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Mepham’s Alexandra D’Amato named essay contest winner

Mepham’s Alexandra D’Amato named essay contest winner photo
Alexandra D’Amato, a student at Mepham High School had recent success in the Intellectual Freedom Committee 13th annual “Freedom to Read” contest sponsored by the Nassau County Library Association. 

The students had to select a character from a book or movie that they admire and D’Amato chose Liz Murray from “Breaking Night,” her summer reading book.

She was recognized on May 18 for her essay and named a winner in the 13- to 15-year old group.

Mepham Softball Team Tops Division II Championship

Mepham Softball Team Tops Division II Championship Photo
The young women of Mepham’s softball team capped off a 13-2 season record by clinching the division II championships.

Senior catcher Samantha Arcese was awarded All-County Honorable Mention.
“She did an amazing job calling the games,” said coach Jen Greco. “She has true talent for and understanding of the sport. She is arguably one of the best catchers in the conference. She had at least one pick off each game, with multiple pick offs in several games.”

Junior third baseman Kara Castaldo was also awarded All-County – for the second year in a row.

“Kara has been playing on the varsity level for three years now. She had her first homerun this season, and didn’t stop there,” added Greco. “She ended the season with a batting average of .462 and two homeruns and 22 RBIs.”
Junior shortstop and All-County honoree Kelsey Vandewater batting average .467, 10 doubles, 13 RBIs and 23 runs scored. Senior Stephanie Burns, who pitches and plays centerfield, was named All-Conference. She saw 31 strikeouts with 27.1 innings played.

Freshman right fielder Brianna Morse earned All-County Honorable Mention. In her second year playing for Mepham, she hit her first homerun this year and led the team with a .587 batting average, 26 RBIs, 7 doubles and four triples.

“She is a player that can be put anywhere in the field and she will always make the play,” Greco said.

Greco considers junior second baseman Kerri Donlon the most improved player this year.

“Her bat came alive this season,” she added. “She had a .524 batting average, with nine RBIs and 11 runs scored. I’m looking forward to see what she can produce next year.”

Greco touts the team’s supportive nature, work ethic and team spirit as their key to success.

“They were always there to cheer the other on and lift them up when needed,” she added. “I truly believe this is what helped the girls to be so successful this year, on top of the natural talent that they all possess.”

Mepham’s Mike Valentino Named to Nassau’s Golden 11 Team

Mepham’s Mike Valentino Named to Nassau’s Golden 11 Team Photo 1
Mepham’s Mike Valentino Named to Nassau’s Golden 11 Team Photo 2
From the fields of the Bellmore Braves football program, to Mepham High School’s Pirates, senior Mike Valentino has always had a driving passion for the sport.

“I love the family unit aspect of it,” he said. “I just can’t imagine not playing.”

Valentino’s talents both on and off the field are what got him selected to the Golden 11 team.

The Golden 11 is a scholarship given to the 11 players who best embody the behavior expected of student-athletes on and off the field, which includes maintaining scholar-athlete status and attaining All-County accolades. Only one student-athlete can be nominated from each school and selections are made by a committee of coaches from each conference.

“To be acknowledged as a Golden 11 scholar-athlete and to forever be in the NFF Football Hall of Fame is an incredible honor,” said coach Anthony Cracco.

Valentino plans on studying business while playing football at Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania. He has been named All-County and All-State in football and is a member of the school’s Athletes Helping Athletes club.

All Golden 11 scholar-athletes were honored at a ceremony in April.

Mepham’s Kamelhar Receives American Chemical Society Award

Mepham’s Kamelhar Receives American Chemical Society Award Photo
Anna Kamelhar, a student in Josephine Parlagreco’s AP Chemistry class, received the American Chemical Society Award for outstanding scholarship in Chemistry at the ACS’ recent award dinner on May 9 at Nassau Community College.

World Language Students Learn Culture Outside of the Classroom

World Language Students Learn Culture Outside of the Classroom Photo
On April 19, seniors from Mepham High School’s College Spanish courses attended the musical “On Your Feet” in Manhattan with their teachers, Cecilia Larrea and Danielle McNeil.

“Students had recently completed a unit of study on immigration. The musical, which highlights Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s journey as Cuban immigrants in search of the American dream, was a wonderful culmination to the unit,” explained World Languages Chairperson Rosa Kaplan.  

After the show, students learned more about how the Estefans have impacted the music industry. They then wrote a cultural comparison to compare the Estefans to another immigrant who has contributed to American society.

In Italian classes, students researched family members that entered the United States through Ellis Island. They were able to view ship manifests that included personal information on their family members; many of whom they did not know. As a culminating activity to the unit, 12th-grade students from Kristen Montuori’s and Andrew Franklin’s Italian classes visited Ellis Island on April 21.  

“Students were guided by an Italian audio tour as they explored the exhibits of the museum and learned about the immigrant experience,” Franklin said. “After the museum, students experienced Italian food and culture at Eataly NYC Downtown, an Italian restaurant and marketplace.”

Broadcasting Program Hosts Prospective Students from Elementary News Club

Broadcasting Program Hosts Prospective Students from Elementary News Club Photo 1
Broadcasting Program Hosts Prospective Students from Elementary News Club Photo 2
Broadcasting Program Hosts Prospective Students from Elementary News Club Photo 3

On April 5, several students from the News Tech Club at the Old Mill Road School in North Merrick visited the Bellmore-Merrick Broadcasting program with their advisor, Deborah Walsh.

The field trip, organized by Walsh and Mepham English Chairperson Mary Donnelly, gave the students an opportunity to tour the Broadcasting studio at Wellington C. Mepham High School where Bellmore-Merrick Broadcasting teacher Stuart Stein and technology assistant Matt Russell offered students an interactive preview of an in-studio news broadcast. 

Club members took turns operating the controls and the cameras, serving as anchors, camera operators and directors. The students, who use an iPad and iMovie to create their own news packages for the News Tech Club, learned how to use industry-standard equipment, including BMB’s TriCaster, to produce a live broadcast. Stein and Donnelly answered questions about the Broadcasting program and invited the students to apply for enrollment in 2019 or 2020.

Mepham Drama Club’s Performance ‘Thoroughly’ Enjoyed

Mepham Drama Club’s Performance ‘Thoroughly’ Enjoyed Photo

The Skull and Bones Drama Club of Mepham High School staged “Thoroughly Modern Millie” as its 2017 spring musical production at the end of March.

Winner of the 2002 Best Musical Tony Award, “Millie” is an update of the Universal Pictures film of the same title. New music is by Jeanine Tesori, new lyrics are by Dick Scanlon, and the book is by Richard Henry Morris and Dick Scanlon.

The production was directed by Edward Grosskreuz, an English teacher at Mepham High School; vocal direction by Amanda Cantwell, choral teacher at Grand Avenue Middle School; choreography by Whitney Stone; and conducted by Brian Neiderman, band teacher at Mepham.

The show starred Samantha Pepe as Millie Dillmount, Mike Pioli as Jimmy Smith, Robbie Commisso as Mr. Trevor Graydon, Emily Garone as Miss Dorothy, Samantha Morgan as Mrs. Meers, Alaina Ciorra as Muzzy Van Hossmere, Emily Fontanetta as Hui Mei, Mike Scalisi as Zhen Hao and Melissa Ponton as Miss Flannery. The show was complete with an ensemble of 22 students.

Mepham Science Experiment Lands on Magazine Cover

Alex Cifuentes and Sydney Mason, two sophomores from one of Josephine Parlagreco’s chemistry classes at. Mepham High School wanted to see what would happen if they held the prism lenses over the iPhone camera lens.

The result was a photo they captured when the camera was pointed at a white light; a simple flashlight. It was featured on the cover of the March 2017 edition of Chem 13 News magazine.

Italian Students Win Poetry Awards


On March 24, students from the central high school district participated in the American Association of Teachers of Italian’s annual poetry recitation contest at SUNY Old Westbury.

These select Bellmore-Merrick students competed against more than 225 students from all over Long Island as they recited classic Italian poems in front of peers, teachers and professors. Each student not only memorized up to 30 lines of a classic Italian poem, but also effectively introduced and interpreted it.

“The students who demonstrated their mastery of pronunciation, intonation, interpretation, poise and memorization were awarded for their accomplished performances,” said World Languages Chairperson Enrique Montes. “All competitors were commended for their efforts and determination as they spent a day immersed in Italian.”

Senior Rebecca Unz of Calhoun High School received the top prize in her category for her poignant rendition of an excerpt from Dante Alighieri’s “The Divine Comedy.” Melissa Mjeshtri of Kennedy High School was also awarded first place among a large group of freshmen from all over Long Island.

Winners were as follows:

Calhoun High School – senior Rebecca Unz – first place; senior Jonathan Kessler - third place; junior Lauren Ameruoso - honorable mention; junior James Caracciolo - honorable mention; junior Sara Grossman- honorable mention and junior Kyle Pilotti- honorable mention
Kennedy High School – freshman Melissa Mjeshtri - first place
Wellington C. Mepham High School – junior Rebecca Scotto - honorable mention

Mepham Shaves Heads for Childhood Cancer Research

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Mepham Shaves Heads Photo 3
Mepham High School hosted its seventh Chop Your Lock's for Charity event to benefit the St. Baldrick's Foundation on March 22, raising $42,000.

“I am so proud of our Participation in Government and Leadership students for their spirit, enthusiasm and hard work in creating an event that not only raised money for such an important cause, but showcased why Mepham is such a special place,” said Kerry Dennis, social studies teacher, kickline coach and St. Baldrick's co-coordinator.

Irish step dancers from the Schade Academy of Irish Dancing kicked off the evening’s festivities. Community members were treated to face painting, games, music, raffle and more.

Team Guiliana G., created for social studies teacher Jacqueline Geller’s cancer surviving 4-year-old daughter, were top fundraisers, earning nearly $6,500 for the cause.

Since 2008, Mepham High School has raised over $250,000 for the St. Baldrick's Foundation, which funds research for childhood cancers.