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Making “Makers” at Washington Drive

Making “Makers” at Washington Drive photo

Washington Drive Primary held a special ribbon cutting ceremony for their new Makerspace, which has long been in the works, on Nov. 8. The school was honored by the presence of Mr. Roger Tilles, who represents Long Island on the New York State Board of Regents at the ribbon cutting ceremony, along with Superintendent Dr. Francesco Ianni and other district administrators.

Students lined the halls outside the space, peering in, eager to explore what the room had to offer. Once a few students assisted Dr. Ianni in cutting the room’s ribbon, students poured in. The students treated those in attendance by singing the school’s theme song to christen the room. First grade teacher Melinda O’Donoghue explained to the students what a makerspace was, and how fortunate they were to have such a space that most primary schools don’t have.

Students were then released to explore all of the items within the space, where they tinkered with the Lego wall, programming robots, and more. Mr. Tilles spent some time interacting with the children, encouraging them to be creative, and reading them a few inspiring poems by various authors, including Shel Silverstien.

Creating this unique space that enables students to explore creativity and innovation aligns with the district’s goal to maximize student opportunities in the areas of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM). These spaces, which are a part of the “Maker Movement”, incorporate all of those areas in a new and fun way.

“Watching small ideas turn into tangible experiences for our students is such a source of pride for us,” said Dr. Ianni.

The Makerspace, which was made possible by a grant gifted to the school by the Harborfields Community Educational Foundation (HACEF), was dreamed up and made into reality by Assistant Principal Kathryn McNally, Interim Principal Kelly Fallon, Karin Fey, Co-President of HACEF and others.

“Makers are needed to add to the global sum of human knowledge,” said Mrs. McNally, “so we’re starting now!”

Additionally, we would like to recognize the staff members who were instrumental in bringing the Washington Drive Makerspace to our students. A special thank you to Melinda O’Donoghue, Christopher Maresco, Guy Semione, Joey Rice and Jimmy Brauer for all their efforts!

Honoring Veterans at TJL

Honoring Veterans at TJL photo

In honor of Veterans Day, Thomas J. Lahey Elementary hosted the Bring a Vet to School program on Nov. 8. This program, sponsored by Altice and in collaboration with the History Channel, allows schools to honor veterans by having them visit, showing appreciation for their service, and giving students the opportunity to ask them questions. Nine veterans were in attendance that day, and most of them were family members of students at TJL, including Mr. Eric Harris, a Persian Gulf War veteran, who was responsible for bringing the program to the school.

The veterans entered the school’s multipurpose room to reverent applause from everyone in attendance, expressing gratitude for their service. Students performed “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” accompanied by piano, for the veterans. Two by two, selected students read letters, poems and essays to thank the veterans for all they’ve done.

“Thank you for protecting our freedom,” read a letter from Mrs. Sheehan’s third-grade class. “You are so brave to risk your safety to protect ours, and we are so honored to have you with us.”

Veterans then dispersed to visit third-grade classrooms to engage in a Q&A time with the students, where they were asked questions about their time serving the country.

“We want our students to realize that Veterans Day is not just another day off,” said Principal Susan Kenny. “It’s an opportunity to show honor and respect to those who’ve given up so much to protect us.”

PEAK Festival

PEAK Festival photo
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Five fourth-grade students from Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School were selected to attend the 10th Annual Suffolk County Music Educators' Association's (SCMEA) Parents, Educators, and Kids (PEAK) Festival at Northport High School. These students, led by music educators from across Long Island, participated in workshops such as bucket drumming, chorus, international singing games, ukulele, and folk dancing.

TJL general music teacher Courtney Kassinger accompanied the five participating students, Alec and Brynn Gerde, Kieran Maguire, and Emily and Sarah Pomerantz, to the festival.

"This was a great opportunity for the students and I to be exposed to new and different musical activities that we can incorporate into our music classroom,” said Mrs. Kassinger.

Operation Ziploc

Operation Ziploc photo
Students at Oldfield Middle School thanked those on military deployment by banding together and collecting items for Operation Ziploc during the month of October.

Mr. Joseph Maiello, a social studies teacher at Oldfield Middle, has been running this drive for over 12 years. He annually encourages students to bring in items that people often take for granted—namely hygiene products and nonperishable foods—to send to soldiers overseas. Math teacher Mrs. Jennifer Garside, in addition to donating enough items to fill nearly three boxes, supplied the names of five deployed individuals to ship the supplies to. Once the boxes are received, the items will be distributed to their fellow members of the armed forces.

Students generously brought in enough items to fill 18 boxes, and many wrote letters to the soldiers to enclose in the packages as well.

One student in particular, a sixth-grader named Dylan, collected items at his father’s weekly CrossFit classes that honor a different veteran, firefighter, or police officer who lost their life in the service. Dylan collected enough items to fill nearly three boxes as well, hoping to show gratitude to as many members of the military as possible.

“It’s so important for us to thank those who trade every-day normality—that we get to enjoy—for the service of keeping our country safe,” said Mr. Maiello. “And if everyone makes an effort in whatever small way they can, it can add up to a big difference.”

LISFA Selectees

LISFA Selectees photo
More than thirty Harborfields students grades 5-12 were selected for the Long Island String Festival Association’s (LISFA) honor groups. These extremely select orchestras rehearse and perform during various weekends over the course of January. Congratulations, students!

Thomas J. Lahey School
Celia Ancona Cello Grade 5
Harry Diner Viola Grade 5
Michelle Diner Violin Grade 5
Jackson Dunham Cello Grade 5
Ethan Landmesser-Charette Cello Grade 5
Norene Miraglia Cello Grade 5
Elizabeth Sabino Bass Grade 5
Brendan Schmitt Cello Grade 5
Rhys Walter Violin Grade 5

Oldfield Middle School
Elena LaSpisa Viola Grade 6
Paige Lusby Violin Grade 6
McKenna Sung Cello Grade 6
Breckyn Beechey Cello Grade 8
William de Groot Bass Grade 8
Alexandra Ebanks Cello Grade 8
Christopher Hummel Violin Grade 8
Aidan Saunders Bass Grade 7
Owen Walter Violin Grade 8

Harborfields High School
Evangelea Andreadis Viola Grade 11
Everett Borman Viola & Violin Grade 11
Rochelle Kris Viola Grade 12
Hope Lusby Violin Grade 11
Genie Miraglia Cello Grade 12
Jack Salzman Bass Grade 12
Jade Wang Violin Grade 11
Emelie Hochwald Violin Grade 9
Angeline Miraglia Cello Grade 10

Making Melodies at Oldfield Middle

Making Melodies at Oldfield Middle photo

Seventh graders at OMS tried their hands at learning the mountain dulcimer during the month of October. Learning this extremely accessible instrument enabled beginning musicians to learn the basics of making music, while challenging advanced musicians to build melodies, harmonies, and chords. Students had the opportunity to compose their own solos, to play duets, or collaborate and create rounds with other students. Each shared their solo composition with the class, as well as the title of the piece and the story behind it.

“This project was the first opportunity students had to create their own compositions,” said music teacher Ms. Jessica Lowenhar, “and it was wonderful to watch them express themselves creatively with what they learned in class.”

Both experienced and beginner musicians alike enjoyed experimenting with the mountain dulcimer. Some played multiple instruments already like the piano, clarinet and ukulele, while others had little to no musical experience at all.

“Working in groups to compose and play music together is different than playing sheet music that’s just been handed to us,” said Sydney, a seventh grader at OMS. “It was really cool.”

National Merit Commended Students

National Merit Commended Students
HHS recently announced eight seniors who were named Commended Students in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship program! Students Mikaela Gordon, Katherine Kennedy, Genie Miraglia, Katherine Paradise, Samuel Puccio, Emma Riley, Yatharth Sharma, and William Waring were each presented with letter of commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation for their outstanding academics. Although not continuing in the National Merit Scholarship competition, these students placed among the top 3% of students across the country and are applauded for having demonstrated strong potential for academic success. Congratulations, students!

Outstanding Student Recognition

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During the district’s October Board of Education Meeting, students were honored for both academic and musical excellence.

Student Albert Zhang was recently named a semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship program, which places him in the top 1% of PSAT takers nation-wide, and was presented with a certificate of excellence from the Board of Education.

Some of Harborfields’ most accomplished musicians were also recognized by the Board. Ten students were recently selected for the NYSCAME All-County Music Festival, and out of those ten students, two were selected for the All-State Music Festival as well. Being selected to perform in these music festivals is no small feat, and each student received a certificate of excellence from the Board.

“We’re always amazed by the talent and dedication of our students,” said Dr. Rory Manning, “and the district is extremely proud of our student musicians for performing so well and gaining county and state-wide recognition.”

NYSSMA All-State Music Festival
Everett Borman - String Orchestra, Viola
Jackson McGill - Mixed Chorus, Tenor
Celia Spero - Treble Chorus, Alto

NYSCAME / Suffolk All-County Festival Groups
Evangelea Andreadis - Orchestra, Viola
Everett Borman - Orchestra, Violin & Viola
Jared Buchholtz - Band, Trumpet/Cornet
Eric Cadalzo- Band, Trumpet/Cornet
Michela Eivers - Mixed Chorus, Alto
Rochelle Kris - Orchestra, Viola
Hope Lusby - Orchestra, Violin
Madison Maiella - Treble Chorus, Soprano
Jackson McGill - Mixed Chorus, Tenor
Celia Spero – Mixed Chorus, Alto

Maggie’s Challenge at TJL

Maggie’s Challenge at TJL photo
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Students at Thomas J. Lahey participated in “Maggie’s Challenge” October 1-15. This challenge, which is a part of “Maggie’s Mission”, is an annual two-week fundraiser that consists of challenges designed to foster a positive environment, and mirror Maggie’s joyful spirit, to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer.

One of the challenges in particular was learning to practice yoga, and to enjoy the relaxation and centeredness gained from implementing it. TJL teacher Mrs. Susan Crispino taught students throughout the school the benefits of yoga, and students enjoyed learning poses such as peaceful warrior, the tree pose, and more.

Additionally, students were encouraged to wear gold for childhood cancer awareness, and to bring in donations for “Toys of Hope” in memory of Maggie Schmidt.

Community Stands Up to Cancer at Homecoming

Community Stands Up to Cancer at Homecoming photo

On Saturday, Sept. 29, the district held their homecoming parade and football game — culminating the weeklong celebration of Harborfields spirit and pride.

Following Friday night’s pep rally, where seniors Eric Werbitsky and Kate Driver were crowned king and queen, students put the finishing touches on their floats for the parade Saturday morning. This year’s theme was “Generations: HF Through the Years”, and just as in years past, students went above and beyond with their designs. In grade order, themes included the Prehistoric Age, Medieval Times, Wild West, and 60’s & 70’s.

As the floats traveled from the Harborfields Public Library to the high school, students waved to the crowds of community members lining the sidewalks. Many students walked alongside the floats as well, collecting donations to fund research for childhood cancer, which is near to the Harborfields community’s heart. For homecoming week, HHS joined the Greenlawn Civic Association in their “Greenlawn Goes Gold” movement, which was developed and put into action by sophomore Natalie Pedrazzi. Along with collecting donations, cancer awareness gold ribbons were available for purchase, and all proceeds from the awareness week went to Maggie’s Mission. This local organization supports awareness and funds pediatric cancer research, and came into existence in honor of Maggie Schmidt, a Harborfields High School student who lost her battle with cancer in 2017.

At the homecoming game, the spirit-filled crowd anxiously awaited the start of the game against Eastport South Manor. Some crowd members had large cutouts of players’ heads and shook them wildly and cheered when the team ran out onto the field. The Harborfields cheerleaders, marching band and kick line all worked together in pepping up the crowd, and there was no lack of spirit in the stands that day.

At the end of the first quarter, Harborfields held its first ever “Stand Up 2 Cancer” event, which was initiated by students Catherine Capodanno and Brooke Semmelmeier. Throughout the week and the morning of the game, those in attendance were able to purchase signs to write the name of a loved one battling with cancer. When the moment came, community members all over the stadium stood up in support, holding their golden signs high in recognition of loved ones and their immense strength in the battle.

The Harborfields Tornadoes competed fiercely against ESM throughout the game, but unfortunately lost by three points, with the final score being 29-26.

Creating a Climate of Inclusion and Acceptance

Creating a Climate of Inclusion and Acceptance photo

In an effort to further build a community of inclusion and acceptance, TJL participated in “Start with Hello” week, beginning on Sept. 24. This program, created by Sandy Hook Promise, focuses on uniting people of all beliefs and backgrounds and creating climates of inclusion to prevent social isolation—and to ultimately protect children from gun violence.

“Awareness weeks such as “Start with Hello” are so important for our students,” said school Psychologist Michelle Meskin, “because it teaches them that no member of any community should ever feel isolated, alone or excluded.”

Throughout the week, students were encouraged to make efforts to say hello to someone new and to perform random acts of kindness. Additionally, students participated in some ice-breaker activities, such as “In My Shoes” and “Human Bingo.” Children learned how to realize when someone is reaching out for help, how to accept differences in their peers, and more. Students and staff truly gave their hearts to the weeks’ mission, and had discussions on how to reach beyond “Start With Hello Week” and to incorporate inclusiveness and acceptance into the school year, and the following years to come.

“My brother and I have a competition going to see who can say hello to the most new people each day,” said Emerson, a fourth-grader at Thomas J. Lahey. “It’s been so much fun, and it’s making so many people happy.”

Top County and State Musicians

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10 HHS students have been selected for the NYSCAME All-County Music Festival. Out of those students, three have also been selected for the NYSSMA All-State Festival.

NYSCAME All-County is composed of the highest-scoring NYSSMA musicians across Suffolk County. These outstanding students, along with other top ranked musicians, will be taking participating in three intensive rehearsal sessions that culminate with a concert in November.

NYSSMA All-State is based on NYSSMA scores and how those scores compare to other students at the same level across the entire state. The students selected will be traveling to Rochester from Nov. 29 to Dec. 2 to participate in a weekend of intensive rehearsals and a final concert at the Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.

“I couldn't be prouder of these students,” said Music Department Coordinator Daniel Bilawsky. “What they've achieved is a testament to their hard work and to that of their teachers."

Congratulations, students!

NYSSMA All-State Music Festival
Everett Borman - String Orchestra, Viola
Jackson McGill - Mixed Chorus, Tenor
Celia Spero - Treble Chorus, Alto

NYSCAME /Suffolk All-County Festival Groups
Evangelea Andreadis - Orchestra, Viola
Everett Borman - Orchestra, Violin & Viola
Jared Buchholtz - Band, Trumpet/Cornet
Eric Cadalzo- Band, Trumpet/Cornet
Michela Eivers - Mixed Chorus, Alto
Rochelle Kris - Orchestra, Viola
Hope Lusby - Orchestra, Violin
Madison Maiella - Treble Chorus, Soprano
Jackson McGill - Mixed Chorus, Tenor
Celia Spero – Mixed Chorus, Alto

Annual Tri-M Induction

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On Monday Sept. 24 the HHS chapter of the Tri-M Music Honor Society held its annual induction ceremony. Twelve new student members and fourteen continuing student members were inducted into this prestigious organization which recognizes and emphasizes academic success, service to the community, and musical achievement. Additional inductees included the evening’s guest speaker, pianist-composer Bonnie Masi, new HHS assistant principal, Ms. Allison Joyce, and three members of the Harborfields Board of Education—Mr. Christopher Kelly, Mr. Joseph Savaglio, and Mr. Steven Engelmann.

The HHS Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Mr. Alan Walter, provided processional music for the evening. Additionally, a jazz quartet culled from the HHS Jazz Band with Ty Ellenbogen on alto saxophone, Yatharth Sharma on guitar, Jack Salzman on bass and Matthew Motherway on drums, took those in attendance on a Brazilian detour with a featured performance of the Stan Getz-associated “Manha De Carnaval.”

“The students who were inducted tonight represent the most dedicated members of our music department,” noted Tri-M advisor Ms. Allison Scilla. “We are so grateful for their participation in our program."

Arts-Focused Award of Merit

Arts-Focused Award of Merit photo
HHS student Shannon Tucker was selected as an Award of Merit Recipient by the Long Island Scholar-Artist Program for the 2018-19 school year. This program, sponsored by Long Island Arts Alliance, recognizes academically outstanding students who also excel in the arts.

In addition to submitting a teacher recommendation and essay, students were required to showcase their dedication to the arts. Shannon submitted a series of photographs she captured while in Ireland, which she created to display a different side of the country that isn’t typically seen by tourists.
Shannon is one of 20 students to receive an Award of Merit island-wide and is commended for her success in the arts and ability to excel academically across all subjects.

Congratulations Shannon!