High School East recently created a 24-hour play, a production written,
directed, cast and performed in a full day. Check out the video here:
Alumni, former staff, faculty members and students returned to St. James Elementary School to commemorate the school’s 80th anniversary on June 13.
Fifth-graders served as tour guides, treating guests to guided tours of the building, showing off some of the original pieces and all of its preserved history. The school’s library was transformed into a historical museum, showing off photos, newspaper clippings, yearbooks and more from each of the different decades in the building’s history.
The St. James Singers performed song’s from their recent spring concert to kick off the ceremony. St. James Elementary School Principal Mary Grace Lynch shared some of her favorite moments in the building. “When we think of St. James Elementary, we think of what a beautiful building it is,” she said. “And there’s plenty to admire and celebrate. But when we really think about it, even though our bricks and mortar are exquisite, what really makes this place special is the people inside of it.”
Smithtown Town Councilwoman Lynne Nowick, an alumna of the school, also shared why she loves St. James Elementary. “This school has been a pillar of the St. James community for many decades,” she said. “This is not just a school; it will always be a home away from home.” Two St. James Elementary teachers, Kimberly Chacon and Kathleen DeBono, who also attended the school, shared their fond memories. To close out the ceremony, the fifth-graders performed a dancing medley through the decades, and guests and students joined together to sing “Happy Birthday.”
Fifth-grade students at Smithtown Elementary School concluded their unit on physical science by creating the Periodic Table of Elements across the sidewalks of Smithtown Elementary. Students, teachers and visitors to the building were greeted with this bright display. Each element includes its unique symbol, atomic number and a small sketch to represent how the element is used in the real world.
Smithtown Central School District’s two high schools held their respective 103rd commencement exercises on the football field on June 21 joined by members of the board of education, administration, family, friends, faculty and invited guests, officially completing the seniors’ educational journey.
High School East Principal Dr. Kevin Simmons commended the 406 members of the Class of 2018 for the positive mark they have left on the school. He reminded them to stay true to themselves and take advantage of the opportunities they will be presented with in the future. “The future is in your capable hands, and we know our future is bright,” Dr. Simmons told the graduates.
At High School East, Superintendent Dr. James Grossane, in his address to graduates, referenced the Robert Fulghum poem, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” “No matter how old you are, when you go into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together,” he said.
At High School West, leading up to the final moment in the graduation exercise, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Jennifer Bradshaw, student-elected honor speaker Kevin Camson and senior class president Jenna Curcio delivered speeches filled with hopes, dreams and sage advice that assured the graduates they were prepared to begin the next stage of their lives.
Sharing wisdom she learned reading Adam Grant’s book “Give and Take,” Ms. Bradshaw told the graduates that Grant’s research finds that those who give come out ahead in both business and in life. “Givers build larger, broader, more supportive networks of friends and colleagues. And they gain greater knowledge and experience through the broad network of people they are helping,” she noted.
Ms. Bradshaw concluded her speech with a wish and a hope for the Class of 2018. “I wish you all the very best success, in whatever ways you measure it, and I hope that being a ‘giver’ plays a fulfilling role in that journey.”
Using humor, Kevin shared his personal story of overcoming obstacles. “There may be hurdles in your path, you may stumble. If you’re anything like me, you will stumble, but keep going. There may be hurdles you can’t clear at all. Go around them. If you do, success will come down to two things: guidance and hard work,” he advised.
Jenna used her time behind the podium to honor those who helped the seniors get to where they are today. “Our thank you to those who have helped us is only beginning… Show them how thankful you are by making use of the precious gift of time which we all possess. Show our mentors that their time devoted to us was not in vain. They have all made a difference in our lives so that we can make a difference in the future.”
Joining the Smithtown High School West Class of 2018 in receiving a diploma was 87-year-old special guest, Mordechai Miller. Miller, a native of Poland and Holocaust survivor, was presented an honorary diploma from Smithtown High School West Principal John Coady.
High School East’s honor speaker Matthew Timmel recounted their journey from freshmen to senior year and the memories created along the way. He said that graduation was the recognition of an adventure that started 13 years ago, and no matter where they end up in life, Smithtown will remain their roots.
High School East’s Senior Class President Nicole Cahill told her fellow graduates to strive for excellence in every task, no matter how large or small. She said that if everyone in the Class of 2018 lives up to their full potential, “just imagine the effect on the world we can have.”
Following the conferring of diplomas, both the High School West and East Class of 2018 tossed their caps and celebrated their accomplishments with family and friends.
On June 5 and 6, third-graders at Tackan Elementary School enjoyed in a hands-on science lesson thanks to Eastern Suffolk BOCES. The students participated in a two-hour program to learn about the lifecycle of insects. They examined local pond water and the various insects that live in it. Using microscopes connected to laptop computers, the students observed the insects and identified them using a key.
First-graders at St. James Elementary School had fish tanks set up in their rooms to replicate an ecosystem. The tanks have been populated with local fish to allow the students to study the local marine wildlife and how they each play a part in the ecosystem.
On June 2, the Smithtown community hosted the eighth annual Mike’s Hike and Wellness Fair at High School West in honor of Mike Denaro, former Accompsett Elementary School teacher. The day’s events included a 5K run, a 2K walk and a children’s fun run. Local businesses set up sponsorship booths to show their support and create a fun-filled community event. All proceeds benefit the Mike’s Hike Scholarship Fund and the Smithtown Children’s Foundation.
Fifth-grade students in Diana Lanze’s class at Mills Pond Elementary School spent May 21 engaged in different activities about Mexico. The students analyzed a map of Mexico to answer questions about its geography. They also read a menu from local restaurant Cabo Fresh to solve real-world math problems involving calculating a subtotal, tip and tax. The students read an article and answered questions about border issues between the United States and Mexico. The class sampled empanadas, churros, chips, salsa and guacamole. Lastly, they compared and contrasted city life vs. rural life in Mexico.
Fifth-graders at Tackan Elementary School became real-life science detectives as part of a hands-on lesson provided by Mad Science of Long Island on May 29.
The students stepped into the role of detective and learned how forensic science is used to solve crimes. The students analyzed a crime scene, identified objects found at the scene and used their observation skills to help solve a crime. During the hands-on portion of the program, the fifth-graders created and analyzed fingerprints and teeth impressions. They also had to recreate a composite sketch of a witness and use the clues found at the scene. Students even got their own personal profile kits to create at home.
Student in Janis Frankle’s class at Smithtown Elementary recently had a Genius Hour Week. Students taught their own lessons, created Google slide presentations, docs, and quizzes about subjects they were passionate about. Genius Hour is a movement that allows students to explore their own passions and encourages creativity in the classroom. It provides students a choice in what they learn during a set period of time during school. Genius Hour is a time given during the school day to allow students to follow their passions and learn about topics that interest them.
On May 30, third-grade students at Accompsett Elementary School celebrated Heritage Day. Parents were invited to join students in a special celebration of their ancestry. Each class performed a unique, cultural song and dance. Following the performances, students shared their Heritage Day History projects.
Fourth- and fifth-graders at Mills Pond Elementary School celebrated Red Nose Day on May 24 by researching poverty-stricken countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Nepal, Uganda and others. Students shared their slides with their classmates to help spread knowledge. Red Nose Day recognizes poverty awareness and raises funds for children in need all around the world.
As a tie-in to their recent history unit, fourth-graders at Tackan Elementary School learned about the spy ring set up by Gen. George Washington on Long Island thanks to a presentation from Donna Smith, education coordinator from the Three Village Historical Society on May 21 and 22. Smith visited each of the fourth-grade classes to speak about the key players in the Culper spy ring and life on Long Island under British occupation. The students decoded letters written by Washington’s spies and wrote with invisible ink using quill pens, just like the spies.
High School West senior Sarah Adamo competed in the International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from May 12-18. ISEF is the world’s largest pre-college science competition. Each year, it brings together approximately 1,800 of the world’s most accomplished high school students from more than 80 countries to showcase their independent science research. Students present their work to scientists and engineers who judge them on their creative ability and scientific thought, as well as the thoroughness, skill and clarity shown in their project.
Sarah was awarded first place in her category for her work on “Acetylcholine and nicotine potentiate currents in cells isolated from the sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis.” She also received two special awards recognizing the exceptional quality of her work. Sarah was awarded first place by the American Physiological Society with a $1,500 scholarship and was the recipient of $1,200 scholarship from China Association of Science and Technology.
On May 11 and 12, 208 fifth-grade student-musicians from throughout the district came together to participate in the Elementary Music Festival at High School West. The music departments in each of the district’s elementary schools worked collaboratively to prepare for this enrichment program’s concert.
It was a unity that was always meant to be for the letters Q and U. The kindergarten students at Tackan Elementary School celebrated the marriage of the two letters during a ceremony on May 25.
Invited guests, friends and family, as well as all of the letters of the alphabet, came out to join the two letters as they officially tied the knot. Tackan Elementary School Principal Dr. Allyn Leeds served as the officiant.
Since the beginning of the school year, the kindergartners have been learning the sounds that letters make together and that letters, such as Q and U, appear together in most words.
The kindergarten students performed a variety of songs, concluding with “Forever Young” to a slideshow of photos from their first year of school.
St. James Elementary School’s EPIC Club members made American flag pins
for residents of the Long Island Veterans Home in time for Memorial Day.
Dressed as their favorite characters, the second-graders at Dogwood Elementary School celebrated their literacy skills with a Fairy Tale Ball on May 9.
Kings, queens, princes and princesses joined many of the famous characters found in some of the classic tales. As a culminating activity to their fairy tale unit, the students presented their knowledge of the stories to invited guests in the school’s cafeteria.
Following their grand entrance, each class gathered on the stage to present the three popular tales of “Little Red Riding Hood,” “The Three Little Pigs” and “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” The second-grade teachers, along with Dogwood Elementary Principal Renee Carpenter, also dressed the part of notable characters. In between each of the class performances, the students sang and danced for the audience.
Invited guests to the Fairy Tale Ball were treated to a royal feast back in the classrooms after the characters made their grand exit.
Smithtown Elementary welcomed High School Heroes to work with Kindergarteners and second graders
Students at Tackan Elementary School spent the week of May 14 working on the third and final piece in a collection that has been in the making for the last three school years. The artwork is a mosaic project with artist-in-residence Esther Tollen. Sponsored by the PTA Arts in Education, each student had the opportunity to participate in creating the tile project. The three works represent earth, wind and fire and will be displayed together in the school’s hallways upon completion.
Fourth-graders in the Cares Club at Mills Pond Elementary School spent the afternoon of May 9 planting flowers and connecting with local senior citizens and residents of the St. James Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, located across the street from their school.
As part of a 17-year club tradition, the students walked to the facility to participate in an afternoon of gardening alongside the seniors. With their garden tools and gloves in hand, the students spent time beautifying the outdoor patio during their visit while working alongside the seniors.
To address the safety and security of students and staff throughout the district, the Smithtown Central School District invited parents and community members to its spring Parent University School Safety Forum on May 7 at Smithtown High School West.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Grossane spoke about the safety and security practices in place including the visitor management system, security entrances and vestibules, security cameras and routine evacuation/fire/lockdown drills.
District, county and law enforcement representatives were on hand to discuss the district’s emergency planning and responses in the event of a threat to school safety. Jack Blaum, the district’s security consultant, and Joe Rizzo, chief of security, spoke about the district’s safety measures, practices and procedures. They addressed concerns about keeping buildings secure, preventative measures, fire evacuation procedures and ongoing security upgrades.
Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Personnel Services Mona Tobin addressed the audience regarding communication with parents and community members and reunification plans in the event of an emergency.
Kindergarteners showered moms with love and adoration.
Smithtown Elementary School enjoyed a special visit from author and Illustrator Kathleen Bart. She shared her book A Tale of Two Teddies with the children, teaching them the origins of the first two teddy bears and how they came to be. The children enjoyed learning how to draw their own teddy bear.