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Calhoun Marks 59th Commencement Ceremony

Calhoun Marks 59th Commencement Ceremony photo

The June 24 commencement ceremony for Calhoun High School’s Class of 2018, which was held at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury, celebrated a theme of kindness and empathy, as well as perseverance and exploration as students advance into this next chapter in their lives.

“You have been heroes,” Principal Nicole Hollings. “You are a hero because you stopped your day to be a friend who needed help or to someone who is just different than you. Because you stood up to be a champion for the rights of others. Because you defend the rights of all. You chose kindness even when someone has been cruel to you.”
Board member and fellow Calhoun alumna Wendy Gargiulo reflected on advice she would bestow upon her younger self, as well as the graduates.

“Live your own life,” she stated. “Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Have the courage to follow your heart and own intuition. Discovery takes time and that is time well spent.”

Senior Class advisor Erika Feldman pressed the importance of consistently setting goals throughout your life.
“We all have different goals, but don’t second guess your own goals and your ability to succeed as you achieve those goals,” she advised.

Salutatorian Amelia Seabold expressed having control over one’s own reactions and not negatively impacting others with your actions.

“We have spent our whole lives being impacted by other people,” she said. “We have experienced benevolence and animosity. And all of these people we have come in contact with have helped shaped who we are today. Any person can alter someone’s life. We must intentionally seek to have an impact on people and be in control of what the outcome is.”

Valedictorian Joy Ma told fellow classmates to remember their roots as they set off on new adventures, but to also find the “joy” in their lives.

“We have always been influencing each other for better or worse,” she said. “These people, this school, this town. This is our childhood. This is Bellmore-Merrick. We are Bellmore-Merrick. And no matter how far the journey in life pulls us, nothing will be able to take that away from us.”

Calhoun’s Heather Berberich Pilots Self-Defense Program

Calhoun’s Heather Berberich Pilots Self-Defense Program photo
Calhoun’s Heather Berberich Pilots Self-Defense Program photo 2
Heather Berberich, a junior at Calhoun High School, recently completed a Girl Scout Gold Award by researching and piloting a self-defense program as a unit during gym classes.

Berberich, 17, said she was motivated to instill a sense of empowerment in her peer group.

Under the guidance of physical education teacher Gregg Muscarella and Athletic Director Richard Diodati, the program involved a local instructor from Goshinkan Ju-Jitsu Dojo in Merrick who offered various self-defense techniques. 

“I settled on jiujitsu because it focuses on getting away safely,” she said.

“The ultimate goal was to teach students how to get themselves out of a potentially dangerous situation utilizing non-violent maneuvers,” Berberich said. “These life skills could be carried over forever.”

Calhoun’s Alexandra Brandl Received $2K STEM Scholarship

Calhoun’s Alexandra Brandl Received $2K STEM Scholarship photo
Alexandra Brandl of Calhoun High School received the Shah STEM Scholarship for $2,000.

Applicants applied based on having an interest in pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (this also includes coding, data analytics and artificial intelligence) in college. 

Scholarship sponsored by CSM Engineering. 

District’s Valedictorians, Salutatorians Honored at Nassau County Council of Superintendent’s Breakfast

District’s Valedictorians, Salutatorians Honored at Nassau County Council of Superintendent’s Breakfast photo
The valedictorians and salutatorians from Calhoun, Mepham and Kennedy high schools were honored at a special breakfast hosted by the Nassau County Council of School Superintendents on June 1. 

Calhoun valedictorian Joy Ma and salutatorian Amelia Seabold, Mepham valedictorian Gina Connors and salutatorian Isabelle Chan and valedictorian David Kantor and salutatorian Dylan Judd from Kennedy, were among those in attendance.

“These students deserve to be praised for their hard work and consistent dedication to their education over the years,” said Superintendent John DeTommaso. “I would also like to extend a special thank you to their parents, families, teachers and classmates for their support and continued encouragement.”

Calhoun Seniors Plant Seeds of Joy at Karen’s Hope house

Calhoun Seniors Plant Seeds of Joy at Karen’s Hope house photo
Calhoun Seniors Plant Seeds of Joy at Karen’s Hope house photo 2
Calhoun Seniors Plant Seeds of Joy at Karen’s Hope house photo 3
Calhoun Seniors Plant Seeds of Joy at Karen’s Hope house photo 4
The senior leadership class at Calhoun High School recently completed a community service project for Karen's Hope.

Students from the senior leadership class volunteered on May 20 to spruce up the landscaping of a house in Seaford.

“The students fundraised for the past few weeks by selling Ralph's Italian Ices after school and used the proceeds to purchase all the materials needed to landscape of one of Karen's Hopes houses,” said teacher Brian Joyce.

Karen’s Hope aims to empower individuals with disabilities to lead more independent lives by providing housing, as well as educational and social programs after age 21.

Calhoun, Mepham Students Win NCTE Writing Award

Calhoun, Mepham Students Win NCTE Writing Award photo
Isabelle Gross from  Mepham High School and Faith Maldonado of Calhoun High School were recently selected for a 2018 Achievement Award in Writing, given by the National Council of Teachers of English.

Mepham AP Language and Composition teacher Marc Achtziger encouraged Isabelle and fellow student Nicole Farina to enter the local contest. A panel of English teachers evaluated all of Mepham’s entries anonymously and unanimously selected Isabelle and Nicole to move forward. 

“Both are gifted writers and hard workers,” said Achtziger. 

Farina received a Certificate of Nomination to recognize her success at the local level. Isabelle received a Certificate of Superior Writing. 

Maldonado was also a second-place winner as a sophomore last year in the Long Island Language Arts Council’s Gambone Writing Contest which is a writing contest that emulates the NCTE national contest and was recently inducted into Calhoun’s National English Honor Society.

“Faith has proven herself to be a lover of language who is able to communicate a unique, humorous voice in her creative writing,” said English Chairperson Kim Serpe. 

The NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing is a school-based writing program established in 1957 to encourage high school students to write and to recognize some of the best student writers in the nation. Only students who are juniors may participate.