Students, families and faculty members from throughout the district took part in the annual Walk for a Wish fundraising event on April 22 to raise money for 13 year-old Alexa from Deer Park who is challenged with a neuromuscular disorder. The district raised 14,087 to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation and grant Alexa’s wish to travel to Greece this July.
Washington Drive Primary School’s Act of Kindness Committee, Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School Walk for a Wish Committee and both school PTA’s helped organize the event. Finding her love of Greek mythology at a young age, Alexa thanked the Harborfields community for their support in helping her dream of going to Athens come true. She greeted the crowd with representatives from the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Suffolk County.
“Most of the time the children who are granted these wishes are confined to a lot of doctor visits and hospital stays,” said Make-A-Wish Community Relations Manager Kellie Ryan. “By giving them the opportunity to have a wish granted, you help reopen their imaginations and give them something positive to focus on.”
The rain did not keep supporters away as many community members came out to walk the track at Harborfields High School for Alexa. Members of the high school concert choir kicked off the walk with a performance of the National Anthem and members of the high school jazz band led the first lap around the field while community members followed.
Throughout the event, the PTA sold pedometers and wristbands with proceeds going towards the cause and stories were shared over the loud speaker about how students throughout the district did their part and raised money.
Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School students learned about how to protect the environment in honor of Earth Day with a number of fun and engaging activities.
Third-graders in Noreen Paccione’s class focused on the importance of saving trees and participated in a hand-on activity of making paper out of recycled magazines and newspapers. With the help of family volunteers, the 23 students created their own paper out of the recycled material by using water and mixing the clipping in a blender. The class is planning on using the paper that they created to make Mother’s Day cards for their loved ones.
In addition, fifth-grade students in Alison Kraham and Amy Lustig’s classes received a visit from Robert Brown, a father of a student at the school and the owner of Brown Chevrolet. Brown brought the new Chevy Volt all-electric car to show the students in honor of Earth Day. Before the visit, the students researched the Volt on their Chromebooks and prepared questions to ask about the car. Students learned that the Volt has a range of over 200 miles on a single charge. They had the opportunity to sit in the car and also watch Kraham take the car for a ride around the parking lot.
During the district’s Board of Education meeting on April 19, several students and faculty members were honored for their recent outstanding achievements. Assistant Superintendent for Administration and Human Resources Dr. Rory Manning called each honoree up where they received a certificate for proudly representing the district.
Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School teacher Christine Collins was recognized for her recent induction into the Long Island Metropolitan Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
Oldfield Middle School student Omar Lee was congratulated for his first place title in the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair, while Lee’s peers Emelie Hochwald and Sofia Smith were also congratulated for their second place win at the fair.
Two Harborfields High School DECA students Katherine Paradise and Edward Serwan, were honored for becoming Finalists in the New York State DECA State Career Conference and their advisor, Alison Matthews was also honored for her dedication and support to all the students that participated in the competition.
Two more Harborfields High School students, Matthew Kearney and McKayla Lankau were praised for their outstanding artwork being accepted into the Heckscher Museum Long Island Best Competition, while their teacher Eileen Rottkamp was also recognized for her guidance and support of the students.
The Purple LEGO Eaters team consisting of 10 students were all honored for advancing to the FIRST (For Inspirational and Recognition of Science and Technology) National Competition recently. Coaches Kevin Lysaght, Paul Bayer and Andrew Armstrong were also honored for guiding the team to success at the competition and helping them advance to the National Competition.
Congratulations to all for your outstanding dedication and success!
The district invited veterans from throughout the community to their annual Jazz Cabaret Night on April 5. The evening event took place in the Oldfield Middle School auditorium where tables were set up in patriotic fashion and desserts were served.
The Harborfields High School Leadership Class mingled with the veterans at each table and learned more about their service. Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School students created thank you cards for the veterans which were placed on the tables for them to take home.
Harborfields administrators were also present to greet and thank the veterans for their sacrifices including Superintendent of Schools Dr. Francesco Ianni, Assistant Superintendent for Administration and Human Resources Dr. Rory Manning and Executive Director for Instructional Services Jordan Cox.
The Leadership Class introduced themselves in front of the crowd and the microphone was then passed around the tables to each veteran where they had the opportunity to talk about their backgrounds and what branch of the military they came from. Many spoke about how they became involved with the military and how their service impacted their lives.
The Harborfields High School Vocal Ensemble performed a number of songs for the attendees including “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Respect” under the direction of Clare Jackson.
The veterans also heard musical performances from the Harborfields High School Jazz Band under the direction of Dan Bilawsky. They played classic songs and with some featuring a vocal quartet of four students.
Cox concluded the evening by thanking the veterans for attending and for their service and sacrifices.
“We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the service that you provide to us every day,” he said. “You allow our students to grow up in an environment that is safe, that allows them to flourish and allows their voices to be heard.”
Washington Drive Primary School students received a special visit from award winning poet and author Darren Sardelli on April 4. Sardelli is known for his humorous and whimsical poetry.
Three grade level assemblies took place where Sardelli interacted with students from kindergarten through second grade. To prepare for the poet’s arrival, students read his work during the school’s morning announcements and created posters to welcome Sardelli to the school.
During the presentation, students laughed at his silly poems as he recited a few of them to the classes. He also discussed what poetry is, how he writes and how to use imagination when creating stories. Sardelli brought up the importance of emotions when writing and allowed students to showcase their best angry, happy and sad expressions.
In true poetry fashion, the classes learned about rhythm and heard a few different riddles which they were eager to solve. Sardelli told students about his favorite poets including Dr. Seuss and encouraged them to each have an idea book.
“It just takes one idea to change your life and change the world,” he told the students.
Washington Drive Primary School second graders in Jacinta Pisano/Gale Ambrosio and Millie Rivera’s classes presented their show “Symbols of America” to family members on March 30 as part of their America unit.
Students dressed in their best red, white and blue and dedicated the show to all of the men and women keeping the country safe and free. During the show, each student presented a fact to the audience about American symbols. These included facts on the White House, American Flag, Statue of Liberty, Liberty Bell, George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln.
The group also performed a number of patriotic songs together such as “God Bless America,” “This Land is Your Land” and “You’re A Grand Old Flag.” Music teacher Laura Pomerantz accompanied the students on the piano.
At the conclusion of the performance, students and family members enjoyed a table of treats and refreshments provided by parents in the class.
The Harborfields High School Theatre Company invited senior citizens from throughout the community to attend their annual dessert reception and a special performance of their spring production “Guys and Dolls” on March 29. The Harborfields PTA Council proudly sponsored the event.
Held in the Harborfields High School cafeteria, the reception featured a variety of tasty treats and refreshments with music provided by the high school’s jazz band under the direction of Dan Bilawsky. Several district administrators and Board trustees attended the event with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Francesco Ianni and Principal Timothy Russo there to greet community members.
“I am grateful to be here and I hope that you enjoy every minute of this play,” said Dr. Ianni. “It’s truly a pleasure that you are here to see our students perform.”
Members from the school’s National Honor Society volunteered their time to serve food and refreshments during the event. The room was decorated in true spring fashion with flowers on every table as centerpieces. Community members were welcomed to take the arrangements home after the reception was over.
A raffle also took place during the event where Russo and Dr. Ianni provided gift cards to a number of lucky winners. Gift cards ranged from local stores to restaurants.
At the conclusion of the reception, community members made their way to the school’s auditorium to enjoy the student production, directed by Kristen Gavin. During the evenings of March 30 – April 1, the company performed public viewings of the show.
Thirty-nine Oldfield Middle School students had the unique opportunity to serve as “Teacher for a Day” on March 22. Organized by student government advisors Chris Havranek and Kristin Presti, this was the sixth year that the school held the day for students and staff.
Students were paired with a teacher in the building and experienced how to teach a lesson and work with classes throughout the school day. Both the student and teacher were encouraged to dress alike for added fun.
Seventh-grader Alana Tornese worked with English teacher MaryLynn Karpenske and enjoyed reversing roles and taking control of the classroom. “It’s fun,” she said. “I taught an English class a few periods ago and helped everybody with their organizers. Now I know what it’s like to be Mrs. Karpenske for a day.”
The student and teacher pairs were also invited to enjoy a pizza party on their lunch periods courtesy of the Oldfield Middle School student government.
The Harborfields High School Jazz Band under the direction of Music Department Coordinator Dan Bilawsky, traveled to New Orleans, LA for a four-day trip on March 9 to perform at Loyola University’s Jazz Festival and dockside at the Steamboat Natchez, while also exploring the Crescent City.
The trip allowed the students to discover New Orleans culture, history and music as the band traveled to sites such as Preservation Hall, the National WWII Museum, the Old U.S. Mint, Jackson Square and the French Quarter.
At Loyola University, the band performed two sets, receiving “Superior” rankings for both shows at the festival. This resulted in marking the group as one of the top performing bands.
Both performances were given “Outstanding Band” status and the trombone and trumpet sections were each awarded “Outstanding Section” awards, as two of only six sections acknowledged out of approximately 100 sections there.
Junior Jay Best and senior Hannah Bartfield were both offered scholarships to attend Loyola’s summer jazz camp, as two of only 11 students awarded out of more than 350 students at the festival. In addition, nearly a third of the band was recognized for outstanding soloing and musicianship.
“The students carried themselves with pride and performed with distinction during this trip,” said Bilawsky. “I couldn’t have asked for or imagined anything more.”