Mepham Physics Team Earns First Place at Olympics

Mepham Physics Team Earns First Place at Olympics Photo
Mepham High School’s physics team competed at the 33rd annual Physics Olympics held on March 17 at Farmingdale State College, clinching the overall first-place trophy. 

Ailish Egan, Pavan Patel, Will Rosen, Kevin Weber and Zach Weiss competed against a field of 18 well-prepared high school teams from all over Long Island in the the Olympics, which were sponsored by the Long Island Physics Teachers Association. 

“The Mepham team earned second-place trophies for the Physics Bowl and the Bowling for Glory events, however they scored so well in all of the events that the team took the overall first-place trophy in what was a very close competition,” said William Leacock, teacher and team adviser.

Builder’s Club Sponsors Pennies for Patients

Once again, the Builders Club of Grand Avenue Middle School will be participating in the "Pennies for Patients" program sponsored by The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society from through April 5. 

Academic teams will compete against each other to see which team can raise the most money. Students can make donations to the program in their team's name by placing a donation into their team bucket during their lunch period. 

A donation can also be made online by clicking on the link, and searching for your child's team under the "classroom name" search option. The team that raises the most money will receive a prize. 

“Thank you for your generosity,” said club advisor Sean Doherty. “We hope everyone has a fun time participating in the program.”

Calhoun’s Rodriguez Nabs Second at Track and Field States

 Calhoun’s Rodriguez Nabs Second at Track and Field States Photo
Representing Nassau County and Calhoun High School, senior Cristin Rodriguez traveled to the New Balance Track and Field Center in New York City on March 10 to compete in her third consecutive Track and Field National Championships.  

Rodriguez, who ran the 60-meter hurdles, went up against state champions from Virginia, Texas and Florida. 

“This didn’t phase Cristin one bit,” said coach Joseph Migliano. “She got to her lane focused and determined knowing this would be her last indoor race as a high school athlete.” 

The gun went off and Rodriguez had a smooth start as she quickly jumped over each hurdle. She took second in her heat running a time of 9.10 — a personal best and the second fastest time in nationals. 

“It was a terrific end to the season for Cristin,” Migliano said. “We’ve been training since the end of spring nationals last year for a situation just like this and we were both really happy with the outcome.”

Cristin had taken four to five weeks off after pulling a hamstring during the middle of the winter season, Migliano explained. “Every day, we worked on her hamstring and she would be at practice to mentor the younger athletes; she really is a very special young woman.”

Despite the injury, Rodriguez finished the season running the fastest time she ever had and finished second in New York State. 

“This winter season has probably been the best one of my high school experience so far,” Rodriguez said. “It was definitely a season full of growth, training to get better and learning to have the confidence to run against some of the best girls in the state and nation.”

She also attributed a part of her success to Migliano. “He definitely helped me succeed throughout this season and prepared me to run the best personal records throughout high school,” Rodriguez said. “I’m very happy with what I’ve accomplished in winter and I hope to have an even better spring season.” 

‘Fame’ Lives on Grand Avenue Stage

‘Fame’ Lives on Grand Avenue Stage Photo

Students in the Grand Avenue Middle School drama program treated local senior citizens to a free dress rehearsal performance of their play, “Fame” on March 16.

Musical Director Amanda Cantwell coached the cast of more than 50 students in several musical numbers and solos.

“The students continue to impress me with their talents and dedication,” said Cantwell. “The level of performance they achieve at such young ages is amazing.”

The stage was covered with neon-clad, 80s-themed costumes which were inspired by photos director/English teacher Rebecca Levy shared with the students.

“These talented students spent months putting their all into their performances, and based on the response from the senior citizen dress rehearsal, that hard work most certainly paid off,” said Levy.

Sound, set and lighting were all provided by a talented stage crew and led by Nicholas Giordano, technical director.

Regular performances will also take place on March 17, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students and are available for purchase at the door.

Kennedy’s Wilen Gets Gold Medal for Writing

Gold Medal Photo
Alixandra Wilens, the Class of 2017 valedictorian at Kennedy High School, was one of eight students nationwide to be awarded the coveted Scholastic Gold Medal Award for her writing portfolio.

Wilens was also awarded three silver keys at the regional level for her six submission pieces – which included a compilation of newspaper articles, collection of poetry, short stories and essays.

“I wanted to shared with readers how choices in a story can drive the plot forward,” explained Wilens. “Details that can seem so small at first can become more impactful throughout the story.”

Her English teacher, Vivian DiGennaro said she mentored Wilens on only “editing her pieces from the creative aspect,” but not many changes were needed because of her talent.

Wilens serves as the co-editor-in-chief of the school’s newspaper, The Cougar Crier, and is a member of several national honor societies, Mu Alpha Theta. She was also named a National Merit Commended Student.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is the nation's longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in grades 7–12. Within the Awards' 29 categories, a record-breaking 330,000 works of art and writing were submitted for adjudication at the regional level this year.

Wilens will receive a $10,000 collegiate scholarship and will attend a ceremony on June 8 at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Calhoun Cheerleaders Host Youth Clinic

Calhoun Cheerleaders Host Youth Clinic
The Calhoun High School cheerleaders hosted a youth cheerleading clinic on March 11 for kindergarten through eighth-grade students in the local community. Part of the proceeds will be donated to the upcoming Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District Relay for Life event.

Calhoun AP Calculus Students are Ahead of the ‘Curve’

Dr. George Lesser’s AP calculus students at Calhoun High School recently created slope fields from differential equations.

Each student was responsible for determining the slope of a curve at a given point, sketch a small line segment on a Post-it with approximately that slope, and then place it on the coordinate plane.

“The resulting ‘slope-field’ helped them to visualize what the original function’s graph looks like,” Dr. Lesser said.

Calhoun English Prep Students Create Bookmarks

Students in Beth Johnson’s English prep class at Calhoun High School learned research and resourcing skills with the assistance of librarian Kathryn Elefterion during a recent Women’s History Month project.
Students were assigned a historical female figure and learned how to navigate websites to find out more about this person.
“Listen to videos on and get interesting facts or something special about the individual,” Elefterion instructed the special education students. “The point of the project is for you to learn more about these amazing women.”
Student Elizabeth Randman said she wanted to research Rosa Parks after learning about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights efforts in a January lesson.
“Rosa Parks started the Montgomery bus boycott to stop African-Americans from giving up their seats if white people wanted to ride the bus,” she explained.
Later in the lesson, the students will also write a personal tribute to a woman in their own life, to help foster writing skills.

"This is to help them highlight things that this woman in their lives has done to inspire them,” Johnson said.

Afterward, students created bookmarks using computer software that included some details they learned.

“The bookmarks will be on display for the library's patrons to use,” Johnson added.

Community Forum - April 5, 2017


It’s Musical Season in Bellmore-Merrick

It’s Musical Season in Bellmore-Merrick
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Students in the school district have been busy preparing for upcoming spring musicals.

The season kicks off March 16 and 17, at 7 p.m. with the two middle school productions: “Fame, Jr.” at Grand Avenue Middle School and “Oklahoma, Jr.” at Merrick Avenue Middle School.

Up next is Kennedy High School’s production of the hit show, “Pippin” with evening performances on March 17 and 18, at 7:30 p.m. There will also be a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, March 18.

The Calhoun On Tour Company continues the fun with the Leonard Bernstein classic, “On the Town.” Performances are March 18, 24 and 25, at 7:30 p.m.

Mepham High School’s Skull and Bones Drama Club rounds out the season with the tap dancing extravaganza, “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” Performances are scheduled for March 30, 31 and April 1, at 7 p.m.

Tickets are available for purchase at the door prior to each performance.

Kennedy Scientist’s Research to Be Published… Again

Kennedy Scientist
Max Basil, an Advanced Science Research student at Kennedy High School, will once again be a published author in the science community.

The senior’s research will be published as an abstract in the April issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Neurological Surgeons. This will be his second journal publication as a co-author.

“These awards and accomplishments tell just part of the ongoing story of research at Kennedy,” said Science Chairperson Robert Soel. “Our ASR students excel in competitions regionally and nationally. They are making authentic contributions to the scientific community, and they are inspiring their peers and the young students coming up after them.”

Kennedy Students Get on Their Feet for Musical Trip

On March 1, students from Amanda Cooper’s Spanish 4H classes at Kennedy High School attended the musical “On Your Feet!” in Manhattan.

Cooper and her students have been learning about the story of Emilio Estefan and Gloria Estefan and how they influenced the music industry.

“This week, students are following with a cultural comparison activity that will allow them to compare and contrast their favorite artists with the Estefans,” explained World Languages Chairperson Renée Fallon.

Calhoun Team Named LI Region of Virtual Enterprises Business Plan Competition Finalists

Calhoun High School’s Virtual Enterprise team, Poseidon Pure, were recently named LI Region of Virtual Enterprises Business Plan Competition finalists.

Caleigh Alfarone, Devon Bayer, Rebecca Holtz, Colleen McKenna and Sara Samir were among those chosen.

“These young ladies showed the utmost of professionalism, poise and confidence not only in their presentations but most importantly in their preparation,” said their coach/teacher Peter Palazzo. “They were extremely diligent throughout the entire process and worked seamlessly together as a cohesive unit. Their understanding and mastery of business concepts is evident in what they have accomplished.”
Poseidon Pure created a business/plan as well as the presentation as part of the competition.

“They are a [theoretical] water filtration company,” explained Palazzo. “They offer water filtration products to individuals, families, teams, schools, offices, etc. They also have charitable donations that help improve the life of others exposed to contaminated drinking water.”

The Long Island VE firms will move on to the National Business Plan Competition in New York City on April 3 at Microsoft Technology Center.

Mepham Students Take Virtual Field Trip to Cuba

Mepham Students Take Virtual Field Trip to Cuba
During Foreign Language Week, Christine O'Neill's Spanish II classes at Mepham High School took a virtual field trip to Cuba. The tour included three cities: Santa Clara, Havana and Camagüey.  

Google Cardboard viewers, purchased through a district grant, transformed student smartphones into a virtual reality experience. The new technology provides students with an opportunity to explore the different sights and sounds of Spanish-speaking communities around the world.

“The students enjoyed themselves and it was exciting to see them enthused about ‘virtually’ visiting a Spanish-speaking country,” O’Neill said.

Perri Zilberman Wins National Young Astronomers Award

Perri Zilberman, an Advanced Science Research senior at Kennedy High School, has been named the first-place winner of the National Young Astronomers Award for his research on the exoplanets called “Hot Jupiters.”  

As a first-place winner, Zilberman is invited to an awards ceremony to be held at the 2017 North East Astronomer’s Forum in addition to receiving a telescope valued at $1,500.

Community Parent Center, School Districts to Host Narcan Training


Youssef Ibrahim Dives into First at County Championships

Youssef Ibrahim Dives into First at County Championships
Youssef Ibrahim Dives into First at County Championships 2
Youssef Ibrahim, a freshman at Mepham High School, followed up an undefeated diving season with the Bellmore-Merrick Sharks by taking first place in both the Division B and Nassau County Championships.

“Youssef is one of the best divers I have seen compete in Section VIII in my 20 years of coaching,” said coach Rob Kaefer. “I expect that if he continues to push himself he will break the county record, currently held by his brother, Moustafa.”

Last season, Ibrahim scored a personal best 491.05 points at the 2016 county championships.

MAMS Admins Flip Flapjacks for Students

MAMS Admins Flip Flapjacks for Students

Students at Merrick Avenue Middle School do not need an incentive to carry out the One Voice, One Message mission of collecting food donations for the district’s new food pantry.

Nonetheless, administrators offered a sweet treat to the team who collected the most pantry items for the districtwide Day of Service event — a warm hotcake breakfast. At MAMS, students are split up into four site-based teams.

Various staff members floured, flipped, served and syruped a pancake feast for the winners, Team 3, which included about 200 students.

“Merrick Avenue collectively supplied more than 1,000 pieces of donated items to the Day of Service that went to various shelters and group homes,” said Assistant Principal Katelyn Dunn.

Merrick Avenue French Students Celebrate Mardi Gras

Merrick Avenue French Students Celebrate Mardi Gras
Denise Schleith’s seventh- and eighth-grade French classes recently celebrated Mardi Gras at Merrick Avenue Middle School.

Seventh-grade French students made Mardi Gras masks and learned about Mardi Gras celebrations in various French-speaking countries as well as in New Orleans.  

Student volunteers made king cakes, traditional cakes eaten during Mardi Gras, decorated with the colors representing Mardi Gras (purple, green and gold.) Eighth-grade French students also continued a fun tradition from last year.  

“As the tradition goes, the students who received the ‘baby’ in their piece of cake the previous year would receive good luck for that year, and have to make the king cake the following year,” explained Schleith. “In keeping with the tradition, two students brought in king cakes for the class to enjoy. All students received beads for answering questions about Mardi Gras and French culture.”

Calhoun Cheer Squad Named Nassau County Champs

Calhoun Cheer Squad Named Nassau County Champs
Calhoun Cheer Squad Named Nassau County Champs 2
Calhoun Cheer Squad Named Nassau County Champs 3
The Calhoun High School varsity cheerleaders became Nassau County Champions at the Nassau County Section 8 Championship on Feb. 26. They had an undefeated season in the Division 1 Co-Ed category.  

They will be competing in the New York State Championship on Saturday, March 4 in Syracuse, New York.

“We are so proud of the team and their coaches, Chrissy Meiselas and Crystal Cass for a great fall and winter season and successful competitions this winter,” said Principal Nicole Hollings.

Calhoun’s Breakfast Club Visits Seniors for Game Time Fun

The Breakfast Club from Calhoun High School visited the Jewel Quinn Senior Center in Merrick for their second time this year.

The students brought games such as Uno, Apples to Apples, Scrabble and playing cards. They chatted with the seniors and asked them questions while some colored in pictures to keep busy. The seniors even took line dancing lessons and the students joined them in the fun.  

“They hope to return to the Senior Center many more times in the future to give more students in the club the opportunity to volunteer and interact with others,” said special education teacher Wendy Simson.

Kennedy Key Clubbers Help Create Love Bugs to Foster a Community Partnership

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In celebration of Valentine’s Day, the Kennedy High School Key Club from the worked with Bellmore School District’s kindergarten students at the Reinhard Early Childhood Center on a Love Bug project.

The activity allowed the 25 club members to receive valuable community service hours, while providing an opportunity to mentor younger students.
The kindergartners had fun decorating their red construction paper love bugs with fluffy pipe cleaner antennas, eyes and messages of love, while the high school students demonstrated important role modeling and teamwork skills.
Adviser Jessica Chilton said the high school students enjoyed working with the younger students.

“The Key Club always looks forward to visiting schools and fostering a community partnership between districts,” she said.

Calhoun Senior Seeks to Help Others Through Health

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A trip to a remote Tanzanian village where his parents grew up when he was 10 years old compelled Calhoun senior Hadi Aziz into becoming a social activist.

“They were lacking the medical necessity found in basic first aid kits and it was then that I knew I wanted to help these people,” said the Calhoun Advanced Science Research student.

Determined to make a difference, he approached the school’s senior experience Fashion Show board last year with his presentation. The board annually selects a philanthropic organization to donate their proceeds. His proposed organization, Safe Motherhood Project, which aims to improve maternal health status, was selected and received $10,000 that was raised from the Fashion Show.

Earlier this year, he was able to visit Kibaha, Tanzania where he saw first-hand how the funds were used — a newly created consultation room and pre/post-natal care clinic at Medewell Health Center.

During his brief visit, a mother had given birth and he said he “was so grateful to see the happiness” on her face. Aziz speaks the region’s native Swahili and was able to learn more about their former available healthcare.

“This clinic now offers prenatal and postnatal care to this impoverished part of the country,” he said. “It’s amazing that we can see how much we impacted a community 3,000 miles away from Calhoun,” he added. “We essentially brought this level of care to the community that was previously unavailable.”

The trip, which was self-funded, was further evidence that Aziz wishes to pursue a career in the medical field one day and travel the world to help those in these types of communities.

This year, Aziz hopes to be selected again as the Fashion Show’s beneficiary. This time his proposed organization will be the Medewell Eye Clinic, which provides on site consultation eye care and cataract surgeries in East African communities.

“Going to an optometrist is considered a luxury here and many suffer from blindness conditions that are treatable,” Aziz explained. “To be able to give these people the gift of sight would be the best gift I could give.”

Grand Avenue Builders’ Club Hosts Book Drive

The Builders’ Club of Grand Avenue Middle School collected and organized book donations for their drive to benefit the local organization, The Book Fairies.

“We collected new or gently used books suitable for babies through adults,” said Sean Doherty, Spanish teacher/club adviser. “The students spent time after school to sort and package up the donations.”

Eighth-grader Nick DiMarco joined the Builders Club last year because his grandfather is an active Kiwanis Club member.

“I want to be charitable just like he is,” he added.

The more than 250 books collected will be distributed to high poverty schools and organizations in the metropolitan area. The club plans to start collecting Pennies for Patients, to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Photo Caption: Builders’ Club members Max Luft, Jonathan Harris, James Bodendorf, Lina Fitzroy, Gianna DiPrima, Keith Satrinana, Nicholas DiMarco and Nick Salas.

Mepham Girls Basketball Finishes Season Undefeated

Mepham Girls Basketball Finishes Season Undefeated
The Mepham High School girls basketball team finished their regular season with an undefeated record and were named conference champs.

The squad, whose 12-0 record will propel them into the Nassau County Conference III playoffs, is led by junior point guard, MaryAnn Bagonis. She averages 13 points per game. Senior Maeve Testa averages 12 points per game and 10 rebounds per game.

“I am proud of the consistent team effort and spirit put forth by these girls on the court each week,” said coach Jim Mulvey.

The squad enters the first round of playoffs on Feb. 16.

Calhoun Leadership Class Heads South For Cultural Exchange

Calhoun Leadership Class Heads South For Cultural Exchange
Eleven students have been chosen by their peers to represent Calhoun High School in the first leg of a cultural exchange trip to Pascagoula, Mississippi. This is the first time any school in the district has participated in such a program.

“We Facetimed with our host students and exchanged videos explaining what school life is like for each of us,” explained Caitlyn Tolchin.
The students, who depart on Feb. 23, are from the Leadership Class, which promotes community service and fosters leadership skills among students. They will double up with host families and spend one day shadowing their southern counterparts at school.

“I’m looking forward to learning more about their culture but also their food because it’s so much different than ours,” said Jack Roberts.

Melissa Schmidt said she has been following Snapchat where the Pascagoula students have been sending videos of traditional Mississippi fare for them to sample on their trip.

Accompanied by Leadership Class teacher Brian Joyce and Assistant Principal Ken Zisel, the students will attend a family-oriented Mardi Gras celebration hosted by the town. They are also being welcomed with a barbecue celebration that is expected to be attended by the school superintendent, mayor and other local dignitaries.

Zisel orchestrated the trip and told students during a planning meeting that they should be proud they were chosen and he hopes they “get everything they want out of an experience like this.”

Callie Ganca explained how they plan to create a video diary during their trip to chronicle their experiences and show their fellow classmates.

In April, their Pascagoula counterparts will visit Merrick, spending a day at Calhoun High School as well. The trip was partially funded by students’ fundraising but the remainder is being financed individually.
“We’ve already been talking to them about what they want to do when they are here and most of them have never been to New York City, so that seems to be on the top of the list,” added Roberts.

Three Seniors Named National Merit finalists

Two Seniors Named National Merit finalists
Three students in the district have been named finalists in the 62nd annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Alaina Anderson of Calhoun High School, Maximilian Bazil of Kennedy High School and Rachel Jozwick of Mepham High School all received this distinction.

“We are proud of the exemplary students who received this prestigious honor,” said Superintendent John DeTommaso. “In addition to being strong in academics, they have each contributed greatly to their school community.”

The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Approximately 15,000 students, or approximately one-third of the 50,000 high scorers qualified as finalists. From here, approximately 7,500 students will be notified of various monetary, corporate-sponsored or college-sponsored awards.

Notice To Parents Of Nonpublic School Students

Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District parents are reminded that New York State Law annually requires a written transportation request by April 1 from parents or guardians of students (Grades 7-12) who plan to attend private or parochial schools. Requests must be submitted prior to April 1, 2017 for the school year beginning September 2017.

Transportation application forms for the 2017-2018 school year are available at the Bellmore-Merrick CHSD, Business Office, 1260 Meadowbrook Road, North Merrick, New York 11566 or on the district website:

All students requesting nonpublic school transportation who did not previously attend one of the component elementary districts: Bellmore, Merrick, North Bellmore or North Merrick Union Free school districts or one of the Bellmore Merrick Central High School District’s schools, must register with the BMCHSD. Please call 516-992-1003 to schedule an appointment with the Central Registrar, at the Brookside School, 1260 Meadowbrook Road, North Merrick, New York.  Registration is by appointment only.

Kennedy JV Cheer Squad Lands at Nationals for First Time

Kennedy JV Cheer Squad Lands at Nationals for First Time
For the first time in the school’s history, the junior varsity cheerleading team at Kennedy High School recently competed in the National High School Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, Florida.

“Since December we have been practicing up to five days per week to prepare,” said coach Linda Leonardo. “We had less than two months to fundraise for the entire trip and would not have made it there without the help of our parents and sponsors.”

Leonardo explained the squad had a “rough warm up” prior to their Feb. 11 competition held at the ESPN World Wide of Sports Complex in the Pavilion.

“However, once they hit the mat their focus changed and they performed that routine like I had never seen before,” she added. “They had a perfect hit. No deductions. This was something we were hoping for when we got to nationals.”

The team finished in 12th place and looks forward to heading back next year.

Grand Avenue’s SADD Club Promotes Good Citizenship

The Students Against Destructive Decisions Club at Grand Avenue Middle School has been focused on making positive impacts and contributions to their community.

“We look at positive ways to promote citizenship and be positive student leaders who do not have to rely on drugs and alcohol to feel good or to be accepted,” said teacher and club adviser Pia Santadonato.
During their Mugs of Love project, the club collected more than 200 gently used mugs to donate to the Interfaith Nutrition Network's Freeport site in mid-February. They packaged up the mugs with various pantry food items.
The INN feeds approximately 100 people each day and is completely run by volunteers.

With their Wrapped in Love project, students delivered nearly 40 handmade baby blankets to the neonatal unit at Winthrop-University Hospital.

“These blankets will be used to keep the babies warm and the babies will be able to take the blanket home with them when they are released from the hospital,” Santadonato explained.

Their recent Candy Gram project, spearheaded by eighth-grader Jordyn Krinsky, will benefit the Free to Breathe group to raise money for lung cancer research.

“My grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer last year and I wanted to fundraise for research,” she said. “The organization is working to double the current survivor rate.”

With these projects and others, Santadonato said she hopes the students enjoy the feeling that comes along with doing something positive in the world.

Kennedy Pole Vaulter Jumps to Record Height

Cayla Conley, a senior at Kennedy High School, recently shattered a school record during the track and field conference championship.

Conley, clearing 7 feet, 6-inches in the pole vault, was an entire foot higher than the previous record.

“I’ve always had a love for running,” she said. “It allows me to express any emotion that I’m feeling at the time.”

Head coach Chris Mammome, assistant coach/jumps coach Cici Hirsch and her teammates are extremely proud of Conley’s record as well as the team’s achievements.
“She scored almost all of the points for the girls team at the conference championships,” Mammone explained.

“The coaches are very motivating, even when you are having a rough day,” Conley added. “They taught us that it doesn’t determine how the rest of your performances will go.”

Conley said she was hesitant trying pole vaulting four years ago, but pushed herself to do so.

“I carried over track from middle school into the high school setting but wanted to set new goals for myself,” she added.

Conley also earned fourth best school records in long jump and triple jump.

Eight Science Students Present at JSHS

Eight Science Students Present at JSHS
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Eight students from Kennedy and Calhoun high school were selected as semifinalists to present their research at the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium at York College on Feb. 5.

This is the first time in Kennedy’s history that all who submitted were selected as semifinalists.

Kennedy students Max Bazil, Arin Forstadt, Claire Kelly, Jennifer Rakhimov, Michael Sternbach and Perri Zilberman were joined by Calhoun students Samantha Hernandez and Sara Samir.

Based on their scientific research presentations, Forstadt and Kelly of Kennedy were selected as finalists and will compete at York College on Feb 19.

JSHS is designed to challenge and engage high school students in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. Individual students compete for scholarships and recognition by presenting the results of their original research efforts before a panel of judges and an audience of their peers.

Ten Calhoun Athletes Sign Letters of Intent

Ten Calhoun Athletes Sign Letters of Intent
Calhoun High School announced that 10 student-athletes formally committed to playing a sport at the collegiate level.

“These student-athletes have worked tirelessly to reach the heights that they have attained,” said Calhoun Vice Principal Dr. Neil Testa. “To be a collegiate-athlete on any level is to be part of a select group of individuals. As someone who experienced college athletics first hand, I know of the excitement that you must be feeling knowing that you are able to continue competing in the sport you love.”

The following signed letters of intent: Devon Bayor, University of Colorado – Boulder (lacrosse); Saffron Hughes-McTurk, Misericordia University (soccer); Giana Kapoosuzian, Bryant University (lacrosse); Megan Keener, Adelphi University (lacrosse); Lauren Marinello, Molloy College (soccer); Michael Losak, SUNY Oneonta (baseball); Justin Neugebauer, Manhattanville College (baseball); Jack Roberts, Adelphi University (lacrosse); Shane Sanders, SUNY Purchase College (lacrosse); and Georgeanne Zimmerman, Marist College (swimming).

In a symbolic certificate signing ceremony at the school, the athletes were awarded commemorative Calhoun pens.

“When you begin your college athletic career in a few short months, you will undoubtedly be both excited and nervous,” Dr. Testa told the honorees. “Work hard on the field and in the classroom. Look to be a leader both on and off the field of play.”

Grand Avenue and Merrick Avenue Buzz at Hofstra Spelling Bee

Two students from Merrick Avenue and Grand Avenue middle schools recently competed in the 2017 Hofstra Long Island Regional Scripps Spelling Bee with one making it to the final round on Feb. 12.

Breana Raehse, a Grand Avenue Middle School eighth-grader, advanced to the next round after going against students from throughout Long Island. Raehse, who won her school’s bee by correctly spelling “pertinacity,” joined Keith Zazzi at the regional bee. Zazzi, a seventh-grader at Merrick Avenue, secured his spot by correctly spelling “prestidigitation” at his school’s competition.

The students first competed in their individual classroom spelling bees hosted by their teachers, and were then offered a spot to compete in their schoolwide spelling bee.

The winner at Hofstra will attend the 92nd annual National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. in May.

Grand Avenue Celebrates Groundhog Day - French Style

Grand Avenue Celebrates Groundhog Day - French Style

Eighth-grade students in Richard Zawislak’s French class at Grand Avenue Middle School celebrated Chandeleur Day.

Betsy Siegelaub, a retired Bellmore-Merrick French teacher, visited Mr. Zawislak’s class to teach them all about the holiday. Similar to Groundhog Day, Chandeleur Day (La Chandeleur) is also on Feb. 2 and has traditions associated with the change of weather. Students learned about the history and importance of the day, listened to music and played games to celebrate the day.

But the “piece de resistance” was the making of the crepes, which is treat eaten on the holiday. Students filled their crepes with various jams, Nutella and whipped cream and enjoyed chatting with Mrs. Siegelaub.    

To end the day, the students tried their hand at flipping the crepes to see how the rest of the winter season will fair.  

“Quand la Chandeleur est claire, l’hiver est par derrière; Chandeleur couverte, quarante jours de perte!”  (If Chandeleur is clear, no more winter to fear; If Chandeleur is gray, 40 more days winter will stay.)  According to the Chandeleur Day celebrations at Grand Avenue, it looks like spring will come late this year.

Calhoun’s Prep Club Cooks Up Pizza

Calhoun’s Prep Club Cooks Up Pizza
The Prep Cooking Club at Calhoun High School recently worked with a guest chef.

“He taught us how to make pizza from scratch, including flipping the dough,” said special education teacher Christine Celeste. “We learned step by step how to add sauce, cheese and toppings to our pizza. While the pizza was cooking, we were able to ask Chef Sal questions about cooking, and his experiences.”

Calhoun houses the district’s special education program, Prep.

Eleven Mepham Athletes Sign With Colleges

Nearly a dozen student-athletes from Mepham High School officially signed letters of intent to play sports with various institutions post-high school.

“These standout student-athletes were committed to excellence throughout their seasons at Mepham, earning them recognition from various schools,” said Athletic Coordinator Anthony Cracco. “It is their continued drive to success both on and off the field that will take them far in their collegiate careers.”

The athletes are as followed: Amanda Amalfitano – Kean University; Emily Amato – Marywood University; Kevin Chaimowitz – Union College; Karlee Greco – Mount Ida College; Carolyn Hayes – College of Mount St. Vincent; Carissa Kahn –Siena College; Kristin Lasker – SUNY New Paltz; Jeremy Lissade – Seton Hill University; Billy Moutafis – New York Institute of Technology; Maeve Testa – Adelphi University; and Mike Valentino – Seton Hill University.

“It’s always a proud day to see Pirates advancing in a field they’ve worked so hard in,” added Eric Caballero the district’s director of physical education, athletics, driver education and health.

BMCHSD Community Cupboard garners $1,500 donation

The Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District Community Cupboard received a generous gift during the board of education meeting on Feb. 1. Members of the Bellmore Lions and Kiwanis clubs presented the cupboard with a $1,500 check.
Housed at Brookside School’s administrative building, the cupboard is a fully-stocked food pantry for local needy families.
“This has been a beautiful experience that has brought this community together,” said Deputy Superintendent Dr. Mara Bollettieri, who helped spearhead the project.

Calhoun ASR Students Awarded NYIT Mini Research Grants

Calhoun ASR Students Awarded NYIT Mini Research Grants

Three students in Calhoun High School’s Advanced Science Research program were each recipients of a $200 research grant for their recent research proposals.

Jonathan Ellison, Zachary Kaminiski and Alex Kuschner were each awarded a NYIT Mini Research Grant. January marks the midyear point where ASR students begin to present their topics at both local and regional research competitions.

“This grant will help to offset the costs involved with materials and/or printing expenses pertaining to their research projects,” said Jennifer Pefanis, the school’s research director. “All three boys have spent the last three years working tirelessly on their projects and it is with great honor that they accept this grant.”

Ellison’s research, The Relationship Between Motor, Cognitive and Quality of Life Scores in Patients With Parkinson’s Disease,” looked to find the relationship between how the caregivers and patients each viewed the patient’s quality of life.

“I looked at motor declines, changes in gait, rigidity, cognitive declines such as dementia,” Ellison said. “I used statistical measures and software to determine that the two scores had a different view.”

Kaminiski conducted “A Comparison of the Effects of Different Electrolytic Solutions, Flow Rates and Cell Designs on the Power Density in Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries.”

“I was trying to optimize the battery, trying to see under which conditions of the battery’s operation would give us the most power back,” Kaminiski explained, adding that he chose this topic because it is part of the clean energy field. “Protecting the environment and clean energy are very important to me.”

Kuschner’s research, “Interactions of MMP14 Between Trilobite Gene Mutation and Kif5B Jaw Phenotype in Danio Rerio,” studied crossbreeds of zebra fish.

“It determined the relationships between certain proteins and genes involved inside zebra fish,” Kuschner explained. “I was able to observe different crosses and matings of this fish.”

Both humans and zebra fish are vertebrates, therefore Kuschner’s goal was to “map out relationships and interactions between the genes of super fish and hopefully find a model that is similar.”

Their work will be presented at the Long Island Science Congress in April.

COORE and Prep for Life Students Get Ready to Rumble

COORE and Prep for Life Students Get Ready to Rumble
COORE and Prep for Life Students Get Ready to Rumble2
COORE and Prep for Life Students Get Ready to Rumble3
COORE and Prep for Life students who attend Calhoun High School, which houses the district’s special education program, are afforded the opportunity to participate in the Bellmore-Merrick Challenger Sports League.

“The students were especially excited to show off their new Bellmore-Merrick jerseys thanks to the Director of Athletics, Eric Caballero,” said Mike Pisano, a special education teacher and coach.

Over the course of six weeks, the students participated in bowling, basketball and volleyball games at their individual athletic ability level against numerous other school districts including Massapequa, Seaford and Amityville.

“The outcome of the games is not about who wins or loses but the priceless memories that are made,” said Helen Kanellopoulos, assistant director of special education.   
This after-school activity allows the district’s COORE and Prep for Life students to interact with each other outside of the school day and meet peers from other districts, Kanellopoulos said.

“The 2016-2017 Challenger Bowling League was an absolute success and a lot of fun was had by all,” said Lisa Naud, a special education teacher and coach. “We are looking forward to an exciting Challenger basketball season.”

Calhoun, Mepham Pin Down Alumni in Wrestling Match

Calhoun, Mepham Pin Down Alumni in Wrestling Match
Calhoun, Mepham Pin Down Alumni in Wrestling Match2
Calhoun, Mepham Pin Down Alumni in Wrestling Match3
The Calhoun High School wrestling program celebrated its history by hosting an alumni match versus intradistrict team, Mepham, on Jan. 21.
“The match was very well attended and proved to be a great day for everyone involved in the Calhoun wrestling community,” said John Hamilton, Calhoun’s head wrestling coach.

More than 45 Calhoun wrestling alumni from 1960 to 2015 attended the match and reconnected with their friends and family.
Former Calhoun head wrestling coaches were also in attendance including Gregg Muscarella and Steve Romano. Coach Bob Bury, who is known as the “Father of Calhoun Wrestling” and has been recognized at a state and national level, was the featured guest of honor.

The day started with a junior varsity match and was followed by Calhoun Principal Nicole Hollings singing the national anthem. The varsity match immediately ensued and proved to be a tight contest with Mepham edging out Calhoun in bouts and eventually winning, 7-5.

“Thanks to Mepham coaches Sean Arresto, Mike Muscara, Ken Richards and Rob Tobia for their part in making this a great event,” added Director of Athletics Eric Caballero.

 “Much gratitude and thanks are extended to coach John Hamilton for all of his hard work in organizing the event and turning Mr. Caballero’s idea of hosting an ‘Alumni Wrestling Match at Calhoun’ a reality,” added Sean Arresto, Mepham’s head coach. “Coach Hamilton also organized an after-match gathering that proved to be a wonderful time for all who attended.”

Calhoun’s current coaching staff looks forward to making the Alumni Wrestling Match an annual event.

Mepham Team Earns Top Honors at Business Competition

Mepham Team Earns Top Honors at Business Competition
On Jan. 13, Mepham High School joined other budding entrepreneurs from throughout the island to compete for the top spot at Long Island’s Regional Business Plan Competition, sponsored by HSBC.

Teams representing 56 virtual enterprise companies from 42 high schools in both Nassau and Suffolk counties had their written business plans and oral presentations judged by industry professionals and educators at Farmingdale State College.  

Mepham’s TruViewVR earned first-place honors for Most Enthusiastic Booth and Best Catalog at this year’s competitions.  

“TruViewVR’s presentation team, consisting of Marquise Soto, Kevin Chaimowitz, Nick Girardi, Mike Smith, Mike Pioli and Jake Brief, performed brilliantly during the Business Plan Competition,” said Vice Principal Marie Netto.

They will continue on to the Trade Show Competition in April held in New York City.

Calhoun Girls Track Earn Conference Runners-Up Title

Runners-Up Title1
Calhoun High School’s girls track and field in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District recently competed and placed in the Conference Championships at Saint Anthony's High School in Huntington.

Led by captains Cristin Rodriguez, Katie Goodman and Christina Garbarino, the girls started off slow as East Meadow dominated all the distance events, but then the sprints and field events began and this was Calhoun's time to shine.  

Rodriguez not only won the 55m hurdles, but also claimed her second conference title in the high jump; setting her personal best of 5 feet, the number two mark in all of Nassau County, explained coach Joseph Migliano.

Goodman led the jumpers going 16 feet, 7 inches, a personal best and a top long jump in Nassau. Rodriguez, Goodman, Devon Bayer and Paige Sfiroudis dominated the long and triple jump events giving Calhoun the boost they needed.

Junior standout Katie Corona took second place in the 600m race, where she ran her personal best as well as earned eight points. Garbarino led the newly found race walkers to a necessary 15 points in the 1500m event.

Christina took second, senior Morgan Connelly took third and junior Lindsay Sheridan finished at sixth.

In the 4x400m relay race, Katie Corona got the team out to a solid lead and handed off to senior Olivia Levy, who handed it off to sophomore Cody Dateno.

Dateno ran a solid, strong race keeping the team in first place. On anchor for Calhoun was freshman Elizabeth Tuzzolo.

“[Tuzzolo] ran an amazingly strategic and fast race holding on to the lead at every turn helping Calhoun capture the 4x400m gold,” Migliano said.
Calhoun walked away with the runners-up plaque; something the Calhoun girls haven't done in more than two decades.

“The girls represented their school, coaches and alumni with honor and proved to Nassau County that they are a program to be reckoned with,” Migliano added.

MAMS Student Jasper Seabold is a Math Whiz

Math Whiz1
Jasper Seabold, an eighth-grader at Merrick Avenue Middle School in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District, recently scored in the top 5 percent of the nation on the American Math Competition.

“Jasper utilized his problem-solving skills and concepts developed in Anna Aprilakis’ math class to perform at such an advanced level on this exam,” said Mathematics Chairperson David Gunder.

Seabold is a member of the school’s Math Club, Builders Club, PAWS Club and Science Olympiads. He was also a past member of the All-County Jazz Band.
More than 130,000 students participated nationwide on this exam.

“One Voice, One Message” Superhero 5K Walk/Run on Saturday, March 25th


The students of the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District are pleased to invite you to participate in the “One Voice, One Message” Superhero 5K walk/run on Saturday, March 25th.  Registration begins at 7:30am and the race begins at 9:00am.  The start and finish lines are at Grand Avenue Middle School.  This year’s proceeds will be donated to Stop Hunger Now, an organization that helps fight hunger. To pre-register for the race, please visit the following website: 

 Roads between Grand Avenue Middle School  and Merrick Avenue Middle Schools will be affected starting at 8:00 am until around 11:00 am.  The actual route for the Superhero 5K can be found on the above reference website.  The roads will reopen as the participants make their way through.

We hope to see you on March 25th!


Community Cupboard


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.

10/24/16 Bond Phase 2 & 3 Update

9/6/16 Bond Phase 2 & 3 Update

8/8/16 Bond Phase 2 & 3 Update

7/27/16 Bond Phase 2 & 3 Update

7/15/16 Bond Update

7/6/16 Bond Update

July 2016 Capital Bond Project Slideshow

6/11/16 - Bond Phase 2 and 3 Update

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