last month to share holiday songs and spread
goodwill and cheer. Their heartfelt performance was warmly
received by the residents, who also received cards and crafts
from the student. The event was organized by music teacher Laura
“Without a doubt, our outstanding Bellew singers were shining
during this memorable field trip,” said Principal Rhonda Pratt.
student council at Beach Street collected more than 400 toys for
the Toys for Tots program during December, guided by advisers
Jesse Fawess and Lynnette Fawess.
“Everyone at Beach Street is very proud of the council,” said
Principal Andrew O’Farrell. “It was wonderful to see the
generosity of all of our students and staff, bringing joy and
happiness to those who are less fortunate during the holiday
Artwork by high school students Matthew Borino, Ella Coyle, Kyle
Keskin, Mark Lu and Leanne Schneider was selected for
publication in the Long Island Advocacy Center’s 2017 calendar,
titled “Celebrating Diversity: A Year of Artwork Created by Long
The district’s physical education staff and community were
recently recognized for their outstanding commitment to lifetime
fitness and wellness, through their implementation of programs
that educate students, staff members, parents and community
members on the importance of physical activity, volunteerism and
making healthy decisions.
At the annual Suffolk Zone conference, held at Sachem North High
School on Nov. 8, the New York State Association of Health,
Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and the American Heart
Association honored the West Islip physical education staff with
the Heart Partner award. NYSAHPERD and the AHA also recognized
Manetuck physical education teachers George Botsch, Ed Pieron
and Beth Sherwood for coordinating the top Jump Rope and Hoops
for Heart event in Suffolk County, which raised $15,626.
“Our school district is proud to have such committed, dedicated
physical education teachers that continually emphasize the
importance of lifetime fitness and wellness,” said Tim Horan,
the district’s director of health, physical education,
athletics, recreation, and family and consumer science.
“Together, with the tremendous help of the community, we can
dramatically improve the health and quality of our students
Three talented music students at Bellew – Damiana Beige, Sienna
Pollock and Luke Heller – were selected to participate in the
annual Parents, Educators and Kids festival, hosted on Nov. 29
by the Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association.
The PEAK festival is a one-day workshop in which students
receive a unique musical learning experience through singing,
dancing and playing instruments in three different music class
sessions. The day concluded with a performance, allowing the
students to display their learning experiences.
“Congratulations to our Bellew kids, they made us proud,” said
Director of Art and Music Education Eric Albinder.
As an introduction to STEM concepts, fourth-graders in the MST
lab at Oquenock were asked to design rockets that would be
propelled by air blown through a straw, and were given two
attempts to make their rockets fly as far as possible.
After the first trial, the students were encouraged to go back
and make changes to their rockets, using measuring skills to
record the distances their rockets traveled.
West Islip had the largest representation of any district in
Suffolk County at the Suffolk County Music Educators
Association’s 36th annual Day of Tuba and Euphonium, held on
Oct. 28 at Smithtown High School East.
More than a dozen students from Bayview, Manetuck, Oquenock,
Bellew, Beach Street, Udall and the high school participated in
the event, which featured rehearsals, clinics and an evening
at Udall – including members of the Student Council’s executive
board and the school’s Leadership Club – attended a peer
leadership conference at Sayville Middle School on Oct. 25,
participating in several workshops and meeting many
inspirational and influential individuals throughout the day.
“Our students walked away with valuable knowledge and are eager
to share what they’ve learned with their peers at Udall,” said
Pamela Diorio, Student Council co-adviser along with Kristine
Jessica Schwartz and Tricia Mileti, the co-advisers of the
Leadership Club, were both impressed and proud at how
enthusiastically Udall’s young leaders embraced this chance to
examine new ideas.
The keynote speaker for the conference was motivational speaker
and former NFL player Willie Green, a first-round draft pick of
the Cleveland Browns and runner up for Rookie of the Year. In
his address, Green reinforced his message that champions don’t
give up, they get up.
“Leadership is the ability to help people achieve things they
don't think are possible,” said Principal Daniel Marquardt.
“Acceptance, positive mental attitude and adversity were just
some of the valuable themes articulated throughout the
cast of more than 40 stellar student-actors at Beach Street
performed the musical “Aladdin Jr.” on Nov. 17 and 18, selling
out both shows and delighting audiences. The show was
co-directed by Justin DeMaio and Camille Persico, with costumes
by Maura Maynard. More than 20 students also participated as
part of the stage crew.
“The students gave their hearts and souls to each performance
and all of their hard work paid off with two outstanding shows,”
said Principal Andrew O’Farrell. “We are all very proud of them,
and very pleased that they enjoyed being part of this
Students in Laura Heller’s fashion marketing class at the high
school recently gained firsthand knowledge about the Fashion
Institute of Technology in New York City via a visit from FIT
admissions counselor Noreen O’Hare.
O’Hare spoke about FIT and the opportunities students can
currently take advantage of while in high school or after high
school. She discussed current art and business programs
available to high school students on weekends, and the college
application requirements students would need to meet if they
were interested in pursuing careers in fashion merchandising,
fashion marketing, fashion design, fine arts or graphic design.
“Ms. O’Hare noted that students who attend FIT graduate with the
confidence and skills necessary to go into the work environment
immediately following graduation,” said Kathleen Sapanski, the
district’s math and business education director.
Exemplary artwork by four West Islip elementary students was
recently selected for display at the annual New York State
School Boards Association Conference. The exhibit, held in
Buffalo, New York, is intended to highlight achievement in
visual art across the state. The chosen works showcase a high
level of student ability in a wide range of mediums, techniques
Honored were fourth-grader Nicola D’Angelico of Bayview
Elementary School, fifth-graders Cassidy Scheben and Julia
Gregory of Oquenock Elementary School, and fifth-grader Emily
Dean of Paul J. Bellew Elementary School.
classes Manetuck experienced and learned firsthand about a local
ecosystem while attending a special field trip, “A Day in the
Life of Carlls River,” on Oct. 14. Students and their teachers
participated in seining, species identification and taking
biological inventories of the Carlls River in Babylon.
“It is always awesome to see our students out doing hands-on
science, especially science that is important to their own local
ecosystem,” said Brian Taylor, the director of science and
school students Gregory Bove, Thomas Landhauser and Erin
Schweers were sworn in as Keep Islip Clean junior commissioners
during an Oct. 18 ceremony at Islip Town Hall.
Junior commissioners, hailing from the 18 hamlets across Islip
Town, play an active role in volunteering their time and effort
to beautify Islip, making it a clean, safer and more enjoyable
place to live, work and visit.
and staff at Udall recently participated in the National Student
Mock Election, the nation’s largest student educational mock
presidential election program. It provided a web-based voting
platform for students to register their choices for U.S.
president and 2nd district local elections.
Anne Bean, Udall’s library media specialist, organized the mock
election. Social studies classes prepared for the vote by
discussing the candidates’ position statements and reading and
viewing election materials, while the math department created a
lesson for students to examine statistical voter results. In
keeping with Udall’s interdisciplinary theme, computer classes
used Microsoft Excel to input data into a spreadsheet and
graphically illustrate election results by creating bar charts
and graphs. Voting began on Oct. 28 and continued through Nov.
3, with Leadership Club members on hand throughout the vote to
assist at the library media center, which served as the polling
“Our students were eager to vote and register their choice,”
said Principal Daniel Marquardt. “This was a great lesson in
developing an understanding of the election process and
encouraging civic responsibility.”
Bayview students Isabella Basini, Maceo Blumberg, Kaelynn
Sirizotti and Seamus Smith recently taste-tested Jell-O products
from Kraft Foods while serving as Kidsday reporters for
The students, accompanied by teacher Justin DeMaio, traveled to
Manhattan for the tasting, which included various flavors of
gelatin and pudding for Jell-O’s new Simply Good line featuring
The high school’s Lady Lions gymnastics team concluded an
outstanding season by jumping, flipping and vaulting into the
Suffolk County Team Championships on Nov. 8. The event, hosted
at West Islip, brought the top six teams in Suffolk County
together to compete for the team championship.
“The girls demonstrated tremendous athleticism, balance,
coordination and skill throughout the season and were flawless
on their floor and beam routines during the championship,” said
Athletic Director Tim Horan. “West Islip is quite proud of the
gymnasts and their coaches.”
Creativity, imagination and teamwork were the ingredients needed
to fulfill Bellew’s Halloween tradition. Once again, the school
held its annual decorated pumpkin display in the main lobby,
with more than 140 families working together to design and
decorate more than 70 Halloween pumpkins.
Students donated handfuls of change in brown paper bags to vote
for their favorite pumpkins, and the donated funds will be used
to purchase gift cards for local families in need, providing a
helping hand during the holiday season.
The event was organized by Principal Rhonda Pratt, Bellew staff
and members of the Character Education Committee.
talented students from the high school were named All-State
musicians by the New York State School Music Association and
chosen to perform at the prestigious NYSSMA Winter Conference,
held in December at the Eastman Theater in Rochester.
Joseph DelliGatti was selected for the All-State Symphonic Band,
Lisa Esposito and Joseph Gusmano for the All-State Mixed Chorus,
and Matthew Molaro and Molly Perrone were chosen as alternates.
The students, who earned their All-State status based on their
performances at last year’s NYSSMA Solo Festival, will prepare
for the concerts with Band Director James Krais and Chorus
Director Melissa Senatore.
Colorfully costumed students at Bellew enjoyed a Halloween
parade on Oct. 31, part of an annual tradition in which parents
and family members were invited to attend to support the
students as they strolled around the school bus circles.
DeMaio’s class at Bayview recently participated in the annual
Trick or Treat for UNICEF drive to help raise funds for children
across the globe.
As DeMaio’s students went door to door for candy this Halloween,
they asked for change to support UNICEF’s many charitable
endeavors around the world, from providing vaccinations for kids
to clean and safe water.
“This is just one of the ways my class is choosing to help those
around them and the world,” said DeMaio.
In a creepy creative exercise at Oquenock that was perfect for
Halloween week, Michelle Bonkov and Frank Sblendorio’s
third-graders buddied up with Sue Cosentino’s fifth-graders for
some monstrous fun with descriptive writing.
Each student drew a monster and wrote a detailed description of
it. Then a third-grader and a fifth-grader partnered up. One
student read their description, while the other recreated the
creature based only on the description. Students then switched
roles. At the conclusion of the activity, the original drawings
were compared to the recreations to see how accurately the
writers described their monsters.
“The more specific the details, the more alike the comparisons
were,” said Principal Jack Maniscalco. “This was great fun.”
first social studies research project of the school year for
Udall seventh-graders focused on Native American culture in the
Americas, with students tasked with conducting in-depth research
on a single item from a Native American tribe of their choice.
Anne Bean, the school’s library media specialist, guided the
students in the research process, helping them ensure that their
papers were presented in MLA format, including citation pages.
Once their research was complete, the students created replicas
of their selected items to enlighten the class about what they
learned. No two students were permitted to create the same
project, so the presentations were diverse, including topics
like dog sleds of the Inuit, totems from
the Kwakiutls, an Iroquois longhouse, cliff dwellings of the
Hopi and various Native American foods.
“This project gave the students a chance to get to support one
another in class, learn about culture and be proud of what they
accomplished by teaching their peers,” said Udall Principal
high school’s varsity football team just completed an undefeated
regular season, finishing as 2016 Division II champions. West
Islip’s confident Lions will host Smithtown East’s Bulls on Nov.
5 at 1:30 p.m. in the first round of the playoffs.
“Congratulations to coach Steve Mileti, his staff and the entire
2016 varsity football team on a great regular season,” said
Athletic Director Tim Horan.
dozen superlative student-musicians from the high school were
chosen to perform in the New York State Council of
Administrators of Music Education’s All-County Festival on Nov.
19 at Northport High School. The juniors and seniors were
selected from the best young musicians in Suffolk County, based
upon their New York State School Music Association Solo Festival
Grace Bolin, Joseph DelliGatti, Adriana Garcia, Joseph Hudson
and Matthew Molaro will perform in the All-County Band; Lisa
Esposito, Joseph Gusmano, Shaelyn Krucher, Molly Perrone,
Shannon Sullivan and Sean Swenson will perform in the All-County
Chorus; and Ryan O’Shea will perform in the All-County
at Beach Street viewed a special performance of “Class
Dismissed: The Bullying Project” on Oct. 6. The original
musical, by Theatre Three Productions, focused on themes of
anti-bullying and harassment.
The story of “Class Dismissed” focused on bullying in
classrooms, hallways and schoolyards, with a strong emphasis on
rising incidents of bullying via the Internet.
The play presented a range of scenarios and provided active
solutions to the various issues. At the end of Theatre Three’s
performance, Beach Street students participated in a
question-and-answer session with the performers.
skies and drizzle did not dampen the spirit of the West Islip
community during the district’s annual homecoming weekend.
Prior to the varsity football game, members of each class
paraded with decade-themed banners down Higbie Lane to the high
school field, following convertibles carrying homecoming king
Michael D’Agostino and queen Shannon Sullivan, as well as
runners-up Robert Halloran and Kate Kohler. The band, kickline
team and cheerleaders also led the march as members of the
community gathered on the street in a show of support.
To kick off the game, the marching band led the community in the
national anthem. Although the student-musicians were unable to
perform during the halftime show due to the rain, the kickline
team and cheerleaders took center stage with their talented
performances. In addition, Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter
was on hand to present West Islip Touchdown Committee President
Bob Cestaro, who is retiring from the booster club, a citation
for his years of service.
The Lions flexed their muscles and came away with a 28-6 victory
against Bellport High School, making the afternoon a homecoming
precocious compositional skills of Sophia Stehlik have been
recognized for the second year in a row. Stehlik’s original
musical composition “Avalanche” will be featured at the New York
State School Music Association’s 21st annual Electronic Music
Composition Showcase in Rochester this December.
The fifth-grader, a student at Paul J. Bellew, was the youngest
student to ever receive this honor in last year’s competition.
The program, sponsored by NYSSMA, showcases works by student
composers of all ages, with winning entries performed at the
organization’s annual winter conference.
from the high school’s Vocal Motion group, led by choral
director Melissa Senatore, performed a stirring rendition of
Donna Summer’s “The Power of One” at the West Islip Breast
Cancer Coalition’s Pink Flags of October ceremony on Sept. 25.
Hundreds of flags are displayed on the front lawn of Good
Samaritan Hospital during the annual event to commemorate Breast
Cancer Awareness Month.
“Our group of talented juniors and seniors captivated the
emotional audience with an uplifting performance,” said Eric
Albinder, the district’s director of art and music education.
“It was a beautiful day that showed love and devotion to those
that have been affected by breast cancer.”
the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 tragedy, Justin DeMaio’s
class at Bayview participated this year in Operation Goodie Bag
for the 9/11 Good Deed Challenge.
Students decorated paper bags, filled them with candy, and wrote
either a note of gratitude or a poem about heroes, which were
placed inside as well. The completed goodie bags were then
delivered to local police precincts, the New York Police
Department, and military servicemen who are currently enlisted
or have served in the past.
“Our class wanted to recognize everyday heroes who are willing
to sacrifice their time to save and protect others in honor of
the fallen heroes from September 11th,” said DeMaio.
with the excitement of a new school year, Udall Road held its
annual student council elections in September. Students from
each grade level had the opportunity to run for student
government office. Sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders made
signs and campaigned throughout the week for the offices of
president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and historian.
Sixth-grade students new to the building had the opportunity to
run for the office of superdelegate.
“Our students and staff had the chance to hear from all
candidates running for these offices at our Meet the Candidate
assembly, where these student leaders spoke about their ideas to
make Udall a great place to come and learn every day,” said
Principal Daniel Marquart.
Newly elected as members of the Udall Road Middle School Student
Council Executive Board were President Kieran Farrell, Vice
President Matthew Stueber, secretary Anthony Riviezzo, treasurer
Alexa Camillery, historian Erin Doyle, and sixth-grade
superdelegates Salvatore Calderone and Rachel Crumlich.
Answering a creative crustacean question, third-graders at Paul
J. Bellew were immersed in a science unit of study on crayfish,
observing the physical and behavioral adaptations used by these
freshwater animals to survive.
In this lesson, guided by teacher Paul Pekurney, students were
directed to determine to answer the question of what and how
Through hands-on investigations, they were able to conclude that
crayfish will eat a wide variety of foods.
Members of the West Islip Students with HEARTT community group
were invited to attend a Ducks baseball game this past summer to
represent the high school for the Ride for Life organization.
Students in HEARTT, guided by teacher Virginia Scudder, have
been annually walking and participating in educating and
informing the public about Ride for Life’s work to raise funds
and awareness for the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,
also known as ALS.
The group’s fundraising and community education work, as well as
its commitment to Ride for Life, will continue this fall with a
special assembly to honor the 20th anniversary of the founding
of Ride for Life by Chris Pendergast.
school students in the International Baccalaureate Biology HL 12
class recently debuted cutting-edge technology, breaking into
lab groups to use PASCO’s EcoZone systems, PASCO probeware and
iPads. Each group created three ecozones: a terrestrial zone, an
aquatic zone and a decomposition zone.
In the past, the IB biology students had created these ecozones
using two-liter bottles, and they were limited to making
observations about what was occurring biologically in each zone.
Using PASCO EcoZone, the students attached pH, temperature,
oxygen, carbon dioxide and relative humidity probes that send
live data to their laptops and iPads, data which can then be
manipulated mathematically to provide the students with
numerical data about what is occurring biologically in each
“This experiment is only the beginning,” said Brian Taylor, the
district’s director of science and engineering technology. “We
are bringing trainers from PASCO to train all high school and
middle school science teachers on how to use this new technology
in all our science classes.”
at Manetuck were thrilled to use their new playground for the
first time on Sept. 15, including various equipment and the
basketball court. The playground was funded through the bond
that the West Islip community approved last November, and was
installed over the summer.
Playground safety was addressed with all of the school’s
students, who range from kindergarten through fifth grade,
before they were permitted to utilize the new equipment.
"Having a new, state-of-the-art playground at Manetuck provides
an engaging recess period for students that permits an
action-packed break from the hard work taking place in our
classrooms throughout the school day,” said Principal Dawn
Morrison. “As students saw the playground for the first time,
the words they used to describe it included amazing, fantastic
and unbelievable. They are enjoying every inch of it."
high school’s robotics team participated in New York State
Sen. Phil Boyle’s annual Beach Cleanup on Sept. 17. This was
the fourth year that Sen. Boyle has hosted the event as part
of the International Coastal Cleanup, a global effort that
includes participation by more than 100 countries.
The team met at Robert Moses State Park, where they spent
two hours removing plastic, cigarettes and other trash from
“The West Islip robotics team recognizes the importance and
beauty of our local beaches, and was proud to participate in
Sen. Boyle’s cleanup and to be part of the International
Coastal Cleanup,” said team leader Greg Baranec. “Our
beaches are such a cherished part of Long Island living and
ocean trash is a serious problem that affects ocean life and
The robotics team will next participate in the West Islip
Country Fair, to be held on Sept. 25 on the grounds of the
West Islip Public Library. In addition to helping the fair
committee set up and clean up for the event, the team will
host their own exhibition, which will include a robot that
will be available for people to operate.
Street Middle School has a new assistant principal. Reanna
Fulton, a former teacher at the school, will begin her duties on
Fulton most recently served as the CSE administrator for grades
6-12 in the Rocky Point School District, a position she took in
January 2016. She had previously worked as a special education
teacher at both Beach Street and West Islip High School since
2008, and as an in-school-suspension teacher at the high school
She earned her bachelor’s degree in history at Thomas Edison
State College in Trenton, New Jersey in 2005; a master’s degree
in adolescent education at Dowling College in 2006; a master’s
degree in history at the University of Nebraska in Kearney in
2014; and an advanced graduate certificate in educational
leadership from Stony Brook University in 2015.
Fulton also served as an information systems technician in the
U.S. Navy from 1998-2003 and in the Naval Reserves from
2006-2009. Her several school coaching positions included stints
as the soccer coach at Our Lady of Wisdom in Port Jefferson, and
as the cheerleading coach at West Islip High School and Stony
“I am very excited to return to Beach Street and look forward to
supporting the academic excellence and traditions of West
Islip,” said Fulton, a Setauket resident.
at the district’s seven schools returned to classes on Sept. 6,
ready to learn new things and make new friends. From the high
school, to Beach Street and Udall Road middle schools, to
Bayview, Manetuck, Oquenock and Paul J. Bellew elementary
schools, classrooms were buzzing as the first day of the school
“I was delighted to welcome our students back to school for what
I trust will be an exciting school year filled with meaningful
learning opportunities and experiences,” said Superintendent
Bernadette M. Burns.
“It was a very smooth day, and the students seemed very happy to
be back,” said Dr. Anthony Bridgeman, the high school’s
The district’s younger students kept their minds and skills
sharp over the summer at Summer Investigations, a four-week
program for kindergartners, first-graders and second-graders,
with the children attending four days a week for two hours. It
is designed to reinforce and support reading math and writing
Math work included counting, word problems, place value and
addition, while in the reading curriculum, the students learned
about fairy tales, fables, fantasy and fiction books.
“They enjoyed sharing their favorite books and talking about the
characters and their favorite parts,” said Rhonda Pratt, the
principal of Paul J. Bellew Elementary, who serves as summer
coordinator for the program. “It was wonderful to see the
students’ interest in reading and listening to stories.”
During library time, the students logged on to laptops and
reinforced sight words with a bingo game, and a representative
from the West Islip Public Library visited to share a Japanese
folktale, “The Boy from the Dragon Palace,” and help the
students decorate paper swords.