Showing off all of his live exotic animals, Nature Nick visited with kindergarten and first grade students at Smithtown Elementary School. Students learned about the animal visitors which included a toucan, an Eagle owl, a baby alligator, different types of birds and reptiles. A few students interacted with some of the animals and learned about their habits and environment.
The 409-members of the Class of 2019 celebrated the completion of their academic journey at High School East during the school’s 104th annual commencement exercises on the football field on June 26.
Accompanied by the Board of Education, administration and faculty, the graduates processed across the field to the cheers of family and community to Edward Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance.” Senior class president Kelly McSweeney led the flag salute while the senior class concert choir, under the baton of Mark Hegreness, sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
In his welcome address, High School East Principal Dr. Kevin Simmons told the students, “Our future is bright with you at the helm of the community.” He also encouraged them to keep making informed decisions and choices, stay committed to their beliefs, plan wisely, create their own destinies and enjoy their time with family.
Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Jennifer Bradshaw spoke about a Wharton School of Business study on whether givers or takers are more successful in life. She noted that givers “have long-term advantages” and said givers are “not pushovers” and “do not keep score.”
During his class address, Honor Speaker Thomas Fanning gave his peers words to live by to strengthen their character, such as integrity, perseverance, humility and resilience. “If all else fails, just be optimistic,” he said. “You never know where your principles and audacity will take you.”
During the senior class presentation, Kelly reminisced about the last four years of high school. “We need to remember why we are who we are,” she remarked.
Dr. Simmons then presented the senior class to the community while the Board of Education, assisted by school counselors, called each of the graduates to the podium to receive his or her diploma, marking becoming Smithtown alumni. The ceremony culminated with the senior class choir singing “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” which was a tribute to parents and graduates, before marching off of the field to join their families and friends.
The Board of Education, administration and faculty extend best wishes of happiness and success to the Class of 2019.
It was a day of celebration at High School West as the Class of 2019, including friends and family, celebrated the 104th annual commencement exercise on June 26.
Following the opening processional in which students marched onto the football field to “Pomp and Circumstance,” co-class presidents Rebecca Farrell and Alexandra Nieto led the salute to the flag, followed by the jazz choir performing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Grossane congratulated the graduates, not only for moving on to their next ventures in life, but for all they have contributed and for becoming role models for future generations to follow.
“We are so very proud of what you have accomplished to arrive here on this graduation day,” he said. “Promise me you will always remember – you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think. Always believe in yourselves and I wish you all the best that life has to offer.”
Honor speaker Jonathan Pofcher followed by addressing his classmates, saying it’s impossible to sum up everyone’s high school experience in just a couple of minutes.
“We’re experiencing what’s called a period of liminality, a time between two stages in our lives,” Jonathan said. “It’s uncomfortable and creepy, like being somewhere you’re not supposed to be. We’re not quite high school students and not quite college students, and that’s weird. We have the time to just think – to look back on the last 13 years.”
Following Jonathan were co-class presidents Rebecca and Alexandra, each of whom shared their thoughts on the past four years and what’s to come in the future.
“We have felt the pressure as everyone watched…waiting and hoping that we would all succeed,” Rebecca said. “There may have been some obstacles along the way, but being here today, we have all made it to the end line. We won this game.”
High School West Principal John Coady then presented the senior class, and diplomas were awarded, with assistance from the board of education and school counselors. After the concert choir seniors and the jazz choir performed “The Sweetest Days,” seniors tossed their caps in the air and it was time to rejoice.
Invited guests, friends and classmates were present for the union of the letters Q and U at the kindergarten QU wedding ceremony at Tackan Elementary School. As a culminating activity to their literacy lessons this year, each kindergarten student dressed as a letter of the alphabet and walked down the aisle. After Q and U promised to stay together in all words – such as quilt and quarter – the ceremony ended with songs and snacks for all the guests.
It was a royal affair to remember as the second grade classes at Tackan Elementary School celebrated their Fairy Tale Ball. Dressed in their finest royal threads, the students walked into the event to the “The Blue Danube Waltz” by Strauss. Together, the classes welcomed attendees by singing “Be Our Guest” from “Beauty and the Beast.” After a dance and poem, each class took to the stage to show off their fairy tale knowledge. Mrs. Rhode’s class recited “The Princess and the Pea,” while Mrs. Joyce and Mrs. Fenster’s class performed “The Three Little Pigs.” “Little Red Riding Hood” was recited by Mrs. DiLorenzo’s class and Mrs. Franz’s class performed “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.” The ball continued back in the classrooms, where attendees were invited to share in the celebration with the royalty.
The fifth grade classes at Dogwood Elementary School participated in an interactive play that taught the character education traits of tolerance, respect and responsibility to their younger classmates. Students were asked to “turn and talk” to decide whether the actors exemplified the traits they were trying to show. The fifth grade students really conveyed the messages well as the younger students were able to share what they learned such as “be kind,” “don’t think you are better than others,” “be inclusive,” “be responsible without being asked” and “show everyone respect, always.” The fifth grade students felt empowered as leaders of the school by being able to impart these valuable lessons.
Squeaky Clean Band performed at Tackan singing well-loved rock and roll
songs from the 1950s through the 1980s. The students danced and had fun
with their teachers doing a locomotive train to the song "The
Fourth graders at Smithtown Elementary School showed off their STEM-related skills during a STEM Fair in the school’s gymnasium.
The fair tied into the grade level’s Project Lead the Way curriculum and lessons throughout the school year. Working in small groups, the students collaborated with their peers to connect with the fourth grade PLTW modules.
The monthlong projects could be connected to any of the four modules in this year’s PLTW lessons – the human brain, computer systems, energy collisions and energy conversions. Students tested and hypothesized their experiments during the STEM Fair to invited guests and Smithtown Central School District administrators in attendance.
“STEM is a real career path for some of these students,” said Smithtown Elementary School Principal Janine Lavery. “This group of students was the first to work with our launch of Project Lead the Way in second grade. After working on these STEM-based lessons, they are seeing if this is a career passion they may want to pursue someday.”
The younger grade levels also visited the fair to get a sneak peek of some of their lessons in the upcoming school year. To close out the fair, Smithtown Central School District’s robotics team, the Mechanical Bulls, spoke about their program and demonstrated this year’s robot.
Artist Esther Tollen visits Tackan Elementary School each year and creates something beautiful with every art class.
In celebration of Flag Day, check out Tackan Elementary’s chorus singing “You’re A Grand Ole Flag.”
For maintaining a 4.0 GPA for four consecutive years of high school, High School East and High School West recognized 186 seniors as Gold Cord recipients during their respective annual Gold Cord Awards ceremonies on May 23. At the High School East ceremony, 95 students were honored, while High School West recognized 91 of its students. Each student was called to the stage for recognition, a look back at their most memorable high school moments and to highlight future college and career goals. High School East Principal Dr. Kevin Simmons and High School West Principal John Coady presented each student with their gold cord and certificate while guidance counselors announced the recipients’ names.
Always looking to make a connection with those outside of their school, the fourth grade members of the Cares Club at Mills Pond Elementary School spent the afternoon gardening with the senior residents at St. James Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center. Walking from their school across to the center, students were ready with their shovels and smiles as they worked side by side in the outdoor patio garden of the center alongside the seniors. The students have been carrying on this planting tradition for the past 18 years.
Second grade scientists from Mt. Pleasant Elementary School welcomed “Dinoman,” along with his blow-up dinosaurs, fossils and artifacts. Starting with a grade-level assembly in the morning, paleontologist Bob Lisaius captured the students’ attention with his facts about the different dinosaur species and his work in the field of paleontology. Following the assembly, Mr. Lisaius visited each of the individual classroom for a hands-on lesson featuring artifacts that date back millions of years such as dinosaur horns, claws, teeth and fossilized rocks.
First graders at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School had an up close and personal lesson with different animals during an in house field trip with SCOPE educator John Shiels. In rotating stations, the students had the chance to visit – and touch, in some cases – with hissing cockroaches, fiddler and hermit crabs, turtles, clams and a walking stick.
Fifth graders at Mills Pond Elementary School performed scenes from the popular movies such as “Annie,” “The Lion King” and “The Greatest Showman.” The second annual "Broadway Bonzana" featured acting, dancing and singing under the direction of Maryanne Grotto, Barbara Haining, Corinne Murphy and Kimberly Passamonte.
Third graders at Tackan Elementary School learned about the lifecycle of various aquatic insects during a hands-on engaging activity presented by Western Suffolk BOCES. Using water samples from Willow’s Pond, students got a closer look using their microscopes at many different types of organisms and classify them based on their characteristics. Students also determined whether or not these organisms go through metamorphosis and learned about what they will look like as they mature.
Fourth graders at Tackan Elementary School participated in an interactive lesson that “attracted” their attention. The Magnets to Go program, presented by Brookhaven National Laboratory, gave students the opportunity to experiment and hypothesize about magnets and their properties. Students learned about the science behind magnetic properties and electromagnetism. The fourth graders conducted experiments to discover magnetic and non-magnetic metals. They also explored magnetic properties such as north and south poles, magnetic fields, attracting and repelling forces, and how electromagnets and generators work.
Students in Great Hollow Middle School’s Peanut Butter Gang, a community service club, recently baked homemade dog biscuits to donate to a local charity. Nesconset-based Paws of War trains and places shelter dogs to serve and provide independence to U.S. veterans who suffer from the emotional effects of war. In addition to the dog biscuits, students held a pet supply drive to collect dog food and other items to support the work of Paws of War.
Twenty-seven student-athletes from St. James Elementary School competed against students from 30 other schools from across Long Island in the third annual Fit Club competition. Sponsored by the Suffolk Zone of the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, the fourth and fifth graders traveled to Lincoln Avenue Elementary School in Sayville and demonstrated their physical fitness in push-ups, sit-ups, jumping rope and agility.
Surrounded by family and friends, the fifth graders at St. James Elementary School showed off their poetic side during a poetry café held in the old gym.
Transforming the gymnasium into a Parisian café – complete with bistro tables, dim lighting and cozy couches – the students took to the microphone one by one to read their poems. After each presentation, the students snapped in unison to applaud their classmates as the bongo drummers ushered up the next poet to the stage.
The poetry café gives students the opportunity to show off their writing abilities as well as work on their communication and public presentation skills.
Engaging students in social-emotional learning is one goal of the Smithtown Central School District and students in Wendy Herman’s class at Smithtown Elementary School recently participated in a hands-on lesson. The class made “ugly dolls” out of felt and other materials to celebrate their uniqueness. Throughout the week, the students wrote short pieces to capture what makes the class unique, their families, and also the internal and external traits that make up who they are as individuals.
Lacing up their sneakers for a good cause, the fourth and fifth grade members of the Cares Club at Mills Pond Elementary School held a walk-a-thon outside their school.
The annual fundraising event benefits Medical Mission International. Medical Mission is a hospital for the poverty-stricken community in El Salvador. Mills Pond Cares Club advisers Diana Lanze, Kristin Quail and Melissa Taylor, along with Mills Pond teachers, led the students on 10 laps around the building after school with Principal Ireen Westrack cheering them on. The fundraiser garnered more than $2,160.
High school students and Tackan alumni visited Tackan to teach kindergarten and first grade students for the day.
First graders at Tackan Elementary School recently celebrated different cultures from around the world through song and dance. With the help of music teacher Mr. Connor, the first grade students learned dances and songs to go along with different countries. The show came to a close in the good old USA!
Kindergartners at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School showered the special ladies in their lives with gifts, poetry and songs during a Mother’s Day tea held in the respective classrooms. After greeting their invited guests with hugs and flowers, the students shared the books they wrote about their mothers. Afterward, the students had snacks and spent quality time with their guests.
Dinosaurs may be extinct but kindergartners’ interest in them is definitely not. Kindergartners at Tackan Elementary School recently spent a day exploring dinosaurs in different centers. As part their exploration of dinosaurs, students did puzzles, built a dinosaur skeleton out of Q-Tips and glue and dug for dinosaurs in a sand pit.
With six different garden beds to prepare and care for, the student council members at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School don’t mind getting their hands a bit dirty.
Starting in April, the students head outdoors to start preparing their garden, which they hope will be filled with plenty of vegetables by the end of the school year. They start by weeding and raking the beds to get ready for a schoolwide planting day in May.
The imitative started about four years ago, according to adviser and Mt. Pleasant Elementary teacher Stephen Jackowski. The six garden beds were donated by local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops. The student council cares for the beds, planting beans, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, corn and other various vegetables. All of the vegetables are then donated to the local food pantry in June and during the summer months.
While the beds are cared for weekly by the student council, which consists of third, fourth and fifth grade students, the schoolwide planting initiate gives all the students an opportunity to help give back to their local community.