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.
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.”