What does Veterans Day mean to you?

Congratulations Adrian Gervasio, a Stimson eighth-graders who was recently notified that he is the winner of the Huntington Elks annual essay contest titled: What does Veterans Day mean to me.  “I come from a proud family of veterans and would like to some day join the military myself,” said Adrian, who told us he would like to be a Marine. Congratulations to the Gervasio family for their service to our country and to Adrian for his beautifully written essay that is now headed to the state level competition. Thank you Stimson teacher Mr. Keith Gunsel for your leadership by entering our students into this, as well as other essay contests, that highlight the quality of their character and education.

Mr. Keith Gunsel with his essay-winning student Adrian Gervasio.

An Important Message From Superintendent Bennardo

Earlier today we received a very welcome call from the Suffolk County Police Department. The authority from the second precinct informed us that they had taken a Mr. James Rankin into custody on a charge of criminal trespass in the third degree. Mr. Rankin is a 1996 graduate of Walt Whitman High School with no prior arrests, who happens to drive an evening cab in town. The police are confident, based on evidence they reviewed, that Mr. Rankin is the individual who entered our building for approximately 10 minutes at 4 a.m. on Friday morning. 

According to police reports, Mr. Rankin went into the McDonald's parking lot in his cab for rest and decided to travel into our building for what he deemed a nostalgic visit. The evidence indicates that Mr. Rankin took "selfie" pictures and photos of areas he saw as a student. Fortunately Mr. Rankin triggered an alarm, and the police responded. We have not confirmed the details, but it appears Mr. Rankin tried doors and found one, which gave him access to the building. It's unclear at this time how this occurred, but Mr. Rankin is claiming that the door was not locked.  This is obviously of great concern, and we are taking additional steps to make sure that our 100-plus doors are secured with both inside and outside checks and accompanying verification once the public has left the building.  We will be sharing these additional steps and procedures with our community the moment the plan is finalized.  Our Personnel and Facilities Departments are also working to determine exactly how this security breach emerged despite our current protocols.

Obviously, we do not share the suspect’s contention that this was a harmless prank. The overnight intrusion into the building stirred an incredible amount of uncertainty and concern in our school community.  However, we have every intention of learning from the situation and improving procedures in response to the trespass. 

I want to thank the Suffolk County Police Department for partnering with us since early on Friday morning to ensure the safety of our students and faculty from the early morning hours through dismissal. 

I also want to thank all the members of the community who provided us with leads from the surveillance photo, and commend you on your patience and cooperation as we sorted out the details of the situation.

Again, both the district and high school administrative teams will be in touch regarding our continued investigation.


Body Electric Lights Up The PAC


The Body Electric is an annual performance highlighting the incredible talent at Walt Whitman High School. Whether it’s poetry, music, or dance, students and teachers took to the stage to the delight of a packed Performing Arts Center on April 10.

Special thanks to: Esteban Lopez, Emily Haller and The Lamplighters for their time and skill; to Mrs. Acker, Mrs. Grady, Mr. Varlamos and our custodial staff for their support; to Mrs. Radin and the Xanadu staff and advisor Joseph Pipolo for providing innovative media for the sharing of art, music and literature; and to our many teachers and staff who cultivate and nurture our student artists. Excellent job Ms. Latko for emceeing the evening.

Congratulations to the following performers, in order of appearance: Tyler Zeoli, Cozart, Michele Brunet, Sabrina O’Dette & Arianna Carlson, Ryan Gioe, Tyler Gianchetta, Jessica Barahona & Karisma Ingram, Mahum Siddiqui, The Latin Dance Troupe,  Anthony Morace, Rebecca Sansotta, Isabel Sakarin & Haley Gladitsch, Tyler Zeoli, Morsal Tokhie, Angelica Novok, Kyle Bernstein, Abigail Daniels, Chelsea Saccente & Eve Metzger, Rebecca MacLeod & Kelsey Neal, Lauren Re, Jonathan Simeone, Nicole Cardascia, Alexa Arthur & Jennifer Sarnataro, Joonho Ko, Valerie Abbene, Emily Biederman, Aren Kabarajian, Amanda Moletz & Katie Cox, Jeremy Williams, Samantha Shaiman, Inpreet Rattu, Kelly Rydberg, Lauren Ré & Eve Adamo, Annalise Thode, Gina Cipriano, Amanda Strigaro & Kiandre Wright, Kayla Collins & Victoria Rosa, Kevin Shepherd & Andrew Gonzalez, Kristen Riordan, and Ms. Kimberly Latko.

Please visit Whitman’s online literary magazine at Xanadulit.com to enjoy more rich and vibrant student writing, art and music.

2014 Body Electric Slide Show:

Photo Gallery


Sabrina O’Dette and Arianna Carlson soar as they take the audience on a journey that highlights the dance program at Whitman.
Jeremy Williams, musician, singer, and songwriter always captures the audience’s attention.
Dancers Jessica Barahona and Karisma Ingram performing a modern dance.

Dance Program Captures Stimson Students

What do the NY Football Giants, the Eagles, and even Cardinals have in common?  The answer may surprise you. It's dance, and if you think dance is just for dancers? Think again. More and more professional athletes are realizing the benefits of incorporating dance into their workout regimen than ever before. That's because dance helps with balance, strength, and endurance--all of which promotes optimal sports performance.

Step into the professional dance studio at Walt Whitman, courtesy of a SHEF donation, and it’s easy to see why the Walt Whitman dance program isn’t just for dancers. Besides the positive physical aspect of dance, the creative side offers unlimited freedom of expression. 

Ms. Susan Turner Radin, a professional dancer herself, teaches the program at Whitman. “We took our program on the road and visited Stimson’s physical education classes to introduce the middle school students to the art of modern dance,” said Ms. Turner. “Our dancers stressed the power of movement to communicate themes and tell stories. They performed “Rhythm & Repetition,” a modern dance work inspired by the May art installation of the same name at the Hecksher Museum. The dancers analyzed over twenty paintings and composed a dance that reflects the creative themes in the artwork.” 

The Whitman dancers performed six lecture demonstrations for Stimson physical education students. “It is always a moment of joy to celebrate our homegrown talent and expose our students to the opportunities that exist within the South Huntington educational community,” said Stimson Principal Mr. Edwin Smith. “Their presentation was interactive, involving participation from the Stimson students. It gives a good look at some of the innovative programs at Whitman that will be available to the eighth graders in the near future.”

“The Whitman dancers thoroughly enjoyed their experience working with the Stimson students and look forward to next year!” said Ms. Turner.  Mr. Smith agrees, “Thank you Ms. Radin, and most importantly, thank you Whitman dancers for an amazing performance.”


Whitman Dance director Ms. Susan Turner Radin and her dancers get a big thank you from Stimson Principal Mr. Edwin Smith.
Dancers perform the modern dance “Rhythm & Repetition” to the captivated Stimson students.
Ok Stimson students, we need volunteers.
Dancers exhibit strength and balance in almost everything they do.
Volunteers are in the steady and sure grasp of the Whitman dancers.
Whitman senior Aren Kabarajian demonstrates various dance moves in one of the lecture demonstrations.

March Athletes of the Month


One of the benefits of spring sports is that you know the nice weather is just around the corner. Unfortunately, for many of our teams, that corner has been a long and winding road. “We are so glad to finally be outside,” said Kristen Cummings, our March Female Athlete of the Month. The Varsity Girls Lacrosse team was relegated to running in the halls of Walt Whitman High School until the weather broke enough to head outside. Kristen, a Whitman senior, also played soccer this past fall and is looking at attending a nursing program at one of the mid-Atlantic colleges in the fall. She is a member of the Huntington Manor Junior Firefighters Club. Kristen, who plays defense, has been made co-captain for her leadership qualities, which inspire her teammates to work hard and stay positive despite a difficult start in a tough Girls Division 1 lacrosse schedule. 

Vincent Feola, our March Male Athlete of the Month, has been steadily and quietly working his way through Suffolk County’s wrestlers in the 220-pound weight class. His progression has been evident over the past couple of years as he got closer and closer to the top of the class. “You have to constantly push yourself and strive to get better and learn from your mistakes to be successful,” said the Whitman junior, who concentrates solely on wrestling. “I’ve been working really hard at this. I like the fact that wrestling is a very tough sport and teaches you discipline.”  Vincent had a very successful season winning the league championship and the Suffolk County Championship. He has worked his way through the state ranks, landing in the championship round against the parochial school champion. Ending the year second in the state is a great accomplishment, and it will only strengthen Vincent’s determination for his next and final year at Whitman.

Whitman Principal Ms. Kathie Acker congratulates her March Athletes of the Month.

Stars of STEM Found in South Huntington

The Long Island STEM Hub celebrated their second anniversary on April 9 at the Cradle of Aviation, and South Huntington’s STEM/STEAM program took a big step forward. The morning began with our Silas Wood, Stimson, and Walt Whitman students exhibiting projects reflecting this year’s theme: "Reconstruction and Resiliency."

Mr. John Cameron, president of Cameron Engineering, was proud to present a Gold Award of Excellence to the Silas Wood team and a Silver Award of Excellence to our Stimson team for their innovative projects capturing the essence of reconstruction and resiliency on Long Island after Superstorm Sandy.

Later in the program, there was a spirited panel discussion about the partnership between Long Island's business community and its students. Moderated by Kenneth White from Brookhaven National Laboratory, the discussion had the tables turned when a sixth grader took over the microphone. Our new moderator engaged Mr. White in a discussion about what students need to know about STEM careers and the education they need in order to be at the forefront of career demands now and in the future 

We could have another Johnny Carson in the making at Silas Wood. The fact that he was celebrating his twelfth birthday didn’t slow Daniel Kulesa down for a second as he had the audience laughing and Mr. White searching his past for his own road traveled.

It was a great day for STEM on Long Island as students, educators, and business leaders laid new groundwork for the burgeoning career needs in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.


The Gold Award of Excellence went to the Silas Wood team. Second row left; South Huntington STEM Coach Mari Scardapane, second row right: Silas Wood teacher Ms. Natalie Miller, and, not in photographic order Silas Wood students: Samantha Carey, April Farrell, Jeremy Forman, Meghan Brady Fuchsman, Stephen Hong, Gretel Huber, Daniel Kulesa, Aidan Luebker, Emily Murphy, Joshua Muellers, Emily Perez, Connor Rankel, Logan Slansky, Fiona Smith, and Ryan Wittleder.
The Silver Award of Excellence went to the Stimson Middle School team. Left to right: Stimson Principal Mr. Edwin Smith, students Lauren Dooley, Katie Latko, and Justin Wallace, and Science chair Mr. Marcus Maddy.
So if you’re wondering what is the Long Island STEM Hub? Additional information can be found at: http://www.listemhub.org
The Walt Whitman STEM team led by Ms. Annmarie Gephardt, includes: Jade Darrow, Connor Galvin, George Marr, Bradley Roff, Nicole Rowe, Kelly Rydberg, Kira Sansone, Gary Harris, and Misha Patel.
Silas Wood 6th grader Daniel Kulesa, was a panel hit, generating an exciting interaction between students and the business community.
Deputy Superintendent Ms. Jacci Harris, right in photo, joins the Silas Wood team at their presentations, prior to the judging.

HART Poetry Winners

On Wednesday, April 30, at 7PM, the Huntington Town Board will recognize teen poets from the community selected as winners in the town’s Poetry for the HART public art initiative. The winning teen poets will receive certificates during an award ceremony that will include members of the Huntington Town Board.  Immediately following the conclusion of the award ceremony, there will be a poetry reading led by adult poet mentor Mahogany L. Browne, at which each of the teen poets selected for the program will read his or her winning poems.  After the reading there will be a brief reception honoring the teen poets. The award ceremony, reading, and reception are free and open to the public.

Walt Whitman will be well represented--Walt Whitman High School, that is. Fittingly, the awards reception will be held at the beautiful Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site and Interpretive Center. In 1819, Walt Whitman was born at this farmhouse in West Hills, built by his father circa 1810. The birthplace is the only New York State historic site on Long Island listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This year, there were four winners from Walt Whitman High School. Congratulations to Joshua Renderos for his poem “What is a Miracle,” Lauren Ré for her poem “Bandages,” Kelly Rydberg for her poem “Time,” and Natalie Smith for her poem “Why Is the Color Wheel Closed.”

“The creative writing classes are always wonderful because the diversified mix of students, creativity, and interest levels inspires a rich, creative product,” said Whitman’s creative writing teacher Mr. Joseph Pipolo. “My three students, Josh, Lauren, and Natalie, are all very different writers,” said Mr. Pipolo. “To watch Josh navigate from AP language to creative writing and to see how Lauren explores her world view as a first-year student, or how Natalie incorporates her art into her writing--the whole process is really a lot of fun to watch.”

Kelly’s creative writing teacher Ms. Kimberly Latko spoke highly of her winning senior. “She’s always trying to push the envelope with her work, and she is comfortable writing about things that take us to a new perspective,” said Ms. Latko. “I like the idea of creative things, like poetry, traveling around on a bus.  It’s pretty cool.” (If you haven't seen the poetry traveling around on buses yet, you probably soon will. The poems have been enlarged and mounted on the outsides of South Huntington buses.)

Congratulations to our four winning students and the creative learning culture, both at Whitman and in their homes, that helps foster the creativity here in South Huntington.


Left to right sitting: Joshua Renderos, Lauren Ré, and Natalie Smith. Standing left to right: Mr. Joseph Pipolo, Principal Ms. Kathleen Acker, Kelly Rydberg, and Ms. Kimberly Latko.

High School Heroes Enjoy Teaching Opportunity

Second-grade classes at both Oakwood and Countrywood Primary Centers in South Huntington have been actively engaged in the district's annual High School Heroes Junior Achievement Program. This program, prepared for South Huntington by Ms. Diane Zamow, Whitman’s school-to-career coordinator, allows high school students the opportunity to experience the teaching profession first-hand. “Sixteen high school students, who have a career interest in elementary education, plan lessons with Junior Achievement materials and teach second grade for a full day at Oakwood and Countrywood,” said Ms. Zamow.  Junior Achievement of New York provides the high school students with the training, materials, lesson plans, and guidance necessary for their teaching success. Lessons were thoughtfully planned and delivered by our High School Heroes to support our second-grade social studies curriculum on the topic of “Our Community.” The focus of the unit was the interdependent roles of workers in the community and how communities work.

Each lesson adhered to a specific learning objective and included a dynamic activity. Second graders learned all about a wide range of job opportunities, assembly line production, the economic role of government, good decision-making, and how money is exchanged for goods and services. The classes were very impressed with the knowledge and professionalism displayed by their young “teachers” and were sorry to see the program come to a close. This is an experience, according to the kids, that they will never forget. Thank you, High School Heroes! 

Thank you to Oakwood students and their teachers: Ms. Farkas, Ms. Wright, and Ms. Bombach, Ms. Renda, and Ms. Tafe. Thank you also to Countrywood students and their teachers: Ms. Burr, Ms. Merola, Ms. Zisel, and Ms. Kapps.

This year’s High School Hero teachers from Walt Whitman were: Samia Akram, Kirandeep Cheema, Katherine Cox, Brittany Ferrante, Sammaria Gaines, Alexandra Gerard, Diandra Hubbard, Mason Kraese, David Kwakye, Carla Lucana, Casey Martin, Kinza Mirza, Mardoche Pierre, Julianna Richter, Letitia Sammut, and Moesha Watson.


Carla Lucana, reviews the “community” assignment with her students in Ms. Farkas’s class at Oakwood.
Alexandra Gerard, in Ms. Merola’s class, helps a student identify an important community member.
Students in Ms. Burr’s class at Countrywood loved their guest teachers, Diandra Hubbard, left and Samia Akram.
At Countrwood, Ms. Zisel, (back left) and her class, at take a group photo of their guest teachers Julianna Richter (back 2nd left) and Letitia Sammut. (back 3rd left).
Mason Kraese reviews his student’s assignment in Ms. Merola’s class at Countrywood.
David Kwakye and a student in Ms. Farkas’s class talk about Firemen, Police Officers and EMT Volunteers, all important members of a community.
Casey Martin works with an Oakwood second-grader in Ms. Baumbach’s class.
Ms. Wright’s class at Oakwood enjoyed the special day with Kinza Mirza (left), and Moesha Watson.
At Oakwood, the class of Ms. Renda and Ms. Tafe are introduced to a poster depicting a typical community. Here they are in the process about learning about it’s components from Samia Akaram (left) and Sammaria Gaines.
Mardoche Pierre hands out the morning assignment to Ms. Baumbach’s class at Oakwood.
Katherine Cox, left, and Brittany Ferrante work with their second-graders in Ms. Kapps class about 2 different types of production that may be used in a bakery.
High School Heroes grab a quick photo before they head off to Oakwood and Countrywood Primary Centers.

"Always Strive To Do Your Best"

Matt Mortensen, a member of the USA Men's Doubles Olympic Luge Team, and his brother Joe, made a stop into Ms. Nicolino’s second grade class on Tuesday and delighted the Countrywood students with behind the scenes video of the Sochi Olympics. Matt and Joe are Huntington Station natives and members of the Army World Class Athlete Program.

Matt now lives in Lake Placid, NY where he trains year-round. After demonstrating turning techniques on a single Luge, the athletes passed around gloves used in the sport that had spikes sewn into the fingers for extra gripping on the ice. Joe Mortensen demonstrated how to stop a moving luge and the two fielded many questions from our inquisitive second-graders. “Always strive to do your best in what ever you do,” said Matt.  Countrywood neighboring class, Ms. Burr, also brought her class in for the special demonstration.  “Follow you’re dreams,” Matt told the students. “You have to be willing to work hard, but your dreams can lead to really great places and really good things in your future.”


Matt Mortensen showed his own video of the USA Team just prior to the opening ceremony.
This lucky volunteer gets to learn first-hand how to steer a single Luge from an Olympian.
Joe Mortensen holds up a suit that they wear, while Matt talks about how it’s designed for aerodynamics.
Second graders are an inquisitive bunch and had excellent questions ready for their special visitors.
Joe demonstrated stopping a Luge after traveling up to 85 miles per-hour, and makes it look easy, but I’m thinking not.
Those gloves were a big hit with their spiked fingers.

PTA Reflections Celebrated


The 2013-2014 South Huntington PTA Reflections program celebrated their winners with a reception at the South Huntington Public Library on Monday evening. The program was sponsored by the South Huntington PTA Council. Reflections chairpersons Laura Palmieri and Theresa Clark began the evening by thanking each individual buildings chairperson for their tireless efforts. This was followed by the entertainment portion of the evening, which included a piano performance by Suffolk County Award of Excellence winner Leanne Haddock. Also from Walt Whitman High School, Alexis Darrow, Award of Excellence winner at both the Suffolk County and the New York State level for photography, painted a picture in the audience's minds as she described her award-winning photograph, presently on display in Albany.  

This year’s theme was "Believe. Dream. Inspire." The National PTA’s Reflections program is designed to encourage creative expression among children and youth. Congratulations for all of the wonderful entries, which exemplify the creative talent here in the South Huntington School District.

Program Winners

* Winner, Award of Excellence, Suffolk County

** Winner, Award of Excellence, New York State

*** Winner of both awards


Countrywood Primary Center

Dawn Churchman, chair

Film Production: Award of Excellence: Ethan Chun***

Literature: Awards of Excellence: Madison Caiazzo, Sofia Filler

Awards of Merit: Olivia Beck, Caitlin Hyers

Music: Award of Excellence: Aidan Hamilton

Photography: Awards of Excellence: Anthony DePalo, Ava Schlaich

Award of Merit: Sienna Long

Visual Arts: Awards of Excellence: Leah Lamay,  Theo  Martinez

Awards of Merit: Nathan Goldberg, Sophia Goldberg, Caitlin Hyers, Brooke Striga

Honorable Mention: Erica Chung, Madelyn Crocco, Colton Kraese, Harry Muellers


Oakwood Primary Center

Laura Palmieri, chair

Literature: Award of Excellence: Brooke Lynn Creamer

Photography: Awards of Excellence: Katelyn Adams, Emily Goldberg

Visual Arts: Award of Excellence: Christopher Boettger- Smolich*, Vincent Gulino

Awards of Merit: Chase Hinson, Owen Lockhart, Chelsea Murphy, Megan Rankel

Honorable Mention: Pratyush Das, Sophia Luebker, Kate O’Phelan, Peter Maniatis


Birchwood Intermediate School

Laurel Addis, chair

Literature: Award of Excellence: Adelrhany Georges***

Photography: Awards of Excellence: Ryan Luebker, Colin Murphy

Honorable Mention: Adelrhany Georges

Visual Arts: Awards of Excellence: Julia Crapanzano*, Akash (Alex) Joshi

Awards of Merit: Kaitlyn Barraco, Adelrhany Georges, Sarah Jacoutot, Matthew Meberg

Honorable Mention: Max Boise, Akash (Alex) Joshi, Thomas Matthews


Maplewood Intermediate School

Laura Morelli, chair

Dance Choreography: Awards of Excellence: Abby  Grant, Caitlin McKenna and Juliana Villela, and Megan Edelman and Michaela Rutigliano

Film: Awards of Excellence: Connor Hamilton, Michael McIndoo

Literature: Awards of Excellence: Daniella Padinha, Amanda Trifon

Awards of Merit: Bianco Russell, Kira Steffen, Abigail Tavera

Honorable Mention: Julia Rinaldi

Music: Award of Excellence: Sebastian Koch*

Photography: Awards of Excellence: Nicholas Campinelli, Aidan Greenberg

Awards of Merit: Alexandra Bombara, Dylan Long, Demitra Zolotas

Honorable Mention: Alexa Wilbrecht

Visual Arts: Awards of Excellence: Briana Rutolo*, Matthew Zapulla

Awards of Merit: Alexandra Fullerton, Mia Stampfel, Angelina Todaro

Honorable Mention: Hailey Crocco,  Jonathan Holleran, Gunnar Kraese, Alessandra Lella.


Silas/Stimson Middle School

Mary Abbene, chair

Dance: Award of Excellence: Melanie Yodice*

Award of Merit: Jamie Montague

Film Production: Award of Excellence: Sofiya Saykovska

Literature: Awards of Excellence: Joel Kaplan, Amanda Riha

Awards of Merit: Hailey Dearborn, Miguel Manzanares, Caleb Sullivan

Honorable Mention: Diana Fogel, Tyler Meyer, Logan Slansky

Music: Awards of Excellence: Max Eidinoff, Summer Levinsky

Photography: Awards of Excellence: Farrell Blum (2)***, Iza Choudrey*, Aidan Luebker

Awards of Merit: Nathan Blank, Hailey Dearborn

Visual Arts: Awards of Excellence: Heather Abbene*, Emma Edelman

Awards of Merit: Priya Katwala, Carly Manley, Eleni Papaiacovou

Honorable Mention: Justin Joachim, Leah Kahn, Aliana Wang, Subhana Zafar


Walt Whitman High School

Barbara Delli Carpini, chair

Literature: Awards of Excellence: Brian Davila, Thomas Younghans

Award of Merit: Jane Biedermann, Rebecca Sansotta, Natalie Migliore, Nicole Grennan

Honorable Mention: Sabrina Rossero, Catherine Bromley, Maryam Choudhary, Ahmad Shamulzai

Music: Award of Excellence: Leanne Haddock*

Photography: Award of Excellence: Alexis Darrow***, Taylor Fox

Award of Merit: Nicole Rowe

Visual Arts: Awards of Excellence: Valerie Abbene, Isabel Sakarin*

Award of Merit: Yoshitomo Kawasaki and Anali Nanavati


Career Day Draws From Our Talented Community

So what would you want to be when you grow up? An Occupational Therapist? A computer programmer? Perhaps an engineer or a nurse?

Students at Stimson Middle School were treated to presentations from a vast array of local professionals who fielded questions and talked about what it’s like to be a Carpenter, an Accountant, a Physical Therapist or even a Nurse. Whether their interests are in public safety, landscape design, personal training, carpentry, real estate, or the law, local professionals whet students’ appetites for making career choices.  Students were invited by their teachers and coordinators of the program, Ms. Engels and Ms. Zamow, to "Dress for Success" to meet these professionals.  It was a great day for the 7th grade Home and Career students! 

We would like to thank the following community members for volunteering their time at Stimson Middle School’s Annual Career Day: Mr. Mason, Mr. Morrissey, Mrs. Costanza, Mr. Italo, Mrs. Tabibzada, Mrs. Davis, Mrs. Apostle, Mrs. Slansky, Mr. Slansky, Mr. O'Brien, Mrs. Thomann, Mr. Bruzon, and Mr.  Rodreguez.

Music teacher Mrs. Tabibzada talks with students about her love for music and a career that makes her happy.
Mr. Slansky talks with students about Information Technology, a fast-growing sector, offering many career opportunities covering a broad range of interests.
Mr. O’Brien, a carpenter, reviews how important subjects, like math, as well as modern technology are important tools in carpentry.
Mr. Morrissey discusses the importance of Accounting careers.
Mrs. Davis, an Occupational Therapist, was a pleasant surprise for students, as many had no idea what an Occupational Therapist does.

Showstoppers Open PTA Council Meeting

Special thanks to our amazing Stimson Showstoppers for supplying wonderful music at this week’s PTA Council meeting.  The beautiful voices helped start our week off in grand fashion, bringing smiles to the faces of all in attendance.  Thanks as always to Ms. Terri Haas for working so hard to prepare her students.  We are fortunate to have so many talented students and teachers in South Huntington.


The Stimson Showstoppers, led by Ms. Haas, 2nd from right, performed at Monday’s PTA Council meeting.

Career Café Speaker Program

On Monday, April 7, Special Agent Eric Immesberger, from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) met with several groups of Walt Whitman High School students during their lunch periods.  Agent Immesberger shared some of his experiences as an agent. He informed students of the rigorous training regimen and the importance of excelling in school and giving all you can to achieve the most out of your life. The career of an ATF Special Agent is unique and one of the most challenging in Federal law enforcement. Headquartered in Washington, DC, ATF has field offices throughout the United States and its territories. Highly trained special agents are responsible for investigating violations of Federal laws relating to firearms, explosives, arson, and alcohol and tobacco diversion. These investigations involve surveillance, interviewing suspects and witnesses, making arrests, obtaining and executing search warrants, and searching for physical evidence. The profession of special agent is exciting and rewarding. Special agents must be tough – both physically and mentally. They must also be able to handle rigorous training, personal risks, irregular hours, and extensive travel. Special agents are subject to reassignment to any ATF office in the United States, to include any U.S. Territory or ATF overseas assignment.

The purpose of our Career Café Speaker Program is help students learn about possible careers from the people who are in those careers. Our mission is to bring in guest speakers to talk to students about their careers, schooling requirements, job expectations, workplace environment, and lifestyle. While we are actively recruiting speakers to participate, we would greatly appreciate any volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering please contact Mr. Callahan, College and Career Ready Coach for Walt Whitman High School at: RCallahan@shufsd.org

Special Agent Eric Immesberger, from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) with Walt Whitman students.

Whitman Scores at Heritage Festival Competition

Congratulations to the Walt Whitman Music Department on their success at the Heritage Festival Competition in Boston this past weekend. The results not only speak for themselves, but also are a testament to the fact that the South Huntington School District is recognized regularly as one of the top 100 schools in the nation of music education. We congratulate our fine music teachers and their highly talented students. Here are the results:

Chamber Orchestra received a Silver rating and a 2nd place finish Jazz Band received a Silver rating.

Whitman Chorale received a Silver rating and a 2nd place finish.

Wind Ensemble received a Gold rating and a 2nd place finish. In addition - Zach Thompson from Chorale and Ruby Bafu from the Jazz Band were awarded Maestro awards for their solo performances.

Kristen Riordan received the Heritage Ovation Award for overall musicianship, perseverance, courage, and citizenship.

Lastly, the entire music department was awarded the Heritage Festival Spirit Award for their musicianship, interaction with other schools, staff, students, respect and "sportsmanship".



Whitman seniors from the Wind Ensemble, who received a Gold rating and a 2nd place finish, pose with director Allan Deitz, center, for their very last high school festival.
Allan Deitz, right, with his Jazz Band received a Silver rating.

Esperanza Rising Inspires Bilingual – Bicultural Exchange

In March, high school and dual language fifth grade students gathered for a lively event at Birchwood Intermediate School.    Walt Whitman students from Ms. Jordan’s ESL Newcomer classes visited Ms. Menjivar’s class for a very special bilingual exchange.

Fifth graders have studied the topics of Immigration and Human Rights, focusing on how people and fictional characters overcome life-changing challenges.  After reading Esperanza Rising, by Pam Muñoz in English and Spanish, they prepared questions in Spanish for their High School visitors, all recent immigrants striving to learn English and rigorous academic content at Walt Whitman High School.  Ms. Jordan’s high school students also prepared their own set of questions in English and used this opportunity to learn more about American elementary schools and practice their English language skills in a meaningful way.

Birchwood Dual Language students were very excited to participate in this very unique exchange, and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know their high school partners.  They immediately began writing accounts of their interviews in Spanish, describing their partners as hard-working, helpful, friendly and fun.   Although they read the questions they had prepared, spontaneous conversations quickly developed and one could see the smiles as ‘partners’ found out that they have more in common than they expected.

Whitman students were impressed by the positive attitude and efforts of the Dual Language students to speak, understand, read and write in Spanish. They encouraged them to continue working hard learning in two languages.   The activity quickly turned into a friendly, informal gathering where everyone learned something new while practicing his or her second language.

Some translated quotes by WWHS students:

“I realized that, just like they make an effort to improve their Spanish, we can make an effort to improve our English … I learned from them that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.” (Tania Reyes)

“I had a great time, but I also learned a lot … I met a girl who taught me how to pronounce some words in English.” (Claudia Guerrero Reyes)

“What I liked the most is that the children are very motivated to learn another language.  I know that learning another language is difficult, but not impossible.” (Erika Cruz)

“It was a nice experience because we shared something about our lives and we could practice and speak English while they practiced their Spanish.” (Silvia Ordonez)



Spring Blood Drive Nets 120 Pints

Congratulations to all the students who participated in the Spring Blood Drive. It was an overwhelming success. Our 25 captains organized over 150 students to come down to donate and 120 pints were collected. This donation comes at a time when blood levels in the area are vey low. Once again Walt Whitman should be very proud to be one of the largest donating high schools in the area. Thank you again to our captains and donors for giving their time and selves to this worthy cause and to Ms. Zamow, the Senior Class advisor for running the event and Ms. Hsaio for being a chaperone. 

Congratulations Spring Blood Drive Captains:

Kolawole Bamgbelu, Matthew Campanella, Doug Castro, Joe Connolly, Emily Stasko, Derek Zadrozny, Sade Bamgbelu, Alexandra Gerard, Sarah Goehring, Namra Gondal, Marisa LoCastro, Noah Petit, Leslie Portillo, Stephanie Weinstock, Kiandre Wright, Michelle Zapata, Emily Biederman, Elizbeth Bushey, Gina Cipriano, Abigail Daniels, Diandra Hubbard, Jacob Khars, Michael Ospina, Nicole Quatrocci, and Ryan Stengl.

The spring blood drive captains organized approximately 30 donors an hour.

Making Something Special For Everyone

It’s prom season, and as young men and ladies find just the right outfit to wear to dress up the outside, for a group of Walt Whitman juniors, it was what was on on the inside that counted most. The junior prom was held recently, and class officers were busy making this year’s prom a most memorable one for everyone. In fact, “everyone” seemed to be the unofficial theme for the evening.

“We wanted to reach out to include everyone and make sure everyone had fun,” said Natalie Dunn, junior class vice-president. Marissa LoCastro, junior class secretary, couldn’t agree more: “It’s so important to reach out and make sure everyone is included. High school is filled with so many stereotypes that we really need to remind people that everyone is important. So with that in mind we couldn’t let this opportunity pass by. 

The opportunity Marissa is talking about is to help ensure that two of our special-needs students came away from their junior prom feeling fully included. Little did the rest of the junior class know that they too would bask in the warmth of their gesture. On Saturday night, in a beautifully decorated South Cafeteria, Walt Whitman juniors Colin Hayes and Nicole McNulty were voted prom king and queen.

“It was a nice moment for both of then. They are two of the nicest kids in school,” said Gabby Vital, class treasurer. 

“The junior class really got behind this,” said Ryan McAllister, junior class assistant. “Nicole and Colin were really surprised when their names were called. It was a great moment.”

Sean Dell, class assistant felt the same way. “It was an enriching experience for everyone. They both so deserved to win,” said Sean. “Nicole always has the greatest smile on her face in the hallway.”

“The kids at my table all agreed they deserved to win,” said Folasade Bamgbelu. “Colin is always so friendly. Whenever he sees me and my friends in the hall, he says, ‘Hi ladies! Hi Beautiful!’ It makes me feel good.”

Leslie Portillo, class assistant, was also enjoying the moment. “I invited Nicole to dance with me and my friends, and she was having so much fun,” said Lesley. “It’s important for Nicole and Colin to know that people like them and care about them.”

Maureen Leiva, class assistant, agreed with her classmate. “I know we all wanted them to win,” she said, “but it really came down to the vote. I was so happy to be able to present Nicole with the flower bouquet as the 2014 prom queen.”

“This contest was based more on character than popularity,” said Harris Ansari, class vice president. “These two walk through the halls and just brighten up your day with their smiles and friendliness. They are both just really good people. I’ve known Nicole since kindergarten. When she walked down the aisle, she looked like she was getting an Oscar. Same with Colin; when he raised his arms in a ‘winning tribute,’ it was fun to see. They both enjoyed it, and we did as well. It was very humbling. It was a great night and one we will never forget.”

A special thanks to junior class advisor Mr. Thomas Donlon for helping to facilitate this story, and to Ms. Denise Elmore for the prom photo.



Walt Whitman juniors Colin Hayes and Nicole McNulty.
Walt Whitman junior class officers seated left to right: Folasade Bamgbelu, Natalie Dunn, Maureen Leiva, Gabrielle Vital, and Marissa LoCastro. Standing left to right: Harris Ansari, Sean Dell, Leslie Portillo, Ryan McAllister, and junior class advisor Mr. Thomas Donlon.

Softball Rolling in the Right Direction

Congratulations Girls Softball for their shutout of Copiague this past week. Junior Linda Powell pitched a near perfect game and shut-down any scoring attempt the Eagles could muster. The Wildcat bats were alive and well scoring at will. “The girls get along really well and are moving forward nicely as a team,” said varsity coach Melyssa Cilmi. “Defensively we have been really solid as a whole, and today, Linda [Powell] had a very good outing. She is a phenomenal pitcher, her change-up is very good with a lot of movement.”

Co-captain Nicole Civello, a senior, has started the season strongly for her lady Wildcats. “Nicole is very consistent up at bat and makes very good plays in the field.” Junior Aleysha Midgett is swinging the bat well early in the season. “She plays center field and can track down anything in the outfield and she’s probably one of our most powerful hitters,” said coach Cilmi.

Anchoring the defense behind the plate is Laura Galligan. “Laura is a solid player, probably one of our best catchers,” added coach Cilmi. Two players also to keep an eye on have been the Designated Players (DP) who are designated to bat only. “Freshman Melissa Triolo and Skyler Zenie have both done very well for us,” said coach Cilmi. “When they make contact, the ball really goes.” 

The girls have a home game on Wednesday April 9th at 4PM. Central field is located behind 33 Walt Whitman Road (Rt 110) Office Building, just north of Jericho Turnpike.

Slide Show from Copiague game:

Photo Gallery


Julianna Botta (18) tracks her hit as she prepares to round the bases.
Linda Powell throws a consistently strong change-up that has a lot of movement.
Co-captain Nicole Civello (13) playing short stop, is expected to have a strong season.

Ciravolo Wins Robotics Finalist Award

At this past weekend’s Regional FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), held at Hofstra University, Walt Whitman senior Thomas Ciravolo won the coveted FIRST Dean's List Finalist Award. This awards celebrates Thomas’s outstanding student leadership qualities as well as his passion for and effectiveness at attaining FIRST ideals. Thomas secured funding from Underwriter's Laboratories, County Line Hardware, Sign A Rama, Dr. Howard Schnieder PC, Chelsea Home Remodeling, Town Drugs, The Ciravolo family, NYS Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci, and US Rep Steve Israel to assist in the costs associated with building and competing in this robotics competition.

Dubbed a varsity Sport for the Mind, FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program a robot to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. It’s as close to “real world” engineering as a student can get. Professional Mentors volunteer their time and talents to guide each team.

FRC’s mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

Congratulations Thomas, his Robocat teammates, his club advisors Mr. Jaime Rogers and Mr. Joseph Sparaco, and especially his family for giving him the support and encouragement that helps create the leaders of tomorrow. Thomas now heads to the international competition level beginning April 23rd in St. Louis, Missouri.


Thomas Ciravolo, right in photo, shown with Robotics Advisor Mr. Jaime Rogers at this year’s St. Baldricks event.

Red Cross Club Epitomizes Volunteerism

One of Walt Whitman’s newest clubs is an all-volunteer organization that began after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy. Recently the club received the only award of excellence bestowed on a Long Island High School by the Red Cross.

Club Advisors: Eileen Berkowitz, Barbara Haik, and Danielle Rodrigues explained how the club was formed: The former member and student who started the club is Daniel Hoshkehpazi, who is an international Red Cross club member from Macedonia.  Daniel spent 5 months at Whitman in the 2012-2013 school year and is now at his third high school on Long Island and has started his third club. Daniel was recently awarded the Most Outstanding Student award by the Red Cross.

“I like the international aspect of the club,” said club president Matt Campanella. “When I’m a little older I want to travel and be able to help people around the world, and the Red Cross provides excellent training for different aspects of volunteering. It also provides an excellent tracking system of your volunteer projects and hours, which can be important as you progress through school and into the professional world.”

“I always enjoyed helping others,” said club secretary Nicole Cardascia. “It was no coinsidence that we started right after Superstorm Sandy.” Abigail Daniels, the club treasurer, agrees. “I love how the Red Cross keeps a local presence and at the same times is such a multinational organization,” said the Whitman junior. “We like helping people, but we like to do it as a team, and the Red Cross provides that wonderful umbrella.”

“The club has grown to almost 35 members and is involved in both local and foreign humanitarian efforts,” said Barbara Haik, one of the club’s three advisors. “The students have done fundraising and created an awareness campaign for breast cancer awareness here on Long Island,” said co-advisor Eileen Berkowitz. The club is also involved in an ongoing project to provide vaccinations in developing countries for measles, mumps, and rubella.”

“I like the local help because it’s easy to see. It’s right here in the community or on Long Island,” said Abigail Daniels. “I think it’s great that we got this award in our first full year as a club. This gives us so much to look forward to—helping people and working together for a common goal.” 

Congratulations go to the Walt Whitman Red Cross Club advisors and members on their outstanding award.

Advisors: Eileen Berkowitz, Barbara Haik, Danielle Rodrigues

Officers:  Matt Campanella, president

Abigail Daniels, treasurer

Nicole Cardascia, secretary

Liaison/mentor: Gabrielle Ramirez

Members: Alexandria Alpy, Alysia Jones, Gaby Ramirez, Eve Adamo, Derek Zadrozny, Amy Chen, Chris Consolo, Jocelyn Creeron, Sarin Grey, Kristen Cardascia, Kimberly Colombo, Michael Barrotta, Julianna Pasquarello, Deja Tejada, Elizabeth Auguste, Kiran Usmani, Umaimah Saleemi, Thao Williams, Elizabeth Fernandez, Anastasia Alpy, Samantha Arabi, Epiphany Ramirez, and Milly LeClaire.


Sitting left to right: Red Cross Club Treasurer, Abigail Daniels; Club President Matt Campanella; and Club Secretary, Nicole Cardiscia. Standing l-r: Club Advisors Eileen Berkowita, Danielle Rogers, Whitman Principal Kathie Acker, Barbara Haik, and Whitman Blood Drive Coordinator Diane Zamow

Outstanding Sportsmanship Honors

Congratulations to the following Walt Whitman sports teams who have achieved outstanding sportsmanship honors for the 2013/14-winter season:

•League 3 Varsity Boys Bowling

•League 2 Varsity Girls Basketball

•Modified Boys Basketball

These teams have best exemplified standards of sportsmanship as assessed by opposing teams within each of their respective leagues. It is important to note that the coaches of these teams, teach and set the high standards with which their teams are being honored, and we congratulate them as well!

A Timely Message from Dr. B

Throughout the years, I have held onto a short story that a teacher gave to me some time back in the early 1980s. While my memory of the timeframe isn't perfect, I recall it being somewhere around SAT weekend, as the college application process loomed on the horizon. I was also in the middle of a particularly challenging athletic season where things weren't going exactly as expected. In addition, a group of our friends had just tried out for parts in the school theater production, and callbacks kept getting delayed because new students were competing for the roles. 

The teacher, Mr. K, who gave me the story, had become something of an informal mentor to us, and he could see that the stress was mounting throughout our group. Mr. K provided several motivational talks throughout that time and then provided us with story that he hoped would remind us of the joy inherent in hard work and genuine effort. He told us to remember that there would be lots of challenging times in our lives and that hard work and one-hundred percent effort made us winners no matter what the outcome. He reminded us that challenging times made success all that much sweeter and said that our families, teachers, and friends would love us despite our win-loss record. That being said, he told us to be proud of our effort, and go out there and compete like eagles each and every day.

I have shared this story with my own children, as well as countless students, athletes, musicians, artists, and school leaders for over a quarter century. Now as our South Huntington students prepare for their SATs, review for AP and Regents exams, await college admission decisions, endeavor competitive athletic seasons, take challenging new assessments, endure the unavoidable pressure of NYSSMA solos, have their artwork judged on regional levels, and work to be the best they can possibly be, it seems only fitting to share the story with our learning family.  It also seems like a perfect time to remind our students how proud we are of their efforts.  You are a remarkable group of young men and woman, and your spirit and determination stand as an inspiration to us all.

“When God made the oyster, he guaranteed him economic and social security.  He built the oyster a house and a shell to protect him from his enemies.  When hungry, the oyster simply opens his shell and the food rushes in.  Things are easy for the oyster.  But when God made the eagle, He said, “The blue sky is the limit.  Go build your own house.”  And the eagle went and built his house on the highest mountain top where storms threatened him every day.  For food the eagle flies through miles of rain, snow, and wind in order to survive. That is why the eagle, not the oyster, is the emblem of America.”


February Athletes of the Month

Everything seems to be falling into place for Rosa Portaro. “There is so much to do here at Whitman, I find so much to get involved in,” said the starting Point Guard, for the Lady Wildcat Varsity Basketball team. “I enjoy playing Lacrosse, but Basketball is by far my favorite sport,” said Rosa.  “I have been playing in various leagues for about five years, and when I’m out there on the court, I just want to try my hardest,” said the 5’6” freshman. Rosa had an exceptional February as she and her teammates worked hard to get into the playoffs. This was not totally expected since all of last year’s starters were lost to graduation and this year’s group saw limited minutes last season. As a freshman starter, Rosa’s insecurity about playing at the varsity level lasted only moments, as she embraces the physical aspect of the game with tough gritty play that is bound to keep Coach Trebour smiling for several more years. 

Whitman junior Thomas Ferrante had a fantastic month of fencing. In February he was able to post the best Epee fencing record in Suffolk County. Thomas went on to take second place in the county tournament this past season earning 1st Team All-County, and All-Long Island recognition. This past month Thomas traveled to Portland Oregon to compete in the National Junior Olympics. In Portland, Thomas fenced well and placed in the top 50% of all Epee fencers in the Nation. “There is an energy that Thomas brings to practice and to the fencing strip that often feels like a surge of electricity running through the gym,” said Varsity Coach Kathleen Kolakowski.  “To watch Thomas fence, there is a joy about him as he competes. He's serious and determined, yet he enjoys the pressure of the moment.”  As a junior Thomas and family are making the college rounds and whether it’s going to be Boston or Washington, Thomas is hoping to continue his love for social sciences at a top-tier school in either of those cities.

Congratulations to both of these outstanding student athletes!

Left to right: Thomas Ferrante, Whitman Assistant Principal Mr. Jon Varlamos, and Rosa Portaro.

"The Music Man" Headlines Alumni News

What a wonderful surprise to see Whitman ’09 graduate Justin Schuman on stage this past weekend at the John W Engeman Theater. While at Whitman, Justin piled up lots of awards for his theatrical talent which he took to Northwestern University. Justin is a recent graduate of Northwestern where he distinguished himself as a featured dancer, performing in no less than a dozen performances.

Justin made his debut this past week at the beautiful Engeman Theater in Northport where he has a starring role as Tommy Djilas in the hit musical “The Music Man.” This treasured play won 5 Tony’s including Best Musical, and the performance currently running thru May 18th is not to be missed.

Congratulations Justin Schuman, you make South Huntington proud.


Justin Schuman is currently performing in “The Music Man” at the John W. Engeman Theater.

Paying Tribute to the Harlem Renaissance

After several snowstorm postponements, South Huntington’s Black History Month celebration was center stage on Thursday evening, March 27.  Sponsored by the African American Heritage Club, advisor Ms. Cynthia Quinlan oversaw a flawless evening that brought the Harlem Renaissance to the forefront.  This rich period in American history centered on the blossoming of African American culture in the creative arts that was primarily centered in Harlem, New York.

It was during the early 1900s, that the African-American middle class began to advocate for racial equality.  Instead of using more direct political means to achieve their goals, African-American civil rights activists employed the artists and writers of their culture to work for the goals of civil rights and equality.

Jazz music, African-American fine art, and black literature were all absorbed into mainstream culture. This blossoming of African-American culture in European-American society, particularly in the worlds of art and music, became known as The Harlem Renaissance. Students in South Huntington paid tribute to this important period in our history with a collection of art works, literature readings, thoughts and prose, and skits that brought to life moments in history that many may not have been aware of.

The evening was smoothly emceed by the Rows children. Caitlyn, an 8th grader; Gabrielle, in the 5th grade; and brother Nicholas a Silas Wood 6th grader, delighted the audience as they introduced each of the evening’s performances.

Gary Harris, playing the role of Langston Hughes; Jimmeisha Rowe, playing Zora Neale Hurston; Angelou Paul, as Claude McKay; and Alexandra Greaves, playing Redmon Faust; performed a skit that brought to light the story behind a writing contest that proved critical in advancing African-American literature.

Ms. Quinlan read aloud a piece by Justin Shepherd, who was unable to be in attendance, about his thoughts on Zora Neale Hurston, long considered one of the pre-eminent writers of twentieth-century African-American literature.

When it comes to politics, a wonderful skit was performed by Rick Dormeous, playing WEB DuBois, Chris Corbin as Hubert Harrison, and KB Bamgbelu playing Marcus Garvey.

Three of the more well known names of the Harlem Renaissance, Cab Calloway, Billie Holiday, and Louis Armstrong, were expertly played by Clifford Manie, Amani Howard, and Berthin Lindor respectively, in a skit titled “Speak Easy.”

Writing and poetry exhibits, facilitated by Silas Wood teachers Stephanie Brown and Robin Nagar, put together pieces from all of the districts buildings. Also on display were two beautifully created mosaic pieces of art depicting the style of Romare Howard Bearden. This multi talented artist and celebrated humanist, as demonstrated by his lifelong support of young, emerging artists, has major contributions hanging in many of the worlds greatest museums. The composition of jazz musicians of the renaissance era, created by Ms. Wrights 2nd grade class at Oakwood, and Ms. Beck’s 5th graders at Maplewood could also easily be found hanging in a Soho gallery. 

Concluding the evening’s celebration, South Huntington’s Deputy Superintendent Ms. Jacqueline Harris and Whitman Principal Ms. Kathleen Acker both spoke highly of Ms. Quinlan, and the students and parent volunteer who helped make the evening possible. A special thanks also to: The South Huntington Black History Committee, Kathleen Acker, Colleen Grady, Dr. David Bernardo, Stephanie Brown, Robin Nagar, Maria Colon, Jacqueline Harris, Theresa Harris, Mr. and Mrs. Rows, Justin Shepherd, Denise Wright, and the Parents and Students of the African American Heritage Club.

Left to right: Jimmeisha Rowe, Alexandra Greaves, Gary Harris, and Angelou Paul perform “The Contest.”
Caitlyn, Gabrielle, and Nicholas Rows make a perfect sibling team to emcee the Harlem Renaissance celebration.
Left to right: Rick Dormeous, Chris Corbin, and KB Bamgbelu get into politics in one of the evening’s skits.
Ms. Cynthia Quinlan oversaw a flawless evening that brought the Harlem Renaissance to the forefront.
Left to right: Clifford Manie, Berthin Lindor, and Amani Howard perform “Speak Easy” after a video series of some of Harlem’s greatest musicians and performers.
Left to right: Ms. Cynthia Quinlan, Ms. Kathleen Acker, and Ms. Jacqueline Harris conclude the evening by thanking those responsible for all their hard work.
Ms. Beck’s 5th graders at Maplewood Intermediate School created this memorable piece of art.
Singing "Lift Every Voice and Sing," left to right: Alexandra Greaves, Ruby Bafu, and Amani Howard.
Ms. Wrights 2nd grade class at Oakwood proudly display their work of art.

Parent University Registration


South Huntington Union Free School District presents:

Parent University


Thursday, May 1, 2014 at Walt Whitman High School


Program Registration: 4:30PM-5:00PM

Walt Whitman’s High School Main Lobby


Online Registrations are preferred but Hard Copy Registrations are available
and as always, Walk-ins are Welcome!

Dinner will be served


Workshop Group A: 5PM-5:45PM

Workshop Group B: 6PM-6:45PM

Keynote Speaker: 7PM-7:45PM

Workshop Group C: 8PM-8:45PM

Program ends at 9 PM


Child Care is available for children 5 years and older.

Student volunteers will supervise fun arts & craft activities!

Register Here Online

Parent University is a volunteer group made up of parents and educators from the South Huntington School District.

Our goal is to enhance the knowledge and skills of parents with children in grades K-12 through information and resources covering a variety of parenting subjects. A series of meaningful workshops are offered to promote ongoing parental education supporting the well-being of our children.



Please use the following links for additional information about this year's Parent University:

 Parent University SHUFSD Webpage

Additional Website for Parent University

Visualizing the Unthinkable

Art that activates can stir parts of our consciousness that were formally dormant. It can stir thoughts we were not ready to think. It can agitate its viewers and its readers in a way that may change their lives irrevocably. It can save lives.

On March 20th Gina Tinucci, Candice Farrell, and Joseph Pipolo organized a powerful artistic and poetic response to the disturbing statistical realities of relationship violence. The students were provided with information detailing the unsettling truths behind dating abuse:  One in three teens experiences some kind of abuse in their romantic relationships, including physical, verbal, emotional or sexual abuse.  This figure far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence.  Approximately 80% of girls who have been physically abused keep dating their abuser.

With cameras and computers…pens and charcoal…the creative writing, health and photography students got to work.  As talented painters, photographers and poets, they used their mediums to spread awareness and articulate the ugliness of this of this very relevant issue.  For one day, the forum became an exhibition hall where poetry was read and artwork displayed.  The students who participated in the exhibit were very moved by the experience.

Thank you photography student Deyling Raudles for these wonderful photographs.



Jenny Ren thinks about one of the illustrations, noting that one in three teens experiences some kind of abuse in their romantic relationships, including physical, verbal, emotional or sexual abuse.
Joseph L. Pipolo, English Department teacher and advisor for Xanadulit.com and the NEHS English Honor Society, encourages his students to use the arts to explore emotional issues.
Art can stir parts of our consciousness that were formally dormant. It can stir thoughts we were not ready to think.
Nefertiti Samba reads her poem to a packed audience in the Whitman forum.
Annalise Thode reads an original poem as Joseph ‘Pip’ Pipolo moderates the verbal portion of the exhibit.
Ruby Bafu is one of those talented students fortunate enough to be able to express her feelings thru art, dance, poetry, and music.
This student reacts to a photograph that depicts modern technology. For all its conveniences, today’s technology also helps shield bullies and their cowardly behavior.

Whitman's Got Talent. . . And Plenty Of It!

This annual tradition continues, and the wealth of talent still boggles the mind. There are students that, with steady progress, will find their way and clearly enjoy expressing their talent. And there are those who already belong on the professional stage. The majority are all in the middle of course, and that makes for a thoroughly enjoyable evening as “Whitman’s Got Talent” showcased our amazingly talented students. 

In a true talent showcase form, our three judges provided witty and honest assessment at the conclusion of each number and the audience couldn’t get enough. The humorous banter between judges Latko, Damm, and Graziano, added to a festive evening, strengthening the close artistic community that reinforces Whitman as a top-level school for the performing arts.

Show announcers Emily Stasko, Doug Castro, and ‘KB’ Bamgbleu kept the performance moving and delighted the audience as they too were drawn into several of the performances. Congratulations to Doug Castro, who seized the moment, by asking Nicole Quattrocchi, who had just finished performing her Synchronized Swimming Medley, easily the evenings funniest performance, to the Senior Prom.

Congratulations to the following performers (in order of appearance, some students listed twice, as they performed more than once): Olivia Banting, Ianni Karagiannis, Tyler Gianchetta, the Latino Dance Club, Gina Cipriano, Nicole Quattrocchi, Jenn Fenwick, Elizabeth Bushey, Ruby Bafu, Amy Profaci, Symone Stewart, Chelsea Saccente, Mr. Jon Varlamos, Eliza Wong, Chelsea Saccente, Symone Stewart, Anthony Morace, Nick Miata, Kyle Bernstein, Jack Zuckerberg, Jenn Fenwick, Emily Dilillo, The Award Winning Whitman Step Team, Jeremy Williams, and Amelia and Danielle Profaci.

The senior class officers and Mrs. Zamow would like to thank Mrs. Latko, Mrs. Damm & Mr. Graziano for being our judges; Alex Dollin and the Lamplighters for handling the lighting and sound; Men’s Warehouse for supplying the announcers tuxedos; the custodial staff for setting up, Mrs. Acker and all the administration for making this event possible. Above all, we want to thank all of the students who shared their talents with us for making this show possible!

Slide show of complete performance:Photo Gallery



Bafu & Crew perform “Say Something by A Great Big World” by Christina Aguilera. Left to right: Symone Stewart, Chelsea Saccente, and Amy Profaci. Off camera: Jon Varlamos on Piano and vocals, Eliza Wong on Violin, and Ruby Bafu-vocals.
Left to right: Elizabeth Bushey, Nicole Quattrocchi, and Jenn Fenwick perform a Modern Dance Synchronized Swimming Medley that had the audience smiling.
Ruby Bafu performing “Say Something by A Great Big World” by Christina Aguilera.
The Latino Dance Club performing a Dance Medley.
Olivia Banting, reacts to the judges after her piano and vocal performance of “Empire State of Mind” by Alicia Keys.
Chelsea Saccente, on guitar and vocals, enjoys what the judges had to say about her performance of “Everything Has Changed” by Taylor Swift.
The Award Winning Whitman Step Team.
Gina Cipriano, on piano and vocal performs “Beneath Your Beautiful”, by Labyrinth.
Judges left to right: Mr. Graziano, Mrs. Damm, and Mrs. Latko, clearly enjoyed the evening.
Show announcers Emily Stasko, Doug Castro, and ‘KB’ Bamgbleu did a fantastic job.
Left to right: Danielle and Amelia Profaci perform “Tatooed Heart” by Ariana Grande.
The declared winner of the evening…the highly talented Jeremy Williams who performed “New York State of Mind” by Billy Joel.

STEM Diversity Summit Gets an A

Now in its fourth year, the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Diversity Summit at Farmingdale State College included the “Arts” to form STEAM. Each year this summit presents an opportunity for educators and industry leaders to engage in collaborative, cross-sector work. New York’s current and future economic health depends greatly on the vibrancy of our STEM/STEAM fields.

At this year’s STEM Diversity Summit, students from various Long Island schools had the opportunity to show off their STEM talent as they presented their projects to judges and competed for honors. The students were able to partake in panel presentations and discussions with leaders in many fields as they learned about what makes STEM education vital for their success as they consider life beyond high school.

“Integrating the Arts with STEM is essential in transforming the economy of the 21st Century,” said Farmingdale’s Chief Diversity Officer and Executive Assistant to the President, Dr. Veronica Henry. “As we develop strategies for promoting STEM/STEAM education, it is important to fully engage educators and businesses to create programs that motivate and excite students.” 

Students from Silas Wood Sixth Grade Center, Stimson Middle School, and Walt Whitman High School enjoyed an event-filled day.  Mr. David Perkins, LCSW, Coordinator of Student Services in South Huntington, was one of the summit's co-chairs. Dr. Jared Bloom, South Huntington’s Supervisor for Assessment, Technology, Instruction and Curriculum, was one of the event judges, and Deputy Superintendent Ms. Jacqueline Harris was a moderator for a panel that focused on “STEM/STEAM Education and Careers in Action”

It was a busy and very competitive morning with students being awarded prizes for the quality of their presentations.  After a hearty lunch, the final awards were presented, and we are proud to announce that South Huntington sixth-grader Ryan Wittleder took home a Silver medal for his submission,  “The Science of Solar Power.”

Congratulations to all of our South Huntington students, and to their dedicated teachers and parents who inspire their success every day. 

Slide Show:Photo Gallery 



Stimson students proudly wait for the judges to give them their critique.
Deputy Superintendent Ms. Jacqueline Harris moderates a panel that focused on “STEM/STEAM Education and Careers in Action”
Walt Whitman Robotics teams from the VEX ad FIRST teams demonstrate their award winning robots.
Earlier in the day Whitman students gave 2 presentations for the judges, Medical Marvels and Reconstruction and Resilience Challenge. Here they are patiently waiting their turn at the lunch buffet.
The Silas Wood team gather for a group photo.
Congratulations to Ryan Wittleder who took home a Silver medal for his submission; “The Science of Solar Power.”


Students at Stimson Middle School spent some time with two Para Olympians recently. Tony Fitzgerald and Charles Albert gave presentations, during which they talked with students about their experiences and about the importance of maintaining a positive attitude despite having to overcome major obstacles.

“To me, the power of a positive attitude is crucial,” said Tony. “A positive attitude is everything, and not just overcoming obstacles but helping to manage them as well. We believe in leading by example even though we have tough obstacles to overcome.” The two wheelchair athletes encouraged the students to treat their bodies right by eating healthy food, getting plenty of exercise, always using their seatbelts, and wearing helmets. “Safety is so important for kids,” said Charles. “Simple things like wearing your seatbelts, always using helmets, and not diving in shallow water may seem simple, but they are very important to remember.”

The Stimson students each got to take a wheelchair for a spin in a race and then played basketball from their wheelchairs under the guidance of the two Para Olympians. “This presentation, during Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, emphasizes that we want our students to think of the glass as half full as opposed to half empty,” said Stimson physical education teacher Mr. John DiGiacomo “A positive attitude can help pull you through whatever adversity you face.”

The two Para Olympians are extremely active in their communities and encourage others to do the same. Both are involved in the Nassau Kings Wheelchair Basketball League. Charles is one of its founding members, and Tony is the founding member of the Nassau Aviators Wheelchair Softball League. “People with disabilities are just like anybody else,” said Tony, who has been bringing his message to South Huntington students for close to 10 years. “We all need to look out for each other.”

The South Huntington PTA Cultural Arts Committee presented this unique and heartwarming program to the Stimson students.


It’s not as easy as it looks, as this student gives his best shot.
Mr. Charles Albert, who made the mistake of not finding a safe spot on the LIE to change a flat tire, had the student’s attention with his story that could happen to anyone.
Tony Fitzgerald, who also endured a horrific accident, encouraged students to think about safety, especially using their seatbelts, and wearing helmets.

5K Run

5k Web Page

STEM Highlights Silas Wood Curriculum Fair

There was something exciting in the air at Silas Wood Sixth Grade Center the other night. Their annual STEM Curriculum Fair was underway, and as students led their families through the welcoming doors, you could see the pride on their faces. Students at the Sixth Grade Center have been focusing on an area that has been getting welcome attention recently.

The nationwide movement is called STEM, and it stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. In fact, many of our students just competed at the regional STEM Diversity Summit, that was held at Farmingdale State College on Friday, March 21. We are proud to announce that we have a winner at Silas Wood. Congratulations to Ryan Wittleder who took home a Silver medal for his submission;  “The Science of Solar Power.”

STEM is intended to strengthen our economic and workforce development. In short, the STEM arena is where the jobs are going to be and is the subject area in which students need to excel in order to be competitive in the workplace. South Huntington’s schools have been promoting STEM subjects for a while now, helping to ensure that our students are competitive in the 21st-century job market.  

“The Silas Wood STEM Curriculum Fair, is a way of investing in challenging, rigorous educational strategies to guide our students to a greater interest in and understanding of the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” said Silas Wood Principal Mr. Steve Toto. “The STEM Curriculum Fair is a powerful tool for teaching and engaging students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”

Students were given the opportunity to choose one of four projects;

Person of Accomplishment--Students were able to choose a scientist, engineer, or mathematician and research his or her life.

Weather Instrument--Students chose a weather instrument to research and build.

Rube Goldberg--Students were encouraged to preview original Rube Goldberg cartoon sketches and then create their own cartoon sketch using simple machines.  Some students even created a working replica of their sketch. 

Scientific Method--Students conducted an experiment and included all the steps and data collected with photos on their display boards.

The projects were displayed throughout the Sixth Grade Center, and students stood next to their projects, eager to present their findings to the visitors. “The night was a huge success, and we are very proud of all the hard work and effort that the students put into their projects,” said Principal Toto. 

Superintendent Dave Bennardo raved about the efforts of the talented students and the dedicated teachers and parents who inspire their success. “Our young people are demonstrating such creativity and deep thinking as they rise to the challenges of the technologically savvy 21st Century.”


Slide Show: Photo Gallery


“The STEM Curriculum Fair is a powerful tool for teaching and engaging students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.” -Silas Wood Principal Steve Toto
Ryan Wittleder who took home a Silver Medal at the 2014 STEM Diversity Summit. His science teacher Ms. Ms. Abbondondolo congratulates Ryan.
A fascinating inventor and scientist, Nikola Tesla actually predicted the possibility of wireless communication with his devices as early as 1893.
In the Rube Goldberg Project section, Ethan Halle shows how a hockey player turns a light on and off. And yes, it’s not as easy as it sounds… but that’s the magic of Rube Goldberg.

Highlights from the Health and Wellness Fair

This year’s Health and Wellness Fair, hosted by the South Huntington School District, proved yet again, that each year new and innovative ways to achieve a healthier lifestyle are available, if you know where to look.

The attendees at this year’s fair knew just where to look, and they came away smiling and with their arms full of free goodies and resources that will hopefully give them the tools they need to live a healthier lifestyle.

There were enlightening educational booths that let you know your blood pressure was a little high, informed you about the therapeutic benefits of a good massage, and told you about the possible cause and remedy of those seasonal sniffles. The Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) booth was a busy stop as they provided samples and educational materials about the increasing awareness of food allergies.

The fair blended professionals in the areas of physical therapy, nursing, dental health, cancer research, sports medicine and safety, drug and alcohol counseling, psychological services, weight loss, exercise, and many more, with the energy and enthusiasm of our district’s students, who were eager to share why they are up on all the very latest in healthy living. Booths featured many samples of tasty foods that were healthy alternatives. The Lifestyle By Kim booth, manned by Kim Page, emphasized how easy it is for healthy living to be a lifestyle and not just a trend. “Achieve Health” founder Josh Manda, as well as Master Personal Trainer Caesar Calderon of Gym33 all had healthy messages to promote. 

Stimson’s Middle School SADD Club, shared information on anti-bullying as well as signing up donors for their upcoming blood Drive. Countrywood led an ambitious effort to turn Principal Kenney into a “real” live Cardinal as part of their Pennies for Patients fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Foundation.  And right next to them were the students from Walt Whitman’s SADD Club, under the advisor ship of Ms. Schubert, and club president Emma Kongevold, who held a membership drive highlighting the incredible activities the club sponsors.  Whitman’s new Red Cross Club was seeking donations for Measles Vaccinations in developing nations. According to club advisors Ms. Berkowitz, Ms. Haik, and Ms. Rodrigues, along with Club president Matt Campanella, $10 will vaccinate a whole village.   

Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Brownie Troops, and Girl Scouts were all in attendance. An hour on the treadmill will take care of those tasty thin mints. Oakwood students have really perfected their Wii active entertainment system that they use in conjunction with their physical education classes and they teamed that together with other nutritional advice. The Wii System was donated to Oakwood via a PIE Grant by SHEF. Silas Wood manned their “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive and Maplewood and Birchwood teamed resources for a combination blood drive that was administered by the New York Blood Center. 

Suffolk County “Shed the Meds,” sponsored by Legislator Steve Stern and the Suffolk County Police Department had a successful day as a 33-gallon prescription disposal can gradually became full.

The district-wide poster contest yielded excellent results, and proud winners at each grade level stepped up to receive their acknowledgements. The Food Services Department gave parents a picture-perfect display of all the healthy foods that are offered to the district’s students. Food Services also offered their own taste contest between two new lunch entries with the winner to be added to the menu. Which will win: pasta primavera or a mildly spicy rice and bean mix, all of which included health vegetables. And let’s not forget the new South Huntington 5K Run/Walk/Kids Fun Run on Saturday, May 31st. Additional information is on this website under community.

Congratulations poster contestants and the contest winners marked in bold:

Grades K-2: Madison Matteo, Isabelle Minero, Lilly O’Phelan , Kate O’Phelan, Penelope Kalvert, Kamran Gharabaghi, and Sienna Gresser all from Oakwood.

Grades 3-5: Mekhi Stevenson, Cecilia Medina, Sandra Cruz, Emma Dermody, Matthew McManus, Troy Long, Ayesha Ansari, Jennifer Cisneros, Yeili Espinal, Ayra Noman, Andrew Valiente, Jordan St. Croix, Brianna Iacovone, Kasey Wagner, Sean Schwantner, Taylar Ervolino, Emily Szwedo, Freddi Faigelman, Alexa Gluckstal, and Madison Gresser all from Birchwood.

Grades 9-12: Oscar Gutierrez Garay, Cristian Hidalgo, Hans Bas, Cristobal Forno, and Claudia Rodriguez from Walt Whitman.              

This year’s Health and Wellness Fair would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of the district’s Health and Wellness Committee.


A very special thanks to all the vendors. See you all next year, healthy and ready to learn and explore why it’s never too early or too late to be in charge of a healthy life and healthy body.

Slide Show:

Photo Gallery


Left to right at the SHED The MEDS booth: Suffolk County Officer Mike O’Neill, Dr. Joseph T. Centamore, Dr. P. David Bennardo, Ms. Linda LaCara, Ms. Jacqueline Harris, Officer Andrew Fiorello, Suffolk County Officer James S. Garside, and Ms. Lisa Brieff.
The Girl Scout cookie booth was also a popular stop for many attendees.
Birchwood principal Mr. Anthony Ciccarelli gets an escort on his way to donate blood.
Over at the Countrywood booth you could make a donation, pin a feather on the principal, and help out the Leukemia & Lymphoma Foundation.
Master Personal Trainer Caesar Calderon of Gym33 had some excellent advice about staying fit.
Ms. Suzanne Manaseri had everything you need to know about the upcoming 5K Fundraiser on May 31st.
Members of Whitman’s SADD Club have a membership drive and bring awareness to the many community and school activities they are involved in.
Madison Matteo, an Oakwood student and one of the 1st place winners in the poster contest, gets congratulated by Superintendent Dave Bennardo and Deputy Superintendent Jacqueline Harris.

Four Perfect Pebbles Packs a Powerful Message for Stimson Students

As part of Stimson’s Character Education Program, Author and Holocaust survivor Marion Blumenthal Lazan gave a moving first-hand account of her family’s life from imprisonment in Nazi concentration camps to liberation, for our eighth-grade students.

Marion’s story of courage, hope, and the will to survive, illustrates the importance of positive thinking, creativity, inner strength, and tolerance. Mrs. Lazan is author of Four Perfect Pebbles: A Holocaust Story, a memoir. Following Hitler’s rise to power, the Blumenthal family – father, mother, Marion, and her brother Albert – were trapped in Nazi Germany. They eventually managed to get to Holland, which soon thereafter was occupied by the Nazis. For the next six and a half years, the Blumenthals were forced to live in refugee, transit, and prison camps, including Westerbork in Holland and the notorious Bergen-Belsen in Germany. Although they all survived the camps, Walter Blumenthal, the father, succumbed to typhus just after liberation.

Ms. Lazan, spoke of sensitivity and patience as she captivated Stimson’s eight-grade audience. She stressed the importance of positive thinking to overcome adversity, and asked our students to be tolerant of others and not stereotype individuals.

This wonderful opportunity for our Stimson students to hear this first hand account from a living Holocaust survivor was made possible by the PTA Cultural Arts Program.


Students stayed after the assembly with additional questions for Ms. Lazan.
Ms. Lazan holds up her book "Four Perfect Pebbles: A Holocaust Story, a memoir."
Perhaps one of her favorite parts of the assembly presentation is when Ms. Lazan gets to spend some one-on-one time with our students.

Making The Connection

Mr. Callahan, the College and Career Ready Coach at Walt Whitman High School, along with 23 students, traveled to Microsoft’s New York Headquarters in Times Square to visit the brand new state-of-the-art Microsoft Technology Center where the students experienced the latest technology devices and touch experiences offered by Microsoft and We Connect the Dots (WCTD).

Students participated in high energy, high tech activities using Microsoft Technology Solutions throughout the day.  In their first activity students connected with experts in the online student/teacher community - Yammer.  In the next segment students explored digital animation and the endless possibilities in the gaming industry. After touring the MTC, students learned how easy it is to dream, create, and have fun with Coding to develop Mobile application using Microsoft AppMaker.

We Connect the Dots is a consortium of partners whose mission is to inspire and educate students in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) careers.  Through collaboration with the community, education, government and the technology industry, WCTD provides awareness and education of the 21st Century workforce skills, as well as the opportunities available to students embracing STEAM careers.  Impacting students at a local, national and global level, our programs create a hunger for learning that empowers students to find their own paths to success.

This was a highly successful visit and another is being planned for this summer. Stay tuned as Mr. Callahan has lots of great collaborations with leading technology companies in store for our students.


Huntington Historical Society Summer Camp Flyers


Wildcat Summer Sports Camp Raffle

Summer Fun for Everyone! 

The Wildcat Booster Club is having a Special Fundraising Raffle!

Here’s your chance to WIN a 2014 “Wildcat Summer Sports Camp 4 week Package” 

(Sport selections of your choice) 

$20.00 per chance or a bundle of 3 chances @ $50.00 (Prize worth over $1,000)

See attached flyer for details and to enter


Oakwood PTA Comedy Night

This has become such a must ticket! The comedians were really funny, the food was really good, and those raffle baskets! But the best part was seeing so many of Oakwood’s staff and parents enjoying a beautiful evening, all for a great cause.

So book now using the attached invitation/reservation form and don’t miss out on a really fun evening.

Thursday, May 15th @ 6:45PM Crest Hollow Country Club



Registration Open- 2014 Summer Music and Arts Program

The 2014 South Huntington UFSD Summer Music and Arts Program will begin on June 30th, and continue through July 25th at Walt Whitman High School.  Each class meets daily for 45 minutes. Students may register for a full-morning program (5 classes) or a half-morning program (3 classes). Single classes are available and the option to do an afternoon session at sports camp is also available. 

Back by popular demand, the Summer Music and Arts Program is offering  specialized classes for high school students.   We hope our website provides you with all the information necessary to plan an exciting summer arts schedule for your child.  Registration IS NOW OPEN!!!  Please visit www.summermusicandarts.com for further information.  

Frank Yolango- Co Coordinator- fyolango@shufsd.org -631-812-398

Allan Deitz-Co Coordinator adeitz@shufsd.org-631-812-3982

2014 Wildcat Summer Sports Camp

The 2014 Wildcat Summer Sports Camp brochures are now available on the District’s website. You may either open and download the attachment below or go to Athletic Department eboard tab under Sports Camp.

Wildcat Kids “A-Cat-Emy” is for children entering K-2 as of September 2014.

Wildcat Sports Camp is available for children entering grades 3-8 as of September 2014. 

And new for this year is our Counselor In Training Program available to children entering the 9th grade as of September 2014. 

Out of District Campers are always welcome!



BOE Budget Review Series

After each of the weekly budget review sessions, held every Wednesday in March at Walt Whitman High School, we will post that weeks presentation on the district website for your review.