Fifth-graders in Jodi Embleton’s art class at Deauville Gardens East Elementary School are creating unique character portraits modeled after the works of contemporary artist Yago Partal. The Barcelona-based artist is known for his work featuring animals in people clothing. The students used a burnishing technique with colored pencils to create their own individual animal portraits.
As part of their study of Native American culture, fourth-graders at Deauville Gardens West Elementary School made their own wampum belts. They learned that the Native Americans made the belts out of white and purple shells and used the wampum as a way to record stories and historic events. After the students were done designing their own unique belts, they created a storytelling group to share their stories.
The third annual Business Olympics were held on April 2 and Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School business students went head to head for a chance to be named the winning team. Three teams of students competed in this year’s event, which focused on mobile businesses, in front of a panel of more than 15 judges including board of education members, administrators and local business owners.
Team Vivacity, Team Mobifuel and Team P.U.S.H. each presented their ideas during a 10-minute pitch. The judges had an opportunity for a question and answer period following the presentation. Each team created a commercial along with supporting marketing and promotional materials.
The winning team was Team Vivacity for their mobile spa business. Team members were Aleksandra Bugajczyk, Kriyal Patel, Iris Romero, Abigail Romero and Owen Rosenberg. All of the teams will share more than $3,000 in prizes.
Students in the World Affairs in Foreign Films class at Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School recently finished watching “Spirited Away,” a Japanese animated film. The class screens different foreign films and then studies the geography, customs, holidays and social issues associated with that country. After viewing “Spirited Away,” the students made origami and tried their skills using chopsticks by picking up marshmallows and M&Ms.
Students in William Jaack’s fifth-grade class at Deauville Gardens West Elementary School are learning about humans and their effects on the earth’s system. They were asked to make posters about whether humans are helping or hurting each of the systems for either the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere or geosphere. They shared their findings with the class.
After completing their science unit on the parts of the plant, fourth-graders at Deauville Gardens East Elementary School participated in a two-day experiment to show the workings of vascular plants. Using stalks of celery, the students placed the plants in colored water to observe the way the celery absorbs water and transports it through its stem. After making their initial hypotheses, the students recorded the changes in the coloration of the celery on day one and day two.
Fifth-graders in Jamie Alpi’s class at Deauville Gardens West Elementary School are learning about the nitrogen cycle. As part of their lessons, students moved around the classroom through a cycle to investigate how nitrogen moves through the environment. Students started at different stations, read the station card and completed an activity sheet. They cycled around the stations until they completed their diagram of the nitrogen cycle.
Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School held its fourth annual Voice to Voice empowerment session in the school’s library on March 27. The goal of the initiative is to motivate and empower one another through teamwork and conversation. It was developed to provide opportunities for young women to gain awareness of their individual and collective skills, experiences and professional goals.
Assistant Principal Tamika Eason welcomed the attendees and introduced the school’s women’s Madrigal Choir, under the direction of Gina Occhiogrosso, who performed “Rise Up.” The theme of this year’s event was resilience as showcased through the guest speaker and the reflective activities.
This year’s guest speaker was Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School speech and language teacher Valarie Williams. Ms. Williams shared her life story and spoke about how resiliency has helped her persevere through some trying life lessons.
“My goal is to enlighten, encourage and inspire you with my story,” she said. “I’m sharing my story to show you all that you can overcome every obstacle in your way. You have the power to live your life with resiliency.”
After a brief question and answer session, the students worked in teams and reflected on the lessons learned. Each team created a poster board and shared their thoughts in a brief presentation with their peers.
Nine student-artists from Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School attended the Long Island Media Arts Show at Five Towns College on March 22. Three photos taken by Copiague students – Jaleel Foster, Arianna Tirino and Oleksa Klymovets – were selected as Best in Show.
Copiague Middle School’s studio art students are learning different techniques during their full-year art class. Studio art is an honors course offered to select eighth-grade students. Studio art students gain an advanced knowledge of various art media, skills and techniques. Students have the opportunity to create higher level artwork, explore self-expression through creativity and develop critical thinking skills. This year, students in Travis White’s class have been working on a cityscape project, learning linear perspective, and they recently completed wire art sculptures.
Thirty-six new members from Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School were inducted into the Isabella M. Driscoll Chapter of the National Honor Society during a ceremony in the school’s auditorium on March 26. Administrators, board of education members, family and friends were on hand to witness the induction ceremony.
To be inducted into the National Honor Society, students must exhibit the society’s four pillars: scholarship, leadership, service and character. The four National Honor Society officers – Marvin Pineda Lobo, Faith McCombs, Melinda Mercedes and Abigail Romero – spoke about each of the pillars and their importance.
National Junior Honor Society members chose the evening’s guest speaker, Matthew Miles, high school English teacher. “For me, Copiague is more than a school district; this has become my second home,” he said. “I have watched all of you mature from insecure ninth-graders to confident young men and women who are ready to take on the world. The certificate you are about to receive is just a symbol. This certificate symbolizes the four requirements for membership into the National Honor Society in which you have excelled.”
Miles spoke about the four pillars and their meaning. “Scholarship is more than straight As and more than the requirement to get into the National Honor Society,” he said. “It is the desire that each of you have to learn more. Leadership is not about being appointed to office. Leadership is an attitude; leaders see progress, not power. Community service gives us a chance to practice altruism and give back to the community that has given us so much. And the true definition of character is what you do when no one is looking.”
After each of the newest inductees was called to the stage for recognition, Principal Joseph Agosta led them in the National Honor Society Oath.
The district congratulates the following students:
Grade 11: Esdras Canales, Vincent Cipriani, Luisiana Colon Sanchez, Destiny Delacruz, Darlene Ferreira, Erhumwunse Eghafona, Carolina Gonzalez, Nolan Johnson, Jaime Kister, Michelle Kumah, Arianna Lipari, Naryman Lounici, Amy Moskowitz, Patrice Noel, Carol Rodriguez, Gianna Torres, Brithney Urena Hiciano and Tamara Washington.
Grade 10: Jada Angel, Ryan Bott, Sophia Bright, Anna Carvajal, Eitan Chervony, Brayan Espinal, Jayleen Garcia, Elizabeth Garrovillas, Samantha Gonzalez, Jasmine Jimenez, Sofia Lounici, Yessica Ortiz Max, Zuri Milliner, Edinelly Peguero Rosario, Morgan Weeks, Aniyah Woods, Genesis Yanes and Oktay Yildiz.
It was a morning of community pride, as Copiague Public School hosted its annual Community Summit for more than 600 invited guests on March 16. Among those in attendance included the Copiague Board of Education, district administrators and staff, representatives of community organizations, local politicians and students and their families.
“The summit is an opportunity to showcase some of the things that are going on within our schools, celebrate the success we’ve had and collaborate on ways we can make things better,” board of education trustee Brian J. Sales noted in his address. Continuing, Mr. Sales shared a number of the district’s and student accomplishments. “For this board, our administration and staff, our top priority is putting children first. We are extremely proud of our results, we have spent our money wisely and effectively and we have delivered with excellent results.”
Echoing Mr. Sales’ message of success, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Bannon presented her annual State of the Copiague Public Schools. During her address, Dr. Bannon provided an overview of district highlights, including various student accomplishments, expansion of the pre-K program and the completion of the community-approved capital project. She also provided an update on the budget process and the district’s funding.
“Over the last several years, we have stayed within the New York State tax cap,” Dr. Bannon said. “We continue to contain our costs and budget conservatively, so we can maintain the programs and services we have. If we were to see an increase in state aid, we would expand and add to our offerings, which would positively benefit our students. In a perfect world, there would be adequate and equitable funding for public education. Funding which is predictable, transparent and sustainable so that we can plan for the long term rather than year-to-year.”
With the theme “Copiague Students Soar,” the summit also featured student performances, spotlights on elementary, middle and high school programs, clubs and projects and an introduction of the Class of 2019 top ten students.
Copiague School District’s foreign language department is thriving thanks to classes structures that are allowing students to reach their full potential as language learners. Beginning in seventh grade, students have the option to take Spanish or Italian as a foreign language.
According to Michelle Passeggiata, director of ENL and world languages, students are engaged in real-world learning geared toward college and career readiness. “The goal is for these students to be able to function using these languages in a real setting,” she said. Native language speakers and heritage speakers, those who understand the language but do not necessarily read or write it, are put in the same classroom setting. Together, they hone their reading and writing skills.
The Advanced Placement Spanish class, for example, uses speaking/interpersonal communication. The class is designed to develop a high level of Spanish vocabulary. Students have debates, and lessons are focused on social themes and world issues.
In the World Affairs in Foreign Films class, students explore different foreign films and learn about the history of the particular country. They study social issues, languages and holidays and then participate in related cultural activities.
During their physical education classes, students at Great Neck Road Elementary School perfected their bowling games. The students worked on strikes and spares during this class in February.
Deauville Gardens West Elementary School held a family literacy night celebration on March 6 themed “Stomp, Chomp and Read.” Students in grades 3-5 acted like paleontologists and searched for dinosaur fossils in a sand kit and a dinosaur egg kit. They then researched facts about their fossil on Chromebooks. Students in grades K-2 listened to dinosaur stories and made dinosaur puppets. All students received a dinosaur book to take home.
Payton Lewis, a first-grader at Deauville Gardens West Elementary School, was inducted as the Town of Babylon’s youngest junior beautification ambassador. He was recently recognized by Town of Babylon representatives for this achievement and will work with the town on his recycling project, “Payton’s Planet.”
Copiague School District held its annual winter sports awards dinner for its varsity athletes at Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School on March 5. Sponsored by the Copiague Booster Club, the awards recognize the accomplishments of the student-athletes both on and off the field.
Coaches, administrators and Copiague Board of Education members congratulated athletes from girls bowling, boys bowling, girls basketball, girls winter track, boys basketball, boys winter track and wrestling teams.
Coaches called athletes up front to be recognized and celebrated both their individual and team achievements during the season. They also distributed individual awards, including the Coaches’ Award, Most Improved and the MVP award, to worthy receipients.
Seven Golden Eagle awards were presented to students from each team with the highest cumulative grade point average. This year, Melanie Garcia (girls bowling), Jonah Breskin (boys bowling), Marvin Pineda Lobo (wrestling), Faith McCombs (girls basketball), Erhumwunse Eghafona (boys basketball), Nicole Hernandez (girls track) and Luis Castillo (boys track) were recipients of the Golden Eagle awards.
How do you get students excited and engaged during math lessons? Just ask Copiague Middle School because the excitement is palpable in each and every classroom.
Lessons incorporate hands-on learning, real-world scenarios, games and technology. For example, sixth-graders in Kirsten Ostrofsky’s class recently completed a statistics lesson – learning fractions, percentages and decimals – using Skittles. Seventh-graders in Cara Horigan’s class were learning unit rates and participated in a scavenger hunt around the classroom to test their knowledge. Students in Paul Kounadis’ class had to figure out exponents and bases using different colored dice. In Richard Radziewicz’s class, students were using scientific notation to calculate the approximate distant of different planets in the solar system.
In addition to these classroom lessons, Copiague Middle School students have the opportunity to get involved in after-school activities. Math researchers are preparing and practicing their presentations for the math research papers they have written and will present at an All-County competition in the beginning of March. The Math Club/Team is open to all students, where they can go to have fun with math while others practice for upcoming math team competitions.
Students in the art club at Great Neck Road Elementary School created soft food sculptures inspired by the works of Claes Oldenburg, who made soft sculptures of everyday objects. Under the direction of art teacher Meghan Haughney, the sweet treats created by the art club members were made of cardboard, plastic and tempered paint.
Check out the photos of some of the incredible work done by the Great Neck Road student-artists in the slideshow.
Students showcased their musical and theatrical talents for the annual Black History Month celebration at Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School on Feb. 28. This year’s theme was “Honor the Past, Inspiring the Future.”
Ajhani Carroll and Jahnay Cuffy hosted the event and introduced the different performances. They explained that the purpose of the after-school event was to showcase black history as an integral part of American history while celebrating the richness of black culture.
The Madrigal Choir opened with a performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known as the black national anthem. They returned to the stage to perform the Zimbabwe greeting “Sorida,” a traditional Sea Islands medley “Yonder Come Day” and a traditional gospel song “He’ll Make A Way.”
The drama club reenacted a scene from the front of the Selma courthouse when segregation ended. There were also cultural performances by the jazz band, dance troupe, and high school and middle school steppers.
Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School held its voice to voice leadership induction ceremony for the 2019 cohort on Feb. 15 in the school’s library.
Eight female students were inducted during the ceremony and presented with certificates by Assistant Principal Tamika Eason and pearls by the members of the current leadership. In order to qualify for induction, students were required to interview for their positions. The leaders help to facilitate both of the voice to voice empowerment workshops. Leaders also meet monthly to discuss women’s issues.
The goal of the organization is to help young females find their inner strength and power. The mission of the initiative is to motivate and empower one another through teamwork and conversation. It was developed to provide opportunities for young women to gain awareness of their individual and collection skills, experiences and professional goals.
The following students were inducted into the voice to voice leadership: Delia Exantus, Nickia James, Jasmine Jimenez, Mariah McDougall, Jillian McLowrin, Amy Moskowitz, Kenia Rodriguez and Gianna Torres. The new inductees recited the leadership pledge and joined with existing members in circle to close out the ceremony.
Copiague Middle School offers a peer-to-peer tutoring program after school four days a week. The tutors – and a few select super-tutors – are hand selected by members of the mathematics department and math department chair Dr. Natasha Murray.
The middle school tutoring program has been in place for five years and approximately 30 eighth-graders are currently serving as tutors, which is overseen by teachers in the homework center. Pete Casale, one of the teachers who oversees the homework center, believes it’s a great opportunity for students to help them reach their potential. Different tutors, some of whom are bilingual, rotate days of the week.
The tutors are paired with students who may need assistance with specific problems, homework or even online with the Go Math program.
Fifth-graders in Jennifer Rosario’s class at Susan E. Wiley Elementary School used their math and critical thinking skills to “break out” on Feb. 4.
Using Breakout EDU – which is the educational version of an escape room challenge – the learning came alive as students worked in small groups to unlock the clues. The class was given clues to unlock a series of locks of the boxes. Students used collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and communication to challenge themselves, all while having fun and learning at the same time.
Middle school students work hard during their physical education classes trying to cross “the island.” Check out the video of this team-building activity.
The members of the student government club at Deauville Gardens East Elementary School teamed up with the members of the art club to help recognize the unsung heroes in their school community. The art club made origami gift boxes and filled them with a few sweet treats and candies. Working together with the student government, they created thank-you cards for the silent heroes of the school – custodians, nurses, cafeteria staff, security guards and secretaries. They delivered their sweet treats – along with a smile – around the school at the end of January.
Thirteen Copiague School District students were recognized at the Feb. 11 board of education meeting by members of the Knights of Columbus in the organization annual poster and essay contests.
The poster contest, now in its ninth year, had a record number of entries at 104 from Copiague student-artists. The goal of the contest is to raise awareness about drug and alcohol abuse. The winners, who received certificates and prizes were: Deauville Gardens West: Carolina Acosta-Rivera and Sandavi McCants; Susan E. Wiley: Ivanna Gonzalez Rodriguez; Deauville Gardens East: Kiarisleidy Baez Fabian; Great Neck Road: Jazlyn Batista, Justin Martinez Canas and Rayana Gooden; Copiague Middle School: Jayden Risch, Joseph Risch and Eliud Bonilla.
Three Copiague Middle School eighth-grade students were presented with certificates and prizes for their essay contest entries. The contest is in its third year and essays are focused on religious freedom. Paulo Gonzalez was the first-place winner. Diana Carbajal placed second and Ari Chervony was named the third-place winner.
Click here to see the school’s participation in the Great Kindness Challenge.
Doing their part to spread love, kindness, friendship and companionship this Valentine’s Day, the Builders Club from Copiague Middle School spent the day visiting with those at the Tanner Park Senior Center on Feb. 13. The club makes the trek for Valentine’s Day annually for the past 16 years.
Along with adviser Maria Ostrofsky, the students spend the day with the local seniors making connections. The club makes cards, notes and letters, which are then hand-delivered to the seniors with a rose, to help brighten their day. Many students spent their time talking to the senior citizens, while others joined them on the dance floor for some fun.
As a kickoff to its Parents as Reading Partners celebration, Great Neck Road Elementary School held a literacy night themed “Reading Is Magical.”
Students and their families rotated through different areas throughout the evening, enjoying dinner in the cafeteria and learned about the art of magic in the library. During the classroom read aloud, students listened to magic-themed books and made their own bookmarks using “magic ink.” The evening concluded with a magic show in the gymnasium and each student received their own magic trick to perfect at home.