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Port Jefferson School District Excels in 2024 National Latin Exam

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The Port Jefferson School District is proud to announce the outstanding accomplishments of Earl L. Vandermeulen High School and Port Jefferson Middle School on this year’s National Latin Exam. With over 100,000 participants from all 50 states and 26 counties, the National Latin Exam is one of the nation’s premier Latin assessments, and we are so happy to see our Port Jefferson School District’s students excelling on it.

Proficiency in Latin as demonstrated on the exam merits one of 4 designations, Summa Cum Laude, which is awarded to students who scored the highest on the exam; Maxima Cum Laude, which is an award to students with the second-highest score; Magna Cum Laude, which is awarded to a student who surpasses the international core average by a significant margin; and Cum Laude, which is awarded to students who score above the national average.

“We are immensely proud of the exceptional achievements our students have attained in this year’s National Latin Exam,” said Jessica Schmettan, Superintendent of Schools. “Congratulations to all the winners, and thank you for showing us that hard work and determination truly pay off. We look forward to celebrating many more accomplishments in the future as our students continue to excel academically and beyond.”

To commemorate their success, winners of the Summa Cum Laude designation received a gold medal, winners of the Maxima Cum Laude designation received a silver medal, and the winners of the Magna Laude and the Cum Laude designations received certificates.

Port Jefferson Middle School:
Clara Pearce - Summa Cum Laude
Sam Perez-Flesler - Summa Cum Laude
Ollie Rhame - Cum Laude

Earl L. Vandermeulen High School:
Narin Karakurum - Maxima Cum Laude
Kevin Hong - Magna Cum Laude
Kristina Shterengas - Cum Laude
Madison Testa - Cum Laude
Alice Snyder - Summa Cum Laude
Emily Snyder - Magna Cum Laude
Andi Kelly - Cum Laude
Eric Chen - Cum Laude

The success of our students in the National Latin Exam is a testament also to the dedication of our educators and the supportive community within the Port Jefferson School District. We extend our gratitude to the teachers, parents, and community members who have played a vital role in nurturing a love for learning and fostering an environment where students can thrive. Together, we celebrate this momentous achievement and look forward to continued success in the pursuit of knowledge and excellence.

Date Added: 4/15/2024

Earl L. Vandermeulen High School and Port Jefferson Middle School Host St. Baldrick’s Assembly, Raise Over $6,500 to Combat Childhood Cancer

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Earl L. Vandermeulen High School and Port Jefferson Middle School came together for a memorable St. Baldrick’s assembly, demonstrating their unwavering commitment to the fight against childhood cancer. With the collective efforts of students, teachers, and community members, the event raised over $6,500 in donations.

The assembly was a heartwarming display of solidarity and compassion, made particularly poignant by the presence of one Port Jefferson student who is a courageous cancer survivor. Their inspiring story served as a beacon of hope, reinforcing the importance of supporting research and initiatives to conquer pediatric cancer. After successfully fighting cancer at the age of 7, Kyle Martin was determined to ensure that no other child would have to endure what he had gone through. In 2022, he proposed an idea to Principal Ruggero that he wanted to give back by starting an annual St. Baldrick’s Day. From that day on, each year, Port Jefferson raises money to fund research to cure cancer.

In a show of unity and support, Long Island Beauty School students volunteered their skills to adorn participants with vibrant green hair extensions, adding a colorful flair to the event. Additionally, selected students and staff members demonstrated their solidarity by shaving their heads, symbolizing their dedication to the cause. The funds raised during the assembly will be directed toward the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a leading organization dedicated to funding childhood cancer research. 

Among the “shavees was Jonathan Maletta, AP science teacher and STEM advisor, who played a pivotal role in raising funds to support research efforts aimed at combating children’s cancer. Mr. Maletta’s dedication extended beyond fundraising, as he also managed a series of advanced education programs, enabling students to participate in STEM/STEAM enrichment programs at Stony Brook University.

One such program, titled Cancer Biology-Exploring if Phytochemicals Can Inhibit Cancer Cell Viability and Growth, provided Port Jefferson school students with a unique opportunity to work with isolated lung cancer tissue under the guidance of Dr. Daniel Moloney, Ph.D. This hands-on experience allowed students to delve into the complexities of cancer research and contribute to ongoing efforts to find effective treatments.