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Boys Soccer Team Captures State Title

Boys Soccer Team Captures State Title photo
A dominant season for the Amityville Memorial High School boys soccer team culminated with a state championship. The Warriors defeated the Somers High School Tuskers, 2-1, in the NYSPHSAA Class A Finals on Nov. 11 in Middletown. 

After going undefeated in the regular season, along with one tie, the Warriors breezed through the playoffs. They beat Hauppauge High School, 3-1, on Nov. 1 to win the Suffolk Class A championship and captured the Long Island title three days later with a 5-0 win over Mepham High School. In the state semifinals, Amityville defeated Rochester Brighton 2-0 on Nov. 10 to set up their match with Somers. 

Led by coach Mike Abbondondolo, the Warriors captured their second championship in school history, with the first coming in 2015. Henry Martinez scored both goals in the clinching game, but Amityville got contributions from up and down the roster in its playoff run including Rolman Guardado, Kymani Hines, Angel Zavala and goaltender Kyle Barsic. 

History-Making Coach Inspires Park Avenue Students

History-Making Coach Inspires Park Avenue Students photo

The first female coach in the history of the New York Jets provided words of encouragement to students at Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School on Oct. 29. Collette Smith, a coaching intern who worked with the defensive backs during the 2017 training camp, was the keynote speaker to kick off the school’s annual College and Career Week.

Ms. Smith was a professional football player with the New York Sharks in the Women’s Alliance, beginning her three-year career at 42 before coaching. She became only the third female coach in NFL history and the first African-American woman to coach. After her stint with the Jets, she founded Believe N You and serves as a motivational speaker.

During assemblies for fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders, Ms. Smith encouraged students to believe in themselves and understand that they can accomplish anything they want. She told students her motto, “Making tomorrow better today,” to remind them that the steps they take now can lead them to future success. Working hard in school, treating others respectfully and making healthy choices are among those steps, she said. 

Ms. Smith said that football players, just like students, have homework. They have to study their playbooks to be effective on the field. 

“Her message is so important, that our students can do anything they put their minds to,” said guidance counselor Kimberly Balducci. She added that many students have a passion for sports, and this shows them that there are many career opportunities in athletics.

In addition to Ms. Smith’s speech, each assembly included a slideshow featuring graduation photos of Park Avenue teachers and administrators, to remind students of the end goal. Principal Robyn Santiago said the goal of the program was to boost self-esteem and inspire each child to be his or her own personal cheerleader.

 

Middle School Teachers Share Their Knowledge

Middle School Teachers Share Their Knowledge photo
Edmund W. Miles Middle School teacher Michele Rudden and Jack Zider were presenters at the Long Island Council for the Social Studies conference on Oct. 26. 

Ms. Rudden was the 2018 recipient of the Outstanding Middle School Social Studies Teacher Award by LICSS. As part of the honor, she was invited to present at the annual conference at the Melville Marriott Hotel. Ms. Rudden, an eighth-grade teacher, partnered with ninth-grade teacher Mr. Zider so they could give perspectives on teaching two different levels. They spoke to a crowd of about 80 teachers from across Long Island.

Their presentation focused on teaching and learning strategies for challenged students to succeed on the long response sections of the new social studies Regents exams, including special education students, English language learners and poor readers. The revised Global History Regents, which is given at the end of 10th grade, includes document analysis for constructed response questions and an enduring issues essay. The workshop highlighted various methods of differentiation to achieve greater student outcomes.

Ms. Rudden and Mr. Zider cited their use of technology to provide students with access to digital content to provide a greater understanding of historical events. They said that while students don’t take the Regents until sophomore year of high school, it is important to introduce the format in middle school so they are poised for success. 

“Like true professionals, they are not only helping our students, but sharing with teachers all over Long Island who are facing the same obstacles,” said Assistant Principal Paul Duguay, who previously served as social studies chairperson. “I am proud to have them as colleagues and I congratulate them on this great achievement.”

A Peek at Music for Park Avenue Students

A Peek at Music for Park Avenue Students photo
Five students from Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School, along with their parents, participated in the Suffolk County Music Educators Association PEAK Music Festival. The event was held on Oct. 27 at Northport High School.

Fourth-graders Liana Diaz, Grace Lewis, Sarai Mullings, Morgen Slinger and Kimberly Torres joined their peers from across Suffolk County for a day of musical experiences. Workshops included chorus, folk dancing, musical theater, recorder, ukulele and world drumming. 

The students were chosen to participate in the festival based upon the recommendation of Roxanne Tannenbaum, their third-grade music teacher at Northwest Elementary School.

Creations Connect Communities at Northwest

Creations Connect Communities at Northwest photo
As part of the second-grade social studies curriculum, students learn about different types of communities. Children at Northwest Elementary School took the lesson to the next level with the creation of an elaborate hallway display.

Students learned about the characteristics of rural, suburban and urban communities. Each class was assigned one of three types and had to create a large-scale art project. The rural section of the hallway featured a barn with animals, while the suburban area was filled with pictures of cars, houses and stores. 

Second-grade teachers said that purpose of the project was to help students understand the differences in the three types of a communities through a visual representation. 

Kindergartners Celebrate Writing Success

Kindergartners Celebrate Writing Success photo
Completing the first writing assignment of the year was a milestone moment for kindergartners at Northeast Elementary School in the Amityville Union Free School District. Children proudly marched around the building with their non-fiction pieces during a celebratory parade on Oct. 19.

Students wrote short narrative pieces as part of their introduction to Writer’s Workshop, an initiative that creates personal writing experiences through the self-selection of topics. For their initial assignment, kindergartners could pick any memory or special moment in their lives to share. 

“Celebration,” with the well-known lyric, “Celebrate good times, come on!” played over the loudspeaker during the parade. Three students were then chosen to share their pieces with the entire school. All of the young writers took their stories home to read to family members.

“They’re writers now, and we wanted to celebrate that,” said instructional coach Theresa McCormack, adding that kindergartners will complete books with a cover sheet and three pages of content as part of their next unit of study. 
 

 

Science Research Students Take on Ambitious 3D Printing Project

Science Research Students Take on Ambitious 3D Printing Project photo
While 3D printing has become increasingly popular in recent years, students in the Amityville Union Free School District will be getting a unique experience with the technology. Middle and high school students in the Independent Science Research program will be taking part in a nano 3D printing project in partnership with Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Teacher Alexis Charles and students drafted a proposal that was accepted by BNL to use its nanofabrication facility. The project required Ms. Charles to visit several times over the summer to be trained on the machine because she will be the one allowed into BNL’s “clean room.” Students will dictate the procedure to create a microscopic structure to grow cells.

Students involved in the project include John Hermann, Randy Jerez, Keiry Martinez, Maurice Pettway, Keniese Price, Rene Santos, Trea’von Smith, and Z’Dhanne Williams.

Amityville’s science research students work closely on other projects with Farmingdale State College biology professor Dr. Andrew Michaelson, and from him they learned about two dental procedures that have a high rate of failure. Indirect pulp capping has a 10 percent rate of failure, and direct pulp capping fails at 20 percent, which Ms. Charles explained is high for such costly procedures. 

The students are looking to grow dentin cells, and if their project is successful, it could revolutionize the procedure and increase the rate of success. Dentin cells are the part of teeth sensitive to hot and cold. The cells would be grown in vitro — outside of the mouth — which is why a small structure is required. Students will design the structure using computer assisted drawing software.

Ninth-grader Rene Santos said that creating the structure will pose some challenges because of its small size. Once it is made, it has to be carefully dried as an air gun would blow it away. Additionally, it will require a high-powered microscope to see. 

Ms. Charles said that in order to have the proposal accepted by a panel of three BNL scientists, it had to meet two standards. It had to contribute merit to the scientific community and also be feasible to make on the available equipment. Scientist Ming Lu has joined the project and is providing support to the group, such as giving students tips on how to overcome common problems encountered when designing an on object of a microscopic scale. 

In preparation for the upcoming project, the science research students have already had some experience designing objects using CAD software. They have learned about the difference between 3D printing and nano 3D printing, the latter using a gel to create a microscopic object as opposed to a plastic filament that builds layer by layer. 

“This type of project isn’t what the average ninth- or 10th-grader does,” said freshman Randy Jerez. “It’s a blessing to be in a group like this at such as young age, and to be able to make a difference in the dental industry.”

Ms. Charles said that the project has attracted students with many different interests, and that there is a place for everyone to contribute. Some are interested in the scientific and medical aspects, while others want to contribute their creativity and imagination to the design process. 

She added that the group is hoping to have the project substantially complete so they can compete in next year’s Long Island Science and Engineering Fair. 

Kicks and Serves for a Cure in Amityville

Kicks and Serves for a Cure in Amityville photo

The Warriors took on the fight against breast cancer as Amityville Memorial High School athletic teams raised nearly $750 during October which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Money was donated to various causes that support research and assist patients.

The girls varsity soccer team played their Kicks for Cancer home game on Oct. 15 against neighboring Copiague. It culminated a fundraising effort which included selling raffle tickets for various prizes and hosting a bake sale. The girls wore special uniforms with pink lettering along with pink socks hair ribbons. The fence adjoining the field was adorned with pink streamers and pink and white balloons. 

“They were enthusiastic about it and wanted to help the cause,” said head coach Angela Steiger. 

That same afternoon, the girls junior varsity and varsity volleyball teams held their Dig Pink games against Islip. The team sold baked goods, pink lemonade and pink “Just Cure It” shirts to raise money. Amityville was among dozens of high schools participating in the Dig Pink initiative which supports the Side-Out Foundation.

Building Bonds at Amityville Beach

Building Bonds at Amityville Beach photo

From A to Z, Amityville Memorial High School seniors lined up by first name during an activity at Amityville Beach on Oct. 10. The trick was, they had to do it without talking.

It was one of several bonding activities that seniors participated in during Awareness Day, an annual fall event for the senior class. Special education teacher Jason McGowan, who organized the day, said it was an opportunity for students to get to know each other better before they graduate and head off in different directions. 

A popular activity was the rock-paper-scissors competition. Students randomly paired up, and winners continued playing until a champion emerged. During Link It Up, each student found a peer who shared something in common like his or her birthday months or favorite food. Mr. McGowan posed questions to them to prompt discussions.

Later in the day, students formed groups of eight to 10, and that became their “family group” for the day. They were encouraged to join up with people who weren’t in their normal circle of friends. 

Noah Odige is in his second year at Amityville Memorial High School, so as a newcomer to a class that has largely been together since kindergarten, he enjoyed the experience. In addition to getting know his classmates better, Noah said Awareness Day helped strengthen existing friendships and created new ones.

“It’s a great bonding experience for the seniors,” he said. “It makes us stronger as a class.”

In November, the school will host Awareness Weekend, which is open to students in grades 10-12. The Friday afternoon to Saturday night event will include bonding activities, guest speakers and a sleepover in the school. 



Conference Inspires a Strong Stand Against Bullying

Conference Inspires a Strong Stand Against Bullying photo

More than 30 sixth-graders from Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School attended the Take A Stand anti-bullying program at Hofstra University on Oct. 12. Students from schools across Long Island took part in the conference, sponsored by Hofstra’s WRHU radio station and Northwell Health’s Cohen’s Children’s Medical Center.

A few students from each sixth-grade class were selected for the program, in which they attended various workshops. Teacher Deborah Ross said the Take A Stand facilitators addressed a serious topic in fun and engaging ways with skits, games and personal discussions. In one exercise, students sat in circles and learned about the “masks” other children often hide behind.

The Park Avenue students will now serve as ambassadors in school and educate their peers about the perils of bullying. The have vowed to not be bystanders if they see bullying taking place, and will stand up for each other. Sixth-grader Tiffany Asbell said she learned how to look out for a bully, as well as how to spot someone who is being bullied, so she and her classmates can help.

Added Nathalia Moreno, “It gives us more confidence to step up our game to stop bullying.”'



Amityville Science Research Students on the Radio

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District Breaks Ground on High School Expansion

District Breaks Ground on High School Expansion photo

Amityville Memorial High School will soon be doubling in size. District officials and students celebrated the beginning of a major expansion project with a groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 9.

The addition to the early 1950s school is the marquee project in the $69.9 million bond approved by voters in March 2016, which includes upgrades to all five of the district’s schools and administration building. The new wing at the high school will include a gymnasium with locker rooms, science labs, classrooms and added cafeteria space. Enhancements to the current building will include a renovated library media center, a new music and art suite created from the existing gymnasium and locker room, new windows, and mechanical system upgrades.

Preliminary work began in September with the installation of construction fencing and site preparation. The concrete foundation will be poured and soon after the calendar turns to 2019 the steel frame should begin to rise. 

“This was a community effort,” said Superintendent Dr. Mary T. Kelly, who spoke about the planning that began in 2014 to identify facilities needs in the district. “A lot of study went into this process. We’ve needed this space for a long time, and a lot of great changes are about to begin because of this. It will be a state-of-the-art high school.” 

Joining Dr. Kelly in the celebration were board of education trustees, central office and high school administrators, students, the marching band and representatives from BBS Architects and Park East Construction. The expansion and renovations are expected to be completed in time for the start of the 2020-21 school year, at which point the ninth-grade will move from the middle school to the high school.



Amityville Art Projects Starts With a Single Dot

Amityville Art Projects Starts With a Single Dot photo
During their art classes, students at Northwest Elementary School read popular Peter Reynolds book, “The Dot,” then followed with their own inspired creations. The main idea is to encourage students to “Make your mark and see where it takes you!” 

The story is about a girl who thinks she can't draw and gives up, but her art teacher encourages her to try by having her sign her name to a simple dot. That single mark inspires the girl's creativity and confidence. By the end of the story, she is encouraging another timid artist. 

After the story, each Northwest student was given a small piece of paper and encouraged to draw whatever they wanted — whether they started with a dot or not. Children had access to paint, markers and crayons and were able to use those materials in any way or combination they chose. All of the creations from each class were collected together on a single colorful dot and put on display for all to see.

This was a very liberating experience for our young artists and many expanded their own ideas beyond the idea of a dot,” said art teacher Lydia Robinson. “The only requirement was that they sign their name to the front of their art to show off their dot experience, which they did so proudly.”
 

Fall Newsletter Now Available

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Fall Festival Kicks off Homecoming weekend

Fall Festival Kicks off Homecoming weekend photo
Warrior pride was on full display at Amityville Memorial High School’s second annual Homecoming festival on Oct. 12, an event that brought the entire community together.

Students of all ages, teachers, administrators, board of education trustees and parents were among those who attended. Each school was represented, along with middle school and high school student clubs, the Amityville Teachers Association, Amityville Parent Teacher Council and community organizations. There was a large turnout of Amityville athletes, who came to the fair following their afternoon practices. 

Activities included fall-themed games like pumpkin bowling and a spider ring toss. There were burgers and hot dogs, a pumpkin decorating station and an Amityville Pride photo booth complete with props.

The event was coordinated by the Homecoming Festival Committee comprised of board of education members, administrators and staff. Fine Arts Director Dr. Fran Fernandez said the purpose of the event was to promote unity and get the community excited for the following day’s Homecoming celebration.  
 

Warrior Pride Shines at Homecoming

Warrior Pride Shines at Homecoming photo

Community members, administrators, staff and students did not let the rain hinder their spirits as the Amityville Union Free School District hosted its 2018 Homecoming festivities on Oct. 13. Although the parade was canceled due to the inclement weather, the skies cleared and the football game went on without a hitch at Amityville Memorial High School. Stands filled with supporters who dressed in their best red and white to watch the Warriors take on the East Islip Redmen.

To kick off the game, players stood on the field in their pink socks in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month as the school’s marching band performed the “Star-Spangled Banner.” During the game, snacks, refreshments and Amityville apparel were sold. Attendees were also encouraged to visit and vote for the best superhero-themed class float, which were displayed outside the field. Throughout the game, community members and students held their red foam fingers high as they cheered on the Warriors with the cheerleaders. 

The halftime show featured performances by the marching band and cheerleaders. The Homecoming court, dressed in their best outfits, were announced onto the field where seniors Devontay Rickenbacker and Kayla Barrett were crowned the Homecoming king and queen. The senior class also earned first place in the float contest with their Avengers-themed creation. 



Amityville Honors its Athletic Legends

Amityville Honors its Athletic Legends photo

The eight inductees into the Amityville Memorial High School Sports Hall of Fame represented generations of athletes and coaches whose accomplishments were celebrated at a ceremony on Oct. 5.

The members of the Class of 2018 included Leighton Clarke, Theresa Findlay, Aaron Garrett, Eugene Nottingham, James Porr, Barbour Williams and Darrel Young. Miles Borden, a former coach, received the Lifetime Achievement Award. The Sports Hall of Fame now boasts 91 members.

Leighton Clarke, a 1984 graduate, was a member of the cross country and track and field teams. He was a four-year varsity letterman, an All-League, All-Conference, All-County and All-Long Island athlete, and captain during his junior and senior years. As a senior, he finished second at the Eastern States in the 1600-meter race walk and won the C.W. Post Suffolk County Coaches Invitational 5K race walk with a record-setting time.

Theresa Findlay (1992) played four sports during her time at Amityville Memorial High School. She was a captain for her basketball, soccer and track and field teams, and earned athletic scholarships in those sports. Theresa was a three-sport All-County and All-League athlete and All-Long Island in basketball and track and field. Additionally, she was a member of the girls volleyball team.

Aaron Garrett (1999) was on the varsity track and field team for four years and wrestling and football for three years. He achieved All-League honors in football, All-League and All-County in wrestling, and All-League, All-Division and All-County in track and field. Aaron played in the Suffolk County All-Star football game in 1999, was part of the 1997 boys track and field League V Division III championship team, and was a track and field county champion in the pentathlon.

Eugene Nottingham (2000) played football and basketball for Amityville. He was a three-year starter on the varsity football team, earning All-League honors three times, All-County honors twice and All-Long Island honors as a senior. Additionally, he received the Hanson Award in 2000 which is given to the Outstanding Football Player in Suffolk County.

James “Jimmy” Porr (1977) wrestled and ran for the track and field team. He finished second in the Amityville Wrestling Tournament as a junior and won the event as a senior. His track and field accomplishments include an undefeated freshman season in which he set the school record in the 880-yard sprint, a victory in the conference championships in the 440-yard sprint as a junior and a gold medal at the New York State Track and Field Championships in the distance medley as a senior.

Barbour “Bob” Williams (1936) was a member of the football and track teams. The football team was undefeated during his senior year. In track, he was known as the “Amityville Flash” for his dominance in sprint events and the 100-yard and 220-yard dashes. He passed away in 1994 and was represented by his daughter, Ella, at the ceremony.

Darrell Young (2005) has the only retired football jersey in Amityville, with his number 31 banner hanging in the gymnasium. He was named an All-County athlete as a sophomore, junior and senior, and was the team’s MVP for three seasons. Recognition included the Collotta Award for Most Outstanding Linebacker in Suffolk County as a junior and a selection to the Boomer Esiason Foundation Empire Challenge High School All-Star game. Darrel went to Villanova University on a full scholarship and played for the Washington Redskins for six seasons. 

Miles Borden worked in the district for 32 years as a mechanical drawing teacher, assistant principal, principal and assistant superintendent. He coached cross country and track from 1952 to 1957. 

Celebrating the accomplishments of the inductees were family members, friends, coaches, high school and central office administrators and board of education trustees. Student volunteers from the high school served dinner. 

The eight honorees were selected by the Sports Hall of Fame Committee, with First Vice Chairman Bruce Pescitelli serving as emcee and introducing the honorees.

Committee Chairman Reynolds Hawkins said the Hall of Fame was founded to honor the legacy of Amityville athletics and bring recognition to its legendary athletes. Superintendent Dr. Mary T. Kelly added that all of the inductees embody the Warriors’ ideals and values, such as good sportsmanship and pride. 

 

VIDEO: No Place for Hate

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Students and staff at Edmund W. Miles Middle School celebrate its positive culture and climate.

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A Pledge to Stop Bullying at Middle School

A Pledge to Stop Bullying at Middle School photo
A Pledge to Stop Bullying at Middle School photo 2
A Pledge to Stop Bullying at Middle School photo 3
A Pledge to Stop Bullying at Middle School photo 4

More than 300 hundred students committed to maintaining a bully-free zone at Edmund W. Miles Middle School. To begin National Bullying Prevention Month, students signed anti-bullying pledges during their lunch periods on Oct. 1.

As part of the pledge, students vowed to take a stand against bullying by speaking up if they see it happening. They also promised to stick up for others in need of help and serve as role models by not using their phones or computers to spread hurtful messages about others. 

Students received No Place for Hate bracelet after signing the pledge. Earlier this year, the school received the No Place for Hate designation by the Anti-Defamation League for its commitment in creating a culture of kindness and respect. 

Many students and staff wore orange to school, which is the awareness color for National Bullying Prevention Month. The school also began Project Connect, with students writing on paper links their ideas for helping others. The links will be connected to spell “Unite.”

“We are uniting for a common cause,” social worker Beatriz Offitto said. “While one person can speak out against bullying, our message is much stronger when we come together to make a difference.”

 

Having a Grand Time at Northeast

Having a Grand Time at Northeast photo

Grandparents turned back the clock and experienced a day in kindergarten at Northeast Elementary School in the Amityville Union Free School District on Sept. 28. The school hosted Grandparents Day, an annual event which celebrates and honors important family members in the lives of children.

Many of the special guests came and observed literacy and math lessons, sat in on art and music classes, or got involved in hands-on projects. Students proudly shared stories about what makes their grandparents special.

College Tour Inspires Juniors and Seniors

College Tour Inspires Juniors and Seniors photo
College Tour Inspires Juniors and Seniors photo 2
College Tour Inspires Juniors and Seniors photo 3
College Tour Inspires Juniors and Seniors photo 4
Continuing a 10-year tradition at Amityville Memorial High School, social worker Reynolds Hawkins took 33 juniors and seniors on the Historically Black Colleges and Universities tour. The students visited six schools from Sept. 9-13.

The schools included Winston Salem University State University, North Carolina A&T, North Carolina Central University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Delaware State University and Duke University. Students went on tours, met with admissions officers and experienced campus life.

“It was really informative,” said senior Rachelle Louis Jean. “I asked a lot of questions because I could see myself at some of the schools.”

Rachelle said she asked questions about biology, health science, engineering and broadcasting programs, volunteer and internship opportunities, and the success of graduates. She added that it was a great experience to talk with students who attend the colleges.

Kayla Barrett said had previously only visited colleges in New York, and now plans to apply to at least three of the schools from the HBCU tour. 

The students learned that Historically Black Colleges and Universities actually have very diverse student populations. Junior Trey Fulton noted the connection the schools have with their surrounding communities, as well as strong alumni support and rigorous admissions standards. He said one of the biggest appeals was the high-level of energy at the universities.

Senior Joel Barrett said he particularly appreciated the history lessons that were incorporated into the trip. The students went to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, N.C., and learned about four North Carolina A&T students who were instrumental in the Civil Rights movement by leading a sit-in at the Woolworth lunch counter. 

“I just learned so much that I never knew before,” Rachelle added. “I was in a town in which so much history happened.”

Students were required to dress up for the college tours, as Trey noted their mentality was, “This isn’t a vacation, this is a business trip.”

Mr. Hawkins said that 93 percent of students who have attended the trips over the last decade have gone on to college, with many choosing an HBCU. Students were able to meet several Amityville graduates attending schools during this year’s tour. 

Joel was one of the students who went on the tour during both his junior and senior years, and Trey hopes to go again next year. Mr. Hawkins selects different colleges each year, and has taken students as far south as Florida. Not all colleges, like Duke, are HBCUs, but are incorporated into the trip to show students other notable universities while traveling through the southern part of the country.

“The students who have the opportunity to go on this tour twice will never see the same schools,” he said. 

Senior James Carey said that he appreciated the opportunity to see several schools in a few days, as opposed to over several months, because it made it easier to compare schools. He plans to major in biology and said he will likely apply to three of the colleges.

“It was one of the most beneficial experiences of my high school career,” James said. “It was so much more than I expected, and that’s what I loved about it.”

Adult Education Fall 2018 Course Guide

It is not too late if you missed the registration date.  If you are still interested in attending one of our exciting courses, please bring your registration down the first night of class or place your registration in the mail.  

 We have many exciting courses this fall and hope that you can join us.  If you have any questions, please send an email to adulted@amityvilleufsd.org.

 

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Promoting Peace with Performance and Pinwheels

Promoting Peace with Performance and Pinwheels photo

To mark the International Day of Peace, Amityville Memorial High School hosted its ninth annual peace celebration on Sept. 21.

Students formed a human piece sign on the front lawn of the school and listened to readings, poems and songs performed by their classmates and teachers. They were also asked to reflect upon the question, “Who will you make peace with?”

The high school partnered with two organizations, Peace One Day and Pinwheels for Peace. Art students made peace posters which served as the backdrop for the performances. They also designed more than 200 colorful pinwheels, which were then placed in the ground at the end of the ceremony. 

This year’s peace celebration included a pinwheel design contest. Winners were Rachelle Louis Jean for most colorful, Odalys Murcia for most creative and Katerine Hernandez for most meaningful.

The Warrior Awareness Club, known as the WAC PAC, continued its peace rock tradition. Four students presented rocks painted with positive messages to someone special in their lives, with the hope that those rocks will be passed on to others throughout the year in a “pay it forward” manner.

The International Day of Peace ceremony was organized by art teacher Jayne Grasso and the National Art Honor Society, along with support from Director of Fine Arts Dr. Fran Fernandez. The United Nations initiative is annually celebrated by billions of people throughout the world.

“This event is important for the students because it gives them an opportunity to make a difference and express themselves,” Ms. Grasso said. “It’s very personal to them and it brings the school community together.”

High School Teacher Earns Outstanding Educator Award

High School Teacher Earns Outstanding Educator Award photo
Amityville Memorial High School teacher Jodi Wilsher received the University of Chicago’s Outstanding Educator Award. She was nominated by Class of 2018 valedictorian Trevony Palmer, who is attending the University of Chicago.

Ms. Wilsher is in her 17th year as an English language arts teacher in the district, having taught five years at Edmund W. Miles Middle School before moving to the high school. She is the high school’s English department chairwoman and adviser to the National Honor Society. This year, she is teaching Advanced Placement language and composition, and film and literature. 

She holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education English from York College of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in liberal studies from Stony Brook University and a school building and district leadership certificate from Stony Brook.

The Outstanding Educator Award has been presented to teachers across the country for more than three decades. First-year students are invited to nominate an educator who has influenced them, challenged them or helped them along the path toward intellectual growth. 

Social Studies Teacher Named EWMMS Assistant Principal

Social Studies Teacher Named EWMMS Assistant Principal photo
Paul Duguay, a teacher in the Amityville Union Free School District for more than a decade, has been named assistant principal of Edmund W. Miles Middle School. He joins the administrative team of Principal Edward Plaia and fellow Assistant Principal Earl Mitchell.

Mr. Duguay was a social studies teacher at Amityville Memorial High School for three years and at the middle school for eight years. He was the middle school’s social studies department chairman in the 2017-18 school year, and has also coached the varsity girls track team and the middle school baseball team. His responsibilities as assistant principal will include master schedule planning and supervising extracurricular activities.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in history and education from SUNY Albany, a master’s degree in social studies secondary education from Hofstra University and his administration certificate from the College of St. Rose. His professional memberships include the Long Island Council for Social Studies and ASCD. 

Hispanic Culture Comes Alive Through Dance

Hispanic Culture Comes Alive Through Dance photo

Amityville Memorial High School students shouted “Olé” after each dance performed by the members of the Sol Y Sombra Dance Company on Sept. 14. The 45-minute show kicked off the school’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

The experienced dancers highlighted the Spanish art form of flamenco, which is performed all over the world. Students learned that the dancing, the music and the words are all equally important parts of flamenco. They also were given information about the history and cultural significance of the dances. 

Throughout Hispanic Heritage Month, the school’s daily announcements will include facts about Hispanic culture. World language teachers will show movies about notable people in Spanish culture. In October, Edmund W. Miles Middle School and the elementary schools will host cultural performances.



Amityville Welcomes its Youngest Learners

Amityville Welcomes its Youngest Learners photo

The high school Class of 2032 joined the district on Sept. 14 as it was the first day of prekindergarten at Northeast Elementary School. Students in eight pre-K classes met their teachers and their new classmates for the first time.

Monday, November 12, 2018