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Grand Avenue Marks 60th Moving Up Ceremonies

Grand Avenue Marks 60th Moving Up Ceremonies photo

As faculty welcomed family and friends to Grand Avenue Middle School’s 60th moving up ceremonies on June 8, Principal Carlo Conte told graduates to take a moment and find an adult in their lives who has influenced them over these past two years and offer a sincere thank you.

“Use the tools that you have gained here at Grand Avenue in high school and beyond,” he said.

Nina Genzone led the ceremony with a dynamo version of the “Star Spangled Banner” and Grand Voices, led by Conductor Amanda Cantwell offered peppy renditions of “Sing” and “This is Me,” with remarkable solos by Justin Ancona, Riley Fried, Aliza Kami and Maria Torres.

John F. Kennedy High School senior Nicole Khouryawad was invited to address Team Justice at the 8 a.m. ceremony. Grand Avenue held three more ceremonies throughout the day.

“I encourage you not to be nervous but eager to take advantage of the opportunities offered at high school,” she said, touting the Advanced Science Research, music and athletic programs.

“The ASR program and its advisors teach life and professional lessons that stay with students for years after they graduate,” she added.

Eighth-grader Riley Peckman offered a student reflection that centered around fond, pun-filled remarks about the Team Justice teachers.

“All of the hard work we’ve put in over the last two years has really paid off,” she said.

Robotics Clubs Debut at Middle schools

Robotics Clubs Debut at Middle schools photo

In their inaugural year, Robotics Clubs at both Grand and Merrick Avenue middle schools met weekly to collaborate on projects and learn about coding.

“Students started by assembling a standard robot and learning to code basic movements,” said Michelle Biancardo, a technology teacher and the adviser to both schools’ clubs. “Students programmed the robot to follow a line, sense an object and go around it or pick up an object. All components such as an armature – what spins the motor - were built by the students and then coded to perform the task.” 

The team, along with Grand Avenue’s Robotics Club, recently competed in the Adelphi STEP Robotics Competition. Students began building robots from scratch in March.

“I was so impressed with our middle school students and their robots,” said Science/STEM Chairperson Rob Soel. “They were all excited and well prepared for both the presentations and the actual competition in the LEGO Mindstorm field.”

Grand Avenue placed eighth and Merrick Avenue 24th out of 30 teams. 

VIDEO: Full STEAM Ahead at Grand Avenue’s Art Show

Full STEAM Ahead photo 2
Full STEAM Ahead photo 3
Full STEAM Ahead photo 4

In addition to the hundreds of pieces of talented student artwork on displayed during Grand Avenue Middle School Art Show on May 17, the Art and Robotics clubs collaborated to present an interactive musical drawing.

“Musical drawings are playable graphic scores that can be touched to play melodies and harmonies,” explained Michelle Biancardo, a technology teacher and the Robotics Club adviser. 

Graphite pencil acts a conductor of electricity, using the observer as the ground and connection of the music to the artwork itself. 

The code, written by seventh-grader Massimo Marino, is the orchestrator of the experience. He used programs such as Scratch and Makey Makey to create the program. A coding enthusiast, Marino used what he learned in Biancardo’s class and on his own to create this masterpiece. The project took more than two day to finish.  

“Once completed, it’s interesting to see all of these things working together to create this,” Marino said.
Art Club advisers Nicholas Giordano and Barbara Hirten worked with the students to create a drawing that could be "played " through the use of technology. 

“It is an incredible example of STEAM in action,” said Giordano. “They combine visual composition, coding and electronics as well as movement and sound, creating an interactive audiovisual experience.” 

Grand Avenue’s Adriana Pioli Named Poetry Contest Champion

Grand Avenue’s Adriana Pioli Named Poetry Contest Champion photo
Adriana Pioli, an eighth-grade student at Grand Avenue Middle School has been selected as the grand champion of the 2018 Walt Whitman Birthplace 32nd annual Poetry Contest.

English teacher Dawn Silvestri supported and promoted the students’ creative endeavors, which led to Pioli’s poem “My Mom” earning the top spot.

Two other eighth-grade students were selected as category winners, Madeline Finelli’s “Tribute to the Joy Within” and Kyle Ulmschneider’s “My First Homerun.” 

“Each of these students has been invited to attend a celebration with their families and teachers to be held at the Walt Whitman Birthplace at noon on Sunday, June 3,” said English Chairperson Mary Donnelly. 

The event will be officiated by Vijay Seshadri, the WWBA 2018 Poet in Residence, and Pioli will read aloud her prize-winning poem.

GAMS Students Selected for State Science Congress Competition

GAMS Students Selected for State Science Congress Competition photo
Two students from Grand Avenue Middle School were selected to participate in the New York State Science Congress competition. 

Tyler Bissoondial and Timothy Langone will travel to SUNY Buffalo on June 2 to present their research.

Bissoondial’s project is “MicroRNA-156 regulates gametophyte to sporophyte development and sensitivity to salinity in Ceratopteris richardii.” Langone’s project is “Can seed germination release inhibitory signals prevent the development of seeds in close proximity?”  

Both projects were completed under the guidance of their research teacher, Tami Cruz
In order to be selected to compete at the state competition, students must be within the top 1 percent of their category at the regional Long Island Science Congress.