Merrick Avenue Students Learn From Four-Legged Visitor

The students in Brett Schwartz's eighth-grade Reading Lab at Merrick Avenue Middle School were treated to a special visit on May 25.

Detectives Brian Wasserman and Gary Rogers of the Nassau County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals stopped in after receiving heartfelt and well-researched letter about animal abuse written by student John Palumbo.

John's letter was part of a "writing for the real world" project, in which Schwartz's students were tasked with choosing a global issue, researching it, coming up with a creative way to solve it and, most importantly, sharing their ideas with a professional in the field.

Mepham Holds First Ninth-Grade Science Fair

Mepham High School’s Science Department held its inaugural ninth-grade science fair on May 18.

Students from the Introduction to Research classes of Joseph Francese, Lorrilee Geraci and Jeannette Spargifiore presented the research that they had completed during the spring semester.

“Their poster board presentations filled the Mepham foyer with interesting and informative material dealing with an eclectic array of scientific assignments,” said District Science Chairperson Patrick Mannion.

Several senior Advanced Science Research students also volunteered their time and expertise as judges.

Meadowbrook Alternative Program Students and Veterans Connect

Eric Montana, a senior at Meadowbrook Alternative Program in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District, is shipping off to Marine recruit training in South Carolina in two weeks. The recent meet and greet between his fellow classmates and the organization, Vet2Vet, allowed him to express his admiration for these individuals who served our country.

“World War II was the greatest generation of individuals,” he said. “You brought up this nation. Hats off to you for your service.”

Veterans and their spouses from the Bristal Assisted Living facility have met twice over the past few weeks to exchange life experiences and future plans.

“We are bringing our [history] lessons to life here,” said Social Studies teacher Geisha Kwiatkowski. “It also gives them an opportunity to experience different viewpoints of current events.”

The meetings were also facilitated by Steve Rose, the founder and director of the district’s Family Project program, which brings together students and adults with developmental disabilities to engage in social interactions, recreation and independent living skills development with the support of the school community. He is also involved with Vet2Vet.

Transportation Schedule on Friday May 27, 2016 for BarryTech & LIHSA Students

AM BarryTech students will have regular morning pickups and will be returned back to their assigned stop. The PM BarryTech students will have a 10:25 - 10:45 pick up time from their assigned stop to BOCES BarryTech and will be returned back to their assigned stop. (Guardian Bus Company, 516-204-5934)

LIHSA students will have normal transportation to and from their respective high schools. (ACME Bus Company, 631-471-4600)

Calhoun Celebrates Advanced Science Research Seniors

The Advanced Science Research program at Sanford H. Calhoun High School strives to fuse classroom knowledge with practical experiences throughout.  

“There is no better way to learn how to be a scientist than through the ‘doing’ of science,” said ASR teacher Jennifer Pefanis.

This year’s Science Symposium celebrated the work of the students, the dedication of their mentors and the support of their parents and families.  

In addition, 13 seniors were honored for their success, hard work and perseverance.

They include: Sanjida Chowdhury, Asim Ahmed, Noelle Perrone, Rachel November, Jacob Miller, Paulina Fein, Haley Ryan, Julianna Casella, Nicole Fegan, Noel Mahabir, Katherine Ryan, Louis Lin and Brian Kishinevsky.

Calhoun Celebrates World Culture

English as New Language and the International Buddy Club transformed Calhoun High School’s faculty room into a World Culture Carnival celebrating the rich diversity of the school.

Students and faculty enjoyed foods from different countries donated by families and staff members. ENL teachers and International Buddy Club advisers, Heather Glick and Mae Angeles, worked together with students and club members to organize and create activities, decorations and a festive atmosphere of inclusion and cultural awareness.

The event had special visitors from the ENL program at Merrick Avenue Middle School, the central administration, as well as some of Calhoun’s former and current ENL students.

In addition to the food, students and teachers competed in different games to broaden their knowledge of the world. 

“We are very proud of our program and what these kids do,” said ENL Department Chair Enrique Montes. “We value the strength of our diversity and the cultural wealth that every student brings to the school community.”

Seniors Shine at Science Symposium


In culmination of the rigorous three-year Advanced Science Research program, nine seniors at the Kennedy High School were honored at the annual Science Symposium held on May 18.

“Conducting my research has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of my high school career,” said Rachel Mashal, an Intel Science Talent Search and Intel International Science and Engineering Fair finalist. “I have accomplished more than I ever thought possible in a scope far beyond the realm of just science.”
Mashal, along with fellow ASR seniors Cory Epstein, Anna Kuznetsova, Dylan Le Van, Sarah Moussavi (Intel Science Talent Search and Intel International Science semifinalist), Steven Obadiah, Evan Rothchild, Amanda Steinberg and Alexis Tillman completed graduate-level scientific research on a wide range of topics.

They worked alongside professional mentors, logged hundreds of hours in laboratories and some were even published in medical or scientific journals. They formed hypotheses and tested them – again and again.
“I’ve learned not to look at something just at its surface, but to rather investigate in order to find answers and explanations,” said Steinberg

Their projects were a labor of love that required a staunch commitment.

“One of the most important things I’ve learned over the past three years is to be persistent,” said Le Van. “Even when things look grim, you can always turn it around and get something out of it.”
For others, the program was a lesson in perseverance and self-assurance.

“I learned to believe in myself,” said Rothchild.

Calhoun Girls Track Named Division 2A Champs

The Calhoun High School girls track and field entered the Nassau County Division 2A Championships on May 17 as an underdog but left as champions.

Knowing they needed to get out to a fast start Cristin Rodriguez and Juliann Vizoso took the track for the first event of the day, the 400 intermediate hurdles. Neither have ever ran this race in the past, but both knew they had to reach past their abilities for the team; and that they did.

Rodriguez led the way running a personal best and taking first, not far behind was Vizoso who took three seconds off her previous best to finish second. Next up would be the 1,500-meter race.

“Calhoun has always been known for their distance program, but today the girls solidified themselves as one of the best in the county,” said coach Joseph Migliano.

Senior Captain Grace Moore would win the 1,500-meter in stellar form and right behind her were fellow teammates: Emma Joseph and Christina Garbarino. The girls placed first, second and fourth in this race; but this was just the beginning of their long day ahead.

Shortly after winning the 400 intermediate hurdles, Rodriguez would get back on the track for the 100-meter hurdles, beating the rest of the field by more than one second and setting her personal best time with a 15.3-second run.

The 800-meter race was set up to be a very fast and competitive race, but that didn't bother Moore or Vizoso. Moore took first again to claim her second division title and Vizoso was right behind her for another second-place finish, and that wasn’t the end for either of them.

With just a short 12-minute break Moore would get back on the track with Joseph and Garbarino to run the 3,000-meter.

“This was Moore's third race of the day, but like the true work horse she is, this didn’t bother her one bit,” said Migliano. “She led the way as the girls from Calhoun swept the 3,000-meter race taking first, second and third. Moore ended her day and career at the divisional meet with that race being a three-event champion.”
Joseph and Garbarino still had more work to do. The girls joined Vizoso and Kaite Corona on the track for the 4x800-meter race shortly after that, earning the Division Championship in the 4x800-meter race.

The girls from Calhoun didn’t slack in the field events either; Caitlin Ouellette, Victoria Unz, Katie Goodman and Paige Sfiroudis all contributed crucial points in and helped the girls pull away from the powerhouse that was Westbury.

“The girls have been focusing on this meet for the past three months, putting in hours of training on the track and in the weight room preparing for the long work day they had, and all that paid off,” said Migliano. “Calhoun had only 13 girls score points for them, which many believed would be impossible to win with, but this group of talented athletes didn't care what people thought. They knew how hard they worked and how dedicated they were and would prove that nothing could stand in the way of their goals.”

Bellmore-Merrick CHSD English Classes Read to Succeed

The district’s English departments are proud to announce that several classes won the Achieve3000’s National Read to Succeed 2 contest. 

From Feb. 22 through March 18, every time a student in a class completed a multiple-choice activity, the class earned a point. For every score of 75 percent, the class earned two points, and for every score of 88 percent or higher, the class earned three points. 

The winning class was the one with the most points on average per student and received a gift card from Achieve3000 to spend on a pizza party.

Rain Doesn’t Dampen Relay for Life Spirit

Arts and Music Celebrated in Middle Schools


Music and art were the forefront of a spring showcase at Merrick Avenue and Grand Avenue middle schools on May 12.
Grand Avenue Middle School Principal Carlo Conte said art teachers have been working hard all year with the students to organize this colorful display.  

“This event transforms our hallways and classrooms into an amazing gallery of art,” he added.

 Pre-concert duets and trio's were performed at the entrance to the auditorium as guests marveled at the artwork.

“The work that was showcased included a variety of material: cut paper collage, oil pastel, colored pencil, graphite, acrylic, watercolor and tempera paint,” said Danielle Steiding, a Merrick Avenue art teacher. “I am extremely proud of the students and the work that comes out of them at such a young age.”

Afterward, band and choir members performed various numbers, treating the audience to an evening of vocal and instrumental music, with “styles varied from Beethoven to ragtime to Lady Gaga,” according to the districtwide middle school Orchestrea Director Michael D’Addio.
“All of the performances were of high-quality and were well received,” added Music Director Richard Gilley. “At the end of the concert the band and chorus performed ‘God Bless the U.S.A.’ together for the finale.”

Gilley and Choral Director Dana Brandwein also sang a duet rendition of “Piano Man,” in celebration of Billy Joel’s 67th birthday.

Rachel Mashal Earns Third Place at ISEF

Rachel Mashal, a senior at Kennedy High School and Intel Talent Search semifinalist, recently earned third place in the 2016 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair Addiction Science Awards.

Her project, titled Development of a Caffeine Addiction Paradigm to Examine How Dietary Restriction and Level of TOR Signaling Modulate the Effects of Drugs, found that dietary changes protected adult fruit flies from the negative effects of caffeine.

“While caffeine is not considered an addictive drug, her project found that male fruit flies are more vulnerable to some of the negative effects of caffeine during development and in adulthood than are the female flies,” according to the ISEF website.

ISEF is considered the world’s largest science competition for high school students. The awards are coordinated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health, and Friends of NIDA, a coalition that supports NIDA’s mission. The Intel ISEF Addiction Science Awards were presented at a ceremony on May 13 in Phoenix, Arizona.

World Languages Students Excel in National Exams

World Language students from the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District recently attained national recognition for excellent performance on the 2016 National Examinations in French, Spanish and Italian.

These competitive exams are administered annually across the country to thousands of students. This year, students from the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District participated, with many of them earning special recognition for gold, silver, bronze or honorable mention prizes.

School Bus Driver Recognized for Swift, Safe Response

The safety and security of students have always been paramount to Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District officials. This commitment was put to the test in early April when a school bus transporting 14 Merrick Avenue Middle School students began smoking and eventually was engulfed in flames.

Laron McGravey, a school bus driver with the district’s contracted transportation company, Guardian, sprung into action, responding to initial signals and ushering the children off the bus to safety.
“He had them stand several houses away at a safer location,” said Board President Skip Haile, during a presentation at the May board meeting. “The students arrived to school completely unharmed and on time.”

“The efforts that he went through to take care of our kids was amazing,” added Superintendent of Schools John DeTommaso.

Bellmore-Merrick Teacher Is Promising New Professional Award Recipient

Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District teacher Sarah Norton has been selected as the recipient of the Promising New Professional Award from the Long Island Family and Consumer Science Educators. This award is given to a teacher with less than eight years of experience, recognizing excellence in the classroom.
Norton teaches family and consumer science at Merrick Avenue Middle School and Kennedy High School, focusing on child and human development, food and nutrition, and gourmet foods. In addition, she works with the students in the school-based BOCES program teaching life skills.
During the May 4 Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District board meeting, Norton was recognized for her achievement.
“Norton is passionate and enthusiastic about her subject area,” said Board Vice President Janet Goller. “She is constantly developing creative lessons and activities that have real life application.”
This includes bringing her students to the Charles A. Reinhard Early Childhood Center to read to youngsters, organizing a bring your child to work day for faculties children, integrating age-appropriate activities and food choices, sponsoring a cupcake war through her gourmet food class and inviting speakers into her classes to discuss social issues such as gender identity in order to enrich the curriculum.

She has established a wonderful relationship with her students and colleagues. She is working closely with Michael DiGiovanni, a family and consumer science teacher, to prepare for the expansion of the champ program and will undoubtedly become an integral part of this program.

“Norton truly exemplifies the dedication, work ethic, creativity, compassion, collegially and professionalism of a remarkable young teacher,” said Goller.

Kennedy’s Spanish Classes Recognize Cinco De Mayo

At Kennedy High School, the World Languages department is recognizing Cinco de Mayo in a variety of ways.

Melissa Schickler’s Spanish classes collected nonrecyclable wrappers from tortillas, chips and other food products typically consumed for Cinco de Mayo; this coincides with a unit on the environment in her level 3 classes.

In John Reilly’s ninth-grade level 2 honors class, students have been working on cultural comparison projects about various celebrations in Spanish-speaking countries. Additionally, a presentation by Lindsey Moser and Sydney Schwinger focused on Cinco de Mayo.
“They included information about how Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Mexico and made cultural comparisons to our Fourth of July holiday celebration,” explained Renée Fallon, World Languages chairperson.

Calhoun Wind Ensemble, Choir Notes Win at Music in the Parks

Earning high awards was music to the Calhoun High School Music Department’s ears as they traveled to the Music in the Parks national competition in Williamsburg, Virginia on April 14.

The Calhoun Wind Ensemble placed first with a Superior rating, “garnering the highest score they ever received at the competition,” said Ed Tumminelli, director of bands.

In the show choir category, Crescendo, placed first with an Excellent rating.
The Concert Choir placed second with an Excellent rating. Tenor Michael DeVito won the Outstanding Vocal Soloist medal.

“All three groups were awarded the coveted Esprit de Corps trophy for the most professional group at the festival,” said Sanford Sardo, director of choral activities.

Before returning to Calhoun, the music department stopped in Washington, D.C., where they toured the city, following which the Concert and Show Choirs gave a 30-minute concert at the United States Navy Memorial Plaza.

“One Voice, One Message” Ambassadors Praise Efforts

Ambassadors from the Central High School District’s “One Voice, One Message,” a districtwide, student-led think tank, stood before the board of education on May 4, touting the program’s success and accomplishments.
“We made a lot of progress in a short time,” said Kennedy High School senior Alex Dobosh. “You had kids going back to their schools and talking about events and initiatives in the hallways to get others excited.”

One such event was a districtwide Day of Service, organized in conjunction with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

“This act was an effective way to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Marco Hanna, an eighth-grader at Merrick Avenue Middle School.

Items were collected, sorted, packed and delivered to families in need, a collaborative effort between the district’s staff and 5,600 students.

“This process has made me a better leader, listener and helper,” said Liam Orr, a student at Grand Avenue Middle School.

Sara Samir, a student from Calhoun High School, praised the success of the recent OVOM 5K Run/Walk, which raised money for an organization that aides in bringing clean drinking water to people in developing countries.

“The success truly shows what BMCHSD is capable of achieving,” Samir added.

Created in March of 2014, student ambassadors from the district’s four high schools and two middle schools join together throughout the school year to address issues impacting the student body and surrounding community.

“When the middle schools were included, it made us feel like our feelings and voices were being heard,” said Jillian Mayer, a Grand Avenue Middle School student.

They work closely with teachers and administrators to achieve district goals, thus fostering the “One Voice, One Message” initiative.

“We hope this has lasting impacts on these students,” said Superintendent John DeTommaso. “When you have a program like this that is self-generating, it works.”

It would seem so, as Tim Tracy of Mepham High School, noted that through this program, he has “learned that one small action can make an outstanding impact on society.”

Calhoun’s Irene Kowalski Nabs Second at DECA Conference

After finishing in first place at the Distributive Education Clubs of America State Career Conference, Calhoun High School senior Irene Kowalski traveled to the DECA International Career Development Conference in Nashville, Tennessee and took home the second-place award.

Kowalski, who is currently the president of New York State DECA, selected the Start-Up Business Plan Event. The purpose of the event is to provide an opportunity for the participant to develop and present a proposal to form a business. The event allows the participant to develop and demonstrate a mastery of essential knowledge and skills as they apply them to the analysis of a business opportunity.

It is the first year that DECA has offered this type of event that focuses on a Lean Entrepreneurship Model. Kowalski's start-up is known as Generation, a bio-informatics company that stores genetic barcodes in a compatible format so that laboratories worldwide can collaborate more easily and efficiently.

“Generation's main goal is to provide an interface for geneticists that helps them research effectively to come up with more personalized medicinal techniques in less time,” said Kowalski.
“Irene was well-versed and extremely knowledgeable on her business model and her entrepreneurship skills truly shined,” added Peter Palazzo, a business teacher at Calhoun.

Irene is a member of the National Honor Society and enrolled in various advanced placement and college level classes. She has been a member of DECA since freshman year and plans to attend Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan this fall.

DECA is unlike any other club offered in high school. It is a nationally recognized business organization that brings the work world into the classroom.

District Students Inducted into National English Honor Society

On April 19, all three high schools in the Central High School District welcomed new members into the prestigious National English Honor Society, an organization which recognizes the merits of accomplished students and faculty in the field of English Language Arts. To qualify for NEHS membership, students must maintain a certain GPA, take part in at least two writing competitions throughout the school year, contribute to an English related activity, attend a school arts event and complete a rigorous course of study in their English classes.

At Calhoun High School, 32 students were inducted into the school’s NEHS chapter, led by English teacher Dawn Boland. Current NEHS president, senior Josh Aberman, presented a keynote speech at the ceremony about how literature changed his life and continues to affect him as a student and an individual. Senior officers Rachel Gershengoren (vice president) and Kristi Chan (treasurer) presented each inductee with a membership pin, certificate and a personalized gift: a copy of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” signed by one or more of their past English teachers to congratulate them on their achievement.

At Kennedy High School, 21 students were inducted into the school’s NEHS chapter, led by English teacher Kimberly Miller. Current NEHS president, senior Rebecca Stekol, presented a keynote speech at the ceremony about the power of writing and its ability to liberate individuals and society. English teacher Steven Mastromariono and English Chairperson Adeline Atkins presented each inductee with their certificates. Daniel Sheffield, an honorary inductee and veteran English teacher, was inducted and acknowledged for his dedication to his students both inside and outside of the classroom. Sheffield has taught English at Kennedy High School for 13 years and has directed 13 drama productions.

Mepham High School welcomed young adult author Kate Karyus Quinn as a keynote speaker for its induction ceremony, who shared anecdotal stories of childhood creativity that led her to pursue her dream to write novels. Mepham’s Poet Laureate Maura Singleton shared an original poem penned for the event. Senior officers Kelsie Schroder, Kara Brust, Bradley Boyle and Katherine Galgano then honored English teacher and Skull and Bones Drama Club adviser Edward Grosskreuz with Honorary membership and NEHS co-advisers Heather Castellano and Shari Stack awarded the Erin McArdle Memorial Scholarship to graduating senior and NEHS secretary Bradley Boyle before inducting new members.  

Mepham Encourages Students to Arrive Alive

Mepham High School students were driving recklessly in the back parking lot of the school, swerving, almost crashing into parked cars and just missing pedestrians. The simulations were all part of the Arrive Alive Tour to promote awareness about the impacts of impaired and distracted driving.

Arrive Alive, a drunk and distracted driving education program and simulator demonstration sponsored by the Community Parent Center, Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District and Mepham, is hosted in partnership with State Farm Insurance and the Allyson Rosenblatt Memorial Fund.

Using a high-tech simulator and special goggles, the Arrive Alive program allowed 200 Mepham students to experience first-hand, the dangers of drinking and driving and texting while driving without the deadly consequences in a safe, controlled environment.

In addition to the simulator, the New York State Police brought the Seat Belt Convincer to Mepham to demonstrate the importance of always wearing a seat belt. The Seat Belt Convincer is an educational tool that simulates a low impact vehicle crash.  It allowed the students to experience forces, of up to five times their body weight, similar to that of a 5 to 7 mph crash.

“When it comes to car safety, wearing a seat belt could be the difference between life or death in a car crash,” said Wendy Tepfer, Executive Director of the Community Parent Center. “Driving impaired or distracted can be deadly. Our goal is to keep our teen drivers safe. If we saved one life as a result of these activities, then we have done our job.”

BOCES Summer Arts Camp


"One Voice, One Message" Continues Message of Unity and Service

World Languages Students Inducted into Honor Societies

The Department of World Languages held its annual honor society induction ceremony at Kennedy High School on April 19 and at Mepham High School on April 20.

Students of French, Italian and Spanish were honored for their outstanding work in a world language.  

The events were organized by Kennedy teachers Francesca Engelson and Mepham teachers Andrew Franklin and Betsy Siegelaub.  

“The inductions were student-led ceremonies that featured student highlights from the year and student musical and poetry presentations in French, Italian and Spanish,” said Renée Fallon, world languages chairperson.

Bellmore-Merrick Celebrates National Poetry Month

Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District students and faculty jumped at the chance to create, perform and listen to poetry throughout the month of April.

The English departments and the library staff created a number of engaging events to help celebrate students’ love of literature and to support budding writers, especially after the success of the Bellmore-Merrick Writing Festival earlier this year.

Sanford H. Calhoun High School librarian Kathryn Elefterion created poetry stations in which students could create different types of visual poetry in blocks of time. A few options included blackout poetry, in which students blacked out words in the pages of old books with Sharpies, leaving behind a few words in a brand-new poem; newspaper poems, in which students cut out letters and shapes from magazines and glued them together; and paint chip poems, in which students used the names of the colors to create themed poems.

English teacher Kaitlyn Seigneuray stated, "Students of every grade and every level loved the activity. Best of all, the students surprised themselves with how much fun they had creating poetry in new, different ways."  

The poetry station event ran from April 5-14, with classes coming in almost every available period.

Calhoun students who wished to read and perform their own original works also competed in The Voice: Slam Poetry Style on April 15, a competition in the style of the popular TV show “The Voice.” Seventeen students wrote two original poems, one based on the theme, “The Letter Never Delivered,” and performed them without prompts for five teacher coaches, who then selected students for their teams.
Several underclassmen took to the Calhoun stage for the first time and dazzled the audience.

English teacher Kelly Martin commented, “It was a treat to hear new voices in the competition for not only the teachers and coaches, but for the audience as a whole.” The event, set up in the Little Theatre, was well-attended by several English classes, who ultimately voted Mr. Formato’s team the victor.

Students who wanted to read poetry in a relaxed, less competitive environment had the chance to shine at the Java Room on April 22. Students were encouraged to get up and read their original poems or poetry from published authors before a few English classes in an open-mic style setting.

Grand Avenue Middle School teachers selected one student per team to read a favorite poem aloud during morning announcements at various intervals during the month. This provided an opportunity for all students, faculty and staff to appreciate poetry throughout the month.

At Kennedy High School, English teacher Vivian Lopez recited a poem during the morning announcements at the start of each day. She read poems in various languages and chose poems that expressed numerous themes.

Finally, in all buildings, many teachers created poetry mini-units or lessons to celebrate National Poetry Month.

Calhoun Cheerleaders With a Cause

Although the cheerleading season may be over, the Calhoun High School cheerleaders continue to cheer for a cause. The Calhoun cheerleading program has a history of being a charitable organization and in the past few years, they have raised money for breast cancer and Relay for Life.  

Keeping the spirit of service alive in the off season, they continued fundraising and giving back. Many of these students are balancing a spring sports schedule, school work and afterschool jobs, along with the commitment to raising awareness.
This past April, the cheerleading program helped fulfill a Make-A-Wish when Calhoun hosted a student for the day. Elsey Kok had the full Cahoun High School experience, including a spirited cheerleading practice in the afternoon. The athletes enjoyed teaching her many cheers and dances they perform on the sidelines at games. More recently, the program hosted a cheerleading clinic, where part of the proceeds raised were donated to the American Cancer Society for the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District Relay for Life. It was inspiring to see so many people coming together with a shared love of cheerleading to raise awareness.  

The Calhoun cheerleading program plans to continue their charitable nature throughout the remainder of the school year raising money for the May 13 Relay for Life at Calhoun High School. They are also planning more activities to take place during the fall season.

Kennedy Student Government Hosts Pasta Night for Charity

Members of the Kennedy High School Student Government and Culinary and Hospitality Applied Management Program co-hosted a pasta dinner on April 18 to benefit the American Cancer Society.

The C.H.A.M.P. students prepared a selection of fresh pasta dishes, including sauces made from scratch.

The Student Government planned the entire event while members of the central administration, Kennedy faculty and the Bellmore-Merrick community attended.

Guests were served freshly made Cesar salad, salad, pizza and desserts. Kennedy Senior Joshua Corwin entertained visitors by playing classical piano music throughout the evening. All proceeds were donated to the American Cancer Society.

Mepham Softball Coach Nets 400th Win


Mepham High School girls’ softball coach Michael Muscara recently earned his 400th win.

Muscara, who has been coaching for 32 years, has a career record of 401-209-1. He is a six-time conference champ, seven-time county semifinalist and one-time county finalist. Additionaly, Muscara has been named the Conference Coach of the Year five times and is the former athletic director for Mepham.

“The time that coach has spent here as a teacher and as an educator, he has been the heart and soul of this building,” said Principal Michael Harrington. “The 400th couldn’t be better well-deserved.”


Josh Levine on Newsday’s Students to Watch List

Kennedy High School junior Josh Levine was recently named to Newsday’s Students to Watch list for April.

Read more about why he was selected here.

‘Blonde’ Bombshell Hits Mepham Stage

Mepham High School’s Skull and Bones Drama Club painted the school pink as they recently staged the musical production, “Legally Blonde.”

The cast was led by seniors Jessica Serviss (Elle Woods), Evan Spector (Emmett Forrest), Matt Gibbons (Warner Huntington III) and junior Cassidy Casimir (Paulette). 

Also joining the cast in memorable cameos were two of the cast members' dogs: Guinness (owned by junior, Hailey Canonico) as Bruiser Woods and Jed (owned by sophomore, Olivia Larocchia) as Rufus.

The production was directed by Edward Grosskreuz, with vocal music direction by Amanda Cantwell and instrumental music direction by Brian Neiderman. 

“Complete with challenging and dazzling choreography by Whitney Stone, ‘Legally Blonde’ took the Mepham stage by pink storm and was a fun and upbeat evening out for all who attended,” said Cheryl Fontana, director of fine & performing arts and adult education.

Grand Avenue Students Learn About Science Research

Allessandro Bailetti, a student at New York University studying for his doctorate in genetics, recently visited Grand Avenue Middle School as a guest speaker for Tami Cruz's science classes.

He also spoke to the members of the Students Network of Cooperative Science about what it is like to do research at the college level.

Mepham Language Honor Societies Give Back

Mepham High School's French and Italian honor societies continued their tradition of giving back to the community through a field trip to the Mary Brennan INN in Hempstead on April 7.  

Along with Italian Honor Society advisor Betsy Siegelaub, students devoted an entire day to assisting the staff and volunteers in their daily activities: sorting clothing donations; organizing food donations; serving hot lunch to 256 guests; cleaning the dining room after lunch.

Students were moved by the needs of many right here on Long Island.  
"We had the option to do anything for our field trip like see a movie or go out to make pizza, but I really like how we used that time to give back to the community and go to the INN," said Jessica Scalisi, one of the co-presidents of the Italian Honor Society.

Kennedy Students Strut the Catwalk for Charity


Led by Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District Board of Education Vice President Janet Goller for the 20th year in a row, Kennedy High School seniors converted the auditorium into a fashion runway to raise money for their adopted charity.

More than 100 students participated in the fashion show, which showcased casual and formal wear as well as hair and makeup styling from a variety of local merchants. The evening is part of the Senior Experience, which offers alternative learning opportunities to graduating students towards the end of their senior year.

“It is a culminating event for seniors, like Class Night, the prom and then graduation,” said teacher Lisa Scherer. “This year an extrodinary number of seniors volunteered - the most in years - and they represented all groups of students.”

A portion of the event’s proceeds will benefit Camp Sunrise, a day camp dedicated to children with cancer and their siblings, free of charge.

Italian Students Place in Poetry Contest

On April 8, select Italian students from Calhoun, Kennedy and Mepham High Schools participated in the American Association of Teachers of Italian’s annual poetry contest at SUNY Old Westbury. Students recited poems from renowned Italian poets and were judged on their fluency, poise, interpretation and memorization of each piece.

Calhoun High School
Lauren Ameruoso -  Second Place (Mr. Ritaccio)
Sara Grossman - Honorable Mention (Mr. Ritaccio)
David Bekore - Honorable Mention (Ms. Sycoff)

Mepham High School
Kristen Corless - Level V - Honorable Mention (Mr. Franklin)

The following teachers were instrumental in making the day a success: Antonietta Valenti, Christen Visceglie, Andrew Franklin, Betsy Siegelaub, Jerry Ritaccio and Cara Sycoff.

Calhoun Assists With Make-A-Wish Request

It was a dream come true for an international student who chose to spend a day in an American high school as part of her Make-A-Wish request.

Esley Kok of the Netherlands, who recently battled Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was treated like a celebrity as she rode the bus to Calhoun High School with former Make-A-Wish recipient and current Calhoun student, Holden Smith. She then shadowed senior Meghan Corona as the pair attended classes, took in some extra curriculars and even attempted cheerleading.

Corona, who was granted her own Make-A-Wish in 2013 of meeting the cast of the popular television show, “Glee,” battled a similar disease and said it was easy to bond with Kok.

“I volunteer for Relay for Life and have been involved with Make-A-Wish before, so I was eager to help out with this,” Corona said.
During Michael Goldberg’s Sculpture 4 class, Kok passed out Dutch delicacies, as students gathered around her, eager to learn more about her culture and education and even a foreign language lesson.

“It’s a whole other world back home, as we have smaller schools,” Kok said. “I really wanted to explore American classrooms and see some sports.”

Goldberg said Calhoun is the ideal setting for this because "there's so much here for the kids to bring people together.”

Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. This fulfillment was a joint effort between Make-A-Wish Metro New York and Make-A-Wish Netherlands.

To view the video featured on FiOs 1 News click here.

WWII Vet Visits Grand Avenue

Bernie Rader, World War II veteran and prisoner of war, shared his war experiences with eighth grade students at Grand Avenue Middle School recently.

Bernie Rader served in occupied France and was part of a 55 man patrol from the 9th Infantry division.  Rader was wounded by mortar fire and captured by Germans in Brittany in 1944. He spent 45 days in a German prisoner of war hospital. He was freed in an unprecedented prisoner of war exchange arranged by Andrew Hodges, a young International Red Cross Field Director.

Rader is the recipient of a Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. In 2007, former French President, Nicolas Sarkozy presented Rader with the prestigious French Legion of Honor Award. The Legion of Honor Award was created in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte and it honors soldiers and civilians who have who have made a significant contribution to French life.

Bernie s wife June, and his sister, Gloria Katz shared their experiences of sacrifice on the American home front.

“Bernie encouraged students to think about service to their community and country,” said Karen McGuinness, the district Social Studies Chairperson.

MAMS School Supply List

All seventh graders have received the MAMS 2016-2017 School Supply Order Form that was sent home in their math classes.  Additional copies are available in our Main Office or follow the link below!

Although the calculator options are listed below, supplies can be ordered with or without the calculator.

•    7th and 8th grade without calculator
•    ALL 7th and 8th grade General Math TI 30XIIS calculator
•    8th grade Honors Math (Common Core Algebra) TI-84 Plus Calculator

All orders are available for pick up by Aug. 22 at:

Colony Cards and Gifts
1984 Merrick Road

School Supplies Order Form 2016-2017.pdf

Any questions…text Staci Lambert @ 516-457-2795

World Languages Department Announces District-Wide Contest Winners

The Department of World Languages would like to congratulate the participants and winners of our second annual district-wide contest.
Students in grades 7-12 submitted entries in our poem, essay, comic strip and poster categories. This year’s contest focused on the value of multilingualism through the theme of “Multilingualism is a Superpower.”

Thank you to the entire World Languages department for judging and to the faculty, staff, and students who submitted votes for the poster contest.

We wish to thank all of our students who participated and the teachers who helped make this event a huge success.  Félicitacions! Congratulazioni! ¡Felicitaciones!


Department of World Languages Hosts Poster Contest

The Department of World Languages in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District would like to congratulate the participants and winners of our districtwide poster contest commemorating National Foreign Language Week.  

This year’s entries centered on the theme “Multilingualism is a Superpower.” Students from all grades submitted entries illustrating the importance of cultural awareness and learning a second language.

“We wish to thank all of our students who participated and submitted votes to select the winners,” said Enrique Montes, Department of World Languages and ENL chairperson. “We would also like to thank all faculty and staff members who voted and encouraged our students.

Félicitacions!  Congratulazioni! ¡Felicitaciones!”

This year’s winners are:

• Calhoun High School:
First place - Honora Campbell
Second place - Maricar Vergel
Third place - Quinn Chao

• Kennedy High School:
First place- Tara Elengickal
Second place- Josephine Cheung
Third place- Stephanie Kaplan

• Mepham High School:
First place- Victoria Caruso
Second place- Eli Koukoulis
Third place- Annemarie Hagarty and Nicole Farina

• Grand Avenue Middle School:
First place- Gianna Augugliaro
Second place- Jacob Rosenkrantz
Third place- Alessandro Barsallo

• Merrick Avenue Middle School:
First place- Jadyn Hakim
Second place- Anastasia Slobodov
Third place- Hannah Samuels

Merrick Avenue MS Students Raise $8,000 for St. Jude Math-A-Thon

Merrick Avenue Middle School students shattered previous fundraising records for the St. Jude Math-A-Thon, soaring past $8,000 for the first time in a decade since the school began participating.
“We kicked off the event on Pi Day (March 14) under the premise that ‘MAMS Gives Back for Pi Day,’” said Mathematics Department Chair David Gunder about raising engagement and awareness for the fundraiser.
Matt Rockensies, an eighth-grade honors math student, raised the most - $560 – for completing online mathematical problems.
“I set an original goal of $250, but everyone in my family contributed and I doubled it,” he said.

Eighth-grade honors math student Christina Lafkas raised $200 for the event, participating for the first year and surpassing her fundraising goal.

“I want to be a doctor when I grow up and work with kids, so this encouraged me to raise money for St. Jude’s,” she said.

The Math-A-Thon is an education-based fundraising program supporting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Amanda Aronoff Receives BOCES Education Partner Award

Kennedy senior Amanda Aronoff was recently named a recipient of the 2016 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award. The Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District Board of Education recently presented her with an Award of Honor for this achievement at the April 6 meeting.

The award recognizes indiviudals and organizations that have had a measurable impact on public education in Nassau County.

Aronoff created a student-run, anti-bullying committee at Kennedy called N.I.C.E. (Nice is Always Cool).

“As founder and president of the group, Amanda planned and implemented fundraising activities to make the committee successful including an anti-bullying photo contest,” Board Vice President Janet Goller said as she recognized Aronoff at the meeting.

Board Honors Diving Champion Youssef Ibrahim

The district and board recently honored eighth-grade swim champion, Youssef Ibrahim, who went undefeated in 1-meter diving season.
Grand Avenue’s Ibrahim, who swims on the Bellmore-Merrick Sharks team, won this event at both the Division A Championships and the Nassau County Championships – including scoring a personal best of 491.05 points.

At the New York State Championships held in Buffalo in early March, Ibrahim’s score was 80 more than the second-place competitor.
“This is an exceptional feat for an eighth-grade athlete,” said Board Trustee JoAnn DeLauter.

In addition to diving, Ibrahim also plays soccer for Grand Avenue, studies robotics as part of the STEP Scholar Academy at Hofstra University and enjoys playing the piano, fishing and ice skating in his spare time.

Blake Fisher Honored by School Board

After competition at the state level of the Poetry Out Loud competition and representing the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District, Calhoun senior Blake Fisher was recognized by the board of education for her accomplishment.

Poetry Out Loud is a national competition that requires competitors to recite three poems from a selection of specified works at the regionals, state and national competitions. Blake moved on from her class competition to place as first runner-up in the regional competition and then finally representing the district at the state level.

“Blake is enrolled in a rigorous academic schedule, a member of several honor societies, a recipient of All-State and All-County honors as a vocalist, the treasurer of the senior class, a four-year member and current assistant leader of Crescendo, and an active member of Calhoun’s On Tour program,” added Board Trustee Wendy Gargiulo.

Board Honors Bulldogs Hockey Championship Team

After capping off an undefeated season of 18-0, the Bellmore-Merrick Bulldogs defeated Long Beach to capture their first Nassau County Hockey Championship. The team then traveled to Jamestown for a shot at the states, making it to the semifinal round.
At the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District Board of Education April 6 meeting, Superintendent of Schools John DeTommaso emphasized the energizing team spirit and commitment of the coaches and players.

“They had an amazing run and this is something they’ll look back on for the rest of their lives,” he added.

The team was presented with Awards of Honor.

Kennedy Fair Connects Students to Potential Healthcare Careers


Local businesses, organizations and alumni joined the science community at John F. Kennedy High School to present the third annual health and career fair on March 30.

More than 60 health professionals were on hand to offer advice and information about potential careers in medicine. Others shared tips about how to live a healthier lifestyle through clean eating, yoga practice, acupuncture and more.

“These students get to stand and talk with doctors and connect with universities that offer healthcare profession internships and programs,” said science chairperson Robert Soel.

Students in the Culinary and Hospitality Arts Program crafted healthy snacks such as roasted red pepper hummus and couscous on cucumber rounds.
An annual Medical Scrabble Tournament was also held at the beginning of the evening, with 32 teams of two competing for a championship title. It came down to Sarah Moussavi and Rachel Klein verses World Languages teacher Paul Cirino, who was victorious over the students.

The custom-designed medical game board was gifted by Northwell Health a few years ago. Advanced science students assisted the rounds with scoring.
The $5 tournament entry fee and profits from raffle tickets benefitted the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, raising a total of $1,200.


Calhoun Student Pens Book About Testing Anxiety

Sparked by the inspiration of an influential teacher and passion about her topic, Calhoun High School senior Bianca Liriano authored and published a children’s book about anxieties surrounding test taking.

Liriano recently addressed fellow students from the district’s Prep program about the messaging in her book, “This Test Does Not Define You.”

“Testing anxiety is an incessant sensation that plagues even the brightest of students,” Liriano said. “This high test anxiety … inevitably lowers test scores, allowing for an inaccurate representation of a student’s academic ability. We should all just try our best, as the test results do not define who you are.”

The idea was born out of a Student Council meeting about ways to honor the late history teacher, Doug Smestad. Liriano then tied this into her Girl Scout Gold Award, which is the highest honor earned for a Girl Scout. A longtime Girl Scout, Liriano is even featured on the cover of the Tagalongs cookie box.
While Liriano said it required quite an effort on her part, the process was completed fairly quickly.

“You have to write the book, then have people help you edit it, draw things for you, get information from a publishing website and then there was getting it on Amazon,” she explained.

A planned communications major, Liriano advised fellow students to “write about something you’re passionate about.”

The book is available via for $6.

Students Get Fit at Calhoun Health Fair

Students at Calhoun High School learned about healthy living at the annual health fair, which featured volunteer efforts and showcased local vendors.

From relaxation scents and oils to anti-gravity yoga and video game dance offs, the event highlighted various ways for students to maintain a health conscious state of being.

“It centers around promoting healthy choices for our students to take with them for the rest of their lives,” said Keri Cinelli, health teacher and fair organizer.

Massage tables were set up by local chiropractors, cosmetology students offered beauty tips and athletes were offered performance reviews and much more as students swarmed the gymnasium. Students and S.A.D.D. Club members also prepped and served nutritious snacks and foods.

Bulldogs Named to MSG Varsity All-Long Island Hockey Team

Bellmore-Merrick Bulldog players Tommy Condon and Jon Olson were named to the MSG Varsity All-Long Island first and second teams, respectively.

Condon, a junior at Sanford H. Calhoun High School, plays forward for the Bulldogs and “had 49 goals and 26 assists in just 19 game,” according to MSG Varsity.

Olson, a junior at Wellington C. Mepham High School, also plays forward and “had 25 goals and 33 assists and was second on Bellmore-Merrick with 58 points.”

Additionally, coach Chris Patten, a Wellington C. High School Mepham teacher, was named 2016 All-Long Island Coach of the Year.

After going undefeated during the regular season, “Patten kept them grounded, while also preaching the importance of family and community,” MSG Varsity stated.

Regents Percentage Policy


Stranger Danger Safety Tips - Nassau County Police Department


In the News


Updates Inside


The district will be placing new information in this section regarding the Capital Projects. Be on the lookout for information as it becomes available. See the links below for our latest updates.

April 2016 Capital Bond Project Slideshow

4/11/16 - Bond Phase 2 Update

March 2016 Capital Bond Project Slideshow

3/1/16 - Bond Phase 2 Update

February 2016 Capital Bond Project Slideshow

1/5/16 - Bond Phase 2 Update

12/15/15 - Bond Phase 2 Update

December 2015 Capital Bond Project Slideshow

11/15/15 - Bond Phase 2 Update

November 2015 Capital Bond Project Slideshow

10/20/15 - Bond Phase 2 Update

8/25/15 - Bond Phase 2 Update

1/22/15 - Bond Phase 1 Update

12/10/14 - Bond Phase 1 Update

10/29/14 - Bond Phase 1 Update

9/29/14 - Bond Phase 1 Update

8/11/14 - Bond Phase 1 Update

7/14/14 - Bond Phase 1 Update

6/30/14 - Bond Phase 1 Update

July 2014 Capital Bond Project Slideshow

August 2014 Capital Bond Project Slideshow

September 2014 Capital Bond Project Slideshow

October 2014 Capital Bond Project Slideshow

November 2014 Capital Bond Project Slideshow

December 2014 Capital Bond Project Slideshow

Construction Update 6/17/14

Neighbor Letter Re: Construction (Middle School)

Neighbor Letter Re: Construction

6/10/14 - Bond Phase 1 Update

SED Approval - Phase I  - May 6

02/10/14 - Bond Project Update

Capital Project Potential Phasing