Excel Program Reception

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This year’s Excel Awards Dinner is officially looking for larger space. The successful and growing program was standing room only as districtwide Excel Program Coordinator Mr. David Perkins welcomed the crowd at their annual end-of-year reception. The evening featured student speakers who discussed why achievement matters as part of this year’s Excel Program theme “Investing In Your Future.” Special presentations were made to retiring Superintendent of Schools Dr. Thomas Shea, and retiring Excel mentor and advisor Mr. Warren Cohen. South Huntington Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Ms. Jacqueline Harris introduced Mr. Darryl Dodson, President of the Huntington Branch of the NAACP. Dr. Veronica Henry, Executive Assistant to the President of Farmingdale University and Chief Diversity Officer, presented an award to the Walt Whitman Robotics Club for their second-place presentation at this year’s Farmingdale State College STEM Diversity Summit. STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, has been a focus recently in helping to prepare students for critical areas of employment.

Ms. Harris introduced the evening's keynote speaker, Mr. Mario Lewis, of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Mr. Lewis, a recent winner of the Toastmasters International Speech Competition, works as a business line specialist assigned to the Morgan Stanley Relationship Team. His message to his audience, expertly delivered with humor and compassion, was about overcoming obstacles, including the ones that we ourselves manufacture.

A superb buffet dinner by Adams Family Catering was enthusiastically welcomed as the crowd settled into some quality barbecue. After-dinner awards were presented by the Project Excel coordinators. A Silas Wood presentation was made by Dr. Gay Bullock, a Stimson presentation was made by Ms. Ventura Trent, and a Walt Whitman presentation was made by Mr. Warren Cohen. This year’s social work interns, Lateaha McNeil and Christopher Conroy, reflected on their year, and Mr. David Perkins brought the evening to a close.