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John F Kennedy High School Graduation Slideshow

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Calhoun Marks 58th Commencement Ceremony

Calhoun Marks 58th Commencement Ceremony Photo

The June 25 commencement ceremony for Calhoun High School’s Class of 2017, which was held at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury, celebrated the students as individuals and as a collective group.

“You are by all measures a phenomenal group of students, athletes, artists and musicians,” said Principal Nicole Hollings. “With all of your abilities and talents, your futures burn bright with promise, possibility, power and potential. All of you have the power within yourselves to inspire, encourage, empathize and guide each other.”

Board member and fellow Calhoun alumna Wendy Gargiulo reminded graduates that their virtues will become their commonality in life.

“Know that someone will always have more than you,” she said, referring to the life’s perpetual rat race. “Your reputation and having integrity are so much more important than material things.”

Social studies teacher/senior class adviser Brian Joyce offered the faculty farewell, stressing the importance of legacy, as he teaches in his leadership course.

“Think to yourselves, ‘how do you want to be remembered?’ And always try to focus on being the best version of yourself and find a way to serve others.”

Class president Sara Samir reflected on Calhoun’s atmosphere as “binding.”

“For those who may not have been as affected as others, this day marks an opportunity for them to flourish,” she said.

Valedictorian Julia Losner talked about the power of the sun after an eclipse and wow moments from kindergarten to now.

“There are many more to come, including when we discover something about ourselves we didn’t know was there.”

Salutatorian Matthew Garber used learning how to tie a bow tie as a metaphor for persevering through life’s struggles.

“It’s the twists and turns of a bow tie and the pulling and finagling that represent the trials of our character.”

Pulling out a small mirror to adjust the bow tie, Garber told classmates to “focus on self-reflection and re-evaluation to get through the hurdles.”

Cougars Celebrate 50th Commencement

Cougars Celebrate 50th Commencement Photo

The last graduating class born in the 20th century has left the Cougar den of Kennedy High School.

“For 50 years, John F. Kennedy has forged a tradition of excellence based on the core values of scholarship, integrity and service,” said Assistant Principal Gerard Owenburg. “For five decades Kennedy’s graduating seniors have entered the next phase of life having experienced an academic program of the highest standards and a school community that focuses on helping students understand the value of making meaningful contributions in our world.”

Class President Phallan Grossman reminded classmates that it wouldn’t be popularity that they think of when reflecting on their time at Kennedy.
“But by the relationships we forged, how we treated each other and most importantly, the memories that we made,” she said.

In her valedictorian speech, Alixandra Wilens stressed the importance of perseverance as she and fellow classmates embark on this next chapter of their lives.

“We have the ability to be unique. I believe that life gives us the potential for happiness but also that such joy is achieved only after a barrier is broken down. That satisfaction comes through hard work and commitment.”

Salutatorian Rebecca Stekol sought to inspire her classmates in her speech.

“Always seek to learn, to constantly search for new ways to broaden your mind and open your heart, create a path that expands and that twists in different directions as you discover new interests that captivate you. Be spontaneous but also be driven.”

Lastly, board trustee Gina Piskin, also the mother of a Class of 2017 graduate, spoke personally of the relationships her son has made throughout the years.

“You are caring, generous, spirited individuals who have already made your mark on the world in so many ways and mostly likely will continue to do so.”

Mepham graduates of Class of 2017

Mepham graduates of Class of 2017 Photo

Community was the theme of student emcee/senior class president Madison Uzwy’s speech when she led Wellington C. Mepham High School’s 79th commencement on June 25 at the NYCM Theatre at Westbury.

“The people around you made the place actually feel like home. These people at Mepham have bonded and connected with you.”

This was the last commencement Michael Harrington will oversee as principal, as he will assume the role of assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction in the coming school year.

“This class has proved that it is possible to achieve extraordinary things when there is a shared sense of purpose and drive,” he said. “The ways in which your class brought the community together through service projects…and how the spirit and pride that was felt at events [like that] is unlike any other school. Your collective efforts as a class to improve the world around you will always be the legacy of the Class of 2017.”

Salutatorian Kristina Schwab said that while she couldn’t yet determine if high school were the best years of her life, she said that “without a doubt it was four of the most significant years.”

“Think back to your freshman self and I think of the person standing here today. In the time between we have matured and grew up. We gained a great sense of independence.”

Valedictorian Rachel Jozwik spoke about how to navigate through this next chapter of life.

“The next few years – the rest of our lives will be all about experiences. We will make a million mistakes but learn a million new things. We will get lost a few times but find some really cool places. After all, the less we know, the more there is to learn.”

Board member Nina Lanci shared the “real secrets of success” with Mepham’s graduates. These life lessons were similar to basics taught in kindergarten including venturing outside to play, smiling at people and remember to be humble and kind.

“Most importantly use the buddy system,” she added. “The world is a lot less scary when you know there is someone you can trust.”

June 26 Letter to the Community re: Potential Sale of Jerusalem Avenue School


Meadowbrook Alternative Program Sends Off 20 seniors

MAP Graduation Photo

The Meadowbrook Alternative Program graduated 20 students from its senior class on June 19.

During his commencement speech valedictorian Derek Baumann addressed several teachers, including science teacher, Zachary Gosse. After learning of a mutual admiration for shoes, Gosse suggested Baumann organize a shoe drive as part of his senior project.

“You allowed me to pursue something I was passionate about and make it a huge success,” Baumann said.

Baumann also thanked teacher Tiffany Rzempoluch for “pushing him outside of his comfort zone” during a class trip.
“I ended up being better than I thought I was,” he said.

During her faculty address, teacher Geisha Kwiatkowski spoke of the next chapter in students’ lives.

“Getting started is often the hardest part, but I have seen you all overcome adversity before.”

“If you face your challenges head on, you can make your dreams come true,” added Principal Susan Ellinghaus.

Kennedy’s Cummings Nabs First in NYS Pentathlon

Kennedy’s Cummings Nabs First in NYS Pentathlon Photo
Kennedy’s Cummings Nabs First in NYS Pentathlon Photo 2

After a standout four-year athletic career, Kennedy High School senior Ryan Cummings recently took first place at the New York State Track and Field Championships in the pentathlon.

The pentathlon consists of five events: long jump, high jump, 110m high hurdles, shot put and the 1500m run.

Ryan has been running track since the spring of his ninth-grade year.  As a freshman, he was a standout hurdler in the 110m high hurdles. In his 10th-grade year, he began competing in the long and triple jump as well as the hurdles where he was a standout in all three events. He was a county finalist in the hurdles as a sophomore.

After a successful sophomore year, the thought was that based on Ryan’s athleticism and outstanding ability he would compete in the pentathlon his junior year, explained coach Chris Baker. Ryan competed in the pentathlon as a junior where he was the county champion in the pentathlon and earned All-State honors.

“During the season, we focused on exposing him to all of the events that he would do in the pentathlon at each league meet,” said Baker. “Ryan is a standout in the high hurdles, the long and the triple jump. He was division champion in these events and All-County in them as well.”

Ryan competed at the prestigious Loucks Games where he was on the podium for the pentathlon and then he won the pentathlon at the Bulldog invitational.

“At the state qualifier meet, Ryan was the man to beat and two athletes met the state standard for the pentathlon providing Ryan with the push he needed to improve his pent score,” added Baker. “At the state meet, he was seeded as one of the top athletes going in and came out the victor in the end.”

Moving Up to a New Adventure in Bellmore-Merrick

Moving Up to a New Adventure in Bellmore-Merrick Photo

The June 9 moving up ceremonies at Grand Avenue Middle School, featured songs, celebrations and commencement speeches.

The Grand Avenue students will attend either Kennedy or Mepham high schools, depending on where they live within the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District. High school seniors Matthew Montera, Amanda Rudolph, Taylor Drew and Immanuel Mellis offered advice to these soon-to-be freshmen.

“I urge you to explore every fun and engaging opportunity that our high school district has to offer,” Mellis said. “High school at face value is pretty scary…and you may think you’re going to feel really alone inside. But the truth is, it is quite the opposite. We are all there for you.”

Cecilia Totino addressed her fellow classmates with a student reflection.
“These past years have brought so many people together in so many different ways,” she said. “As we continue onto this next chapter of our lives, we will make many memories…that we will tell our future children about just as we hear old stories from our parents and grandparents.”

Principal Carlo Conte spoke about Grand Avenue being “Home of the Braves,” asking students what they will be brave enough to take on during their high school career.

“Remember to be true to yourself, challenge yourself, reach for the stars and truly make the impossible, possible.”

Merrick Avenue Eighth-Graders Move Up

Merrick Avenue Eighth-Graders Move Up Photo

Merrick Avenue Middle School’s moving up ceremony on June 9 was a glittery black and gold celebration.

Students will attend either Kennedy or Calhoun high schools depending on where they live within the Bellmore-Merrick Central School District. High school seniors Hadi Aziz, Sara Samir, Skylar Berkley and Jack Jones offered advice to these soon-to-be freshmen.

“The next four years of your life are going to be new, exciting, challenging and eye opening,” Berkley said. “You get out what you put in. Find something that makes you happy and go at it full force.”

Sophia DeMato addressed her fellow classmates with a student reflection.
“Some of my fondest school memories so far have been in this building,” she said. “I am now more independent and learned how to work harder.”

Principal Dr. Taryn Johnson spoke about the upcoming change in environment, peer group and procedures that lies ahead for the graduates.

“From watching you I’ve learned that you are far more savvy, connected and resilient than many adults anticipated you would be,” she said. “The creativity of your ideas and your willingness to share them – notable. Your ability to connect to the needs of others – remarkable. Your commitment to our school and our district – legendary.”

Board Honors Mepham Physics Team’s First Place Win

Board Honors Mepham Physics Team’s First Place Win Photo
The Mepham Physics Olympics team competed against a field of 18 very well prepared high school teams from all over Long Island in the 33rd Annual Physics Olympics sponsored by the Long Island Physics Teachers Association held at SUNY Farmingdale in March.

The events the team participated in were:
“The Fermi Event” – students estimated quantities such as “How many drops of water are in the Atlantic Ocean.”

“Bowling for Glory” – students used their understanding of forces and motion to guide a bowling ball through a complex path using on y the bristles of a broom.

“Laser Light Show” – students calculated the properties of a glass prism and predicted where a laser beam passing through the prism and reflected off a mirror will land.

“Rear End Collision” – students have to find where two toy cars of different speeds would rear end each other along a fixed track.

“Physics Bowl” – a game show style competition where students are challenged on their physics knowledge.

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 considered a very close competition.

Bellmore Lions, Kiwanis Donates to District’s C.H.A.M.P. Program

Bellmore Lions, Kiwanis Donates to District’s C.H.A.M.P. Program Photo
Members of the Bellmore Lions and Kiwanis Clubs descended upon the district’s Board of Education meeting on June 7 with a large donation for one of the district’s programs.

They presented a $1,000 check to the Culinary and Hospitality Applied Management Program, which is housed at Kennedy High School.

“Having the ability for these young people to learn a trade right in our own schools is unbelievable,” said Mark Meyerowitz, a longtime Kiwanian, local businessman and father of three Kennedy alumni.

MAMS Students Celebrate Their Heritage

MAMS Students Celebrate Their Heritage Photo
MAMS Students Celebrate Their Heritage Photo 2
MAMS Students Celebrate Their Heritage Photo 3
On May 26, Merrick Avenue Middle School ENL students hosted their 3rd Annual International Festival. Guests were provided with boarding passes to join the festivities.

MAMS students welcomed teachers, administrators, and fellow ENL students from Grand Avenue Middle School and Calhoun High School to “MAMS International Airport” where they were provided with passports to travel to various countries.  Travelers had the opportunity to play games, sample food and learn about different countries.

“This was a great opportunity for students to show pride in their cultural heritage and learn about each other,” said World Languages Chairperson Enrique Montes.

Kennedy Students Chronicle School History in Published Book

Kennedy Students Chronicle School History in Published Book Photo
Kennedy Students Chronicle School History in Published Book Photo 2

In honor of Kennedy High School's 50th anniversary, students in Dr. Dennis Urban’s Uncovering the Past classes published a book highlighting the school’s history.

Students enrolled in the senior-level elective on historical research, used several different resources to write a total of 30 essays on various topics related to the school's past. Dr. Urban edited and compiled the essays into a printed book titled “A History of John F. Kennedy High School: The First 50 Years.”

Student Rebecca Stekol took the class to learn new ways to conduct research.

“I wanted to chronicle the journey of the school’s drama program through the years,” she said. “I learned that it’s been ever-expanding and is now well-recognized.”

Sydney Root researched the anti-Vietnam War movement in the Bellmore-Merrick area.

“It was interesting to see how it affected our area and I was even able to interview some veterans.”

You can access a PDF copy of the book at, and the website for the project is located at

Top of Their Class: Meet the Valedictorians and Salutatorians

Top of Their Class: Meet the Valedictorians and Salutatorians Photo

Mepham High School

Valedictorian Rachel Jozwik worked tirelessly to juggle her regular course load in addition to being a part of Mepham’s Advanced Science Research Program. Her payoff was being named a Regeneron STS Semifinalist earlier this year.

Jozwik was one of among 300 nationally recognized semifinalists in the country’s most prestigious pre-college science competition often considered the “Junior Nobel Prize.”

“I submitted a paper I'd been working on over the past three years and I was really proud of the research I'd completed,” she said.

Her research was about a specific gene receptor and its connection to stress levels in high school students. Jozwik said she learned a great deal under the mentorship of science teacher, Dr. David Kommor.

“He's always been so supportive and encouraging and has helped me a lot over the past three years,” she added.

Other accolades include being a member of the National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society (member and officer), Science National Honor Society, English National Honor Society, French National Honor Society and a Bausch and Lomb Award recipient. Jozwik was also one of three students in the district to be named a National Merit Finalist. Approximately 15,000 students nationwide achieve this distinction.

She plans to study biology at Johns Hopkins University in the fall.

“It's good to get started early on college applications and to stay on track with them,” she advised incoming seniors. “It makes the first half of senior year really busy, but once they're submitted, things get easier.”

Kristina Schwab, Mepham’s class of 2017 salutatorian, has immersed herself in high school life throughout the years, joining several teams and clubs – all while keeping academics at the forefront.

She is on the varsity tennis team and is captain of the badminton team, is a Relay for Life Leadership officer and captain, the S.A.D.D. Club treasurer, a member of Leo Club (the district’s first such club) and a member of the Math team.

Schwab has been named to the Math, French, National Science, Art and National English honor societies. She attributes her endless pursuit of knowledge to a special educator at Mepham who helped foster her resilience and commitment.

“I'd like to thank Mrs. Siegelaub who has inspired a passion for learning that continues to drive me to pursue new goals,” she noted of the now retired French teacher.

This fall, Schwab plans to study neuroscience at the Honors College at the University of Pittsburgh. She offered the following advice to next year’s seniors:

“Things are not always going to work out in the way you expect, but you just have to keep moving forward and grab the opportunities presented to you,” she said.


Kennedy High School

Alixandra Wilens has a way with words. She used her pen – and insatiable thirst for learning – to lead the Kennedy class of 2017 as valedictorian.

Editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, the Cougar Crier, Wilens’ biggest academic accomplishment was being named a Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Gold Medal Writing Portfolio recipient earlier this year.

“I was chosen as one of eight recipients out of 330,000 national submissions,” she said. “This is the culmination of everything I have worked toward as a writer, and it is only the beginning.”

Wilens is a National Merit Commended Student, AP Scholar with Honor, and member of Mu Alpha Theta, National, National English, National Foreign Language and New York State Science honor societies. She is also a board member of the National Honor Society and Mock Trial.

She attributed some of her academic successes to teachers who influenced and inspired her; including her writing mentor and English teacher Vivian DiGennaro. “I wish her class had lasted all four years. I will never see literature the same way again.”

Another teacher who made a positive impression on her was social studies teacher Erin Coman. “She made history sound like a best-selling novel,” Wilens said.

Wilens will double major in history and psychology at the Hofstra University Honors College. Her advice to incoming seniors is to slow down.

“When you are on a tightrope between high school and college, do not rush to either side. Just walk.”

Salutatorian Rebecca Stekol makes sweet music with her violin to accompany her stellar academic career at Kennedy High School.

“Throughout high school, I have tried to contribute as much to the arts programs as possible,” Stekol said. “Whether I was acting in the plays, playing violin in my school's string ensemble, or putting together volunteer performances with my chamber group, I love how the arts is a uniting force. I am so grateful to have been able to work with so many of my talented classmates.”

She performs with her school orchestra and the Long Island Youth Orchestra, founded an extracurricular chamber orchestra, is the president and editor of the school’s literary magazine, Magnum Opus and is a four-year member of the Drama Club, Pit Band and Mock Trial.

“Being a member of Magnum Opus for the past four years and the editor for the past two years was so much fun and allowed me to appreciate, learn from, and celebrate the artistic work of the students at JFK,” she added.

Stekol was a National Spanish Exam gold medalist in her first three years of high school, a National Merit Commended Student, on the executive board of the National Honor Society, president of National English Honor Society, as well as a member of the Tri-M, New York State Science and Spanish honor societies and Mu Alpha Theta.

She will study international relations at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.


Calhoun High School

A professional television actress, valedictorian Julia Losner is capable of commanding the stage – and the best from herself educationally.

An accomplished pianist, Losner has attained countless music honors, including Festival Disney Outstanding Accompanist Award and National Association for Music Educators All-Eastern/All-State/All-County Vocalist.

“Playing the piano has fostered collaborative relationships with others; it calms me down if I'm upset and cheers me up if I'm having a bad day,” she explained. “Being an accompanist has had a profound impact on me, and I am proud of the work that other musicians and I have done.”

Losner is also editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, Hoofbeats, a junior EMT and member of the Bellmore-Merrick EMS and a section leader in the Crescendo Show Choir.

Role models and mentors include teachers Jason Boland, Kim Lascarides, Sanford Sardo and Mary Reinhardt.

“They have all inspired me in various ways and have played an integral role in shaping me not only as a student but also as a human being,” she added.

Academic accolades include AP Scholar with Distinction, French, Math, Tri-M, Science, Social Studies, English honor societies, Students Building Bridges Award recipient, St. John's Women in Science Award recipient, National Merit Letter of Commendation, National Merit Corporate Award winner, three-time Durrell Blank Scholarship winner, New York Press Association High School Journalism award winner 2014, 2015, 2016 and the Le Grand Concours Certificat d'Honneur Laurete National – 2015 and 2016 Award winner.

She will attend Harvard University in the fall, with a focus on Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology.

As salutatorian of Calhoun High School’s class of 2017, Matthew Garber has maintained an impressive level of academic accomplishments. In addition to his class rank, he received a National Merit Scholarship Commendation, and is a member of the National Honor Society, Math, Italian and Science honor societies.  In an effortless way, he excels in everything, all the while contributing an enormous number of hours to his leadership and service commitments. 

Garber’s extracurricular interests run the gamut from baseball to Book Club to Science Club to Math Team.

Without question, his most meaningful pursuit is his leadership position as District Governor of New York District Key Club. He is the top Key Club officer in New York State, leading over 13,000 Key Clubbers from 240 organizations through a year of service.

“It has given me the opportunity to fall in love with service again,” he said. “The experiences I have gained in Key Club have helped me to grow as a leader and a person.”

As a school and community leader, Garber has had the opportunity to lead thousands of Key Clubbers towards a common goal. It has taught him public speaking and leadership skills  and has exposed him to people from literally all around the state, country and world who are different in all but one way; their love to make the world a little bit better. 

Garber plans to study Applied Mathematics/Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania in the fall.


Meadowbrook Alternative Program

At the Meadowbrook Alternative Program, valedictorian Derek Baumann maintains an active and very present role in the school. A representative to the monthly board of education meeting, Baumann reports on happenings and achievements at MAP.

He is vice president of the school’s Key Club and has involved himself in various One Voice, One Message events and a Habitat for Humanity Build.

“One of the highlights of my career has been watching Derek become the young man he is today,” said Principal Susan Ellinghaus. “He has an incredible work ethic and gives 100 percent of himself to everything he does. He has been an officer in the MAP Key Club and is passionate about community service. One of his favorite memories was a trip to the Bowery Mission, which really helped to open his eyes to the issue of homelessness and hunger in society today. From one who stood on the side looking in, Derek is now the one to whom others look to lead the way.”

Baumann looks forward to studying liberal arts at LIU Post in the fall.

“Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t worth it, because at the end of the day, the person that decides your life is you,” he offered as advice for fellow MAP students.

Known as truly supportive of others at MAP, salutatorian Hannah Kuzminski is a driven individual.

“Don’t be shy,” she advises underclassmen. “We are all one big support system.”

She is president of the school’s Key Club and a member of the Gay Straight Alliance. She has worked on various philanthropic projects including the Fall Harvest Ball and a Habitat for Humanity Build. Kuzminski is also the recipient of a Kiwanis Recognition Award.

“Hannah is a compassionate young woman who is planning a career in nursing,” said Ellinghaus. “She has worked very hard to get to where she is today and would probably tell you that her community service activities through Key Club are the things which keep her calm and focused. She has truly enjoyed the many hours which she has devoted to the Community Cupboard, helping to eradicate hunger in our community. Hannah is always surrounded by a group of friends who are, no doubt, drawn to her compassionate spirit and infectious laugh.”

Kuzminski plans to study liberal arts at Nassau Community College in the fall.



Bellmore-Merrick BOE Recognizes Student Representatives

Bellmore-Merrick BOE Recognizes Student Representatives Photo
Bellmore-Merrick BOE Recognizes Student Representatives Photo 2
Bellmore-Merrick BOE Recognizes Student Representatives Photo 3
As thedistrict  wraps up the 2016-17 school year, it recently recognized four student representatives who offered insight and update from each of the district’s four high schools at the monthly board of education meetings.

At the June 7 meeting, Madison Uzwy of Wellington C. Mepham, Sara Samir of Sanford H. Calhoun, Derek Baumann of the Meadowbrook Alternative Program and Abigail Jellinek of John F. Kennedy high schools, were showered with gifts including a commemorative gavel after offering their last update from the board dais.

Mepham Students Are Charity Champions

Mepham Students Are Charity Champions Photo
Mepham High School was honored as Charity Champions by Altice for their spring Senior Service Learning Project that raised more than $41,000 for the St. Baldrick's Foundation. Altice presented the students with a $2,500 check for St. Baldrick's on June 1.

Superintendent Named Hall of Fame Inductee

Superintendent Named Hall of Fame Inductee Photo
John DeTommaso, the superintendent of schools, was recently honored as a 2017 Nassau County Athletic Hall of Fame inductee.  

One of 13 people named this year, DeTommaso holds an impressive sports record.  

“He was All-American in lacrosse four times, won two national championships while attending Johns Hopkins University and participated in the World Games,” said Board President Janet Goller as she presented him with a certificate of achievement at the June 7 meeting. “He was also an All-State athlete for football in high school.”

There will be a formal induction ceremony in September. 
DeTommaso was nominated by Deputy Superintendent Dr. Mara Bollettieri and Craig Papach, the athletic director at John F. Kennedy High School.

Advanced Science Research Students Honored

Advanced Science Research Students Honored Photo
The Long Island Science Congress Senior Division Awards were held at St. Anthony's High School on May 23 and among those honored were students from the district’s Advanced Science Research Program.

Seniors Hadi Aziz from Calhoun and Alex Negrin from Kennedy high schools had their projects chosen from more than 2,000 competitors from Nassau and Suffolk counties to represent Long Island in their respective categories at the State Science Competition held at the University at Buffalo in early June.  

Additionally, Perri Zilberman from Kennedy received the $100 LISTEMELA Alphonse J. Campbell Memorial Award (Special Award). Award for Most Distinguished Categorical Project: Behavioral Science went to Alex Negrin, Kennedy. Aziz won the Award for Most Distinguished Categorical Project: Biology. Along with Zilberman and Negrin, Aziz also won Highest Honors. Mepham’s Amna Minhas won High Honors, while Matt Klein and Nina Weissbach, both of Kennedy, and Brandon Langone of Mepham won Honors.

Bellmore-Merrick CHSD Hosts a Celebration of the Arts

Bellmore-Merrick CHSD Hosts a Celebration of the Arts Photo

The districtwide arts festival held on May 21 is one of the highlights of the music and art departments of the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District.

“It’s one of the unique opportunities showcasing the BMCHSD Art and Music Departments in a ‘One Voice, One Message’ setting,” said Cheryl Fontana, director of fine and performing arts and adult education.

The festival featured live performances as well as an extensive and elaborate art gallery.

“It’s a celebration of the incredible talents of our students, as well as a celebration of the passion and dedication of our teachers, and it is most definitely a celebration of the commitment by this district to the invaluable role the arts play in education,” added Fontana.

Mepham Students Showcase ‘Voices from the Past’

Mepham Students Showcase ‘Voices from the Past’ Photo
Mepham Students Showcase ‘Voices from the Past’ Photo 2
Mepham Students Showcase ‘Voices from the Past’ Photo 3
On May 25, Mepham High School's Voices from the Past class presented their student-crafted, original work of theater titled “Voices from the Past.”  
The production was designed and directed by the students of Voices from the Past, and the piece was performed in conjunction with student actors from Mepham's Skull and Bones Drama Club. Co-teachers Edward Grosskreuz and Stu Stein produced and oversaw the entire undertaking.

“Voices from the Past showcases the voices of victims, survivors, perpetrators and witnesses — be they bystanders or upstanders — of genocide and human rights abuses stretching from 1915 Armenia to the present,” said Stein. “The entirety of the play, with the exception of bits of added narration, is comprised of their real and true testimonies. The play does not portray characters; it portrays people.”

The students conceived this play as their final project for the current school year. Over the course of the year, they studied the genocides in Armenia, Nazi Europe and Rwanda, to name a few, while also becoming informed about human rights violations including the Japanese internment camps of 1940s United States, modern slavery, child soldiers and human trafficking. What the students realized is that history continues to repeat itself as the lessons of the past are forgotten or ignored. While the students understand that they cannot go out and entirely change the world, they hope they could use their newfound knowledge to inspire others to reconsider the way they treat others. Compassion and empathy are the best defense against hatred and apathy, Grosskruez and Stein explained.

“Ultimately, it is our responsibility to hear the voices from the past and to listen to their stories,” said Grosskreuz. “By using our voices in the present to echo these tales, we aim to inspire our audience — the voices of the future — to remember these people, the hardships they endured, and the lessons they gift to us.”

Merrick Avenue Middle School Hosts Author

Merrick Avenue Middle School Hosts Author Photo
Merrick Avenue Middle School Hosts Author Photo 2
Jen Calonita visited and presented to English students at Merrick Avenue Middle School recently.

Calonita discussed her journey, including the trials and triumphs, in becoming a successful and published writer.

Students eagerly asked her questions and sought advice on topics ranging from selecting reading titles to becoming published. Students entered a raffle and the winners received a signed copy of her books, including Summer State of Mind.

Bellmore-Merrick’s One Voice, One Message Initiative Packages 20,000 Meals for the Hungry

Bellmore-Merrick’s One Voice, One Message Initiative Packages 20,000 Meals for the Hungry Photo

All hands were on deck at Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District on April 22 when 100 volunteers, including One Voice, One Message ambassadors, packaged 20,000 meals in coordination with Rise Against Hunger.

Teachers and chairpersons were hauling 50-pound bags of vegetables and grains. Students worked in an assembly line, funneling dehydrated meals and vitamins into bags. Principals acted as couriers from the assembly tables to packaging locations. Administrators were taping up boxes full of meals and stacking them for transport. The superintendent manned a push broom, cleaning up any food spillover.

“They [the ambassadors] are the most incredible human beings with the largest hearts that serve as outstanding role models,” said Deputy Superintendent Dr. Mara Bollettieri, who is also the co-One Voice, One Message adviser.

Money raised at the March One Voice, One Message Superhero 5K Run paid for the meals.

Rise Against Hunger is an international hunger relief organization that distributes food to the world’s most vulnerable areas of the world.
“By sending the meals to schools abroad, the children will not only have a hot meal, but will receive an education as well,” added co-One Voice, One Message adviser and social studies chairperson Robyn Einbinder. “Students and staff alike were moved by the impact these meals will have, and thoroughly enjoyed working together throughout the morning.”


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