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Students, Sheriffs Partner for Safe Schools

Students, Sheriffs Partner for Safe Schools photo
Suffolk County deputy sheriffs recently visited Amityville Memorial High School to present the “Say Something” program. The initiative is a collaboration between County Sheriff Errol Toulon’s office and the Sandy Hook Promise. 

The deputy sheriffs spoke to students in social studies about how to notice the signs and symptoms of a fellow student in distress or with bad intentions. Students learned how to approach a trusted adult to intervene, the pros and cons of social media and the efforts taken by school and law enforcement officials to keep them safe.

High School Student Shutterbugs Honored

High School Student Shutterbugs Honored
A pair of student-artists from Amityville Memorial High School had their work selected for the Advanced Visions 15: High School Artists of Excellence showcase at LIU Post. 

Juniors Brianna Desire and Jonathan Gambella are enrolled in Advanced Placement art classes with teacher Jayne Grasso. Brianna’s digital photography piece, “Space,” and Jonathan’s digital photo, “Johnny Pump,” are on display in the S.A.L. Gallery, located in the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library at LIU Post. The students will be honored during a closing reception on Jan. 9. 

“We are so proud to have two of our talented artists represent Amityville at this regional exhibit,” said Director of Fine Arts Dr. Fran Fernandez. “Congratulations to Brianna, Jonathan, their families, and their past and present art teachers on this fine accomplishment.”

Amityville High School Students Play Santa

Amityville High School Students Play Santa photo
Amityville High School Students Play Santa photo 2
Amityville High School Students Play Santa photo 3
Amityville High School Students Play Santa photo 4
Amityville Memorial High School students are bringing joy to children on Long Island for the holidays. The Warrior Awareness Club, commonly known as the WAC PAC, recently worked with the non-profit Christmas Magic organization for provide gifts for 69 children at a shelter in Mastic Beach.

Students went shopping at Target to fulfill the “Dear Santa” lists, then returned to the high school to wrap the gifts. Adviser Jason McGowan said the presents were then picked up by Christmas Magic to be delivered to the children. 

High School Library Named for Distinguished Nurse

High School Library Named for Distinguished Nurse photo

Approximately 150 people came out to Amityville Memorial High School on Dec. 10 to pay tribute to an American hero and a local legend. The library media center was renamed in honor of Major Nancy Leftenant-Colón, who had a distinguished career as a nurse in the United States armed forces and in Amityville.

Major Leftenant-Colón was born in 1920 and graduated from Amityville Memorial High School in 1939. She became the first member of her family to pursue higher education by attending the Lincoln School of Nursing in New York City. Her military nursing career spanned from 1945 to 1965, including service as an elite flight nurse with the Air Force. She made history as the first African-American woman to serve in the Army nursing corps, and later as the first woman to become president of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.

From 1971 to 1984, Major Leftenant-Colón was the nurse at Amityville Memorial High School. She became an inspirational figure for students with her well-known line, “The sky’s the limit.”

“It is an honor to welcome home Major Leftenant-Colón,” Superintendent Dr. Mary T. Kelly said in her opening remarks. “She is one of Amityville’s own. She taught students to believe in themselves and believe in their dreams. She is fondly remembered by Amityville alumni.”

Lt. Gen. Stayce D. Harris, inspector general of the Air Force, said the library dedication was an “incredible and most-deserved honor” for Major Leftenant-Colón. She presented her with an artistic piece that blended two photos together on a canvas  — one from Leftenant-Colón’s time as a major, and another of the two women together in 2009. 

Col. Ralph Smith, retired from the Air Force, presented a gold coin, one of only four in existence, commemorating the Tuskegee Airmen and Airwomen to be housed in the rededicated library. Dr. Kelly explained that as part of the upcoming project to renovate and expand the high school, the library media center will be updated and will include a display for Major Leftenant-Colón featuring numerous artifacts.


Retired Army Lt. Col. Jacqueline A. Gordon, spoke of the path that Major Leftenant-Colón paved for women in the armed forces. Lenore Braithewaite, of American Legion Hunter Squires Jackson Post 1218 in Amityville, fondly recalled her former school nurse and presented Major Leftenant-Colón with the American Legion’s 100th anniversary commander’s pin.

Several elected officials presented Major Leftenant-Colón with proclamations included Gordon, a Town of Babylon councilwoman, Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory and state Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre.

Keynote speaker Chaplain Joanne Bedford Boyd, spoke highly of her aunt and how she has always been a role model for young people. She cited Major Leftenant-Colón’s desire to succeed and achieve her dreams, and her refusal to back down from challenges. 

Chaplain Boyd explained the value that Major Leftenant-Colón has always placed on education, so it is fitting to have the school’s center of knowledge — the library media center — named in her honor.

Following presentations in the cafeteria, all guests were invited up to the library to see the new dedication sign along with pictures of Major Leftenant-Colón from her military service and her years as high school nurse. Student Council members presented Major Leftenant-Colón with flowers, and there were musical performances by the Amityville Memorial High School jazz ensemble and Edmund W. Miles Middle School ninth-grade string ensemble.

Students Decorate Amityville With Holiday Paintings

Students Decorate Amityville With Holiday Paintings photo

Art students from Amityville Memorial High School and Edmund W. Miles made their community more festive for the holiday season. The community window project was a collaborative effort among the two school, led by art teachers Jennifer Dibble, Jayne Grasso, Heather Rickard and Nicole Scoca as well as Director of Fine and Performing Arts Dr. Fran Fernandez.

The project started with a drawing contest among middle and high school students with high school teachers judging the submissions. The winners attended an outdoor field trip in Amityville in which they painted their drawings on the windows of local businesses on Nov. 29.

The inspiration for the project was generated by high school guidance Transition Coordinator Karen Gross and the Amityville Chamber of Commerce. Participating businesses included Gerald's Market, Great South Bay Dance Studio, Wrapping It Up, Amityville Men's Shop, Park Avenue Grill and Francesco's Pizza

“Students were able to see their personal creations come to life,” Ms. Dibble said, “It was a wonderful experience for them, their art teachers, and the Amityville community.”

Wednesday, January 16, 2019