Harborfields Central School District Logo
Hundreds of people congregated on the Harborfields High School track on
April 21 to walk for a special cause, as they worked together to help
grant two special boys’ wishes during the twelfth annual Walk for a
Wish, which was a joint venture with Make-A-Wish of Suffolk County.
The event, which was sponsored by Washington Drive, Thomas J. Lahey, and
both schools’ PTAs, was a rousing success, as participants helped raise
more than $17,000. These funds go toward granting the dreams of two
Make-A-Wish children, including 7-year-old Landen, a Port Jefferson
resident who’s battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia, who’s wish is to
go to Ocean City, Maryland; and 15-year-old Joe from East Northport, who
battles bronchiectasis, an incurable respiratory disease. Joe wishes to
go to Walt Disney World, where he hopes to meet his favorite character,
Buzz Lightyear. Non-perishable food items were also collected to be
donated to the Harborfields Food Pantry.
“I continue to be amazed by the tremendous character that’s shown by our
students, staff and the residents of this tight-knit community,”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Francesco Ianni said. “Coming together to
support such a worthy cause really shows you what Harborfields is all
Liam Wingert, a fourth-grader at Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School in
the Harborfields Central School District, received a perfect score in
the national WordMasters Challenge. Nationally, only 24 fourth-graders,
from a pool of over 17,000 students, achieved this result. The
WordMasters Challenge, a national critical thinking and vocabulary
competition, involves nearly 150,000 students each year.
In addition, the fourth-grade team scored an impressive 183 points out
of a possible 200 in the second of three meets this year, placing fourth
in the nation among 293 schools. The fifth-grade team scored 180
points, finishing eighth in the nation among 316 schools.
The WordMasters Challenge is built into the school’s ELA LEAP program,
and students work hard daily to build their vocabularies and to learn to
understand complex analogies and metaphors.
Other students from Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School who achieved
outstanding results in the meet include third graders Aidan Greco and
Piper Greenberg, fourth graders Anna Clayton, Porter Coleman, Olive
Olson-Effman, Christopher Palermo, Brendan Schmitt, Elijah Asaro, Connor
Capobianco, Jackson Dunham, Tara Greco, Julian Tchinnis and Rhys
Walter, and fifth graders Amelia Freiberger, Hartley Semmes, Fiona
Calderon, Francis DeGregorio, Delilah Shapiro, Noah Tognon, Samantha
Urmaza, Leah Vapynar, Quinn Johnson-Weymss and Emily Xie. Grade three
students were coached in preparation for the WordMasters Challenge by
Patricia Bacchi and Donna Robson. Fourth and fifth graders were coached
by Christine Mayr.
“I am always proud of the effort the students put into preparing for
WordMasters,” said Christine Mayr, the fourth and fifth grade
WordMasters coach, “but it’s incredible to their hard work paying off
and propelling them forward to finish so well nationally.”
Students from the high school leadership class, vocal ensemble, and jazz
band put together a jazz cabaret night for local veterans on March 28.
Students within the leadership class, previously nominated by faculty
and staff, organize and run select school and community-focused
activities, and this was one such event.
The evening began with a welcoming dessert reception for veterans and
their families, and leadership students intermingled with the attendees.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Francesco Ianni and Assistant
Superintendent Dr. Rory Manning, who were in attendance as well, greeted
The vocal ensemble, directed by music teacher Clare Jackson, treated the
audience to beautiful arrangement of songs such as “Here Comes the
Sun,” and “In the Still of the Night,” and many were toe-tapping and
moving in their seats to the music. When the ensemble fished, the
audience gave a thunderous round of applause, pleading for more, but it
was the jazz band’s queue–and they did not disappoint.
The jazz band, directed by Music Department Coordinator Dan Bilawsky,
covered an array of songs, including the complex, original compositions
of Duke Ellington, and the audience was once again moved to jiving along
to the rhythms in their seats until the music ended for the very last
note was played.
“It is a privilege to give back to the community in any way possible,” said Greg Taylor, the leadership class advisor.
Schools within our district hold fast to the nation-wide “No Place for
Hate” initiative, and regularly implement in-school events and
activities to remind students of this important idea. On March 27,
Washington Drive Primary School held a “Character Counts” assembly, and
virtually brought in students from Oldfield Middle School to speak about
Sixth-graders from Mrs. Horowitz’s class prepared to speak to students
in grades kindergarten through second about accepting differences and
“being yourself” by telling stories, sharing original poems, and
explaining how they differed from everyone else. Middle schoolers shared
differences like being a vegetarian, having ADHD, or struggling with
anxiety. In addition, they shared how they coped with having these
Sixth-graders stressed to the younger students that no matter what, one
should never be quick to judge others, and to always be kind–no matter
how someone differs from the crowd. Assistant Principal Ms. Kathy
McNally facilitated the event, and encouraged younger students to ask
questions regarding the sixth grader’s personal experiences.
At the end of the assembly, Ms. McNally asked the middle schoolers for a piece of advice for the Washington Drive students.
“Try your hardest to always be kind, and to remember it’s okay to be different,” said one sixth grader.