Dear Connetquot Community,
It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform you of the passing of one of our beloved educators – Connetquot Director of Fine Arts and Music Jon-Michael Lasher.
A graduate from Connetquot, Mr. Lasher worked in the district for many years and was known to many as a champion for music and fine arts education. As a young student, he possessed a true love of the subject and therefore it was only a natural progression that he became an educator and worked to help shape the lives of the next generation of student-musicians and artists. His tenacity for a fine arts education resulted in elevating our robust programs to new heights and his unmatched dedication to his colleagues and students is one that stemmed from the heart – the best sign of a great educator.
Mr. Lasher was at the helm of so many of our initiatives, cheering from the wings of our musical performances, accompanying our attendees to various competitions, encouraging young artists to pursue their passions and often lending a listening ear to anyone in need. He was the type of educator that instilled a love of learning in so many and surely has helped to develop some of the world’s emerging talents.
To say that he will be missed in the halls of our schools is one of the truest understatements, but the legacy that he leaves behind will certainly benefit all that walk through our schools for many, many years to come.
Please join me in keeping Mr. Lasher’s family and friends in your thoughts and deepest prayers.
Boys Lacrosse Team Outscores Walt Whitman High School
The Connetquot High School boys lacrosse team defeated Walt Whitman High School at home on April 17 by a final score of 14-7. The T-Birds, with a conference record of 6-2, are now ranked seventh in the 23-school Conference I division.
Tyler Cordes scored six goals and added three assists for the T-Birds, while Michael Carere and Jack Ponzio each scored twice, and added four assists between them. Additionally, Michael Ballinger, Zach Pizzimenti, Kyle Strayer and Derek Walter each scored a goal against Whitman. Goalie Jack McAteer is credited with 13 saves for the home team. Way to go, T-Birds!
Boys Tennis Team Defeats Lindenhurst High School
Connetquot High School boys tennis coach Ryan Cavanagh and his T-Birds continue to impress their supporters, as they recently defeated Lindenhurst High School by a score of 7-0, improving their record to 12-2 for the season. Connetquot holds second place in the challenging Suffolk League III, behind the undefeated Bay Shore High School.
“Junior Alan Sabovic maintained his undefeated record to an impressive 14-0,” coach Cavanagh said. “The team record is now 12-2 with one match remaining.”
Senior day will be celebrated on April 30, and the Suffolk County tennis playoffs will begin on May 14.
Boys Spring Track Team Remains Undefeated
Connetquot High School boys spring track coach Shelby White and his staff were impressed by the team’s outstanding effort at home recently against Sachem North High School. The T-Birds hosted the visitors on April 16 and won the dual meet by an impressive score of 80-37. With this win under their belt, Connetquot now stands at 4-0 and sole possession of first place in Suffolk County League II.
Coach White congratulated each member of the team for their part in the impressive win, but singled out the following team members for their exceptional performances.
Senior Tom Domozych won the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes with a time of 11.3 and 23.4 seconds, respectively; senior Matthew Lopez won the 800-meter and 3,200-meter runs with times of 2:03 and 10:40 minutes, respectively; junior Jeremy Bertolet won the triple jump with a jump of 42 feet, 6¾ inches; and sophomore Tyler Goldofski won the discus with a throw of 113 feet, 3 inches.
Congratulations to the coaches and members of the boys spring track team on their outstanding win over Sachem North, and best wishes for continued success this season!
Four students from Oakdale-Bohemia Middle School recently attended the inaugural OYO Hackathon/Code Conquest which took place at Mineola Middle School on April 12.
The four student-representatives from Oakdale-Bohemia Middle School –Akshat Kamboj, Shawn Kovarik, Tyler Ramos and Sameer Umar – were joined by students from Bellmore-Merrick, Eastport South Manor, East Williston, Harborfields, Hauppauge, Kings Park, Manhasset, Mineola and Syosset school districts during the event.
During the competition, students competed by creating coded projects to conquer territories on a map. Large monitors throughout the event displayed the live map as game play occurred during a three-hour, highly competitive period, with one team ultimately emerging as the Code Conquest winner.
“Although the team’s score didn’t make it to the top of the charts, they showed amazing perseverance, and fought until the very end,” said Connetquot Central School District Elementary STEM Chairperson Bethanie Rizzo.
The Connetquot High School’s National Business Honor Society held its fourth annual Badminton Tournament on April 10 at the Connetquot High School gymnasium. According to advisers Andrea Pizzimenti and Gina Senft, more than 75 participants and advisers took part in the fun, as many of the participants displayed their spirit and creativity by creating matching uniforms. The National Business Honor Society officers demonstrated leadership and professionalism throughout the planning stage, and on the night of the event as well. Players, supportive fans and friends agreed that the 2019 National Business Honor Society Badminton tournament was a big success for all involved.
In an effort to sharpen their scales and improve techniques, elementary-level students from the district recently visited with Oakdale-Bohemia Middle School music students for one-on-one musical mentoring sessions. After being welcomed by a number of student volunteers, the younger students were paired up with a Tri-M Music Honor Society representative who further prepared them for their New York State School Music Association performances.
The Duffield Elementary School Drama Club recently put on two stunning performances of Disney’s “The Lion King” for invited guests for two consecutive days of performances beginning on April 8. The students did an excellent job recreating the classic film through song and dance, as they told the tale of the young cub Simba and his many adventures. The district would like to thank Karen Pitka and Michael Innace for co-directing the production and assisting the students throughout the many weeks of rehearsals leading up to the performances.
On April 5, the district hosted its annual Showcase of the Arts event, inviting students throughout the district to highlight all of the wonderful art projects they have been working on throughout the course of the school year. On display were beautiful illustrations, unique sculptures and stunning photographs, to name a few. Additionally, joining the student-artists as a musical accompaniment during the evening was an orchestra section from both district middle schools, the Kickline team from Ronkonkoma Middle School, Oakdale-Bohemia Middle School and Connetquot High School, along with elementary-level orchestra, recorder, band and chorus groups.
In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, students enrolled in Tiffany Prin’s class at Ronkonkoma Middle School recently launched a detailed project in an effort to create a sense of inclusion throughout the school community.
“My students have been selling Autism Awareness T-shirts, puzzle piece lollipops and rubber bracelets,” said Mrs. Prin. “Half of our profit from these sales will be going to a boy with autism who was diagnosed recently with Ewing’s sarcoma, while the remaining funds will be used for student-supplies and for end of the year activities with our pen-pals from Oakdale-Bohemia Middle School. Additionally, students and staff members will be wearing our special T-shirts each Friday in the month of April.”
Staff and students from Idle Hour Elementary School recently took on Maggie's Kindness Challenge in late March in honor of Maggie Schmidt of Greenlawn, who lost her battle with a rare form of cancer in 2017.
With assistance from PTA Cultural Arts Representative and Maggie’s Mission Advocate Michelle Burke, the students at Idle Hour took on the challenge to live life to its fullest, show kindness to all and be mindful of others and surroundings.
As students performed challenges such as donating clothes, baking for friends and family, enjoying a sunset, spending time with others and dressing up for theme days, pictures were sent to Mrs. Burke as she put them together and displayed them during a schoolwide assembly for all to see.
Throughout course of the week, more than 100 students participated in the challenge and kindness was spread throughout the community. Students also received bracelets as they handed in their participation pledges and certificates after they submitted their challenge trackers.
According to the official website, Maggie’s Mission was created in an effort to raise awareness of pediatric cancers, fund research and provide help to families and children in need. Although Maggie passed away in 2017, she is remembered as a wonderful young woman who loved everything life had to offer.
Earlier this April, 110 Connetquot High School students were inducted into the Connetquot High School chapter of Rho Kappa, the National Social Studies Honor Society, by adviser Gregory Nizewitz.
Mr. Nizewitz introduced the officers of this prestigious group along with Margaret Ronai, the Connetquot Central School District director of social studies and business. Mrs. Ronai welcomed the newly inducted members, as well as the proud family members and friends who attended the ceremony. Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter, Connetquot High School Principal Kenneth J. Costa and Board of Education President Milynn Augulis were also on hand to congratulate the honorees and their proud family members.
The three co-presidents of the Connetquot chapter of the Rho Kappa Honor Society – Victoria Cipriani, Michael DiMaio and Crystal Monge – introduced the new members. Additionally, treasurer and founding member Lauren Kennedy led the students in reciting the pledge. The new inductees joined together in reciting, “I do promise to serve others, to search for truth, to utilize knowledge, and to seek wisdom through the pursuit of academic excellence in the social studies. I promise service to Connetquot High School and to the community, for true scholars of the social studies lead by example.”
Congratulations to the newly inducted members of the Connetquot High School Chapter of Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society:
Class of 2019 – Fariah, Basharat, Christopher Battista, Nicolle Brodowski, Emma Bunicci, Anesha Chowdhury, Sarah Delillis, Christopher Guevarra, Alex Halinar, Ciana Kaplan, Kendall Lillie, Matthew Lopez, Courtney Lyons, Andrea Martino, Hannah Mayer, Christina Monahan, Abby Navarez, Melissa Olcay, Christina Otero, Sara Perez, Sarah Rahim, Serena Roopnarine, Noel Root, Paige Sapienza, Alexis Smith, Sara Vincente; Class of 2020 – Paige Adamo, Sayida Afghani, Jenna Anderson, Abigail Audia, Emily Augulis, Daniel Bach, Deanna Beattie, Kelby Bishop, Alyssa Brady, Joseph Brimlow, Hannah Causin, Dmitri Cavanagh, Diproprosad Das, Colleen DiMarzo, Alaina Drennan, Hellena Elster, Sarah Fonsecca, Toni_Elena Gallo, Kayley Gross, Alexa Hartmann, Audrey Joseph, Dominick Katrivanos, Niko Keddy, Atif Khan, Meagan Lenihan, Denise Llivicura, Amanda Manuel, Kylie McGee, Karly McGee, Alexa Molinelli, Genevieve Moulton, Reilly Murphy, Victoria Opiela, Amanda Perrone, Kimberley Pettersen, Maddie Pittigher, Anna Polcini, Katie Postel, Kate Priolo, Kelly Romadi, Giovanni Santiago, Grace Saravia, Nicole Serravillok Ashley Sullivan, Nicole Thumann, Mackenzie Waile, Alex Young; Class of 2021 – Francis Aiello, Lisa Baldinucci, Kainaat Sacharat, Emma Brenner, Emma Cochran, Nicolette DiSilvestre, Joseph Duszak, Carmella Eade, Morgan Elliott, Adrianna Empaynada, Kate Engeldrum, Kylie Ferrentino, Mikayla Gibbons, Scott Gifford, Kayla Hansen, Michael Hanson, Daniel Haughie, Olivia Herrera, Keeghan Lavery, Julianno Leddy, Emily Medina, Emily Mysliwiec, Jacqueline Palumbo, Jenna Pellicano, Julianna Pereira, Hayley Rodriguez, Adriana Romano, Gabrielle Rowe, Tugce Sezer, Anna Stahurski, Isabella Truglio, Isabella VanKalmthout, Melanie Walsh, Kevin Wilk, Amanda Young, Elaina Zacynski.
The induction ceremony was held in the Eric Martinsen Performing Arts Center, followed by a reception where the students were presented with their certificates and offered light refreshments for them and their proud family members and friends.
The mission and purpose of the Rho Kappa National High School Social Studies Honor Society is to promote scholarship and to recognize academic excellence in social studies among high school students; to provide through its local chapter, opportunities for exploration in the social studies in secondary school environments, and the community; and to encourage interest in, understanding of, and appreciation for the social studies.
In celebration of Financial Literacy Month, Connetquot High School students enrolled in Pamela Carey’s Personal Finance Classes recently travelled to Cherokee Street Elementary School to share important money saving tips with the Universal Pre-K Students. In addition to enlightening the young students on financial tips, the students also read from “One Cent, Two Cents, Old Cent, New Cent” by Bonnie Worth in an effort to further reinforce these skills.
The Oakdale-Bohemia Middle School drama club members recently took to the stage to put on a fantastic performance of “Anything Goes” before audiences for three consecutive evenings. The school’s adaptation was based off the classic 1934 musical, which chronicles the humorous antics of the passengers along an ocean liner on a path from New York to London. To prepare for this year’s production, which was directed by David Bentley-Garfinkel, the students spent months rehearsing their lines and perfecting the choreography before opening night.
In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, staff and students from Cherokee Street Elementary School recently wore blue-colored outfits and focused on lessons that celebrated the unique qualities that all individuals bring to the school community.
Due to the efforts of speech and language pathologist Nicole Bren and Cherokee students, a beautiful art piece featuring puzzle pieces stating “I am unique because…” was put on display in the school hallway. Students contributed their creative talents to come up with myriad reasons why they themselves are unique.
Additionally, throughout the month of April, the school will be accepting monetary donations to benefit the Special Olympics.
In celebration of Financial Literacy Month, the district is aiming to
ensure that all students have a strong foundation in financial
education so that they can establish and maintain healthy financial
An increased focus on financial literacy will
enable students to think critically and make positive decisions
regarding finance. Through various lessons and activities, students will
become wise and knowledgeable consumers, savers and investors.
a means of strengthening the home-to-school connection, the district’s
Financial Literacy Committee, consisting of parents, teachers and
administrators, has made vast strides toward implementing programs to
enhance districtwide student financial education.
see below to view a number of informative resources and articles which
pertain to enhancing financial literacy. Additionally, check back within
the coming weeks as we highlight some of the activities our students
have been taking part in within the classroom to help strengthen their
The Council for Economic Education: https://www.councilforeconed.org/financial-literacy-month/
Jump Starts Financial Smarts for Children: https://www.jumpstart.org/
The Khan Academy: https://www.khanacademy.org/economics-finance-domain/core-finance
GFC Global: https://edu.gcfglobal.org/en/topics/personal-finance/
Rockstar Finance: https://rockstarfinance.com/
US Securities and Exchange Commission: https://www.investor.gov/introduction-investing
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/consumer-tools/money-as-you-grow
Wall Street Journal Article “Schools Aim to Teach Teen’s Financial Savvy”:
Business Insider article on Rob Gronkowski: https://www.businessinsider.com/nfl-patriots-money-saving-tips-rob-gronkowski-2019-2
Business Insider article on Brandon Copeland: https://www.businessinsider.com/nfl-new-york-jets-brandon-copeland-money-advice-wharton-2019-3
Third-grade classes at Cherokee Street and Edward J. Bosti elementary schools recently worked collaboratively to complete a series of Breakout EDU activities, which aligned with their current unit focused on cultural and geographical aspects of Australia.
During the activity, the students worked through a sequential order of clues in an effort to “escape” from their computer science classrooms. The puzzles featured popular elements of the continent such as wildlife, geographical location and traditional cultural aspects.
At the conclusion of the breakout portion of the activity, the students then formed a circle and discussed how they went about their methods, and what they could have done in order to “escape” in a more efficient manner.
Breakout EDU, which is based upon the popular “escape the room” interactive games, grants students the opportunity to communicate, collaborate, team build, and develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
All third-grade participants were able to "crack the codes" in less than the forty-minute time frame provided.
On the evening of March 20, staff members, students and their families gathered within the Cherokee Street Elementary School cafeteria as the school hosted their annual “Faculty Feud” event in the style of the popular “Family Feud” game show.
Prior to the start of the game, the survey questions utilized were answered by the third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students of Cherokee. The competing teams consisted of teachers, parents, office staff and Principal Jill Lahey as they answered the survey-style questions in hopes of picking the top answers for each category.
The district congratulates all of the evening’s participants – “The Good Sports,” consisting of Mrs. Lahey, Mrs. Francess, Mrs. Leo, Mrs. Lagravinese, Mr. Mike; “The Dynamic Duo’s,” featuring Mrs. Litchhult, Mrs. Suarez, Mrs. Campanella, Ms. Skahill, Mrs. O’Connell and Mrs. Meade; “PTA T-Birds,” with a lineup of Mrs. DeSiano, Mrs. Martin, Mrs. Widing, Mrs. Beisel and Mrs. Miller; and “Sesame Street,” rounded out by Mrs. Bren, Mrs. Raimondi, Mrs. Gallo, Mrs. Valenti and Mrs. Mongiello. By the end of the final round, the “PTA T-Birds” were declared the winners of this year’s event.
The district would also like to thank Assistant Principal Patricia Murthy and her son, Joshua Murthy, for coordinating the game, recruiting the players and coming up with the survey questions.
Students enrolled in the district’s C-Quest Program based out of Edward J. Bosti Elementary School recently experienced a fun and educational field trip to the reopened Long Island Science Center in Riverhead.
During their time spent in the center, the students were able to expand their scientific horizons with a number of hands-on activities and games. Included within the experience were an immersive Virtual Reality simulator, a “Magnetic Reality Wall” and an “Art in Action” station in where students scanned still pieces of art into a tablet in an effort to bring the pieces to life.
In addition to the hands-on experiences, the students were able to engage in interactive classes with assistance from representatives of the Long Island Science Center, in which they were afforded the opportunity to take part in themed maker space activities.
Students, faculty and staff members from Edward J. Bosti Elementary School were recently congratulated by representatives of the Teachers Federal Credit Union for their outstanding efforts to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Due to their ability to come together to support a good cause, students collected more than $500 in pennies, while the Teachers Federal Credit Union donated an additional $500 of their own. At an assembly held in the school’s atrium marking this milestone, mathematics specialist Stephanie Gozaloff joined TFCU representative Jennifer Gunn in presenting a check in the amount of $1,050 to Make-A-Wish Foundation representative Frank Gaeta Jr. The school would like to thank Mrs. Gozaloff and Youth and Family Services Coordinator Ryan McGuckin for arranging this annual fundraiser.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants a wish on average, every 34 minutes to a child with a critical illness in hopes of bringing out some extra smiles. The district congratulates Michelle Semder’s pre-school class for being named the top fund-raiser this year, and being rewarded with a celebratory pizza party in the near future.
Kindergarten and first-grade classes from John Pearl Elementary School recently welcomed Stony Brook Children’s Hospital Trauma Center registered nurse Kristi Ladowski to the school for a fun and informative “Teddy Bear Clinic” event.
The students were asked to bring a stuffed animal to school to serve as their “patient” as they worked with Ms. Ladowski during the clinic, carefully listening as she described important safety lessons to be used at home, at play or in school. The attentive students also listened as Ms. Ladowski described the importance of seat belt safety and using helmets to protect themselves while riding bicycles and skateboards.
The students also enjoyed watching an experiment that had two eggs dropped at the same time, in which each egg was into a plastic bag, but only one egg was protected inside a special “helmet.” As predicted, the unprotected egg did not fare well in the drop, while the protected egg was still in one piece.
At the conclusion of the safety demonstrations, the students sat at their desks and played “doctor” using band-aids, gauze, and tongue depressors on their stuffed animals’ “injuries.”
Earlier this month, an All-Star Team consisting of district staff members, administrators and talented student-athletes joined forces to play basketball against the world-famous Harlem Wizards. Coached by Sycamore Avenue Elementary School Principal Stuart Pollak, Assistant Principal Brian Wrinkle and Connetquot High School Principal Kenneth J. Costa, the T-Birds dribbled, shot and highly enjoyed themselves as they challenged the traveling group of professional athletes/comedians.
A loud and supportive crowd consisting of more than 800 attendees filled the Connetquot High School gym for this special event. Sponsored by the Sycamore Avenue Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association, the proceeds of this fun night will go to provide students with funding needed for additional equipment and programs.
The Harlem Wizards are celebrating their 57th year of entertaining, and from the reaction of this Connetquot crowd, it’s easy to see why fans look forward to watching these talented athletes in action.
The Wizards were led by talented athletes with appropriate nicknames such as “Big J,” “The Rocketman,” “The Artist” and “LaFiesta.” Individually, these showmen excelled as student-athletes both at the collegiate level and internationally. Together, as Harlem Wizards, they combine their feats of athleticism with comedy routines that keep the students laughing, as the players go into the crowd to bring students and families alike onto the court to join in the fun.
Mr. Pollak extended his thanks to the supportive members of the faculty that took part in the game, along with all of the wonderful fans for their support, and gave a special thanks to the dedicated members of the school’s PTA and President Amy Dowdell.
The Connetquot High School Musical Theatre Club presented a stunning adaption of “Beauty and the Beast” for three consecutive evenings this March before packed audiences. Inspired by the popular fairy tale, the play chronicles the adventures of the beautiful bookworm Belle, as she slowly begins to fall in love with the cursed Beast who roams his dark and mysterious castle. The production was brought to life with assistance from the following individuals – Ryan Cavanagh (choreography), Peter Coffin (sound advisor), Patrick Downes (technical operator), Brad Drinkwater (producer), Gregory Johnson (pit director), Vincent Malafronte (director), along with musical accompaniment from the Connetquot High School Pit Orchestra.
The district recently hosted their biannual English as a New Language Family Night at Slocum Elementary School on March 5, inviting ENL students and families throughout the district for a night full of fun, dancing, cultural appreciation and a bit of magic.
Members of the Connetquot High School Civic Club were on hand to volunteer throughout the course of the night, as they joined the younger students in arts and crafts, dancing and friendly conversation, along with the setup of the evening’s activities.
After a welcoming address from Director of ENL/World Languages Denise Hannaoui, Connetquot Public Library librarian Christine Moltzen spoke to the attending families about all of the wonderful programs that the library has to offer, including the multitude of free ENL classes. Additionally, Mike Maione, aka “The Silly Magician,” provided some fun and educational entertainment to the students, along with their family members who joined them later in the presentation.
The attendees were also able to enjoy a number of delicious foods throughout the course of the evening, consisting of elements of different cultures.
Duffield Elementary School’s library was recently transformed into Café Duffield for the annual “Book Tasting” event, as Karen Pitka’s fourth-grade students were invited to “taste” a number of popular genres, including science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy and mystery.
Throughout the library, each table offered a three-minute “taste,” or sampling, of a book of the student's choice. After reading their selected work, the students logged a brief menu summary including what they thought of the cover and if the student would recommend this particular piece of literature to others.
Students then discussed their selection with the rest of the “customers” at their genre table, which included a number of district staff members and administrators.
Third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students from Cherokee Street Elementary School recently got in touch with their inner “Indiana Jones” by participating in “The History Mystery” Library Adventure, right from the comfort of the school’s library.
With assistance from library media specialist Kathy Lopergalo and PTA Cultural Arts Representative Stephanie Clarelli, the students worked as a team with the ultimate goal in mind of finding the missing “historical artifact” hidden within the room.
During their time spent in the library, the treasure hunters discovered concealed clues, solved riddles and followed trails shrouded in mystery. Additionally, the students built upon their observational and research skills, as they worked as a team to solve the multitude of riddles presented before them in the form of decoder cards, code charts and clue cards.
Six student-artists throughout the district recently displayed their incredible artwork in the Colors of Long Island art exhibit held at the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook on the weekend of March 1.
This year’s annual student art exhibit included hundreds of works of art by 263 student-artists from 127 schools across Long Island. In order to be considered the exhibition, teachers were asked to submit up to two pieces from their students, including both individual works and/or group projects.
The district congratulates students Riley Brennan and John Whelan (Idle Hour Elementary School); Jaden McKay and Natalya Esposito-Biondi (John Pearl Elementary School); and Lauren Bizzaro and Melissa Tribley (Connetquot High School).
District art teachers Krystal Zaglool and Sheilah Higgins are both incredibly proud of their students’ hard work and efforts toward being accepted to take part in this year’s exhibition.
The collection of work is open for public viewing in the Long Island Museum’s Visitors Center through April 7.
Fourth-and fifth-grade students from Cherokee Street Elementary School were recently visited by student teachers from Adelphi University in an effort to engage in and reinforce place-based education lessons.
“The heart of place-based education is to extend students’ learning experiences beyond the classroom setting, expanding into the schoolyard and surrounding community,” said fourth-grade teacher Sandra Fantauzzi.
Students who have participated in these place-based lessons have worked closely with Mrs. Fantauzzi to plant and care for a native-plant garden, monitor the migration patterns of the school courtyard’s monarch butterfly population, and report the migration patterns and behaviors of bird populations through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Project FeedWatch citizen-science project.
Mrs. Fantauzzi, along with the Adelphi University student-teachers, are currently preparing to present the benefits of a place-based education at an upcoming education conference, “Northern Lights: Illuminating Norwegian Culture, Environment and School Connections” in Tromso, Norway. During this time, they will be visiting schools in Norway to see how the place-based education philosophy is being applied at the elementary and secondary levels. Mrs. Fantauzzi plans to share her experience in Norway when she returns from her adventure.
Staff and students from Duffield Elementary School recently welcomed Connetquot High School students to celebrate the life and works of Dr. Seuss as part of the National Education Association’s Read Across America program.
Ninety-five high school students, along with their English teachers Carolyn Paul and Megan Faeger, visited with Duffield students to read from Dr. Seuss’ books. Additionally, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lynda G. Adams, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dean Mittleman and Board of Education President Milynn Augulis were on hand to enjoy the day’s activities.
“Our students planned and prepared for almost two weeks for this visit,” said Mrs. Paul. “We used a PowerPoint presentation of past visits to Duffield to get them excited for this special day. We then broke the classes into smaller groups who visited the individual classes depending upon the grade level. The students prepared lesson plans, and created writing and art projects developing thoughtful questions about the books they would read to their new friends. They also incorporated the theme of “7 Healthy Habits” that are used at Duffield all year long.”
One group of high school students created a “Cat in the Hat” photo booth, while another brought along helium balloons to display their friends’ writing for the book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” for the fifth-graders.
“The experience has proven, year after year, to be extremely rewarding,” said Mrs. Paul. “Students have often written their college essays about their Duffield experiences, and some have even altered their future plans and decided to enter the field of education as a result of this experience.”
Duffield Elementary School Principal Lisa Farrell thanked the students, their teachers and guests for visiting and having so much fun with the students of Duffield Elementary.
On March 1, the famous O-Town Circus Troupe presented its spectacular traveling big top show with assistance from the fifth-grade students at Edith L. Slocum Elementary School.
Principal John Delio welcomed circus coaches Erin and Ray, who worked with all of the talented students during the course of the week. During their “training,” the circus stars learned the skills necessary to entertain the attendees, including clown work, juggling plate spinners, stilt walking and the diabolo stick.
The students enthusiastically participated in the program during the week, and were eager to display their new-found talents during an evening showcase for parents and friends.
As a means of connecting literature, historical events and music, students from Ronkonkoma Middle School were treated to a highly engaging in-school assembly, which culminated with a musical performance courtesy of a number of Ronkonkoma Middle School staff members and student-musicians.
Students first spent time in the classroom studying John Steinbeck’s literary masterpiece, “The Grapes of Wrath,” zeroing in on the book’s protagonist Tom Joad. Applying their knowledge of the novel, the students discussed why his family was forced to migrate West on Route 66 toward hopes of a new life in California.
Curated by both history teacher Kenneth Lehman and interim Principal Joseph Licato, the students gathered in the school’s auditorium for a presentation which demonstrated how technology is rapidly changing, and the job market is being affected due to this shift. They circled back to their classroom lessons which focused on how Americans living in the 1930s were forced out of work due to mechanized mass production. The students were able to make the modern connection to how companies such as Uber are putting taxi drivers out of work due to the application’s ease of accessibility and comparatively low rates.
As an additional connection to the afternoon’s central theme, a number of staff members and student-musicians joined forces to bring Bruce Springsteen’s hit song “The Ghost of Tom Joad” to life. The supergroup consisted of staff members Mr. Licato (guitar, lead vocals, harmonica), Dr. Frank Saladino (lead guitar), Mike Murphy (bass), Stacy Stollberger (trumpet, percussion), Elizabeth Pieket (saxophone), Nicole White (piano), Adam Reinkraut (classical guitar), along with student-musicians Katlyn Smith (violin) and Joe Saracino (drums).
Click here to watch a video from the event.
In recognition of Parents as Reading Partners Month, students of all grade levels at John Pearl Elementary School were treated to a schoolwide assembly led by musician/historian Patricia Shih for her “Big Ideas About Literacy” presentation.
With assistance from her husband and musical accompaniment Mr. Steve, Mrs. Shih introduced the students to a number of catchy and informative songs which celebrated literacy and the importance of books. During one of her songs, Mrs. Shih asked a number of student volunteers to present popular children’s books such as “The Cat in the Hat,” “Cinderella” and “Winnie The Pooh” when they were called upon.
Mrs. Shih also touched upon foreign and world languages during the assembly as well, as she asked student volunteers to speak a phrase in a foreign language, which was then incorporated into a fun song for all to enjoy.
On Feb. 27, four Connetquot High School student-athletes representing the district’s varsity soccer program signed letters of commitment to continue their athletic careers at some of the nation’s premier colleges and universities this fall.
Girls varsity soccer coach Ryan Cavanagh was joined by parents, students and district administrators within Connetquot High School Principal Kenneth Costa’s conference room for the signing ceremony. Coach Cavanagh introduced each of his graduating seniors, and talked about their contributions to the soccer program both on and off the playing field. Both Connetquot Central School District Director of Health, Physical Education, Athletics and Recreation Mark Dellecave and Mr. Costa congratulated the student-athletes for their choice of colleges, along with their commitment to Connetquot sports and the community.
Celina Schenk will attend SUNY Farmingdale. According to coach Cavanagh, “Celina was an outside midfielder and two-year varsity standout. She was named team captain and started every game during her senior campaign. Additionally, Celina was constantly relied upon to win the ball and send it in with her powerful cross.”
Jordan Whooley will attend Pace University. “As an outside defender and three-year varsity letter-winner, her speed, determination and leadership were key factors in the team’s success,” said coach Cavanagh. “Jordan was consistently assigned to cover the opponent’s best winger, forcing the other team to change its strategy against the T-Birds.” Jordan was also named as an All-Division athlete during her senior year.
Jordan Wischusen accepted her scholarship to attend the University of New Haven. “Jordan earned three varsity letters, started every game for two seasons and also served as team captain,” said Cavanagh. “After an injury-plagued junior season, Jordan returned as a senior and dominated the center of the field all season long. She plays with selfless dedication, winning nearly every ball, and putting her teammates in scoring position.” Additionally, Jordan was selected to pay in the Suffolk vs. Nassau Exceptional Seniors Soccer Night this year.
Kristina Sommer committed to attend SUNY Farmingdale in the fall. A talented center/outside midfielder, Kristina earned three varsity letters. According to coach Cavanagh, “Kristina was so talented with the ball at her feet that she was a constant threat to set her teammates up for goals. Her skill-set as a midfielder allowed us to play her outside as well as the middle of the field.”
The district congratulates and thanks each of these talented students-athletes for their commitment to their families and the Connetquot community.