JFK Recognizes Outstanding Student Achievements for March
The administration and staff at Kennedy High School chose a student from each academic department to receive Student of the Month recognition to highlight their achievements and efforts. The March winners were:
Skylar Berkley (English)
Beatrice Brown (science)
Alex Eschmann (physical education)
Alana Green (business)
Jessica Jones (art)
Sarah Khalil (instrumental music)
Renee Korgood (health)
Lindsay Lodespoto (math)
Steven Obadiah (social studies)
Stephanie Person (vocal music)
Francesca Torchia (family & consumer science)
Emily Whelan (LOTE)
Hundreds Inducted into National Honor Society
Hundreds of students from Sanford H. Calhoun, John F. Kennedy and Wellington C. Mepham high schools were inducted into the school’s individual chapters of the National Honor Society on April 9. The National Honor Society seeks to recognize students’ continued academic excellence and commitment to success. Students are selected for induction based on academic performance and service to the community.
Students participated in a candlelighting ceremony to signify their induction into the society, which highlighted the National Honor Society’s four pillars – character, scholarship, leadership and service. Members of the building and central administrations, as well as the Board of Education, congratulated inductees as they made their way across the stage at each respective school.
Kennedy Students Named Finalists for Young Naturalist Awards
Two students – senior Dean Ostrofsky and junior Beatrice Brown – from John F. Kennedy High School were named finalists in the American Museum of Natural History Young Naturalist Awards Program. Only 36 students nationwide out of 1,500 entries in grades seven to 12 were selected for this prestigious honor. In order to be considered for this award, students had to write essays of approximately 3,000 words based on their own independent research. Finalist essays were chosen based on 13 rigorous criteria. First and second place grade-level winners will be announced in mid-April.
Dean, who was one of nine students selected in 12th grade, completed his research project, titled, “The Evolution of Venom Delivery Systems in Non-Front Fanged Colubriods.” His work looked at the specificity of the structure of rear-fanged venomous snakes. Based on previously published literature, he differentiated if the system was specified or not. Then, he looked at the natural history to find a reason why it was specified.
Beatrice’s research was called “Irene and Sandy…Oddity or Destiny? An Investigation of Factors Influencing Flooding Risks in the Long Island Area.” She was one of eight 11th-grade students nationwide named a finalist. In her research, Beatrice examined what type of factors influence hurricanes and associated flooding, including sea surface temperature and atmospheric circulation patterns.
Science research teacher Barbara Franklin said this is the first time the school has had two finalists and they’ve only had one other in the past. “I think it is a really great competition, especially for projects that are not in the medical field because those aren’t included,” she added. “It’s really about nature and about projects that examine nature, which both Beatrice and Dean’s projects really do.”
Kennedy to Hold Faculty Olympics
The student government at John F. Kennedy High School will host its annual Faculty Olympics on April 24 at 7 p.m. More than 80 Kennedy teachers, administrators and secretaries, divided into four teams, will be led by team captains chosen by the government’s executive board, including Kerri Andree, Jon Dell’Olio, Michael Graziosi and Laura Rosenthal. Staff members will compete in a variety of events, such as cupcake wars, tug-of-war, “Are You Smarter Than an AP Student?” and musical chairs. Teams will be scored by student judges.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Lung Cancer Research Foundation in memory of Ellen Sheldon, a Kennedy special education teacher who passed away in February after a lengthy illness. Students chose to honor Mrs. Sheldon for her 10 years of service in the district. To raise additional money, students will each donate $1 to participate in “Flannel Friday” the day after the event. The student leaders proposed the idea in hopes of showing solidarity for the cause and to collectively demonstrate appreciation for the career and life of Mrs. Sheldon.
The Kennedy Student Government is one of eight student councils in New York State to be named to the Gold Council of Excellence by the National Association of Student Councils. This recognition is a result of the group’s commitment to service and spirit. The Kennedy Student Government consists of an executive board, student senate and general assembly. Students are responsible for every aspect of the organization’s operations and the work necessary to host events such as this one.
Introducing the Class of 2014 Valedictorians and Salutatorians
The district proudly introduces its valedictorians and salutatorians for the graduating Class of 2014. These outstanding and well-rounded students embody an impressive breadth of knowledge and pride of personal character. All six students have demonstrated a strong dedication to their academics and responsibility to the Bellmore-Merrick community, all while remaining committed to their extracurricular activities and outside obligations.
“I’m so impressed by our valedictorians and salutatorians this year,” said Superintendent of Schools John DeTommaso. “They represent the talented and innovative student body we have at all three of our amazing high schools. I wish them the best of luck in everything they do in the future.”
Sanford H. Calhoun High School
Valedictorian: Katherine Kustas
Katherine is a dedicated individual who remains committed to both her academics and extracurricular activities. She believes that all of the diverse and rigorous classes she’s taken at the school have helped contribute to her success. As historian of the student council, she photographs school events and is creating a montage for the senior class at the end of the year. Throughout her high school years, she has assisted in raising money and planning prom as part of student council. She’s currently a member of the Science Club and has participated in soccer, winter track and badminton since freshman year. She’s also been involved with Key Club and the Yearbook Club, as well as with tutoring her peers.
Demonstrating her continued involvement in the community, Katherine volunteers at the Merrick Library over the summer, reading books with children and assisting them with book reports. She has also volunteered at the Merrick Fair for two years in a row and participated in the Jones Beach Breast Cancer Walk. Every year, along with the entire soccer team, she has visited businesses in Merrick, asking for gift cards to raffle off at the annual St. Baldrick’s fundraising event, for which she also volunteers.
Katherine has played soccer her entire life, serving as goalkeeper on an outside soccer team in her spare time. She plans on studying finance or economics in college and hopes to become a financial analyst.
Salutatorian: Alexander Boyd
Alexander has earned the spot of salutatorian by taking such classes as Advanced Placement U.S. History, English Language and Composition, and English Literature, as well as international relations and creative writing. Every year, he has conducted extensive research and written position papers for the National High School Model United Nations Conference in New York City on issues such as farming in the Middle East, intellectual property rights, the Arab Spring, and the situations in Somalia and Cote D’Ivoire.
Besides academics, Alexander serves as captain of the cross-country, winter track and spring track teams; the secretary general of the Model United Nations; and president of the band. He has volunteered at Robbie’s Run for the past three years and is involved with We Care Blankets over the summers. Outside of school, he loves to read and is an avid sports fan. He plans on double majoring in political science and English, and hopes to do something that involves writing in his future career.
John F. Kennedy High School
Valedictorian: Benjamin Rabinowitz
As Kennedy’s valedictorian, Benjamin is not only committed to his high-achieving academics, but also to his extracurricular activities and volunteer work. A member of the school’s Advanced Science Research program, he’s completed research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center on bioluminescence imaging in an immunology laboratory. He’s volunteered at North Shore-LIJ Feinstein Institute, assisting in research of autism spectrum disorders; at Hadassah, fundraising for stem cell awareness by participating in walks; and with JCC Maccabi USA, participating in a variety of fundraising and community service activities. Benjamin also dedicates his time to volunteering for the Forever 9 Foundation, for which he’s helped organize the annual 5K run in memory of his close friend Robbie Levine. Additionally, Benjamin spent the summer of 2013 in Florence, Italy, taking courses in Italian and marketing at Instituto Lorenzo de’Medici.
At Kennedy, Benjamin has been class vice president for the past four years, in addition to being an active member of the Key Club, wind ensemble and National, Science and Spanish honor societies. He also was part of Athletes Helping Athletes and participated in the National Honors Spanish Test for three years, earning a silver, bronze and honorable mention. A varsity soccer player for his entire high school career, Benjamin was team captain as a junior and senior, and was named All-Conference his junior year. He’s also competed on junior varsity track, a travel soccer team, and took part in the Maccabi Games in track and field, earning himself 11 gold, eight silver and three bronze medals.
He plans on majoring in pre-medicine and psychology in college, with the aspiration of one day becoming a surgeon.
Salutatorian: Benjamin November
An AP Scholar with Honor, Benjamin is a member of the school’s Advanced Science Research program. He spent his sophomore and junior years conducting research at Citi College, and his junior and senior years researching at Brookhaven National Laboratory. His research paper – “Measurement of Leaf Properties to Improve the Parameterization Used by Earth System Models to Estimate the Maximum Capacity for CO2 Uptake in the Arctic” – earned him semifinalist status in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search competition. Benjamin hopes to study engineering in college and obtain both a master’s and doctorate in engineering.
As a senior, Benjamin has served as chairperson of the Stock Market Club for Future Business Leaders of America, in addition to being a member of Athletes Helping Athletes and the Key Club. Benjamin is also a member of the National, Math, Science and Spanish honor societies, serving as a peer tutor for underclassmen with the NHS. Outside of school, Benjamin has volunteered at Winthrop University Hospital. During his freshman and sophomore years, he was invited to attend the National Young Conference – an invitation extended to students with excellent academic performance and leadership potential. He was named the Math Student of the Month at the school, and he’s represented the Cougars on junior varsity and varsity football and track.
Wellington C. Mepham High School
Valedictorian: Brian Keohane
Brian is a National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalist and was named a candidate in the prestigious U.S. Presidential Scholars program. Recently, he was named a News 12/Capital One Scholar Athlete of the Week – an honor given to only 30 Long Island students a year that recognizes seniors who excel in athletics, leadership and scholarship. Brian is the first Mepham student to receive this honor and the second districtwide.
Brian is a three-season athlete in cross-country, basketball and spring track, serving as captain on all three teams this year. Outside of athletics, he is a member of the math team, Science Club and Athletes Helping Athletes and takes a challenging roster of classes, including Advanced Placement U.S. History, English, macroeconomics, Calculus BC, Physics C, Italian and psychology.
Although undecided on which school he will attend, Brian is interested in studying engineering next year in college. His future career plans include going to graduate school and obtaining his doctorate.
Salutatorian: Matthew Waldmann
Committed to his studies in mathematics and science, Matthew is an active member of the Mepham community. Academically, he challenges himself with a rigorous course load, including such classes as Advanced Placement Statistics, chemistry, physics and Calculus BC. A member of the school’s Physics Olympics team, math team and Athletes Helping Athletes program, he’s also a dedicated member to several other Mepham activities. He’s played for the varsity Bulldogs ice hockey team for the past four years, serving as captain for the past two, and played three years of varsity soccer, being named captain as a senior.
Matthew gives back to the community with his involvement in the Wounded Warrior Project and Make-A-Wish Foundation. Although undecided on which college he will attend next year, he plans to study aerospace engineering and hopes to become a successful engineer.