Senior Wins Tunnel to Towers Run

High school senior James Burke, a member of the Royals track and field and cross-country track teams, finished first in the annual New York City Tunnel to Towers run on Sept. 28.

James completed the 5K – which spanned from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to Lower Manhattan – with a time of 17:56.5, putting him ahead of all male runners.   

The race raises money to construct homes for veterans who are injured in battle. James ran in memory of his late uncle, William F. Burke Jr., who died while rescuing civilians in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11.

This is not the first time James has shown his running strength. He won the Division II state championship in June and is ranked fifth in the nation in the one-mile run.

Research Projects Earn Students Distinction

Ten high school students were recognized by the Board of Education for research projects they completed over the summer. Those honored were Caroline Biondo, Ryan Burke, Carly Cherches, Noah Davis, Aliza Doyle, Ju Mi Ha, Dunia Karzai, Julia Kharzeev, Donal McSweeney and Natalia Zaliznyak.
The students’ projects spanned a wide range of scientific study. Caroline, for example, worked with Dr. Heather Lynch in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at Stony Brook University to collect data on stone stealing in penguin colonies. Carly worked with Aleksev Bolotnikov at Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Department of Nonproliferation and National Security to test and fabricate CZT crystals to build detectors that are being used to pick up gamma radiation sources. Aliza worked at the University of Pennsylvania under the supervision of Dr. Sigrid Veasey on the behavior of mice with certain sleep disorders.

Other research projects included DNA extraction, incremental particle tracking, evaporation of protein drops, mutations contributing to neuropsychiatric disorders and protein crystallography nucleation.


Royals Show Pride at Homecoming

Port Jefferson students displayed school spirit at their annual homecoming parade and football game on Saturday, Oct. 18.

Homecoming events kicked off with Spirit Week during the week of Oct. 13 and were followed by a parade down Barnum Avenue and Main Street. The parade featured cheerleaders, junior football players, the middle school band, the homecoming court, and class floats designed around the theme of Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.” The seniors’ float depicted the Leaning Tower of Pisa; the juniors, a “royal paradise”; the sophomores, New York City; and the freshmen, an igloo.

The events culminated with a football game in which Port Jefferson shut out Greenport with a final score of 19-0. Among the game’s highlights, Mike DiCalogero scored a 75-yard touchdown to give Port Jefferson a 13-point lead with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, and Corey Carnahan made a sack on the fourth down to give possession back to Port Jefferson. Also, Nick Caltagirone had 18 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown, and Garret Hiz ran four times for 29 yards and a touchdown.

Students Perform for Unsung Heroes

During the Welcome Inn’s 25th anniversary celebration, members of the high school’s chamber ensemble performed, paying tribute to 135 active volunteers who have given their time to help their fellow neighbors in need.

The ensemble performed a number of classical pieces at the event, which was held at Lombardi’s on the Sound on Oct. 17. The performers included Edward Finkelstein, Danielle Goldstein, Ibuki Iwasaki, Dunia Karzai, Margo Martin-Deprez, Adam Nieves and Anita Rescia.

MS Halloween Dance - Time Change

This coming Friday, October 24th, the Middle School is hosting its annual Halloween Dance. Please be advised that the start and end time for the dance have been changed from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., as noted in the School Calendar, to 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.. I apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.
I am encouraging all Middle School students to attend in full costume as there will be a costume contest held during the night. Tickets may be purchased at the door and pizza will be available for purchase at the dance. Details will be provided by the Student Council during school this week.
Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at your convenience at 631-791-4400.
I am very much looking forward to a great time and am hoping to see your child participate.
Antonio Santana
Antonio Santana
Middle School Principal

Sundial Dedicated to Memory of Royal Foundation Founder

With the help of the elementary school Green Team, the school district dedicated a sundial in memory of Sheldon Katz, a long-time Port Jefferson resident and founding member of the Royal Education Foundation, at a ceremony on Oct. 15 in the elementary school’s new courtyard garden.

“My hope and the hope of the board is that the sundial will teach and inform our children for many, many years, just as Shelly has done,” said Scott Zamek, chair of the Royal Educational Foundation.

The sundial, which was unveiled during the ceremony, was donated by the Royal Educational Foundation and sits atop a wooden pedestal carved by elementary school art teacher Richard Anderson.

Mr. Katz’s wife Audrey pointed out that the sundial is a very fitting tribute, since her husband was an avid sailor.  

The courtyard garden, which was in the works for the past two years, is the result of teachers, parents and community members working together. The project got underway when teachers and Green Team members Kari Costanzo and Laura Kelly decided to clean up the area, which had become rundown with overgrown bushes and tree roots upheaving the sidewalk.

Together, they reached out for help and received donations from Prudential Bank, White’s Nursery, the Peconic Herb Farm, Ace Hardware and Ging’s Nursery. The school district installed new sidewalks, a picnic table and benches, and the Royal Education Foundation donated a water barrel that is being used as a water source for the garden.

Students Named LI Scholars of Mathematics

The Institute of Creative Problem Solving for Gifted and Talented Students at SUNY Old Westbury has named middle school students Mayu Takeuchi and Peggy Yin as Long Island Scholars of Mathematics. The title allows them to participate in a free mathematical and science program through the institute.   

Mayu and Peggy are among 84 students across Long Island to receive the prestigious opportunity this year. To qualify, Mayu and Peggy competed against 600 other top-ranking students. Acceptance was granted on five criteria: nomination, school transcript, teacher recommendation, a statement written by the student and a rigorous entrance exam.

Both girls will now spend 60 hours in class over the course of 20 Saturday mornings participating in the institute’s program, which covers topics including algebra, geometry, discrete math and number theory.

Community Forum Survey

Dear Parents and Community Members,

In the past we have hosted several successful community forums on a wide variety of topics.  We are committed to continuing this practice over the course of the 2014-15 school year.  We hope you are available to join us on October 23 to hear from Dr. Karen Sobel-Lojeski (a Port Jefferson parent and SUNY Stony Brook Professor) on her work with Virtual Distance (additional information can be found on our website).

In order to facilitate discussions that meet your needs and interests, we are conducting a survey to help us prioritize topics according to parent/community response.  While we have addressed some of these topics in the past, we know that they remain priorities with our school and the community.  Please take a moment to rank your interest in the suggested topics listed within the survey.  An “other” box has been provided so that you may suggest a topic that may have not been included on the list.  Once priority topics are identified, we will identify the most appropriate speaker(s) from within our school district, the community or from outside organizations.

Thank you in advance for responding.  We hope to see you at future forums and other school events.

Students Learn About Careers in Law Enforcement

High school students in Philip Giannusa’s Experiencing the Law elective class had the opportunity to hear from a law professional during class on Oct. 1.

Mr. Giannusa asked Stephanie Dwyer, a school resource police officer, to speak to students about various careers in the field of law.

“I wanted students to hear directly from a law enforcement officer about the law as it applies to the real world,” said Mr. Giannusa.

As well as speaking about her role as a resource officer in Suffolk County schools, Officer Dwyer discussed her professional experiences, her perspective on current events within the law, the motivation and steps needed to become a police officer, and the recently legislated Dignity for All Students Act.

“Students learned that working in law enforcement is a difficult job with a lot of stresses,” said Mr. Giannusa, “yet it is also a job that can have a lot of rewards when working with and helping young adults and other members of the community.”

Origami Project Teaches About Extinction

To mark the centennial anniversary of the passenger pigeon’s extinction, Stacy Schuman’s art class at the middle school made more than 500 origami birds that symbolically represent the great flock from 100 years ago.

The pigeon project was organized by Ms. Schuman in collaboration with the Lost Bird Project, which aims to assemble a virtual flock of the 1 million passenger pigeons that once accounted for up to 40 percent of all land birds in North America.  

The students’ origami pigeons were all named Martha, in memory of the last known captive passenger pigeon who died in 1914.

“I wanted to both raise student awareness of the environment and also introduce the origami art form,” said Ms. Schuman.

Students Get Creative With Cardboard

Working in teams, fourth graders in Ms. Kari Costanzo's class created life-size structures on Oct. 8 as part of the Imagination Foundation's Global Cardboard Challenge. Students constructed projects, including castles, towers, haunted houses and mazes out of cardboard boxes and other materials.

Students Treated to Concert at Staller Center

Elementary and middle school orchestra students and their families were entertained by a cello/piano concert at Stony Brook University’s Staller Center on Oct. 1.

The concert, which featured master musicians Colin Carr and Thomas Sauer, was made possible through the Staller Center Outreach Endowment and its coordinator, Paul Newland.

The concert allowed music students to observe various techniques of the renowned duo, who performed classical, contemporary and romantic pieces, including Felix Mendelssohn’s Sonata No. 2 in D major and Claude Debussy’s Sonata in D minor for cello and piano.

“It was a wonderful gift for our students and families to come together and enjoy beautiful and captivating classical music performed by world-renowned musicians,” said Vanessa Salzman, orchestra teacher for grades 4-6. “Musicianship is not just about learning one’s instrument, but rather developing a lifelong connection to the arts. Opportunities to experience live performances are essential to our students’ growth.”

Students Learn Journalism Skills

As part of a year-long lesson on current-event writing, Nancy Winkler-Brogan’s third-grade students had the opportunity to interview a reporter, via Skype, about news writing and reporting.

During the interview with Kathy Leon, news anchor and executive producer of WSNN Suncoast News Network in Sarasota, Fla., students asked questions and gained a wealth of information, including how to report on news about their school and how to properly research topics using digital and print sources.

The third-graders will be using this information to fact-find and generate current-event reports using graphic organizers. They will then present their findings to their peers.

“The students are very excited to bring the news to their classmates and their school,” said Ms. Winkler-Brogan.  

Tennis Players Rally for Pink

Girls varsity tennis players recently helped raise $840 for a local breast cancer charity event, which was coordinated by Suffolk County Junior Tennis League President Joe Arias and golf pro Bruce Moodnik of the Hamlet Golf & Country Club in Commack.

Students Rachel Collins, Danielle Goldstein and Rebekah London were among 54 varsity players from across Suffolk who participated in the Play for Pink Tournament, held on Sept. 20 at the Hamlet Golf & Country Club.

During the tournament, which was also attended by coach Dennis Christofor, Rachel earned a finalist spot with doubles partner Hanna Niggemier from Sayville.

A Message of Kindness and Respect

Motivational speaker David Flood spent the day with students at the middle school and high school on Sept. 24 spreading a message of kindness and reinforcing the importance of dignity and respect for others and oneself. During the program, Mr. Flood captured the students’ attention, identified the issues they are dealing with on a daily basis, and guided them through ways to address a situation, whether it’s for themselves or to assist another. He also addressed the issues faced by individual students at each grade level, emphasizing to them the importance of dignity, respect and understanding.   

“It is important to provide our students with a consistent message through multiple sources in order to reinforce what we are teaching them in school,” said Middle School Principal Antonio Santana.
Friday, October 24, 2014