Project Excel Celebrated

Guest speakers left to right: Ms. Danielle Meyers, a Social Work student at Stony Brook University, Mr. Shadrack Boakye, Ms. Katrina Patterson, Esq., and Deputy Superintendent Ms. Jacqueline Harris, and Coordinator of Student Services, Mr. David Perkins.
Guest speakers left to right: Ms. Danielle Meyers, a Social Work student at Stony Brook University, Mr. Shadrack Boakye, Ms. Katrina Patterson, Esq., and Deputy Superintendent Ms. Jacqueline Harris, and Coordinator of Student Services, Mr. David Perkins.
Ms. Harris and Mr. Perkins flank this year’s group of Social Work Interns who are instrumental in helping to move our Project Excel Program forward.
Ms. Harris and Mr. Perkins flank this year’s group of Social Work Interns who are instrumental in helping to move our Project Excel Program forward.
Board of Education Vice President Mr. Nicholas Ciappetta delivered the morning’s closing remarks.
Board of Education Vice President Mr. Nicholas Ciappetta delivered the morning’s closing remarks.
Left to right: Stimson students Gabrielle Rows and Cindy Gonzalez thrilled the audience with a violin performance.
Left to right: Stimson students Gabrielle Rows and Cindy Gonzalez thrilled the audience with a violin performance.

South Huntington’s Project Excel students took part in a grand celebration at OHEKA Castle today, Wednesday, February 15th.  This special recognition brunch was dedicated to this year's Project Excel theme: "Maintaining a Mindset for Success."  The brunch, donated entirely by OHEKA owner Gary Melius, provided a fitting tribute to one of the district’s most successful student programs.

The program began with a welcome address from Walt Whitman sophomore Jaquelinne Jaco-Garay.  After a greeting from Coordinator of Student Services, Mr. David Perkins and Deputy Superintendent Ms. Jacqueline Harris, a heartwarming thank you was presented to OHEKA maitre de Ms. Hyacinth Waug who is retiring and has been a long-time friend of Project Excel. 

The assembled guests were treated to a morning of motivational presentations, skillfully facilitated by Mr. Perkins. The Excel students listened intently to powerful messages from both of the morning’s keynote speakers.

Mr. Shaka Williams, our Project Excel Coordinator at Birchwood, along with Silas Wood sixth-grader Kenyon Miles introduced the morning’s first keynote speaker, Ms. Katrina Patterson.  Ms. Patterson is an accomplished Attorney, Author, Executive Coach, and Leadership Consultant. “My five ‘B’s for success is…Be Courteous, Be Smart, Be Excellent, Be Honest, and the fifth is Believe,” said Ms. Patterson.  “You can have the first four B’s but if you don’t Believe, the first four B’s aren’t as valuable, you have to believe in yourself, that you can do it, that you will be successful.”

Stimson Project Excel Coordinator Ms. Jennifer DeNoble introduced Stimson students Gabrielle Rows and Cindy Gonzalez, who thrilled the audience with a violin performance.

Walt Whitman Principal Mr. John Murphy introduced Shadrack Boakye, the morning’s second keynote speaker. Mr. Boakye was born in Liberia, Africa during a crippling civil war that took the lives of over 200,000 citizens in the early 1990s. Along with his mother, Shadrack was one of the few survivors to escape the war-stricken country. When he got to America, his teacher at Brentwood happened to be Principal Murphy's wife. Mrs. Murphy was instrumental in helping mentor her new student.

Deputy Superintendent Harris introduced Board of Education Vice President Mr. Nicholas Ciappetta who delivered the mornings closing remarks, sharing with the audience his own experiences growing up in a single parent home.   Mr. Perkins and Ms. Harris extend their sincere thanks to all those who made the morning such a success, and especially to Ms. Tameika Grant, a Vice President at Astoria Bank, for her continued support of South Huntington’s Project Excel Program. 

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