CSI Club Takes Home Award

The high school’s CSI Club members proved they have what it takes to solve a crime, as they participated in the 15th annual CSI Challenge. Following their performance during the April 24 event, the club received the Best Computer Forensics prize.

To earn the award, the team was required to solve a crime that would lead to the arrest of the correct suspect.

The Port Jefferson School District congratulates CSI Club members Sarah Buck, Eli Doyle, Maxwell Famularo, Xinyi Hong, Adam Nieves, Thomas Pon, Robert Righi, Arunima Roy and Ji Won Woo.  

‘Chopped’ Cooking Teaches Coping Skills


Middle school students recently competed in a cooking competition designed to emulate the Food Network’s “Chopped” series as part of the school’s new Cooking Club.

During the competition, student audience members cheered on four students as they rivaled each other in timed cake decorating and smoothie making events.  The creations, made using a broad range of ingredients — including fruit loops, baby food and frosting — were judged based on taste and presentation by a panel of judges.   

The competition aimed to provide an opportunity for the students to practice their coping skills, including how to deal with high-pressure situations.   

The in-school Cooking Club is funded through a Royal Educational Foundation grant and pairs cooking with social skills training.

Brothers Named Academic All-Americans

Matteo DeVincenzo and Tristin DeVincenzo, members of the high school wrestling team, have been named to the 2015 High School Academic All-American team by the National High School Coaches Association.

Matteo and Tristin are among only five students from New York who will be recognized in the National High School Sports Hall of Fame along with 114 athletes from 32 states. To qualify, the students had to carry a 3.4 grade point average on a scale of 4.0 and be a state tournament place winner or selected as All-State at least once during their high school career.

Both brothers hold county and state wrestling titles. Matteo, a junior, is a three-time state placer and holds a 2014 championship state title and a 112-4 career record. Tristin, a senior, has also placed at the state level and has a 137-19 career record. He will be attending the University of Pennsylvania in the fall.

“These two brothers are getting it done on the mat and in the classroom,” said Port Jefferson wrestling coach Mike Maletta. “The sport of wrestling is highly demanding and to be successful one must be disciplined. Tristin and Matteo have set high standards for themselves in wrestling and academics.”

Budget Passes

Thank you to all residents who participated in the 2015-16 budget vote and trustee election. Proposition No. 1, the School District Budget, passed by a vote of 491 to 130. Proposition 2, the creation of a capital reserve fund, also passed in a vote of 467 to 122.

In addition to voting on the budget, residents cast their ballots for three seats on the Board of Education. Vincent Ruggiero was reelected and Mark Doyle and Tracy Zamek were elected through write-in campaigns. The trustee vote was as follows:

Vincent Ruggiero: 468
Mark Doyle: 178
Tracy Zamek: 246
Dennis Kahn: 58

15th Annual Scraggy Walk/Run


Wearing class T-shirts and sneakers, more than 600 elementary students did their best to complete a 1.1-mile course through Scraggy Hill Park’s fields during the annual Scraggy Hill Run/Walk on May 15.

The challenging course took participants across Scraggy Hill Road, down rolling hills, through a wooded trail and across the finish line, where they were met with cheers from spectators, teachers and administrators. Following their completion of the course, the students were treated to ice pops.  

The annual race aims to promote physical fitness and culminates a several-week training period where students walked, ran and swam in their physical education classes.

Performing for Health and Wellness

Student-musicians in the district showcased their talents when they provided background music at Earl L. Vandermeulen High School’s annual Health and Wellness Expo on May 9.

During the fair, which featured booths dedicated to all levels of health, wellness and fitness, the Port Jefferson jazz band and high school choir, led by music teachers Katie Bernius, Christine Creighton and Edward Pisano, performed a number of popular musical selections.      

Introducing the Class of 2015 Valedictorian and Salutatorian

The high school has named Noah Davis as valedictorian and Natalia Zaliznyak as salutatorian. To learn more about both students, enjoy the accompanying video.

Math Student Recognized by Town

Following her perfect score in the 2014 AMC 8 math contest, Port Jefferson Middle School eighth-grader Mayu Takeuchi was recently recognized by the Brookhaven Town Board. Takeuchi was one of only 214 students in the United States, out of 130,000 participants, to earn a perfect score.

History Bee Winners Head to Nationals

Three Port Jefferson School District students have qualified to compete in the National History Bee, which will be held in Kentucky on Memorial Day weekend.

The students – fifth-grader Andrew Patterson, sixth-grader Lucas Welinder and eighth-grader Annalisa Welinder – won their spots following their successful participation in the regional finals in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

The students, along with eighth-grader Cameran Cohen and sixth-grader Aaron Held, received high scores on the online ORQE exam, which qualified them for the regional competition.     

Students Create Bird Illustrations

As part of a recent study on the birds of America, middle school students designed their own bird illustrations.

Eighth-grade students in Stacey Schuman’s class based their artwork on the works of ornithological artist James Audubon and applied their knowledge of color blending to create depictions of the birds in their natural habitats.

Learning from a Professional

To help his Advanced Placement Environmental Science students prepare for an upcoming exam, high school teacher Jonathan Maletta invited Tomas P. Fox, vice president of D&B Engineers and Architects, to speak with them about various aspects of his career.

During his presentation, Mr. Fox educated students about natural gas formation and extraction methods associated with hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” Additionally, Mr. Fox outlined a cost-benefit analysis in relation to fossil fuel energy demand and potential adverse impacts on groundwater aquifer systems.

Star Students Recognized

Six elementary students have been named Star Students in the American Library Association’s yearlong Read Campaign.

The students chosen as April Star Students are Giovanna Ciullo, kindergarten; Isadora Moran, first grade; Anna Matvya, second grade; Cooper Reale, third grade; Eric Friedman, fourth grade; and Natalie McGuigan, fifth grade.  

As a reward, the students’ photos are displayed on the bulletin board outside the library along with a summary of their favorite books.

A Career in Music Therapy

In an ongoing effort to educate students about the many careers available to them post-graduation, Earl L. Vandermeulen High School music students were introduced to a music therapist on April 24.

Elizabeth Schwarts, music therapist supervisor at Alternatives for Children in East Setauket, spoke to Port Jefferson students about her career in music therapy and how it can help patients improve their cognitive, social, physical, psychological and communicative functioning.  

Science Olympiad Wins Medals

After vying against schools across 11 regions at the New York State Science Olympiad competition on April 17 and 18, the middle school’s team returned home with two top 10 medals and ranked 18th overall.  

“The students worked hard and learned scientific concepts on a high school and college level,” said coach Adam Bouchard. “Everyone enjoyed being in Syracuse, and we hope to return next year and build upon our team’s successes.”

The Port Jefferson School District congratulates the entire team and medal winners, Grant Samara and Hyun Jin Lee, who placed fifth for fossils, and Leland Held and Ben Zaltsman, who placed sixth for the bio process lab.

Musicians Inducted Into Tri-M Society

The high school chapter of the Tri-M Music Society inducted six new members at its eighth annual honors recital and induction ceremony on April 15.

Inductees included musicians Shannon Christ, Rachel Collins, Parris Garant, Danielle Goldstein, Tammy Serabian and Marianna Spentzos.

Membership to the Tri-M Music Society is based on five points of distinction: scholarship, character, cooperation, leadership and service.

“A Tri-M member is one who sets a good example, is always willing to assist those students who are striving to better themselves in the music department and always remembers it is a real honor to carry these responsibilities,” said Tri-M advisor Christine Creighton.

Also honored during the ceremony were senior Tri-M members Taylor Carley, Janella Damaskos, Andie Fortier, Rachel Geiser, Steven Geiser, Dunia Karzai, Margo Martin-Deprez, Ju Mi Ha, Alden Mohaci, Adam Nieves, Kayley Okst, Laura Sarubbi and Serabian.

Second in the County

Following a vigorous competition season and through the use of their reasoning, deduction and mathematics skills, the middle school Mathletes ninth-grade team A placed second in Suffolk County.

The Port Jefferson School District congratulates David Rotunno, Mayu Takeuchi and Annalisa Welinder.     


The Board of Education of Port Jefferson School District will be meeting on May 12, 2015, at Earl L. Vandermeulen High School, 7:00 p.m. for the annual budget hearing, and 7:30 p.m. for the regular monthly business meeting.  Call to order will be at 5:00 p.m. for the purpose of entering executive session to discuss matters related to personnel.

A special business meeting of the Port Jefferson School District Board of Education will be held on May 26, 2015, 7:00 p.m., at Edna Louise Spear Elementary School.  Call to order will be at 6:00 p.m. for the purpose of entering executive session to discuss personnel and legal matters.

Students Learn Art of Silk Screening

During a two-day hands-on artist-in-residency program, students in Carrie Morgan’s high school art classes learned the art of silk screening from renowned Long Island artist Dan Kudreyko.

Using the drawing and painting techniques learned in classes, the students made silk-screened shirts, pillows and handbags with the help of Kudreyko.

Musicians Attend Open Rehearsal

As part of the district’s partnership with Stony Brook University’s Staller Center, student-musicians and their families had the opportunity to attend the Emerson String quartet’s open rehearsal on April 14.

During the rehearsal, the critically-acclaimed quartet interacted with the music students while they practiced two pieces — Lowell Liebermann’s String Quartet No. 5 and Shostakovich Op. 108 No. 7 — prior to their last concert at the Staller Center.   

“Our Port Jefferson families and students were fortunate to have experienced this renowned quartet,” said Port Jefferson orchestra teacher Vanessa Salzman. “We are grateful to the Emerson’s and Paul Newland of the Staller Center Outreach Center for this opportunity.”


Teamwork, sportsmanship and Royal pride were on display recently as members of Team Landetta, Port Jefferson Middle School’s Athletics for All program, were joined by student volunteers to participate in friendly games of soccer and basketball.

“All players had a great time,” said Athletics for All advisor Michelle Landetta. “It was yet another wonderful and rewarding experience for both Team Landetta and the middle school student volunteers.”

Piano Duo Entertains at Fashion Show

Port Jefferson sisters Luigia Than and Giuseppia Than showcased their musical skills as they entertained guests at the Port Jefferson Conservancy Fashion Show on April 19 with their piano playing.

During their performance, Luigia, a ninth-grader, and Giuseppia, a seventh-grader, performed an entire set of piano pieces composed for four hands. 

Student-Musicians Win Scholarship

Two Port Jefferson Middle School musicians, Jack Reilly, a string bassist, and Lucas Welinder, a cellist, have each been awarded with a Suffolk County Long Island String Festival Association scholarship for private study.

The scholarships were awarded to the sixth-graders after an application process, which included a teacher recommendation and a letter written by the students.

“The LISFA scholarship is a prestigious award, and we are honored to have two of our extraordinary students be recipients of this competitive scholarship,” said Vanessa Salzman, music teacher.
Sunday, May 24, 2015