Walt Whitman Principal Kathleen Acker's Graduation Speech – June 27, 2015

Good Morning Dr. Bennardo, Mr. Kaden, Members of the school board, members of Cabinet, administration, staff members, family members and graduates.  Welcome to the 2015 Walt Whitman High School Commencement Ceremony.   

High school graduation is the day that students wait for right from the time they step into their first school. It is a very proud and exciting moment in a student's life. And for all those people that care and value them, it is indeed a proud moment.  Graduation is the day when students complete their first 13 years of education and are free to step into the world and begin making their own decisions with regard to continuing education and career choices.  It is the day when all the hard work that they put in, pays off. Graduation is a memorable and emotional moment, filled with laughter, happiness, caps thrown in the air, picture taking, and tears of joy and sadness of parting with friends.

In the words of Robert Orben, an author and presidential speechwriter, “A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that "individuality" is the key to success.”   Though you are all dressed alike you are unique individuals that have managed in a very meaningful way to achieve something that is the first step towards being successful in this journey called life. 

This year’s Video Year Book had a title in the beginning, which I think is very profound as it defines who you have been throughout your educational career thus far.  It states “Whitman Be Together…  Not the same”

When I was talking with staff about their impression of who the Class of 2015 is.. Mr. Yolango stated that “Even with all the different races, religions, and sexual orientations, this senior class was a big family.  They didn't see those things...they saw each other as people.”

Ms. Papianou shared that in this class are profound thinkers, philosophers, dreamers – scholars whose thoughts go well beyond the confines of the norm. They are visionaries who think deeply and authentically.

Mrs. Latko shared a quote from renowned linguist Lev Vygotsky's quote:  "Through others, we become ourselves" she shared that the class of 2015 is unique in their support of each other's differences, accomplishments, skills and personalities.  Simply stated, they value one another.  They have helped each another become who they are. 

Again I will state this……”Whitman  Be Together…  Not the same”

This country is in the process of graduating over 3,000,000 millennials this year.  Your generation is being referred to as the “millennials”. Millennials were born between 1982 and 2000.  And this just released by the US Census Bureau on June 25, 2015… Millennials Outnumber Baby Boomers and Are Far More Diverse.  You now represent more than one quarter of the nation’s population and have been the most diverse generation on record.   I have always referred to Walt Whitman High School as a beautiful slice of America.  Our diversity is something to be celebrated and my hope is that it has prepared you for citizenship in a multicultural community, country, and world.   

Just an aside Millennials use social media more frequently than any other generation and are even more likely to sleep near their cell phone.  Goldman Sachs states that Millennials are the most scheduled generation ever, are true multi-taskers, should expect to have 6-8 careers in their lifetime and are attracted to diverse environments.  Whitehouse.gov website states this about Millennials… they have been plugged into technology since they were babies.  While all generations have experienced technological advances, the sheer amount of computational power and access to information that Millennials have had at their fingertips since grade-school is unparalleled.

You are truly a generation that has the potential to have a dramatic, positive, global impact.  I am so excited to know that the students sitting here today are our future…. They have the character, the capacity, the drive, and ability to keep making this world a better place.  And I for one cannot wait to watch this unfold. 

Another special quality of this class is their commitment to service.  This class has amassed over 23,950 of reported community service hours, and I am sure that there are equally as many unreported hours.  This class has demonstrated a commitment to volunteerism like no other and I am very thankful and proud.  As shared by The VSO, an organization that uses volunteers to fight poverty and reduce inequality, volunteering is the ultimate expression of human relationships – people acting on behalf of their communities, because of a desire to contribute and help.   As stated by Princess Diana, “Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” 

Throughout your four years here I have mentioned on numerous occasions that there is no feeling like sitting on the football field on that June weekend as you celebrate your graduation.  I would now like to share with you why I think that a high school graduation is like no other that you will experience in your life.  There will be no other graduation where you may have known the person sitting in front of you since preschool or kindergarten, where the person sitting behind you took swimming lessons with you, or where the person 3 rows back wore the same Cub Scout or Brownie uniform as you.  There will be no other graduation where you will remember when a fellow graduate had braces, or played little league with you or exploded a volcano with you as you prepared for the science fair.  There will be no other graduation where you shared a driver’s ed car, enjoyed proms, suffered through the SATs, and shared the excitement of receiving your college admissions letter with a friend and then you realize that you will be attending on opposite coasts.  High School graduation is the end of a journey, a special journey like no other complete with a realization that the bond that has been established among each of you that feels so strong right now is unlikely to be felt exactly like this again in your lifetime.

At this point I just have a few requests that I would like the class of 2015 to consider:

Please set goals for yourself, as they are absolutely necessary to motivate us. It honestly doesn’t matter what the goal you set for yourself as long as you set one.

Have the courage to take a chance on yourself or for something you feel is right.  Be courageous. In the words of Walt Disney “All our dreams can come true...if we have the courage to pursue them."


Have self-respect. Be comfortable in your skin, love who you are.  Each and every one of you is so important.   As Maya Angelou has shared with us “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

Be a risk taker. Risk takers set goals and in spite of all obstacles do everything in their power to successfully attain them.  It means looking at things from a different angle and being creative. It means taking chances and being willing to learn.  Taking risks means making mistakes and having an understanding that in order to succeed you have to be willing to accept the fact that you may fail. As NBA player Michael Jordon states, “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying.

As we are here on your graduation day you now face a future of endless opportunities and a world of infinite possibilities.   As stated by the International Business Times, Merriam-Webster defines "graduation" as "the act of receiving a diploma or degree," but for the more than 3 million students leaving school this year, it's so much more. Graduation is a time to reflect on memories and celebrate your academic accomplishments. It's a time to appreciate the past but consider the future. It's a time to tackle new experiences with the lessons you learned from old ones. 

Have confidence and always believe in yourself!   There is a saying from an unknown author, “A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on its own wings”.

The other day I went into the Chorus room and saw the beautiful mural painted by the Art Honor Society and it included this passage from a poem from our own Walt Whitman.    So I would like to end my commencement address to you with that passage:

“I sing a song of myself, as others have done before me, but none have sung a song like this because this one is mine, and there will never be any like me”.

Graduates I wish you a lifetime of success and dreams come true I also want to leave you with this…. do not listen if people tell you that you can’t; because you can!!!!! 

Congratulations graduates!!

Congratulations parents! 

Dr. Bennardo’s Graduation Speech – June 27, 2015

No matter how many graduations I attend as a student, teacher, coach, principal, and now Superintendent, there is something remarkably unique about each one. Sure the buildings are different, the school colors vary, and the grounds have their own special characteristics, but those aren't the things that distinguish a graduation and give it special character. The truth is that it is the people who give a graduation its authentic signature.  It is the special stories – the individual and collective histories – the laughs – the cries – and the unique celebrations that only insiders can understand.  A high school graduation takes on a life of its own through memories of classroom accomplishments, the pain of late night studying, exciting playoff runs, amazing concerts, beautiful art shows, shared smiles of happiness during good times, shared hugs of comfort during tough times, and a unique history that galvanizes a class of amazing students, proud parents, and dedicated teachers into a true Whitman family. The reality is that outsiders simply cannot understand what you (well, we) are feeling right now.  Your Whitman experience is a complex, rich story that includes hundreds of twists and turns, ups and downs, and wonderful variables that combine for a lifetime of memories, and I consider myself so fortunate to have been invited in some small way into your class of 2015 family.  I have been at your side with pride and watched as you cheered each other through good times, and picked each other up during some incredible struggles and tragedies; and through each and every moment, I stood in awe of just how much you cared for your Walt Whitman family.  The truth is that I have never seen a class stick together and care for their school and each other so deeply.

If I am experiencing these feelings after only three years with the Class of 2015, you can only imagine the pride being felt by the people behind you who have shared your entire lives. Your moms and dads, your grandmothers and grandfathers, are feeling things right now that are almost indescribable.  I know that because I see it in their eyes, feel it through their tears, and believe it through their proud smiles.  You see, this thing called parenting is the most complicated job in the world. We start out just a few years older than you are right now, with almost no idea of what we are doing.  In most cases we have barely paid a bill or lived on our own when we are handed this beautiful baby and told to meet our new son or daughter.  It starts out so incredibly simple as we strap in the car seat and show you off to relatives, wait for you to roll over, convince ourselves that a mumble sounds like you’re actually saying mommy and daddy, or call everyone from the neighborhood in to see you take your first steps or hear you read your first words.  Then the pace picks up and the real roller-coaster ride called parenting begins to gain steam.  There is the first day of school when we are quite clearly more nervous than you.  There are little league ballgames, music recitals, and talent shows, where we sit in the audience with a pride that is simply indescribable.  There is the stress over Regents Exams, a pit in our stomach over SATs, nervousness over your driving test (in my house for each of the 5 tests it took to pass).  Then there are parties, dances, boyfriends, girlfriends that come with school and all the joy and drama those entail.  When you are happy, your parents are happy, when you are hurting, your parents’ hearts break, and they want nothing more than to take your pain away and bear it themselves.  We quickly learn, however, that this is not the way life works.  In fact, the older and stronger you get, the less we can control the variables that impact your lives.   Remarkably, parenting is the only job in the world that if done well, makes the people we love most need us less and less each year.  Now while there is a certain degree of melancholy in that reality, there is also the greatest feeling of accomplishment in the world. 

While our hair might be graying a bit, and the vast majority of our life decisions such as career, marriage, and home selections have been made, you provide us with a fresh, open slate.  Your moms and dads get up in the morning and believe the future is bright because they have a chance to live through your accomplishments. They (We) all smile a little wider and puff up with a bit more pride because of the men and women that you are and will become.  It is almost impossible to imagine the things you will do, the places you will go, and the impact you will make on your families, this community, and your country.  When all is said and done, you are the greatest gift we have left.  You are our reason for believing!  So I ask you to be a bit patient with the teary parents, grandparents, teachers, and staff today.  You see they (we) love you so much, and we see hope springing eternal, and inevitable possibilities in your future.

So now, as I say good-bye, I want to leave you with those same parting wishes that we give to every graduating class.  I hope you take a piece of South Huntington pride with you into the next phase of your life.  I hope you find college life rewarding and that you fall in love with your new school the way we fell in love with you.  I hope you find a career that makes it a pleasure to get up in the morning and keeps you proud each and every day.  I hope you meet a person whose eyes you can stare into one day and say, “I do,” knowing that you’ve met a soul mate that you’ll have for the rest of your life.  I hope you know the blessing of having a son or daughter wrap their arms around you and hear the words, “Mommy, Daddy, you’re my best friend.”  I hope you know the blessings of good health.  I hope you’re close with your own parents and recognize their wisdom for many, many years to come.  And, most of all, I hope you remember us and keep Walt Whitman High School alive in your hearts for the rest of your lives. 

I know that I will emerge from this year with the lifelong pride and understanding that for one small moment in time, I stood shoulder to shoulder with the Class of 2015.  I could never thank you enough for the blanket of warmth that you have wrapped around our community.  You are truly remarkable.  God speed, Class of 2015.  We love you very much.         

Walt Whitman 415 Graduates

This group of seniors, as well as many of the girls expressed their individuality by decorating their hats.
Your South Huntington Board of Education members left to right: Lisa Brieff, Nicholas Ciappetta, Edward Nitkewicz, Michele DeGaetano, Linda LaCara, Laura Carey, and Jim Kaden.
Dr. Bennardo pauses during an applause that struck home with the parents in the audience. “When you are happy, your parents are happy, when you are hurting, your parents’ hearts break, and they want nothing more than to take your pain away and bear it themselves.”
Friends on the athletic fields, in the classroom, and in the community, these graduates are ready for their next journey.
“I hope you take a piece of South Huntington pride with you into the next phase of your life.” – Superintendent Bennardo

The weather cooperated as 415 Whitman seniors began the next step in their lives. Students, guests, and family members heard from Board of Education President Jim Kaden, District Superintendent Dr. David Bennardo, and Whitman Principal Kathleen Acker. After a little less than 2 hours, Whitman’s Salutatorian, Isabel Sakarin, and this year’s Valedictorian, Jonathan Sparling, along with their 2015 senior classmates, began a new and promising chapter in their young lives.

An excerpt from BOE President Jim Kaden:

"I have faith that one day America will realize the ideals and values to which we claim to aspire and I have faith in your ability to help make that a reality.  To that end I urge each of you as newly minted adults to participate in your own lives, your families, your community, and yes, your government.  I know that many of you already understand the need for, and the rewards of, community service and have been most generous with your money, talent, and time.  To those that have kept it up, to those that haven’t I ask that you please remember those that gave of themselves so that you could prosper.  When you are asked to do the same for the next generation, I hope you do so gladly."

An excerpt from Schools Superintendent Dr. Bennardo:

“No matter how many graduations I attend as a student, teacher, coach, principal, and now Superintendent, there is something remarkably unique about each one. Sure the buildings are different, the school colors vary, and the grounds have their own special characteristics, but those aren't the things that distinguish a graduation and give it special character. The truth is that it is the people who give a graduation its authentic signature.  It is the special stories – the individual and collective histories – the laughs – the cries – and the unique celebrations that only insiders can understand.  A high school graduation takes on a life of its own through memories of classroom accomplishments, the pain of late night studying, exciting playoff runs, amazing concerts, beautiful art shows, shared smiles of happiness during good times, shared hugs of comfort during tough times, and a unique history that galvanizes a class of amazing students, proud parents, and dedicated teachers into a true Whitman family. The reality is that outsiders simply cannot understand what you (well, we) are feeling right now.  Your Whitman experience is a complex, rich story that includes hundreds of twists and turns, ups and downs, and wonderful variables that combine for a lifetime of memories, and I consider myself so fortunate to have been invited in some small way into your class of 2015 family.  I have been at your side with pride and watched as you cheered each other through good times, and picked each other up during some incredible struggles and tragedies; and through each and every moment, I stood in awe of just how much you cared for your Walt Whitman family.  The truth is that I have never seen a class stick together and care for their school and each other so deeply.”

In her commencement message, Principal Acker shared a few requests that she would like the class of 2015 to consider:

“Please set goals for yourself as they are absolutely necessary to motivate us. It honestly doesn’t matter what the goal you set for yourself as long as you set one.

Have the courage to take a chance on yourself or for something you feel is right.  Be courageous. In the words of Walt Disney ‘All our dreams can come true...if we have the courage to pursue them."

“Have self-respect. Be comfortable in your skin, love who you are.  Each and every one of you is so important.   As Maya Angelou has shared with us ‘You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.’”

“Be a risk taker. Risk takers set goals and in spite of all obstacles do everything in their power to successfully attain them.  It means looking at things from a different angle and being creative. It means taking chances and being willing to learn.  Taking risks means making mistakes and having an understanding that in order to succeed you have to be willing to accept the fact that you may fail. As NBA player Michael Jordan states ‘I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying.’”

Superintendent Bennardo’s, Principal Acker’s, and BOE President Jim Kaden’s complete commencement speeches will be printed in the July issue of Spotlight as well as a separate website posting.

Photo Gallery #1

Photo Gallery #2



BOE President Jim Kaden's Graduation Speech – June 27, 2015

Good Morning.  On behalf of the Board of Education it is my pleasure to congratulate you, the class of 2015 on the completion of your high school education.  Graduation represents both a milestone in your life and for many a point where new paths are chosen.  

It is my fervent hope that we at South Huntington Schools have accomplished our goal to lead you to attain the foundations you will need to achieve success in your lives.  Along with your academic lessons you have had many opportunities to learn about becoming responsible citizens capable of fully participating in society.

At this point you are now called upon to assume your responsibility to provide your input to the great American experiment.  To this day, the central concepts of our national charter that was forged in Phildelphia in 1787, remain consistent topics of the ongoing national debate: freedom of speech and religion, the right to bear arms, the right to privacy and the list goes on.  It will fall on you and others of your generation to make the right decisions and that will require your full participation.  Even while we all need to recognize the fundamental success and optimism of this great nation, we cannot fail to lend our minds to understanding our failings.  Judging by the large number of horrific events that continue in this country and in the world, it seems apparent that there still remains a wide chasm between the ideals and promise of the American Dream and the American reality.

It is left to the American people to understand and address the challenge. One might think that with all the sources of information now available we would find it easier and easier to find solutions to problems, but very often the exact opposite is happening.  Americans must struggle to gather information from multiple and often polarized perspectives just to gain an understanding of the basic facts of any given situation.  Perhaps the biggest problem we face today is that issues needing the most attention often cannot even be discussed openly without fear of being trivialized or ostracized with one stereotype or another in an attempt to isolate others who don’t agree with us.  It is in this isolation that the seeds of hatred and violence are sown.  Whether it is the middle school child bullied to the point of genuine despair or the person who commits an act of terrorism for revenge, the result is the same; a tragic event that did not need to be.  In light of the situation it is easy to see the American Dream as hypocritical and give up on it.   That is exactly the wrong course of action.

Just as with us as individuals, there are often disconnects between where we are and where we want our country to be.  As educated people it is our responsibility to take the time to understand the issues of the day and seek to understand why others feel differently than we do. 

We must study carefully the words people use when they make statements.  Are they merely looking for opportunities to place blame on a rival?  Do they ridicule or marginalize other thoughts or seek to gain some advantage?  Do they offer workable solutions or merely criticism and accusations that further polarize the debate? 

As we reach out to others and try to persuade them to understand our own point of view, our goal must be to try to bring them in rather than drive them away.  Please make it a goal to become a listener as well if this is not already your habit.  You may find at times it is you who needs to change. 

It is a sign of maturity to see compromise and debate not as dirty words as the media often encourages us to believe they are, but rather as tools to move us from where we are to where we want to be.  You will find this same principle applies to your personal life as well.  While it will often be more difficult to work toward middle ground than to posture, only one of the approaches consistently produces solutions to problems.

I have faith that one day America will realize the ideals and values to which we claim to aspire and I have faith in your ability to help make that a reality.  To that end I urge each of you as newly minted adults to participate in your own lives, your families, your community, and yes, your government.  I know that many of you already understand the need for, and the rewards of, community service and have been most generous with your money, talent, and time.  To those that have kept it up, to those that haven’t I ask that you please remember those that gave of themselves so that you could prosper.  When you are asked to do the same for the next generation, I hope you do so gladly. 

When the ceremony and celebrations are over, please take some time to reflect on your own accomplishments.  You have much to be proud of and this community joins your families to celebrate your success.  Best wishes for whatever comes next.  Be careful and safe this summer.  Good luck and Godspeed.

Kalif Jones– One of the Nation’s Top Tenors

Walt Whitman Principal Kathie Acker and Chorus Educator Steven Altinel congratulate Kalif Jones on his National YoungArts Foundation award.

Walt Whitman senior Kalif Jones has been selected by the National YoungArts Foundation as one of the nation’s outstanding young artists. Kalif was selected from over 11,000 applicants representing a wide range of disciplines in the visual, literary, design, and performing arts.

The National YoungArts Foundation identifies and supports the next generation of artists; assists them at critical junctures in their educational and professional development; and raises appreciation for the arts in American society.

As you might expect, Kalif was chosen for this honor because of his incredible talent as a singer. While he enjoys playing the Cello in Whitman’s Symphonic Orchestra, Kalif’s future was set 13 years ago when he began singing and repeating in perfect pitch, anything he heard on his mom and dad’s radio or TV.  He takes it all in stride though- “My voice does not define me,” said Kalif. “I’m a normal 17 year-old high school senior with typical thoughts like most kids my age.”  Normal yes, but the National YoungArts Foundation judges have named Kalif one of the top five Classical Tenors in the Nation.

As part of the YoungArts New York recognition, in early May, Kalif was invited to participate in a series of workshops and to perform with some of the worlds greatest classical music personalities. This was not Kalif’s first time on the really big stage. When he was seven years old he was chosen to perform in the Metropolitan Opera with one of his all-time favorite tenors Placido Domingo. “This feels like the perfect cap from early childhood to graduating high school,” said Kalif who has decided to attend Westminster Choir College in the fall.

The path Kalif has chosen to take after graduation is not an easy one, but one that hopefully best prepares him for a bright future. There is the performing part that he has been so incredible at, and then there is the business part of the music industry, one that interests Kalif as well. “In five to seven years I see myself performing around the world as a tenor,” said Kalif, who admits to an adventurous side that craves travel more than anything.  “At the same time I would like to be part of a large music corporation, helping set up programs.”

Kalif has thrived here in South Huntington’s schools. From Countrywood right on up through Walt Whitman his genuine personality has opened friendships that continue to grow and help define an exceptional young man.  “I’m a regular person who genuinely cares about the rest of the world,” said Kalif. “I just love life…more than anything.”

Congratulations Kalif Jones, you make the South Huntington community proud!

Project Excel End-of-Year Reception

Keynote Speaker Mr. Vaughn L. McKoy, an expert in mentoring, is a highly sought speaker and routinely called upon to build and steer partnerships among diverse stakeholders.
Social Work interns, left to right: Pwendy Fenelus, Christie Honaski, Heather Reilly, Ruth Love, Raymond Holgado, Karina Cabrera, Dominic Distasio, Alexander Haynes, Irem Franco, and Tracy Spink are congratulated with a certificate and some special gifts by Ms. Jacqueline Harris and Mr. David Perkins.
Our local business community takes great pride in supporting our students. Deputy Superintendent Jacci Harris, left; BOE Trustee Lisa Brieff, right; and Project Excel Coordinator David Perkins, 2nd from right; thank Monaco's Pizza, Affinity Health, Inc., and Pollo Campero for their generous support of our Project Excel program.
Birchwood 5th grader Jaime Jaco (left) spoke to the audience about her Excel experiences: “It was great to get to know my mentor Ms. Delgiorno, and to know how much our teachers cared for us. One of the best things is that we finished our homework each day at Project Excel and we learned coding on iPads.” Here are a few excerpts from Stimson 8th grader Jason Moreno’s (right) closing remarks: “Before I joined Project Excel is was into ‘cool,’ now I’m into ‘school.’ I began to care about my grades more than playing video games. I’m much more responsible than I used to be about schoolwork.”
Left photo: Alexander, a Silas Wood student gets some support from mentor Mr. Shaka Williams. “I learned about making right choices and avoiding the wrong ones,” said Alexander. “While in the program my grades improved in Social Studies, Science, English and Math.” Mr. David Perkins welcomes members of the Project Excel family and special guests.

Our Project Excel year-end ceremony, which celebrated the collective accomplishments of our South Huntington family, was held on June 8th. Our program coordinator, Dave Perkins, did a remarkable job bringing the community together for this special night.  Thank you to our lead program mentors from each of the four buildings, Patty Urgiles, Richard Garcia, Shaka Williams, Jennifer DeNoble, and Ian Denson for providing such dynamic support to our students.  Thank you as well to Monaco's Pizza, Affinity Health, Inc., and Pollo Campero for their generous support of our Project Excel program.   It is inspiring to see what can be accomplished when a community works together in the best interest of their children.

Photo Gallery

Meet Walt Whitman's 2015 Valedictorian and Salutatorian

“It’s a happy place,” said Isabel when reminiscing about her time at Whitman. “When you walk down the halls you hear so many different languages, I love the diversity.” Principal Ms. Kathleen Acker congratulates her two top students.

Jonathan Sparling - Walt Whitman Valedictorian

Jon is an active guy. As one of the captains of the cross-country and winter and spring track teams he finds balance as first chair, playing the oboe in the NYSSMA Gold Award Winning Wind Ensemble. When it comes to athletics, Jon’s in it for the long haul, running in the 1000m, 1 and 2 mile and the 4x8 events, and of course cross-country. “Between track and wind ensemble you get a lot of motivation to excel, they push you forward, you want to be the best you can in your field,” said Whitman’s top ranked student. “I like activities where you can constantly improve on yourself and still be a part of a bigger picture and contribute,” said Jon, acknowledging both track coach and wind ensemble teacher played a big role in helping him achieve success.

Jon is a member of the National Honor Society as well as an AP Scholar, and a member of the National English Honor Society.  He keeps busy off campus as well mentoring as a camp counselor, and volunteering at the Thomas School of Horsemanship and Park Avenue Physical Therapy. Jon will be attending SUNY Geneseo next fall where he plans on majoring in physics.

“I’ve really had a fun time here getting to know everyone,” said Jon. “There is such a variety of people, the diversity makes it interesting because everyone adds to the overall experience in a good way.”


Isabel Sakarin- Walt Whitman Salutatorian

Earlier this spring Isabel Sakarin had a lot of choices to make when it came to colleges. Waiting to hear from no less than ten, we are happy to announce the Isabel will be attending Vassar College next fall.  If you think that her list of co-curricular activities at Whitman gives a hint of what Isabel will be studying next year, you’d be wrong.

Isabel was a member of the cross-country team and this past fall was named the 2014 Fall Sports Scholar Athlete, along with Jon Sparling, another cross-country runner. It’s a given that she is on every ‘Minds in Motion’ list in whatever sport she participates. In the winter Isabel was a top contributor to the girls fencing team and this past season was nominated to the All-County Women’s Sabre 1st Team.  She is a member of Mathletes, as well as the Art Honor Society; she speaks French, scoring in the top percentile nationally in the Le Grand Concours; and each year has been a contributing member of Body Electric, sharing her poetry to the standing room only crowd. She continues her love for ‘spoken word poetry’ beyond the Whitman campus.

So when she told us that next fall she would be studying Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, we were not surprised. This high achieving and multi-talented senior will no doubt excel in whatever she sets her mind to.

Congratulations to both Jonathan and Isabel!

Their First Graduation

Showing off some of the many subjects that they learned, SHIP preschoolers delighted the audience.
Enjoying the festive occasion, this group of graduates sang several songs that kept all the smart phones recording.

This graduation won’t be their last, in another 13 years they’ll don their cap and gown and join their classmates for the traditional processional march as they leave Walt Whitman High School. But earlier this week our 4-year-old preschoolers took their leave of the SHIP Preschool Program, a free play-group experience for 3- and 4-year-old residents of the South Huntington School District.

Those who are familiar with our SHIP preschool program know that there wasn't a dry eye in the house during this year's stellar moving-up exercise. Cameras flashed and tears of joy rolled freely as our community's youngest students stood proudly in front of their families to receive their preschool diplomas. There is something truly refreshing about the look of limitless opportunity emblazoned on the faces of four-year-old superstars. Our SHIP program's success serves as a fitting tribute to the supportive parents and dynamic staff that work with our talented preschool children.

Thank you for a job incredibly well done to Coordinator of Speech-Language Services Marian Raspantini, Nurse Coordinator Jane Samuels, Psychologist Dr. Pamela Mitchell, Social Worker Ventura Trent, Special Education Teachers Debra Jarmon and Jessica Russotto, Paraprofessionals Mary Beth Silveri and Amy Miles, Speech Pathologists Kathy Fitzpatrick and Jennifer O’Daugherty, Physical Therapist Barbara Brush, Occupational Therapist Beth Cohen and SHIP/CPSE Secretary Denise DeLise.

Enjoy the slide show of the afternoon graduation group:

Photo Gallery

We're Off to Maplewood

Each class gathered for a year-end photo.
The conga-line had over 200 winding their way around the upper field.
The fun music had everyone dancing.
The Countrywood Physical Education teachers encourage everyone to keep active this summer.
Good friends are ready with their summer plans.

Countrywood's 2nd Grade Celebration took place last week and over 200 students celebrated the end of the school year and their time at Countrywood. The big party, sponsored by the Countrywood PTA, included great music by a professional DJ, lots of hot pizza, Italian Ices, and snacks for everyone to enjoy.

“Our second grade students along with teachers, staff, and special invited guests enjoyed a memorable event celebrating their time spent at Countrywood,” said Kellie D. Njenga, Assistant Principal at Countrywood. “Everyone had a wonderful time as each class came together to share food, games, and dance the afternoon away with a high energy DJ. A special thank you to the PTA for organizing this fabulous event for all to enjoy as our students get ready to move up to the 3rd grade at Maplewood.”

Concert in the Park at Oakwood

Summer plans are underway!
South Huntington sent over 20 athletes to Mitchell Field to participate in the Victory Challenge. Congratulations to our medal winners from Oakwood: Jake Casden, Vincent Santamaria, Christopher Portillo Gomez, Josue Gomez-Benitez, and Justin Olivares.
Office of the Suffolk County Executive, Steven Bellone Public Service Award for academic success and commitment to the community went to Luca Cuozzo. The New York State Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli Achievement Award went to: Evelyn McGrorry and Luke Pedretti. The Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman “Triple C Award” for Commitment, Character and Courage went to: Kimberly Rivas-Carballo and Luke Vaughan.
The annual Wildcat Sports Camp Scholarship recipients for 2015 are Kiara Bonilla Maldonado and Ethan Jacoutot.
The 2104-15 Student Council Representative Award group.
This year’s SRR (Safe Respectful and Responsible) Award group.

On Thursday, June 18, Oakwood had a wonderful Concert in the Park and SRR Celebration. Oakwood PTA was able to secure the talents of “Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could” who led the students in a fun and event filled morning that included lots of dancing.

The following award certificates were given:

Office of the Suffolk County Executive, Steven Bellone Public Service Award for academic success and commitment to the community: Luca Cuozzo.

New York State Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli Achievement Award: Evelyn McGrorry and Luke Pedretti.

The Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman “Triple C Award” for Commitment, Character and Courage: Kimberly Rivas-Carballo and Luke Vaughan.

Wildcat Sports Camp Scholarship: Kiara Bonilla Maldonado and Ethan Jacoutot

Victory Challenge Medals: Jake Casden, Vincent Santamaria, Christopher Portillo Gomez, Josue Gomez-Benitez, and Justin Olivares.

Student Council Representative Award Certificates: Sofia Giacoponello, Ryan Tabibzada, William Diaz, Andie DeVinney, Lillian Dwyer, Ethan Arroyo, Ali Syed, Jazmynn Julien, Gabriel Santiago, Briana Flores Benavides, Evelin Rodriguez Perez, Julian Perez-Benavides, Rehan Naseer, Emely Aguilar, Corinne Belton, Daniel Mejia, Gabriella Anderson, Christopher Kancza, Angel Pareja Mondragon, Ever Chavez Hernandez, Giulana Bausano, Helena Anglade, Lucas Hill Mendizabal, Jaidyn Alvarez, Sabrina Whelan, Dylan Lemke, Isobella Seiller Spatafora, Anna Braglia, Lucien Saint Cyr, Lucy Maniatis, Riley Sherowski, Paige Hiller, Thomas Cusack, Dominick Chiusano, Demi Botta, Emily Cary, Alejandro Dutton, Jason Cortez Gonzales, Genesis Munoz, Ciara Coleman, William Lang, Erin Conlon, Aiden Dearborn, Samantha Castano, Luca Schneider, Patrick McManus, Marissa DeWitt, Silvia Martinez, Ethan Wang, Diego Saravia Rubio, Sydni Russell, Heather Kowalczyk, Arjun Airen, Luka Binsol, Jayla St. Croix, Tessa Binsol, Zachary Gluckstal, Emily Austin and Swraj Patel.

SRR (Safe Respectful and Responsible) Award Certificates: Connor Umstead, Alexis Koffer, Richard Linares Moreira, Olivia Tintera, Cosmo Jannes, Emily Jannes, Lillian Dwyer, Colby Sherowski, Michael Eastwood, Molly Gorman, Emily Sharp, Frankie Pugliese, Odalis Alvarado, Rehan Naseer, Angel Pareja Mondragon, Elmer Espinal Arevalo, Julian Perez Lemus, Evelin Rodriguez Perez, Jazmynn Julien, Ali SyedJoseph Fazio, Josilynn Brown, Paige Hiller, Joshua Evans, Avery D’Andrea, Mason Diamond, Abigail Mejia, Riley Sherowski, Domenica Isoldi, Osman Hernandez, Adrian Burga, Taylor Busch, Helena Anglade, Francesco Monez, Dylan Lemke, Hannah Guerrero Emily Cary, Matthew Colavita, Demetri Parrish, Samantha Kaileh, Brielle Browne, Cristian Ortez, Genesis Munoz, Pratyush Das, Abigail Burkitt, Matthew Gervasio, Yakelin Joya, Michael, Stande, Arjun Airen, Abigail LaRegina, Ruth Acosta Manzanares, Karen Valasquez Malonado, Ali Mohammad, Jason Cortez Gonzales, Anna Isernia, Jack David, Dylan Reader, Shayla Bholan, Brianna Figueroa, William Dowling, Joshir Lyons, and Emily Quintanilla Flores.

Photo Gallery

New Mural at Silas Wood Highlights 4 C’s

Representatives from the Heckscher Museum join District and Silas Wood Administrators and teachers and students in front of the new mural welcoming you to Silas Wood.

Ms. Hickey and Ms. Cryers art students from Silas Wood worked in collaboration with the Heckscher Museum on a large mural Introducing Silas Wood as Long Island’s 1st STEM Career Academy.  “We are thrilled to have partnered with South Huntington School District for this year-long mural project, celebrating and empowering youth in the local community,” said Ms. Kristina Schaaf, Associate Director of Education at the Heckscher Museum.

“Our students are building 21st century skills at Silas Wood using communication, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration,” said Ms. Maribeth Hickey, Silas Wood Art teacher.   All Silas Wood students created their own leaf on the tree, which represented each child's individual creativity.

“This one of a kind partnership has added richly to our art program and enhances the culture of our school district,” said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Joseph Centamore in the latest Superintendent’s Newsletter.  “Thank you to Heckscher Museum, Ms. Hickey and Ms. Cryer and the entire Silas Wood family of students for contributing to this amazing work of art.”  

The completed mural now welcomes students, teachers, and visitors to Silas Wood Sixth Grade Center, reminding us all of the importance of building 21st-century skills, growing together, and the 4 C’s –Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Creativity.

Stimson Girls Lacrosse Show Determination and Commitment

Hard work, determination and most importantly, their commitment to the team was crucial as the team steadily improved.
Mae Morelli, a 7th grader, moves the ball up field. Mae, who ended the season with 14 goals, is a big part of the pipeline of talented players that could help make a difference in the program.
Eleni Glodowski is an 8th grader who should do well next year at Whitman.
Left to right: 7th graders Jessica Vesque, a goalie who ended the season with 67 saves, and Sydney Khan who netted 4 goals and 1 assist, will be counted on next season to keep the Stimson team moving forward.
Another group of 7th graders left to right: Madison Fulcher, Mae Morelli, and Emily O’Mara will be back next year.

The Stimson Middle School Girls Lacrosse team finished their season on a high note beating Candlewood Middle School 9-8 in battle that came down to the very last possession.  Amelia Hatton, Sammy O'Toole and Sydney Kahn led the scoring with 2 goals each while Mae Morelli, Alexa Brunneti, and Emily O'Mara each scored 1 goal.

The scoring was made possible by excellent passing and assists from Kristen Finnerty and Jenny Duclay.  The defense was led by Kayleigh McArdle, Anna Garziano, Cassidy Browne and Isabella Rombaldi.

Alyssa Chillemi, Alyssa Morisco and Kate Jenkins all turned in Strong performances.  Isabel Aquilino and Jessica Vesque each had 15 saves.  The play of the game came when Jessica Vesque made an incredible save with 10 seconds left on the clock and brought the ball out of the crease and controlled the ball while the final seconds ticked off the clock and the final horn sounded. 

The Girls Lacrosse team had a very successful season this year.  Their hard work, determination and most importantly their commitment to the team was undeniable.

“Under the leadership from our 8th grade captains Eleni Glodowski, Kayleigh McArdle, Emma Farrell and Grace D’Souza and 7th graders Kristen Finnerty, Emily O’Mara and Fiona Smith, the entire team contributed our success,” said Coach Rory Sherman.    As the season progressed, so did the girls stick work and game play. In each game the girls played better and better lacrosse. The girl’s hard work and determination really paid off.  They finished the season 2 and 7 against some really tough teams.  The climax of the season came when we beat Candlewood Middle School winning 12-6 the first time and then again 8-7 in a nail biter. 

“I could not be more proud of this year’s team.  It was truly my pleasure coaching them,” said Coach Sherman.  “8th graders– good luck at Whitman and 7th graders– I will see you next year.”

Photo Gallery

Havin' a Field Day

Each grade level gets their own special day with games and contests designed just for them.
Whether they’re off to Birchwood’s 3rd grade or back to Oakwood for next year, these friends are having a ‘field-day.'
These young guys take on a new portion of the obstacle course.
Teamwork rules when it comes to Tug of War.
Oakwood PE Teacher Robin Rosa is also Whitman’s Varsity Head Football coach, and something tells me he will keep his eye out for this determined young man in another six or seven years.
Key word for the day was HAVING FUN and this group seems to be doing just that.

It turned out to be good timing this year for Oakwood’s annual Field Day. "Oakwood's Field Day this year was three straight days of full sun and enjoyment for all the Kids with such activities such as Relay Races, Obstacle Course, Darth Vader and Tug of war" said Oakwood PE Teachers Mr. Rosa and Mr. Russell.  “The Oakwood physical education staff would like to send a special thank you to Ms. Lockhart and Ms. Blaney of our PTA and our PTA president Ms. Solange Rich and VP Ms. Kim Phillips for providing the kids with water bottles and ices.  We look forward to another great year next year and wish everyone a great summer.”

Sixth-Grade Student Council Gets Official ‘Shout-Out’

Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci (right), alongside students from Silas Wood Center on the Million Dollar Staircase in the New York State Capitol.

The Silas Wood 6th grade Student Council spent a day at the New York State Capitol building with Assemblyman Mr. Chad Lupinacci. Mr. Lupinacci graciously spent time explaining the function of the assembly, senate and answered numerous questions from the students while they were seated on the Million Dollar Staircase in the New York State Capitol. “I was very impressed with the students’ passion for learning; everyone came prepared with interesting questions about state politics and current events,” said Lupinacci. “They all were very bright and have a very good understanding of what is going on in the world. Their parents and teachers should be very proud of how engaging and polite they were during their visit.”

The students’ visit to Albany included a tour of the State Capitol and a special introduction by Lupinacci in the Assembly Chamber when they were recognized by the speaker of the assembly, who gave the kids a "shout out" during the formal meeting. 

“Students are always welcome to visit my Albany office to get a firsthand look at the political hub of New York State. I hope to see them again in the future,” concluded Lupinacci.

Gold Key Athletes and Scholarship Winners Honored

Congratulations to our 2015 Gold Key recipients: Elisabeth Auguste, Lauren Connolly, Abigail Daniels, Joseph DiPiero, Natalie Dunn, Rodrigo Gallegos, Connor Galvin, Paige Gladstone, Matthew Goodman, Jacob Kahrs, Jameson Latko, Chad Maier, Katelyn Neuman, Jonathan O’Toole, Shamar Powell, Joshua Roiland, Nicole Rowe, Jonathan Sparling, MaryRose Stone, Jonathan Vital, and Sean Wuestman.
Congratulations to our Booster Club Scholarship Winners: Jordan Aiken, Donald Bonaventure, Thomas Ferrante, Diamond Garcia, Matthew Goodman, Colleen Harrington, Russell Kielawa, Laura McAuley, Katelyn Neuman, Sean Mc Entee, Christina Mc Felia, Jonathan O’Toole, Derick Ramos, Alexis Restmeyer, Joshua Roiland, and Robert Senecal.

Please join in congratulating our fine senior athletes who were recognized at this year's Gold Key Dinner. The gold key honorees have distinguished themselves by successfully participating in at least eight sports in nine seasons, starting from 10th grade, and throughout their Walt Whitman High School career.

Congratulations to: Elisabeth Auguste, Lauren Connolly, Abigail Daniels, Joseph DiPiero, Natalie Dunn, Rodrigo Gallegos, Connor Galvin, Paige Gladstone, Matthew Goodman, Jacob Kahrs, Jameson Latko, Chad Maier, Katelyn Neuman, Jonathan O’Toole, Shamar Powell, Joshua Roiland, Nicole Rowe, Jonathan Sparling, MaryRose Stone, Jonathan Vital, and Sean Wuestman.

These impressive athletes were also joined on stage by our 2015 Booster Club Scholarship winners who have distinguished themselves in a variety of successful athletic, leadership, and academic endeavors.

Congratulations to: Jordan Aiken, Donald Bonaventure, Thomas Ferrante, Diamond Garcia, Matthew Goodman, Colleen Harrington, Russell Kielawa, Laura McAuley, Katelyn Neuman, Sean Mc Entee, Christina Mc Felia, Jonathan O’Toole, Derick Ramos, Alexis Restmeyer, Joshua Roiland, and Robert Senecal.

Photo Gallery

Museum of New York’s History Opens at Maplewood

In this well constructed presentation by Trevor Galgano, a portion of a subway/train tunnel shows a train leaving Grand Central Terminal.
This student thoroughly researched the history of the New York Government right up to present time.
When researching about the Brooklyn Bridge, this young student found and presented many unique facts about the bridge and its construction that many people didn’t know.

During the months of May and June, Mr. Keogh and Ms. Patino’s fourth-grade class at Maplewood Intermediate School created a very unique and exciting project.  As a culminating activity, each student was assigned a time period in New York’s history. 

During classroom and computer lab time, students gathered information and created an outline in order to create a museum room for their selected topic. Students also completed an “excavation sheet” that guided him or her through the process of creating their museum room.  Students learned about the use of artifacts to study prehistory.  Each child then used a large cardboard box and presentation board to create their exhibit. All of Maplewood’s classrooms and parents from Mr. Keogh and Ms. Patino’s fourth-grade class were invited to the grand opening of the Museum of New York’s History on Friday, June 12, 2015.  Students were excited to share their information about their museum room with viewers!

Congratulations: Maryam Babar, Sidharth Bryan, Aquiles Araya Correa, Alexa Dikeakos, Isabella Dinulescu, Alexandra Dunn, Shelene Farquharson, Adam Fisch, Trevor Galgano, Andy Vilorio Garcia, Gavin Gugliuzza, Bryant Machado Hernandez, Rachel Jerome, Jaziyah Kitt, Cecilia Lee, Joseph Lombardo, Kenyon Miles, Tyler Neri, Angelena Nguyen, Janaiya Quiles, Angel Molina Sorto, Frederick Steenson, Angelina Todaro, Samantha Unger, Gianna Vozza, and Carly Zimmer. 

 Photo Gallery

June Athletes of the Month

Sarah Glaser and Jameson Latko are joined by Whitman Principal Kathie Acker.

Congratulations to Jameson Latko and Sarah Glaser, our June Athletes of the Month.  

Jameson Latko is finishing up his senior year on a high note as the runner-up in the Suffolk County Badminton finals. “I love the laid-back environment we have in badminton because it allows the dedicated people to really thrive,” said Jameson. “If you’re dedicated to the sport, you know what you need to do to win.” Jameson, who will be attending SUNY Binghamton in the fall also played soccer and winter track.

Whitman Sophomore Sarah Glaser loves to play softball and the team had a good season going deep into the playoff rounds. “I love it because it’s competitive and fun at the same time,” said the line-drive hitter who manages to get on base a lot. Sarah plays shortstop and centerfield and will be counted on heavily next season as seven players graduate and the team retools looking for another run at postseason play.

Congratulations to both of these fine athletes!

Hunting-Tony Awarded to Whitman Stage Crew

Whitman Assistant Principal Colleen Grady (left) and Principal Kathie Acker (right) join their award-winning stage crew, including crew advisor Mr. Larry Plompen (back right) for a celebratory photo.

The red carpet was out recently at Engeman Theater in Northport when awards were handed out to performing arts students across the town for their plays and musicals. The 5th Annual Hunting-Tony Awards recently recognized achievements in High School Theater over the past year. Congratulations to all the Whitman groups who were nominated in different categories.

Congratulations to Walt Whitman as the Best Stage Crew in a Musical 

“How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”

Stage Manager: Esteban Lopez

Assistant Stage Managers: Mollie Korn, Alex Sherry

Deck Captains: Amina Sadiq, Anthony Padinha

Stagehands: Samson Grimm, Paul Lahm, Elizabeth Plaisir, Casey Iannuzzi, Erika Rivas, Elizabeth Havjar, Natalie Hayes, John Parra, Rob Leonick, Adrianna Padinha, Jared Saget, Jessica Delaney

Lighting Crew: David Caliendo, Lina Weingarten

Followspot Operators: Abaseen Khan, Katie Clark

Sound Crew: Hans Bas – Supervisor, Josh Berger, Aidan Hoskey, Michael DiMaulo, and Matt Jacobsen.

Most Enthusiastic Goes To Stimson

Stimson’s runners grab a quick photo before heading into a catered luncheon courtesy of Umberto’s, located at 737 West Jericho Turnpike.
Enjoying lunch, a handful of students join their teachers, as Umberto’s owner Mr. Pat Mulligan keeps the fresh pizza, salad, meatballs and sausage with pasta flowing. Left to right: Kalynn Twist, Olivia Cunsolo, Jessica Castagna, Mikaela Zukaitis, Raj Shah, Thomas Boyle, Stimson Principal Edwin Smith, and Mr. Pat Mulligan.

Winning the coveted Miles for Michael Most “Enthusiastic” Building award was well deserved for the staff and students of Stimson.  “They all came together for a special cause which was to me one of those “teachable” moments that are so special,” said Ms. Shelia Buhse, who conceived, organized, and directed this incredible event.  “We were able to award the winning building with a free celebratory lunch provided by one of our most committed community vendors Umberto’s and it was served by the owner himself- Pat Mulligan!

Congratulations to the staff and students of Stimson Middle School!

History Making Performance

Band Director, Mr. Ron Stanton (standing 4th row right) is joined by Principal Stephen Toto and Assistant Principal Adam Obletz (standing back row left) and their award winning Symphonic Band.

Congratulations to our Silas Wood Symphonic Band, whose members and Director, Mr. Ron Stanton, won the first gold medal with distinction at the NYSSMA Majors in the school's history.

FLUTES:  Isabella Bermudez, Emily Boccia, Grace Buckshaw, Shannyn Cory, Emma David, Danielle DeGaray, Isabella Delfico, Evgenia Doddo, Abby Grant, Noor Hussain, Brianna Iacovone, Michael Jaramillo Cardona, Ellena Lunt, Sofia Marinucci, Alexandra Miller Henson, Bryn Kreismer, Jessica Mitchell, Michelle Mullin, Chloe Murphy, Margaret Neiland, Jeir Orellana, Daniela Santoiemma, Benjamin Schlansky, Shannon Turner, Bryce Vorbach, Grace Weigele

CLARINETS:  Thomas Baranowski, Noah Biton, Tanner Cella, Jenna D’Alimonte, William Denis, Gina Diliberti, Abby Dinstell, Aiden Gardner, Marisa Havekotte, Matthew Masaya, Sabrina McEvoy, Alexa Mediate, Anthony Mendoza, Julia Ostermann, Chelsea Perry

BASS CLARINET:  Daniel Donovan

ALTO SAXES:  Grant Biederman, Matthew Crocco, Cal Eidinoff, Tyler Grosso, Brendan Kispert, Thomas Matthews, Leo Musitano

TENOR SAXES:  Christopher Contessa, Saul Ramos, Aiden Wallace

BARITONE SAXES:  Benjamin Joseph

TRUMPETS:  Ryan Bahrenburg, William Barraco, Thomas Biryla, Thomas Breaton, Jack Chinsky, Carlo Conte, Tyhler Daniel, Matthew Desmond, Christopher Dorin, Maya Duclay, Justin Feinman, Joseph Kennedy, Timothy Klum, Jeremyh Lanz, Christopher Martino, Sameer Mehta, Darren Miceli, Daniel Monterosso, Jordan Moreno Quintanilla, Jack Neiland, Zach Reichhold, Maxfield Rodgers, Vincent Santoiemma, Christopher Scortichini, Jesse Strenger Skolnik, Bryan Unger, Liam Weigele

FRENCH HORNS:  Hannah Cruz, Devin Gaynor, Aarav Shah

BARITONE HORNS:  Bradley Guiteau, Roberto Hidalgo, Jeffrey Ponce, William Reyes

TROMBONES: Jason Granados, Victor Ottaviano, Sanjay Paul, Thomas Perez, Veronica Richards, Kelvin Sanchez, Paul Schiller, Roberto Vanacore

TUBAS:  Daniel Castro Saravia, Brian Garcia, Joseph Grasso, Wendell Saint Jean

PERCUSSION:  Tess Anderson, Mario Campbell, Colby Dell, Kurt Erthal, Justin Goldberg, Connor Hamilton, Scott Martin, Dana McGowan, Max Peretson, Alex Reiersen, Christopher Schindler, Caroline Schrama, and Adam Yosofi.

Huntington Awards Scholar Athletes

Congratulating their Scholar Athletes at Huntington’s Town Hall, left to right: Schools Superintendent Dr. David Bennardo, BOE Trustee Laura Carey, Whitman Principal Kathleen Acker, Jacob Kahrs, Paige Gladstone, Assistant Superintendent for Personnel and District Services Dr. Joseph Centamore, and Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and Curriculum Dr. Jared Bloom.

“It was wonderful to see both Paige Gladstone and Jacob Kahrs honored at Huntington Town Hall as Whitman's Scholar Athletes of the Year,” said Schools Superintendent Dr. Bennardo. “These fine individuals embody the Renaissance spirit that fuels our community and generates hope for future generations.”

Paige Gladstone will be graduating in a couple weeks and plans on attending SUNY New Paltz where she will be enrolled in their 5 year Accounting Program. Ranked 90th out of her 426 senior classmates, Paige has a GPA of 93.4 and has taken many AP classes including AP Environmental Science and AP Calculus.

Paige is an outstanding athlete, playing lacrosse, field hockey and fencing all four years at Whitman. Paige was pulled up to the high school level in both lacrosse and field hockey in the 8th grade and in the 9th grade was a starter on both of those teams. She is also a valued member of outside leagues in both sports. In the summer Paige also serves as a captain on her swim team.

Congratulations Paige Gladstone!

Jacob Kahrs is graduating near the top 10% of his senior class with a cumulative GPA at 96% and there is no let-up in his academic success. Jacob’s senior year GPA is over 98%. Jacob is a role model for all students and athletes at Whitman. His dedication to academic excellence and athletic achievement are exemplary.

Jacob’s accomplishments in cross-county include 2nd team All-County, 1st Team All-League and All-Division honors. In Winter track Jacob was awarded All-County Academic Honors, All-League Honors, and this past March Jacob finished 3rd in the NY State Championships in the 1600 Medley.

In addition to Jacob’s academic and athletic success, one of the traits that set Jacob apart from other students is his kindness and sincerity. Whether it’s a fellow student, teacher or administrator – all will tell you that Jacob is an outstanding person, always willing to lend a hand.

Jacob will be attending Williams College in the fall where he will be a member of the cross-country team.

Congratulations Jacob Kahrs!

Make Room On the Mantel

Ms. Verna Amakawa’s Drawing and Painting students left to right: Kristina Pray, Yusra Ashraf, Faiza Tariq, April Fallon, Josue Izaguirre Oyuela, Nikolette Bellocchio, Kayla Grande, Nicoil Jarrett, Eve Metzger and Cassidy Batkin.
Kristina Pray, Yusra Ashraf, Faiza Tariq, April Fallon, and Josue Izaguirre Oyuela.
April Fallon, Josue Izaguirre Oyuela, Nikolette Bellocchio, Kayla Grande, and Nicoil Jarrett.
Kayla Grande, Nicoil Jarrett, Eve Metzger and Cassidy Batkin.

Students in Walt Whitman’s Drawing and Painting classes close out the school year having learned the painting methods and techniques of the Impressionists and Post Impressionists by reproducing these famous artists' works. Just like the Impressionists painters who were not much older than these students when they also copied the works of the ‘Masters’, the art students in Drawing and Painting gained a firsthand understanding of the chemistry of color and the handling of the brush. Students studied art historical movements of the 19th century and early 20th century recognizing that each scientific and technical advancement led to innovation. It is important to note that the students were learning the properties of acrylic painting for the first time and were able to reach a remarkably high level by this process as the photos attest.

Kilian Duclay: An Extraordinary Senior

Kilian and one of the Veterans who sails with him are being interviewed by Newsday for a video that is part of their story from Thursday’s June 11th edition.

Walt Whitman senior Kilian Duclay has just been featured in Newsday as one of Long Islands Extraordinary Seniors. Anyone who knows Kilian shouldn’t be surprised, but it sure is nice when a young man of this caliber gets acknowledged.

Use the link below for the Newsday story about Kilian:



And for some additional information use this link below for our story about Kilian that was done last year:



Shamar Powell… All-State in 800m

Karl Ulrich steadies his camera as coach Rob Conroy and Rob Morris share a congratulatory moment with Shamar Powell.

At this year’s New York State Track and Field Championships (6/12/15) something quite unexpected happened in the 800meter race.  We all know Whitman’s Shamar Powell is super fast, and yes he did turn in his fastest time in the outdoor 800meter with a blistering 1:52:55. But what’s astonishing is that in any other year that would have earned Shamar the top spot on the podium, but this year the field ran the fastest 800meter in New York State history. Shamar earned the number 5 spot in the New York State Federation and the #3 spot in all Division 1 public schools.

Congratulations Shamar Powell- Our Newest All-State Athlete!

Thank you coaches Rob Conroy, Karl Ulrich, and Rob Morris for the timely details and great photo. 

Michael S. Curtin Citizenship Awards

Assisted by Dr. Scott Muller, Whitman Principal Kathie Acker congratulates Sabrina Philippe and eighty-two of her classmates
Assistant Principal Colleen Grady helps congratulate Leanne Haddock with Principal Acker.
It’s a who’s who in Walt Whitman that comprises the Michael S. Curtin Citizenship Awards.

Michael S. Curtin was a Sergeant in the NYPD and on September 11, 2001 tragically perished during the World Trade Center rescue efforts. In Sergeant Curtin's honor, the Michael S. Curtin Awards are presented to students who were nominated by their teachers for demonstrating exemplary citizenship. Rather than emphasizing academics or athletics, these awards focus on character and compassion. They are about how students live their daily lives and how much they do for others without asking for anything in return. They are about what makes Whitman such a special place, and what makes South Huntington such a special community.

Congratulations to: Jordan Aiken, Alexander Alachan, Daniel Alcantara, Erika Algierie, Meghann Alphonse, Emily Alvarado, Elisabeth Auguste, Nicholas Booher, Claude Cajuste, Patrick Cammer, Gary Cisneros Campos, Sally Cohen, Wendy Del Rosario Cordova Cuadra, Briyana Cortes, Alexandra Costa, Samantha DeGaray, Cesia Yesenia Deras, Erin Diana, Chase Dowdle, Kilian Duclay, Natalie Dunn, Tara Edouard, Eder Estrada, Trevor Ewald, Vincent Feola, Cristobal Gamonal, Sheyla Franco, Gabriella Fuentes, Vanessa Trujillo, Paige Gladstone, Carlos Granados, Elizabeth Greaves, Jacob Greene, Leanne Haddock, Marielle Hammond, Gary Harris, Matthew Henderson, Karizma Ingram, Melissa Jean-Pierre, Kalif Jones, Hannah Karkari, Marina Kopf, Phoebe Levin, Nicholas Magnus, Chad Maier, Keiry Manzanares, Albert Martinez, Jack Marx, Hafsah Marzouk, Laura Mc Auley, Morgan Mc Nulty, William Mejia, Aleysha Midgett, Travis Muller, Jose Ulloa, Pooja Navlani, Rabiya Nazir, Sabrina O’Dette, Dakota Obenauer, Sandy Pacheco, Megha Patel, Sabine Philippe, Sabrina Philippe, Dillon Platt, Tori Pomeroy, Heydi Ponce, Shamar Powell, Dana Roach, Chelsea Saccente, Emmanuella Saint Charles, Francine Sauer, Evan Schneider, Luke Smith, MaryRose Stone, Evan Thode, Charles Thurer, Alyssa Torchon, Katrina Truglia, Aheesha Watkis, Ryan Wendell, Yu Weng, Megan Windt, and Kabir Zafar.

Photo Gallery


Otto Kahn Scholarship Goes To Whitman Artist

OHEKA owner Gary Melius presents an Otto Kahn Scholarship to Dana Roach.

The Friends of OHEKA held their annual Garden Party on Wednesday evening celebrating 32 years of growth since owner Gary Melius discovered the dilapidated castle and began restoring it to the splendor of the Great Gatsby era. Congratulations to Walt Whitman’s Jazz Band, led by Mr. Allan Deitz, and our Chamber Orchestra led by Mr. Frank Yolango who set the tone for the evening with their incredibly talented musicians.

A large part of the evening was dedicated to the Otto Kahn Scholarship Awards and we are proud to announce that Walt Whitman student Dana Roach was one of this year’s recipients.

These awards honor Otto Kahn’s love and contribution to the arts. Congratulations to Dana Roach who will be attending the Alfred University School of Art & Design in the fall. “In art school I hope to acquire a strong foundation, balancing knowledge with new skills,” said Dana. “I want to inspire change and create happiness with my art.” Dana’s art teacher at Whitman, Ms. Verna Amakawa had nothing but praise for her talented student. “Dana’s commitment to her art is so deeply imbedded in her very being," said Ms. Amakawa. “This is not just a student furthering her art studies but someone whose very heart and soul is that of an artist who lives and breathes it through sincere dedication.”

Congratulations Dana Roach!

The Arts Honor Societies Induction Ceremonies

These members of the International Thespian Society are all smiles after their induction ceremony.
Whitman Principal Kathie Acker, (right) joins Ms. Susan Turner Radin and her newly inducted Dancers into the National Honor Society for Dance Arts.
Officers for the National Art Honor Society conduct their induction ceremony. Left to right: President: April Fallon, Co-Vice President: Nicole Rowe, Secretary: Amy Chen, Curator Hanna Karkari, Co-Vice President: Taylor Fox, and Treasurer: Rebecca Sansotta. (missing from photo is Historian: Muaz Ashar)
Who better to provide the evening’s entertainment, as well as epitomizing the characteristics of leadership, scholarship, character and service, than Kalif Jones.

Walt Whitman’s artists, musicians, dancers, and thespians enjoyed a moment of special tribute in the first week of June as they were recognized by their respective Honor Societies. We congratulate these new inductees and their advisors, Ms. Gina Tinucci, Mr. Frank Yolango, Mrs. Susan Turner Radin, and Ms. Cheryl Irizarry, and thank them for epitomizing the characteristics of leadership, scholarship, character, and service.

National Art Honor Society:  Kristen Calderone, Amy Chan, Alyssa Denis, Abdjine Lemaitre, Grace Noonan, Melea Prepitit, Amanda Ruiz, Nicole Samba, Rachel Shapiro, Yukari Shiraishi, Taylor Taranto, and Joshua Joseph.

Photo Gallery

Tri-M Music Honor Society:  Chloe Blumberg, Noelle Bryggman, Matthew Cusumano, Lauren Giglio, Jefferson Hector, Sam Hoffman, Jacob Klein, Sydney McCrea, Kentaro Matsushima, Brenda Mendez, Isaac Renderos, James Reilly, and Colin Sherland.

Photo Gallery

Dance Honor Society for Dance Arts:  Jessica Barahona, Rachel Kilkenny, Jenna Kilkenny, Marina Kilkenny, Pamela Pulvirenti, Elizabeth Mercurio, Melanie Olinsky, and Sabrina Odette.

Photo Gallery

International Thespian Society:  Leila Ozkiral, Ben Morales, Odette Lazala, Haley Tract, and Marco Chiriboga.

Photo Gallery

Beautiful Lengths at Birchwood

Juliet Bocca proudly shows her donation that will become a real-hair wig for women with cancer.
Getting ready for summer starts with a new haircut. Fourth-grader Jennifer Velasquez Sorto has plenty to give as Nicole measures just the right amount.
Nicole from Anthony DeFranco Salon with some finishing touches for 4th grader Sawyer Diamond. This was Sawyer’s 2nd consecutive year participating.
Annemarie measures third-grader Ingrid Alas as her family helps determine just how much to cut.
Even though third-grader Katie Mondry knows what’s happening, she still may be unsure what to expect when Gina from Anthony DeFranco Salon finishes removing a perfect 8” ponytail.

On Monday afternoon, Birchwood’s staff and community families joined in an important event when they decided to pony up and help women fighting cancer.

'Beautiful Lengths' is a partnership between Pantene and the American Cancer Society, the largest nonprofit health organization committed to saving lives from every cancer and improving the quality of life for people facing the disease. The role of Pantene is to help women grow long, strong, beautiful hair and provide the funds to turn this hair into free, real-hair wigs for women with cancer. So far, Pantene has donated 24,000 free real-hair wigs to the American Cancer Society’s wig banks, which distribute wigs to people with cancer across the country.

“We wanted to be part of this wonderful cause sponsored by Pantene,” said Birchwood’s Assistant Principal Annie Michaelian. “Girls donated 8 inches of hair, and we invited the boys to ‘Buzz for a Cure,’ thanks to Anthony DeFranco Salon.”

Great job committee members of Birchwood’s SBM team who organized this successful event: Anthony Ciccarelli, Principal; Annie Michaelian, Assistant Principal; Birchwood teachers: Helma Adde, Ian Denson, Krista Legge, and Kristen Lopez; Paraprofessional Mary Palladino; Students: Joseph Gervasio and Elizabeth LaRegina; and Birchwood Parent: Rosanna Meberg.

Congratulations to the following students who participated: Ronan Rattazzi, Liza Tenner, Madeline Franz, Jewel Salvador, Jonh Hackett, Shaelyn Scharpf, Maeve Scharpf, Angelina Caporusso, Sophia Caporusso, Erin Torres, Dalia Ibrahim, Katie Mondry, Sawyer Diamond, Stephanie Moreno, Jennifer Velasquez, Alivia Barton, Cynthis Mandel, Noah D’Andrea, Juilet Boccia, Ingrid Alas, Marcia Gachinad, Courtney Magee, and Megan Rankel.

Congratulations to the Birchwood School community for coming together for this very worthy cause!

Ryan Wendell Awarded LIASEA Student of the Year

Left to right: Debi Kienke, LIASEA President; Jacci Harris, South Huntington Deputy Superintendent; Daniel Lombardo, Chairperson for Special Education at Walt Whitman High School; Patti, Ryan, and Ken Wendell; Dr. Matthew Krivoshey, Supervisor of Special Education in South Huntington; Kathleen Acker, Walt Whitman Principal; and Dr. David Bennardo, South Huntington School District Superintendent.

Each year the Long Island Association of Special Education Administrators (LIASEA) chooses a handful of students for recognition at their annual scholarship luncheon. It is a tremendous honor to receive one of these awards, which are reserved for students who have demonstrated extraordinary determination, courage, and accomplishments during their high school careers. 

We were particularly excited to learn that our very own Ryan Wendell was one of only eight students selected for a ‘Student of the Year’ recognition at the June 5th LISEA ceremony.  Ryan, who was nominated for this honor by his Special Education Teacher Ms. Della Langino, proudly accepted his award in front of a crowd of family and South Huntington School District supporters.  It is inspiring to see the fine work of a dedicated student and a supportive team recognized in such grand fashion.  We all look forward to following Ryan’s success as he continues his education at Capital Community College in Hartford, Connecticut in the fall.

Ms. Langino shared with the audience some of what makes Ryan such an extraordinary young man: “We are very proud of Ryan and all that he has accomplished. Despite some learning challenges, Ryan has persevered and achieved success.  Ryan’s academic record speaks for itself.  He began Walt Whitman HS with a combination of inclusion classes and special education self-contained classes. Now as a 12th grader, he has transitioned to a schedule that includes only mainstream classes with resource room support. As a testament to his academic success in grades 11 and 12, Ryan was welcomed as a member of the National Honor Society. Ryan will graduate in June with a Regents Diploma.  Ryan earned a very impressive 97 on the US History Regents.   This academic year, Ryan was in the top 2% of his Astronomy class.  Ryan is methodical and persistent in his approach to his work. Simply put, Ryan does not give up.  Ryan’s teachers speak well of him.  He is described as: prepared, attentive, a cooperative learner, respectful, hardworking, dependable, and friendly.  Ryan’s academic record is what we all hope for every student.

Ryan has a great sense of community and service. Currently Ryan is a member of the South Huntington Public Library Teen Advisory Board and is the Equipment manager of the St. Hugh’s/St Elizabeth Baseball Challenger Division.  He has served as a member of the Youth Group at St. Francis and now at St. John’s Church. At WW, in grades 9 and 10, Ryan was a member of the Robotics Club.

Also, this year, Ryan interned at the South Huntington Public Library where he “shadowed” the librarians and assisted as needed. Ryan has a passion for reading and books. Ryan will earn either a certificate or an associate’s degree as a Library Technical Assistant.  He will live with his family in Connecticut in a home that he and his father built. Apparently Ryan has some hidden talents– plumbing and masonry work.

We congratulate Ryan and his parents.  We wish Ryan continued success as he moves forward in his educational career.”

History Repeats Itself

This is Stimson Softball's second consecutive undefeated season, the 3rd in the last 4 years. In the last 4 total years, Stimson Softball has only 1 loss and almost 40 wins.
Pitcher Alexa Pedicini proved that she is the most dominant in the league with 6 shutout games!
Stephanie Ross, playing first base, was solid swinging the bat, many of which were extra-base hits.
Kasey Williams sees exactly where she is going to hit the ball.
Co-Captain Jacqueline Thomann is ready for any hit near second base, but it was her homeruns that teammates counted on.

We hear great news from Stimson’s Softball coach Ms. Andrea Orlando: Congratulations to the Stimson Softball Team for completing their second consecutive Undefeated Season. Captains were Alexa Pedicini and Jacqueline Thomann. Home-run hitters Jacqueline Thomann, and Barbara Tripi led the team, with many extra-base hits from Stephanie Ross, Kasey Williams, Morgan Wagner, Brianna Hansen, and Madison Aucone. Fine fielding was done by Corinne DeRosa, and Tatiana Doddo. Pitcher Alexa Pedicini proved that she is the most dominant in the league with 6 shutout games! Coach Orlando wants us to know that each day, the team conducted themselves with maturity and a desire to win.  Great season, girls!

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Technology Enhancing The Way Our Students Learn

Top photo: Ms. Janine D'Elia, back row second from right; Ms. Theresa Gillan, right; and Ms. Christine Columbano, back row left, with their class after a video conference session with Mr. Ben Newsome. Bottom Photo: Ms. Janine D'Elia, left and Ms. MaryEllen Loria, right, finish their time visiting Australia. Note the video camera on the table that is directed by Ben Newsome to zoom and pan around the classrooms.
Ben Newsome, a leading Australian provider of interactive science workshops and shows, founded Fizzics Education. Ben delivers inspiring science programs to approximately 200,000 children each year using the very latest technology.
This third-grader at Maplewood was ready with her question that enabled Mr. Newsome to take the class on an architectural exploration of Sydney.
Discussion of the Outback included photos of fascinating animals and terrain.

“It is truly amazing to watch education change as technology opens new learning experiences for eager students and staff,” said Dr. Jared Bloom in the Superintendents Weekly Newsletter. “In fact, recent innovation has provided us the opportunity to connect with young learners and teachers clear across the world as we share experiences and benefit from collective creativity and expertise.”

Fortunately, this phenomenon was on full display last week when our intermediate school students interfaced electronically, and conducted virtual learning experiences with science classes and teachers from Australia. Ms. Janine D'Elia, our Instructional Technology Specialist, set up the Cisco Tele-Presence video conferencing system, which brought our third-grade students and their teachers face to face with learners from a distant and mysterious part of the globe.

At Maplewood, Christine Columbano and Theresa Gillan’s class were inspired to share their experience. “During this one hour Q&A, Ben Newsome, an Australian scientist/teacher, spoke with the students and used pictures and maps to enhance his responses," said Ms. Columbano. “The students were excited about the chat and enjoyed speaking with a real Australian.”

“It is nice to meet an Australian and have a real experience,” said Lauren, a student at Maplewood.  Classmate Colton agreed saying: “the whole experience helped us learn a lot more about Australia.”  “He was able to show us pictures in order to answer our questions,” said Tashou, who thought the Tasmanian Devil was pretty cool.   “We will continue to 'push the envelope' of instructional experience as we look to motivate our students to success in the 21st-century,” added Dr. Bloom.

Photo Gallery (Birchwood)

Photo Gallery (Maplewood)

First Annual Joan Davidsohn Memorial Scholarship

Left to right: Ms. Elisabeth Mahoney, Advisor to the Girls Leadership Organization; Chelsea Saccente, Leanne Haddock, and Ms. Colleen Grady, Assistant Principal.

This past year, the Walt Whitman High School family lost a dedicated educator.  In order to honor her, the faculty came up with the idea that we would present a deserving young lady, a scholarship in Ms. Davidsohn's honor.

For those who didn't know Ms Davidsohn, she was a dedicated educator who touched the lives of many students throughout her years at Walt Whitman High School.  Her love of the theatrical arts came across in her teaching.  She never failed to create a scene or to bring a character to life to motivate her students.  Her passion drove her to be creative in order to spark something within the learning disabled students she educated.  She was an advocate for all, which led her to advise extra curricula groups like Habitat for Humanity and the Girls Leaders Organization.  She inspired all students to be active and pay it forward.  

As a colleague, Joan inspired those she worked with.  She was giving and had a strong will to succeed.  She always "told it like it is" and stood up for what was right for the teachers as she did for her students.  Joan walked with her head held high and her shoulders back as she walked the halls.  Joan always took the time to engage in meaningful banter and would delight her coworkers with her infectious laugh.

Joan's presence at Walt Whitman High School will be missed but her spirit resonates throughout the halls, in our hearts, and through this scholarship.

This award is presented to a young lady who is an active member of the school as well as the local community who mirrored the image that Joan worked so hard to help others work towards being. 

It is with great honor and pleasure that I announce the winners of the first annual Joan Davidsohn Memorial Scholarship.

Leanne Haddock and Chelsea Saccente 

Congratulations!  You both worked very hard and your efforts were noticed and paid off!

Powell Sets Track Record

Whitman's Shamar Powell wins the boys 800-meter run in 1:52.71 during the Section XI Individual Track Championships and State Qualifier on Friday, June 5, 2015 at Port Jefferson. (Credit: Alan J. Schaefer)

Great news from Boys Track Coach Rob Conroy, Shamar Powell broke the meet record in the 800m state qualifier landing in first place in Suffolk County. Shamar’s time of 1:52.71 puts him in excellent position for the New York State Championships in Albany on June 13th.  Newsday story on Shamar can be found at:


French Language Students Go National

Left to right: Whitman’s French teacher Dr. Geralde Eikenaar-Klang, Ophelia Banatte-Schuster, Leanna Vergis, Rose Pedretti, Brenda Mendez, Esteban Lopez, Melissa Portillo, Tyler Malone, and Whitman Assistant Principal Ms. Colleen Grady.

Our high school students did an exceptional job representing Walt Whitman at the Annual Poetry Contest sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF). Eight original poems were electronically submitted: three level II, two level III, one level IV and 1 AP level  (this student is enrolled in French IV but as a native speaker she had to submit a poem at a level above).

“It was great to hear the other teachers who were serving as judges commenting on the quality of work that our students submitted,” said Whitman’s French teacher Dr. Geralde Eikenaar-Klang. “Needless to tell you how proud I am of them.”

The students will celebrate with a French breakfast where they will receive their certificates and gifts from AATF

Congratulations to:

Level II                    Original poem          Rank

Melissa Portillo          Qui je suis               First Place

Brenda Mendez          Nos langues               Second Place

Tyler Malone               La fleur                    Third Place


Level III                       

Esteban Lopez            Que puis-je dire?          First Place

Leanna Vergis            La lune                         Second Place


Level IV                       

Rose Pedretti               L'oeil du cyclone            First Place


Level V (she is in level IV class but is a native speaker)                       

Ophelia Banatte-Schuster            Qui suis-je            First Place

Cinderella at Countrywood Gets Standing Room Only

Countrywood Music educator Adam Slawitsky is always front and center leading his students, many of whom are experiencing their first time on the stage.
Stepmom and the two stepsisters have some very specific chores for Cinderella.
Countrywood teacher Ms. Adrienne Workman brought out the very best in her young thespians.

“It is with immense pride that I share some thoughts about this week's play,” said Countrywood Principal Ms. Barbara Kenney in this weeks Superintendents Newsletter.  “Ms. Workman's students and our staff poured their hearts and souls into the work, and presented a wonderful version of Cinderella for the entire Countrywood family to enjoy.”  We congratulate all who worked so hard to make this production a reality.

We also congratulate our students for being such a great audience and thank our parents for being so supportive of the show.

Cast of Characters:

Cinderella: Paige Knesich, Eva Castellanos and Alexandra Cannon  Prince Charming: Jake App and Joshua Kwak  Stepmother:  Nikolette Ouzounis, Antonia Fiordalisi and Taylor Kasny  Stepsister Henrietta: Diana Fogel, Noelle Dilbert and Shaina Fischer  Stepsister Gertrude:  Kate Sabellico, Jennovy Fuentes and Stephanie Ideyi  Fairy Godmother: Ms. Adrienne WorkmanKing  Darling III: Mr. Adam Slawitsky  Zip: Mr. Chris Clines Bubbles: Mrs. Carol Davis  Babs: Mrs. Kellie Njenga Trixie: Dr. Anne Lecci  Coachman: Mr. Miguel Monterrosa  Custus: Special Guest  Pickles: Special Guest  Gonzo: Special Guest  Camilla: Special Guest  Royal Guards and Helpers:Bongo: Tirth Patel  Sparky:Emmanuel Lopez  Jinx: Jake Messerschmitt Junior: Steven Garcia  Doc: Anthony Macchiarola  Buddy: Brenden Campise Peanut: Thomas Carino  Cooper: Logan Ruppert  Noodles: Nicholas Misurella

Photo Gallery

Stimson 8th Grade Orchestra Impress Judges


On Friday, May 29th, the Stimson 8th Grade Orchestra, and their teacher, Ms. Sharon Smith, took their talents to the Long Island Music Festival at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood. Using some of their favorite pieces from the past two years, the students came away with a Superior Rating; scoring 98 out of 100 points! The judges used words like "Wow, I'm impressed,"  "you show extreme musicality" and "it's obvious you work well as a group" to describe their performance. The kids were thrilled with their performance and came away knowing they had done their very best. As a reward for their teamwork and musical successes, they spent the rest of the beautiful afternoon at Adventure Park in Wheatley Heights.  Congratulations to this spectacular group!  We look forward to great things in the years ahead.

Nicole Algierie, Benjamin Barton, Mabel Bassi, Kalina Bonilla, Olivia Bonomo, Andrew Borges, Thomas Braglia, Cosette Brazeau, Mariela Canales, Sarah Choudhary, Jack Cox, John Dugan, Marissa Echezuria, Maxwell Fisher, Zoey Guiliano, Hailey Hamilton, Jasmine Haug, Sarah Heath, Laurette Joyce, Marianna Kliampas, Meghan Kramer, George Link, Kyle Mattila, Jefferson Orellana, Skylar Pekarek, Andrew Ramsland, Mary Reciniello, Nina Rodriguez, Anne Rodriguez, Johana Rovira, Yamilex Salamanca, Justin Savage, Sara Solano, Wilmer Valle, Emma Weigele, Patrick Wuss, and Abbie Yaege.

Never Heard of Adventure Park?

The Adventure Park at Long Island is an “aerial forest ropes park” consisting of over 140 platforms installed in the trees and connected by various configurations of cable, wood, and rope to form bridges and zip lines.

Groups of these bridges or “elements” link together to form separate trails though the trees. Although every trail has zip lines on them, there is much more fun than just zip lining to be had! There are ten trails in total, for ages seven to adult, with challenge levels suitable for every age and skill level–from beginner to expert. Each person selects the trail(s) they want and climbs at their own pace.


World Language Honor Society Induction

Five of the seven World Language Honor Society officers left to right: Zarmeen Mussa, Ellysandra Monegro, Julia Persaud, Jonathan Mozoon, and Mindy Lin.
Newly inducted French Honor Society members recite their pledge.
Clockwise from top left: Women’s Choir members Marina Kopf, Olivia Banting, and Megan Lo, as well as Violinist Eliza Wong provided musical entertainment for the evening.
World Language Society Advisor Aileen D’Addario emceed a wonderful evening that inducted new members into the French, Italian, and Spanish Honor Societies.

While we are always remarkably proud of our students' success in co-curricular endeavors, it is the commitment to balanced, well-rounded accomplishments that truly make our young people special. With this in mind, we were thrilled to see 107 members of our distinguished student body inducted into the prestigious World Language Honor Society. These fine academicians, under the leadership of Aileen D’Addario, managed to navigate the rigors of increased scholastic standards and emerge as successful candidates for the 2015 induction. Our parents and teachers should be very proud to have students so able to manage their time and juggle the demands of modern high school life.

Photo Gallery

French Honor Society:  Stacey Auguste, Olivia Biederman, Desiree Chouinard, Neyda Diaz-Vilorio, Nadia Lubrano, Tyler Malone, Brenda Mendez, Aamash Mussa, Correy Pearlman, and Antoinette Riehl.

Italian Honor Society:  Jack Anest, Krista Apostle, Alexa Betancourth, Marguerite Bonhomme, David Caliendo, April Carmine, Jordan Chen, Kelly Collins, Christian Corbett, Alexa Del Colle, Cayleigh Delgado, Holly Fontanetta, Jacob Goldstein, Samson Grimm, Danielle Harris, Julia Iovino, Hailey Khatchatourian, Daniela Pasquarello, Lilianna Pelliccia, Brooke Pagano, Kaitlyn Riha, Jenna Ruf, Clifford Sweezey, Carla Tejada, Joseph Van Gostein, Brittany White, and Natalie Zakrzewski.

Spanish Honor Society:  Ife Adebola, Muaz Azhar, Arielle Bagley, Katie Batkin, Josh Berger, Chloe Blumberg, Timothy Brady, Nicole Brigante, Michael Bronson, Lauren Brown, Margarita Canales, Serah Carbon, Steven Ciravolo, Kristen Coletti, Kristen Conroy, Christina Corry, Cesia Deras, Rebecca DeWitt, Allison DiStasi, Christopher Dybus, Hunter Eichner, Julia Fisch, Alexa Follo, Joshua Friedman, Emily Fung, Alex Greenberg, Matt Haddock, Abdul Halimi, Trevor Hardy, Jefferson Hector, Juan Carlos Hernandez, Matthew Jacobsen, Britany Khatchatourian, Rachel Kilkenny, Sarah Kim, Melissa Konakli, Maelyn Latko, Katie Latko, Graham Lunt, Timothy Mahadeo, James Mattutat, Sydney McCrea, Scott Mc Entee, Luke Mc Evoy, Avery Mc Kenzie, Ryan Mc Quade, Payal Multani, Ben Nace, Michael Naughton, Joanne Nguyen, Grace Noonan, Kelly O’Neill, Julianna Richter, Bradley Rummell, Charles Ruotolo, Robby Seebach, Michael Seitz, Aiden Smyth, Kayla Soulias, Matt Stampfel, Craig Stockfeder, Zanaira Tariq, Mathew Torres, Melissa Triolo, Kiran Usmani, Andrew Varisco, Rachel Vaughan, Camilo Vazquez, Joseph Weindlng, and Shelbi Wuss.


Senior Awards are as follows:

The Kris DiMaira French Scholaship Award:  Jonathan Mozoon

Spanish:   Julia Persaud

Italian:   Amy Chen

French:  Jonathan Mozoon

Service Award:  Mindy Lin

Service Award:  Zarmeen Mussa

PTA World Language Award:  Mahum Siddiqui

Valedictorians Honored

Jonathan Sparling, with proud Dad and equally proud South Huntington Superintendent Dr. Dave Bennardo and Whitman Principal Ms. Kathleen Acker.

Congratulations Jonathan Sparling!

School superintendents, administrators and parents acknowledged and honored the highest achieving students of Suffolk County’s Class of 2015 during the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association’s 21st annual Valedictorian Luncheon, held at the Hyatt Regency Wind Watch Hotel in Hauppauge.

Keynote speaker Roger Tilles, a member of the New York State Board of Regents, encouraged the valedictorians to always put things in perspective, develop a backbone, become proactive and involved, use imagination and creativity to propel forward, and find a job that matters.  “Love what you do and feel that it matters,” Tilles said. “There is no greater fun than that.”

Each valedictorian was called to the stage to receive a certificate and gift of recognition. During their acknowledgment, the universities they plan on attending were announced, along with their intended majors. Walt Whitman Valedictorian Jonathan Sparling will be attending SUNY Geneseo in the fall. This was the only event in which the Class of 2015 valedictorians were honored together, and it was a truly memorable occasion for all in attendance.

Look for an in-depth article on Jonathan Sparling and well as Whitman's Salutatorian Isabel Sakarin later in June.

Offseason Wrestling Tournament Nets Medals

Our Walt Whitman wrestlers represented our community well at the New York State Freestyle and Greco Roman Championships.

We hear from wrestling coach Chris Cardella that this past weekend the Walt Whitman wrestling team had 9 athletes represent them at the New York State Freestyle and Greco Roman Championships, held in Binghamton, New York.  This was a very competitive tournament where athletes test their skills in the two styles of wrestling that are used in the Olympics.

This was the first time Whitman was represented in this tournament in over a decade.  We are happy to report that our wrestlers earned some well-deserved medals at the tournament. Earning All-State honors in freestyle were Kevin Romano, Terron Robinson, and Peter Marion.  Earning All-State honors in Greco Roman were Terron Robinson and Javier Dubon. “The coaching staff and I couldn't be more proud of our athletes and the hard work each of them put in to prepare themselves for this two day tournament,” said Coach Cardella.

2015 PTA Scholarship Awards

PTA Council Dominic LeClaire, officers and PTA building presidents (back row) join their scholarship students for a group photo.

The South Huntington Council of Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) held their annual scholarship awards ceremony on Monday morning at Walt Whitman’s Performing Arts Center. Council President Dominic LeClaire, assisted by First Vice President Melinda Long and Second Vice President Jayne O’Toole, were the first to hand out the Council of PTAs 2015 scholarships. Individual PTA unit awards followed, with Walt Whitman PTA President Shelley Sauer concluding the morning’s celebrations.

Congratulations to all of our scholarship recipients, their parents, and their educators for a job well done!

Photo Gallery

The Council of PTAs would especially like to thank Walt Whitman High School Principal Kathie Acker and Guidance Director Ms. Leah Lugovina and her staff for their assistance in securing the scholarship applications and their patience throughout the selection process.

South Huntington Council of PTAs 2015 Scholarship Awards


Jonathan Sparling, Isabel Sakarin, Russell Kielawa, Marissa Locastro, Connor Galvin, Zarmeen Mussa, Katelyn Neuman, Eliza Wong, Robert Senecal, Christina McFelia, Alexa Arthur, Elisabeth Silverman, Jenna Traina, and Jade Darrow.


Abigail Daniels, Sean Delle, Thomas Ferrante, Matthew Goodman, Jonathan O’Toole, Linda Powell, Jennifer Sarnataro, Ryan Wendell, and Kabir Zafar.

Art: Victoria Rosa

Music: Kalif Jones

Athletic (Male): Chad Maier

Athletic (Female): Kathryn Marchesiello

ESL: Yoshitomo Kawasaki

Vocational (in honor of Robert J. Flathmann Jr.): Jasmine Slaughter

PTA Scholarship in honor of George Leitl: Mikal Oltedal

Jane Martin Scholarship: Julia Persaud


Oakwood Primary Center

(Presented by Solange Rich, President, Oakwood PTA)

PTA Athletic Scholarship in Honor of Paul Lyle: Sean McEntee

PTA Scholarship in Honor of Sheila Montague: Rachel Sundermier


Countrywood Primary Center

(Presented by Sharon DePalo, President, Countrywood PTA)

PTA Scholarship in Honor of Dr. Emily Rodgers: Gabrielle Vital

PTA Scholarship in Honor of Frank Zauner: Phoebe Levin


Birchwood Intermediate School

(Presented by Kim Phillips, President, Birchwood PTA)

PTA Scholarship in Honor of John Smith: Robert Herley

Fran Hyde-Career in Education Scholarship: Erin Diana


Maplewood Intermediate School

(Presented by Laura Morelli, President, Maplewood PTA)

PTA Scholarship in Honor of Howard B. Link: William Flood

PTA Scholarship in Honor of Hal Roemer: Bridget McHale

PTA Scholarship in Honor of Andrew Garafalo: Haley Gladitsch



(Presented by Christy Gudaitis, President, SEPTA)

Special Achievement Award: Evan Schneider and Leanne Haddock


Henry L. Stimson Middle School

(Presented by Laura Carey, President, Stimson PTA)

PTA Scholarship Award: Joseph Di Piero and Margaret Nostrand

PTA Scholarship in Honor of Paul O’Brien: Colleen Harrington


Walt Whitman High School

(Presented by Shelley Sauer, President, Walt Whitman PTA)

PTA Citizenship Scholarships: Ashley Seebach, Alexis Darrow, Rebecca Sansotta, Shayna Pehel, Nicole Rowe, Francine Sauer, Maureen Leiva, and Jacob Greene.

Outstanding Athlete Scholarships: Shamar Powell and Heather Kurash


'Miles For Michael' Sets a New Attendance Record

Roadrunners and walkers excited to begin the 5K are only minutes away from the starters signal.
The Gallagher family grab a group photo before starting the race.
The day couldn’t have run so smoothly if it weren’t for the many volunteers helping out.
Our top female runner was Walt Whitman alumna Kelley Rauseo who clocked in with a brisk time of 21:17.98. Setting a new course record and the fastest runner on the day was Aaron Robertson who finished in 17:14:76.
Enjoying the beautiful day, the Plaisir family head down the home stretch.
Hitting the 3-mile mark, and ready to turn into Whitman’s main entrance where the official finish line was waiting, was a welcome sight for the 595 registered participants.
“Michael [Gallagher] was taken from the world far too soon; but through his struggle with illness, he inspired us in many ways. I think the enormous participation in today’s event continues to show how many lives he’s touched,” said New York State Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci, shown with community members as they head down the home stretch.
South Huntington Superintendent Dr. Dave Bennardo set a brisk pace from beginning to end as he heads to the finish line.

The place to be this past Saturday morning was Walt Whitman High School and the neighboring community along the 2nd Annual ‘Miles for Michael’ 5K Run-Walk. Mother Nature did not disappoint Ms. Sheila Buhse, who conceived, organized, and directed this incredible event, so she provided the over 595 registered runners and walkers with a picture-perfect morning.

Originally named the Art and Sole 5K, the now annual event was renamed for Walt Whitman 2012 graduate Michael Gallagher who passed away on June 18, 2014, after a valiant two-year battle with cancer. All proceeds from this annual event will benefit the arts, music, and dance programs for South Huntington students. This annual event also serves to galvanize the extended Gallagher family each year to gather and honor Michael’s tenacity, bravery, and spirit.

Officiated by Start to Finish Road Race Timers and Consultants, this sanctioned 5K run drew participants from the entire metro-new York area, and even as far away as Chicago and Virginia. New York road race expert commentator Mr. Terry Bisogno took to the microphone and gave runners and the South Huntington community a commentary that introduced each and every participant as they crossed the finish line. Terry and Sheila took to the podium at the conclusion where the top three runners in over 30 categories were presented medals.

The Whitman dancers performed at the end of the event, and their talent was on display for the whole community to enjoy. At the Kids Fun Run, parents cheered on their littlest runners as they circled the Whitman track and then made a grand exit through the official finish line. There were tents with baskets for raffle and nourishment for all of the participants and their fans.

“Thank you all for helping make this past weekend’s celebration and remembrance of Michael Gallagher a huge success,” said Ms. Buhse.    “We surpassed the goals that even I had in mind.  The weather was perfect, and the participants were all extremely happy to be involved. Thanks again for all your team spirit!”

Committee members: Annie Michaelian, Maria Colon, Steven Toto, Vasken Kazandjian, Sue Radin, Helene Falcone, Rory Sherman, Angela Meringolo, and Eleanora Ferrante.

Special thanks to the “fabulous four” Margaret Bayley, Joanne Padilla, Christine Rapp, and Kelly Twist.

Could not have happened without: Carlo Giordano and Kevin Kennedy- Big Thanks to both!

Morning Set Up and Break Down: John Burke, Lou Savarese, Bill Rathje, Phil Martelli, Don Prisco, Chuck Salerno and Phil Varisco.

See you all next year!

Photo Gallery

Highlights from the Spring Dance Concert

“I am especially proud of this concert because I feel it reveals the power of dance to communicate ideas to an audience and for the depth and diversity of themes.” - Susan Turner Radin
Behind the incredible music from the Wind Ensemble, and the Masks from Ms. Gina Tinucci’s talented art students, the performance of ‘Midnight Masquerade’ was one of the highlights of the evening.
‘On the Rooftop’ was a wonderfully executed dance that took its theme from the movie ‘Mary Poppins.’ Captured in a brief moment of stillness is Melanie Olinsky.
Whitman Dance Program’s Director and Choreographer Susan Turner Radin, standing center back to camera, details last minute instructions with her dancers after a demanding dress rehearsal.

The annual Spring Dance Concert at Walt Whitman High School featured one of Long Island's top high school dance programs, directed and choreographed by Susan Turner Radin. “I am especially proud of this concert because I feel it reveals the power of dance to communicate ideas to an audience and for the depth and diversity of themes,” said Ms. Turner.  “This year the students and I tackled subjects from the Chimney Sweeps of Mary Poppins to families struggling with Cancer, from the stereotypes and strengths of young women, and to the various identity issues with which teens struggle.”

“The dancers in the Whitman Dance Program this year were by far one of the most eclectic groups of students I've had to work with in my twelve years at Whitman in terms of ability, experience, interest, commitment, and performance,” said Ms. Radin. “Thursday night’s dance concert was a perfect example of the magic of performance and creative process because in spite of the challenges, differences, and obstacles we encountered throughout the year, they came together in perfect harmony and gave a fabulous show.” The evening also showcased the incredibly talented Jazz Band and the award winning Wind Ensemble, directed by Allan Deitz.

Another highlight of the evening was the addition of the Walt Whitman High School Studio Artists under the direction of Art Educator Gina Tinucci. The group created beautiful masks that dancers used in their performance of ‘Masquerade.’

The Jazz Band got things off to a great start performing ten numbers from their 2014-2015 repertoire. Whitman’s Dance director, Ms. Susan Turner Radin then introduced several 2015 Dance Awards. Congratulations to eight students who are to be inducted into the National Honor Society for Dance Arts in New York State on June 3, 2015. Inductees: Jessica Barahona, Rachel Kilkenny, Jenna Kilkenny, Marina Kilkenny, Corina Lambraia, Elizabeth Mercurio, Melanie Olinsky, and Sabrina Odette.

PTA Award for Dance was presented to: Victoria Rosa

Art Development Fund Award for Dance:  Sabrina Odette

WWHS PTA Achievement Award in Dance: Morgan McNulty

WWHS Art Recognition Award for Dance: Sabrina Philippe


Photo Gallery

The Dance portion of the evening featured six performances.  Dance performances In order of appearance:  

#like a girl

Performed by Studio in Dance

Music by DVBBS

Video edited by Anthony Padinha and Keith Nieves



Choreographed by Turner

Performed by Modern Dance II/III

Music by Enigma


Alter Ego

Performed by Studio in Dance

Music by Lindsey Sterling


Performed Modern Dance II/III

Music: Whatsoever Things by Camphouse

Music Performed by The WWHS Wind Ensemble


Midnight Masquerade

Performed by Modern Dance I

Music by Midnight on Main Street by Balmages

Music Performed by The WWHS Wind Ensemble


On the Rooftop

Performed by Modern Dance II/III

Music by Richard and Robert Sherman


Walt Whitman Dancers:

Studio in Dance: Filomena Abbatiello, Ariane Apostle, Mavia Ashraf, Arielle Bagley, Jessica Barahona, Marissa Barletta, Kiara Brown, Gabriella Corvera, Caitlin Dermody, Vincent Feola, Michelle Fisher, Lesley Garay, Nykwon Harrison, Cara Mangels, Jessica Menditto, Jennifer Orellana, Tori Pomeroy, Alexander Plaisir, Inpreet Rattu, Brittany Roche, Carla Tejada, Ingri Uceda, Angie Umanzor , Clarissa Villatoro Contreras, and Sohrab Wahab.

Modern Dance I: Cintia Amaya, Manzar Cheema, Catherine Costantine, Trevor Ewald, Shadae Graham, Brianna Hausman, Krystal Lloyd, Morgan McNulty, Hapi Morancie, Diliana Moreira, Adrianna Padinha, Saleena Pawa, Shaylyn Pineda, Amaya Taylor, Deja Tejada, and Carla Turcios.

Modern Dance II/III: Jessica Barahona, Sonia Bartolomeo, Gary Cisneros Campos, Franklin Clase, Taylor Greco, Sarah Haller, Marielle Hammond,  Karizma Ingram, Marina Kilkenny, Jenna Kilkenny, Rachel Kilkenny, Corina Lambraia, Kelsey McDonald,  Delaney Mena, Elizabeth Mercurio, Rebecca Nardelli, Sabrina Odette, Melanie Olinsky,  Sabrina Philippe, Pam Pulvirenti, Will Roman, Victoria Rosa, Luke Smith, and Caroline Tomaselli. Guest appearance: Nykwon Harrison.

Ms. Tinucci's art students studied the relationship between masks and different cultures. Student’s researched mask-making from various cultures, drew sketches of the masks, made connections between the masks and the cultural practices of the people who created them and the various beliefs of how and why a mask may be worn.  Students then created a personal mask to reflect their culture and themselves. The following students created original masks for the modern dance piece Masquerade: Thomas Blackall, Rebecca De Witt, Thomas DiLorenzo, Jiaxing Du Audreiana Lesty, Viviana Oliva, Jenna Scheiner, Elisabeth Auguste, April Carmine, Danielle D Amico, Genesis Hernandez, Christopher Marion, Matthew Mc Gowan, Brittany  Roche, Claudia Roderiguez, Taylor Stewart, Justin Wallace, and Jack Wrobel.

Jazz Band Allan Deitz, Director

Matt Cusumano, Mike DiMaulo, David Grey, Max Eidinoff, Derek Lap,* Emily Ferrante, Isaac Renderos, Will Flood, Dana Roach, Jefferson Hector, Jordan Roiland, Jack Schatten, Brittany White, Josh Devaraj, Nick Miata, Joonho Ko, Alijan Ozkiral, Alec Gonzalez, Colin Sherland, James Reilly, and Jack Zuckerberg.  *SCMEA All County Instrumental Jazz Ensemble

Walt Whitman High School Wind Ensemble  Allan Deitz, Conductor

Lila Amin, Keya Bartolomeo, Alexa Arthur, Neyda Diaz-Vilorio, Ariel Khatchatourian, Natalie Hayes, Christina McFelia, Jillian Leydon*, Linda Powell, Shayna Pehel, Samantha Ruotolo, Jessica Persaud, Umaimah Saleemi, Antionette Riehl, Paige Tortorice, Paige Gladstone, Ellen Tricomi, Gabrielle Vital, Lindsay Varolian, Kate Manson, David Grey, Katelyn Neuman, Melissa Shaiman*, Melanie Schwartz,Josh Devaraj, Jonathan Sparling, Alec Gonzalez, Nicole Grennan, Casey Leonick, Matt Cusumano, Isaac Renderos, James Reilly, Derek Lap, Omar Ramos, Austin Salas, Dana Roach, Margaret Nostrand, Zach Bruno, Margaret Nostrand, Steven Ciravolo, Katie Clark, Mary Rose Stone, Michael DiMaulo, Lauren Connolly, Emily Ferrante, Mara Keen, Will Flood, Megan Lo, Joonho Ko, Jefferson Hector, and Arianna Monterroso. Josh Kaplan, Jack Zuckerberg, Jack Schatten, David Hamilton III Colin Sherland, George Marr, Brittany White, Nicole Grennan, and Derek Ramos.  * SCMEA All-County Division III

Of Special Interest: 

Summer Arts

The 2014 Summer Music and Arts Program will be held at Walt Whitman High School June 30 – July 25, 2014.  Registration and information can be found at:  www.summermusicandarts.com

The Long Island Musical Theatre Institute, will present Merrily We Roll along with a full professional orchestra in the Whitman Performing Arts Centre on Friday July 31 at 8pm And Saturday August 1 at 3pm.  Program information can be found on www.limtf.org.

National Spanish Exam Yields Impressive Results

Many of the National Spanish Exam Medal Winners gather for a group photo. Sitting left to right: Kimberly Gonzalez, Chloe Blumberg, Grace Noonan, Cesia Deras, and Alex Clopper. Standing left to right: Juan Hernandez, Omar Ramos, Christina Corry, Joshua Joseph, Michael Seitz, and Scott McEntee.

Congratulations to the World Language students from Walt Whitman High School who attained national recognition for excellent performance on the 2015 National Spanish Examination.

Students from Walt Whitman High School earned a total of 1 gold, 6 silver and 13 bronze medals along with 36 honorable mentions. “Attaining a medal or honorable mention for any student on the National Spanish Examinations is very prestigious,” said Kevin Cessna-Buscemi, National Director of the Exams, “because the exams are the largest of their kind in the United States with over 157,000 students participating in 2015.”

Students from Walt Whitman High School have a long history of high achievement on these exams. The students are from Ms. Cardillo, Ms. D’Addario, Ms. Hindes, Ms. Irizarry and Ms. Ramirez’s classes.

The following students received the following medals and recognition:

Gold: Juan Hernandez

Silver: Herson Aparicio, Lilibeth Campos, Tiffany Chuen, Cesia Deras, Joshua Joseph, and Scott McEntee.

Bronze: Chloe Blumberg, Kelly Baumann, Christina Corry, Saylene Flores, Kimberly Gonzalez, Alex Clopper, Grace Noonan, Abigail Quintanilla, Omar Ramos, Isaac Regalado, Craig Stockfeder, Michael Seitz, and Manuel Uceda.

Honorable Mentions: Katie Batkin, Lauren Brown, Gabriella Cipriano, Franklin Clase, Allison Distasi, Hunter Eichner, Joshua Friedman, Emily Fung, Cony Granados, Matthew Haddock, Serena Halajian, Karthikeyan Mayilvahanan, Sara Kim, Maelyn Latko, Sergio Licona, Graham Lunt, Tatiana Martinez, Bianca McMillen, Jenmily Melendez, Mark Theodore Meneses, Michael Morck, Payal Multani, Kelly O’Neill, Jennifer Orellana, Diana Ortega, Shailee Patel, Jessica Persaud, Ella Podhurst, Jordan Roiland, Charles Ruotolo, Deja Tejada, Rachel Vaughan, Camilo Vazquez, Liam Vollmer, and Marissa Whelan.