skip to main content

Turning imagination into creativity at student art shows

Turning imagination into creativity at student art shows photo
Turning imagination into creativity at student art shows photo 2
Turning imagination into creativity at student art shows photo 3

Students throughout the district – inspired by their respective art teachers and the masters – showcased their artistic skills at the three schools’ art shows throughout the month of May.

Photography, pointillism, crafts, sculpture and graffiti were just some of the subjects students touched upon in turning their imaginative ideas into reality.

Under the direction of elementary art teachers Richard Anderson and Meghan Hallock, middle school art teacher Stacey Schuman and high school art teachers Lynne Edsall and Nancy Randazzo, students have learned to flex their artistic intelligence throughout the school year, culminating in a must-see springtime event.

Flexing their math muscle at Math Olympiad Competition

Flexing their math muscle at Math Olympiad Competition photo
Ten students from the SEAL program took part in the 2018 Suffolk County Math Olympiad Competition recently held at Stony Brook University.

The competition for the top five fourth-grade and the top five fifth-grade Olympiad students from Port Jefferson was an opportunity to learn important strategies for problem-solving.

Student Jinah Kwak won third place in the fifth-grade division, Max Kronberg won third place in the fourth-grade division, Tucker Stanton won second place in the fourth-grade division, and the fourth-grade team won third place in the fourth-grade team competition.

The fourth-grade team members are Matthew Cadicamo, Anbang Jiang, Max Kronberg, Evan Raymond and Tucker Stanton, and the fifth-grade team members are Isabelle Chen, Aoife Hogan, Jinah Kwak, Alice Snyder and Emily Snyder.

“These top Math Olympians showcased their problem-solving skills with dedication and determination,” said SEAL teacher Kate Zvokel. “I applaud their efforts and hard work to make Port Jefferson proud. We all had a great time at the competition.”

Presenting musical prowess at ‘Petting Zoo’

Presenting musical prowess at ‘Petting Zoo’ photo

Springtime is a musical time in our schools and an opportunity for high school students to share their talents and instruments with elementary students.

The annual Instrument Petting Zoo was recently held at the elementary school, where members of the high school instrumental ensembles gave third-grade students a chance to get an up-close look at the instruments of the band and orchestra.

Under the direction of band teacher Christine Creighton, the high school students came well-prepared and encouraged the younger ones to ask questions about how the instruments work as they performed. For many of the younger students, this was a chance to experience the excitement of holding the instruments correctly, some of them for the first time.

The third-graders had a worksheet to indicate their top three choices and in the coming weeks will select the instrument they would like to begin learning in the fall.

Elementary band teacher Mark Abbonizio even got the kindergarten students involved in the festive event. While some listened attentively to the music and high school students’ instruction, several of them helped hold the signage at each station that introduced the instrument.

‘Ab ovo usque ad mala’ at Latin Club’s Roman Banquet

‘Ab ovo usque ad mala’ at Latin Club’s Roman Banquet photo

In a feast fit for a king, the high school and middle school Latin Club members, along with adviser Anne Algieri, hosted a Roman Banquet at the Port Jefferson Village Center.

More than 50 students and their family members were in attendance at the ninth annual event. To recognize ancient Roman culture, students dressed in togas and tunicas, recited ancient Latin poems, performed traditional songs and feasted on traditional Roman foods.

Modeled on an ancient Roman banquet, the menu’s theme was “Ab ovo usque ad mala” (from eggs to apples), the equivalent of the modern expression “from soup to nuts.”

Quick-thinking Quiz Bowl participants earn Port Jeff third place

Quick-thinking Quiz Bowl participants earn Port Jeff third place photo
The Junior Varsity Academic Team took home a third-place trophy after competing in the final tournament of the Regional Quiz Bowl at Plainview-Old Bethpage High School.

Competing against more than 50 of the top academic teams from Nassau and Suffolk counties, the students took part in the “Jeopardy”-like competition which covered a variety of academic disciplines and topics including art, history, poetry, literature and science.

The teamwork and motivation of Cameron Cohen, a junior, Kyle Onghai, a sophomore and seniors Eric Tischer and Ben Zaltsman is to be commended.

“These students truly amaze me with the base of knowledge they possess,” teacher and coach Michel Krivosta said. “Their individual quick-thinking skills and collaboration are admirable.”

‘School of Distinction’ designation for High School athletics

‘School of Distinction’ designation for High School athletics photo
The high school’s athletic program has another reason to be proud: All spring varsity teams have been named Scholar-Athlete teams by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association.

The news is even more impressive because all of the district’s varsity teams for the 2017-18 school year have been awarded Scholar-Athlete recognition. To receive this honor, a sports team’s average GPA for 75 percent of the roster must be greater than or equal to 90.

The culmination of both honors means that Earl L. Vandermeulen will be named a 2018 School of Distinction by the NYSPHSAA. Across the state, only about 20 schools are given this honor, and in Section XI only four schools were recognized as a School of Distinction last year.

“This honor clearly demonstrates the ability of all of our student-athletes to show tremendous dedication to their academics, while balancing a busy athletic schedule,” said Dr. Danielle Turner, the district’s director of health, physical education and athletics. “This is a direct reflection of the commitment and support of our district administration, teachers, coaches and community as a whole.”

Spring Newsletter Now Available


A melodious introduction to musical instruments

A melodious introduction to musical instruments photo
Third-grade students experienced an informative lesson on string, brass and woodwind instruments at the school’s recent Instrumental Recruitment Meeting.

From the soft vibrations of a violin to the baritone-voiced euphonium, the students were introduced to the instruments by the current fourth-graders, who were eager to demonstrate the instrument they each play.

The annual event is a collaborative effort of Dr. Vanessa Salzman, the 4-6 grade orchestra teacher, who organizes the event and band teacher Mark Abbonizio, who runs the meeting with the students.

“Our annual recruitment events are an exciting time to introduce the incoming fourth-graders to all the instruments we teach at the elementary school,” said Dr. Salzman. “Listening and watching demonstrations by their peers not only showcases the talents of our current musicians, but is a powerful and effective tool to inspire our newest members of the band and orchestra.”

Varsity Club honored for community service efforts

Varsity Club honored for community service efforts photo
The high school’s Varsity Club was recognized at a recent Board of Education meeting for its volunteer efforts for the League of Yes, an organization that creates baseball programs for people with disabilities.

Cheri Fox, Suffolk County field director and executive board member for League of Yes, commended the students on their efforts in not only volunteering their time, but in developing friendships with the players on the league as they were each presented with a certificate. The school also received a “Buddy of the Year” plaque for its commitment to the organization.

The Varsity Club members and their advisers, teachers Jesse Rosen and Deirdre Filippi, engage in projects centered around athletics and also run school-organized events, including volleyball tournaments and the schoolwide Olympic games, activities that help to raise money for various service-minded organizations. These activities help to establish a sense of community within the high school building and teach club members that they can positively help and influence people around them while challenging themselves in the process.

Congratulations to all the Varsity Club members:

Chloe Andriani
Alexa Ayotte
Jack Collins
Taylor Corallo
Anthony D'Elia
Lea Desmond
Kayla Fox
Nick Gertz
Phoenix Jampol
Isabella Love
Jonathan Moshe
Charlie Rolfe
Brianna Scarda
Jordan Suarez
Joshua Tesser
John Tsunis
Colton VanOverberghe
Lexi VanOverberghe
Gabe Zoda

Port Jeff student excels in state competition

Port Jeff student excels in state competition photo
Senior Tatum Hurney was recognized as a first-place winner in the SkillsUSA state competition, recently held in Syracuse, New York.

Tatum competed in the Restaurant Service competition, where she was judged on her professionalism, courtesy, and technical and verbal skills. She also excelled in “front of the house” skills, including reservation procedures, greeting customers, explaining menu choices, and preparation and presentation of the customer’s check.

Tatum, a student in the Culinary Arts program at the Wilson Technical Center in Oakdale, said, “I am so proud that I accomplished this. I am happy that Ms. Galvin [high school guidance counselor] steered me toward this program and plans for the future.”

Tatum is looking to continue her education in the culinary arts and hopes to attend Johnson & Wales University to earn a bachelor degree.

Empowering a community of leaders and advocates

Empowering a community of leaders and advocates photo
Ten students from the high school attended the 22nd annual Long Island LGBT Conference at Stony Brook University.

Accompanied by co-advisers Kristin Britt and Dinarae Camarda, members of the school’s Gay Straight Alliance spent the day attending workshops on topics including LGBT history, community and youth organizing, health and social justice.

“This event is a stronghold for student leaders,” Britt said. “In addition to learning and sharing in a safe and supportive environment, it empowers them to navigate and advocate for positive social and health-related choices.”

Port Jeff athletes share essential lacrosse skills with younger players

Port Jeff athletes share essential lacrosse skills with younger players photo
The boys and girls varsity lacrosse teams held a youth clinic for the Port Jefferson boys and girls lacrosse teams to help train athletes in a variety of skill-based drills and specialized training for specific field positions. More than 75 students in grades K-6 attended the weekend event held at Scraggy Fields alongside their coaches and parents.

“The event was highly rewarding, not just for the athletes involved, but also the varsity athletes who helped run the event,” said Taylor Forstell, head coach for the boys varsity lacrosse team.

Boys varsity lacrosse captains Connor Kaminska, Thomas Mark and Billy Scannell echoed the same message. Being the first generation of youth lacrosse members in Port Jefferson, they did not have the older kids to look up to for advice. Now as varsity players, the trio find it to be fulfilling to give back to the youth programs and to have a positive impact on the growth of the lacrosse programs in Port Jefferson.

Port Jeff students welcome a military visitor

Port Jeff students welcome a military visitor photo
Students in Steve Orlowski’s class at the elementary school have been studying maps and continents and had a special visitor who was able to put geography in perspective for them.

Stationed for the past two years in Japan as a member of the United State Navy, Chief David Orlowski, their teacher’s brother, had business to attend to in Washington, DC and took some time to visit his family and the students in Port Jefferson.

Chief Orlowski shared his experiences about living abroad, daily life on a ship and the job of a military person.

Students asked questions about what he eats in Japan, how he is able to speak with people there and what he does on a daily basis. They also learned that the military is not always at war, and that the majority of their time is spent patrolling foreign waters and maintaining equipment.

High School named Gold Medal School

High School named Gold Medal School image
In recognition of its success in educating students across a range of performance indicators, Earl L. Vandermeulen High School has been named a top high school by U.S. News & World Report and earned the news organization’s highest ranking of Gold. It was one of only 2.4 percent of eligible schools across the country who received the designation.

The multi-step ranking process included ensuring that the eligible schools serve all of their students well, using state proficiency tests results and their graduation rates as benchmarks and assessing how well-prepared students are for college-level work. Based on the evaluation, ELVHS was ranked 55th in New York State and 482th of the nation’s 20,582 eligible schools.

“We are honored to receive this distinction,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Casciano said. “In addition to the determination of our high school administrators and educators in leading our students in a high-quality education, they are committed to preparing them for continued academic successes in the future.”

The designation is the fourth honor for the school this academic year. On the national level, it was named a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, honored with its sixth consecutive Reward School designation by the New York State Education Department and Principal Christine Austen was named a Person of the Year by TBR News Media for her leadership and steadfast efforts in improving the academic programs offered. The school annually boasts numerous AP Scholars, and National Merit Semifinalists and Commended Students, in addition to the many athletic, musical, civic and volunteer accomplishments of its students.

Eighth-grader Honored for Contributions to School Community

Eighth-grader Honored for Contributions to School Community photo
Eighth-grader Emily Hearney was honored by the Board of Education for her initiative and fortitude in spearheading a campaign to show solidarity among the students of Port Jefferson and Stoneman Douglas High School, where her cousin is a junior.

Emily solicited the help of teacher Allison Giannusa, Student Government adviser, and mobilized her peers to create T-shirts for a 17-minute event where students engaged in civic action and paused to remember and honor those who lost their lives.

“Emily was driven to action because of the amazing person and leader that she is,” Principal Dr. Robert Neidig said. “Her exemplary efforts are a testament to her character and her willingness to contribute to her school and community.”

Five students honored for physical education leadership

Five students honored for physical education leadership photo
Five students from the School District were named Elementary and Middle School Suffolk Zone Award honorees by the New York State Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. They were honored at a ceremony at Bay Shore High School.

Fifth-graders Joseph Aronica, Julia Fite and Olivia Masino and eighth-graders Lucy DeWitt and Richard Melucci were chosen by their physical education teachers for demonstrating strong leadership and character traits in physical education as well as a commitment to academics.

“These students exemplify the core leadership values of our school and athletic community,” said Dr. Danielle Turner, the district’s director of health, physical education and athletics. “This honor recognizes their collective commitment to physical education and serving as role models for their peers.”

District receives superior credit rating

As a result of diligent financial planning and a strong commitment to fiscal accountability, the district has received a very high quality credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service.

The Aa2 rating the district received is determined based on the assessment of its fund balance, financial management, a strong wealth and income profile and tax base wealth. It is an important measure that is used by prospective lenders to determine the credit worthiness of school districts and other public entities.

“This report from an outside and independent financial institute is a clear indication of the current financial health of the district,” said Sean Leister, deputy superintendent of the Port Jefferson School District. “It reflects the district’s meticulous and mindful financial planning and will ensure lower interest rates for borrowing funds and significant financial savings for our residents for any funds borrowed.”

According to the report, and in comparison to other Moody’s rated school districts, Port Jefferson’s Aa2 rating is stronger than the median rating of nationwide districts. The cash balance as a percent of operating revenues (53.1 percent) is noted as superior and saw an impressive increase between 2013 and 2017. The fund balance as a percent of operating revenues (37.5 percent) is also stronger. The district’s debt burden is negligible and favorable and the 0.2 percent net direct debt to full value is significantly below the nationwide median and stayed flat between 2013 and 2017.

Science Olympiad rank in state competition!

Science Olympiad rank in state competition!
The Port Jefferson Middle School Science Olympiad team placed eighth overall in the New York State Science Olympiad Competition, held recently in Syracuse, NY. The ranking is the second highest for the team in almost two decades.

The team, which includes students from grades 6-9, achieved 12 medals in various events. During the awards ceremony, the top 10 finishers were announced and recognized and the team received a plaque for their accomplishment.

According to coach and middle school science teacher Adam Bouchard, the students were successful by their hard work in studying scientific principles and engineering devices to complete the various tasks.

“Congratulations to our Science Olympiad Team,” said middle school principal Robert Neidig. “I am so proud of Mr. Bouchard and our tremendous science students on a job well done.”

Medal Winners
First Place, Rocks and Minerals – Aaron Held, Grant Samara
Second Place, Potions and Poisons – Gani Ates, Grant Samara
Third Place, Fast Facts – Aaron Held, Peggy Yin
Fourth Place, Anatomy – Gani Ates, Peggy Yin
Fourth Place, Microbe Mission – Hugo Onghai, Peggy Yin
Fourth Place, Optics – William Wu, Peggy Yin
Fourth Place, Solar System – Liam Gameng, Kasumi Layne-Stasik
Fifth Place, Herpetology – Andrew Patterson, Kasumi Layne-Stasik
Fifth Place, Science Quiz Bowl – Michael Melikyan, Andrew Patterson, Max Paulus

Sixth Place, Meteorology – Liam Gameng, William Wu
Seventh Place, Disease Detectives – Hugo Onghai, Grant Samara
Seventh Place, Ecology – Teppei Fukuto, Andrew Patterson

SCMEA Day of Percussion for Cezanne Lojeski

 SCMEA Day of Percussion for Cezanne Lojeski
Senior Cezanne Lojeski participated in the Suffolk County Music Educators' Association's Day of Percussion at SUNY Stony Brook's Staller Center on April 20th.

As a participant of the percussion ensemble, Cezanne had an opportunity to perform alongside world-renowned guest artists, Jonathan Singer and Greg Bissonette. She was accompanied by music teacher Christine Creighton.

Sixth-grader does know much about history!

Sixth-grader does know much about history!

Challenged by questions that shaped our country, sixth-grader Carman Stanton was invited to the regional competition of the National History Bee and qualified for the National Finals.

Carman excelled in the multiple-choice questions at the elementary division of New York South schools at the East Brunswick, New Jersey competition.

Student ‘Guest Artist’ shares creative problem-solving skills

Student ‘Guest Artist’ shares creative problem-solving skills
Students in Stacey Schuman’s sixth-grade art class welcomed a special guest visitor during their study of Native American architectural landscape design.

Connor Liolo, a seventh-grader at the school, visited his younger schoolmates to assist with the student’s creation of a two-dimensional Adobe Pueblo bottle design. Creating his own lesson plan, Connor demonstrated how he found a way to use rope and hot glue to attach a makeshift bottle closure that could swing open and still remain attached to the container. When he first "invented" this procedure last year, Shuman thought it was quite clever and a great way to problem-solve.

“Having a student who was eager to share his artistic and ingenuous creation was a powerful way to engage with his younger peers,” Schuman said. “I am grateful for Connor’s enthusiasm in contributing to the lesson.”

The students also learned about the sculpted horizons of America’s Four Corners – Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado – and color mixing theory during the lesson.

Music students celebrated!

 Music students celebrated! Pic
Performing, leading and serving the community are just part of what the newly inducted students accomplish as part of the high school’s Chapter 2172 of the Tri-M Music Honor Society.

At its 11th annual honors recital and induction ceremony, six students joined their peers in the National Association for Music Education’s program that focuses on creating future leaders in music education and music advocacy.

This year's inductees are Katie Ambrozy, Chloe Andriani, Emily Bossert, Grace Crugnale, David Rotunno and Pina Than.

In addition to showcasing the exceptional music program in Port Jefferson, these students met the high academic and musical standards necessary for induction into the honor society’s chapter.

“These students will assist in inspiring and recognizing musical achievement in the school music department and the community,” Dr. Michael Caravello, director of music and fine arts said. “Through the society’s five points of distinction: scholarship, character, cooperation, leadership, and service, they’ll continue to develop confidence, creativity and other skills that will benefit them in school and beyond.”

Important May Dates


Support staff honored for contributions to school

Support staff honored for contributions to school photo
The Board of Education recognized two Port Jefferson Middle School’s staff members for their positive and productive contributions to the school and their high level of service for students and their families.

Cited as the school’s dream team by Principal Dr. Robert Neidig, Kathy Hanley and Rosalie Loizos were honored for their devotion to the school and community.

“They are very much involved in all of the successes at the Middle School,” Neidig said of the heightened level of professionalism, work ethic and commitment of both women.

Wrestling League Champions!

Wrestling League Champions photo
Wrestling League Champions photo 2
The High School wrestling team were recognized as League Champions for the 2017-2018 season. They were honored at the recent Suffolk County Coaches Association awards ceremony.

All 9 of the Royals wrestling squad were there to accept All-County Honors. They are Harry Cona, Rick D'Elia, Joe Evangelista, Chris Lepore, Joe Longo, Vin Miceli, Matt Murphy, Matt Spyrou and Robert Williams.

P.J. Nation Wrestling was well represented and took home numerous awards including coaches Mike Maletta and Jesse Meaney who were recognized as League Coaches of the Year. Senior Joey Collins was recognized as the Rohan Murphy Inspirational Wrestler and Vin Miceli was recognized for being a State Finalist at 126 lbs. finishing the season with a 38-3 record.

Power of One Award Recipient

Power of One Award Recipient image
Music teacher Mr. Christian Neubert has been named the Royal Educational Foundation’s Power of One award recipient! Please join us in honoring him at the 5th Annual Family Fun Run on Saturday, April 28. The run begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Village Center, continues through the streets of Port Jefferson Village, and ends at the High School Bowl and the Health and Wellness Fest sponsored by the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce.

Best Community for Music Education!

Best Community for Music Education photo

As a testament to the dedication of music education in the Port Jefferson School District, it has been ranked among the NAMM Foundation’s 2018 “Best Communities for Music Education” in America. The honor acknowledges schools and districts across the country for their commitment to and support for music education as part of the core curriculum. This is the 12th consecutive year the district has received the prestigious recognition.

“This honor recognizes the collaborative efforts and dedication to music education among our teachers, students, administrators and parents,” said Michael Caravello, director of music and fine arts. “We are honored by the recognition and the valuable support of our school community.”

The Port Jefferson School District boasts multiple vocal, band and orchestral performing groups for students and each group is provided with the opportunity to perform within the community. Additionally, through partnerships with Stony Brook University and other community groups, students have the opportunity to learn from renowned professional musicians.

Junior Lifeguarding Program

Junior Lifeguarding Program image
The American Red Cross is offering a Junior Lifeguarding Course to Port Jefferson Middle School students, age 11-14, who aspire to one day become a certified lifeguard. The program’s cost is $100 per student. Classes will be held June 25-29 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day at the Edna Louise Elementary School pool. Please contact Dr. Danielle Turner, director of health, physical education and athletics in the Athletic Office for additional details at 631.791.4441.

Class of 2018 Top Two – Congratulations Ibuki & Eli!

Class of 2018 Top Two photo
After 13 years of dedication and perseverance to academics, extracurricular activities and community outreach, seniors Ibuki Iwasaki and Eli Doyle have been designated valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, of the Class of 2018.

“I’m extremely honored,” Ibuki said, “especially because some of the valedictorians and salutations in the past were people whom I really looked up to both in and outside of school. I’ve always aimed for good grades…becoming valedictorian was definitely a goal of mine.”

Ibuki has earned a 101.40 GPA. She is president of the high school National Honor Society, a member of the Mathletes team, Science Olympiad and Latin Club. She has been on the varsity tennis team since eighth-grade and was undefeated individually in the league this year.

Her list of awards is comprehensive and include being a National Merit Scholarship recipient, AP Scholar with Distinction, a gold medalist for three years and a silver medalist for one year on the National Latin Exam, and a first-place and third-place winner in Science Olympiad individual events.

Her musical talents include having a perfect score for three years at the Level VI New York State School Music Association Festival and being selected for All-County, Long Island String Festival and Suffolk County Music Educators Associations festivals. Ibuki’s community involvement revolve around playing violin; she has been a concert mistress in a youth orchestra and the school orchestra; has performed chamber music at the pre-college program at Stony Brook University and has volunteered to perform at the village library and local daycare and nursing home. She is also tutors Japanese-speaking people the English language.

Last summer, Ibuki interned at Brookhaven National Laboratory in her first official research experience. Before that, she spent time at a laboratory at Stony Brook University where her mother is a research scientist.

As the salutatorian, Eli will graduate with a 100.85 GPA. Like Ibuki, he challenged himself by enrolling in many Advanced Placement, college-level and honors courses. Beyond the classroom, he excelled on the field, playing tennis since ninth-grade and participating as part of the stage crew for school plays, musical and concerts.

“One of the perks of being in a small school is that there is a very cooperative attitude, even among the most competitive of the students,” Eli said. “This is something we all take for granted, but I wouldn’t have achieved this honor without help and support of my awesome classmates and dedicated teachers.”

Eli has been a member of Science Olympiad since sixth-grade, on the Mathletes team, the Academic Team, and a member and officer of the Student Organization for all four years of his high school career. He also had the unique opportunity to take part in the prestigious Simons Summer Research Program at Stony Brook University where he studied ferroelectric materialism the physics lab.

Eli has received honors from the Suffolk County Junior Tennis League, a Coach’s Award for Team Sportsmanship and the American Math Competition Level 10 in 2015. He was also a recipient of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award in 2015 and The Robert A. Belfer Family Fellowship Award for Travel and Study in Israel in 2016.

“Ibuki and Eli are two exceptional students,” Principal Christine Austen said. “In addition to being at the top of their class, they are both well-rounded, very involved in extracurricular activities and each of them has received numerous accolades to date. They are on to great things in the future and I wish them continued success.”

Although she is awaiting word from several colleges and looks to major in physics, Ibuki has been accepted to MIT, where she is considering attending. Her post college plans include working in a STEM-related career. Eli plans to major in Applied Physics at Brown University and is already considering graduate school.

Jazz Musicians Participate in HS All-County Festival

Jazz Musicians Participate in HS All-County Festival photo
Jazz Musicians Participate in HS All-County Festival photo 2
High School student jazz musicians Cole Fortier and Trey Pisano recently participated in the Suffolk County Music Educators' Association All-County Jazz Festival at Miller Place High School.

Cole, a member of the All-County vocal jazz ensemble and Trey, a member of the All-County instrumental jazz ensemble, both performed a program of contemporary jazz standards led by world-renowned guest conductors.

Students compete in Latin Certamen

Students compete in Latin Certamen photo
Knowing that “Et tu, Brute?” were Julius Caesar’s famous last words in Latin was helpful to the students who recently took part in the Latin Certamen at Stony Brook University. Five of the district’s teams made the finals and carried away awards.

Port Jefferson competed against students from 14 schools across Nassau and Suffolk counties in the fast-paced, academic contest that poses questions about Latin grammar, vocabulary, word derivations, Roman life, history, mythology and literature.

Students compete on the level of Latin in which they are enrolled. Two eighth-grade teams competed on Level I, two ninth-grade teams competed on Level II, one tenth-grade team competed on Level III and three teams competed on the Advanced Level.

Coached by Latin teacher Anne Algieri, the Port Jefferson teams who placed at this year’s Certamen included:

First Place - Level IA team
Kasumi Layne-Stasik
Andrew Patterson
Stefano Rabeno
Caelan Schretzmayer

Second Place - Level IB team
Hugo Onghai
Annie Maier
Kate Sommerstad
Hunter Volpi

First Place - Level II team
Aaron Held
Mattea Rabeno
Grant Samara
Peggy Yin

First Place - Advanced Level A team
Emma Gutmann
Ibuki Iwasaki
Cezanne Lojeski
Luigia Than

Third Place - Advanced Level B team
Katie Ambrozy
Ava Schully
Sabrina Schully
Annalisa Welinder

Good Luck!

Good Luck photo
High School junior Natalya Patriquin will join nearly 400 of the nation’s leading middle school and high school equestrians this weekend to compete for top honors in the Interscholastic Equestrian Association National Finals.

On behalf of your school community, we wish you great luck!

VIDEO: After-School Yoga For Port Jeff Athletes


The wonderful world of reading

The wonderful world of reading photo
In a continuing effort to promote literacy, students at the elementary school were treated to a special guest performance by magician Tommy James. The high-energy combination of music, sound effects, jokes and an overall message of the importance of reading and the valuable resources a library has to offer was a learning opportunity for the K-5 students. At the end of his performance, all the students were asked to stand and take the “Readers Oath” to read each and every day. He then surprised them with the magical appearance of a live bunny on stage.

“As always, we want students to know that reading can be fun, educational and relaxing all at the same time,” said librarian Selinda Stout. “The experience taught them that books help us to discover the world around us.”

A poetic tribute to a Holocaust survivor

A poetic tribute to a Holocaust survivor photo
Students in Kayleen Everitt’s eighth-grade English classes took a unique route in using their intellectual skills to examine and understand world history: before welcoming Werner Reich, a Holocaust survivor, as a guest speaker, they honored him with a poetic tribute of their own inspiring thoughts.

After an introduction by student Kyle Johnson, who thanked Reich for sharing his firsthand account of the events of the Nazi Germany genocide, student Kasumi Layne-Stasik read German theologian Martin Niemöller’s well-known poem “First they came…” and explained that the students rephrased it in their own writings to correspond with issues of today including among other topics gun violence, conservation and equality between men and women in hopes of inspiring change.

Student Sofia Ulinski then introduced Ella Barrett, Jordyn Capone, Kate Carlson, Zoe Intardanado, Andrew Patterson and Abigail Rolfe who read their own poems before Reich shared his compelling story of survival and message of tolerance and acceptance.

“They did an incredible job and were courageous and brave for sharing their creative work in front of the entire grade,” Everitt said. “I am most proud of their creativity, civic awareness and leadership.”

Sixth-graders participate in Mathematics League

Sixth-graders participate in Mathematics League photo
Port Jefferson Middle School students had an educationally enriching experience when they participated for the first time in the New York Mathematics League.

Sixth-graders Emily Ambrozy, Eric Chen, Viviane Kim, Nicholas Smirnov and Carman Stanton worked as a team and ranked 20 out of 71 schools in the state on the academically oriented competition, which consisted of a variety of math topics, including algebra, geometry and problem-solving.

According to math teacher Megan Ryan, the students were excited to participate and be recognized for their mathematical achievements.

“They enjoyed the challenge and are encouraged to continue to develop their exploration of mathematical ideas,” Ryan said. “It was a positive experience for them to decipher some of the difficult math solutions.”

A bird’s eye view of student artwork at Village Center

Port Jefferson Art Show banner
Art Show flyer
Students from the District are showcasing their creative works through the month of April at the Port Jefferson Village Center’s Spring Art Show.

The third-floor colorful display features artwork from the district’s K-12 art students as instructed by Port Jefferson art teachers: Richard Anderson, Meghan Hallock and Nancy Randazzo at Edna Louise Spear Elementary School, Stacey Schuman at Port Jefferson Middle School and Lynne Edsall at Earl L. Vandermeulen High School.

The artwork is available for view from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily.

Middle Schoolers shares artistic talents for a good cause

Middle Schoolers shares artistic talents for a good cause photo
A cold winter’s evening didn’t stop the determined students, their families and faculty and staff who participated in the middle school’s paint night event to raise money for the North Shore Animal League's Bianca's Furry Friends Campaign.

Arranged by middle school English teacher Allison Giannusa and principal’s secretary Kathleen Hanley, the festive fundraiser featured raffle baskets and artistic talents as participants created three cats under a full moon on their individual canvasses. The event raised $1,650 for the feline adoption center.

National art award for Dylan Dugourd

National art award for Dylan Dugourd photo
High School sophomore Dylan Dugourd has been named a national medalist in the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Less than 1 percent of the nearly 350,000 works of art and writing submitted to the competition, sponsored by The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, earn a national medal.
Dugourd’s video game design was selected by creative professionals as the most accomplished in the nation and recognized with a silver medal. He is invited to attend the national ceremony at Carnegie Hall in June where he will receive a certificate commemorating his achievement and participate in a series of student showcase events.

“Receiving the award is motivating,” Dylan said. “To be able to share my creation on this level is exciting. It shows me that my hard work is paying off.”

Bee participants honored by Board of Education

Bee participants honored by Board of Education photo
Fourth- and fifth-graders put their knowledge of the world, the past and the written word to the test as participants of school’s National Geographic Bee, National History Bee and Scripps Spelling Bee.

Although they took the tests already, Principal Thomas Meehan continued to pose questions in those academic areas to the numerous students who were named champions in the school’s Bees as they were honored at a recent Board of Education meeting.

“We are so proud of their accomplishments and the opportunities offered through our SEAL program,” said Meehan, of the school’s Studies Enriching Academic Learning program for students in grade 3-5, headed by Dr. Kate Zvokel.

School Spelling Bee champions are fifth-graders Isabelle Chen and runner-up Sara Freitas. National History Bee School Champions took a multiple-choice test, which qualified them to move forward to both the regional exam and the regional finals. Those students are fifth-graders Jan Goldgaber, Aoife Hogan, Max Joyner, Ana Kelly, Leo Marsala, Evan Monaghan, Jack Snyder and Christian Urea; and fourth-graders Christopher Nam and Max Kronberg.

In the SEAL National Geographic Bee, five winners from each grades’ SEAL class competed against one another. The first-place winner took an online exam to qualify for the state bee. Those students are fourth-graders Christopher Nam and Mari Fukuto and fifth-grader Emily Snyder who won first, second and third, respectively.

Elementary students embrace the power of literacy

Elementary students embrace the power of literacy photo
To promote the importance of literacy, the elementary school has named five “Star Students” from each grade level as part of the school’s version of the American Library Association Celebrity READ Campaign, which takes place several times per year.

Star Students Myla Kelly – grade 1, Clara Pearce – grade 2, Allie Blumenthal – grade 3, Madison Testa– grade 4 and Cassidy Worrell – grade 5 were selected by librarian Selinda Stout for their excellent attitude, behavior and work ethic in the library.

In honor of their achievement, the students’ photos were displayed on the bulletin board outside of the library along with a summary of their favorite book.

Middle school Science Olympiad qualifies for state competition

Middle school Science Olympiad qualifies for state competition photo
Teamwork, cooperation and an engaging interest in science, technology, engineering and math helped bring the Middle School Science Olympiad team to third place at the Suffolk County Regional Division B Science Olympiad competition, recently held at Candlewood Middle School in Dix Hills.

Coached by science teacher Adam Bouchard and assisted by science teacher Deborah Hagmeyer, students in grades 6-9 competed against 32 teams in events which tested their skills in earth science, biology, chemistry, physics and engineering. Team members received medals in 20 events. They will compete at the state competition at East Syracuse-Minoa High School in Syracuse, New York, on April 13-14.

Medal Winners:
Second Place, Anatomy – Grant Samara and Peggy Yin
Seventh Place, Anatomy – Gani Ates and Sapphire Perera
Fifth Place, Crime Busters – Hugo Onghai and Kasumi Layne-Stasik
Fourth Place, Disease Detectives – Grant Samara and Hugo Onghai
Second Place, Dynamic Planet – William Wu and Liam Gameng
Fifth Place, Ecology – Teppei Fukuto and Andrew Patterson
First Place, Fast Facts – Aaron Held and Peggy Yin
Third Place, Herpetology – Andrew Patterson and Kasumi Layne-Stasik
Second Place, Hovercraft – Grant Samara and Arik Sen
Second Place, Meteorology – William Wu and Liam Gameng
Fourth Place, Microbe Mission – Hugo Onghai and Peggy Yin
Fifth Place, Optics – Selena Ueno and William Wu
Fourth Place, Potions and Poisons – Gani Ates and Pratham Sethia
Eighth Place, Road Scholar – Aaron Held and Arik Sen
Second Place, Rocks and Minerals – Grant Samara and Aaron Held
Eighth Place, Roller Coaster – Teppei Fukuto and Sooah Kwak
Second Place, Science Quiz Bowl – Aaron Held, Andrew Patterson and Peggy Yin
Fourth Place, Wright Stuff – Andrew Patterson and Stefano Rabeno
Fifth Place, Wright Stuff – Michael Melikyan and Max Paulus
Fourth Place, Write It Do It – William Wu and Selena Ueno

Empowering Port Jeff students with wellness seminars

Empowering Port Jeff students with wellness seminars photo
Port Jefferson School District’s partnership with the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence continues to serve as a valuable resource in educating students about the importance of making good decisions.

The Student Wellness Seminar Series, coordinated by Dr. Danielle Turner, the district’s director of health, physical education and athletics, and two social workers from LICAAD, is held after school approximately once per month. High school and middle school students are encouraged to take part in the seminars that focus on topics that may affect their lives, including self-esteem, stress management, anxieties, drug and alcohol use, and social media behavior.

The most recent one, presented by Lauren Navarra, LICAAD’s student assistant program coordinator, not only highlighted emerging drug trends, but emphasized ways for students to put healthy coping skills in place.

VIDEO: PJ Robotics


A plus for Port Jefferson Mathletes!

A plus for Port Jefferson Mathletes photo
The high school’s Mathletes team enjoyed another successful season, with the A team – consisting of the top five math students at the school –placing third in the Small School Division and seventh overall in the Suffolk County Mathematics Teachers Association contest.

Coached by high school math teacher Dennis Christofor, 25 students in grades 9-12 competed in five competitions with six challenging questions throughout the winter.

Among the A team, Annalisa Welinder placed 12th in Suffolk County, scoring 20 out of 30 correct. Eli Doyle and Ibuki Iwasaki placed 29th in the county, scoring 17 out of 30 correct. They competed with more than 800 students who participate in high school Mathletes in Suffolk.

In May, the students will be recognized at the SCMTA awards dinner at the Watermill in Smithtown.

Honoring an educational role model

Honoring an educational role model photo
The Port Jefferson Board of Education recently recognized Dr. Jodi Cahill, the district’s director of special education, for earning her education doctorate degree. In honor of this achievement, the district presented her with a commemorative certificate at a recent Board of Education meeting.

Dr. Cahill’s work of providing a meaningful and rewarding education for Port Jefferson School District students has been enhanced by her work in defending her doctoral dissertation. It also sends a positive message and sets an encouraging example for all students.

District hosts celebrated music festival

District hosts celebrated music festival photo

The sounds of music were a welcome sign of the spring season as the Port Jefferson School District hosted the New York State School Music Association Solo and Ensemble Evaluation Festival.

In addition to students from the district, more than 800 music students from neighboring communities converged to participate in the NYSSMA event. Students from Comsewogue, Middle Country, Sachem, Smithtown and Three Village school districts and the private institutions The Laurel Hill School and The Stony Brook School, performed for a NYSSMA adjudicator who provided constructive feedback and a score to each participant.

As a host for the event, Port Jefferson music faculty and student volunteers helped guide visitors throughout the building, monitored evaluation rooms and worked closely with state NYSSMA representatives to make sure that the festival ran efficiently.

“Special congratulations to all participating student-musicians, volunteers and our entire Port Jefferson staff for creating a positive and memorable musical experience for students across Suffolk County,” the district’s Director of Music and Fine Arts and festival chairperson, Dr. Michael Caravello said.

Port Jefferson students share musical talents at SCMEA Festival

Port Jefferson students share musical talents at SCMEA Festival photo
Port Jefferson students share musical talents at SCMEA Festival photo 2
Thirty-three students from our schools were selected to participate in this year’s Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association All-County Festival.

Paige Braile, Grace Brown, Isabelle Chen, Alexa Eichinger, Jared Furjanic, Viviane Kim, Jinah Kwak, Nathaniel Lawler, Alexander Layne-Stasik, Abigail Levine, Rose Meliker-Hammock, Gavin Onghai, Kay Ranjbar, Andrew Schretzmayer, Nicholas Smirnov, Jack Snyder, Carman Stanton, Devon Welsch, Alexa Wonderland and Cassidy Worrell were selected to perform with other Suffolk County fifth- and sixth-graders in Division I.

Middle School seventh- and eighth-graders selected for Division II were Alexa Ayotte, Sophie Blumenthal, Luke Dickuth, Teppei Fukuto, Nicolina Giannola, Kasumi Layne-Stasik, Natalie McGuigan, Andrew Patterson and Ruby Ray.

High School ninth- and tenth-graders selected for Division III were Sinan Ates, Rachel Park, Jack Reilly and Nicole Schully.

After three days of rehearsals, the students participated in a final performance at Central Islip High School in early March.

Celebrated music scholarship for Port Jefferson student

Celebrated music scholarship for Port Jefferson student photo
Port Jefferson Middle School student Hugo Onghai has received a scholarship for study at the Young Artist Program at SUNY Stony Brook.

The eighth-grader was nominated by his orchestra teacher, Christian Neubert, and was selected for a $500 Suffolk County Music Educators Association Joseph R. Herbison Summer Scholarship.

Hugo, a cellist in the school’s 7/8 orchestra as well as a pianist, will have the opportunity to broaden his musical horizons by working with other talented young musicians under the guidance of faculty members at Stony Brook University.

He was presented with the award at the start of the recent SCMEA Division II concert, for which he was accompanied by Dr. Michael Caravello, director of music and fine arts for the Port Jefferson School District.

Connecting with community through song

Connecting with community through song photo
Port Jefferson Middle School musician Alexa Eichinger performed the national anthem at a recent Port Jefferson Lions Club meeting. The honor for the sixth-grader was an opportunity to showcase her growth and self-discipline as a musician and meets some of the challenges of the district’s academic standards for music.

She was accompanied to the meeting by her parent and Dr. Michael Caravello, director of music and fine arts.
Monday, May 28, 2018