Mepham Senior Receives Coach Hughes Memorial Scholarship

Emily Hagarty, a senior at Wellington C. Mepham High School, was named the 2014 Coach Hughes Memorial Scholarship recipient during a special ceremony held at the Paul Limmer Invitational Track Meet on April 5.

The Coach Hughes Memorial Scholarship is in memory of longtime track coach Gerry Hughes, who died from ALS – Lou Gehrig’s disease – in 2010, and was established to honor a senior track athlete. Hagarty, who has participated in track for four years, was selected from 11 finalists.  

Trish Hughes, wife of the late Mepham coach, said her family began the scholarship fund because they felt it was important to keep her husband’s name in the track community and to ensure that his legacy continued. She said that selecting the scholarship recipient is done by her entire family and is a very difficult decision. “We look for mentoring, leadership and someone who always tries to do their best,” she said.

Mepham’s head track coach Anthony Serravite said the school is grateful to the Hughes family for the scholarship and that it’s a great way to keep Coach Hughes’ memory alive. “He was a great coach,” he added. “He was very motivational and a great teacher. This scholarship means a tremendous amount and shows the meaning of love for the sport.”

An annual tradition at Mepham, the Paul Limmer Invitational Track Meet draws thousands of students from Long Island and Westchester, including students from all three Bellmore-Merrick high schools, for a day of track and field competition.

Hundreds Inducted into National Honor Society

Hundreds of students from Sanford H. Calhoun, John F. Kennedy and Wellington C. Mepham high schools were inducted into the school’s individual chapters of the National Honor Society on April 9. The National Honor Society seeks to recognize students’ continued academic excellence and commitment to success. Students are selected for induction based on academic performance and service to the community.

Students participated in a candlelighting ceremony to signify their induction into the society, which highlighted the National Honor Society’s four pillars – character, scholarship, leadership and service. Members of the building and central administrations, as well as the Board of Education, congratulated inductees as they made their way across the stage at each respective school.

Mepham SADD Hosts Senior Citizens Luau-Themed Prom

More than 140 senior citizens from throughout the Bellmore-Merrick community were treated to a senior citizens prom at Wellington C. Mepham High School on April 2, courtesy of the school’s SADD club. In line with the Hawaiian theme, students and guests donned colorful leis throughout the prom. Dozens of students helped to serve food, with members of the jazz band and soloists from the chorus entertaining guests with a variety of songs.

The prom, which has been a Mepham tradition for 14 years, enables students to give back to their community and show their appreciation for the seniors. SADD members work throughout the year to fundraise for the event.

“This is a really great community outreach program that makes a strong connection between the students and senior citizens,” said Jeannette Spargifiore, who serves as SADD co-adviser with David Kommor.

Mepham Physics Team Wins Big

Students from Mepham High School competed at the 26th annual Physics Olympics, sponsored by the Long Island Physics Teachers Association, on March 28 at SUNY Farmingdale. Mepham’s team, composed of Chris Juchem, Brian Keohane, Jane Kogan, Kevin Mendez, Matt Waldmann, and their coach, Bill Leacock, had their best year ever at the competition, taking four out of five first-place trophies and taking first place overall, earning 63.5 points with the second, third and four place teams earning 50, 49 and 48, respectively.

The events that Mepham won were:

Collision Course – An event where the team calculated the point of collision of two toy cars along an initially unknown distance. The team’s cars met at a point 0.3 cm away from their predicted point over a distance of 2.7 meters, for a remarkable 0.11 percent error.

Fermi Event – Students use their knowledge of physics and mathematics to estimate an unknown value. For example, they were asked how many African elephants would have the mass as the sun. Out of five questions, the Mepham team was perfect on four and only off by one order of magnitude on the fifth question.

Pendulum of Doom – The students had to predict the horizontal range of a pendulum mounted on a table, released from a given height and cut at the bottom of the swing, becoming a horizontally fired projectile. Mepham’s projectile landed 0.6 cm away from their predicted point, so close that the judges were surprised by their accuracy.

Physics Bowl – A game show event based upon the student’s physics knowledge. Mepham dominated with a score of 20 when the second-place team had only reached a score of 12.

‘Sound of Music’ Takes the Stage at Mepham

The Skull and Bones Drama Club at Wellington C. Mepham High School presented several performances of “The Sound of Music” from March 27-29. The production was directed by Edward Grosskreuz Jr., with Kevin Burns as assistant director and Brie Piccirillo as choreographer. Vocal music direction was provided by Michael Mitchell with instrumental musical direction by Brian Neiderman.

This beloved musical took the audience through infamous songs such as “Do-Re-Mi,” “My Favorite Things,” “The Sound of Music” and “So Long, Farewell.” In addition to the high school students in the performance, three North Bellmore Elementary School District students took on the roles of the younger von Trapps – Kurt, Marta and Gretl in this production.

Introducing the Class of 2014 Valedictorians and Salutatorians

The district proudly introduces its valedictorians and salutatorians for the graduating Class of 2014. These outstanding and well-rounded students embody an impressive breadth of knowledge and pride of personal character. All six students have demonstrated a strong dedication to their academics and responsibility to the Bellmore-Merrick community, all while remaining committed to their extracurricular activities and outside obligations.

“I’m so impressed by our valedictorians and salutatorians this year,” said Superintendent of Schools John DeTommaso. “They represent the talented and innovative student body we have at all three of our amazing high schools. I wish them the best of luck in everything they do in the future.”

Sanford H. Calhoun High School

Valedictorian: Katherine Kustas

Katherine is a dedicated individual who remains committed to both her academics and extracurricular activities. She believes that all of the diverse and rigorous classes she’s taken at the school have helped contribute to her success. As historian of the student council, she photographs school events and is creating a montage for the senior class at the end of the year. Throughout her high school years, she has assisted in raising money and planning prom as part of student council. She’s currently a member of the Science Club and has participated in soccer, winter track and badminton since freshman year. She’s also been involved with Key Club and the Yearbook Club, as well as with tutoring her peers.

Demonstrating her continued involvement in the community, Katherine volunteers at the Merrick Library over the summer, reading books with children and assisting them with book reports. She has also volunteered at the Merrick Fair for two years in a row and participated in the Jones Beach Breast Cancer Walk. Every year, along with the entire soccer team, she has visited businesses in Merrick, asking for gift cards to raffle off at the annual St. Baldrick’s fundraising event, for which she also volunteers.

Katherine has played soccer her entire life, serving as goalkeeper on an outside soccer team in her spare time. She plans on studying finance or economics in college and hopes to become a financial analyst.

Salutatorian: Alexander Boyd

Alexander has earned the spot of salutatorian by taking such classes as Advanced Placement U.S. History, English Language and Composition, and English Literature, as well as international relations and creative writing. Every year, he has conducted extensive research and written position papers for the National High School Model United Nations Conference in New York City on issues such as farming in the Middle East, intellectual property rights, the Arab Spring, and the situations in Somalia and Cote D’Ivoire.

Besides academics, Alexander serves as captain of the cross-country, winter track and spring track teams; the secretary general of the Model United Nations; and president of the band. He has volunteered at Robbie’s Run for the past three years and is involved with We Care Blankets over the summers. Outside of school, he loves to read and is an avid sports fan. He plans on double majoring in political science and English, and hopes to do something that involves writing in his future career.

John F. Kennedy High School

Valedictorian: Benjamin Rabinowitz

As Kennedy’s valedictorian, Benjamin is not only committed to his high-achieving academics, but also to his extracurricular activities and volunteer work. A member of the school’s Advanced Science Research program, he’s completed research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center on bioluminescence imaging in an immunology laboratory. He’s volunteered at North Shore-LIJ Feinstein Institute, assisting in research of autism spectrum disorders; at Hadassah, fundraising for stem cell awareness by participating in walks; and with JCC Maccabi USA, participating in a variety of fundraising and community service activities. Benjamin also dedicates his time to volunteering for the Forever 9 Foundation, for which he’s helped organize the annual 5K run in memory of his close friend Robbie Levine. Additionally, Benjamin spent the summer of 2013 in Florence, Italy, taking courses in Italian and marketing at Instituto Lorenzo de’Medici.

At Kennedy, Benjamin has been class vice president for the past four years, in addition to being an active member of the Key Club, wind ensemble and National, Science and Spanish honor societies. He also was part of Athletes Helping Athletes and participated in the National Honors Spanish Test for three years, earning a silver, bronze and honorable mention. A varsity soccer player for his entire high school career, Benjamin was team captain as a junior and senior, and was named All-Conference his junior year. He’s also competed on junior varsity track, a travel soccer team, and took part in the Maccabi Games in track and field, earning himself 11 gold, eight silver and three bronze medals.

He plans on majoring in pre-medicine and psychology in college, with the aspiration of one day becoming a surgeon.

Salutatorian: Benjamin November

An AP Scholar with Honor, Benjamin is a member of the school’s Advanced Science Research program. He spent his sophomore and junior years conducting research at Citi College, and his junior and senior years researching at Brookhaven National Laboratory. His research paper – “Measurement of Leaf Properties to Improve the Parameterization Used by Earth System Models to Estimate the Maximum Capacity for CO2 Uptake in the Arctic” – earned him semifinalist status in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search competition. Benjamin hopes to study engineering in college and obtain both a master’s and doctorate in engineering.

As a senior, Benjamin has served as chairperson of the Stock Market Club for Future Business Leaders of America, in addition to being a member of Athletes Helping Athletes and the Key Club. Benjamin is also a member of the National, Math, Science and Spanish honor societies, serving as a peer tutor for underclassmen with the NHS. Outside of school, Benjamin has volunteered at Winthrop University Hospital. During his freshman and sophomore years, he was invited to attend the National Young Conference – an invitation extended to students with excellent academic performance and leadership potential. He was named the Math Student of the Month at the school, and he’s represented the Cougars on junior varsity and varsity football and track.

Wellington C. Mepham High School

Valedictorian: Brian Keohane

Brian is a National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalist and was named a candidate in the prestigious U.S. Presidential Scholars program. Recently, he was named a News 12/Capital One Scholar Athlete of the Week – an honor given to only 30 Long Island students a year that recognizes seniors who excel in athletics, leadership and scholarship. Brian is the first Mepham student to receive this honor and the second districtwide.

Brian is a three-season athlete in cross-country, basketball and spring track, serving as captain on all three teams this year. Outside of athletics, he is a member of the math team, Science Club and Athletes Helping Athletes and takes a challenging roster of classes, including Advanced Placement U.S. History, English, macroeconomics, Calculus BC, Physics C, Italian and psychology.

Although undecided on which school he will attend, Brian is interested in studying engineering next year in college. His future career plans include going to graduate school and obtaining his doctorate.

Salutatorian: Matthew Waldmann

Committed to his studies in mathematics and science, Matthew is an active member of the Mepham community. Academically, he challenges himself with a rigorous course load, including such classes as Advanced Placement Statistics, chemistry, physics and Calculus BC. A member of the school’s Physics Olympics team, math team and Athletes Helping Athletes program, he’s also a dedicated member to several other Mepham activities. He’s played for the varsity Bulldogs ice hockey team for the past four years, serving as captain for the past two, and played three years of varsity soccer, being named captain as a senior.

Matthew gives back to the community with his involvement in the Wounded Warrior Project and Make-A-Wish Foundation. Although undecided on which college he will attend next year, he plans to study aerospace engineering and hopes to become a successful engineer.

‘Something Wicked’ Comes to Mepham

The Hofstra Department of Drama and Dance presented its touring production of “Something Wicked,” a one-hour adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” at Mepham on March 10.

This drama/tragedy is about the struggle between one’s ambition and conscience. The main character, Macbeth, is told his prophecy by the three witches. He must decide what he’s going to make of it, with his ambition and conscience playing huge roles in his internal struggle. There are scenes filled with suspense and secrecy about the murder of the king. Using his famous puns, Shakespeare also throws in a little bit of humor about the murder.

The set for this production had no scenery – only a series of chests and trunks – and minimal props, relying mainly on spacing and timing. The performers successfully and creatively made the most of a minimal set. This allowed the audience to build their own version of the play using their imagination.

“This was a great opportunity for students to experience one of Shakespeare’s most popular works in a truncated, student-friendly production,” said English teacher Edward Grosskreuz. “Being able to go from page to stage, from words to life, gives students new depth, understanding and appreciation of this perennial classic.”

VIDEO: St. Baldrick’s Comes to Calhoun and Mepham

Students, faculty and community members came together at Calhoun and Mepham high schools for their respective annual head-shaving events to benefit the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Check out the video below to see highlights from the fundraisers.