Meadowbrook Alternative Program Seniors Graduate


The Meadowbrook Alternative Program proudly graduated 16 students on June 20 in front of administrators, staff, students and families.

“Think of MAP as a blank page,” said 2006 MAP alumna Kim Armbruster in her address. “Whatever happened before you came doesn’t matter. It’s all about what you’ve done while you’re here and where you go from here.”

Many referred to MAP as their “second family,” thanking teachers and administrators for helping them to thrive and reach their potentials.
“I felt safe here,” said valedictorian Victoria Webster. “Everyday I walked into a warm environment.”

 “I am confidently looking forward to a bright future,” salutatorian Ekaterina Tzorzis added. “The teachers have taught us life lessons that we’ll carry with us forever.”

Calhoun Runner Grace Moore Finishes Fourth in Nation

On June 18-19, two relay teams from Calhoun High School and runner Grace Moore traveled to Greensboro, North Carolina to compete in the New Balance National Track and Field Championships.

Moore ran the Steeplechase and finished fourth in the country making her an All-American. The other two relays, the 800 Sprint Medley Relay and the 1600-meter medley, resulted in personal records for the girls.

“It was a great experience and the Calhoun girls hope to return next year,” said Principal Nicole Hollings.

Merrick Avenue Eighth-Graders Moving Up and On


Pomp and circumstance filled the auditorium at Merrick Avenue Middle School, where students celebrated their moving up ceremonies on June 10.
Musical performances were offered by Word of Mouth, led by Dana Brandwein. Principal Dr. Taryn Johnson then addressed her students by saying “two years wasn’t enough.”
“It’s not enough for me to shape you more and for me to share more with you,” said Dr. Johnson at the Team 8 ceremony. Students graduated in four different ceremonies, separated by their academic team.

Dr. Johnson stressed the importance of putting time into perspective in order to learn how to love and live in every moment.

“Move forward knowing a team of people are enamored with your spirit,” she added.

Students will attend either John F. Kennedy, Sanford H. Calhoun or Wellington C. Mepham high schools within the district. High school student speakers John Del Orfano, Nicole Imhof, Jade Klein and Rachel Mashal offered words of advice for the incoming freshmen.

“You may face obstacles, but you will get past them,” assured Mashal, Kennedy’s salutatorian. “Get involved and build strong relationships with faculty members. Challenge yourself and learn from your failures. Follow your passion and don’t give up on what you love.”

Eighth-grader Julia Oladipo offered one of four student reflections, addressing her peers in an emotional speech.
“We are moving up to a bigger challenge – high school,” she said. “Don’t be afraid of hard work, failure or making sacrifices. Appreciate others and remember we cannot stand on our own.”


Grand Avenue Students Are Movin’ On Up


Before an audience filled with proud family, peers and educators, eighth-graders at Grand Avenue Middle School celebrated their moving up ceremonies on June 10.

Student Lauren Nilsen kicked off the ceremony with a powerful rendition of the national anthem. Grand Voices, under the director of conductor Amanda Cantwell, followed with “If You’re Out There” and “Life is a Highway.”

Students will attend either John F. Kennedy, Sanford H. Calhoun or Wellington C. Mepham high schools within the district. High school student speakers Harrison Ivers, Steven Obadiah, Alexa Beichert and Julianna Gargano offered words of advice for the incoming freshmen.

“In order to make the most of your high school experience, try new things and get as involved as possible after school,” Ivers told the Legacy group at the noon ceremony. Students graduated in four different ceremonies, separated by their academic team.

Eighth-grader Spencer Mattes delivered one of the student reflections, along with Kirsten Knowles, Aiden McCormack, Cooper Moran and Nathan Rosen. Addressing his peers, Mattes said before they reached Grand Avenue most students immediately bonded over the fear of lockers.

“Grand Avenue has offered me many opportunities to explore and experiment,” Mattes added.

Principal Carlo Conte noted students would not have reached this milestone without the team of people that includes teachers, parents, coaches and educators.
“I suggest you take a moment to find a teacher or family member that made a difference in your life and thank them,” he added. “A hug wouldn’t hurt either.”

Moving Up 2016

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Team Discovery

Team Ice

Team Legacy


Team Taco



Mastering the Principles of 2-D and 3-D Art at Calhoun

Students enrolled in the Prep for Life special education program at Calhoun High School displayed their mastery of 2-D and 3-D art during an art show for an appreciative board of education and administration. 

For the past two years, the students have worked with teachers Nancy Scott (Art I) and Heather Lohr (Art II) on developing a portfolio of works including animal portraits, impressionist landscapes, free form sculpture, opposite op art, past to present pop art and relief sculptures. These finished products were not only displayed on hand, but were presented in the form of a digital portfolio.

“The students transitioned so well from 2-D to 3-D art and digital work and will now have digital portfolios to take with them,” Lohr said. “None of this could happen, however, without the support of the district and the students’ families.”

Photo Caption: Art teachers Heather Lohr and Nancy Scott are pictured with Prep for Life artists during their exhibit at Sanford H. Calhoun High School for the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District Board of Education and administration.

Merrick Avenue MS Students Write for Kidsday

On June 11, four of Roland Clark's Writing Enrichment students from Merrick Avenue Middle School tested out their reporting and interviewing skills when they accompanied him to the BLI Summer Jam Concert at Nikon Jones Beach Theater and interviewed singer/songwriter, Rachel Platten.
Merrick Avenue student reporters included Emily Doscher, Alexis Feldman, Isabelle Kessler and Ariana Sambade.

After watching Rachel perform some of her top hits, the girls joined Platten in her dressing room to speak with her. The interview was part of their class writing project with Newsday’s Kidsday and can be viewed by visiting this URL,

Kennedy Seniors Experience Work Environments


In the spring of 2006, a committee of administrators, teachers, parents and students at Kennedy High School developed a senior program to offer alternative learning opportunities to graduating students towards the end of their senior year. This program, known as the “Senior Experience Program,” is currently entering its 10th year.

Participants have three weeks of release time during the last three weeks of the school year. This period of time is dedicated to their chosen project or internship; students are expected to spend time at their placement equal to the time that they spend at school. This year, more than 215 seniors are participating in the program at Kennedy High School. Students are in a variety of fields that range from engineering to communications, and medicine to graphic design, and are working in offices from Hauppauge to New York City.

“The success of the program relies on the commitment of the students, the monitoring of each student by a faculty mentor, and the generous support of our community sponsors who are willing to work with our students and give them an enriching and educational experience,” said Principal Lorraine Poppe. “From their experiences, many of our students begin to change or develop future plans. Others merely enjoy sharing their talents or commitment to service with others. The program has truly become part of the Kennedy culture, and students look forward to being part of Senior Experience.”

A few of the students are interning at law firms on Long Island and in New York City.

“I've learned how the judicial system functions,” said student Ashley Jarzabek. “I've also learned many terms that attorneys use; such as a Stipulation of Settlement and a Judgment of Divorce. Before going into this, I didn’t know these terms existed. Something I've done well was take notes of the court cases and follow along with them since they are confusing sometimes…I am learning so much and the idea of law school is now exciting to me.”
Students like Alex Dobosh are also focusing on the legal field; however, Alex is interning in a courthouse rather than a law office. He is at the New York State Supreme Court in New York City.

“I have learned a lot about the court process…sitting on trials is different,” Dobosh said.  “It’s pretty crazy how the legal world works.”  

Dobosh also noted how he has been able to apply some of the skills he learned in Mock Trial to this experience.

Student Elizabeth Lau said she is enjoying her experience working at Bellmore-Merrick Pediatrics. “At the pediatric office, I work with other staff, patients and parents. Instead of learning at a desk, I'm learning from hands-on experience,” she said. “I definitely prefer working at the office more. This is definitely more interesting and engaging, and I really feel like I learn a lot more. I also love being able to interact with people directly.”

All students in the program write a daily journal entry, which is reviewed by the student’s mentor.  In addition, during the week following Senior Experience, participants present an overview of their project to classmates, teacher, parents, and administrators.

Grand Avenue Student Earns Second Place at NYS Science Congress

Bellmore-Merrick’s Grand Avenue Middle School student Brandon Langone, a member of the Students Network of Cooperative Science achieved the ranks of high honors in the New York State Science Congress on June 4.  

His project "Which type of sensors would enable optimum performance for a robot on Martian-like terrain?" earned him second place and a $200 monetary award. Science teacher and mentor Tami Cruz assisted Langone on his research and presentation.

Calhoun, Kennedy Takes Home High Awards at LI Science Congress

The Long Island Science Congress recently hosted its annual award ceremony to honor the top 25 percent of the students who competed in the event.  

More than 2,000 students competed in the event and several Kennedy and Calhoun high school students were recognized during the award ceremony.  

Calhoun’s Jacob Miller took home an honors award, while seniors Nicole Fegan, Louis Lin and Rachel November took home high honor awards. Kennedy’s Melissa Himelfarb, Alexia Tilman and Amanda Steinberg also earned high honors. Maxmilian Bazil, Anna Kuznetsova, Jennifer Rakhimov and Michael Sternbach earned highest honors in addition to receiving special awards that carried $50 cash prizes.

Merrick Avenue MS Student Cubes for a Cure

Sebastian Otalora just might have the fastest hands at Merrick Avenue Middle School in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District. On June 4, he put his skills to the test at a Cube4Cam event, where he manipulated the rainbow-colored Rubik’s Cube to help raise money to combat childhood cancers.

“Sebastian has a passion for the Rubik’s Cube and is ready to demonstrate his talents for a good cause,” Principal Dr. Taryn Johnson said.

At the event, Otalora participated as a competitor, and a judge/reviewer for others. His best time was 26 seconds, and he ranked No. 76, out 150 participants. This is recognized as one of the major events for world cube recording.

Otalora created the Cubing Club at Merrick Avenue, where he teaches children techniques to solve cubes, thereby emphesizing fun and speed to solve several types of cubes.

MAP and Mepham Students Perform Chemistry Experiments

The Meadowbrook Alternative Program Chemistry students visited Mepham AP Chemistry students on May 24 where they performed three labs together. Flame tests, turning copper silver and gold, and organic isomers were among the experiments they completed.

Calhoun Girls Track Members Earn Rankings

The past season was one for the record books at Sanford H. Calhoun High School. The girls track and field team had a goal in mind and did whatever was needed to accomplish that, ending the regular season as the Nassau County Division 2A Champions.

Lead by senior captains Grace Moore and Juliann Vizoso, along with Junior sensation Cristin Rodriguez, the girls upset perennial powerhouses MacArthur and Westbury.

The girls will represent Calhoun and Nassau County at the New Balance National Championships, held in Greensboro, North Carolina, on June 16. Moore will come in as one of the top seeds for the 2,000-meter steeplechase and lead the team in the 1,600-meter sprint medley relay running the anchor 800-meter leg. Rodriguez will be running the 200m lead leg for the SMR handing off to Dana Brown who will run the second 200-meter leg, handing off to Vizoso who will run the 400-meter portion of the race. The 800-meter SMR will start the same way as the 1,600-meter, with Rodriguez leading the way. She will hand off to new comers Paige Sfiroudis and Katie Goodman, who will be running the 100-meter legs and closing with Vizoso running the anchor 400 meters.

The following team members earned rankings and/or qualifying status.

Cristin Rodriguez (Champ in 400IH and 100HH)
Juliann Vizoso (Champ 4x800)
Grace Moore (Champ in 1500,800 and 3000m)
Emma Joseph (Champ 4x800)
Christina Garbarino (Champ 4x800)
Katie Corona (Champ 4x800)

Grace Moore- 3000m Champion
Cristin Rodriguez- 100m High Hurdle Champion

State Qualifiers
Grace Moore- 3000m and 2000m Steeplechase (top seed in Nassau)
Cristin Rodriguez- 100m High Hurdles (top seed in Nassau)

National Championships
Grace Moore- 1600m SMR and 2000m Steeplechase
Cristin Rodriguez- 1600m SMR and 800m SMR
Juliann Vizoso- 1600m SMR and 800m SMR
Dana Brown- 1600m SMR
Katie Goodman- 800m SMR
Paige Sfiroudis- 800m SMR

Kennedy Staffer Wins School Nursing Award

Kathleen King, a well-respected member of Kennedy High School staff, was recently awarded the New York State Excellence in School Nursing Award.

“Her many years of hospital and school nursing experience have given her a wealth of expertise to share,” said board trustee Gina Piskin. “She is always proactive in her practice and eager to continue learning. It is evident that she is a professional who truly cares about her students.”

Kennedy’s Racalbuto Eclipses Goal Record


Nico Racalbuto is a senior and four-year varsity starter with Kennedy High School’s boys lacrosse team who shattered the school’s single season goal record, netting 56.

An All-County selection last season, Racalbuto again led the boys lacrosse team in points, with 73.

Racalbuto is a two-year captain and leaves Kennedy as the all-time leader in career goals (130) and points (196). He will be playing lacrosse at Adelphi University in the fall.

MAP Students Host Shakespeare Festival

The question was to be or not to be and students at the Meadowbrook Alternative Program held the answer as they performed in the sixth annual Shakespeare Festival.

Under the direction of English teacher Laura Sheridan, the festival incorporated the combined talents of students and staff. It began in the Brookside Auditorium with scenes and monologues from “Julius Caesar,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “The Merchant of Venice,” “Romeo & Juliet,” “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” “Troilus & Cressida” and “Antony & Cleopatra.”

An elaborate feast followed the performances where Elizabethan dishes were provided by staff members. Decorations were prepared and coordinated by school nurse Darlene Boden and assistants Karin McMahon and Lisa Duignan.

“In preparation for the festival, a number of MAP’s student body took a field trip to see the Young Company’s performance of ‘Othello’ at Classic Stage Company near Union Square,” said English teacher Laura Sheridan. “Experiencing a live performance of Shakespeare gave them perspective and inspiration for their own scenes.”

Bellmore-Merrick CHSD Board President to Retire

Skip Haile, president of the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District’s Board of Education, will be retiring from his post as of the close of the 2015-16 school year.

“He has been instrumental in establishing programs and scholarship, devoting countless hours working to improve the quality of our programs and has consistently supported and encouraged our students to raise the bar academically and artistically,” said Vice President Janet Goller at the June 1 board meeting.

Haile has served as a trustee, as well as president on the North Merrick School Board and the CHSD board for the past six years. He is an accomplished businessman, acclaimed soccer player and has been actively involved in Merrick PAL and a travel soccer board.

“Above all, he is a family man, demonstrating unwavering love and devotion to his wife, Sheila, and their two sons, Nick and Cole,” Goller added. “He will be greatly missed by the Bellmore-Merrick community.”

Board Thanks Student Reps for Contributions

The CHSD superintendent, board of education, administration and meeting audience were treated to monthly updates from each of the district’s four high schools – directly from the source as four student representatives offered information and often jovial presentations.

“Your monthly updates were extremely informative and many times entertaining,” said outgoing board president Skip Haile. “It was truly a pleasure to see your enthusiasm and school spirit.”

The students, Alex Dobosh from Kennedy High School, Jacob Miller from Calhoun High School, McKayla Cates from Mepham High School and Derek Baumann from Meadowbook Alerntaive Program, were gifted gavels for their contributions.

Kennedy’s Allen Ma Named Mathematics Teacher of the Year

Allen Ma, a member of Bellmore-Merrick’s Kennedy High School math department since 1998, was recently named Teacher of the Year by the Nassau County Mathematics Teachers Association.
“He has been an outstanding teacher who is highly respected by all facets of the school community,” board trustee Dr. Nancy Kaplan said at the June 1 board of education meeting where Ma was recognized. “In addition to his impeccable work ethic and delivery of instruction, Ma has a wonderful relationship with students, colleagues and parents.”

Photo Caption: From left, Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District Board of Education Vice President Janet Goller, board trustees Gina Piskin and Dr. Nancy Kaplan, Math Chairperson David Gunder, Kennedy Principal Lorraine Poppe and Allen Ma.

High Honors: Meet the Valedictorians and Salutatorians

John F. Kennedy High School
At John F. Kennedy High School, valedictorian Samantha Klein learned to balanced athletics and academics early on.

“I have been on Kennedy's varsity softball team since I was in the eighth grade,” she said. “I have been a starting player each of these five years and have been captain for the past two years.”

Klein isn’t driven by accolades or awards, but rather by the journey as a whole.

    “I have also participated in Key Club, Math Club and Senior Class,” she said. “I have been very pleased with the ability at Kennedy to challenge myself academically by taking 10 AP classes during my time here.”

Klein said she has received much support and encouragement from teachers and guidance counselors over the years.

“Sam has mastered the art of connecting with people of various ages, attitudes, intellects and backgrounds while marching to the beat of her own drum,” said her guidance counselor, Matthew Grasso.

Klein will be studying engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology in the fall.
JFK salutatorian Rachel Mashal has worked tirelessly on her scientific research throughout her high school career, catapulting her to finalist standing in both the Intel Science Talent Search and Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

“Conducting my research has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of my high school career,” Mashal said.

“Through my research endeavors, I have accomplished more than I ever thought possible in a scope far beyond the realm of just science, and I have helped to solve real-world problems.”

Mashal cited research and AP Biology teacher Barbi Frank as playing influential roles in her decision to pursue a career in science at Dartmouth College this fall.

“[Frank] has devoted countless hours of her time toward helping me throughout the research process for the past three years,” Mashal said.

Other accomplishments include becoming the only high school student invited to present research at the International Conference on Eating Disorders, being one of five NYS Child Mind Institute Rising Scientists, placing second in the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair, medaling in the Science Olympiad Regional Competition and being designated an AP Scholar with Honor.

Quote:  "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Wellington C. Mepham High School
A National Merit Commended Student, AP Scholar and National Spanish Exam Gold Award recipient, John Grover can now add valedictorian to his list of accomplishments at Wellington C. Mepham High School.

A member of the varsity tennis program for the past four years, badminton program and school band, Grover has also made substantial contributions to the Science and Math Club, including competing in both the Science and Physics Olympiads, for which he earned several awards.

Grover said he took the National Spanish Exam each year in high school and in 10th grade was awarded the gold (Oro) award for scoring within the 95th percentile. He mentioned science teachers Josephine Parlagreco and William Leacock as instrumental during the college admissions process.

“Their lessons have helped me beyond the field of academics,” Grover said, adding that he will pursue a degree in mechanical engineering at Cornell University.

Mepham salutatorian Kristina DiMiceli is intrinsically motivated in all of her pursuits.

“Doing what is right comes before being popular or wanting to add something to her resume,” said her guidance counselor, Kimberly Thorgersen.

DiMiceli has been a member of Mepham’s orchestra and the Mepham-Calhoun Advanced Chamber Orchestra for the past four years, and has the distinction of being second chair violinist for both groups. She has performed at Level 6 in the New York State School Music Association Solo and Ensemble Festival and lends her talents to her school’s dramatic productions as a member of the pit orchestra. Also a skilled pianist, she performs with Mepham’s jazz ensemble, earned a bronze award in the Golden Key International Piano Competition and placed third in the Crescendo Competition.

DiMiceli said her motivation was derived from different teachers acting as “personal cheerleaders.”

“Their eagerness to help me through my struggles as well as praise me through my triumphs has meant a huge deal to me,” she said.

DiMiceli will attend The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the fall.

Quote: "All our dreams can come true...if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney

Sanford H. Calhoun High School
At Sanford H. Calhoun High School, valedictorian Kristi Chan has established herself as a young woman with an unwavering work ethic and intrinsic motivation to attain success at unparalleled levels.

This success is evidenced athletically as a key member of the badminton team, musically as a Level 6 NYSSMA pianist, and academically as president of Calhoun’s DECA chapter, placing in the top 10 in state-level competitions.

“I am especially proud of my accomplishments in DECA because the competitive environment at the state competition every year simply pushed me to think beyond the typical areas of business knowledge,” Chan said. “To see my ability to communicate my ideas in the corporate marketing sphere be recognized by professionals greatly contributed to my growing confidence in becoming a business leader who embodies both passion and creativity.”

Chan is also an AP Scholar with Distinction and a National Merit Commended Student. Chan will be studying Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University in the fall.

Calhoun salutatorian Haley Ryan chose a rigorous slate of AP courses to cap off her high school career.

“She is an exceptional young lady who pursues academic excellence and possesses a work ethic that far surpasses many of her contemporaries,” said her guidance counselor, Sharon Devenuto.

A member of the school’s three-year Advanced Science Research program, Ryan said, “[The program gave me] the opportunity to work in a materials science lab, where I studied a specific polymer and its ability to be used in prostheses in the future. I ran all of my own tests, analyzed my data on my own, and wrote a research paper that I was proud of. It was tedious work, but I was more than happy with the end results.”

Ryan plans to study chemical engineering at Stony Brook University in the fall.

"Don't aim for success because you want it. Just do what you love and believe in and it will come naturally." - David Frost

Middle School Bands Entertain Ahead of Meeting

The violin and viola members of both Grand Avenue and Merrick Avenue middle school’s Chamber Orchestra performed duets and trios before the start of  the June 1 Board of Education meeting.

They were conducted by Michael A. D'Addio, the districtwide middle schools orchestra director.

At Taste of Little Italy at Mepham

On May 25, Mepham High School students gathered after school for an elite event during which they learned how to order a meal in Italian.

World Languages teacher Caterina Dand, who organized the event, designed a program in which students learned the Italian language and explored the cultural differences between Italy and the United States.

Italian students volunteered to be "waiters" and took the orders of the participants. The attendees practiced their newly acquired expressions, placed their order from the menu and enjoyed a delicious Italian meal.

“The participants left with knowledge they could take with them on their future travels to Italy,” said Dand.

Mepham’s ELITE Program (Enriching Learners in Tomorrow's Education) is a promise to the future to enrich and inspire students by providing after-school enrichment opportunities designed to educate the whole student. The program encourages students to follow their passion and explore topics of genuine interest while developing the skills to be well rounded citizens and good thinkers for life after Mepham.

District Chamber Orchestra Earns Gold Score

On May 18, the Central High School District Chamber Orchestra competed at the NYSSMA Majors Festival hosted at Hofstra University.

The elite string students, representing each high school in Bellmore-Merrick, rehearsed every Wednesday night to prepare three pieces to play at the event. This was the first time that any group in the CHSD competed at this festival in more than 30 years. After countless hours of practice and hard work, the students achieved a perfect score of Gold with Distinction, the highest honor awarded at the festival.

The group, along with their conductor and teacher Eric Vivelo, are excited for their future endeavors and believe their potential is limitless.

Calhoun Honors Excellence in World Languages

Calhoun High School’s Department of World Languages held its annual honor society induction ceremony on May 17, recognizing students of French, Italian and Spanish.

The event was organized by language teachers Nikole DeLuca, Alexandra Kefaliakos, Cara Sycoff and Keryn Thienachariya.

“Audience members were treated to musical performances and poetry recitations in French, Spanish and Italian,” said World Languages Chairperson Enrique Montes.

Students were presented with their certificates of excellence by each language honor society adviser. In his speech to inductees, Montes spoke about his journey as a language learner and encouraged students to continue reaching for excellence.  

Mepham’s Habitat for Humanity Club Assists at Build

Mepham High School’s Habitat for Humanity Club recently helped to frame a house in Bellport for a family of seven.
The group spent May 20 outdoors, working with various tools to help the organization with their build.

Photo Caption: Members of Mepham High School’s Habitat for Humanity Club are pictured along with one of the advisers, Christopher Patten (center).

Kennedy Baseball Advances to County Championships

Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District’s John F. Kennedy High School boys baseball team recently defeated top-seeded H. Frank Carey High School, 4-2, sweeping the series and propelling them into the Nassau County Championships.

The team will face Wantagh High School in the Nassau County Class A Baseball Championships. They are led by coaches Michael Gattus and Eric Passman.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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