Investigating Current Events

Young West Islip students tackled current events during the second week of the month-long Summer Investigations program, in which kindergartners, first-graders and second-graders attend four days a week for two hours, improving their reading, math and writing skills.
For the second week’s “Under the Sea” theme, the program focused on current events regarding the “underwater world,” specifically the rescue of the 12 soccer team members in Thailand who were rescued from a flooded cave by scuba divers.

“We discussed the event, watched an interview, studied maps of the cave, and later brainstormed ideas to include in a thank-you letter to those brave divers, using proper spelling, grammar and letter etiquette,” said teacher Daniel Sliwowski.

Vartanian Earns Scholarship to Usdan Art Camp

High school freshman Karina Vartanian was recently awarded a semifinalist scholarship for the Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts in Wheatley Heights.

The annual camp, focused on creative and performing arts including art, chess, dance, language arts, music and theater, is now celebrating its 50th year.

Tennis Player Patrick LeHen Recognized for Sportsmanship

Tennis Player Patrick LeHen Recognized for SportsmanshipHigh school student-athlete Patrick LeHen was recently recognized by the Suffolk County Boys Tennis Coaches Association as the League III Sportsmanship Award winner.

Udall Eighth-Graders Gaze on Lady Liberty

Udall Eighth-Graders Gaze on Lady Liberty

Eighth-graders at Udall enjoyed an educational cruise in New York Harbor in June, including a look at the Statue of Liberty.

Manetuck’s Musical ‘Petting Zoo’ Instills Orchestral Interest

Manetuck’s Musical ‘Petting Zoo’ Instills Orchestral InterestManetuck’s Musical ‘Petting Zoo’ Instills Orchestral Interest
Third-graders at Manetuck recently were invited to attend a music “petting zoo,” where they had the opportunity to handle and play various instruments that comprise an orchestra.

“This experience gets the children excited to join and participate in the orchestra as fourth-grade students,” said Principal Dawn Morrison.

Sign Language Event Raises More Than $3K

Sign Language Event Raises More Than $3KThe high school’s American Sign Language level 4 course recently hosted its eighth annual ASL Idol competition, organized by teacher Maria Kaminsky.

More than 450 people were in attendance to watch 20 performances from 10 different schools across Long Island. The students raised more than $3,000 for the American Society for Deaf Children organization as part of their volunteerism unit.

A New Chapter and New Challenges for West Islip’s 2018 Grads

The possibility of rain did not deter West Islip High School’s Class of 2018 from enjoying a marvelous moment of celebration on the morning of June 23, as the graduating seniors walked on to the Lions football field and through the gazebo decorated brightly in blue and gold, to the cheers of family and friends.

Members of the American Legion Post No. 1738 presented the colors, while Student Senate presidents Patricia Douglas and Liam Farrell led the salute to the flag and Lisa Esposito sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

“As unique as your individual voice is, so too is your legacy,” said Dr. Anthony Bridgeman, the school’s principal, in his address. “You are literally leaving the halls of West Islip High School, but your impact, your footprint, your message…these will remain. Your voice will remain and it will ring loud to remind the underclassmen that we are in this together, and that together, we move forward in unity.”

“Class of 2018, you leave high school in particularly difficult times,” said Superintendent Bernadette Burns. “Our nation is confronting challenges that demand prudence, insight, wisdom and tolerance. As you leave us, try not to question the motives or character of those who differ with your point of view. Take time to listen and understand. You do not have to agree, but do be the voice of balance and reason.”

Board of Education President Steven Gellar told the students, “As newly minted high school graduates, you now get to shape your lives and the world we all live in. The only true failure would be complacency. Please make the most of your opportunity, and your prodigious talents, by daring to be great. Challenge yourselves and those around you, and remember that failure is just a roadmap for improvement.”

Paying tribute to her mother’s life story and urging her classmates to never be held back by labels, salutatorian Melodi Doganay said, “During our years here at West Islip High School, we have all been thrown challenge after challenge, whether academic, physical, domestic or personal, but the fact that we are sitting here today means we have successfully powered through and become better people because of those hardships. I believe we have only scratched the surface of our potential.”

Valedictorian Molly McLaughlin the value of high school’s day-to-day experiences and small details before looking ahead to college. “We are lucky,” said McLaughlin. “The fall promises a fresh start for all of us, the chance to fill in our story. Be sure to take advantage of that, because you never know what you might find. Maybe you will discover you have untapped hidden talents. So hold up your pens, and relish the opportunity to add new details to your story.”

After receiving their diplomas, one by one, the newest alumni turned their tassels, threw their caps to the sky and walked off to begin a new chapter.
West Islip High School valedictorian Molly McLaughlin congratulated her fellow Class of 2018 graduates.
West Islip High School valedictorian Molly McLaughlin congratulated her fellow Class of 2018 graduates.
West Islip High School salutatorian Melodi Doganay congratulated her fellow Class of 2018 graduates.
West Islip High School salutatorian Melodi Doganay congratulated her fellow Class of 2018 graduates.
West Islip High School’s Class of 2018 celebrated at the school’s June 23 commencement.

West Islip High School’s Class of 2018 celebrated at the school’s
June 23 commencement.
Members of West Islip High School’s Class of 2018 received their diplomas on June 23.
Members of West Islip High School’s Class of 2018 received their diplomas on June 23.
West Islip High School’s Class of 2018 celebrated at the school’s June 23 commencement.
West Islip High School’s Class of 2018 celebrated at the school’s
June 23 commencement.
West Islip High School’s Class of 2018 celebrated at the school’s June 23 commencement.
West Islip High School’s Class of 2018 celebrated at the school’s June 23 commencement.

Pair of Excellent Juniors Earn Chemistry Awards

Pair of Excellent Juniors Earn Chemistry AwardsHigh school juniors Madison Esposito and Evan Trommer were recently named recipients of the 2018 American Chemical Society Excellence in Chemistry Award. They were honored at a May 9 dinner hosted by the American Chemical Society's Long Island chapter, held at Nassau Community College.

“Evan and Maddie have excelled in AP chemistry all year,” said Brian Taylor, the district’s director of science and engineering technology. “They are hardworking and conscientious students, earning the top two averages in the course.”

ENL Department Celebrates Diversity in the District

ENL Department Celebrates Diversity in the DistrictBlessed with students representing more than 19 different nations, West Islip’s English as a new language department recently celebrated national, cultural and language diversities in the district. Guided by teacher Monica Krawczyk, high school and middle school ENL students visited elementary ENL students at Oquenock.

The day started with the secondary English language learners introducing themselves in their native languages and teaching the younger students how to say different greetings in those languages. Next, the secondary students teamed up with the elementary students to work on a cultural awareness project. Grouped by native country, students worked on Chromebooks, using Buncee software, to create presentations about the various aspects of their cultures.

“The day was filled with the remarkable learning experiences, gratification, new friendships and memories,” said Krawczyk. “We were very privileged to travel around the world in one day.”

Research by Senior Luke Harris Featured on Science Website

Senior Scientist Luke Harris Featured on  "Science News for Students" This school year, senior Luke Harris worked with scientists and staff at SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment to conduct research, titled “Extracting DNA from Killer Whale Mucus as a Non-invasive Alternative to the Use of Biopsy Darts.

Luke's research was featured in an article on the website "Science News for Students" which is also a magazine for students that the West Islip school district subscribes to. As a result of this article, Luke has been getting FaceBook messages from other students around the world who are interested in his research.

You can read the article, here.

Fifth-Graders Make Morning Music at Manetuck

Fifth-Graders Make Morning Music at Manetuck
Led by music teacher Patricia Rosenthal, fifth-grade orchestra students Kayla Harbord (violin), Mason Plouffe (viola) and Lucas Scourtos (cello) at Manetuck played “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the school’s morning announcements on June 8.

Oquenock Hosts Special Traffic Safety Event

Oquenock Hosts Special Traffic Safety EventOquenock was selected to host the Every Child Travels Safely event on May 8, funded by the New York State PTA with a grant from the governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

Students rode their bicycles freely through a course in the school parking lot. The West Islip Junior Fire Department checked bike tires and helmets, while crossing guards taught students how to cross with their bicycles on busy roads.

Students were even able to visit the inside of an ambulance, fire truck and school bus.

Fashion Marketing Students Take ‘Retail 101’ Tour

Fashion Marketing Students Take ‘Retail 101’ TourHigh school students in Joanne Macrelli’s fashion marketing classes recently attended a “Retail 101” tour of the famous Macy’s department store in Herald Square in Manhattan.

Accompanied by business teachers, 32 students learned the long and interesting history of Macy’s from its earliest days as a small store in Union Square to its present location in Herald Square. The students toured the massive store with a guide and were shown many detailed examples of the various ways that Macy’s merchandises their apparel and accessories. The guide explained why certain types of clothing are placed in prominent locations within the store to catch the attention of shoppers.

They also learned about the many famous designers whose apparel lines the walls of Macy’s, such as Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Eileen Fisher and Calvin Klein, and how each area of the retail space was utilized to showcase the many new clothing lines that are available for the upcoming season. The tour concluded in the “cellar,” which houses prom dresses and clothing that appeals to high schoolers. “During the tour, students were able to reinforce learning from the classroom in regard to the elements of design and marketing, which are integral parts of our fashion marketing curricula,” said Macrelli. “It was an excellent opportunity for learning real-world marketing.”

Bayview and Bellew Students Demonstrate They Care About Recycling

Bayview and Bellew Students Demonstrate They Care About Recycling   Bayview and Bellew Students Demonstrate They Care About Recycling

Students at Bayview and Bellew showed they care about the earth by enthusiastically creating posters during art class with teacher Louise Stephenson as part of the New York State Senate’s Earth Day Poster Contest. The competition, which encourages awareness and participation in recycling, was organized by State Sen. Phil Boyle, who presented the proud students with certificates.

Bayview Students Complete ‘Electrifying’ Lighthouse Project

While exploring the topic of electricity for a lighthouse project, fourth-graders at Bayview investigated how electrical charges flow in a circuit and built their very own circuits.

First, the students engaged in hands-on lessons to support their understanding of electricity. After careful training, these young “electricians” were ready to put their skills to the test. To power their lighthouses, the students used batteries as an energy source. Wires allowed for the charges to flow and the light bulbs acted as resistors to transform the energy. The students added switches to their circuits to easily change them from open to closed. With the circuit closed, electricity was able to travel and the light bulbs would shine brightly.
Bayview Students Complete ‘Electrifying’ Lighthouse Project Bayview Students Complete ‘Electrifying’ Lighthouse Project

Decade of Champions Honors Incredible Years for Lacrosse Program

Decade of Champions Honors Incredible Years for Lacrosse ProgramThe high school boys lacrosse program held a Decade of Champions Recognition Day on May 5, celebrating the players, families and community for their support and commitment to the West Islip lacrosse program during a 10-year period when the Lions won multiple championships.

During that decade, every West Islip boys lacrosse player who graduated from 2004-2013 won a Long Island championship or New York State championship during their career. The Lions posted a record of 203 wins and 13 defeats during those 10 seasons, winning 10 Super Six championships, nine county championships, seven Long Island championships and five state championships. The Lions were also voted No. 1 in the nation twice. These teams produced many high school and college All-Americans along with seven players who went on to play professionally and three world team players.

The players were recognized at halftime of the May 5 varsity home game vs. Walt Whitman High School and were given championship hats and T-shirts. Head coach Scott Craig and assistant coach Bill Turri were celebrated for their leadership and their 31 years of service as coaches. Assistant coaches Peter Murray and Jon Reese were also recognized for their vital roles.

“This was an incredible feat in high school athletics,” said Athletic Director Tim Horan. “The West Islip community recognizes and congratulates the players, coaches and families for their amazing accomplishments and we are all very proud of their success.”

Student Research Showcased at Manetuck STEM Fair

Student Research Showcased at Manetuck STEM FairManetuck students in grades K-5 recently participated in a school-wide STEM Fair, touring the fair during the day and presenting their research projects to their classmates.

Parents and family members visited the fair at night. The varied projects included exploration of magnets, hovercraft, suspension bridges, dinosaurs, crystals, moon craters and electromagnetic hyperloops.

“The STEM Fair provided an opportunity for each of our students to research an area of interest in the science, technology, engineering or math fields,” said Principal Dawn Morrison.

The Littlest Lions Graduate

The Littlest Lions GraduatePreschoolers in the district’s Little Lions early childhood preschool education program recently celebrated their graduation.

As part of a partnership between the Little Lions program and the high school’s family and consumer science department, high school students enrolled in child study classes work directly with the youngsters under the direction of program coordinator Nancy Silvestrini.

“Congratulations to our 2018 Little Lions graduates,” said Tim Horan, director of health, physical education, athletics, recreation, and family and consumer science.

Meet the 2018 Valedictorian and Salutatorian

Valedictorian Molly McLauglinThe high school’s Class of 2018 valedictorian and salutatorian are Molly McLaughlin and Melodi Doganay, respectively.

McLaughlin, an International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate, serves as vice president of the school’s National Honor Society, board member of the English Honor Society, member of the Foreign Language Honor Society and Brainstormers Academic club, and managing editor of the “Paw Prints” high school newspaper.

The captain of the school’s Science Olympiad team, she earned a Meritorious Award at the 2017 Long Island Science Congress Competition, completed a 2017 summer internship in stem cell research at Columbia University Medical Center’s Boland Lab, received a 2016 grant to participate in the oyster gardening program at Great Atlantic Shellfish Farms in East Islip, and participated in the 2016 and 2017 New York State Science and Engineering Fair and the 2016 Brookhaven National Laboratory Partners in Science program.

As a musician, she is a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society and the school’s wind ensemble, pit orchestra, pep band, Marching Lions band and Jazz Q Ensemble. Her numerous volunteering work included stints with the West Islip Beautification Society and Battle of the Books team, and as a peer tutor and public library Book Buddy. She earned a weighted GPA of 107.8387.

Sallutatorian Melodi DoganayMcLaughlin will attend Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut this fall, majoring in neuroscience.

Doganay is a member of West Islip’s National Honor Society, English Honor Society and Foreign Language Honor Society.

She was named a National Merit Semifinalist in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program and earned an honorable mention in the 2018 New York State Science and Engineering Fair.

She serves as captain of the varsity kickline, is a member of the school’s award-winning Thirst Project and participated in a summer service trip to Guatemala with Common Hope. She earned a weighted GPA of 107.10.

Doganay will attend Rice University in Houston, Texas this fall, where she plans to major in biochemistry.

Girls' Lax Team Wins LI and County Championships

Girls Lax Team Wins LI and County ChampionshipsThe high school’s varsity girls' lacrosse team has won the Long Island and Suffolk County Class A championships. The Lions earned the island-wide title on June 3 with a thrilling 6-5 victory over Massapequa, held at Islip High School. Samantha Blair scored the game-winning goal in overtime. Danielle Marino scored three first-period goals.

They had earlier defeated Smithtown West, 5-4, in the county quarterfinal on May 19; Ward Melville by 7-6 in the county semifinal on May 23; and Northport by a 9-8 score in the county finals on May 31.

West Islip will face Christian Brothers High School in the New York State semifinals, to be held on June 8 at SUNY Cortland.

West Islip Sluggers Win Another County Title

West Islip Sluggers Win Another County TitleLed by a gritty performance by star pitcher Mike LaDonna, the high school’s varsity boys baseball team won the Suffolk County Class AA championship on May 28 with an exciting 3-1 victory over host Eastport-South Manor.

It was the third county title since 2014 for the Lions and coach Shawn Rush, and the win pushed West Islip’s winning streak – the longest on Long Island at that time – to 21 games.

The team moved on to compete in the Long Island championship game at SUNY Old Westbury on June 2, losing 7-1 to defending champions Massapequa, closing the books on another terrific Lions baseball season.

Bellew Science Fair Showcases STEM Enthusiasm

Bellew Science Fair Showcases STEM EnthusiasmBellew Science Fair Showcases STEM Enthusiasm

More than 150 students recently participated in Bellew’s second annual science fair, sharing their findings with their peers. Student topics included the solar system, electricity, simple machines, buoyancy, plants and an investigation into the amount of sugar in our daily diet.

“It was wonderful to see student interest and enthusiasm about the STEM field at this educational celebration,” said Principal Rhonda Pratt, who promised her charges another fair next year.

30 Student-Athletes from the HS Are College-Bound

30 Student-Athletes from the HS Are College-BoundA total of 30 exceptional seniors from the high school have committed to play Division I, II and III college athletics.

The students are: Jennifer Arigoni (lacrosse, Western Connecticut University), Michael Badala (baseball, St. Joseph’s College), Pat Behrens (lacrosse, Limestone College), Samantha Blair (lacrosse, University of Massachusetts at Lowell), Gregory Bove (track, Lafayette College), Paul Cenci (lacrosse, Pace University), Kiersten Comer (softball, Wilmington University), Owen Daly (baseball, St. Joseph’s College), Lauren DiStefano (lacrosse, Wagner College), Jordan Frazzitta (lacrosse, University of Tampa), Hunter Gibbons (track, SUNY Cortland), Jake Guercio (baseball, Fordham University), Emma Hampel (lacrosse, West Point Military Academy), Ryan Hirt (lacrosse, Western Connecticut University), Morgan Iacono (soccer, SUNY Farmingdale), Anthony Ippolito (baseball, Baruch College), Nick Johnson (lacrosse, Nassau Community College), Hayley Kirby (lacrosse, SUNY Farmingdale), Klaire Klemens (cross-country/track, Stony Brook University), Amber Kortright (swimming, SUNY Oneonta), Carly Lanzarotta (lacrosse, University of Mary Washington), Jason Lella (wrestling, Edinboro University), Rosa Lettieri (tennis, SUNY Farmingdale), Tim Mullane (football, Nassau Community College), Carley Patwell (lacrosse, Wingate University), Erin Schweers (softball, Hunter College), Kristen Schweitzer (lacrosse, Adelphi University), Joseph Tammaro (golf, St. Thomas Aquinas College), Riley Wallace (field hockey, Molloy College) and Bradley Wilson (wrestling, Sacred Heart University).

“Congratulations to these student-athletes who have committed to play college athletics,” said Athletic Director Tim Horan. “The West Islip community is proud to have them represent us as they move on to higher education.”

Pellati Named New Assistant Superintendent for Business

Pellati Named New Assistant Superintendent for BusinessElisa Pellati has been appointed as the district’s new assistant superintendent for business, effective July 1.

She previously worked, since 2014, as assistant superintendent for business in the Seaford School District, and as assistant business official for the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District from 2008-2014. She began her career working as a tax staff accountant and audit manager for Ernst & Young, LLP in Melville.

Pellati, a West Islip resident, earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration in accounting as well as her master’s degree in business administration in finance from Hofstra University, and her advanced certificate in school district business leadership from Dowling College. She is also a certified public accountant in New York State.

“I look forward to working with the Board of Education, administration, staff and the community to support the district’s educational vision,” said Pellati.

West Islip Girls are Champs in Spring Track

The high school’s varsity girls spring track team earned the title of 2018 league champions. Led by coaches Mike DiStefano and Michelle Studley, the team members are looking forward to continuing their success in the postseason.
West Islip Girls are Champs in Spring Track West Islip Girls are Champs in Spring Track West Islip Girls are Champs in Spring Track

West Islip Athletic Hall of Fame Inducts 22 on May 19

The West Islip Athletic Hall of Fame Committee inducted 22 new members on May 19The West Islip Athletic Hall of Fame Committee inducted 22 new members on May 19 during a gala event at Captain Bill’s in Bay Shore. The purpose of the Hall of Fame is to honor the school’s many outstanding high school athletes and dedicated coaches, as well as the great contributions made to the Lions program by members of the community and administration.

“West Islip is proud to recognize such a deserving induction class, which has received more athletic honors than any other class in the history of the Hall of Fame,” said Athletic Director Tim Horan.

The Class of 2018 inductees were:    
1. Kristin Alotta (2008)
2. John Badalato (2007)
3. Salvatore Barcia (2006)
4. Patrick Cantwell (2008)
5. Brian Caufield (2007)
6. Michael J. Clifford (2004)
7. Andrew J. Culmo (2007)
8. Justin Ellison (2006)
9. Dennis J. Faherty, Jr. (2007)
10. Karen Federico (2007)
11. Kevin Federico (2006)
12. Ryan Flanagan (2007)
13. Daniel Galasso, Jr. (2004)
14. Cynthia Latronica-Galasso (1977)
15. Tony Mattera (Community Member)
16. Laura Mezzanotte (2004)
17. Peter Mezzanotte (2006)
18. Dani Mullin (2008)
19. Luke Schoen (2006)
20. Christian Scuderi (2006)
21. Nicholas P. Tropeano (2008)
22. Justin Turri (2007)

West Islip Earns First NAMM Designation as One of Best Communities for Music Education

Recognizing the dedication and hard work of the staff and students in its schools, the district has earned its first Best Communities for Music Education designation from the NAMM Foundation. Now in its 19th year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is presented by NAMM to school districts that demonstrate outstanding commitment to and achievement in music education.

Said Eric Albinder, the district’s director of art and music education, “West Islip is honored to receive this prestigious recognition for the first time. Music education is definitely one of the crown jewels of our community that is highly regarded and valued by all. Our programs and performance ensembles continue to set the standard on Long Island thanks to our highly dedicated music educators.”

Robotics Team Holds First Ladies Night

The high school’s robotics team recently held its first Ladies Night at the high school to raise awareness of the team among female students. This year, only two of its 35 members are female, so the team decided to make a concerted effort to recruit more women. According to Brian Buonomo, lead teacher for engineering technology, Ladies Night was the first step in this important endeavor.
The team developed a flyer for the event and reached out to science and math teachers in the high school, Beach Street Middle School and Udall Road Middle School to help the team promote the night. The teachers enthusiastically supported the team’s goal to increase its female membership and actively encouraged their students to attend.
A total of 13 students attended Ladies Night, cycling through 10 stations reflecting necessary skills used when the team is building a robot for competition. At each station, visiting students were given a brief lesson, then asked to execute the operation themselves. Students drilled holes, used the CNC machine to create engraved nameplates, welded their own key chain, soldered, played a game simulation created by one of the robotics team members, and learned about CAD. Finally, each visitor had the chance to drive one of the team’s robots.
Vanessa Kramer, one of the team’s current female members, told the young women in attendance, “Only 19 percent of engineers are women. You are the ones that are going to change that.”
“The team was impressed by the women’s enthusiasm and aptitude,” said Buonomo. “We hope that the hands-on experience helps the girls have more confidence in their STEM abilities. The team wants to encourage women to consider exploring more STEM opportunities and perhaps further their exposure by joining the team. As on our team, women are underrepresented in STEM occupations. The West Islip robotics team could be that important stepping stone that leads a young woman to believe in her ability and acumen to succeed in what has too long been a male-dominated industry.”

Undefeated Boys Spring Track Team Earns League Title

Finishing the season undefeated, the high school’s varsity boys spring track team captured the 2018 League IV championship.

Under the guidance of coaches Dan Fannon, John Lavery and Jeremy Robertson, the Lions continue to set team and personal records and look forward to competing in the postseason.

Beach Street Waterwheels Merge Stem and Social Studies

Beach Street Waterwheels Merge Stem and Social StudiesGuided by teachers Kristin Grossi, John Lavery and Christopher Scharf, sixth-grade social studies students at Beach Street recently incorporated STEM into their study of ancient civilizations and irrigation methods.

Working in cooperative teams and using trial and error, the students planned, designed and reflected on their work to create their own Rahat system, also known as a waterwheel. The team that could move the most water won.

Racanelli Brothers Are Doubles Tennis Champs Again

Racanelli Brothers Are Doubles Tennis Champs AgainHigh school seniors Marty Racanelli and Richie Racanelli were the winners of the 2018 Division II doubles tennis championship.

This was the second consecutive year that the Racanelli brothers have won the doubles championship. Marty Racanelli was also the 2016 Division II singles champion.

Robot Recycling Leads to Science Fair for Oquenock Fifth-Grader

Oquenock Elementary School fifth-grader Avianna Bergold created a recycled robot for her participation in the Brookhaven National Laboratory Elementary School Science Fair.Avianna Bergold, a fifth-grader at West Islip’s Oquenock Elementary School, participated alongside students from other Suffolk County schools in the Brookhaven National Laboratory Elementary School Science Fair on May 5.

For her project, Bergold created a recycled robot.

Bayview First-Graders Lend a Kind Hand…600 times!

As part of a kindness initiative, first-graders at Bayview Elementary School completed over 600 acts of kindness in the classroom, at home and in the West Islip community.
During the winter months, first-graders at West Islip’s Bayview Elementary School participated in a kindness initiative. A Kindness Tree was placed on the wall and was filled with hearts that students created, each heart representing a kind act. The students completed over 600 acts of kindness in the classroom, at home and in the West Islip community. They donated food, clothes and toys to local charities; did chores at home; complimented other students; and reached out to peers who needed a friend.

“Our students truly enjoyed lending a kind hand to those in need,” said Kimberly Spinella, one of the school’s first-grade teachers along with Patricia Chieffo, Deanna Johnson and Suzanne Sciarrino.

Four from West Islip Honored at SCOPE Awards

Four from West Islip Honored at SCOPE AwardsAt the SCOPE annual awards ceremony in April, four members of the West Islip educational community were honored for their outstanding service and contributions to the district.
SCOPE, a nonprofit educational organization permanently chartered by the New York State Board of Regents, provides quality programs for children, parents, community members and professional educators for Long Island school districts, helping them to meet the educational needs of their communities.
West Islip’s honorees were library media specialist Anne Bean, who won the Teacher Service Award; Assistant Superintendent for Business Wendy Duffy, who won the Administrator Service Award; Board of Education Vice President Annmarie LaRosa, who won the School Board Service Award; and purchasing agent Robert Nocella, who won the Support Staff Service Award.

Career Day Offers Possibilities for Bellew Students

Career Day at BellewBellew was recently transformed into career central, with students from kindergarten through fifth grade spending a day exploring many different career possibilities through in-class presentations and hands-on learning experiences in the school’s library.

Parents and local community members volunteered their time to share their knowledge and expertise with the students. Visiting professionals for Bellew’s third annual Career Day included doctors, police officers, FBI agents, nurses, business owners, attorneys and a hair stylist.

Art Students Design Doodles for Google Competition

High school students display their doodles for Google CompetitionSix of high school art teacher Annette Musteric’s students – Frank Bitetto, Devin Cadiz, Rachel Hodkin, Ashleigh Sorrenti, Diana Valladares and Krista Wolfe – recently participated in Doodle 4 Google, a competition sponsored by Google that offers students a chance to win a $30,000 scholarship and a $50,000 technology prize package along with a trip to Google headquarters.

Didgeridoo-ing It Right at Bayview 

Mrs. Aspetti shows a didgeridoo to  Mrs. Luciie's classLearning about Australia took a fresh turn at Bayview after students in Maria Lucie’s classroom learned about the sacred instrument, the didgeridoo.

Student Natalie Aspetti’s mother, a music teacher, was able to borrow a didgeridoo from her school and shared it with the class, giving the students a chance to examine and play the instrument.

“My students not only learned about the uses of the didgeridoo, but were able to try it out,” said Lucie. “It added a new dimension to their knowledge of the art and culture of Australia.”


Manetuck’s Musicians Prepare with ‘The Marshall’

Music teacher Avery Yurman and students prepares for the spring concertMusic teacher Avery Yurman and her fourth-grade trombone students at Manetuck recently prepared for their spring concert and upcoming NYSSMA competition by practicing “The Marshall,” composed by Leonard B. Smith and edited by Leonard Falcone.

The young musicians were required to read and label each musical note before playing the notes with their instruments.

Seniors Present Research at Science Symposium

Luke Harris working in the labThree high school seniors – Luke Harris in biology, Shannon Lafferty and Nicolette Nigro in environmental science – were recently invited to present their research findings at the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium’s 2018 Long Island regional semifinals at York College in Queens.

Harris worked with Dr. Judy St. Leger, the vice-president of research and science for SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, along with other scientists and staff at SeaWorld to conduct his research, titled “Extracting DNA from Killer Whale Mucus as a Non-invasive Alternative to the Use of Biopsy Darts.” His work won first place in the biology category, and Harris moved on to present at the JSHS regional finals, also held at York College. You can visit the SeaWorld website for further information on his SeaWorld research.

Lafferty and Nigro worked with scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s DNA Learning Center, as part of the National Microbiome Initiative, to develop their project, titled “Microbiome Analysis of Water with Different Salinities on the South Shore of Long Island.”
Luke Harris at SeaWorld  Shannon Lafferty and Nicolette Nigro work in the lab 
Shannon Lafferty and Nicolette Nigro display their findings 

West Islip Brings Home Gold in State DECA Conference

West Islip Brings Home Gold in State DECA ConferenceNine students from the high school, accompanied by adviser Diana Saadat and math teacher Tara Annunziata, attended DECA’s 58th annual New York State Career Development Conference, held March 6-9 in Rochester, bringing home 11 medals. They competed against more than 2,000 other students from across New York State to show their dedication to and knowledge of business.

Natalie Cosentino won three medals in the Marketing Communications category. Krista Ciccarelli and Briana Ferguson won three medals for Financial Services Team Decision Making, and Isabella D’Avanzo and Lily Gilmore each won one medal in Business Services Management and Retail Merchandising, respectively. Also competing for West Islip were Kayla Dixon in Visual Advertising, Kendalyn Gruenberg in Retail Merchandising, Thomas Landhauser in Human Resources Management and James Sladky in Sports and Entertainment Marketing.

Cosentino and Ferguson, both seniors, were grateful to participate in the state DECA competition for the third consecutive year in a row and thrilled to bring home medals, showcasing their hard work.

“Although it was a great feeling to win and compete, the memories and friendships I have made thanks to DECA are something I will never forget,” said Ferguson, West Islip’s DECA president.

“Since we were able to bring more students than usual, this year was more exciting,” said Saadat. “It was truly inspiring to watch the students get out of their comfort zones, network and really enjoy the competition. I am so proud to be their adviser.”
West Islip Brings Home Gold in State DECA Conference West Islip Brings Home Gold in State DECA Conference

FaceTiming with a Figure Skater at Bayview

FaceTiming with a Figure Skater at Bayview

FaceTiming with a Figure Skater at BayviewStudents in Maria Lucie’s Bayview classroom recently were able to meet former Olympic figure skater Lisa-Marie Allen via FaceTime. Allen shared her training experiences from when she was 9 years old through to her participation in the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, New York.

“My students were able to ask many interesting questions about training, coaching and balancing education with athletics, as well as about Lisa-Marie’s professional skating career,” said Lucie. “They learned a great deal about the life of an Olympian and the sacrifices that Olympic athletes make to become successful.”

Leadership Initiative Inspires Bellew Banner Decoration

Leadership Initiative Inspires Bellew Banner DecorationThis year at Bellew, “The Leader in Me” model has been inspiring staff and students to follow the seven leadership habits of highly effective people, inspired by the work of Stephen Covey.

Art teacher Louise Stephenson used her typography skills to make large banners illustrating this leadership initiative. Working as a group, students then decorated the banners with star patterns, painted rainbow designs and zentangle-like marker motifs.

“This art project has been extremely successful due to student involvement and creativity,” said Principal Rhonda Pratt. “It is a prime example of combining the arts and a winning mindset for problem solving. We are enjoying seeing these beautiful banners in the halls of Bellew.”

Manetuck Third-Grader’s Hair Cut for Compassion

Manetuck Third-Grader’s Hair Cut for Compassion

Samantha McCormack, a third-grader at Manetuck, recently demonstrated her exceptional compassion by cutting and donating her hair to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to support childhood cancer research.

“Aside from her donation of hair to St. Baldrick’s, Samantha consistently demonstrates kindness and compassion to her classmates on a daily basis,” said Principal Dawn Morrison.

Bellew’s Young Readers ‘Go for Gold’ During Reading Program

Bellew’s Young Readers ‘Go for Gold’ During Reading ProgramStudents and staff at Bellew had a blast “Going for the Gold” during this year’s recent Pick a Reading Partner program, with Principal Rhonda Pratt accepting a special challenge to dress as an ice hockey player and roller skate through the halls if her students read for more than 120,000 minutes.
The program kicked off with a PTA-sponsored visit from author Kathleen Bart, who “traveled” to different lands with the Bellew students as she shared her illustrations from countries around the world, discussed differing customs and cultures, and affirmed the importance of welcoming individual differences.

During PARP, each class at Bellew adopted a country to research, created a flag for their chosen country, and decorated their doors with themes from their country and the Winter Olympics.
Bellew’s PARP program wrapped up with an Olympics-style closing ceremony. Students walked into the auditorium behind their class flags, with Athletic Director Tim Horan carrying the “Olympic torch.” Horan, who also served as the guest speaker, talked to the students about effort and perseverance.

When the reading minutes were finally tallied, Pratt had lost the bet, and she donned skates and jersey, gliding through the halls to the delight of the students. She also announced the school’s top readers: Nick Acquista, Lucy Agoglia, Isabella DiBiase, Emily Rush, Madelyn Rush and Sadie Thompson.

“This year's PARP program connected our school community to the world around us,” said Pratt. “There was real-world learning going on each and every day as students read and researched about countries around the globe.”

Senior Artist Grippo Chosen for Long Island’s Best

Senior Artist Grippo Chosen for Long Island’s BestHigh school senior Julia Grippo was recently chosen for the 22nd annual “Long Island’s Best: Young Artists at the Heckscher Museum” gallery show. Grippo’s piece was one one of only 80 works of art selected for exhibition by the Heckscher for the 2018 edition of this prestigious annual juried competition, submitted by students from 62 high schools across Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Other juniors and seniors who were selected by West Islip’s art teachers to submit their original work for Long Island’s Best included Taylor Alexander, Marisa Calderone, Krista Ciccarelli, Rachel Hodkin, Kylie Horan, Anthony Ippolito and Stephen Malinowski.

The exhibit runs from March 17 through April 15, highlighted by an opening reception and awards ceremony at the museum on March 24, attended by Grippo.

“My congratulations to Julia, an exceptional artist who has been accepted to every art school she has applied to,” said Eric Albinder, West Islip’s director of art and music education.

Grippo plans to major in illustration and graphic design while attending college in the fall.

Watching the Weather on Wednesdays

Watching the Weather on Wednesdays“Weather Watch Wednesday” comes every week in Sue Koos’ classroom at Manetuck.

The students go outside to observe the weather on Wednesdays, often using compasses and a flag to determine wind speed and direction.

Each student comes up with one word to describe the weather for the day. They then note their observations in a weather journal.

West Islip’s Wolfe Presents Art Course to Suffolk Educators

West Islip’s Wolfe Presents Art Course to Suffolk EducatorsJanet Wolfe, who teaches art at Bellew and Oquenock, recently presented an “Upcycled Sketchbook” session at Oquenock.

Numerous Suffolk County visual arts educators were in attendance at this professional development course, sponsored by the Suffolk County Art Leaders Association.

Middle School Musicians Tour Elementary Schools

Led by director Lynnette Fawess, the seventh- and eighth-grade orchestras from Beach Street and Udall recently visited their old elementary schools – Bayview, Paul J. Bellew, Manetuck and Oquenock – to demonstrate their advancing music skills to elementary students. During the tour, which the orchestras have done for the past 12 years in a row, the musicians performed material from both their past winter and upcoming spring concerts as well as demonstrating specific instruments.
Middle School Musicians Tour Elementary Schools Middle School Musicians Tour Elementary Schools

Students and Community Combine to Provide Safe Water with Thirst Project

Students and Community Combine to Provide Safe Water with Thirst ProjectThis summer, two leaders of the high school’s Thirst Project – current senior and club president Ian Nilsen and 2017 graduate and former president Lena Seltzer – will travel to South Africa and Swaziland as guests of Thirst Project to help build and document wells, celebrating with the communities who will now have access to clean water, thanks to the West Islip community. This trip is a gift from Thirst Project as a thank you for the students’ continued hard work on behalf of the organization.

West Islip Thirst Project was started in March 2012, after teacher and club adviser Paola Nilsen noticed a tweet about the world’s largest youth water activism organization by actress and activist Pauley Perrette.

“Once I read about it, I sent an email to the founder and CEO, Seth Maxwell, inquiring about the percentage of donations that go directly to drill a water project in a developing nation,” said Paola Nilsen. “When Mr. Maxwell replied that 100 percent of student donations go to building fresh water projects for those 663 million people worldwide who lack access to clean water, I brought the charity to my International Baccalaureate Italian class at West Islip High School.”

Since the club’s inception, it has raised more than $116,400 for sustainable water projects in India, El Salvador, Swaziland and Uganda, proving safe, clean drinking water to more than 4,500 people. It is estimated that approximately 663 million people worldwide lack safe water sources.
Over the six years that the club has been running in West Islip, both Paola Nilsen and her students have been recognized at Thirst Project’s annual gala in Beverly Hills, California. In 2013, Paola Nilsen was presented the Volunteer of the Year award at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. In 2016, seniors Taylor Sorice and Alicia Villafana won the Power of Youth award at the gala; the two students were also awarded a free 2017 trip to Africa to see some of the communities they had helped.

Currently, West Islip’s chapter of Thirst Project has more than 125 active members, who raise money and awareness about the global water crisis through sporting events, local restaurant events, Paint Night fundraisers, recycling bottles and cans from the high school, yard sales, community donations, and even designing and selling custom merchandise. Each fall, the group also organizes a paper goods drive for Our Lady of Lourdes community pantry.

“We are very active on social media platforms, trying to educate those who don’t know about the global water crisis,” said Paola Nilsen. “It is a life-threatening problem that these students are convinced they can eradicate in their lifetime.”

Students and Community Combine to Provide Safe Water with Thirst ProjectIn January, West Islip Thirst Project hosted its fourth annual teachers vs. students volleyball tournament to raise awareness and funds for their second sustainable water well of the school year.

“This yearly tournament is one of the highlights of the school year, pitting faculty and staff against student teams,” said West Islip High School Assistant Principal Craig Gielarowski. “Though the teachers always prove to be valiant opponents, they have yet to win a tournament title. We appreciate their willingness to play in support of our club.”

Students and Community Combine to Provide Safe Water with Thirst ProjectIan Nilsen and fellow member Cayla Romano had set a donations goal of $30,000 at the beginning of September, one which they had already surpassed by February. Their revised goal is $37,000. On May 31, the group will host its second annual Thirst Gala at Bergen Point Country Club in West Babylon, and on July 30, it will host its first charity golf outing at the Bergen Point Golf Club.

“Much of our success this year is a result of generous donations to our online platform, through which members have given up their birthdays for donations for clean water projects,” said West Islip Thirst Project club adviser Paola Nilsen. “These dedicated students have learned that mortality rates drop within days of having access to clean water. Children and women who were forced to walk an average of 3.75 miles for contaminated water, now have time to go to school or to work. Communities that are suffering with cholera, dysentery, malaria, diarrhea and parasites can see a dramatic drop in those diseases within days of having access to clean water.” Nilsen is confident the community will continue its backing of the students’ initiative. “Our West Islip community has been so generous, attending our events and supporting our student members for the past six years, and we are hopeful that they can help us meet the new goal,” she said.

Tax-deductible donations can be made via the website ( or by check (payable to West Islip Public Schools, 1 Lions Path, West Islip, NY 11795, to the attention of Paola Nilsen). Visit for more information.

West Islip’s Excellent 80 Selected for SCMEA

Approximately 80 skilled student-musicians from West Islip, ranging from fifth to 10th grade, were selected for the Suffolk County Music Educators Association’s annual All-County festivals.
West Islip’s Excellent 80 Selected for SCMEA
Bayview was represented by fifth-graders Nicholas Friedlander (band), Sophia Marker (chorus), Teagan McGuire (chorus) and Nicholas Romanelli (orchestra).
West Islip’s Excellent 80 Selected for SCMEA
Bellew was represented by fifth-graders April Allegretto (band), Alexandria Gangloff (orchestra), Grace Mileski (band), Mason Solomon (chorus) and Kyla Timpug (chorus).
West Islip’s Excellent 80 Selected for SCMEA
Manetuck was represented by fifth-graders Kayla Harbord (orchestra), James Mattel (chorus), Matthew Montesanto (band) and Lucas Scourtos (chorus).
West Islip’s Excellent 80 Selected for SCMEA
Oquenock was represented by fifth-graders Emma Carlson (chorus), Evan Fogarty (band), Allison Jablonski (chorus) and Olivia Randazzo (orchestra).
West Islip’s Excellent 80 Selected for SCMEA
Beach Street was represented by sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders Averie Alessi, Lily Colonna, Alyssa Cosentino, Emily Dean, Andrew DiStefano, Julia Kennedy, Amy McCann, Ryan Northorn, Sophia Stehlik for band; Riley Buffa, Nate Butler, Corinne Johnson, Isabella LaBarca, Amanda Lopez, Shane Marshall, Lauren McCann, Devon Prieto and Carter Zito for chorus; and Taylor Davies, Vivian Gallagher, Brian Hose and Alexander Lee for orchestra.
West Islip’s Excellent 80 Selected for SCMEA
Udall Road was represented by sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders Christopher Lospinuso and Daniel Pipitone for band; Marissa Beyhl, Jack Denning, Robert Jensen, Amanda Lundquist, Grace Mineo andAaron Tomasello for chorus; and Drake Castonguay, Logan Coppola, Gabriella Keane, Emma Musial, and Andrew Rao for orchestra.
West Islip’s Excellent 80 Selected for SCMEA
The high school was represented by freshmen and sophomores Patrick Bolin, Matthew Cammarano, Eve Castonguay, Alexandra Mahany, Tristan Tran and Jake Turcios for band; Ty Carpinello, Nicole D’Asaro, Noelle Fallon, Kylie Horan, Sophia Lopez, Elizabeth Lundquist, Kathryn Paidoussis, Luke Schuffenhauer, Kyle Tran and Karina Vartanian for chorus; and Amanda Ditaranto, Isabella Marmo, Andrew Palmer, Marisa Pastore, Taylor Rakovic and Sophia Randazzo for orchestra.

High school freshmen and sophomores performed at the Division III All-County Concert on March 10, held at Huntington High School; seventh- and eighth-graders performed at the Division II All-County Concert on March 11, also held at Huntington High School; and fifth- and sixth-graders performed at the Division I All-County Concert on March 11, held at East Islip High School.

“Congratulations to these phenomenal musicians,” said Eric Albinder, the district’s director of art and music.

Bayview Biographies Brought to Life

Bayview Biographies Brought to Life

Students in Joan DeRosa’s class at Bayview recently spent several weeks reading biographies of various historical and popular figures, including presidents, rulers, and sports and entertainment stars, then created visual projects depicting their subjects.

Udall Students Shine in Amazing ‘Annie’

Udall Students Shine in Amazing ‘Annie’For the young student-actors of Udall, this year’s theater production of “Annie”, directed by Justin J. DeMaio and Shane O’Neill, was a chance to shine and show their talents.

Set in 1933, “Annie” adapts the Tony-winning 1977 Broadway musical written by Martin Charnin, Thomas Meehan and Charles Strouse, which itself was adapted from the 1920s Harold Gray comic strip “Little Orphan Annie.”
Alyssa Comolli was outstanding in the starring role of Annie. Udall’s cast also included Alexandra Scourtos as Molly, Isabella Randazzo as Kate, Eiurlan Coppola as Tessie, Ruthie Boucher as Pepper, Marissa Beyhl as July, Mary Attallah as Duffy, Grace Mineo as Miss Hannigan, Logan Coppola as Bundles McCloskey, Lianna Crisci as Apple Seller, Josephine Nuccio as Dogcatcher, Skylar Brown as Sandy, Sabrina Cassese as Officer Ward, Catroina Jablonski as Grace Farrell, Robert Jensen as Drake, Kayla DiPietro as Cecille, Fiona McKay as Annette, Molly Byrne as Mrs. Greer, Ava Paduano as Mrs. Pugh, Aaron Tomasello as Oliver Warbucks, Elizabeth Lam as Usherette, Sean Cantwell as Rooster, Ariel Glass as Lily, Caitlyn Herzing as Bertha Healy, Logan Coppola as President Roosevelt, Elizabeth Lyons as Howe, and Molly Byrne and Anna Kalinowski as Star-to-Be.

Udall Students Shine in Amazing ‘Annie’Students serving on the stage crew were Hannah Antulov, Frances Bernholz, Angelina Bonanno, Erica Calabrese, Alyson Carter, Braedon Dedcovich, Michael Edgley, Julie Ferraro, Devynn Garcia, Veronica Knoop, LeeAnn LaMotte, John O’Neill, Jeanne Smith, Kaylee Turcios, Mia Valdes and Shae Wallace.

“Thanks to all of the parents, faculty and staff who made this production possible,” said DeMaio.

Congratulations to the cast and crew of on yet another amazing production,” said Principal Daniel Marquardt. “My special thanks go out to our directors, Mr. DeMaio and Mr. O’Neill, for all of their hard work.”

Bayview Takes a ‘Cruise’ to Reading

Bayview Takes a ‘Cruise’ to ReadingFor this year’s Pick a Reading Partner program, Bayview was transformed into the guise of a colorful cruise ship and various tropical destinations, befitting the PARP theme of “Cruising Through a Good Book.”

Each day, the students brought back their “passports,” which they used to keep track of their reading each night.

West Islip Hosts Mid Island Band Fest, 23 Students Perform

West Islip Hosts Mid Island Band Fest, 23 Students PerformThe high school recently hosted the 2018 Mid Island Band Festival, with 23 of the school’s band musicians selected to perform. This annual satellite festival features the best high school band students from six school districts: Hauppauge, Miller Place, Patchogue-Medford, Port Jefferson, Sayville and West Islip.

The West Islip students – Patrick Bolin, Lauren Boundy, Zachary Brewer,
Kyle Bruckner, Matthew Cammarano, Paul Ciesluk, Nicole D’Asaro, Nickolas DeDios, Callum Dwyer, Melissa Khoury, Robert Matin, Heather McEntee, Marisa Pastore, Michael Pleitez, Diana Raffa, Ryan Rafferty, Theresa Rand, Sophia Randazzo, Sean Swenson, Tristan Tran, Nicholas Veiga, Jack Walsh and Collin Whittles – rehearsed for 10 hours in order to prepare for the performance, which took place at the Salvatore G. Fiore Performing Arts.

A Day of DNA at the High School

Juniors in Brian Haldenwang’s International Baccalaureate biology class at the high school recently participated in a comprehensive, full-day biotechnology “field trip,” in which the students ran three experiments using the district’s in-house biotechnology equipment. These experiments featured bacterial transformation, DNA extraction and PCR to test for the presence of genetic modification in food items, and a simulated crime scene investigation.
A Day of DNA at the High School A Day of DNA at the High School

Talented Student-Artists Display their ‘Colors’

pdf\kregis\Enrollment-Packet-03-12-18.pdfArtwork from talented high school sophomores Lily Gilmore and Valeria Medina was selected for display at the 20th annual Colors of Long Island student art exhibit, held at Stony Brook’s Long Island Museum and sponsored by Sterling National Bank.

This annual student art exhibition provides the opportunity for Long Island students from kindergarten through high school to exhibit their artwork in a museum setting. Gilmore and Medina, whose work will be shown at the museum through April 8, were also invited to attend the official Colors of Long Island reception on that date.

Additional West Islip students participating in Colors of Long Island include fourth-graders Jillian Olfano and Suri Sun of Bayview, fifth-graders Victoria Lackington and Giordana LaFemina of Manetuck, second-grader Sophia Anzalone and fifth-grader Danika Riccio of Oquenock, and third-grader Matthew Besanceny and fifth-grader Annabel Bondy of Bellew.
pdf\kregis\Enrollment-Packet-03-12-18.pdf   pdf\kregis\Enrollment-Packet-03-12-18.pdf
pdf\kregis\Enrollment-Packet-03-12-18.pdf   pdf\kregis\Enrollment-Packet-03-12-18.pdf

High Schoolers Attend FBLA Career Fair

High Schoolers Attend FBLA Career FairHigh schoolers in the Future Business Leaders of America recently attended a Career Day fair at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, providing the students with the opportunity to peruse colleges and universities in the CUNY and SUNY systems to better acquaint themselves with programs that would best fit their future career goals.

After the Fair, the students were invited into the arena where they were able to learn more from pivotal Barclays employees – including play-by-play announcer Chris Carrino and several directors and managers – about the career paths that led each speaker to their current job. Carrino discussed his background as an ESPN announcer for college football and play-by-play announcer for NBC Sports.

“All of the speakers gave students valuable advice and information about how to better market themselves for future jobs,” said FBLA co-moderator Joanne Macrelli.

Vibrant Volcanoes at Oquenock

Vibrant Volcanoes at Oquenock
First-graders in Joanna Grimm’s class at Oquenock recently made vibrant models of volcanoes in the school’s STEM lab as part of their recent unit on the earth’s systems.

Presidential Presentations Proceed at Bayview

Presidential Presentations Proceed at BayviewPresidential Presentations Proceed at BayviewIn preparation for President’s Week, third-graders in JoAnn Sheridan’s classroom at Bayview used a combination of trade books and Internet resources to create technology-enhanced reports on U.S. presidents.

Utilizing the Google educational platform, the students created a series of Google slides and also created their own personal flare with an illustrated portrait of their respective president.

After weeks of research and careful preparation, the children presented their Presidents on Parade reports on Feb. 13 to visiting guests.

Record-Breaking Bove Earns All-State in Track

Record-Breaking Bove Earns All-State in Track

Senior athlete Greg Bove earned All-State honors with his record-breaking performance at the 2018 New York State indoor track and field championships, held on March 3 at the Ocean Breeze Track and Field Athletic Complex in Staten Island.

Bove’s time of 1:22.14 in the 600-meter run broke his previously held West Islip record.

“Congratulations to Greg and his coaches Anthony Yuli and Jim Dooley on another very successful season,” said Athletic Director Tim Horan.

Fifth-Grader Mason Solomon Wins Bellew’s Geography Bee

Fifth-Grader Mason Solomon Wins Bellew’s Geography Bee

Bellew recently named fifth-grade student Mason Solomon as its National Geography Bee champion. Annabel Bondy and Timothy Marshall, both also fifth-graders, earned second and third place, respectively. A total of 18 Bellew students – all members of the school’s Geography Explorers Club – participated in this year’s Bee.

As Bellew’s champion, Solomon will advance to the next level of competition by taking a qualifying test to determine state competitors. If he qualifies, he will move on to compete at the state competition in Albany. The National Geography Bee’s final competition, in which students can earn college scholarships, will take place in May in Washington, D.C.

Working with Wind Speed at Bellew

As part of a study unit on weather, Mary Stewart introduced her third-grade students at Bellew to the uses of different weather instruments. She then tasked them with designing and building working anemometers, devices used to measure wind speed for a project combining earth and space science with engineering design.

Students brought in various novel items from home to use for the anemometer project, in addition to materials provided by Stewart. At the end of the lesson, Stewart asked the students to examine their own designs and decide where they went wrong, and then look at the other designs in the room to help them overcome the obstacles that they had identified in their own design. In subsequent lessons, the third-graders were able to construct working anemometers and measure wind speed using the Buford scale.

“At the beginning, I was skeptical that third-graders had the capacity to design and build an anemometer,” said Brian Taylor, West Islip’s director of science and engineering technology. “I could not have been more wrong. I have never been more impressed by the work of a group of students as I was watching these kids implement the designs that they had created. This lesson is an example of the wonderful science and engineering experiences that students are exposed to in our elementary schools, and the great things that they are able to do when we open up student-centered learning opportunities to them.”
Working with Wind Speed at Bellew Working with Wind Speed at Bellew

Beach Street’s Helping Hands Club Makes a Difference Year-Round

Beach Bake SaleThe Helping Hands Club at Beach Street recently conducted another successful bake sale, continuing the club’s service projects for this school year. Earlier this winter, the students spent hours making holiday cards for deployed service members, local veterans and children at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

The club held food drives for both Thanksgiving and the December holidays, and were able to assemble and provide seven West Islip families in need with numerous boxes of food and supplies.

“This club works year-round to help spread positivity and make a difference in our school community,” said Principal Andrew O’Farrell.

West Islip Wins 23 Trophies at DECA Regional

West Islip Wins 23 Trophies at DECA RegionalA total of 42 students from the high school’s Marketing Club competed against more than 1,400 participants from 26 other Suffolk schools in DECA’s Suffolk County Regional Competition, held at Suffolk County Community College in Selden. The students were accompanied by chapter adviser Diana Saadat and chaperones Elaine Longo and Patricia Paolicelli.
DECA members learn and develop important values such as civic consciousness, social intelligence, leadership skills and vocational understanding, which are instituted throughout the competition. Membership in DECA also helps the students to meet New York State’s rigorous learning standards, both in content and performance.
Natalie Cosentino earned a first place trophy in the Marketing Communications category, Nickolas De Dios and Lauren DiStefano won second in Entrepreneurship Team Decision Making, and a third place trophy went to Kayla Dixon in Public Service Visual Advertising.
Additional West Islip trophy winners included Courtney Metzger in Accounting Applications, Angelina Lombardi in Apparel & Accessories Marketing, Brian Kilkelly in Automotive Services Marketing, Isabella D’Avanzo in Business Services Marketing, Krista Ciccarelli and Briana Ferguson in Financial Services Team, Patricia Douglas and Jessica Moellendorf in Hospitality Services Team, Maya Marino and Paisley Narra in Hotel & Lodging Management, Thomas Landhauser in Human Resources Management, Anthony Cairo and Patrick Sullivan in Principles in Marketing, Carley Peters in Public Service Visual Advertising, Samantha Soevyn in Quick Serve Restaurant Management, Kendalyn Grunenberg and Lily Gilmore in Retail Merchandising, James Sladky and Aidan Kelly in Sports & Entertainment Marketing.
These students will advance to the 57th annual DECA New York State Career Conference, to be held March 6-9 at the Riverside Convention Center in Rochester. More than 4,000 DECA members from high schools throughout New York State will gather to compete in events, enhance their business skills, meet new friends and enjoy the camaraderie of the conference.
West Islip students who were awarded honorable mention in their DECA regional events were Julianna Budriss in Sports & Entertainment Marketing, James Folks in Marketing Communications and Jake Buonocore in Business Finance.
Additional West Islip DECA student participants included Angelo Buquicchio, Jillian Daniele, Kyle Dragelin, Hayley Dreyer, Heather Dreyer, Noelle Fallon, Hannah Ferrugiari, Megan Flannery, Genna Johnson, Nicole Lucas, Samantha Landri, Emily Michaluk, Gabriela Montes, Joseph Montiglio, Jaydon Rivera and Gavin Syska.

Play-Doh ‘Matters’ at Manetuck

Play-Doh ‘Matters’ at Manetuck

Using Play-Doh, second-graders in Kristin Foster’s classroom at Manetuck = recently learned about physical changes related to matter.

The students molded the Play-Doh into balls, squeezed it and combined it with a partner’s Play-Doh in order to confirm visually that the physical changes that they made to the substance did not alter its physical state.

Oquenock Fourth-Graders Make ‘Electrifying” Lighthouses

Oquenock Fourth-Graders Make ‘Electrifying” Lighthouses

Fourth-graders in Katrina Faraci’s class at Oquenock recently constructed lighthouses in the school’s STEM lab as part of an exciting unit on electricity.

West Islip Sends Six to Suffolk County Community College Competition

West Islip Sends Six to Suffolk County Community College CompetitionSix talented students from Kristen Caulfield’s studio art classes at the high school were recently selected for Suffolk County Community College’s 10th annual High School Art Competition.

Artwork by freshman Sophia Gutierrez; sophomores Brooke Geiger, James Landhauser and Valeria Medina; and juniors Alexis DiMaio and Sara O’Sullivan-Bakshi was displayed at the college’s Michael J. Grant Campus in Brentwood.

Painting for P.S. I Love You at Bayview

Fourth- and fifth-graders in Louise Stephenson’s art class at Bayview created posters for P.S. I Love You Day. Other students joined in, painting patterns and hearts on the banners.
Painting for P.S. I Love You at Bayview Painting for P.S. I Love You at Bayview

Senior Bove Breaks Track Records, Qualifies for States

Senior Bove Breaks Track Records, Qualifies for States

High school senior Greg Bove recently qualified for the 2018 New York State indoor track and field championships.

An All-County and Academic All-County athlete, Bove broke West Islip’s triple jump record earlier this year and continued to improve his record.

During the qualifying meet, he also broke the school record in the 600-meter run.

A ‘Super’ Sense of Caring at Bellew

A ‘Super’ Sense of Caring at BellewLast month at Bellew, students brought in cans of soup and used them to “vote” for the team that they thought would win the Super Bowl.

Large plastic bins were set up in the main lobby in a drop-off station that was organized and decorated by students in Bellew’s Leadership Club.

In total, 311 cans were donated to a local food pantry and Bellew’s pick for the Eagles to win was right on the money.

A Pair of Great Dives

A Pair of Great Dives
Two high school divers, junior Adriane Casey and freshman Kevin Nelson, recently placed fifth and 11th, respectively, in the 2018 Section XI diving championship.

Udall Boasts Three No. 1 Debaters

Udall Boasts Three No. 1 DebatersDedicated debaters at Udall have continued their dominance in the National Current Events League.

After the first meet, the school’s eighth grade team was ranked No. 2 in the nation, with two students tied for No. 1, Colin Delaney and Christopher Frase.

Additionally, seventh-grader Vincent Prevete was also ranked No. 1 nationally.

High Schoolers Research Micrometeorites

High Schoolers Research MicrometeoritesAs part of Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Educational Outreach Program, students in school districts across Long Island – including the high school’s Madison Esposito and Aidan Pecorale – conducted collaborative research on micrometeorites with Brookhaven lead scientists Paul Northrup, Aleida Perez, Vivian Stojanoff and Juergen Thieme.

Students collected potential micrometeorite samples and analyzed them using two beamlines – the Submicron Resolution X-ray Spectroscopy, or SRX, and Tender-Energy X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy, or TES – at Brookhaven’s National Synchrotron Light Source II. These instruments are focused on x-ray absorption and x-ray fluorescence, imaging and spectroscopy. The SRX beamline was utilized to generate maps depicting heavy elemental distribution, while the TES beamline was used to identify light elemental distribution within each sample.

The students later presented a poster of some of their preliminary findings at the Synchrotron Environmental Science Symposium, hosted by Brookhaven National Laboratory. Esposito and Pecorale were officially among the co-authors of a resulting article, “X-ray Fluorescence and Absorption Analysis of Micrometeorite Composition,” recently published in “Meteor Trails”, a journal of the American Meteor Society.

“Our students are getting the opportunity to use instruments and techniques that many scientists work their whole careers to use for this purpose,” said Brian Taylor, West Islip’s director of science and engineering technology. “Thanks to our science teacher Mary Kroll and her tireless efforts in creating partnerships such as these with the world-class research institutions here on Long Island.”

Beach Street Student-Artists Display Their ‘Colors’

Beach Street Student-Artists Display Their ‘Colors’Artwork by Beach Street students Marina Lankford and Faith Whalen was chosen for display at the 20th annual Colors of Long Island student art exhibit, held from Feb. 23 through April 18 at Stony Brook’s Long Island Museum.

This annual student art exhibition provides an opportunity for K-12 students from across Long Island to show their artwork in a museum setting. The students, their families and teachers will attend a reception at the museum on April 18 to celebrate their accomplishment.

“We are thrilled to have Faith and Marina represent Beach Street at this prestigious event,” said West Islip Director of Art and Music Eric Albinder.

Oquenock First-Graders Explore Moon and Meteors

Oquenock First-Graders Explore Moon and MeteorsFirst-graders at Oquenock recently learned about the effects of meteors on the surface of the moon by dropping different sizes of marbles from different heights onto a moon surface model in the STEM lab.

Fifteen West Islip Musicians Enjoy a Day of Horn

Fifteen West Islip Musicians Enjoy a Day of HornFifteen outstanding music students from Bayview, Bellew, Manetuck, Oquenock, Beach Street and Udall participated in the 13th annual Suffolk County Music Educators Association Day of Horn, held at Northport High School in January.

The students enjoyed an afternoon of rehearsals, clinics and interactions with guest artists followed by an evening concert featuring a massed horn ensemble of hundreds of musicians.

High School Artists Look to Place Among ‘Long Island’s Best’

High School Artists Look to Place Among ‘Long Island’s Best’Art students from the high school recently visited the Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington to participate in the 22nd annual “Long Island’s Best:
Young Artists at the Heckscher Museum” program. The school has produced several previous winners of the competition, including Best in Show designations.

This prestigious arts-in-education initiative is the only juried exhibition on Long Island that offers high school students the opportunity to exhibit their art in a museum setting. Approximately 80 works of art in various media will be selected and prizes will be awarded at a reception taking place in the spring.

Student Ensembles Perform for SEPTA Fair

A host of 80 harmonious high school students descended on the Bay Shore Barnes & Noble in December to provide holiday performances for the SEPTA Family Holiday Fair. The musical ensembles included a choir, string ensemble and brass choir.
Student Ensembles Perform for SEPTA Fair Student Ensembles Perform for SEPTA Fair
Student Ensembles Perform for SEPTA Fair

A Winter Wonderland of Miniature Golf at Bayview

Bayview physical education teachers George Botsch, Nick Grieco and Vanessa Lillis transformed their gymnasium into a “Winter Wonderland” miniature golf course, giving students the opportunity to practice their golf skills while celebrating the season.
A Winter Wonderland of Miniature Golf at Bayview A Winter Wonderland of Miniature Golf at Bayview

West Islip Boys Finish First in Winter Track

West Islip Boys Finish First in Winter TrackWest Islip Boys Finish First in Winter TrackThe high school’s varsity boys winter track team won the League 3 championship held on Jan. 20 at Suffolk Community College.

In individual contests, senior and co-captain Greg Bove finished first in the triple jump; Bove and fellow senior and co-captain Desmond Benton finished in second and third place, respectively, in the 600-meter run; senior and co-captain Kevin Cassidy tied for third place in high jump; senior and co-captain Peter DeMicco finished first in the 1,000-meter run; sophomore Andrew Paules earned first place in both the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter runs; and the 4x800-meter relay team of Benton, Bove, DeMicco and Paules earned first in their event.

“Under the guidance of coaches Anthony Yuli and Jim Dooley, the athletes continue to improve every day and saved their best performances for the league championship,” said Athletic Director Tim Horan. “Congratulations to the team on this outstanding accomplishment.”

Udall Students Pioneer New Tech with Google Expedition

Udall Students Pioneer New Tech with Google Expedition  Students and teachers at Udall Road recently interacted with the Google Expedition Augmented Reality Pioneer Program, which uses Google Tango technology to effectively scan and map the physical classroom and accurately project 3D models throughout it. The students then used specialized devices and positional tracking to walk around the objects and view them from any angle.

Select teachers in all three grade levels at Udall participated in the Pioneer Program and viewed images from probability and the phases of the moon to historic Pompeii and the human circulatory system. In one class, the students got an up-close look at the ventricles of a beating heart; in another, students viewed a 360-degree Roman Colosseum as well as armor and a chariot used in warfare.

At the conclusion of the lessons, the students and teachers provided direct feedback to the Google Expeditions Program representative on how the application can further enhance the learning process.

“This technology allows teachers not only further engage with their students, but lets the students interact and share experiences as they do,” said Principal Daniel Marquardt.
 Udall Students Pioneer New Tech with Google Expedition  Udall Students Pioneer New Tech with Google Expedition   

Band Director Presents at SCMEA Symposium

Band director presents at SCMEA SymposiumThe district’s newest music educator, Avery Yurman, recently gave a presentation, “Demystifying Double Reeds,” at a Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association symposium.

This conference took place at Commack Middle School with over 300 music educators present.

Yurman is currently serving as band director at Manetuck and Oquenock.

Guercio and Lettieri Win Suffolk Zone Awards

Guercio and Lettieri Win Suffolk Zone AwardsHigh school seniors Jake Guercio and Rosa Lettieri were recognized as this year’s winners at the 2017-2018 Suffolk Zone Awards dinner, held on Dec. 6 at the Hyatt Regency Long Island in Hauppauge.

The Suffolk Zone awards are presented annually by the Suffolk Zone Chapter of the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance to the top male and female physical education students in each Suffolk County high school’s graduating class.

Guercio is the captain of the varsity football and baseball teams, where he has led West Islip to multiple championships. He has selflessly volunteered as a youth football coach and has been active in ALS fundraisers. In the fall, Guercio will attend Fordham University on a baseball scholarship.

Lettieri is captain of her tennis team and regularly volunteers as a tennis coach. She is an active member of the Thirst Project and has volunteered over 100 hours of her time towards community-based events. Lettieri is considering pursuing an education degree at St. Joseph’s College.

“Rosa and Jake exemplify exceptional athletic performance and exceptional character,” said Athletic Director Tim Horan.

West Islip HEARTT Students Hold Career Fair 

West Islip HEARTT Students Hold Career FairWest Islip HEARTT Students Hold Career FairThe West Islip High School Students with HEARTT group recently organized and held its first career fair open to the entire school building, assisted by HEARTT founder Virginia Scudder and career counselor Ryan Vollmuth.

The school’s students had the opportunity to meet individuals from many fields, including New York State Assemblywoman Christine Pellegrino, Suffolk County police officer Richard Park, Long Island Cares representative Hillary Hess and WBAB radio employees.

Beach Street’s Brandenstein Wins American Legion Art Contest

Beach Street’s Brandenstein Wins American Legion Art Contest

Mia Brandenstein, an eighth-grader at Beach Street, was named the winner of the Festival of Lights program cover contest, sponsored annually for 42 years by American Legion Post 1738. She was honored at the Dec. 3 event.

“I was incredibly impressed with all of the beautiful artwork submitted, but Mia’s was spectacular,” said Festival of Lights Committee chairman Kevin Crumlish.

Crane Music Faculty Pay Enriching Visit to High School

Crane Music Faculty Pay Enriching Visit to High School

The Potsdam Brass Quintet, an acclaimed faculty ensemble from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, recently visited the high school, giving a special performance for approximately 350 music students, followed by a question-and-answer session.

A few weeks later, two professors from Crane’s string faculty presented a short recital followed by a collaboration with the West Islip High School Chamber Orchestra that included a rehearsal and master class.

Oquenock Celebrates Cultural Pride at International Week

Oquenock Celebrates Cultural Pride at International WeekOquenock recently celebrated International Week, with students, teachers and staff recognizing various cultures.

English language learners at each grade level participated in a variety of projects reflecting their backgrounds, and students, teachers, and staff members wore attire or shirts related to their cultural heritages.

“This special International Week opportunity allowed many students to make connections with teachers, and it also opened up conversations about culture and commonalities among students, teachers and staff members,” said Oquenock ENL teacher Vanessa Daige. “It also allowed our ELLs to showcase their cultural heritages and allow them to be prideful of their cultural backgrounds.”

West Islip Winter Track Stars Rip Up Records

West Islip High School senior Greg Bove broke the school’s winter indoor track triple jump record with a jump of 42 feet, 8.25 inchesWest Islip High School student-athletes Julianna Moses, Klaire Klemens, Christine Delianne and Shannon Horan broke the school’s previous winter track 4x400-meter record at the Marine Corps Invitational at the New York City Armory. West Islip High School’s winter track athletes have been on a tear, ripping up school records with spectacular performances.

Senior Greg Bove recently broke the school’s winter indoor track triple jump record with a jump of 42 feet, 8.25 inches, a jump almost a foot greater than the previous record.

Meanwhile, with a time of 4:20.64, runners Christine Delianne, Shannon Horan, Klaire Klemens and Julianna Moses smashed the school’s previous winter track 4x400-meter record of 4:22.57 at the Marine Corps Invitational at the New York City Armory.

Udall Jazz Band Offers Smooth Solos for Sunrise Seniors

Guided by the school’s band director, Lu Ann Peskanov, West Islip students in the Udall Road Middle School Jazz Band presented a Dec. 21 holiday concert for the residents of the Sunrise of West Babylon assisted living facility. The talented young musicians, ranging in age from 12-14, smoothly demonstrated superior skill on their instruments and even took improvised solos, to the delight of the senior citizens in attendance.

Bellew Students Provide Hurricane Help for Texas and Florida

Students at West Islip’s Paul J. Bellew Elementary School recently lent a hand to help hurricane victims in Texas and Florida, collecting donations of toiletries, cleaning products and non-perishable food items for Island Harvest to transport to families in need.

West Islip Brings the Numbers to Day of Tuba

tuba dayStudents from five of West Islip’s schools – Bayview, Beach Street, Manetuck, Udall and the high school – participated in the Suffolk County Music Educators Association’s 37th annual Day of Tuba and Euphonium, held in November at Smithtown High School East.

West Islip’s contingent was the largest of any district at the event, which featured several hundred students from across the county gathering for rehearsals, clinics and an evening performance.

Pajamas Provide Books in Bayview Donation Drive


Several students in Justin DeMaio’s classroom at Bayview recently participated in Scholastic’s Pajama Drive.

For each pair of pajamas donated to the initiative, Scholastic in turn donates books to children who have none, and gives the pajamas to local organizations that help people in need.

Only Victories for Junior Varsity

hs jv football

The high school’s junior varsity football team, guided by coaches Phil Kane and Frank Riviezzo, ended another successful season while remaining undefeated.

Oquenock First-Graders Use Science to Celebrate the Holidays

First-graders in Tammy Dragelin’s class at Oquenock mixed,
measured and shaped holiday ornaments in the school’s STEM lab.

A Day for Teachers to Focus on Technology


During the district’s Dec. 8 Superintendent’s Conference Day, secondary teachers engaged in professional development activities that focused on the district’s technology initiative, while elementary teachers held parent-teacher conferences.

Bayview Students Bring Happiness with Operation Christmas Child


Justin DeMaio’s classroom at Bayview participated in Operation Christmas Child again this winter, bringing in shoeboxes filled with basic supplies, toiletries and toys for overseas shipment to needy boys and girls, just in time for the holiday.

“This effort brings so much happiness to children who do not have some of the things we take for granted,” said DeMaio.

Bellone Provides Civics Lesson for Udall’s Current Events Club

BelloneSuffolk County Executive Steve Bellone recently visited with students in Udall’s Current Events Club to discuss how local and regional government functions.

During the event, which included a question-and-answer session, Bellone also talked about the importance of civic responsibility for young people, how students can become active in their communities and how aspiring politicians can pursue their dreams.

A Skill-Building Win for West Islip’s Robotics Team

roboticsCompeting against 23 other high school teams from across Long Island in a exhibition tournament at Half Hollow Hills High School West in Dix Hills, the West Islip robotics team formed part of a winning alliance and took first place.
Each fall, West Islip’s team competes with the previous year’s robot, which serves as a way for returning members to hone their skills and enjoy one last hurrah with the robot before beginning a new build season in January. This preseason competition also allowed new members of the team to prepare for the primary March tournament held at Hofstra University.

“As always, I am very proud of the hard work and dedication by the team leaders, technical mentors and parent mentors for the robotics team,” said Brian Buonomo, West Islip’s lead teacher for engineering technology. “It is a tremendous undertaking. Building a robot and winning are only a small part of what our students gain from this experience.”

Peanut Butter and Jelly Gang Strikes Again

The high school’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Gang struck again, succeeding in their annual holiday initiative to help feed New York City’s homeless.
Stemming from the ranks of the school’s West Islip Students with HEARTT community group, the students made, bagged and handed out 450 peanut butter and jelly sandwich lunches this November to appreciative hungry and homeless persons in need. Led by group founder Virginia Scudder, the HEARTT students were assisted in making the lunches by LI Ninjitsu Center instructor Shihan Allie and his students.

Referencing Rockets at Beach Street

Andrea Miller’s class at Beach Street recently worked on a rocket design project.

The students used virtual reference sources to research the best designs for fins, nose cones, and the rocket body sections, then created a name for their company.

After they collaborated to choose the best designs, they produced a slide show with an explanation of their choices.

Once the slide show was complete and the designs created, they made and launched actual rockets. After the launch, the class assessed the designs.

Udall’s Council Shows Caring in Donating Food to the Needy

The student council members of West Islip’s Udall Road Middle School completed their annual food drive by collecting food items and donating them to needy families in the community.

The students devoted their time to stay after school and pack the boxes for the families so that they were ready for delivery prior to Thanksgiving.

Six West Islip Junior Commissioners Keep It Clean with KIC

Keep it CleanHigh school students Gregory Bove, James Landhauser, Samantha Landhauser, Thomas Landhauser, Edward Smith and Samantha Soevyn were recently inducted as Keep Islip Clean Junior Commissioners at a Brookwood Hall ceremony.

Bellew’s Gratitude Chains Symbolize Thankfulness

Bellew GratitudeDuring the month of November, students at Bellew spent time writing expressions of gratitude. Classroom teachers were asked to select one student from each class to present their writing at Bellew’s fourth annual Gratitude assembly, held on the day before Thanksgiving. Students invited a special person or family member to attend and hear them read. The special guests were seated in the front rows and were presented with a flower after each student had spoken.

The assembly concluded with the connecting of the gratitude chain. Every Bellew student completed a paper link and wrote down what they were thankful for. The classroom chains were then connected at the end of the assembly to symbolize thankfulness for the people and opportunities the students have in their lives.

“The Gratitude assembly brings our school community together and gets to the heart of what our students are thankful for,” said Principal Rhonda Pratt.

Bellew Gratitude Bellew Gratitude

Gymnasts Succeed As Both Team and Individuals

Gymnasts Succeed As Both Team and Individuals

West Islip’s varsity girls gymnastics team finished sixth in the Suffolk County team championships, held on Nov. 7 at Smithtown East High School.

Additionally, five members of the team – Averie Alessi, Kimberly Arena, Emily McGrade, Delaney Rivera, and Alyssa Woltmann – qualified for and competed in the Section XI individual county championships on Nov. 9 at Hauppauge High School.
hs Varsity gymnastics   Gymnasts Succeed As Both Team and Individuals

Vocal Motion Provides Uplifting Pink Flags Performance

Vocal MotionProviding emotional and sonic uplift, the Vocal Motion group from the high school recently performed at the West Islip Breast Cancer Coalition’s Pink Flags of October ceremony to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

With a backdrop of hundreds of flags flying on the front lawn of Good Samaritan Hospital, the group of talented juniors and seniors, led by choral director Christina Dimitriou, captivated the audience with versions of “New Beginnings” and “The Power of One.”

Beach Street’s Stehlik a Third-Time Composing Winner

Sophia StehlikThe remarkable composing skills of Sophia Stehlik, a sixth-grader at Beach Street, were honored by the New York State School Music Association for the third consecutive year.

Her original musical composition “The Haunted Mansion” will be featured at NYSSMA’s 22nd annual Electronic Music Composition Showcase at their Winter Conference, held in December in Rochester.

Stehlik previously won EMCS recognition, while a student at Bellew, in 2016 for “Avalanche” and in 2015 for “The Circus Train.” For the latter, she was the youngest student to ever receive this honor.

Oquenock Students Share a Special Thanksgiving Feast

Oquenock Thanksgiving

A mighty Thanksgiving feast was shared by first- and fifth-grade pilgrims and Native Americans at Oquenock on Nov. 21, including turkey with all the trimmings.

Walsh Named as Director of Intervention Services

Michelle WalshThe district has named Michelle Walsh as director of intervention services. In this role, she will support in the implementation of several districtwide programs, with responsibilities including the response to intervention process, homebound instruction, ENL services, and reading and math intervention. She will also supervise several departments in the district and provide professional support to new teachers.

Walsh, a Garden City resident, worked for the last two years as intervention services coordinator for West Islip. She was previously employed by the Jericho School District as a special educator, reading specialist and elementary classroom teacher. She began her career in public and private schools in New York City.

She obtained her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from SUNY Oswego, and master’s degrees in reading and special education as well as an advanced degree in school administration from Queens College. Walsh is currently a first-year doctoral student at Hofstra University’s learning and teaching program.

“As a parent and educator, I understand the impact that schools and the bigger society can have on the development of a child,” said Walsh. “Thus, I strive every day to create meaningful districtwide and schoolwide supports that help children and families reach success

Presentations at Middle Schools Focus on Bullying 

Sponsored by the Women of West Islip organization, motivational speaker John Halligan visited Beach Street and Udall Road middle schools during October, presenting his assembly program “Ryan’s Story” to students.

The presentation, centering on the tragic death of Halligan’s son, seeks to prevent bullying, cyber bullying and suicide.


Magnifying Matter at Manetuck

ManetuckFifth-graders at Manetuck recently used microscopes to magnify matter and make more detailed observations in the school’s lab.

These young scientists tried to determine through various observations which of several substances – baking soda, citric acid, sugar, salt and plaster of Paris – was the material that was found at the scene of the crime in their mystery matter booklets.

Robotics Team and Fall Festival at Sagtikos Manor: an Unlikely Alliance

In an unlikely but successful pairing of modern and historic, the high school’s robotics team recently volunteered at the colonial-themed Fall Festival at Sagtikos Manor. Participating were John Barrett, Machlin Fellman, Tyler Foran, Hunter Hallahan, Alex Holder, Jack Langhorn, Jake Maresca, Frank Pace, Thomas Parson, Aiden Pecorale, Joe Perrone, Nicholas Rodriguez, Andrew Spiratos and Angelo Spiratos.

As the event began on the great lawn of Sagtikos Manor, the bucolic setting revealed the bright blue shirts of the robotics team interspersed among old-time artisans such as quilters, broom-makers and metalsmiths.

 Prior to the weekend, team members had helped bring tables up from the basement and dig holes to install lawn ornaments, and that morning, the students had arrived early to set up tables, stands and the pumpkin patch and ready the grounds for the festival. Once it began, they did a variety of tasks including manning tables and instructing attending children on how to milk the resident cow, Buttercup.
“It was an unexpected alliance,” said parent and team mentor Kathleen Barrett. “The Fall Festival showcases life during the 1700s, and the robotics team develops award-winning technology. Together, they combined to provide an appreciation of the past with some help from our future.”

West Islip Hosts 16 Gymnastics Teams for Invitational

HS GymnasticsThe high school varsity gymnastics team welcomed the Suffolk County Coaches Association Invitational on Nov. 4, marking the eighth consecutive year West Islip has hosted the tournament.

This year, 16 Suffolk districts teamed up to raise $2,800 for the Diabetes Foundation.

“Congratulations to head coach Karyn Storan, her staff and the West Islip gymnasts for coordinating another successful event,” said Athletic Director Tim Horan.

Bellew Celebrates Top-Notch New Auditorium

Bellew AuditoriumBellew AuditoriumFor the grand opening of a new auditorium, Bellew recently held a celebration that included a ribbon cutting ceremony as well as performances by Bellew’s chorus, orchestra and band.

With the support of West Islip’s school community, work on the new auditorium was part of the district’s 2015 capital project bond referendum. It was coordinated by James Bosse, director of buildings and grounds.

Billy DeWitt, a fourth-grader in Bellew’s Leadership Club, wrote an expression of thanks – complimenting the auditorium's new "velvet-like seats, architecture and shiny walls” – and presented it on stage to Superintendent Bernadette Burns, Board of Education President Steve Gellar and Vice President Annmarie LaRosa and the entire student body. At the ceremony’s conclusion, students brought out handmade letter signs spelling out “Thank You.”

“We are very fortunate to be a part of a school district that recognizes the importance of providing students with top-notch facilities,” said Principal Rhonda Pratt.

Getting ‘Crazy’ with Hats for Udall Spirit Week

Udall crazy hat day

Students and staff at Udall recently participated in the annual Spirit Week celebration, wearing crazy hats, team jerseys, wacky outfits, patriotic colors, and blue and gold combinations.

Crazy Hat Day proved particularly creative and colorful.

Each grade level received points for participation, and at the end of Spirit Week, they competed against each other in a series of fun events, with Udall’s sixth-grade students winning this year’s competition.
Udall crazy hat day   Udall crazy hat day

A ‘Color’ful Community Collaboration

color run
Close to 900 members of the community recently participated in the first annual West Islip Health and Wellness Alliance Color Run, held at the high school. Proceeds from the event will support health and wellness initiatives as well as substance abuse prevention.

In addition to providing a fun day and a chance for the participants to give back, the Color Run is intended to help the Alliance fulfill its goals of reducing substance abuse among local youth, creating a strong collaboration within the community, and cultivating healthy attitudes and behaviors. Regular participation in wellness-oriented events has been shown to reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer, and family participation can also deter children’s use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.

“The Color Run was a tremendous success,” said Tim Horan, the district’s director of health, physical education, athletics, recreation, and family and consumer science. “Children, parents and families had a blast, and the smiles on their faces were priceless. We are already looking forward to next year’s Color Run.”
color run   color run

Girls Soccer Team Named League Champs

Varsity Girls Soccer

The high school’s varsity girls soccer team won the 2017 League IV championship, finishing with an outstanding 14-2-2 record for the season.

Seeded fourth, West Islip shut out Newfield, 1-0, in the first round of the Suffolk AA playoffs before falling to Half Hollow Hills in the quarterfinals.

The Stars Come out for Community Planetarium Show

Planetarium ShowPlaentariumThe high school’s science department hosted a Community Planetarium Show on Oct. 26, giving the approximately 60 children and adults in attendance a chance to learn more about night sky via a presentation by earth science and astronomy teacher Thomas Vitti.

The event was held in the high school's planetarium, which has been in operation since the 1960s. Vitti began the evening with a video that gave the audience an insight into our place in the universe. He then used the Starball projector to take everyone on a tour of West Islip’s night sky. A fan of “Clash of the Titans,” Vitti showed how the zodiac constellations relate to the story of Perseus, while pointing out various important stars, galaxies and nebulae that were also visible.

“Tom’s planning and preparation was the reason for the night’s success,” said Brian Taylor, the district’s director of science and engineering technology. “His star show showcased his passion and personality.”
Luckily, the weather cooperated and Vitti and his audience concluded the night in the parking lot as he identified some of the objects in the night sky that were shown in the planetarium.

Lions Win Divisional Football Title

Lions Football

The high school’s varsity football Lions, guided by head coach Steve Mileti, won the Section XI Divisional Championship for the second year in a row.

“Congratulations to Coach Mileti, his staff and the team for this remarkable accomplishment,” said Athletic Director Tim Horan.

Boys Golfers Capture Second Consecutive League Title

WI Golf

The high school varsity boys' golf team captured the League IV championship for the second consecutive year, winning the Oct. 18 league tournament held at Cherry Creek golf course.

All six starters –Will Fix, Nick Johnson, Joe Peters, Marty Racanelli, Matt Russo and Joe Tammaro – earned All-League honors.

Fast Freshmen Earn Title

Girls Cross CountryT
he high school’s girls’ cross-country freshman runners – Alexa Boniberger, Gia Genna, Jenna Ostrove, Taylor Reilly-Dixon and Joey Vilardi – raced to victory on Oct. 28, earning the League III freshman championship at Sunken Meadow.

Bellew’s Zany ‘Trunk or Treat’

BellewThe Bellew PTA recently sponsored a “Trunk or Treat” event, held in the school’s parking lot.

More than 75 cars were decorated for Halloween, accompanied by dancing, a DJ and lots of treats.

Scarecrows for STEM at Oquenock

Oquenock StemIn an autumnal STEM challenge, third-graders at Oquenock were tasked with designing and building scarecrows by using recycled materials in the STEM lab.

The successful scarecrow designs had to stand on their own and be at least 24 inches tall, and were required to be weather- and wind-proof.

The Fabulous 15 AP Scholars

AP ScholarsA total of 15 high school students from the Class of 2018 – Brielle Arnold, Samantha Barasch, Gregory Bove, Kevin Cassidy, Rebecca Dean, Nickolas De Dios, Jake Dieli, Melodi Dognaey, Alexander Forte, Luke Harris, James Loeffler, Frank Pace, Nicole Sammartano, Angelo Spiratos and Abigail Weintz – were recently recognized as AP Scholars for 2017.

The seniors all received award certificates from the College Board.

AP courses are graded on a scale of 1 to 5, with a score of 3 or above qualifying high school students for college course credit at some schools.

Ten for Tennis at High School

HS TennisTen varsity tennis players from the high school qualified for and competed in the Division II tennis tournament held at East Islip High School on Oct. 6.

The oustanding athletes were Courtney Flynn, Isabella Fortunato, Brooke Geiger, Michelle Kurkela, Rosa Lettieri, Maya Marino, Alexandra Michaluk, Miranda Paterno, Leanna Paulsen and Marion Wegener.


Seniors Help Guatemala with Common Hope 

HS Common HopeThis past summer, a dozen students – all now seniors – from the high school participated with teachers Noreen Matthews an Bob Weiss in the school’s seventh annual service trip to Guatemala with Common Hope. Eric Besanceney, Krista Ciccarelli, Mary Connolly, Alexa DePaola, Melodi Doganay, Mark Gellar, Holly Hohorst, Michelle Kurkela, Jack Magee, Tricia Mueller, Grace Schaefer and Abby Weintz raised more than $8,000 as a team for Common Hope.

The Minnesota-based Common Hope sends teams of volunteers to Guatemala to build houses for families in need. According to Matthews, Common Hope promotes education by supporting Guatemalan families and encouraging parents to keep their kids in school. Most students in Guatemala are forced to end their education at sixth grade due to financial responsibilities.

“While in country, we built a one-room house for a family of six,” said Matthews. “We also visited a school and participated in cultural exchange activities like teaching dancing and painting lessons to the local teens.”
The 12 students were honored at a recent Board of Education meeting.

Making Monsters at Oquenock

Making Monsters at Oquenock

Looking ahead to Halloween, fifth-graders at Oquenock recently created painted monsters, using straws to blow the paint into monster shapes.

The students then named and wrote stories about their monster creations.

The Science of Bubbles at Beach Street

Students at Beach Street recently explored the science of bubbles, conducting labs to practice the steps of the scientific method to determine which dish soap makes the largest bubbles.
  The Science of Bubbles at Beach Street The Science of Bubbles at Beach Street

Elementary Schools Emphasize Kindness

kindness countsKindness is on the calendar at Bellew and Manetuck, with every Monday designated as a “Got Kindness?” day to help emphasize the importance of treating others with kindness.

Bellew began the ongoing Monday initiative, in which students and staff wear blue shirts as a sign of unity. The school also kicked off a 21-day Kindness Challenge in October, encouraging students to complete at least three random acts of kindness a day. Calendars were provided to students to record their deeds, and “kindness coins” were put in circulation at the school, given to anyone who is spotted being kind or showing compassion. If a student receives a coin, they are encouraged to “pay it forward” and pass it on.

“One kindergarten student told me that he did a ‘happy dance’ for his friends to make them smile,” said Bellew Principal Rhonda Pratt. “Without a doubt, our world needs a continuous dose of kindness and our students are the right medicine.”

Bellew’s initiative inspired Manetuck Principal Dawn Morrison, and the latter school likewise began dressing in orange shirts for “Got Kindness?” Mondays. Manetuck kicked off its colorful campaign with a “Cultivate Kindness” assembly where students learned about the importance of spreading kindness.
kindness counts kindness counts kindness counts

Manetuck Third-Graders Design for the Drop

Third-graders at Manetuck recently visited the school’s STEM lab for an experiment in building parachutes.
“The objective was to design parachutes that would transport a payload of one metal washer to the target – the floor – from approximately two meters up in the air with the slowest rate possible,” said teacher Justine Ferrar.
Manetuck Parachute Manetuck Parachute Manetuck Parachute
The young engineers spent one day in the lab designing the parachutes, using materials such as string, plastic grocery bags, paper, aluminum foil and masking tape, then returned to the lab the following day to construct and test the parachutes.

HS Student-Musicians Earn All-State, All-County Honors

HS MusciainsEleven high school student-musicians were selected by the New York State School Music Association to perform on Dec. 2-3 at the annual All-State Music Conference in Rochester, NY, a prestigious event featuring the finest musicians from across New York State. This was a record number of All-State honorees for West Islip.

The juniors and seniors chosen were Gregory Bove and Joseph Hudson for the All-State Symphonic Band; George Lee for the All-State Symphony Orchestra; Lisa Esposito, Lauren Leonardi and Molly Perrone for the All-State Treble Chorus; Joseph Gusmano for the All-State Vocal Jazz Ensemble; and Jake Dieli, Matthew Falkenmayer, Erik Kier and Jefferson Xu as alternates.

Additionally, 18 students were chosen to participate in All-County band, chorus and orchestra ensembles in the annual New York State Council of Administrators of Music Education All-County concert, to be held on Nov. 17 at Hauppauge High School. Students were selected by NYSCAME from the best musicians of Suffolk County, based upon their NYSSMA solo evaluations.

HS MusiciansThe All-County selections were: Bove and Evan Trommer for All-County Band; Hudson, Kier, Lee, David Mahany, Stephen Malinowski, Alec Vogel and Xu for All-County Orchestra; and Erin Bevan, Mackenzie Bornmiller, Esposito, Falkenmayer, Shae Krucher, Leonardi, Perrone, Anthony Venezia and CJ Zito for All-County Chorus.

“Bravo to all our outstanding musicians,” said Eric Albinder, the director of art and music education.

Beach Street Spirit Dance Celebrates Sixth-Graders’ First Month

Beach Spirit

Sixth-graders at Beach Street enjoyed a Spirit Dance on Oct. 6, celebrating the students’ first month of middle school and serving to increase school spirit.

Udall Artist Chosen for Permanent NYSSBA Display

Udall Artist
Cassidy Scheben, a sixth-grader at Udall, was selected to have her artwork “Birch Trees” permanently displayed at the New York State School Boards Association headquarters in Latham, New York.

Scheben was one of only three students selected by NYSSBA from the Art Teachers Association student art exhibit showcasing the talent & creativity of New York’s public school students.

A Community Full of Pride Enjoys Homecoming

The West Islip school community came together on Oct. 7 for a perfect day of pride and parading, fun and football.
The celebrations kicked off with an early afternoon parade, led by the high school’s marching band. Mr. and Miss West Islip couldn’t be missed, waving to the crowd from their red Ford convertible. Jake Dieli was homecoming king to Lisa Esposito’s homecoming queen; Allison Roberts and Anthony Dimino were the runners up this year.
In the banner competition, the seniors came out on top with an apropos “Lion King” theme. In second place were the freshmen, with a “Frozen” creation. The sophomores and their “Peter Pan”-themed banner finished third. Rounding out the colorful competition was the juniors’ “Finding Nemo” effort.
West Islip’s undefeated varsity Lions came out roaring as the homecoming football game began, and didn’t let up through four quarters, clawing Deer Park’s Falcons by a commanding 38-0 shutout score. Quarterback Mike LaDonna had a big day, completing 70 percent of his passes and running for 97 yards. Dominic Sagginario scored on a 63-yard run, Joey Rota racked up 61 rushing yards rushing and a TD, while Matt Moynihan had a gritty performance, finishing with 14 tackles and a sack.
Led by drum major Dieli, the school’s marching band performed at halftime along with the color guard team and cheerleaders.
“This was a great day in West Islip, and a great week at West Islip High School,” said Dr. Anthony Bridgeman, the school’s principal. “We have a great school and community. A school full of pride!”
Homecoming   Homecoming
Homecoming   Homecoming
Homecoming   Homecoming

The Wonders of Water

HS Water
Students in high school biology teacher Christine Mulroy’s class were so excited about what they were learning during a
demonstration of the properties of water that they took photos to share with their families.

Manetuck Dons Pink for Citizenship

Students at Manetuck wore pink to kick off their recent exploration of the character education program trait of citizenship.
Manetuck Dons Pink for Citizenship Manetuck Dons Pink for Citizenship

Bayview Honors Heroes with Operation Goodie Bag 

In honor of Sept. 11, Justin DeMaio’s class at Bayview conducted Operation Goodie Bag. Each student wrote two letters and decorated two bags, which they also filled with candy. The bags were later distributed to friends and family members who are part of a police department, fire department, nursing or the armed forces.

“We chose these people because they are true heroes,” said DeMaio. “We never want to forget the people who lost their lives on that dreadful day in 2001 and we want to make sure that anyone who helps others is in fact worthy of hero status.”
 Bayview Honors Heroes with Operation Goodie Bag  

National Merit Honors for Two West Islip Students

National Merit Honors for Two West Islip Students National Merit Honors for Two West Islip StudentsHigh school senior Melodi Doganay, an exceptional student, was recently named a National Merit Semifinalist in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

She was recognized in a Sept. 13 announcement for her excellent test results in the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, where she competed in an initial screening against more than 1.4 million students from over 22,000 high schools. Doganay will continue to compete for the finalist level to earn one of 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth approximately $33 million, which will be offered next spring by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which has held this prestigious academic scholarship competition since 1955.

Another outstanding West Islip senior, Julianna Moses, was named a Commended Student by the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program.
“Both Melodi and Julianna are very hard-working and driven students both in terms of academics as well as in character,” said West Islip’s principal, Dr. Anthony Bridgeman.

Manetuck Students Show Patriotism on Sept. 11

Students at Manetuck dressed patriotically on Sept. 11, wearing red, white and blue and displaying the American flag in honor of Patriot Day and the lives lost on 9/11.

Gielarowski Named Assistant Principal at High School

Craig GielarowskiCraig Gielarowski has been named the new assistant principal at the high school.

Prior to coming to West Islip, Gielarowski worked for 12 years in New York City Department of Education as dean of students, curriculum coordinator and science teacher, winning numerous educational awards. While balancing career, family, and school, he also dedicated 17 years of service as a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician.

A Long Island native and Levittown resident, Gielarowski attended Nassau Community College, where he earned an associate degree in criminal justice. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in elementary education and master’s degree in adolescent education in biology at Long Island University. After teaching for several years in New York City, he attended the College of Saint Rose, where he earned an additional master’s degree in educational leadership.

“As the new assistant principal of West Islip High School, it is my sincere pleasure to become a member of this wonderful school community,” said Gielarowski. “West Islip enjoys a rich history of academic and cultural excellence that is the result of a collegial partnership between the school staff and parents who provide a diversity of experiences for the students. During my first weeks in the district, I have indeed experienced this commitment to excellence in education through the establishment of an academic, vocational and social environment in which all children can learn and succeed. I am truly honored to be appointed to this position and am looking forward to working with the dedicated staff and community to provide the best possible educational program for our students.”

All About Apples at Oquenock

Apples at Oquenock

Michelle Quigley’s third-grade class at Oquenock created a picture graph after tasting four different kinds of apples in the school’s STEM lab.

The class read a story about the five-pointed star hidden inside each apple, completed the apple tasting and made the graph showing their favorite apples.

They finished the lesson with apple math problems and wrote sentences using their five senses to describe the different apples.

Excitement in the Air at West Islip’s First Day of School

Students across the district arrived at their schools on Sept. 5 for a welcoming new year full of educational growth and friendship. It was a memorable first day for all, from the high school, to Beach Street and Udall, to the four elementary schools: Bayview, Manetuck, Oquenock and Bellew.

“We are off to a great start at PJB and there is a lot of excitement in the air,” said Bellew Principal Rhonda Pratt.

“Our students and staff returned for the 2017-2018 school year energized and refreshed for the learning experiences ahead,” added Manetuck Principal Dawn Morrison.

A Joyful Morning of Sun and Celebration for the Class of 2017

Shrugging off early morning rain, the high school’s Class of 2017 marched into the Lions football stadium on June 24 under sunny skies and the proud gaze of hundreds of family members and friends.

“The word that captures the essence of this class is empathy,” said Dr. Anthony Bridgeman, the high school's principal, praising the students’ character. Following his words of encouragement were memorable speeches by valedictorian Madeleine Gaffney and salutatorian Jack Duffy.

“Today serves as the first necessary building block in the construction of our lives outside of this school and this town,” said Gaffney. “This may be a difficult goodbye, but this is just the beginning. There’s so much out there, and now we are forced but prepared to face it. Keep an open mind to new ideas, but always remember where you came from, for we will always be Lions for life.”

“You must never forget what got you to where you stand now,” said Duffy. “Every day we wake up as slightly different people, from the cells in our bodies to our minds gaining experience. We always change little by little, making progress continuously in the moment, and that’s OK. Change is good, you gotta keep moving forward. Just remember all the people you used to be, and never forget the Lions den that started it all.”
Superintendent Bernadette Burns urged the new graduates to be kind and considerate.

“Go from this West Islip High School and do great things as good people,” she said. “Make good choices, for they will define who you are.”
In his speech to the graduates, Board of Education President Steven Gellar suggested that they be both be themselves and never settle for less.
“Being true to yourself and putting forth your best effort are an essential foundation for a life well-lived,” he said.

After diplomas were conferred, the new alumni sent their blue and white caps soaring and headed off to an afternoon of celebration.