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‘Mr. Port Jefferson’ Thomas Meehan to Retire

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At the Nov. 10 Port Jefferson School District Board of Education meeting, the Board honored Mr. Thomas Meehan, Principal of the Edna Louise Spear Elementary School, who will retire on December 31.

Superintendent of Schools Mrs. Jessica Schmettan spoke highly of Mr. Meehan’s decade of service at the helm of the Elementary School citing his skills and initiatives such as instituting the school’s Grade 5 Safety Patrol Leadership Program and collaborating with the Port Jefferson Fire Department in the annual 9/11 ceremony. She also spoke of his relationships with both the Royal Educational Foundation and the PTA over the years resulting in the raised garden beds for science and nutrition lessons, a GaGa ball pit for physical education and socialization, and a book vending machine which encourages reading for education and fun.

Mr. Meehan is affectionately known as “Mr. Port Jefferson.” He is a graduate of the Port Jefferson School District, as well as a member of the fire department, a part of the beach community and regularly hikes around the village. But most importantly, he is lauded foremost for his commitment to the students of the district.

“It’s always about our students,” Mrs. Schmettan said. “He knows all of our elementary children and their families by name.”

She added that he is not afraid to jump into the GaGa ball pit, shoot a few hoops, examine a science project, join in on a music lesson, direct a bus, investigate a furnace or read a class a book. “He truly is a master of all talents,” she said.
Mrs. Schmettan and the Board presented him with a gift and applauded his leadership and service.

“It was an honor for me to be principal,” Mr. Meehan said. “It meant so much to me and my family.”

The Board of Education is set to appoint a new principal for the Elementary School at the Dec. 8 Board of Education meeting.

Learning the Japanese Art of Kintsugi

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Eighth grade student-artists are learning Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with art teacher Ms. Stacey Schuman.

“By repairing broken ceramics it’s possible to give a new lease of life to pottery that becomes even more refined thanks to its ‘scars,’” Ms. Schuman said. “Kintsugi teaches that broken objects are not something to hide but to display with pride.”

The traditional Japanese art form uses a precious metal – liquid gold, liquid silver or lacquer dusted with powdered gold – to bring together the pieces of a broken pottery item and at the same time enhance the breaks. The technique consists of joining fragments and giving them a new, more refined aspect. Every repaired piece is unique, because of the randomness with which ceramics shatter and the irregular patterns formed that are enhanced with the use of metals. The students studied pieces and then drew their own designs to highlight the scarred parts of the object.

Free Lunch Program

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The Port Jefferson School District applied and was granted a waiver to offer lunch at no charge to all our students. This waiver starts on December 1, and is expected to run through June, 2021. This will entitle all students to receive a free meal with all the components. Snacks and additional beverages still must be purchased and are not covered under this program. Students on remote instruction can pick up a bag lunch meal each day at the security desk at the HS between 12 and 1 p.m.

Lockers, Baskets and Boxes of Food!

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Edna Louise Spear Elementary School held its annual food drive and filled boxes with nonperishable foods as well as toiletries for local families in need. Under the leadership of elementary guidance counselor Jessica Peterson, the school community once again showed its generosity in aiding others with dozens of boxes of food collected that will help families enjoy a nutritious Thanksgiving meal. Eight second grade students – Jessica Curley, Thomas Donohue, Brier Fox, Ruby Minatta, Lucas Peterson, Vincent Pryor, Andrew Weinisch and Madeline Zoudov – used their organizational skills and sheer desire to help families in the community by sorting boxes of items for each family.

At Earl L. Vandermeulen High School, a “Stuff-A-Locker” initiative was launched and has faculty, staff, administration, art students and all the high school clubs involved in working to fill the unused first floor lockers with nonperishable food and monetary donations.

“It is important for students, staff and the community to recognize the importance and need for staying connected during this time,” Principal Eric Haruthunian said. “Our high school is unifying our food drive efforts in order to help the community.”

Once a certain number of lockers are filled, the food in them is delivered and student-artists create a mural to cover those lockers. The final art piece will be revealed in full once all of the lockers are stuffed.

The International Club helped kick off the campaign by collecting dozens of non-perishable foods, stuffing and bread mixes, vegetables, juices and frozen turkeys that filled up the first five lockers. Club advisers Jennifer Walling, who teaches English as a second language, and social worker Kristin Britt delivered the bountiful baskets to local families just in time for a nutritious Thanksgiving holiday meal.

Trio of Royals Commit to Colleges

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With coaches, parents, siblings and administrators in attendance at a socially distant ceremony, three seniors were honored at the 2020 National Collegiate Athletic Association signing event. Each student committed to playing their respective sports at several of the nation’s most prestigious Division I and Division II universities in the fall.

Heidi Biedenkapp will join the rowing team at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Katelynn Johnston will play lacrosse at Assumption University and Daniel Koban will play lacrosse at St. John’s University. The event was hosted by the Port Jefferson Athletic Department and introduced by Adam Sherrard, director of health, physical education and athletics.

During the ceremony, each student was lauded by their coaches James Finke (rowing), Logan Hoffman (girls lacrosse) and Taylor Forstell and John Maletta (boys lacrosse). The coaches spoke of each student’s high school career highlights and wished them all well at the next level of their education and athletic endeavors.

The Port Jefferson School District congratulates these students who will continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level.
Friday, December 04, 2020