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NAMM Honor Proves Deer Park Music Program Is a Soaring Success

NAMM Honor Proves Deer Park Music Program Is a Soaring Success

The NAMM Foundation has again recognized the Deer Park School District’s music program, awarding it the prestigious 2018 Best Communities for Music Education designation. The annual award, now in its 19th year, honors outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.

“We are extremely proud to be designated as one of the best communities for music education by NAMM for 2018,” said Bradley Murphy, the district’s curriculum associate for fine and performing arts. “Our board of education, teachers, staff, administrators, parents, and students foster an incredible atmosphere and culture to let the arts soar in Deer Park.”

Budget Passes!


Residents in the Deer Park School District voted to support the 2018-2019 budget on May 15, by a vote of 816 to 242. The district thanks the community for participating in this important vote.

Incumbents Donna Marie Elliott (775 votes) and Robert Marino (694), both running unopposed, were reelected as trustees.

HS Inducts 63 to World Language Honor Society

HS Inducts 63 to World Language Honor Societies

A total of 63 new members were welcomed at the high school’s World Languages Honor Society induction ceremony on April 19. They joined the 108 students already enrolled in the school’s French, Italian and Spanish honor societies for the 2017-2018 school year.

To merit membership, inductees must have an average of 92 or higher in their world language classes, demonstrate an overall GPA of 85 or above, receive outstanding recommendations from their teachers and guidance counselor, and have acted as leaders and role models for their peers.

“All of our language honor society members are dedicated to helping Deer Park’s multilingual and multicultural community,” said Ashley Rosenberg, the district administrator for ENL and world languages, who hosted the ceremony along with Italian Honor Society adviser Josephine Conway and French and Spanish Honor Society adviser Dina Peragine.

Secondary Students Celebrate French Culture

Secondary Sudents Celebrate French Culture

French teachers Kimberly Lecamus and Susan Bollag hosted the 18th annual French Dinner at Robert Frost on April 20. Each year, the event brings together French students from both the middle school and high school to celebrate French language and culture. This edition had a world’s fair theme honoring the Exposition Universelle of 1889, held in Paris, France, and students worked hard to prepare French trivia, music and food as well as games from Francophone countries.

“It was a wonderful night, allowing our community of French students to come together and celebrate and authentic appreciation of language and culture,” said Ashley Rosenberg, Deer Park’s district administrator for ENL and world languages.

Fantastic Frost Five Compete at MoMathlon

Fantastic Frost Five Compete at MoMathlon
Fantastic Frost Five Compete at MoMathlon 3
Fantastic Frost Five Compete at MoMathlon 4

A team of five students from Robert Frost – Jimmy Jiang, Dylan Nguyen, Roger Martin, Ryder Min and Adithan Omprakash – successfully competed in the 2018 Suffolk County MoMathlon, guided by math team adviser Cindy Jewell. Jiang finished tied for fourth place in the seventh-grade and below division at the event, presented by the National Museum of Mathematics and held on April 18 at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

According to Jewell, Frost students have been attending the MoMathlon for more than a decade. The tournament provides an enriching day of challenge and camaraderie for middle school students as they solve fun and inspiring math problems and experience the excitement of learning as a team.

Red Cross Club Puts in the Hard Work

Red Cross Club Puts in the Hard Work

This year, the high school’s Red Cross Club has extensively worked in conjunction with one of Long Island’s largest hunger relief organizations, Island Harvest. During one recent month alone, the hardworking group of almost 100 students – led by co-presidents Anthony Machuca and Yasmeen Syedda-Hensley and executive board members Dana Ali, Gabby Sroka and Danielle Tirado – helped to unload, package and box more than 1,460 pounds of food for hungry Long Islanders, which will be distributed to veterans and the elderly.

“It’s great to see a group of kids putting in the work after school to help their community,” said club adviser Victor LoMonaco. “It's truly humbling, and I’m very proud of all they have accomplished this year.”

A Fashionable Seven Out of Seven Seniors Accepted to FIT

A Fashionable Seven out of Seven Seniors Accepted to FIT
A Fashionable Seven out of Seven Seniors Accepted to FIT 2

A remarkable seven out of seven high school fashion students who applied to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City were accepted for the fall 2018 semester. The seven seniors – Mithzael Jean Baptiste, Emily Colquhoun, Maria Cruz, Kristilyn Daly, Jennifer Huynh, Lai-Qwon Jackson-Todd and Breanna Tedeschi – were among approximately 5,000 applicants applying to FIT this year internationally, with only a 40 percent acceptance rate.

Additionally, three of the seven are specifically focusing on fashion designing. Only 252 fashion design slots at FIT are available each September. Applicants range from high school students to domestic and international college graduates, as well as seasoned fashion industry artisans.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment,” said Deer Park fashion teacher and FIT alumna Toniann Mannino. “The Fashion Institute of Technology is very competitive. Having seven students apply and all seven students accepted is amazing. As for the three fashion design students, FIT only offers 252 slots per year to the entire world, and three of the 252 are coming from Deer Park, so I am very proud of them.

May Moore’s Magnificent Mural Celebrates Autism Awareness

May Moore’s Magnificent Mural Celebrates Autism Awareness

As a highlight of its celebration of Autism Awareness Month, May Moore installed a special autism mural on April 11, led by teachers Alannah Boccard, Susan Mirman and Michelle Sarco. Volunteers had helped to work on the mural with paint donated by Sherwin-Williams.

“The three of us, spearheaded by Mrs. Boccard, were looking to continue the acknowledgement of Autism Awareness Month and overall diversity at May Moore while helping to beautify the school,” said Mirman.

To create the mural, all of May Moore’s teachers were asked to read a book and discuss diversity and tolerance with their students. Then, each student created a puzzle piece reflecting what he or she took away from the lesson; these pieces formed the border of the mural.

Additionally, one student from each class was chosen whose puzzle piece or input in the lesson effectively embodied an understanding of the ideas of diversity and tolerance. These students – Roman Amini, Austen Arroyo, Noah Barclift, Sophia Castaldo, Brianna Chillogalli, Kaitlyn Cortes, Olivia Diorio, Dania Fodel, Lorenzo Grotta, Christina Jackson, Jayden Jasmin, Devie Kelsey, Precious Mansibang, Nora Metzger, Anamika Nath, Ragib Noor, Gabriella Pagan, TJ Spinelli, Chris Stolz and Onur Tuzun – were honored at the installation ceremony, where they were presented with certificates and invited to personally add their piece to the puzzle. 

Students Learn Responsibility During Dog Ability Visit

Students Learn Responsibility During Dog Ability Visit

Life skills classes at JFK and Frost, guided by teacher Rachel Burkel, recently visited the Dog Ability Center in Syosset, where the students learned about the responsibilities of taking care of a dog.

The Dog Ability Center uses certified activity therapy dogs that encourage and entertain community members of all abilities. The students were able to ask the owners about their dogs while observing tricks and grooming activities.

“The students loved learning how to take care of the dogs by brushing them, teaching them tricks and assisting with activities,” said teacher Heather Ciurleo. “Some of the students were very fearful when we first arrived, but by the end of the trip, they all had the biggest smiles on their faces. The volunteers at Dog Ability Center were able to make the children feel comfortable while teaching them how to appropriately interact with the dogs.”

Nine Seniors Recognized for College Signings

Nine Seniors Recognized for College Signings

In a May 2 ceremony in the library, joined by family and coaches, nine high school seniors – Kenny Cooper, Daniella Cornelia, Kasey Dorney, Lynne Gbadamosi, Kaylee Houlihan, Evan Mallon, Alexandria Maniscalco, Josh Pismeny and Charles Rainone – were recognized for signing national letters of intent to continue their athletic careers in college this fall.

Cooper, a 2017 league champion in wrestling, will attend LIU Post in Brookville, where he plans to major in physical education and health education. During his Falcons career, he was named All-League three times and All-County twice.

“I love the environment at Post,” said Cooper. “I like the coach, I know the wrestlers that are currently on the team, and I wanted to stay close to home.”

Cornelia, a diver, will attend the State University of New York College at Geneseo, where she plans to major in childhood education. As a member of the Falcons diving team, she earned All-Long Island honors once, All-County twice and All-League three times. Describing her reasons for selecting SUNY Geneseo, Cornelia listed “good vibes, a great education program and a nice campus.”

Dorney will play lacrosse for Wagner College in Staten Island, majoring in nursing. A lacrosse midfielder, she earned All-County status in soccer and All-County Honorable Mention in lacrosse during her Falcons career.

“I loved the coaches and the atmosphere,” said Dorney of her choice of Wagner.

Gbadamosi, a track and field athlete, will attend the State University of New York at Albany, where she will major in public health. While at Deer Park, Gbadamosi was a three-time league champion as well as a division and  large school champion, earned All-County honors three times and All-League six times, and was a member of the 2018 winter track state team.

“Albany seemed like a perfect fit,” said Gbadamosi. “I loved the coaches and team, and it felt like home. I can’t wait to be a Great Dane.”

Houlahan, a soccer player, will attend Connecticut College in New London, where she will major in biology. During her time at Deer Park, she was named All-League, All-Conference and MVP.

“Conn has good soccer and academic programs, and it’s close to home,” said Houlahan of her selection of the Camels.

Mallon, an All-League baseball player, will attend Cochise College in Arizona, where he plans to major in business management.

“I chose this school for the academics and the outstanding baseball program, to continue my baseball career and move on to a four-year school,” said Mallon. “It is a great fit for me and my family.”

Maniscalco, the captain of Deer Park’s track and field team, will attend the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania and major in forensic chemistry. A New York State Scholar-Athlete and member of the Suffolk County All-Academic team, Maniscalso said of her choice, “They have an outstanding science program, and the team track will challenge my abilities.”

Pismeny, a four-year captain of the Falcons basketball team, will attend the College of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx. During his Deer Park career, he earned All-League honors three times and All-Conference once, was named Academic All-County, and won the Unsung Hero Award.

“Mount Saint Vincent is the best fit for me,” said Pismeny. “It gives me the ability to be a part of a winning program and play right away.”

Rainone, an All-League baseball player, will attend St. Joseph’s College and major in business and finance.

“It’s a good Catholic school and baseball program, and has my major, so I can continue my baseball career,” said Rainone of his choice.

Workshop Focuses on Career Paths in Healthcare

Workshop Focuses on Career Paths in Healthcare

Guided by business teacher Jill Perry-Eising, the high school hosted an April 27 mini Career Day focused on healthcare. The event, held in the school’s library, was the result of past recommendations by the district’s school/industry advisory board, which suggested that in addition to the school’s fall Career Day for freshmen, Deer Park should hold smaller, industry specific Career Days for juniors and seniors. Student surveys indicated strong interest in healthcare careers.

“We chose to target juniors before they go on college visits this summer and apply to healthcare programs next fall, as well as seniors before they head off to college,” said Perry-Eising. “Meeting with professionals in the healthcare industry at this point in their high school tenure may help these students choose colleges and majors.”

During the event, a panel discussion was held with five healthcare professionals: Joanne Banaciski, a registered nurse at New York Presbyterian Hospital; Thomas Gallo, a physician’s assistant and healthcare attorney at Kern Augustine Conroy & Schoppmann; Brian Meltzer, the executive director of clinical development at Adare Pharmaceuticals; Scott Reynolds, an athletic trainer and physical therapist; and Deer Park resident Carlene Williams, a registered nurse at Huntington Hospital and St. Joseph’s College professor. These visitors spoke about their career paths in the industry before taking questions from the students. The workshop concluded with the healthcare professionals circulating around to the students’ tables to foster one-on-one conversations.

Touch-A-Truck Touches Down at May Moore

Touch-A-Truck Touches Down at May Moore

May Moore hosted its first Touch-A-Truck family fun event on April 20, right in the school’s backyard. Students and visiting parents had the chance to view and explore a variety of vehicles – including giant trucks; classic cars; emergency, construction, transportation, postal, electric and other one-of-a-kind vehicles; and even boats – and sit in the driver’s seats and honk the horns. A train was also available for students to ride during the day, and the high school’s Falcon mascot made a colorful appearance.

Organized by May Moore’s Touch-A-Truck Committee, the hands-on event was designed to coordinate with the schoolwide “Start Your Engines” theme and STEAM curriculum, and to provide students with a chance to utilize cognitive thinking skills while exploring the more than 30 types of vehicles.

Frost’s ‘Flour Babies’ Enhance Students' Social Skills

Frost’s ‘Flour Babies’ Enhance Students' Social Skills
Students at Robert Frost recently participated in a “flour baby” project, designed to enhance social and decision-making skills while bringing awareness to teenage pregnancy and the difficulties that accompany it. For the project, students carried around a five-pound bag of flour or sugar, after giving the “baby” a face, gender and name. They were partnered with another student of the same or opposite sex, sharing the responsibilities of caring for the child throughout the day. Each class was given a set of twins and a child with special needs such as cystic fibrosis or diabetes. Those with special needs “flour babies” were required to set alarms on their phones to simulate administering medication.

Future Scientists Showcase Projects at JFK

Future Scientists Showcase Projects at JFK
With projects ranging from erosion and static energy to displays of electronic brains, young scientists at Deer Park’s John F. Kennedy Intermediate School showcased their research at the annual school science fair.

This year’s winners included third-graders Sidney Dumaresq (first place), Joseph Reina (second place) and Malak Oztimurlenk (third place); fourth-graders Nicola Cespe (first), Valentina Plaza (second) and Taylor Gabel (third place); and fifth-graders Colin Taylor (first), Sabrina Chawdhury (second) and Za’Riah Mowatt (third).

The first- and second-place winners for each grade will move on to participate alongside students from other Suffolk County schools in the Brookhaven National Laboratory Elementary School Science Fair on May 5.

“Our winners displayed projects that were creative and informative, the result of extensive planning, experimentation and understanding, and I am very proud of their achievement,” said science lab coordinator Joyce Carmen. “Keep up the great work, future scientists!”

JQA’s Math-A-Thon Raises More than $8k for Children’s Hospital

JQA’s Math-A-Thon Raises More than $8k for Children’s Hospital

Yet again attaining a spot among the top 100 fundraising schools in the nation, JQA and its math-minded students participated in the school’s seventh annual Math-A-Thon program to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, raising more than $8,478 this year through the completion of Math-A-Thon Funbooks.

JQA has raised more than $50,000 for this cause during the past seven years, aided by generous sponsors, who make donations based on how many problems or pages the students complete.

“The Math-A-Thon problems help the students become better at math,” said math lab specialist Marianna Grieco, the coordinator of the event. “We are proud and happy to help children and their families at St. Jude.”

Fifth-Grader Breaks a Slimy Guinness World Record

Fifth-Grader Breaks a Slimy Guinness World Record
Fifth-Grader Breaks a Slimy Guinness World Record 2
Ciela Villa, a fifth-grader at JFK, was recently acknowledged by Guinness World Records for breaking the record for the longest distance in stretching home-made slime in 30 seconds. Villa completed the slimy science feat during class with teacher Mike Capobianco.

Click here to view video.

JQA Rallies for Reading with Hip Pickles

JQA Rallies for Reading with Hip Pickles
JQA Rallies for Reading with Hip Pickles 2
JQA students recently participated in a reading pep rally with acclaimed drum band Hip Pickles. The energetic, interactive assembly included drumming, singing and humor, all with the aim of helping inspire children to read.

Artistic May Moore Second-Graders Showcased at ‘Colors’

Artistic May Moore Second-Graders Showcased at ‘Colors’

Artworks by two second-graders from May Moore – Camila Melgar Ayala and Mohammad Rauf – were chosen for display in the 20th annual Colors of Long Island student art exhibit, held at the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook. Rauf attended the show, accompanied by teachers Briana Nussbaum and Michelle Sarco.

Sponsored by Astoria Bank, Colors of Long Island provides K-12 students the opportunity to showcase their artistic talents in a professional museum setting.

Rauf’s pumpkin piece and Melgar Ayala’s acorn painting, both watercolors, were inspired by the colorful patterns of artist Romero Britto.

Basketball Falcons Honored for Big Season

Basketball Falcons Honored for Big Season

Finishing their season with an outstanding 20-3 record, the high school’s varsity boys basketball team won the League IV championship – their fifth league title in seven years. Led by coach John McCaffrey, the Falcons advanced to the Suffolk Class AA county championship game for the third time in six years.

Six members of the team were honored at the Suffolk Boys Basketball Coaches Association banquet, held on April 11. Sophomore Malik Edmead was named All-County and selected to the Newsday All-Long Island second team as well as the All-Tournament team. Freshman D’Andre Edwards was named All-League and League IV Rookie of the Year. Senior Josh Pismeny was selected All-Conference,  senior Marquis Major was selected SCBCA All-County Academic team, and seniors Keshaun Jones and De’Shawn Todman were named All-League.

A Musical Success for ‘How to Succeed’

A Musical Success for ‘How to Succeed’
The high school’s dedicated student-actors found success with the recent production of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” Originally performed in 1961, the popular Broadway musical comedy was revived on Broadway in 2014 for its 50th anniversary. Featuring music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, this satire of big business was based on Shepherd Mead’s 1952 book of the same name. 

The Deer Park production, directed by Kristen Wallace, starred Nolan Maggio as J. Pierrepont Finch, Madi Steddick as Rosemary Pilkington and Anthony Machuca as J.B. Biggley. Catherine Lubrano served as musical director, Scott Abrams as pit director, Alex Mesimeris as set director and Tori DiTomasso as student director.

“It was such an honor to work with such amazingly talented actors, dancers, musicians, artists and crew members,” said Wallace. “I am grateful for the support and energy of the other directors, faculty musicians and parents. Everyone worked tirelessly to make ‘How to Succeed’ the success it was.”

JFK and Robert Frost ‘Beat the Odds’ Again

 JFK and Robert Frost ‘Beat the Odds’ Again
 JFK and Robert Frost ‘Beat the Odds’ Again 2

For the second consecutive year, two of Deer Park’s schools – Robert Frost and JFK – were recognized by the Better Outcomes organization for their outstanding work in boosting the achievement of economically disadvantaged students via the “Beating the Odds and Building Opportunities” study of New York State demographic data and ELA assessments. Out of 1,128 New York State public schools that had 40 percent or more economically disadvantaged students, Frost and JFK had 25 percent or more score 3 or 4 in 2016 ELA and 65 percent scoring 2, 3 or more.

The district honored both schools at the March 27 Board of Education meeting, presenting certificates to the principals of both schools, Susan Bonner of JFK and Dr. Eliana Levey of Frost.

“My congratulations to both principals for achieving this, it’s quite a feat,” said Superintendent of Schools Eva Demyen. “My thanks to the teachers, also.”

“We are humbled to be honored and recognized for the hard work our students and teachers put in every day toward success,” said Levey.

“At JFK, we have increased our Academic Intervention Services in reading and mathematics, where necessary, to service more students,” said Bonner. “Teachers in the building have also increased extra help time and some of our AIS teachers now push into classrooms, which also provides opportunities to reach and support a larger amounts of students. Classroom teachers have large leveled libraries in their classrooms to support the diverse reading needs of students. These libraries allow for students to be reading on their level and in a topic of their choice.”

Falconettes Are Proud Kickline Champions

Falconettes Are Proud Kickline Champions
Falconettes Are Proud Kickline Champions 2
Falconettes Are Proud Kickline Champions 3
The high school’s Falconettes kickline team recently participated in the annual Contest of Champions national competition, held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida and came home champions, earning first place in the military category. The team also placed second in the kick category. They were honored at the April 24 Board of Education meeting.

“We are very proud of all that the girls have accomplished this season,” said coach Ariel Miano.

Regents Roundtable at Robert Frost and High School

Eighth-grade social studies teachers from Robert Frost recently met with their ninth-grade counterparts at the high school to discuss the new format of the global history Regents examination. The teachers were also invited to Karen Haar and Vanessa Whitney’s global history class to help students draft their essays.

“All of our teachers have been hard at work creating new resources and collaborating to best prepare students,” said Heather Stewart, the district’s curriculum associate for social studies and family and consumer science.

Robert Frost Student-Actors Play Detective in ‘Gumshoe High’

Robert Frost Student-Actors Play Detective in ‘Gumshoe High’

Young actors at Robert Frost had a chance to play detective with the school’s recent production of “Gumshoe High.” Written by Flip Kobler and Cindy Marcus, the film noir-style play sets its mystery inside a high school.

“We did a mystery this year, which is something I wouldn’t have chosen in the past, but there was something about ‘Gumshoe High’ that I found to be special,” said Director Michael Moriarty. “The actors and crew didn’t disappoint in bringing the play to life.”

The large, talented cast included Justin Berman as Drexton Cage, Alexa Wesnofske as Betty Ann, Karly Haskins as Chapter, Michelle Xuan as Glossary, Elisya Clermont as Index, Drea Hendrickson as Carmen Hardstone/Peniscola Jones, Steven Discenza as Fred Backwards, Zaara Azizi as Sheila, Antonio Meyers as Trident, Paul-Destin Cyril Blanc as Scatters, Nala Francis as Snake, Joel Nash as Buster/Smilin Bob, Marina Williams as Sal, Theresa Tiernan as Giggles Fontaine, Madalynn Bernstein as Victoria/Patience. Anthony Aguilar as Reginald Wellington III, Brianne Vasconcellos as Electra, Dimitra Pavlatos as Cloris, Marcus Fasano as Abner Johnson, Muskan Kaur as Sylvia, Carson Warkenthien as Royalty Hal, Gianna Sanchez as Maxine/Georgia, Mia Malcoln as Meryl, Sebastian Linares Lopez as Sincere Thatcher/Olivier, and Aruba Nadeem as Parker Roberts.

“This season was tough, due to the flu and the weather, but once again, the students of Robert Frost stepped up and gave a great performance,” said Moriarty.

May Moore’s Mustaches Make for Diligent Readers

May Moore’s Mustaches Make for Diligent Readers
Bringing a novel note to promoting a love of literacy, May Moore’s annual READ program concluded with the students wearing faux mustaches to school to remind everyone of the importance of reading. Joining in on the “Mustache you to READ” fun were head custodian Michael Sheehan, whose mustache is real, and Principal Alicia Konecny.

Four DECA Students Earn State Trophies

Four DECA Students Earn State Trophies
Four DECA Students Earn State Trophies 2
A total of 28 Deer Park High School business students competed in DECA’s New York State Career Development Conference, held on March 6 in Rochester, and seniors William Buckley and Sean Sanchez and freshmen Jasleen Kaur and Chaim Shames earned trophies at the event.  These four students, along with honorable mention winners Nimra Salim and Esteysy Yanes-Amaya, with move on to the International Career Development Conference, to be held in Atlanta from April 21-24. Kaur and Shames are the first freshmen to ever qualify for the international competition.

Deer Park School District