Guest Speaker Educates Mepham Students About Culture Through Crisis

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Former child bride Naila Amin is bringing her plight to light and recently visited Mepham High School to educate Leadership and Voices of the Past history students on what is a shockingly common and legal practice in many parts of the work.

Betrothed to her cousin in Pakistan at the age of 8, Amin, now 25, is working to change laws to protect other victims. Mepham student Raina Sarfriz read about her story in a Pakistani magazine and arranged for Amin to be a guest speaker.

“I wrote an article on her for our school newspaper and thought her experience would be beneficial to my classmates,” Sarfriz said.
History teacher Jacqueline Geller said she thinks exposing the students to different religions, cultures and customs allows them to be more socially aware.

“Naila's story of perseverance is truly inspiring,” Geller said. “In a world where people complain about their everyday annoyances, Naila's experience reminds us that we should be thankful and appreciate the freedoms we have.”
“I was so impressed that she was able to open up to us and share her story, said student Kristen Lasker. “I would not have been able to do that and not cry."

“It is crazy to me that they do not have gender equality in other countries,” added student Gordon Olson.

Amin hopes to one day open a safe haven for girls and women who are escaping forced marriages. She is also writing a book about her experience and is starting a foundation. She encouraged students to be socially aware of their surroundings and interactions with people.

“Speak up for someone,” she said. “Be the leader. Be that force.”

“I hope that the students feel empowered that they can survive anything and do anything if they have the right mind set,” Geller said. “Naila had and still has many obstacles to overcome and yet stood before us, with forgiveness in her heart and goals for human rights set.”

Four Seniors Named Regeneron Science Talent Search Scholars

The high school district is proud to announce that four seniors have been selected as scholars in the 2017 Regeneron Science Talent Search, (formerly known as the Intel STS).

Rachel Jozwik of Mepham High School and Claire Kelly, Jennifer Rakhimov and Michael Sternbach of Kennedy High School are among 300 nationally recognized semifinalists in the nation’s most prestigious pre-college science competition often considered the “Junior Nobel Prize.”

“These students are exemplary young scientists driven by a passion for discovery in their chosen fields of study,” said District Science Chair Robert Soel. “Their scientific investigations involved hundreds of hours of work under the mentorship of cooperating scientists in the field.”
“They are multifaceted, talented young people who are continually expanding their creative horizons,” added District Science Chair Patrick Mannion.
Jozwik’s research is titled “Correlation Between the rs53576 SNP and Stress Levels in High School Students;” Kelly’s research is titled “Impulsivity as a Predictor for Enhanced Attention Toward Novel Drug-Paired Cues;” Rakhimov’s research is titled “Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy in Degenerated Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells;” and Sternbach’s research is titled “Are Yield Curve Inversions Harbingers of Economic Contractions in Emerging Market and Excessively Debt-Ridden Countries?”

“They are wonderful role models for their peers and the entire school community is proud of their outstanding achievements,” added Soel.
Later this month, 40 finalists will be named and invited to Washington, D.C. in March, where they will display their work to the public, meet with notable scientists and compete for additional awards, including the top prize of $250,000.

Mepham Science Research Program Hosts Informational Hour

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The Mepham High School Advanced Science Research program recently hosted its annual information hour for the parents of ninth-grade science students.

ASR teachers Jeannette Spargifiore, Neeru Partap and Dr. David Kommor took turns presenting relevant information about the scope and sequence of the ASR program.

“Opportunities for research and college credit from SUNY Albany’s UHS program were also explained to the group of approximately 80 parents and students,” said District Science Chairperson Patrick Mannion.

Current ASR students Taylor Drew, Rachel Jozwik and Amna Minhas also spoke to the group about their research experiences and the value of the program. It was an informative and pleasant evening for all involved.

Mepham Announces Poetry Out Loud Winners

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Mepham High School recently announced the winners of the 10th annual school contest for Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest.
The student winners are Taylor Drew, 12th grade, first place; Samantha Pepe, 12th grade, second place; and Candace Casimir, ninth grade, third place. 

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. This is Mepham’s 10th year hosting the contest.

Throughout November, Mepham’s English teachers held classroom competitions where students competed for a chance to take part in the schoolwide competition in December. On Dec. 13, nearly 80 students filled the school’s choral room to hear 24 classroom winners recite their poems for a chance to advance to the regional competition to be held at Nassau Community College on Feb. 3, 2017.

The competition was organized by English Chairperson Mary Donnelly and Nicole Maresca, who teaches English and Creative Writing and moderates Fragments, Mepham’s literary magazine.

“At Mepham High School, students recited works they selected from an anthology of nearly 1,000 classic and contemporary poems,” Donnelly explained. “Judges evaluated student performances on criteria including articulation, evidence of understanding, level of difficulty and accuracy.”
Taylor Drew and Samantha Pepe will represent Mepham at the regional competition in February, with hopes of advancing to state and ultimately the national competition similar to Mepham alumnus and 2011 state champion Steven Tsai.

Mepham Opens Leadership Course to Sophomores

This year, Mepham High School  added a new half-year leadership course for interested 10th-graders.
“Each week, the students in William Murphy’s class have interviewed leaders in the school and/or in the community to get a better understanding of leadership in action,” explained Social Studies Chairperson Robyn Einbinder.

These classes are aimed at promoting community service and fostering leadership skills among students.

Mepham Football Recognized for Off Field Efforts

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The Mepham High School football team was recently recognized as the 2016 Community Service Award winner for Nassau County.
The award was given out at the Dec. 7 Nassau County High School Football Coaches Association Gridiron Banquet and recognizes a team that has given back to the community through community service projects and fundraisers.
“This past season the team continued its tradition of raising money for breast cancer awareness,” said coach and Mepham Athletic Director Anthony Cracco. “The parents and players sold T-shirts and collected donations and made a $1,000 contribution to the American Cancer Society's Making Strides for Breast Cancer program.”

Additionally, the team spent a Sunday cleaning up Newbridge Road Park as a way to thank the local community for their support of their program.  
“This project was especially meaningful as many of the players began their playing careers on the fields at Newbridge,” Cracco said. “I am extremely proud of our football families’ efforts to give back to their community. The players are a great group of young men and are extremely deserving of this honor.”