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Bellmore-Merrick Seniors Earn High Honors at Music Festival

Bellmore-Merrick Seniors Earn High Honors at Music Festival Photo 1
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Two seniors in the district participated in the 2017 National Association for Music Education All-Eastern Festival and Concert in Atlantic City, New Jersey early April, earning high honors.

Skylar Berkley of Kennedy was selected as second chair clarinet with the Honors Orchestra and Julia Losner of Calhoun High School was selected as a Soprano II in the Honors Treble Chorus.

“Both of these ensembles are comprised of top student musicians from high schools across the northeast,” said Cheryl Fontana, the district’s director of the fine and performing arts. “This is such an incredible accomplishment for these two young ladies; the entire district is extremely proud.”

The intense three-day rehearsal period culminated with a live performance at the Adrian Phillips Ballroom in the historic Boardwalk Hall on Saturday, April 8. They were advised by music directors Wally Avellaneda and Sanford Sardo, respectively.

Merrick Avenue Clubs Bake to Benefit Autism Speaks

Merrick Avenue Clubs Bake to Benefit Autism Speaks Photo

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, two clubs at Merrick Avenue Middle School joined together to bake up some sweets – and funds – for the organization, Autism Speaks.

Members of the Natural Helpers and SADD clubs held an after-school bake sale to fundraise. Both parents and students donated confectionary creations, helping the clubs to raise nearly $300.

“This day meant so much to us because our brother, Joe, has autism and it was nice for the school to come together and raise awareness," explained brothers John Hopkins and Chris Hopkins. The triplets all attend Merrick Avenue Middle School.

Anyone who made a donation was able to sign their puzzle piece to light up the hallways of Merrick Avenue blue for the month of April.

Calhoun Wind Ensemble Earns Best in Class at Festival

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The Calhoun High School Wind Ensemble recently returned home from a successful and exciting competition weekend at Disney World in Florida.
The 69-member band took the Best in Class award in the Festival Disney Concert Band in the Triple A (school size) division.  

“This is the first time the wind ensemble has won their division in their seven visits dating back to 2005,” said Band Director Edward Tumminelli. The CCVB (Calhoun Colts Varsity Band) placed second overall, out of 14 high school concert bands (all school sizes).  

They performed the highly demanding 15-minute suite from “Mass,” by Leonard Bernstein. Performance ensembles from the entire country travel to Orlando to compete in the Festival Disney national music competition.

 

Calhoun Celebrates Culture and Diversity Through Cuisine

Calhoun Celebrates Culture and Diversity Through Cuisine Photo
English as a New Language learners and the International Buddy Club transformed Calhoun High School faculty room into an elegant red carpet event celebrating the rich diversity of the school.

Students and faculty enjoyed foods from different countries donated by families and staff members. English as a New Language 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 central administration, middle school students, as well as Calhoun’s very own past and present students.

“We are so proud of the work that these students do,” said ENL Department Chair Enrique Montes. “This is an opportunity for them to celebrate their heritage and acknowledge that diversity makes our building a very special place.”  
 
In addition to the wonderful food, students participated in a scavenger hunt that encouraged them to converse with other people and find common traits. Students also prepared a video montage highlighting the difficulties that newcomers face and the importance of acceptance and tolerance.


Concerns Regarding a Popular Netflix Series

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MAP Helps Grow Community Cupboard with Garden Use

MAP Helps Grow Community Cupboard with Garden Use
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After the local Community Parent Center donated a greenhouse to the Meadowbrook Alternative Program, students and staff immediately began investigating how to enhance the courtyard area.

Senior Jordan Ladd, 16, of Merrick wrote and received an $800 grant from Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation to help fund the project.

“We used some of the money to build raised garden beds,” explained Ladd. “The rest will go towards shelving for the greenhouse, gardening tools, seeds and soil.”

The idea is to supply families currently utilizing the district’s Community Cupboard food pantry, housed at the district’s administrative building on Brookside Avenue along with MAP.

“Right now if we can only give them items that are shelf-stable,” Ladd explained. “Fresh fruits and vegetables can be expensive and if you’re already having difficulty buying regular food, that might prevent someone from purchasing healthier options.”

Special education/social studies teacher Tiffany Rzempoluch and physical education/health teacher Karin McMahon have been advising the project. The Community Parent Center offers parenting education, support and resources for parents with children in grades kindergarten through 12.

Broadcasting Program Hosts Prospective Students from Elementary News Club

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On April 5, several students from the News Tech Club at the Old Mill Road School in North Merrick visited the Bellmore-Merrick Broadcasting program with their advisor, Deborah Walsh.

The field trip, organized by Walsh and Mepham English Chairperson Mary Donnelly, gave the students an opportunity to tour the Broadcasting studio at Wellington C. Mepham High School where Bellmore-Merrick Broadcasting teacher Stuart Stein and technology assistant Matt Russell offered students an interactive preview of an in-studio news broadcast. 

Club members took turns operating the controls and the cameras, serving as anchors, camera operators and directors. The students, who use an iPad and iMovie to create their own news packages for the News Tech Club, learned how to use industry-standard equipment, including BMB’s TriCaster, to produce a live broadcast. Stein and Donnelly answered questions about the Broadcasting program and invited the students to apply for enrollment in 2019 or 2020.

Kennedy Team SPARKs Second Place Win

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A team comprised of advanced science research students from Kennedy High School earned a second place prize at this year’s Northwell Health SPARK Challenge.

The teams that participated by shadowing professionals in different departments of the Health System last fall, competed with career presentations they designed to represent the departments they shadowed.

Teams from the culinary program, the virtual enterprise program and the Advanced Science Research (ASR) program presented at the Northwell SPARK event held in the Cradle of Aviation museum.

Kennedy’s ASR team won second place with their career advertisement poster presentation, representing vocational counselors and professionals at Northwell Health.  

Their prize includes a $4,500 award to be used for a field trip chosen by the 10-member student team and their teacher.

Congratulations to Team “Vocation Nation,” which is comprised of Jennifer Rhakimov, Julia Abrams. Nicole Khouryawad, Oliva Mark, Christopher Ham, Lucas Rosen, Nina Weissbach, Amanda Schleider, Chloe Rome and Brian Zharov.  They were lead by team advisor Barbi Frank.

Bellmore-Merrick World Languages Department Announces Poster Contest Winners

Bellmore-Merrick World Languages Department Announces Poster Contest Winners Photo

The Department of World Languages would like to announce the winners of their third annual districtwide contest.
    
Both middle and high school students submitted entries in poem, essay, comic strip and poster categories. This year’s contest focused on the value of learning another language through the theme of “Stay Connected...Learn a Language.”
    
The top three poster finalists from each school were displayed at the district’s administrative building to determine the district-wide favorites. Central administration staff voted for their top choices in both middle school and high school categories.
    
The following students were selected among all finalists: Anastasia Slobodov (Calhoun High School, first place - high school), Skylar Sena (Merrick Avenue Middle School, first place- middle school), Linda Jiang (Kennedy High School, second place - high school), Gary Solorzano - Ruiz (MAMS, second place- middle school), Julia Bremer (Calhoun, third place - high school) and Rachel Gulyaev (Grand Avenue Middle School, third place - middle school).  

“We would like to thank the entire World Languages department for judging and to the faculty, staff and students who submitted votes for the poster contest. We would like to send a special thanks to all our students who participated and the teachers who helped make this event a huge success,” said World Languages co-chairperson Enrique Montes.

For a complete list of winners, click here.

MAMS Science Olympiad Team Nab Wins

MAMS Science Olympiad Team Nab Wins Photo
The Merrick Avenue Middle School Science Olympiad team had a blast competing at Kellenberg Memorial High School on Saturday, March 31.
On Monday, April 3 these fearless Olympians were honored at an award ceremony held after school.

Winners include Jasper Seabold and Aiden Short (Fast Facts), Maya Spottiswood and Rebecca Sirof (Crime Busters), Maya Spottiswood and Rebecca Sirof (Disease Detectives), Sharyn Schweitzer and Rebecca Sirof (Optics).

Other participants included Kali Blair, Stefanie Gianuzzi, Ryan Harrington and Anna Varveris.

Mepham Drama Club’s Performance ‘Thoroughly’ Enjoyed

Mepham Drama Club’s Performance ‘Thoroughly’ Enjoyed Photo

The Skull and Bones Drama Club of Mepham High School staged “Thoroughly Modern Millie” as its 2017 spring musical production at the end of March.

Winner of the 2002 Best Musical Tony Award, “Millie” is an update of the Universal Pictures film of the same title. New music is by Jeanine Tesori, new lyrics are by Dick Scanlon, and the book is by Richard Henry Morris and Dick Scanlon.

The production was directed by Edward Grosskreuz, an English teacher at Mepham High School; vocal direction by Amanda Cantwell, choral teacher at Grand Avenue Middle School; choreography by Whitney Stone; and conducted by Brian Neiderman, band teacher at Mepham.

The show starred Samantha Pepe as Millie Dillmount, Mike Pioli as Jimmy Smith, Robbie Commisso as Mr. Trevor Graydon, Emily Garone as Miss Dorothy, Samantha Morgan as Mrs. Meers, Alaina Ciorra as Muzzy Van Hossmere, Emily Fontanetta as Hui Mei, Mike Scalisi as Zhen Hao and Melissa Ponton as Miss Flannery. The show was complete with an ensemble of 22 students.







MAMS Math Olympiad Team Earns Fifth Place Trophy

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This year's math team did an excellent job representing Merrick Avenue Middle School at Thursday's Olympiad tournament at Kellenberg High School.
 
Brian Campanelli, Ethan Katsman, Michelle Serban, Jasper Seabold and Benjamin Zhang made us all very proud winning the fifth place team trophy. An extra congratulations to Jasper Seabold for winning fifth place (out of approximately 145 students) in the individual competition.


Letter to Community - Potential Sale of Jerusalem Avenue School

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MAP Shakespeare Festival Was ‘To Be’

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Participants of Meadowbrook Alternative Program’s Shakespeare Festival took the lead from the famous playwright/poet and were true to “thine own selves.”

“It was a bit different this year in that through a grant we were able to secure green screens and videotape a lot prior to the actual festival,” explained Laura Sheridan, English teacher and event organizer. “This opened us up to people doing voiceovers, working with technology and other aspects that engaged our students.”

Students acted out scenes live onstage, including one with a voiceover from Superintendent of Schools John DeTommaso before watching the previously recorded acting sessions from students and teachers.

“From the live productions to those which were filmed against the green screen; each was spectacular,” said MAP Principal Susan Ellinghaus.
About 30 MAP students got a taste of what to expect a week prior to the festival when they attended “The Comedy of Errors” play in New York City.

“We like to expose them to live theater whenever possible, and we want to get them psyched up for the following week,” Sheridan added. 

 

'One Voice, One Message’ Run Feeds Hunger Charity

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Calhoun Senior Uses CPR Training to Save Grandmother

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While in the Calhoun High School gym assisting at her sister’s basketball game on March 19, senior Zahrah Ibrahim heard her mother calling out for help. Her grandmother was going in and out of consciousness.
Ibrahim recalled the CPR/AED refresher she’d received in her high school physical education class a few weeks prior and began performing life-saving maneuvers.

“At first I almost froze because it was my own grandmother, but then my dad prompted me and I started right up,” Ibrahim said. “I couldn’t feel a pulse, so I kept performing the compressions until the ambulance arrived.”
    

Her grandmother came to and was transported to a local hospital. She is now home recuperating.

“If it weren’t for the school training, I wouldn’t have been able to save my grandmother,” Ibrahim added.

She first took the course in middle school when it was administered throughout the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District. The course is financially funded by Forever 9 - The Robbie Levine Foundation, which was founded in 2005 in memory of 9-year-old Robbie Levine of Merrick, who died of sudden cardiac arrest at his little league practice. The foundation raises awareness of the need for AEDs in youth sports.

While it is a new New York State Education Department mandate that high schools expose their students to AED training and hands-on CPR administration, the district has been implementing this over the past three years.


Mepham Science Experiment Lands on Magazine Cover

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Alex Cifuentes and Sydney Mason, two sophomores from one of Josephine Parlagreco’s chemistry classes at. Mepham High School wanted to see what would happen if they held the prism lenses over the iPhone camera lens.

The result was a photo they captured when the camera was pointed at a white light; a simple flashlight. It was featured on the cover of the March 2017 edition of Chem 13 News magazine.

Italian Students Win Poetry Awards

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On March 24, students from the central high school district participated in the American Association of Teachers of Italian’s annual poetry recitation contest at SUNY Old Westbury.

These select Bellmore-Merrick students competed against more than 225 students from all over Long Island as they recited classic Italian poems in front of peers, teachers and professors. Each student not only memorized up to 30 lines of a classic Italian poem, but also effectively introduced and interpreted it.

“The students who demonstrated their mastery of pronunciation, intonation, interpretation, poise and memorization were awarded for their accomplished performances,” said World Languages Chairperson Enrique Montes. “All competitors were commended for their efforts and determination as they spent a day immersed in Italian.”

Senior Rebecca Unz of Calhoun High School received the top prize in her category for her poignant rendition of an excerpt from Dante Alighieri’s “The Divine Comedy.” Melissa Mjeshtri of Kennedy High School was also awarded first place among a large group of freshmen from all over Long Island.

Winners were as follows:

Calhoun High School – senior Rebecca Unz – first place; senior Jonathan Kessler - third place; junior Lauren Ameruoso - honorable mention; junior James Caracciolo - honorable mention; junior Sara Grossman- honorable mention and junior Kyle Pilotti- honorable mention
Kennedy High School – freshman Melissa Mjeshtri - first place
Wellington C. Mepham High School – junior Rebecca Scotto - honorable mention

‘One Voice, One Message’ Run Feeds Hunger Charity

‘One Voice, One Message’ Run Feeds Hunger Charity 2017

In an effort to once again unite the central high school district and continue its mission of philanthropy and community activism, the “One Voice, One Message” committee held its 5K Superhero Run on March 25.

Hundreds of participants descended on the starting point at Grand Avenue Middle School, enjoying breakfast donated from local businesses, getting faces painted with superhero designs and interacting with various school and community members. 

Elected officials Nassau County Legislator Steve Rhoads, Assemblyman Dave McDonough and State Sen. John E. Brooks were all on hand to lend their support to the cause.

“The one fantastic thing about the One Voice, One Message program is the recognition that we all have a responsibility to something greater than ourselves,” Rhoads said when he addressed the crowd.

The race was organized by Dr. Joseph Netto, school psychologist at Meadowbrook Alternative Program, Deputy Superintendent Dr. Mara Bollettieri and District Social Studies Chairperson Robyn Einbinder. 

“We continue our mission to fight hunger,” said Einbinder. “We began earlier this year by opening the districts Community Cupboard (a food pantry) and then dedicated this year’s Day of Service to providing food and hygiene items to those in need.”

The more than $10,000 raised will benefit Rise Against Hunger, which is an international hunger relief organization that distributes food and life-changing aid to the world's most vulnerable populations.

Overall winners were Mepham High School students James Moehringer for the men with a race time of 17:24.45 and Carissa Kahn for the women with a race time of 19:43.44.




Calhoun Community Loses Locks for Charity

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Calhoun High School hosted its annual Chop Your Lock's for Charity event to benefit the St. Baldrick's Foundation on March 21, raising $32,000.

“This was a great team building event along with building character in our future generation,” said Joseph Bianca, special education teacher and St. Baldrick's coordinator.

Calhoun football once again was the top fundraising team, garnering more than $6,000 for the cause, led by social studies teacher and coach Brian Moeller. Merrick’s Smith Street Deli donated a whopping $5,000 to the school’s fundraiser as well.

“This is our 11-straight year and we are closing in on the $600,000 mark overall,” Bianca added.

Mepham Shaves Heads for Childhood Cancer Research

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Mepham High School hosted its seventh Chop Your Lock's for Charity event to benefit the St. Baldrick's Foundation on March 22, raising $42,000.

“I am so proud of our Participation in Government and Leadership students for their spirit, enthusiasm and hard work in creating an event that not only raised money for such an important cause, but showcased why Mepham is such a special place,” said Kerry Dennis, social studies teacher, kickline coach and St. Baldrick's co-coordinator.

Irish step dancers from the Schade Academy of Irish Dancing kicked off the evening’s festivities. Community members were treated to face painting, games, music, raffle and more.

Team Guiliana G., created for social studies teacher Jacqueline Geller’s cancer surviving 4-year-old daughter, were top fundraisers, earning nearly $6,500 for the cause.

Since 2008, Mepham High School has raised over $250,000 for the St. Baldrick's Foundation, which funds research for childhood cancers.

 

MAMS Celebrates Foreign Language Week

MAMS Celebrates Foreign Language Week Photo

The Merrick Avenue Middle School Department of World Languages celebrated Foreign Language Week with several activities and events.
Each teacher’s students represented a different country for the week’s festivities. Some of the countries represented were China, Italy, Canada, Cuba, Argentina and Spain.  Students decorated classroom doors to showcase each country and dressed in the country’s colors on Friday.  
In addition, using the theme “Unity,” students created word chains that demonstrated vocabulary they learned this year.

Throughout the week, students and faculty voted on the best poster in the department’s annual poster contest, the theme of which was “Stay Connected, Learn a Language.”   

The following students were named winners; first place: Gary Solorzano of Anna DiChiara’s eighth grade class, second place: Skylar Sena of Anna DiChiara’s eighth grade class and third place: Antonette Malia of Susanne Kelly’s eighth grade class.

On March 10, the department hosted a spectacular World Culture Day coordinated by teachers Robyn Cohen, Anna Dichiara and Erin Yaltzindeg.  
“Students and staff tasted dishes from all over the world and experienced music from China, France, Italy and Spanish speaking countries,” explained Rosa Kaplan, World Languages chairperson. “Students from the M.O.R.E. program created passports for the special event and savored the international delicacies. The occasion, highlighting cultures from all over the world was enjoyed by all.”








Kennedy’s Wilens Receives Gold Medal for Writing

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

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

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

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

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

Mepham’s Pirettes Kick Up High Scores at LI Championship

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Coach Kerry Dennis and the Mepham High School Kickline recently competed in the Long Island Kickline Championship and finished first place in Pom, first place in Jazz and second place in team. The Pirettes also earned the title of Long Island champions in Pom. The squad was also a Sportsmanship Nominee from the National Dance Alliance.

Mepham Physics Team Earns First Place at Olympics

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

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

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

Kennedy Culture Club Travels Around the Globe

 Kennedy Culture Club Travels Around the Globe Photo

On March 20, members of the Culture Club at Kennedy High School  participated in a cultural gallery.

To prepare for the event, members spent time learning fun and unique facts about different countries involving geography, language, traditional foods, national celebrations and famous sites. 

During the event, students walked around the “cultural gallery” of various countries to ask questions and sample foods from around the world.




Calhoun’s Rodriguez Nabs Second at Track and Field States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Fame’ Lives on Grand Avenue Stage

‘Fame’ Lives on Grand Avenue Stage Photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






Calhoun Cheerleaders Host Youth Clinic

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



Calhoun AP Calculus Students are Ahead of the ‘Curve’

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

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

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

Calhoun English Prep Students Create Bookmarks

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

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

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

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

It’s Musical Season in Bellmore-Merrick

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Students in the school district have been busy preparing for upcoming spring musicals.

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

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

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

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

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

Kennedy Scientist’s Research to Be Published… Again

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

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

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

Kennedy Students Get on Their Feet for Musical Trip

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

Mepham Students Take Virtual Field Trip to Cuba

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

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

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

Perri Zilberman Wins National Young Astronomers Award

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

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



Youssef Ibrahim Dives into First at County Championships

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

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

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

MAMS Admins Flip Flapjacks for Students

MAMS Admins Flip Flapjacks for Students

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

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

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

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



Merrick Avenue French Students Celebrate Mardi Gras

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

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

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

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

Calhoun Cheer Squad Named Nassau County Champs

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

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

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

Calhoun’s Breakfast Club Visits Seniors for Game Time Fun

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

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

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

Calhoun Senior Seeks to Help Others Through Health

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Grand Avenue Builders’ Club Hosts Book Drive

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grand Avenue’s SADD Club Promotes Good Citizenship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Grand Avenue and Merrick Avenue Buzz at Hofstra Spelling Bee

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

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

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

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



Community Cupboard

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Updates Inside

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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