Isernia Goes Distance, Bats Come Alive Late

Looking back after a tough 9-6 loss to Lindenhurst on Tuesday, varsity baseball coach Steven Greco knows his team is better. “We got down early and made a bunch of errors,” said Coach Greco. “All-League Pitcher Nick Isernia hung in there and gave us a good game, and we battled, but couldn’t muster the support needed to pull off the comeback.” Down 8-2 after 3 innings, the Wildcats began to work their way out of the hole they dug. “We showed some heart in the end, got some nice hits scoring 4 runs in the 7th and final inning, but came up short.”

The Wildcats number one pitcher, senior Nick Isernia, is back from elbow surgery and gaining strength as the warm weather kicks in. Shortstop Greg Ledbetter is counted on for his strength at the plate and is hitting the ball well in the leadoff spot. Joe DiPiero, at third base is also hitting the ball well. Junior second baseman Joshua Shapiro is providing solid defensive play and senior catcher Chris Olberding has been rock solid behind the plate. Ben Black, a senior, has been providing strong support in center field and at the plate as well.  Sean McEntee, in left field, is also playing well and continues to improve. “We have 2 returning starters from last year so we’re a young team,” said Coach Greco. “We have a good group of juniors who are seeing plenty of playing time, so we improving each day.”

The Wildcats finish their series against Lindenhurst away on Thursday, and begin a series against Central Islip at home on Monday, April 28th- first pitch is at 4PM.


Senior Nick Isernia gets stronger with each outing.
Chris Olberding gets the pitch selection from Assistant Coach Steve Greco Sr.
Third baseman Joe DiPiero is about to catch the ball and the runner’s cleats at the very same time. The cleats won.
Junior Joshua Shapiro provides strength in the infield at second base.
Power hitter Greg Ledbetter connects adding to his RBI average.

What Do You Get When You Mix Candy Dots and Toothpicks?

In the week before Spring Break, Oakwood’s Second Grade Dual Language classes decided to have some fun. Using math, engineering, and some good old teamwork, they created some great works of art.

Working in groups of three or four they were each given a paper plate, and a supply of toothpicks and candy Dots. They were warned not to eat the Dots because they might need them later, and they really did need them!

Each group started with a basic cube figure, but they all ended up with some wild and creative projects. The children discovered that just building up was not always the answer, and they needed to work as a team to figure out how to make adjustments so that their towers would stay upright.

Some groups built sideways instead of up and this needed a whole other set of strategies.

After the projects were completed the class then identified the different 3d shapes found in their creations and realized how the Dots created the angles and the toothpicks were the sides. They saw cubes, rectangular prisms, pyramids, squares and triangles. They were having so much fun that they weren’t even tempted to eat the candy, and didn’t realize how much they had just learned.

We have a great group of future engineers at Oakwood!


Working as a team to figure out how to make adjustments so that their towers would stay upright turned out to be the goal.

Celebrating Earth Day

Earth Day was Tuesday, April 22, and our planet is abuzz with activities, all designed to educate and encourage people to take action to protect the planet. Here in our corner of the planet, teachers and students are busy with celebrations that will extend throughout the week. 

In Ms. Hickey’s sixth-grade art classes at Silas Wood, students have been studying world-renowned American Artist Georgia O’Keeffe. During the 1920s, her large canvasses of lush flowers were filled with dynamic energy and vibrant colors. Studying the various parts of a flower, students created their own "O’Keeffe" renditions of flowers.

The newly formed Walt Whitman Conservation Club is meeting today to discuss conservation issues on a global scale. Volunteer advisors Ms. Patricia Lizza and Mr. Keith Goldman will review actions taking place today around the world and lead a discussion on the significance of our imprint on earth. 

This Friday, April 25, at Oakwood Primary Center, teachers, parents, students, and staff will pitch in and worked together to give the schoolyard habitat, established in 2010 by first-grade teacher Ms. Simone DaRos, a good Spring-cleaning. When all the work is finished, the planted bee balm, yarrow, Montauk daisies, coneflowers, butterfly bushes, and milkweed will be ready to flourish, creating a haven for butterflies and other pollinators.


This young artist picks right up on the color-pallet that signified many of Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings of flowers.
Ms. Hickey works with a student to help him highlight areas that will give his painting a more 3-dimensional look.
This young artist creates a masterpiece using math as a way to reproduce a much smaller sketch (upper right corner) into a full-sized colorful painting.
The class was busy adding all of the elements of a flower to create a finished piece.
Engrossed in his painting, this student blends colors to add depth, lifting his flower from its background.
With the final touches to the background almost complete, this student contemplates any additional colors she may want to add.


DATE: Saturday, May 3.

TIME: 8am to 2:30pm (rain or shine)

WHERE: Walt Whitman HS North Gym (donation drop off) 301 West Hills Road, Huntington Station, NY 11746

We are collecting: ALL GENTLY USED CLOTHING (men’s, women’s & children’s), stuffed animals & soft household items. Including : SHOES, BOOTS,SNEAKERS,  BELTS, HANDBAGS, BACKPACKS, BRIEFCASES, BEDDING, CURTAINS, TOWELS, small AREA RUGS, TIES, HATS, SCARVES, GLOVES, STUFFED ANIMALS, DOLLS AND SMALL HARD TOYS (no bigger than 24" x 24"), baby strollers


South Huntington PTA Council will be paid per pound collected. ALL FUNDS RAISED WILL BE USED FOR SCHOLARSHIPS. Donations will be sorted and shipped in containers to developing countries to be reused (NOT ragged). Vendor has an "A" rating with the Better Business Bureau.


Career Development In The 21st Century Conference

On April 11, Whitman students attended the Career Development in the 21st Century Conference at Suffolk Community College’s Brentwood Campus. The Career Conference was a unique conference planned by a group of dedicated professionals who understand the need for the integration of skills to the learning process. It is designed for students to gain insight to practices and strategies for the 21st Century and the changing needs of the global work place. Students participated in several interactive sessions regarding topics including Strategies for Life Planning, Career Trends for the Next Decade, and Utilizing Social Media to Enhance Career Success.



Walt Whitman's student led production of the popular musical GODSPELL opens this Friday night at Walt Whitman High School's Performing Arts Center.  Performances are: Friday, April 25 at 7:30PM, Saturday, April 26 at 2 and 7:30PM.

$10 for adults

$8 for students/seniors

Walt Whitman High School

Performing Arts Center

301 West Hills Road

Huntington Station, NY 11746

Wildcats Hang Tough Against National Powerhouse

Going up against one of the top ranked teams in the Nation gave the Wildcats of Whitman an opportunity to test their game, and the team did well considering the strength of Smithtown West. “West is the cream of the crop, and I’m proud how my guys played,” said Varsity Head Coach Bob Howell.  The Bulls are ranked number one in Suffolk County and currently ranked fourth in the Nation and second in the East according to LaxPower Magazine. 

But the Whitman team put all that aside going goal-for-goal, keeping the score knotted 2-2 at the end of the first period. “We kept it close for most of the game,” said Coach Howell. “When you play one of the nation’s top teams, you just can’t make any mistakes, great teams capitalize on mistakes.”

The Bulls defense stiffened and their offense took control of the clock, not allowing a Wildcat score for the next 2 periods. Both teams added one score each for the fourth and final period and the Wildcats took the loss 7-3. Smithtown West continues their unbeaten streak. Scoring for Whitman were Matt Stockfeder with one goal and 2 assists, and Jaron Batts and Scott Manning who scored one goal each. 

The Wildcat defense kept the Bulls high scoring offense to their fewest goals in division play this year. “Our defense played incredibly well,” said Coach Howell.  “Esposito, Keane, Morrissey, Bermudez all had terrific games, and Shane Brennan played great in the goal with 15 saves.”   


Sophomore Matt Stockfeder (15) uses a pick set by teammate Keith Morrissey (6) to get by his opponent for a goal.
Whitman senior Liam Brennan (7) is on the attack and winds-up a shot.
Sophomore Addison Bermudez (13), a long-pole midfielder clears the ball to his offense.
Patric Harrington (3) works his magic for a shot, but will be denied a goal by Smithtown’s goalie Matt Smidt.
Whitman senior Sam Esposito (29) had a busy day and played strong keeping the Bulls to one of their lowest scoring games of the year. Whitman Goalie Shane Brennan, who posted 15 saves on the day also played well against the high-scoring Bulls.

What does Veterans Day mean to you?

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

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

An Important Message From Superintendent Bennardo


We have been working throughout the week to address the trespass situation that took place at 4AM on Friday, April 11, 2014, in WWHS. We have conferenced regularly with the police who have committed both uniformed and plainclothes officers to the case. In addition, the Second Precinct authorities were involved all the way up to the highest command level and the Deputy Inspector has explained that the SCPD utilized resources from a number of specialized units to determine that this was not part of a dangerous plot or plan against the school or district. Ms. Acker and her team have been in the building during the week and feel comfortable that things are safe and secure for next week's opening. They will be joined by our Suffolk County Police Department School Resource Officer Drew Fiorillo on Monday morning to welcome students and staff and address any questions that might arise.

On a broader note, Friday morning's intruder at Walt Whitman provided us an opportunity to review our procedures and sharpen protocols in response to the lessons learned. Our investigation as well as police department information indicates that this individual entered the building through a door that was not secured at the conclusion of the school day. Rest assured we are taking appropriate action in response to this oversight.

That being said, the responsibility for systems and procedures which limit the potential for this type of breach remains squarely on the shoulders of the district and building administration. We accept the importance of that charge and have worked throughout the week to review procedures, establish a system of redundancies, upgrade equipment, and delineate clear protocols for evening and weekend security. While our protocol enhancements include the entire district, the size, volume, number of doors, evening activities, and weekend use make after hours security in any high school unique. Daytime security is always more straightforward in that only students and staff are on premises for scheduled class sessions. The evening and weekends are more dynamic with hundreds of students, coaches, advisors, clubs, spectators, and community organizations participating throughout the school until nearly 11PM. The goal is to keep the building accessible as a community resource while simultaneously ensuring a safe, secure environment.

Overnight Security Enhancements

1. The nighttime door checks, which have traditionally been done as a custodian finishes cleaning his particular area, will be upgraded. There will now be a second interior check that will be conducted after all students, staff, and outside groups have exited the building. There will then be a third door check conducted by a member of the security team from the outside of the building to ensure that each door is properly secured. Both the inside and outside check will be verified by the responsible personnel each evening and reviewed regularly by our building and district administrative teams. This procedure will immediately commence for the opening of classes on Monday.

Note- The elementary, schools where we have fewer doors and more isolated activity will have an inside custodial door check as well as an outside security check. All other verification procedures will be the same throughout the district.

2. The building motion detection alarms throughout the district, which currently include a silent alert to the monitoring station, will be upgraded to include a loud, audible notification to any intruder and security personnel.

3. The district communication systems will be upgraded to ensure that administrators, lead custodians, the facilities director, security chiefs, supervisors, and district office staff are on the same frequency for instantaneous communication.

4. The coaches and advisors throughout the district will be asked to contact security when they arrive back at any building after hours so a full recheck of the doors can be conducted upon exit. Security will keep a log of these occasions for verification purposes.

5. An identification report of our after-hours electronic door entry will be sent to both the building principals and district office administration.

6. The high school security personnel will lock both the McDonald's parking lot and Paumanok gates after activities have ceased for the evening. A gate will be added to the end of the driveway, limiting main parking lot access from midnight to 5AM.

7. Finally, the ad hoc committee consisting of administrators, security, custodial staff, law enforcement, and district supervisors that convened to address this issue will be made permanent. Additional representation from each building as well as faculty, staff, and PTA officers will be added in an effort to ensure a regular review and upgrade of district safety and security procedures.

Note: Modifications that do not require equipment upgrades will be immediate. Those enhancements that require budget line purchases, contract work, etc. will be expedited as quickly as possible.

Again, these modifications are being instituted to tighten our after hours and overnight campus and door security. All daytime security measures remain in place.

Please be well and have a restful family weekend.

Dave Bennardo


Body Electric Lights Up The PAC


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

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

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

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

2014 Body Electric Slide Show:

Photo Gallery


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

Dance Program Captures Stimson Students

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

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

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

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

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


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

March Athletes of the Month


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

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

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

Stars of STEM Found in South Huntington

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

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

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

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

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


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

HART Poetry Winners

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

High School Heroes Enjoy Teaching Opportunity

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

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

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

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


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

"Always Strive To Do Your Best"

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

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


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

PTA Reflections Celebrated


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

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

Program Winners

* Winner, Award of Excellence, Suffolk County

** Winner, Award of Excellence, New York State

*** Winner of both awards


Countrywood Primary Center

Dawn Churchman, chair

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

Literature: Awards of Excellence: Madison Caiazzo, Sofia Filler

Awards of Merit: Olivia Beck, Caitlin Hyers

Music: Award of Excellence: Aidan Hamilton

Photography: Awards of Excellence: Anthony DePalo, Ava Schlaich

Award of Merit: Sienna Long

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

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

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


Oakwood Primary Center

Laura Palmieri, chair

Literature: Award of Excellence: Brooke Lynn Creamer

Photography: Awards of Excellence: Katelyn Adams, Emily Goldberg

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

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

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


Birchwood Intermediate School

Laurel Addis, chair

Literature: Award of Excellence: Adelrhany Georges***

Photography: Awards of Excellence: Ryan Luebker, Colin Murphy

Honorable Mention: Adelrhany Georges

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

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

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


Maplewood Intermediate School

Laura Morelli, chair

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

Film: Awards of Excellence: Connor Hamilton, Michael McIndoo

Literature: Awards of Excellence: Daniella Padinha, Amanda Trifon

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

Honorable Mention: Julia Rinaldi

Music: Award of Excellence: Sebastian Koch*

Photography: Awards of Excellence: Nicholas Campinelli, Aidan Greenberg

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

Honorable Mention: Alexa Wilbrecht

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

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

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


Silas/Stimson Middle School

Mary Abbene, chair

Dance: Award of Excellence: Melanie Yodice*

Award of Merit: Jamie Montague

Film Production: Award of Excellence: Sofiya Saykovska

Literature: Awards of Excellence: Joel Kaplan, Amanda Riha

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

Honorable Mention: Diana Fogel, Tyler Meyer, Logan Slansky

Music: Awards of Excellence: Max Eidinoff, Summer Levinsky

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

Awards of Merit: Nathan Blank, Hailey Dearborn

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

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

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


Walt Whitman High School

Barbara Delli Carpini, chair

Literature: Awards of Excellence: Brian Davila, Thomas Younghans

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

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

Music: Award of Excellence: Leanne Haddock*

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

Award of Merit: Nicole Rowe

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

Award of Merit: Yoshitomo Kawasaki and Anali Nanavati


Career Day Draws From Our Talented Community

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

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

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

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

Career Café Speaker Program

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

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

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

Whitman Scores at Heritage Festival Competition

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Esperanza Rising Inspires Bilingual – Bicultural Exchange

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

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

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

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

Some translated quotes by WWHS students:

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

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

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

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



Spring Blood Drive Nets 120 Pints

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

Congratulations Spring Blood Drive Captains:

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

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

Making Something Special For Everyone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Ciravolo Wins Robotics Finalist Award

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

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

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

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


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

Red Cross Club Epitomizes Volunteerism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advisors: Eileen Berkowitz, Barbara Haik, Danielle Rodrigues

Officers:  Matt Campanella, president

Abigail Daniels, treasurer

Nicole Cardascia, secretary

Liaison/mentor: Gabrielle Ramirez

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


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

A Timely Message from Dr. B

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

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

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

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


February Athletes of the Month

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

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

Congratulations to both of these outstanding student athletes!

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

"The Music Man" Headlines Alumni News

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

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

Congratulations Justin Schuman, you make South Huntington proud.


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

Paying Tribute to the Harlem Renaissance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Parent University Registration


South Huntington Union Free School District presents:

Parent University


Thursday, May 1, 2014 at Walt Whitman High School


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

Walt Whitman’s High School Main Lobby


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

Dinner will be served


Workshop Group A: 5PM-5:45PM

Workshop Group B: 6PM-6:45PM

Keynote Speaker: 7PM-7:45PM

Workshop Group C: 8PM-8:45PM

Program ends at 9 PM


Child Care is available for children 5 years and older.

Student volunteers will supervise fun arts & craft activities!

Register Here Online

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

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



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

 Parent University SHUFSD Webpage

Additional Website for Parent University

5K Run

5k Web Page

Huntington Historical Society Summer Camp Flyers


Wildcat Summer Sports Camp Raffle

Summer Fun for Everyone! 

The Wildcat Booster Club is having a Special Fundraising Raffle!

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

(Sport selections of your choice) 

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

See attached flyer for details and to enter


Oakwood PTA Comedy Night

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

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

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



Registration Open- 2014 Summer Music and Arts Program

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

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

Frank Yolango- Co Coordinator- -631-812-398

Allan Deitz-Co Coordinator

2014 Wildcat Summer Sports Camp

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

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

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

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

Out of District Campers are always welcome!



BOE Budget Review Series

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