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Calhoun Art Show Highlights Various Mediums

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Nicole Silvester, a senior at Calhoun High School, volunteered to install artwork for the Feb. 12 Art Show in the school’s main hallway. Silvester, who is a student of art teacher Linda Seckler, has four featured pieces and focuses on drawing as a medium, utilizing colored pencils, pastels and graphite. She is a student of art teacher, Linda Seckler. 

VIDEO: Kennedy Hosts District’s First Robotics Tournament

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Kennedy High School hosted an all-day VEX Robotics VRC Tournament on Jan. 25 that drew 25 teams from 18 schools across the New York region.

At the VEX Robotics Tower Takeover Competition, each teams' robot and engineering notebook was evaluated to score the design process, testing and programming of their robot throughout the 2019-20 VEX competition season. Teams were also judged individually in a skills field where they had to demonstrate their robot's abilities, driver skills and autonomous programming.   

Kennedy had three teams representing Bellmore-Merrick, while Calhoun and Mepham High School each had one. Robotics team coaches included Deanna Ocampo and Helmut Schleith from Kennedy, Craig Celeste from Calhoun, and Diana Nigro from Mepham. Ocampo, a Kennedy science and technology teacher, also worked for months planning the tournament arranging for judges and volunteers while also serving as tournament manager.

“During the competition matches, all district teams advanced successfully through the morning qualifier rounds,” said Robert Soel, a science chairperson at Kennedy and districtwide STEM Education chair.  

The Kennedy Team B ranked no. 6 in the tournament going into the afternoon elimination matches. Kennedy Team A advanced to the quarterfinals.

"The dedication of the Kennedy teams has been amazing,” said Ocampo. “This season, they spent many late nights and off-periods, building, testing and redesigning their robots to make them better and better for competition. I am so proud of their performance at the tournament and their complex robot designs this season." 

Calhoun's team advanced all the way to the semifinal brackets. Kennedy’s Team B also placed eighth in Tournament Skills ranking. 

The Calhoun team also earned a special Judges' Award in recognition of their exemplary effort and perseverance at the tournament.
“They were recognized for working at such a high level as a first-year team with limited supplies, while thinking outside the box to create a complex system with innovative design,” explained Craig Celeste, an engineering teacher and Calhoun Robotics Club faculty adviser.

“The Robotics Club was very proud to have scored points in the skills, autonomous and controlled categories for this season's Tower Takeover Match,” added Diana Nigro, a Mepham science teacher and Robotics Club faculty adviser.

Bellmore-Merrick’s robotics initiative continues to be a huge success. 

“Students in all of our schools are discovering their passion for engineering and programming as members of the Robotics teams after school and in our engineering elective courses as well,” added Soel. “The energy, skill and passion for STEM which the students displayed at the tournament was inspiring and so much fun to be a part of.”

Calhoun Girls Track Nab Third Conference Championship in a Row

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The Calhoun High School girls track team earned their third winter conference championship Jan. 14.

The girls from Calhoun High School started the winter track season with a bullseye all over them. No team in conference two has won three consecutive titles in over a decade and that was the goal they had in mind. The competition against perennial champs East Meadow, MacArthur and Mepham High Schools, among many others. 

The girls arrived at St. Anthony’s Track and Field Complex, primed and ready to compete. On the bus team captains Elizabeth Tuzzolo and Kristina Losquadro spoke to the team and got them focused for the meet. 

The meet started off with a bang as Faith Dwyer controlled and dominated the 3000m race and knowing she had two more races after that, Dwyer reserved all her energy and sit the entire race before turning it on with 400m left to blow away the competition.

“Faith is a special athlete, who works tirelessly to get better,” Coach Joseph Migliano said. 

Junior Kristina Losquadro and freshman Julia Baguiao both hit a personal best that race, with Julia breaking the Calhoun freshman record with a time of 7.93 in the 55m dash. Lisa José stepped up next on the track. She got off to a great start, setting her personal best and breaking the long-standing school record with a time of 7.62 and would be the number 1 seed going into the finals. 

“She is strong, dynamic and has a fast twitch in her like I have never seen,” Migliano said. “This is her final winter season at Calhoun, and I can honestly say it was a privilege to work with Lisa the past four years, I’m going to sincerely miss her.”

Lisa lined up for the finals of the dash and not only re-break her newly made school record but move up to number 5 in all of Nassau county with a time of 7.52. These were huge points for Calhoun that no one except them were counting on. 

“I knew how much pressure there was to win this meet and before I ran, I reminded myself that I not only owed it to the team but to myself to preform to the best of my ability,” José said. “With it being my senior year there was no better time to give each race all that I possibly could. I couldn’t be happier and prouder of how the day ended, knowing that everyone fought just as hard for our victory. This is something that I have been extremely fortunate to be a part of for four years and at this meet accomplished things I never thought were possible.” 

Distance teammate sophomore Julianna Razza ran the1,000m race, taking second, and had to run the mile within the next 30 minutes. 

Razza and teammate Faith Dwyer started the 1500m race strong and focused; taking 3rd and 5th respectively scoring eight points and taking spots away from Mepham and East Meadow. 

“Going into the night I was nervous about having to perform in all three races, this is something that I never really done before; I know I have been trained for it but was still nervous,” Razza said. “My coaches and teammates were overly supportive and I knew with their help I could get it done for the team. I heard the scores going into each race and knew that I had to try my best for the team and that’s why I tried to do. The whole team really showed up when we had to tonight and it was a true team win.” 

Freshman Sara Manson , who was ranked as the number 1 pentathlete in the nation for all middle school girls last year, dropped a huge PR of 9.07 in the 55m hurdles (top freshmen in Nassau) upsetting East Meadow to finish third. She also took fourth in Long and on her last jump take second in triple. Scoring a total of 18 points for the team. 

“Sara has a love for this sport like I have never seen in a girl her age,” Migliano said. “It seems like as the pressure builds up on her she only gets better and that’s something that can’t be taught. The sky is really the limit with a girl of her ability and drive. She’s determined, athletic and all heart.”

Calhoun picked up points on the 600m race with senior Samantha Latorre knocking off two East Meadow competitors to take fourth overall running a personal best. 

Julia Baguiao ran a PR in the 300m race in a freshmen record in a time of 45.96 to take fifth overall.

 “Julia is one of the fastest freshmen we have ever had at Calhoun and only seems to only get better and better,” Migliano said. “She had PR’d in three consecutive meets and none bigger than today.” 

The throws squad of Erika Klein, Julia Oladipo, Skylar Bruno would dominate the weight throw and Julia Kirpalani stole a point in shot put. Erika led the way in weight throw earning her first conference title, while freshmen Skylar took third, followed by Julia Oladipo took fourth; a big 20 points for the team. 

Returning All County Race walker Tali Gekhman and teammate Rebecca Sirof took first and second respectively in the walking event, adding a big 18 points to Calhoun’s total. 

The 4x800m race went off with Calhoun as the fourth seed, something that really bothered the distance squad, because they knew how underrated they were. Alexandra Unz, eighth grader Omana Phillips, captain Faith Dwyer rand Julianna Razza earned their first 4x800 conference title. 

“That win was a great team effort.,” Migliano said. “Every girl ran their leg hard and then Faith and Julianna were on there last event of three and they did what they always do, perform.”

The Calhoun 4x400m relay, which has always been a big factor in this meet had some trouble to start the season when sophomore stand out Alyssa Crews tore an ACL during soccer season and Calhoun knew they would have their hands full. 

In the 4x400m relay, Samantha Latorre, sophomores Jenna Stewart and Kelly Martin and senior captain Elizabeth Tuzzolo won, earning the team another eight points.

“Elizabeth has been a staple of this program from the very beginning,” Migliano said. “It seems like yesterday she was just this little naive freshmen who loved to run. Now she has become a true leader and competitor and I don’t know where this team would be without her.” 

At the 4x200m, Kristina Losquadro (Kiki), junior Kayla Locasto, freshman Katelyn Gladkowski and Julia Baguiao ran another season best and kept the girls in third place and another championship in hand. 

“I was so proud of this relay, coming in seeded low and pulling out a big six points,” Migliano said. “Kiki led the relay physically and emotionally, she is that captain and inspirational leader that every coach wants to work with.” 

Despite graduating many seniors and points the girls from Calhoun found a way to pull off the three-peat. 

Kennedy, Calhoun Come Together for Cross-Curricular Lesson

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Teachers from Kennedy and Calhoun high schools in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District developed an interdisciplinary lesson on the Founding of Israel after the Holocaust and the Israeli culinary tradition on Jan. 6.

Mike DiGiovanni, a culinary arts and hospitality instructor at Kennedy, and Dr. David Goldberg, a social studies teacher at Calhoun, joined forces to present this cross-curricular lesson and discussion.

“My Voices of the Past students presented on the nation’s founding after World War II then these students worked collaboratively with the Kennedy kids to do some of the final prep for the meal,” explained Goldberg.

“While the CHAMP (Culinary and Hospitality Applied Management Program) students at Kennedy prepped some of the meal ahead of time, students were able to work together and learn even more,” explained DiGiovanni.

Daniel Goldstein, a Calhoun Class of 2015 graduate and former Voices of the Past student, joined the lesson as well. He is a sergeant in the Israeli Defense Forces who spoke to students along with a current Kennedy student who is Israeli. 

“[Goldstein] shared a lot of insight about his experiences and also the Middle East generally,” explained Goldberg. 

 “The most substantial outcome for students was to be able to see how cultures develop over time and how critical turning points in history can lead to substantial changes in the global landscape,” Goldberg added. “In addition, it provided students with an important chance to see cross-curricular connections and engage in conversation with an individual who saw firsthand the complexity of today's global politics.”

Calhoun’s Environmental Club Hosts Thrift Shop

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The newly created Environmental Club at Calhoun High School used their early meetings as brainstorming sessions where students laid out many goals for this year, including a thrift shop set up on Dec. 19-20, where students could donate old Calhoun gear to be sold and therefore repurposed.

“Upon these goals are improving recycling in our school, doing community and beach clean ups, planting trees, and purchasing non-plastic utensils for students to use around Earth Day,” said Daniel Maksimowicz, a special education teacher who co-advises the Environmental Club, along with teacher Christopher Vogel. 

“All of which lead us to fundraising,” added Vogel. “In our effort to raise money for our goals, we realized that everything pitched at our meetings seemed to somehow be counterintuitive to our mission of reducing, reusing and recycling.”

They collectively decided that a thrift shop would be the greatest way they could meet their goal and the thrift shop was born. 

“It involves our entire community, we are recycling and reusing clothing, and as vintage/thrift stores are gaining popularity among youths and current fashion trends, we decided to go all in and reach out,” Maksimowicz added.

Students put up flyers printed on previously used paper saved from recycle bins around school, and they utilized all digital platforms to further reach the Bellmore-Merrick community. 

Additionally, instead of printing their own shirts, they printed their own patches which students ironed onto all donated clothing and will be put on sale this week. In a joint effort, the school’s vocational program was able to wash all of the donations, further incorporating the sense of community and togetherness of Calhoun.

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