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Mepham Key Club Dedicates 9/11 Plaque

Mepham Key Club Dedicates 9/11 Plaque photo

Mepham High School unveiled a plaque that honors the Sept. 11 first responders on Nov. 3. Spearheaded by the school’s Key Club, the plaque is at the base of the flagpole near the Camp Avenue entrance and holds a special meaning in the community.

Bellmore Kiwanis adviser and community member John Scalesi approached the Key Club members last year requesting if they would be interested in fundraising for a plaque remembering the first responders of 9/11.

“Between our relationship with the Kiwanis and our mission to encourage strong community values in the Key Club, this was an ideal project for us to partake in,” said Key Club adviser and school social worker Theana Cheliotes.

Many of the club’s members took an interest in fundraising and student Kayleigh Specht took a lead role in procuring the plaque.

“I was happy to conduct this presentation and share in the honor,” said Cheliotes. “It was to help guide our students to do such a nice thing.” 

The color guard of the Nassau County Police Department presented flags to a crowd that included local elected officials and Mary Ann Rand of Bellmore, who lost her son, Adam Rand, on 9/11. During the ceremony, North Bellmore Fire Commissioner Edward Kraus addressed the crowd. He also presented Principal Eric Gomez with a piece of steel from the World Trade Center site. 

Mepham Installs Flag Field of Honor

Mepham Installs Flag Field of Honor photo

Seniors in Mepham High School’s Participation in Government and Senior Experience class set up the school’s third Flag Field of Honor as part of their Senior Service Learning Project on Nov. 5.

Students, along with teachers, administrators, Superintendent of Schools John DeTommaso and board of education trustee Steve Enella, all pitched in on the rainy morning to dig holes, unbox flags and dot the lawn in red, white and blue.

“The field of honor is set up each year to pay tribute to America's service men and women, veterans, 9/11 first responders and victims,” said teacher and coordinator Kerry Dennis.

This year, 303 American and military branch flags were sold. 
“All proceeds from this year's Flag Field of Honor will benefit Boots on the Ground New York, a local organization dedicated to helping America's veterans and current service men and women,” added teacher and coordinator Chris Patten.

The flags will be on display along the Camp Avenue side of the school until Dec. 9.

Mepham Students Uncover the Past

Mepham Students Uncover the Past photo
Seniors in Kerry Dennis’ Gilder Lehrman research class, Uncovering the Past, spent Nov. 3 listening to the stories of Mepham High School alumni.

Guests included Maggie Hennessey, Class of 1945; Roy Probeyahn, Class of 1956; Dr. David Krinsky, Class of 1967; Karen Ponton, Class of 1983; Mepham librarian Shari Stack, Class of 1998 and Mepham special education teacher Anthony Augugliaro, Class of 2009. 

“The meet and greet is the final component of The Mepham Project, which provides students the opportunity to study the rich history of Mepham,” Dennis said. “Their stories were recorded and will join the collection that began when the project was first introduced in the fall of 2009.”

Bellmore-Merrick CHSD English Teachers Honored as Educators of Excellence

Bellmore-Merrick CHSD English Teachers Honored as Educators of Excellence photo
Bellmore-Merrick CHSD English Teachers Honored as Educators of Excellence photo 2
Bellmore-Merrick CHSD English Teachers Honored as Educators of Excellence photo 3

Merrick Avenue Middle School English teacher Michael Dlugozima and Mepham High School English teacher Erica Wagner have been recognized as New York State English Council Educators of Excellence.

“Mr. Dlugozima has taught seventh- and eighth-grade English honors, regulars, and collaborative classes for 29 years in the Central High School District,” said Board Member Wendy Garguilo as she recognized him at the Nov. 1 meeting. “He is a pioneer of 21st-centruy teaching and learning and is always the first to experiment with and implement new strategies, techniques and technologies in the classroom. He is known for teaching in a virtually paperless environment and often engages his students in lessons by flipping his classroom, utilizing Google Apps, and maintaining an interactive teacher website and blog. He is the driving force behind the creation of the new inquiry-based research class titled “RISE” (Research-Based Independent Student Centered Explorations).”

Dlugozima has also been instrumental in mapping out the Humanities curriculum, in which the English and social studies teacher periodically co-teach and make cross-curricular connections between the two disciplines. 

As internship coordinator for Mepham’s Senior Experience Program, a responsibility she assumed in 2016, Ms. Wagner worked to establish Mepham’s first ever Senior Experience Internship Fair which gave students an opportunity to practice their networking and interviewing skills with professions in their field of interest. 

“In the 15 years that Mrs. Wagner has been a member of the Mepham High School family, she has become a truly ubiquitous presence in the school,” said Board Vice President Nina Lanci. “As a teacher of 11th-grade English and College Public Speaking, Ms. Wagner works closely with students to help them establish their voice as writers and speakers.” 

Each year the council recognizes excellence in teaching by presenting awards to deserving educators who have been nominated by their schools with letters of recommendation from their colleagues and former students and then selected by the council.


Mepham Students Create ‘Day of the Dead’ Art

Mepham Students Create ‘Day of the Dead’ Art photo

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, students at Mepham High School were engaged in a cultural experience with a Day of the Dead activity on Oct. 23.

“They learned about the significance of this celebration in Mexican culture,” said world languages department chairperson Rosa Kaplan. “Students then had the opportunity to paint and take home canvases with sugar skulls, a traditional symbol of the Day of the Dead.”

Key to My Art studio in Amityville led the step-by-step art instruction and Spanish teacher, Danielle McNeil organized the event.

This event was offered by Mepham’s ELITE (Enriching Learners in Tomorrow's Education) after-school program, which is financially supported by the Mepham Alumni Association. The ELITE Program aims to engage and inspire students by providing after-school enrichment opportunities. 

High Schools Hold World Language Induction Ceremonies

High Schools Hold World Language Induction Ceremonies photo

The Departments of World Languages at Calhoun, Kennedy and Mepham High Schools held their annual honor society induction ceremonies on Oct. 17.

During the inductions, French, Italian, and Spanish students were honored for their excellence in their studies of a world language. 
The three high school ceremonies featured poetry and musical performances given by Kennedy’s Clyde Feldman, Melissa Mjehshtri, and George Milonas, Calhoun’s Annalisa Lovich, Lauren Ameruoso, Kyle Pilotti and Douglas Gallo, and Mepham students Anna Mouras, Yusuf Hasan, Gavin Dass, Olivia Larocchia and Anil Bradley.

Emcees were Amanda Schleider, Haden Levine and Kiley Coen from Kennedy, Calhoun and Mepham. 

Each induction also included a photo montage that showcased highlights from the students’ language studies. 

A special thank you is extended to Kennedy, Calhoun, and Mepham montage creators Kennedy student Shivani Sharma and teachers Nikole DeLuca and Jodi Langevin, as well as honor society advisors and induction planners Francesca Engelson, Paul Cirino, Nicolina Alfieri, Nikole DeLuca, Alexandra Kefaliakos, Cara Sycoff, Charlotte Hayes, Kristin Montuori and Dona Morales.

High Stepping: Mepham Kickline Hosts Kids’ Clinic

High Stepping: Mepham Kickline Hosts Kids’ Clinic photo
High Stepping: Mepham Kickline Hosts Kids’ Clinic photo 2
High Stepping: Mepham Kickline Hosts Kids’ Clinic photo 3
High Stepping: Mepham Kickline Hosts Kids’ Clinic photo 4
High Stepping: Mepham Kickline Hosts Kids’ Clinic photo 5
The Mepham varsity kickline team hosted their fourth annual dance clinic for local children. 

Students from kindergarten through eighth grade were shimmying and shaking on Oct. 21, along with some assistance from members of the Grand Avenue and Merrick Avenue middle schools’ kickline teams.

“After learning technique, the varsity kickline team taught a team performance style routine to their group members which was then performed by the kids for their parents at the conclusion of the clinic,” said Mepham kickline coach Kerry Dennis. “It was a great morning for the Bellmore-Merrick community.” 

The team will hold a Winter Dance Clinic on Saturday, Dec. 16, from 9:30 a.m.-noon, at the Brookside gym. Registration will open on Nov. 6. 

Two Educators Added to NYS Master Teacher Program

Two devoted educators from the Central High School District were among the more than 200 educators added to New York State’s Master Teacher Program.

David Kommor, a science teacher at Mepham, and math teacher Jessica Chilton of Kennedy High School were selected to participate in this program that is aimed at strengthening the state’s STEAM education program.

The Master Teacher Program is currently made up of secondary school teachers and educators who have been found to be among the highest performing in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. Selected teachers will receive annual stipends over their four-year participation in the program. They will also get peer mentoring and professional development opportunities, as well as attend regional meetings with their peers.

Mepham Displays Pirate Pride at Homecoming

Mepham Displays Pirate Pride at Homecoming photo

The Mepham High School varsity football team advanced to 5-0 this season with a homecoming victory over New Hyde Park Memorial High School on Oct. 6.

Head coach Anthony Cracco led the team to a 35-7 win, and the crowd delivered tremendous energy during the homecoming game.
“We have a terrific group of young men working toward a common goal,” said Cracco. “They have made many sacrifices to improve as a team and achieve a common goal.”

Ahead of the game, the Mepham community enjoyed a festival and bonfire.

At halftime, the cheerleading squad and Pirette kickliners performed at the midfield line. Tight end James Hatcliffe and Pirette Jordana Bove were crowned homecoming king and queen, respectively. 

District administrators, Mepham teachers, alumni and Legislator Steve Rhoads were in attendance during the celebration and game.

“Pirate pride was at an all-time high at Mepham’s 80th anniversary,” said Principal Eric Gomez. “It’s always remarkable to see the community gather in a sea of maroon to cheer on our students and athletes. We appreciate all of the efforts that helped in making the evening a true victory.”

Mepham’s Skull & Bones Raises Money for Laughter Saves Lives

									 Mepham’s Skull & Bones Raises Money for Laughter Saves Lives photo
Mepham High School's Skull and Bones Drama Club hosted its annual “A Night on Broadway” charity fundraiser revue on Oct. 13 to benefit Laughter Saves Lives Foundation. The charity was created by Mepham parent and fireman John Larocchia after losing 19 of his firehouse brothers, including his best friend, during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The Laughter Saves Lives Comedy Tour became Larocchia’s way of honoring the memories of those who selflessly gave their lives that day to protect and save others. It is his way to “never forget” while also recognizing the local fire, police, EMS and military personnel in the communities the tour group visits.
A small portion of the proceeds from each show goes to the foundation which endeavors to support a variety of firefighter- and police-based charities as well as select individuals and families who have are in serious need of assistance.
Since the start of the summer, students selected songs from popular Broadway productions, working together and in small groups to learn harmonies, create and teach choreography, and stage a full-scale production. Some of the evening's fare included "Opening Up" from “Waitress,” “Suddenly Seymour” from “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Chiquitita” from “Mamma Mia!” and “What I've Been Looking For” from “High School Musical.”  

Directed by senior co-presidents Olivia Larocchia and Michael Scalisi, the students managed to raise a total of $1,146.85 for LSL through ticket sales and donations.

“The most poignant moment of the evening came during the finale when the students offered a message of positivity and hope, singing ‘You Will Be Found’ from the 2017 Tony winner for best musical ‘Dear Evan Hansen,’” said Skull and Bones adviser Edward Grosskreuz. “The students stunned the audience when, at the close of the song, they reached down to the stage floor and picked up large posters that bore the names of recent tragic events at home and abroad. The students were inspired by the meaning behind the revue and by Mr. Larocchia's example.”

Bellmore-Merrick Students Reach High Notes With NYSSMA All-State Selections

Bellmore-Merrick Students Reach High Notes With NYSSMA All-State Selections photo
Bellmore-Merrick Students Reach High Notes With NYSSMA All-State Selections photo 2
Several students in the CHSD were recently named All-State and All-State Alternates by the New York State School Music Association.

They will travel to Rochester, New York to participate in the four-day NYSSMA All-State Music Festival that begins on Nov. 30.

All-State designees include Mepham High School’s Adriana Guarascio (All-State Symphonic OrchestraCalhoun High School’s Julia Bremer (All-State Mixed Choir), Maria Fazio (All-State Mixed Choir), Doug Gallo (All-State Vocal Alternate) and Ben Shaposhniko (All-State Symphonic Orchestra and All-State Jazz Ensemble Alternate) and Kennedy High School’s Samantha Crichton (All-State Treble Choir), John Duroseau (All-State Mixed Choir) and Kristina Miller (All-State Treble Choir).

“In addition to making numerous musical and vocal contributions to their respective high school communities, many of these students also study and perform privately, chasing competitive personal goals and realizing prestigious performance opportunities,” said Cheryl Fontana, director of fine and performing arts and adult education.

Each year in late August, young musicians throughout the state receive the exciting notification that they have been selected to participate in the festival. The All-State selection process begins during the previous school year. To be considered for All-State, students must first be recommended by their music director and perform a Level 6 audition piece at the spring NYSSMA festival receiving a score of 98 or higher.

Student Reps Report Monthly School News To Board

Student reps report monthly school news to board photo
Student representatives from the four high schools in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District addressed the school board at its Oct. 4 meeting, updating the community on their respective schools’ accomplishments and activities.

Personal quips, achievements and upcoming events were included in each round up. They will continue to act as a board liaison throughout the school year at future board meetings.

Reporting from the dais each month will be Daniel O’Keefe from Sanford H. Calhoun, Rachel Katz from John F. Kennedy, Jordan Ladd from the Meadowbrook Alternative Program and Gina Connors from Wellington C. Mepham High School.

 “This is an opportunity for them to tell us what they’re proud of about their school and it’s a portion of our monthly board meetings that I look forward greatly,” said John DeTommaso, superintendent of schools.