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John F. Kennedy High School

3000 South Bellmore Ave
Bellmore, NY 11710
Mr. Gerard Owenburg

Assistant Principals:
Mr. Daniel Jantzen
Dr. Marie A. Netto
Mr. Vincent Pisano

 Attendance: 992-1409
 Guidance: 992-1420
 Main Office:


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Current News

Kennedy Robotics Club Teams Ramp Up Virtual Challenges

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Kennedy High School Robotics Club teams have been competing in virtual drone challenges.

VRAD, the Virtual REC Foundation Aerial Drones Program, partnered with Robotify to create the world’s first global multiplayer virtual aerial drone competition where registered high school robotics teams have the ability to compete from anywhere in the world. By combining the educational value of computer science with the excitement of Esports, VRAD focuses on real-world programming skills and gaming strategy.

“The Robotics Club has 12 VRAD teams participating in this innovative STEM challenge,” explained Rob Soel, district science/STEM chairperson. “Although in-person robotics competitions are not possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, our teams have been highly motivated to collaborate virtually and take part in the VRAD competitions after school hours and on weekends.”

Since their first competition on Jan. 16, many of the teams have participated in four rounds, one advancing to 17th place out of hundreds of National teams on the Roboduel platform.

“Through competitive design and game-based learning, our students have learned how to design and code the virtual drones for user controlled and autonomous flights,” added adviser Deanna Ocampo. “The teams will continue to join online matches and hopefully advance to the VRAD championships in early April. We are so proud of their resilience and ongoing accomplishments in robotics.”

Kennedy Students Hold Food Drive for Veterans

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After studying about the presidential cabinet as part of the Bureaucracy Unit in AP Government at Kennedy High School in the Bellmore-Merrick Central School District, Kara McManus' students became curious and had many questions about the Veterans Affairs Department.

“Specifically, the students were struck by the rising poverty and suicide rates among America's veterans,” explained McManus. “From this discussion, the students were inspired to create valentines and to hold a food drive for veterans on Long Island”
Donations were delivered to The Veterans Place in Yaphank, an organization that houses homeless veterans. It’s food pantry also provides food for veterans and their families who live on Long Island.

“This was a wonderful way to spread the compassion of the Bellmore-Merrick Community beyond our immediate borders,” added Principal Gerard Owenburg.

Kennedy’s Cameron Montalbano Nets 1,000th Career Point

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Kennedy High School senior Cameron Montalbano cleared her 1,000th career point in the Cougars 51-36 win over Elmont on Feb. 9.

Montalbano posted 26 overall points during the game on a buzzer-beater, which was the first for the girls basketball team this winter season.

“Since she was a freshman, Cameron was a starter in the shooting guard/small forward position,” said Mallory Freely, coach and physical education/health teacher.

Montalbano averages 20.3 points a game, including 11 rebounds and 4 assists.

“I’ve never met a more coachable, outgoing and hardworking player before,” added Freely. “I’ve been her coach all four years and watching her grow as a player has been such an honor. Our district’s motto to our players is to ‘work while you wait,’ and Cameron does just that and then some.”

When not in school, Montalbano practices on outside teams and with trainers to perfect her game.

“She never settles and always feels she has room to grow as an athlete,” said Freely. “It is students like Cameron who make me want to be a better coach. Cameron’s tenacity and passion elevates those around her to do the same and it is truly wonderful to experience.”

Five Students Named National Merit Finalists

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Five students in the Central High School District have been recognized as 2021 National Merit Finalists.

Lucas Ahrens from Calhoun High School, Connor Gibson and Stamatia Papazis from Kennedy High School, and Samantha Green and Tyler O’Neill from Mepham High School were all included on the list.

“Our students have had to pivot to navigate throughout the last school year and they still continue to rise to the challenge academically,” said Superintendent John DeTommaso. “This is a significant achievement that we get to celebrate students from all three of our high schools.”

The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Approximately 15,000 students of the 1.5 million juniors who entered qualified as finalists.

Beginning in March and continuing to mid-June, NMSC notifies approximately 7,600 finalists that they have been selected to receive a Merit Scholarship, corporate, or college-sponsored monetary award.

Five Kennedy Students Named Regeneron Semifinalists

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Five students. Kennedy High School were named Regeneron Science Talent Search semifinalists on Jan. 7.

Callie Burns, Tara Fusillo, Danielle Kacaj, Jordyn Krinsky and Julia Levine are among 300 students nationwide to receive this designation.

This year marks the first time five female students were selected from a Bellmore-Merrick School and that acknowledgement was not lost on these young women.

"We were so excited for the representation,” added Burns. “It’s an amazing opportunity that all of us got to perform this amazing research. It was a bonding experience for all of us to spend so much time together working on this and now it has all paid off for all of us.”

• Callie Burns’ project, “Student Discipline in Nassau County High Schools: Comparing Distinct Layers of Law Enforcement and Disparity in Student Punishment”
• Tara Fusillo’s project, “Predicting Health Disparities in Regions at Risk of Severe Illness to Inform Healthcare Resource Allocations during Pandemics: Observational Study”
• Jordyn Krinsky’s project, “The Combinatorial Effects of Diet and Caffeine Mitigate Parkinson’s Disease in a Drosophila melanogaster System”
• Danielle Kacaj’s project, “Retinal Ganglion Cell Dysfunction is Associated with Macular Microvascular Abnormalities in Pre-Perimetric Glaucoma”
• Julia Levine’s project, “Reduced Fasciclin 2 Expression in Drosophila melanogaster Leads to Impaired Locomotor Function and Abnormal Stress Response Following Dietary Alterations of Carbohydrates in a Celiac Disease Model”

The students each ran into their own challenges on their research projects including having to adjust to the sudden school shut down in March 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Fusillo, her project’s inspiration was actually COVID-19 and how socio-economic factors affected the mortality rates of more vulnerable communities.

“I wanted to see how health resources could further be allocated to those specific communities during pandemics,” she added.

Krinsky and Levine had to immediately come up with a contingency plan as their fruit fly source in Indiana became temporarily unavailable.

“We both created labs inside of our homes; mine being my dining room,” Krinsky explained. “I had a CO2 tank attached to my table in order to put our flies under anesthesia.”

Levine, her mother and sister all live with celiac disease, the driving force behind her research.

“I specifically focused on different dietary treatments on fruit flies, since there is no real cure for celiac, it’s all dietary,” she added.

Kacaj’s project was a clinical trial at the Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital that was put on pause, so she had to perform research from home.

“It wasn’t as ideal or the experience that I wanted,” she added. Nevertheless, she made the most of the experience and was rewarded in the end.

Whereas, Burns’ research involved statistical analyzing nationally record data, so being given the gift of time was very beneficial.

“I completed more than I originally planned and that I decided to add an experimental component to my research,” she added.

Burns taught herself how to use survey software, creating a survey that was sent out more than 4,000 Nassau County teachers.

“The tools that they got out of the Regeneron process are far beyond research skills,” adviser Barbi Frank.

Burns mentioned a heightened work ethic, increased perseverance, as well as time management skills.

“Once the pandemic hit, the 12 seniors [who submitted projects] rose to the occasion,” Frank added. “We set up buddy systems for them to become models to the underclassmen. It wasn’t a matter of if we’re going to do this, it was how are we going to do this and be successful.”

The seven other seniors who submitted projects included Liam Boyle, Matt Cohn, Josh Farber, Eric Giannaris, Seth Gorelik, Jacob Kamler and Arjun Maystry.

Principal Gerard Owenburg said he has been “fortunate enough to have a front row seat, watching the advanced science research seniors navigate the pandemic while competing their research.

“At Kennedy, we talk a lot about the importance of resiliency and adaptability,” he added. “I can’t think of any other group of individuals who have demonstrated these traits better than our Class of 2021 Regeneron Scholars. The fact that these students were even able to complete and submit their research was one of the most emotional moments of this school year. I could not be prouder.”

The Regeneron STS is the nation's most prestigious pre-college science competition. Each scholar, selected from 1,760 entrants, receives a $2,000 award with an additional $2,000 going to his or her respective school. On Jan. 21, 40 students will be named finalists and then from March 10-17, the finalists will then compete for more than $1.8 million in awards.

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