W.T. Clarke High School’s student acting troupe, Lights Up Productions, gave a riveting performance about the joys and heartbreaks of a tight-knit community when they presented “In the Heights” on March 2-4.
According to the Rodgers and Hammerstein Theatricals website, “In the Heights” is the universal story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood – a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind.
Prior to the main performances, the school held a Senior Citizens’ Dinner Theatre, sponsored by the W.T. Clarke PTA in collaboration with the East Meadow Kiwanis and Clarke Theater Arts Parents Association. Community residents were invited for a delicious Italian dinner and a special viewing of this year’s spring musical, with dinner service and ushering provided by members of the W.T. Clarke Middle School Builder’s Club and W.T. Clarke High School Key Club.
The Lights Up Productions cast and crew would like to express their gratitude to director Kristen Norwark, vocal director Robin Hall, the design team, the stagehands, the tech squad, the orchestra pit – led by W.T. Clarke High School Music Chairperson Stephen Engle – and the district’s central administrators for helping to make the spring musical a success.
Students at Barnum Woods Elementary School expanded upon their social-emotional learning through two special events at the school. One was participation in the schoolwide mindfulness workshops by students in kindergarten through fourth grade. The other was an effort by fifth-graders to raise funds for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center by building their own arcade games.
During the mindfulness workshops, parents and students gathered in the school’s all-purpose room to participate in deep breathing and meditation activities that taught them how to re-energize and focus on their well-being. The sessions were held with the goal of teaching relaxation and focus within a fast-paced, media-saturated world where students are under pressure to perform well in school and achieve high grades.
While those in grades K-4 turned their focus inward for stress reduction and improved cognition, fifth-graders turned their focus to a beneficial cause in the community. The students were inspired by the film “Caine’s Arcade,” which documents 9-year-old Caine Monroy and his idea that set off a global movement. According to the “Caine’s Arcade” website, Caine built his own cardboard arcade, filled with games and prizes, for customers of his father’s auto parts store. When filmmaker Nirvan Mullick walked in, he became Caine’s first and only customer, leading him to create a movie about Caine’s arcade and establish a scholarship fund for him to attend college. The fifth-graders at Barnum Woods carried out the idea over the course of a month by creating their own arcade games, including foosball, Plinko, and pinball and claw machines. Students paid 25 cents per game for the chance to win a prize, generating a total of $1,400.25 for patients at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
The members of Woodland Middle School’s Peer Helpers club in the East Meadow School District inspired sixth-graders to make a positive impact on others during their “Pay It Forward” assembly. This presentation is based on the novel by Catherine Ryan Hyde.
At the opening of the presentation, each sixth grade student was given one blue and one orange index card. Members of the Peer Helpers wrote a story about one day in the life of a student. The peer helpers instructed the sixth graders to hold up a blue card when they heard a positive statement and an orange card for negative statements. As the students held up their color cards, the peer helpers placed the matching color Post-it on a huge heart in the front of the auditorium. This served as a visual representation of how negative words and feelings can affect an individual in one day.
Following this activity, the students watched a video clip from the movie, Pay It Forward. The clip explained the theory that if you do something kind for someone, they in turn, will pay it forward to create a chain reaction of positive change. The Peer Helpers encouraged the sixth-graders to spread kindness throughout the school by extending themselves to other students, whether by saying hello, helping to carry their books to class or sitting with a new student at lunch.
Local officials and community leaders joined professionals from the district on March 16 to read to classes at George McVey Elementary School and encourage a love for reading in the young students.
The visit was part of Guest Reader Day, a special event hosted by McVey near the close of its two-week Pick a Reading Partner program, which ran from March 6-17. Sponsored by the PTA, McVey’s PARP program invited students to delve into the world of literature and engage in reading activities inspired by this year’s theme, “Reading Is Groovy.”
Among those who read to the students in grades K-6 were Assemblyman Tom McKevitt, Nassau County Legislator Norma Gonzalves, Hempstead Town Clerk Nasrin Ahmad, Hempstead Town Councilman Gary Hudes, East Meadow Board of Education President Marcee Rubinstein, district administrators and other influential community members.
After the guests had finished reading, the students asked them about their professional careers and how reading has helped them to succeed.
RESIDENTS APPROVE BOND
On Tuesday, March 7, East Meadow residents approved the community’s first joint East Meadow Schools and Public Library capital project bond referendum by a vote of 2,031 Yes to 835 No.
Projects included in this bond will address major repairs and renovations to schools districtwide, improve energy efficiency, support science initiatives, and restore natural grass athletic fields for school and community use. The bond will also fund major repairs and upgrades to the public library that will support additional programs and services, improve energy efficiency and security systems, and increase opportunities for students and patrons.
“The Board of Education and administration would like to thank all community residents who voted on the bond and for their approval and continued support,” said Superintendent of Schools Leon J. Campo. “This is an exciting time for our community and we look forward to improving our schools for our students and for future generations to come.” East Meadow Public Library Director Carol Probeyahn said, “On behalf of the library Board of Directors, we want to thank the community for your vote of support. We are looking forward to improving our library to provide expanded services for our children and community residents.”
Tuesday, March 7 is the East Meadow Public Schools and Public Library joint bond vote. Please plan to be part of the future of our community and remember to vote. Every vote counts! Polls will be open from 7 a.m.-9 p.m. at all elementary schools.
Information on Artificial Turf fields
East Meadow Schools and Public Library Joint Bond Presentation
Thursday, March 2, 2017 • 6:30 p.m.
Leon J. Campo Salisbury Center
Prior to 2017-18 Budget Input Session and Board of Education Meeting
East Meadow Joint Bond Vote March 7 from 7 a.m.- 9p.m. at All Elementary Schools
Average annual cost to taxpayers = $57.53 or less than 16¢ per day
On Tuesday, March 7, 2017, residents will have an opportunity to vote on a joint bond referendum proposed by the East Meadow Public Schools and the East Meadow Public Library that, if approved, will renovate and improve the schools and library to better serve students and community residents into the future. For the first time in East Meadow’s history, residents will vote on a joint bond at significant savings to the taxpayer.
The East Meadow schools are more than 60 years old and in need of major repairs and renovations that are too costly to include in the annual school budget without significantly increasing taxes and/or cutting programs and services to students. The public library has not undertaken a major renovation in more than 30 years, and requires major repairs and upgrades.
The bond initiative will fund the repairs and renovations to the schools, improve energy efficiency, support science initiatives and restore the district’s natural grass athletic fields for school and community use. The proposed bond would also support major repairs and upgrades to the public library to enhance additional programs and services, improve energy efficiency and security systems and increase opportunities to serve students and patrons.
During the life span of the bond, the average annual cost to the taxpayer is $57.53, or approximately 16¢ per day. The projected average annual cost to the taxpayer is calculated using the average assessed property value as determined by the Nassau County Assessor’s Office. It is anticipated the work in the schools will begin during the summer of 2018 and the library work will also begin sometime in 2018.
This is an exciting time for the community. All residents are encouraged to vote on Tuesday, March 7, from 7 a.m.-9 p.m., at all district elementary schools. For more information, visit the school district website at www.eastmeadow.k12.ny.us or the library website at www.eastmeadow.info. You can also find information on the bond on Facebook by liking East Meadow Schools and Public Library Joint Bond.
School District and Public Library Joint Bond Referendum
In a joint decision, the first of its kind in the community’s history, the school district and public library plan to propose a single bond referendum that would support major renovations and improvements to both the district’s schools and athletic facilities, and the public library. If approved by voters, the proposed work will bring the public library into the 21st century and facilitate greater opportunities to serve the community, while the school district will be able to address much needed repairs and improve its instructional space and athletic facilities at schools that are more than 60 years old.
Parkway Elementary School students raised more than $5,000 for the American Heart Association by participating in the schoolwide Jump Rope for Heart program on Feb. 16. Fourth-grader Jace D’Jon raised the most money this year, gardening a total of $575.
According to its website, the American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To assist in the battle, schools can host Jump Rope for Heart or Hoops for Heart fundraisers that promote physical activity, heart healthy living and community service.
During their gym classes, students in grades 1-5 divided into groups where they exercised their heart muscles by jumping rope to popular pop music and played double dutch with gym teachers Kelly Rohan and Michael Romanotto. They also learned about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle while raising money for the community.
A special thank-you to the Parkway PTA for providing refreshments for students to recharge while working out.
Members of the Bowling Green Elementary School Kiwanis Kids recently teamed up to help young children in Indonesia and Nicaragua pursue their educational dreams through the Bezos Family Foundation’s Students Rebuild Youth Uplift Challenge.
The students assembled on Feb. 27 to cut out paper hands and inscribe messages on them using crayons, colored pencils and markers. The uplifting messages suggested ways to make the world a better place, such as preserving the earth, being kind to all and helping others.
According to its website, the Bezos Family Foundation was created in 2010 in response to the devastating Haiti earthquake with the mission of assisting young people to achieve their full potential and make a meaningful contribution to society through education. The Youth Uplift Challenge invests in financial literacy, job and entrepreneurship training, and youth-led groups and networks to help young people overcome the setbacks of poverty. For every hand sent in, the Bezos Family Foundation donates $1.90 — up to $500,000 — to Save the Children’s programs, which empower youth in Indonesia and Nicaragua to rise into the life they dream of.
The Bowling Green Kiwanis Kids club made and sent in 180 hands garnering a total of $342 to the organization.
A total of 74 high school students in the district – 42 from East Meadow High School and 32 from W.T. Clarke High School – were inducted into the district’s National Art Honor Society in a ceremony on Feb. 28.
To become a member of the East Meadow chapter, students must be in grades 10-12, maintain an unweighted GPA of 85 percent and have a 90 percent or higher average in their art classes.
NAHS advisors Gerard Ferrara and Jane Pawlowski of East Meadow High School and W.T. Clarke High School, respectively, opened the ceremony by recognizing the talented inductees for their hard work and dedication to the arts and their studies. Following, both schools’ NAHS presidents shared how art has impacted their lives and reflected on how it takes courage to make art in today’s society.
Continuing the celebration, guest speaker Frank Dentrone, a W.T. Clarke High School English teacher, expressed ways in which art has influenced his life and bestowed words of wisdom upon the honorees.
“My advice to you is to stay young, my friends,” said Mr. Dentrone. “Keep your eyes open for new things even in the most mundane situations, and keep your hearts open to that creative voice within you for as long as you can. I do believe you’re going to need it.”
After taking the honor society pledge, the inductees joined fellow NAHS members and guests for light refreshments in the art gallery, where they toured an exhibit of artwork created by members of the society.
The hallways of Barnum Woods Elementary School were filled with distinguished historical figures, thinkers and inventors as second-graders marched in the Famous Americans Parade on Feb. 15.
Prior to the celebration, held to honor Presidents Day, the students spent months researching innovators in American history, learning about their childhood, discoveries and impact upon the world. Among the illustrious individuals were Betsy Ross, Neil Armstrong, John F. Kennedy, Amelia Earhart, Juliette Gordon Low and George Washington.
After completing their research projects, the second-graders created costumes resembling their characters for the school’s Famous Americans Parade, during which they walked the halls and visited other classrooms to present facts about their historical person. Their peers were able to ask questions and guess who the students portrayed.
The district hosted the 10th annual Long Island Regional Braille Challenge for students of Braille on Feb. 4 at W.T. Clarke High School.
The Braille Challenge is an academic competition developed by the Braille Institute of America to motivate school-aged visually impaired or blind children to continue their study of Braille.
During the challenge’s opening ceremony, members of the W.T. Clarke High School pep band performed as the six participants gathered in the Little Theater for recognition.
In his welcoming remarks, Superintendent of Schools Leon J. Campo acknowledged these students who excel in the study of Braille.
“We’re here today to recognize our Braille champions as they continue to accomplish, overcome and demonstrate what they are capable of,” he said. “We are the beneficiaries of their hard work.”
Patrice Dobies, the district’s director of special education and pupil personnel services, expressed her gratitude to the district, Board of Education, Braille Challenge Coordinator Petra Tarrant, volunteers and sponsors for hosting and coordinating the annual event.
“Thank you to everyone who made today’s Braille Challenge a success,” she said. “This day could not have happened without all of your hard work, dedication and commitment. I am so proud of all these students and am blown away by their amazing ability to read and write in Braille.”
Following, students had the opportunity to participate in three interactive workshops. In the first, they practiced martial arts and self-defense techniques with Sensei Devin Fernandez from Third Eye Insight in West Islip. With the help of volunteers, participants learned defensive moves using their knees, fists and elbows.
The students transitioned to the classroom for the second workshop, where they displayed their proficiency in reading, writing and comprehending in Braille. They also created valentines using cookie cutters, metallic paper and stickers.
During the third activity, students met and played with members of the Long Island Bombers Beep Baseball team, a group of players who demonstrate their version of baseball by using beeping baseballs and bases. The young students ran the bases and located the baseball from the sound of its buzzing.
At the closing ceremony, the students received Braille Institute medallions, certificates of recognition and goody bags for participating in this year’s 10th annual Braille Challenge. Participants and their families also attended a brunch graciously provided by the East Meadow Special Education PTA.
Among the participants in the Braille Challenge were Meadowbrook Elementary School second-grader Kayla Ochtera, Bowling Green Elementary School third-grader Matthew Palmeri and Woodland Middle School seventh-grader Robbie Stahl.
The regional event is the first step toward the national competition, which will be held in June at the Braille Institute’s headquarters in Los Angeles. Students from across the nation are in the process of completing preliminary testing in the hopes of qualifying among the top-scoring 60 contestants. Those top scorers will advance to nationals to represent their state as they compete against the best Braille students from across the United States and Canada.
The Virtual Enterprise class at W.T. Clarke High School demonstrated their business acumen and ingenuity when they competed in the Virtual Enterprise International Northeast Regional Trade Show at Farmingdale State College on Jan. 13.
According to its website, VEI is a global business simulation that offers students a competitive edge through project-based, collaborative learning and the development of 21st-century skills in entrepreneurship, global business, problem-solving, communication, personal finance and technology.
Consisting of 19 seniors, W.T. Clarke’s VE class mimics the operations of a real business, with departments including accounting, marketing, human resources and web design. The company is entirely student-run, with teacher Joseph Pavia acting as its consultant. In addition to managing its daily operations on a multi-departmental level, the students also evaluate employee growth and receive a virtual salary that can be spent on products and services offered by other schools’ VE firms, both local and international.
W.T. Clarke’s firm, Munchkings, sells snack mixes that are customized to targeted consumer groups’ tastes. The “Lazy Man Mix,” for example, is an assortment of potato chips, popcorn, chocolate candies and mini chocolate chip cookies and is geared toward the armchair athlete, while the “Veggie Mix” is a blend for the more health-conscious consisting of veggie straws, veggie chips and pressure-cooked potato chips.
At the regional show, the Munchkings’ administrative team presented their 30-page business plan and a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation to a panel of judges. In addition, undercover judges walked the sales floor to analyze the businesses of more than 900 students. They awarded the Munchkings first place for best sales pitch and second place for most enthusiastic firm, the latter bestowed upon those companies that exhibit the most passion, energy and perseverance.
“This is not an ordinary class,” said Pavia. “My students always amaze me with their dedication, hard work and perseverance. I am very fortunate to teach this class and am beyond grateful for the incredible support I receive from my administrators.”
The results have not calculated, but if the Munchkings advance, they will participate in VEI’s 2017 Youth Business Summit, a national-level competition that will be held in New York City from April 3-5. This competition brings school firms from all over the U.S. and the world to trade live with each other.
The East Meadow School District wishes the Munchkings much success as they continue in the competition.
Lessons in character education were promoted as the entire student body at Bowling Green Elementary School lent their hand to a “unity mural” outside of the school’s library.
The project, led by Joyce Raimondo, founder and director of Imagine That! Art Education, was open to all first- through fifth-graders. With smocks tied on and paintbrushes in hand, the students worked together to create a dynamic, colorful masterpiece that illustrates positive character traits and embodies the school’s motto of respect, citizenship, trustworthiness and caring.
Their teamwork and collaboration resulted in a masterpiece that teachers, staff and administrators will enjoy for years to come.