Royals Show Off School Spirit


Despite a chill in the air and drizzles of rain, Port Jefferson students displayed school spirit at their annual homecoming parade and football game on Oct. 3.

The homecoming events kicked off with Spirit Week, which began Sept. 28. Students wore school colors and ended the week with a pep rally, where Earl L. Vandermeulen seniors Sterling Nenninger and Andreya Havey were named homecoming king and queen.  

The festivities continued on Oct. 3 with a parade down Barnum Avenue and Main Street. Featured in the parade were cheerleaders, junior football players, the middle school band, the homecoming court and class floats, each designed around a different branch of the military.

The events culminated with a football game in which the Royals defeated Wyandanch, 36-8.



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Scoring a Reading Touchdown

Wearing their purple and white jerseys, eight seniors on the varsity football team volunteered to share their love of literacy by reading to first-graders at the elementary school this fall.

The football players – Shane Bruno, Nick Caltagirone, Mike DiCalogero, Bill Govits, John Guerra, Garret Hiz, Jefferson Koutsantanou and Spencer Wooley – participated in the event as part of a community outreach program organized by the team’s booster club.

“The high school athletes were very exited about this opportunity to give back,” said coach Andrew Cosci.

After reading “Fall Mixed Up” by Bob Raczka, “If You Take a Mouse to School” by Laura Numeroff and “A Bad Case of Stripes” by David Shannon, the players took turns answering questions from students. The reading session culminated with the athletes taking the first-graders outside to teach them how to throw a football.  

A Quilt for Heroes

To honor the heroes of 9/11, Port Jefferson Middle School students worked together to create a hero quilt during their English classes.

The completed quilt, which is displayed in the second-floor hallway of the school, features students’ thoughts on heroism and showcases those whom they consider everyday heroes.

Senior Commended in National Merit Competition

High school senior Rachel Collins has earned the title of National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Student as a result of her outstanding score on the qualifying exam.

Rachel is one of about 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation recognized for their “exceptional academic promise.” To earn the title, she placed among the top 5 percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the PSAT.

Rachel, who is exploring colleges in the Northeast, intends to major in a STEM-related field. In addition to her commitment to academics, she is a dedicated athlete. She plays tennis both outside of school and on Port Jefferson’s varsity team and participates in the school’s winter and spring track programs. She is also a member of the school’s Latin Club and Science Olympiad Team.

Singer Shines at Dragon Boat Race

Middle school seventh-grader Peggy Yin showcased her talents by performing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Port Jefferson Village’s second annual Dragon Boat Race Festival on Sept. 19.

In addition to helping to open the festival, Peggy played the Chinese flute and performed an original composition written by her father, Weiguo Yin, called “The Starry Harbor.”  

A Student Voice on Port Jefferson’s Board

Nick Caltagirone will serve as a voice of his peers this year as he joins the Port Jefferson Board of Education in the role of student representative. The high school senior was elected by his peers at the end of 2014-15 school year to serve as a liaison between students and the Board during the Board’s monthly meetings.

“I hope to be able to express students’ points of view and any concerns they may have,” he said of his position.

In addition to serving as a non-voting Board of Education student representative, Nick is a member of the high school’s student government and plays varsity football, wrestling and lacrosse. He was also named a Scholar/Athlete by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association.

District Partners with Mather Hospital to "Paint Port Pink”

Dear Parents,

I am excited to announce that for the month of October, the Port Jefferson School District will be partnering with John T. Mather Memorial Hospital and participating in its “Paint Port Pink” breast cancer awareness outreach program.

Students throughout the district will be organizing various community service outreach programs to help spread awareness and raise funds. The funds raised throughout the campaign will be donated directly to Mather’s Fortunato Breast Health Center.

Students at the elementary school will launch their “Your Change Can Make Change” promotion; middle school students will be wearing and selling pink shoelaces and Frisbees; and our high school cheerleaders and Student Organization will begin their “Flamingo Flocking” fundraising campaign. The pink plastic suburban icons will be placed on the lawns of friends and supporters along with a note explaining that friends or family paid to have them “flocked,” and that if they make a donation, the flock will migrate to the yard of any relative or friend they choose.

Additionally, many of our students will participate in the Paint Port Pink kickoff event scheduled for Oct. 1 at 6:30 p.m. at Port Jefferson Village Hall.

Through their participation in this community event, our students will be exposed to valuable lessons in community service and character education, as well as learn the importance of giving back.

Warm regards,

Debra Ferry, C.A.A.
Director of Health,
Physical Education and Athletics

Port Jeff Senior Named National Merit Semifinalist

The Port Jefferson School District is pleased to announce that high school senior Eric Kilgore has been named a 2016 National Merit Semifinalist.

Eric is among the 16,000 semifinalists included on the 61st annual National Merit Scholarship Program’s list who qualified for the honor based on their high PSAT scores. He now has the opportunity to compete for one of 7,600 National Merit scholarships, which will be offered in the spring of 2016.

Eric is a member of his school’s Science Olympiad, Academic and Mathlete teams. He also belongs to the Latin Club and earned a perfect score on his last two National Latin exams. In addition, he is an avid swimmer and competes on the Three Village Swim Club team. He has his sights set on Stanford University next fall and intends to study math and physics.

AP Scholars Named in Port Jefferson

In recognition of their exceptional achievement on Advanced Placement exams, several high school students have earned the title of Advanced Placement Scholar.

In total, 23 students were named AP Scholars, seven earned the recognition of AP Scholar with Honor, 25 were named as AP Scholars with Distinction, five were ranked as National AP Scholars and one was recognized with an AP International Diploma.

To earn AP Scholar recognition, students are required to score a 3 or higher on three or more AP exams; to be recognized as an AP Scholar with Honor, students must earn a 3.25 on all AP exams taken and grades of 3 or higher on four or more of those exams; for an AP Scholar with Distinction Award, students must receive an average score of 3.5 on all AP exams and grades of 4 or higher on five or more of those exams; and to be named a National AP Scholar, students must earn an average score of at least 4 on all AP exams taken and grades of 4 or higher on eight or more of those exams. Students must score a 3 or higher on five or more AP exams in four or more subject areas in order to receive an AP International Diploma.   

The Port Jefferson School District extends its congratulations to the following students:

AP Scholar
Nicole Callahan, Nicholas Caltagirone, Morgan Campbell*, Carly Cherches*, Janella Damaskos*, Olivia Desmond*, Tristin DeVincenzo*, Edward Finkelstein, Parris Garant, Rachel Geiser*, Elisabeth Gwydir, Richard Hoey*, Calla Kelley-Renda, Jefferson Koutsantanou, Christopher McLaughlin*, Isabella Mungioli, Charles Pillus*, Anita Rescia, Robert Righi*, Arunima Roy, Yuuki Shibutani*, Ryan Walsh and Dylan Wennerod*

AP Scholar with Honor
Lev Bershadsky, Ryan Burgert*, Kathleen Christ, Aliza Doyle*, Steven Geiser*, Alexander Koller* and Thomas Pon*

AP Scholar with Distinction
Casey Africano, Caroline Biondo*, Ryan Burke*, Paul Capobianco*, Gaspar Cello*, Shannon Christ, Rachel Collins, Noah Davis*, Allison Dombroski*, Allegra Fils-Aime*, Andie Fortier*, Ju Mi Ha*, Dunia Karzai*, Julia Kharzeev*, Eric Kilgore, Margo Martin-Deprez*, Donal McSweeney*, Kayley Okst*, Lara Sarubbi*, Daniel Scarda*, Ryan Scott*, Marianna Spentzos, Caroline Strauss*, William Witrock and Natalia Zaliznyak*

National AP Scholar
Ryan Burke*, Noah Davis*, Julia Kharzeev*, Eric Kilgore, Natalia Zaliznyak*

AP International Diploma
Margo Martin-Deprez*

*Students who graduated in 2015

Port Jefferson Earns Athletic Distinction Award

For the third year in a row, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association has presented a Scholar/Athlete Team School of Distinction Award to the high school. To earn the award, all 25 Port Jefferson varsity teams met the criteria of holding an above 90 percent team GPA for the 2014-2015 school year.

“It is a tremendous credit to the student-athletes, parents, teachers and coaches for stressing the importance of hard work in the classroom, as well as on the fields,” said Athletic Director Debra Ferry.

Students Perform a Moving Tribute

The Elementary School’s select choir paid tribute to those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001 by giving a moving performance during the Port Jefferson Fire Department’s annual 9/11 memorial service.

The fifth-graders, led by music teacher Jessica Pastor, performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “God Bless the USA” during the somber ceremony.

The event was attended by members of the community, the Port Jefferson School District’s administration and Board of Education, and Sen. Kenneth LaValle.

The district commends students Alexa Ayotte, Regan Byrne, Samantha DiCarlo, Maggie Johnston, Olivia Schlegel and Sophia Wennerod for their musical tribute.

High School Named Reward School

For its educational excellence and student performance, Earl L. Vandermeulen High School has once again earned the prestigious designation of Reward School by the New York State Education Department.

“We are delighted to have been named a Reward School,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Bossert. “This award demonstrates the district’s commitment to educational excellence and our students’ standout academic accolades.”

NYSED presents the award annually to schools that have made the most progress or have the highest performance in the state with no significant gaps in student achievement. Earl L. Vandermeulen High School was one of only 364 schools across New York State to receive the recognition for 2015-2016.

This is not the first time that the Port Jefferson School District has been recognized with a Reward School designation; the district’s high school and middle school both earned the award in the past three school years.  

Tech Team Recognized

In its effort to recognize the hard work by staff and students, the school board honored members of the district’s technology department at a meeting on Sept. 8.

The five district employees and two student interns who comprise the technology team were honored for the numerous hours of work they put in over the summer to prepare for the new school year.

“The work they performed over the summer was extensive,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Bossert.

According to Network and Systems Administrator Brian Sandak, district technicians worked alongside student interns Max Okst, a sophomore, and Maxwell Famularo, a senior, to set up Smart Boards, computers and printers throughout the district.

The district extends its congratulations on a job well done to the entire technology team.

Statement from the Board of Education and Superintendent regarding the Educational Reform Agenda

Statement from the Board of Education and Superintendent regarding the Educational Reform Agenda


Letter to Parents Regarding Students Sharing Lunch ID Numbers


A Successful Start to the School Year

Under warm and sunny skies, students throughout the district eagerly arrived to school on Sept. 8 ready to begin a new year of learning.  

Upon arrival at Edna Louise Spear Elementary School, students were greeted by balloons and smiling staff members who assisted them to their classrooms. At Port Jefferson Middle School and Earl L. Vandermeulen High School, students were welcomed back with an array of purple decorations that adorned the schools’ hallways. Students at all buildings quickly became acclimated to their new schedules and routines.

“We are looking forward to another successful school year,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Bossert.  

Dr. Bossert's Editorial on APPR (3012-d)

The following editorial statement appeared in the Sunday edition of Newsday on 9-6-15.


Wednesday, October 07, 2015