skip to main content

JFK Math Olympiad Winners Honored

JFK Math Olympiad Winners Honored 1
JFK Math Olympiad Winners Honored 2
Fifteen math-minded students from JFK were recently named Math Olympiad winners and honored at a Board of Education meeting for their achievement. Joined by teacher Lisa Baker, the students – Nick Aparicio, Matthew Flores, Jade Griffin, Damon Ierulli, Joann Jobson, Philip Kellarakos, Gloria Min, Dylan Nguyen, James Nguyen, Adithan Omprakash, Oviya Omprakash, Valentina Rebecca, Prisha Tanna, Jason Turner and Reza Zorakhsh – received certificates and congratulations from Superintendent Eva Demyen and the Board.

JFK Receives Tanger Grant for Innovation Lab

JFK Receives Tanger Grant for Innovation Lab 1

At a recent Board of Education meeting, Tanger Outlets General Manager Nancy Larson presented a grant check for $2,000 to JFK Principal Susan Bonner. The funding, part of the TangerKIDS grants program, will support the school’s upcoming STEM Innovation Lab project.

“Our school strives to meet the challenge of the 21st century STEM curriculum,” said Bonner. “We believe that all JFK students are capable of solving problems through hands-on activities that embrace deep thinking and problem solving strategies. Through the implementation of the Innovation Lab, it is our hope to foster these skills in our students. We plan to create and organize a classroom in the school in which teachers can bring their classes to experience the Innovation Lab. The room will be transformed into a learning environment with critical thinking stations, computers for coding and a green screen filming area.”

Giroux Selected for National Lax Classic

Giroux Selected for National Lax Classic 1
High school lacrosse player Samantha Giroux, who will start her sophomore year in September, was recently named as a 2017 Brine National High School Lacrosse All-American. Giroux was selected to represent New York State at the National Lacrosse Classic, to be held July 18-21 at the River City Sportsplex in Richmond, Virginia.

JFK Fun Club Brings Good Luck for Frost Softball Team

JFK Fun Club Brings Good Luck for Frost Softball Team 1

Uniting two Deer Park schools, the JFK Fun Club, organized by teacher Marie Tortorici, recently attended a Frost softball game to show their support for the team and coach Keri Schumacher.

“Their presence brought the Falcons some good luck to get the win that day,” said Schumacher.

Board President and VP Reelected at Reorganization Meeting

Board President and VP Reelected at Reorganization Meeting 1

The Board of Education's structure remained the same at the annual reorganization meeting, held at the administration office on July 11. John Gouskos and Donna Marie Elliott were both reelected to their positions as president and vice president, respectively, and sworn in to office. 

Summer Newsletter Now Available


Disney Diversion for Deer Park Jazz Musicians

  Disney Diversion for Deer Park Jazz Musicians 1

The Deer Park High School Jazz Ensemble and its director, Jerry Cannarozzo, recently traveled to Orlando, Florida for a well-received performance at Disney World.

Following the performance, the 23 students – Anthony D’Arrigo, Nick Alo, Dave Batkiewicz, Jack Brennan, Ryan Brown, Mike Catanzaro, Mike Charumaneeroj, Alexandria Costanza, John Clancy, Briseis Del Cid, Joe Etersque, Peter Farquharsen, Nick Gentile, Samantha Miller, Joshua Murphy, Tyler Nielson, Amar Qasir, Emanuel Saladino, Frank Sluter, Ginele Tanis, Bradley Taylor, Kailey Tenn and Marissa Woods – were able to visit all the attraction’s parks.

Frost FACS Students Bake Fairytale Cupcakes to Celebrate Play

Frost FACS Students Bake Fairytale Cupcakes to Celebrate Play 1
Frost FACS Students Bake Fairytale Cupcakes to Celebrate Play 2

After seeing the hard work and dedication displayed by the cast and crew of “Once Upon a High School,” this year’s seventh-grade play at Robert Frost, the school’s seventh-graders made themed “fairy tale” cupcakes as a special treat for their classmates to celebrate opening night and as a way to recognize the extraordinary effort involved in making the production a success.

Working under the direction of Frost FACS teachers Cindy Adriaenssens and Paula Behrens, the students baked cupcakes, made buttercream frosting and decorated the treats using piping, displaying their creativity and skillful technique.

“This student-to-student community service was an essential way for our students to show empathy and appreciation by devising a way to give back to their peers,” said Behrens.

Middle Schoolers Celebrate Memories and Successes

Middle Schoolers Celebrate Memories and Successes 1

Under the deluge of a sudden rainshower, the excited eighth-graders of Robert Frost filed into the school gymnasium on June 21 for their moving up ceremony. By the time they emerged more than an hour later, certificates in hand, as proud incoming high schoolers, the bright sun had reemerged and they were ready to celebrate with their families.

The event began with the Pledge of Allegiance, led by National Junior Honor Society President Kathleen Pitt, followed by a greeting from Principal Eliana Levey.

“Today is the day we look back and celebrate our successes and our self-discipline that helped us achieve these past three years,” said Student Council President Logan Eisenberg, addressing his fellow eighth-graders. “The middle school chapter of your lives has come to an end. It’s time to start fresh at high school. So thank you, middle school, for all the laughs, the smiles and all the memories we will never forget.”

JFK Fifth-Graders Look Ahead to Middle School

JFK Fifth-Graders Look Ahead to Middle School 1

For fifth-graders at JFK, the morning for moving up arrived on June 20, closing one chapter in their schooling and looking ahead to middle school.

“The moving up ceremony is always a bittersweet day for both the teaching and administrative staff,” said Principal Susan Bonner. “We look at how far the children have grown academically over the three years they have been with us and hope we have made an impact on their lives. We send them off to the middle school where they will continue to become well prepared to be productive citizens of our Deer Park community.”

The event began with a rendition of the national anthem by Julia Kotliar and Angelique Jean-Pierre, followed by welcoming speeches by Bonner and fifth-grade Student Government President Julia Holland. Prior to the students’ receiving their moving up certificates, several fifth-graders were presented with awards.

Andrew Ellner won the New York State Comptrollers Achievement Award, presented to a student who demonstrated leadership potential and a commitment to public service, while Tatiana Arezzo and Jackson Lamanna were the winners of the Amanda Malloy Memorial Award, created to honor students who lead and value a healthy lifestyle.

The D.C. Raymond Downey Scholarship Charity Fund was created as a tribute to Chief Downey’s legacy. Jessica Miranda and Alec Tchinnis were honored on behalf of the Downey family,

Thomas Sweeny from the country executive’s office presented the County Executive Public Service Award, which recognizes a student who has successfully combined academic success with a commitment to the community. Branden Raines was this year’s recipient.

The Kathy Miller Award is given in memory of Robert Frost Middle School special education teacher Kathleen Miller to students who are children of SEPFC members. According to Bonner, the recipients of this award – Anaya Cruz, Anthony L. Gotay, Preston Punger and Alec Tchinnis – are conscientious, motivated and respectful to their peers and staff, having faced obstacles and worked hard to overcome them in order to succeed.   

“All of these young people are the definition of hard work, dignity and perseverance,” Bonner said.

A joyous version of Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” was sung by the entire class. Rihanna Sayed, the fifth-grade Student Government vice president, then delivered farewell remarks, and the students joined their families to celebrate this momentous next step in their educations.

Rosenberg Named World Languages and ENL Administrator

Rosenberg Named World Languages and ENL Administrator 1

Ashley Rosenberg has been named the new district administrator of world languages and ENL, as of July 1.

Rosenberg taught ENL at May Moore for the last four years. She previously served as a first-grade classroom teacher of primarily English Language Learners for the New York City Department of Education in Brooklyn.

A resident of Melville, Rosenberg earned her bachelor’s degree from Stony Brook University, and her master’s degree in literacy and cognition at St. Joseph’s College. She is currently enrolled in a doctoral program in interdisciplinary studies at LIU Post, working on a dissertation on refugee and immigrant students and SIFE, which stands for students with interrupted formal education. 

“I look forward to collaborating with teachers, administrators and families within the community to maintain and expand upon the strong reputation our world language and ENL departments have,” she said.

A Proud Milestone for Deer Park’s Class of 2017

A Proud Milestone for Deer Park’s Class of 2017 1

The high school held its 54th commencement ceremony on June 23, with more than 300 students beaming with pride as they received their diplomas in front of faculty and their families. The ceremony began with a moving performance of the national anthem by senior Olivia Grizzle.

Salutatorian Alima Hossain and valedictorian Omaier Mohiuddin told their fellow classmates to embrace change and to look forward to their new journey.

“Today marks a milestone in all of our lives,” Hossain said. “This is a wonderful transition into adult life.”

"Change is hard, but it’s also good," Mohiuddin said. "This place shaped us into amazing human beings and the world is waiting for our arrival.”
Guest speaker Nicholas Assenza told the students that life is full of surprises.

“Life is about figuring out who you are and what makes you happy,” he said. “Failure is inevitable, but you can’t let it hold you back. Live with humility and never stop the pursuit of learning about everything that is important to you.” 

Before the diplomas were conferred, Principal Charles Cobb expressed his admiration for the Class of 2017.

“I could not be more proud of all that this class has accomplished,” said Cobb.


Poetry, Posters and Patriotism: JFK Celebrates Flag Day

 Poetry, Posters and Patriotism: JFK Celebrates Flag Day 1

JFK held a wide-ranging Flag Day celebration this year, coordinated by fifth-grade teacher Audrey Schulter. She was assisted by band teacher Lou Nicolosi, who assembled a special Flag Day Band to provide the accompanying music for the ceremony.

Serving as honored guests this year were Col. Stephen Labate , a U.S. Army Reserve officer and father of fifth-grader twins Maria Labate and Michael Labate Jr., and Sgt. Charles Bianculli, an Army veteran who was presented with a hand-print American flag by JFK’s Let’s Make a Difference Club. Local Girl Scouts from Troop 801 presented a flag-folding demonstration, while Eagle Scout Michael Charumaneeroj spoke to the students about patriotism.

Schulter had earlier run a schoolwide poetry contest, asking students to write a poem about what the flag means to them. One winner from each grade level was selected and read their poem at the Flag Day ceremony. Fifth-grade students from each classroom also created posters to reflect Ruth Apperson Rous’ patriotic poem “I Am The Flag.” As the students came up to present their posters, they each read a stanza from the poem to the audience.

Sky's the Limit for JQA Second-Graders at Moving Up


Proud families cheered on the second-graders of JQA as they celebrated moving up on June 13. Each student was recognized, awards were given out, and songs – including “Memories,” “Well It’s Been Fun” and “Ready to Go” – were sung with joy and excitement at a new challenge next fall at JFK.

“I am sure all who attended the moving up ceremony will not soon forget the sun and heat of that day, but I hope all of our graduating students will also take away the beautiful memories they have created through their years at JQA,” said Principal Christopher Molinelli.

Referencing the school’s motto, “Where Falcons Learn to Fly,” Molinelli told his now former charges, “We have taught you much over the past few years. We have handed out band-aids and hugs, shared smiles and tears, and now we have reached the point when you are ready to fly. You may be off to JFK next year, but never forget that the sky is the limit for you all.  You will all be sorely missed next year.”

Using Comedy to Alleviate Poverty at JFK’s Red Nose Day


Through a partnership with a local Walgreens, JFK held its own Red Nose Day event on June 1, with students dressing up in clown noses and raising a total of $575 to help alleviate child poverty in 50 states and more than 25 countries.

“Walgreen store manager Mike Cusmano was a great support, and praised us for being well organized and energized over the fundraiser,” said Principal Susan Bonner.

A Special Evening of Awards for Deer Park Seniors


The high school held its annual Senior Awards ceremony on June 8, filling the school’s auditorium with proud families eager to see high-achieving members of the Class of 2017 receiving department awards, schoolwide awards and scholarships.

After class treasurer Joseph Etersque led the Pledge of Allegiance, and fellow senior Jacie Matera sang the National Anthem, Principal Charles Cobb spoke to the graduating students and the presentation of awards began. Deer Park’s jazz ensemble, under the direction of Jerry Cannarozzo, provided a soothing backdrop of Chick Corea’s “Spain” during intermission.

“This event gives us an opportunity to recognize our students and all of their vast accomplishments, and showcases the many skills and talents of our outstanding student body,” said Cobb. “It is a special evening that all students and their families will remember fondly.”

Frost and JFK Recognized for ‘Beating the Odds’

Two Deer Park schools – Robert Frost and JFK – were recognized for their exemplary work in boosting the achievement of economically disadvantaged students. The Better Outcomes organization presented certificates to the two principals, Dr. Eliana Levey of Robert Frost and Susan Bonner of JFK, as part of the “Beating the Odds and Building Opportunities” study, based on New York State demographic data and ELA assessments. The study’s results were shared by Better Outcomes Executive Director Manya C. Bouteneff at a SUNY New Paltz conference on June 8.

“Robert Frost Middle School is incredibly honored to be recognized for the hard work our teachers and students put in everyday toward success,” said Levey. “Our school community is dedicated to excellence and committed to providing a quality education to all of our students, regardless of any disadvantages and challenges they are faced with. It’s wonderful to receive accolades for our efforts.”

“I can't say that we even knew we'd be getting such an award, so it is an honored surprise,” said Levey, who cited numerous programs that assist Frost students in need, including the school’s free or reduced cost breakfasts and lunches , extra help, and holiday food drives.

“One of the biggest things is that there’s a lot of open communication between families, administration and teachers,” Levey said. “We often hear from families that are in need, and as a building, we pull together to give support. As long as we have students who can come to school socially and emotionally ready to learn by leaving family problems behind them, we hope to be able to make a difference.”

Deer Park Trio Earn Medals at Special Olympics


Returning for the second consecutive year, Deer Park was represented by three students – Robert Frost Middle School eighth-grader Damian Capone, high school freshman Kerthana Omprakash and senior Emanual LaPorte – at the 2017 Special Olympics Long Island Spring Games North, held on May 20 at Bethpage High School. All three won medals for their determination and hard work.

“We are very proud of our students who worked so hard and trained many hours for their specific Olympic events,” said teacher Joyce Carmen.  

JQA’s Math Fair Provides Passport to Learning

Students at JQA eagerly participated in the annual schoolwide Math Fair on June 5, engaging in fun and educational activities based on the state’s learning standards. Guided by math lab specialist Marianna Grieco, every student was given a “passport to learning” as they visited various activity centers, and also also received take-home activity packets to reinforce what they learned at the Math Fair.

Guitars Join Orchestra, Choir and Band to Deliver Memorable Spring Concert


Superb sounds were in the air at the high school’s annual spring concert on May 24, as student-musicians gathered to showcase a year’s worth of hard work and practice in front of proud family and friends. Among the highlights was an impressive and novel appearance by the school’s massive 75-member guitar ensemble, directed by Scott Abrams.

“The guitar ensemble program provides our students with a tremendous opportunity to get back into a performing ensemble when they may not have been part of one in the past,” said Abrams. “Having a guitar ensemble program is rather unique on Long Island, and it is a program that I am extremely proud of.”

Other performing groups included the school’s symphonic orchestra, directed by Kathryn Attard; the women’s choir, directed by Catherine Lubrano; and the symphonic band, directed by Jerry Cannarozzo, which closed the evening with selections from the soundtrack to “The Lion King.” Compositions by alternative rock band Coldplay were also showcased, with the guitar ensemble performing “Viva la Vida” and the symphonic orchestra delivering a rendition of “Clocks.”

Frost Seventh-Graders Win Sons of Italy Scholarships


Three seventh-graders from Robert Frost won scholarships in an essay contest held by the Order Sons of Italy in America’s Suffolk County Commission for Social Justice. Cristina Cairo won first place, Justin Diaz came in second and Nico Bruni placed third. The students and their families attended the Order Sons of Italy in America’s annual scholarship award ceremony at the Constantino Brumidi Lodge in Deer Park on May 16, where they were recognized for their accomplishments by the organization’s chairman, Charlie Lucie.

NYS Pedestrian Safety Action Plan (PSAP)


Frost FACS Teacher Adriaenssens Named Teacher of the Year


Cindy Adriaenssens, a family and consumer science teacher at Robert Frost, was recently named Teacher of the Year by the Long Island Family and Consumer Science Professionals organization.

LIFACS is a subchapter of the New York State Association of Family and Consumer Science Educators, and was specifically designed to further the goals of family and consumer science education in New York.

Adriaenssens has taught in the Deer Park School District since 1997. She has planned and participated in numerous community events throughout her career, encouraging her students in service projects, and serves as adviser for Frost’s Fashion Club.

“Ms. Adriaenssens has a unique role in nurturing building culture,” said Heather Stewart, the district’s curriculum associate for secondary FACS and social studies. “She is willing to go beyond her professional duties in order to assist students and faculty.”

Military Moms Convene for Tea and Support


The high school held its fourth annual Military Moms Tea on May 12, providing military moms with a chance to network and meet with the mothers of seniors who are planning on joining the military upon graduation.

“They share their experiences and provide insight and support to the new moms,” said teacher Laurie Osbern.

The event was originally created by retired teacher Janet Werner as a way of bringing together and celebrating the mothers of Deer Park graduates who have served or are serving in the military.  Werner was in attendance, along with students, staff, district and building administrators, and 11 military mothers. George Tirado, a Deer Park alumnus currently serving in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan, was a special guest via video chat.

Life skills students in Patricia Skjoldahl’s class decorated the room prior to the event, and served refreshments as the participants took turns speaking about their children in the military.

Too Good for Drugs Program Helps JFK Students Make Good Choices


JFK introduced the Too Good for Drugs prevention program this year, designed to reduce risk factors and enhance protective factors related to alcohol, tobacco and other drug use. The program, provided through a Hope for Youth substance abuse grant, developed the social and emotional skills that students need for making healthy choices, building positive friendships, communicating effectively and resisting peer pressure.

The program ran over a 10-week period, with an instructor presenting a weekly 40-minute lesson to JFK’s fourth- and fifth-grade classes. The students learned how to surround themselves with positive influences and make good choices when negative ones are presented to them. 

“Our students really enjoyed roleplaying and discussing some of the pressures of being a kid today,” said Associate Principal Kelly Benson, who initiated the program at JFK. “Too Good for Drugs really gave them the tools they need for making good choices throughout their daily life.”

District Honors Retiring, Tenured and Long-Serving Employees


At the May 23 Board of Education meeting, the district honored retiring and newly tenured administrators, teachers and staff, as well as bestowing years of service awards on those who have served for 25 and 30 years.

Congratulated for receiving tenure were JFK special education teacher Heather Ciurleo, Robert Frost Middle School world language teacher Kimberly Lecamus, high school math teachers Anne McCormack and Ariel Miano, JFK teaching assistants Henry Natal and Kathleen Ohanian, high school teaching assistants Michael Scardigno and Christopher Schulman, and May Moore Elementary School teaching assistant Geraldine Skelton.

Recognized for their years of service were Lucy Benivegna, Nancy Liston, Jean Ludlow and Beth Rose for 30 years, and Jerry Cannarozzo, Francine Fair, Esther Fullam, Mary Galea, Jill Perry-Eising, Lisa Stallone and Denise Vadala for 25 years.

Fourteen retiring staff members – Curriculum Associate for World Language and ENL Gina Palasciano, teachers Laura Gioa and Rita Murphy, and non-instructional employees Thomas Anatra, Kathleen Cicchetti, Marlene Downing, Sue Ermish, Laura Franco, Thomas Helmstadt, Lewis Hutcherson, Joe Owens, Jerri Sokal, Nancy Valente and Paul Vultaggio – were all honored for their contributions to the district.

Cultural Awareness Is Deer Park’s Pride and Joy


  In a district comprised of so many diverse people, cultural awareness throughout Deer Park is more vital and important than ever, enriching the school community and curriculum and creating an environment of cultural exploration, acceptance, appreciation and tolerance.

JFK promotes acceptance through the daily morning Words of Wisdom, readings over the PA system that focus on promoting kindness, empathy and acceptance of different cultures. The school’s third-grade social studies curriculum focuses on cultures around the world, enriched by classroom visits from family speakers who deliver firsthand information on their cultures.

“Cultural awareness is very important because people should be aware of how their community works and that people should respect other people’s beliefs,” said JFK fifth-grader Anthony Alvino. “The definition of culture is the ideas, customs and way of life of a group of people. I think the key to having everyone get along is understanding and accepting that we are all different in many ways.”

The ENL programs are a core source, with staff members working alongside classroom teachers and other faculty to ensure that cultural awareness and tolerance are themes that unite the schools’ diverse student populations. Earlier this year, ENL students performed on Family Fun Night as a celebration of love and unity.

“We played fun games with other people, like pin the tail on the donkey,” said JQA second-grader Jhoslannd Maldonado. “We got to dance and played hot potato. We came together with our families and won prizes.”

At the recent districtwide International Poetry Festival, ENL and world language students of all ages, some wearing traditional attire, recited original poems in their native languages and sang songs using sign language, cultural props and their individual countries’ flags. On World Language Exploration Day at both primary schools, seniors from the high school studying Spanish, Italian and French visited classrooms to teach language lessons to the younger students.

“Within our ENL classrooms, we began the year discussing our native countries and languages,” said ENL teacher Vanessa Pizzo. “We made passports and suitcases displayed in the hallways, recognizing the different countries and languages spoken.”

“We talked about how we celebrate holidays in our homes,” said JQA second-grader Bayron Bulux-Hernandez. “My dad wears a tuxedo and my mom wears a Guatemalan dress. I liked to talk about it with my friends and teachers.”

“On Chinese New Year we walked around the halls with a big dragon,” said JQA second-grader Chloe Ren. “I felt happy and proud.”

“On Cinco de Mayo, we celebrated in our ENL classroom through games and traditional songs, dance, food, and crafts,” said Pizzo. “The students enjoyed learning about this cultural holiday and it excited my two students that are from Mexico.”

“We celebrate different holidays together, like Cinco de Mayo,” said JQA second-grader Moises Moreno Elvir. “I taught everybody how to dance and we got to eat salsa and chips.”

According to ENL teacher Ashley Rosenberg, co-teaching partnerships, consisting of a classroom teacher and an ENL teacher, have been instrumental in facilitating cultural awareness.

“Creating safe, multicultural environments for our ENL students is one of our primary goals,” said Rosenberg, who co-teaches with first grade teacher Tiffany DeMarchis. “Within our classroom, students are encouraged to share their backgrounds and use their native languages in order to better understand content. We also strive to use a diverse body of multicultural texts, so that information is accessible to all students. I can speak for all the ENL co-teaching partnerships when I say that all our students have become more tolerant global citizens.”

Sue Steinman, a second-grade teacher who co-teaches alongside ENL teacher Danielle Finocchiaro, says goodbye to her students in a myriad of languages each day.

“Such a simple act renders students cognizant of languages and cultures other than their own,” said Rosenberg. “Our co-teaching model has become so effective on students, both academically and culturally, that kindergarten teacher Lori Farrell and ENL teacher Megan Boccard have designed a double-period literacy block which promotes both language and culture.”

ENL students were recently preparing for the NYSESLAT. In order to better engage students and promote cultural awareness, Rosenberg and Finocchiaro taught a guided reading lesson on Cinco de Mayo celebrations and traditions. Students were practicing literacy and language skills, while also learning about world cultures and having fun. After reading and answering comprehension questions, students had the opportunity to participate in a Mexican hat dance, a tradition they had just read about.

“I feel like I know a lot about Mexico now,” said May Moore first-grader Ragib Noor.

Continuing the theme of uniting cultures, the ENL Parent Liaison Committee, a group of ENL educators and ENL parents and family members, come together outside of school to discuss awareness, concerns, goals, scholarships and cultural community within the district. Several parents have signed up to be an outreach person to call when a new family enters the district and has limited English-speaking ability.

“Our culture is our pride and joy,” said JFK fifth-grader, Julia Holland. “It’s a beautiful thing to express and be proud of, and makes us a nation united. We all come together and work together in a good way, no matter where we are from.”

“Cultural awareness is like being excited and happy that we get to learn about different parts of the world, like different cultures and what they do,” said JFK student Rianna Sayed. “People show their spirit about their cultures and they are not scared of what anybody else thinks.”

“Cultural awareness is exploring different cultures, and it is very cool,” said another JFK student, Frank Viola. “It means that everybody is accepted no matter what culture they are from.”

DPHS Plans Military Wall of Honor

The high school's Patriot Club is planning a "Wall of Honor" in the lobby of the high school, dedicated to alumni who have served in the military. The wall will display the name, branch of service and years of each individual who has served. The background will be a mural, designed by students from the high school as part of a design contest run in conjunction with the art department.

Veterans, current service members or family members should fill out the following Google Form online and provide either proof of graduation or military service.
Deer Park School District