Second-graders enrolled in the summer program at Great Neck Road Elementary School participated in a hands-on lesson on July 31. After learning about volcanoes, the students worked in small groups to create their own mini volcanoes. Using baking soda, vinegar, red food coloring and dish soap, the students even had the chance to watch them erupt.
While the elementary summer program at Great Neck Road concluded on August 2, middle and high school students are still hard at work for the next two weeks in preparation for the new school year. Here are some of the highlights form this week’s activities:
• First-grade students observed four different spiders preserved in containers - a tarantula, a silk spider, a garden spider, and a black widow spider. They used a checklist to identify the body parts they observed. They then wrote and drew about their observations.
• Students in grade 3-5 participated in different STEM challenges. They also built and tested structures in a tsunami.
• Middle school students worked in small group instruction during the summer months to help boost their academic skills for the upcoming school year.
• High school students prepared to take Regents exams in August by working on test taking skills.
• Second-graders used their five senses to observe, describe, and record the characteristics of different vegetables.
• Second-graders planted bean seeds at the beginning of summer school and have been making sure that their plants are getting enough water and sunlight. They measure growth, discuss their observations with classmates, and write in their journals daily.
• Students engaged in cognitive dissonance experiments to determine if it was possible to create bubbles in a variety of shapes. They explored the ways that 3D tensile bubbles came together inside of “bubble frames,” designed their own shaped bubble wands, and used the word wall to label diagrams reflecting their predictions.
Proving that learning and fun can go hand in hand, students in the elementary summer program at Great Neck Road Elementary School engaged many hands-on activities this week. Here’s an example of what they worked on during week 3:
• Third-graders are studying weather. They have been collaborating with their classmates and performing experiments. The students learned about the water cycle, building and testing anemometers and discovering rain clouds using shaving cream and food coloring.
• Fifth-grade classes developed and constructed egg houses to test if an egg could survive a two-story drop. Students were given a variety of supplies to create their design.
• As part of their lessons on weather, third-graders learned about thunderstorms, hurricanes and tornadoes. Students used a paper bag to mimic how the sound of thunder is created. When lightning strikes the ground, it creates a small gap in the air, which results in the sound of thunder. Students filled their bag with air, twisted it closed, then abruptly hit the bag to create the thunder sound.
• Students used blue ice cubes and warm red water to model how a thunder storm is formed. The warm water rose to the top and the cooler water sank to the bottom.
• Students swirled water in a clear container and dropped in food coloring to help them visualize the shape and rotation of a hurricane. They also created a tornado as a class and used sparkles to represent debris.
• Fourth-grade classes conducted an experiment on how far different paper airplanes will fly. Students constructed four different origami folds of airplanes and discussed how thrust is important in flight. Students used the steps of the scientific method to successfully carry out this experiment.
During the second week of the district’s elementary summer school program, there was plenty of engaging hands-on learning activities. Here’s a sampling of some happenings during the week of July 16:
• Second-graders learned about plant lifecycles and dissected a lima bean seed. Each student dissected a bean and identified the embryo, cotyledon and seed coat. They recorded their observations and shared them with a partner.
• Students put white carnations in colored water to see what would happen and if they could change color.
• Students built anemometers using plastic cups and straws. They brought them outside to test them out and measure the speed of the wind.
• First-graders are studying spiders. They each picked a digraph for their spider hat and each leg had a word containing that digraph.
• Kindergarten classes are learning about water. The students went outside to test classroom objects to see if they float or sink in a pool of water.
Copiague School District’s Board of Education held its annual reorganization meeting on July 10. Laura Gavey was unanimously elected and sworn in to serve as president of the board of education. Doris Fischer and Rosemary Natoli were also unanimously re-elected and sworn in to serve as vice president and second vice president, respectively. District Clerk Mary Ellen Ruppert swore in the board officials.
Peter Robinson and Ms. Gavey were each re-elected to three-year seats on the board of education in May. Kenneth Urban was also elected in May to fill the seat of Michael Greb.
Copiague School District’s elementary-aged summer program closed out it first week with plenty of activity. Here’s just a sampling of some of the happening this week:
• Incoming kindergarteners worked in small groups and performed an experiment to determine if the shape of a bubble wand affects the shape of a bubble.
• Fourth-graders built “All About Me” towers using trial and error.
• Fifth-graders learned about scientific method. They placed gummy bears in four different solutions and used the step by step procedures to observe, investigate, problem solve, test their hypothesis and analyze their results.
• Fourth-graders used the scientific method to determine if people who are taller have a larger shoe size than people who are shorter.
• Fifth-graders participated in mindfulness exercises.
• Fourth-graders worked on different STEM challenges in small groups, balancing and moving cups using teamwork and in some cases, nonverbal communication.
• Tech-savvy third-graders used Z-Space computers to engage in different lessons.
The SADD Club from Great Neck Road Elementary School sent “smiles” to patients who are recovering at the Affinity Skilled Living Rehabilitation Center in Oakdale. The students chose this facility because one of the member’s grandfather is currently living there. Inspired by Mark Borella’s “Seeds of Happiness,” the students created smiley faces made from Play-Doh and get-well cards for the residents.
Kindergarten students in Terri Alzmann’s class at Susan E. Wiley Elementary School and first-graders in Katianne Howe’s class and Marissa Krause and Jennifer Smith’s class at Deauville Gardens West Elementary School learned about the lifecycle of a chicken as they patiently waiting for 21 days for their eggs to hatch.
For three weeks, the students watched the eggs, which were delivered from Suffolk County Farm in Yaphank. The eggs were kept in 100-degree heated incubators. In early June, baby chickens were born in the classrooms. Once the baby chicks broke through their shells, they were moved to other containers and cared for by the students until they return to the farm.
Fifth-graders in Karen Coyle’s class at Deauville Gardens East Elementary School participated in a hands-on science lesson by dissecting owl pellets. Students learned that consumers in an ecosystem get energy by eating other organisms. They also learned that owls are tertiary consumers, which are at the top of the food chain energy pyramid and are generally not hunted or eaten for energy.
In an effort to recognize students for their artistic talent, character, academic successes, leadership and citizenship, Copiague School District held its Superintendent’s Art Gallery Inductees and Student Recognition Awards ceremony prior to the June 18 board of education meeting in the Copiague Middle School auditorium.
District administrators, faculty and board of education members gathered with invited students and their guests to celebrate their successes.
The Superintendent’s Art Gallery inductees and Fine Arts Festival crowd favorites – 34 pieces of art – were on display for the audience to enjoy. Now in its 22nd year, the Superintendent’s Art Gallery began when the Copiague art teachers selected several pieces of student artwork to display.
Through the years, the collection has grown to provide a showcase of student artwork in corridors and offices in each of the schools. Each of the framed pieces is identified by a brass plate noting the student-artist’s name, grade level and year the piece was completed. Crowd favorite art pieces – three in total this year from the elementary, middle school and high school – were also chosen by the Copiague community during the annual Fine Arts Festival. The crowd favorite artwork is professional framed, and each winner receives a $100 check courtesy of the Copiague Teacher’s Association.
Chosen by the Board of Education, the Student Recognition Awards highlight students for their outstanding achievements. They are presented twice a year to a small number of students for their special accomplishments. Thirty-five students were honored during the ceremony, as board of education members read a brief description from teachers and principals on why the students were designated for the honor.
“Publicly recognizing excellence is our way of celebrating some of the great successes of the Copiague schools’ programs and, at the same time, enabling us to showcase outstanding role models to our school community,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Bannon.
Dressed in red, white and blue, and displaying their American flags, first- and second-grade students at Deauville Gardens East Elementary School joined together to celebrate Flag Day. The students sang several patriotic songs, read together with their buddies and learned about symbols of the United States.
As a culmination of their writing lessons, first-grade students at Great Neck Road Elementary School invited their families to celebrate their love of writing on May 31. Students showed off their literacy skills and had their writing binders on display. Family members were given stickers to place on student writing samples to praise their writing efforts.
Fourth-graders in Jennifer Spizuco’s class at Deauville Gardens East Elementary School have been navigating different programs using their Chromebooks all year long. Upon completing their energy works unit in science, students created a slideshow using Google Slides to explain what energy is as well as the different types of energy that are all around us. Students learned how to change the font and color of their writing and add pictures to their presentations.
Copiague Middle School’s eighth-graders celebrated their move to Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School during moving up ceremonies on June 21 in the auditorium.
Surrounded by district administrators, board of education members, family and friends, the students proceeded into the ceremony to “Pomp and Circumstance” played by the select members of the Tri-M Music Honor Society. Copiague Middle School Assistant Principal Michael Ferretti, who served as the master of ceremonies, welcomed guests.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Bannon offered words of encouragement as the students begin the next chapter in their academic careers. “When you moved up from the elementary school three years ago, I am sure you thought your time in middle school would not pass so quickly,” she said. “Your years in high school will probably pass just as quickly. Because that time goes so quickly, we want to be sure that you take advantage of all the high school has to offer you. Your middle school teachers have prepared you well and the high school teachers are ready to take you to the next level. If you continue to put in the hard work and effort that you did in, you will be successful in high school.”
Three class representatives – Terrance Mason, Adrianna Michal and Kuba Szulejko – addressed the class during each of the respective moving up ceremonies. “We are closing one chapter in our lives and opening a new one,” Kuba said. “Copiague has done an amazing job preparing us for our future endeavors. This is not the end but merely a new beginning. High school will be filled with many obstacles and challenges, but we will overcome them.”
Middle School Principal Andrew Lagnado addressed the soon-to-be Class of 2022. “As you enter this next phase of your education, be sure to remember a few important things that will set all of you up for success. Stay involved in all of the positive things that are offered at our high school. There are so many wonderful academic and extracurricular opportunities for you to take advantage of. Try a new activity, a new sport, take an interesting elective; get out of your comfort zone a little bit and take a risk. Stay motivated, focused and goal-oriented. Go that extra mile because what you put into it will determine what you take from it. These next few years will lay the groundwork for your future so remember to always make positive decisions, be a good person and work hard.”
Mr. Ferretti and Assistant Principal Stephanie Valeiko read the names of the eighth-graders, while Mr. Lagnado presented each with a certificate.
Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School celebrated the 59th annual commencement exercises as the graduating Class of 2018 was recognized on June 21 at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood.
Greeted by school administrators, board of education members, family and friends, the 370 members of the Class of 2018 marched in to “Pomp and Circumstance” played by the concert band and directed by Eric Dobmeier.
Board of Education President Laura Gavey offered congratulatory remarks to the class. “We know that you have worked hard during your educational years and have taken advantage of the many opportunities presented to you to get to this very special night,” she said. “The board has had the pleasure of seeing you excel on the field, the stage and in the classroom during the last four years. The Class of 2018 has definitely made memories both inside and outside of Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School. Tonight is the beginning of the rest of your lives. Please grasp it firmly and head down a path leading to eternal success, which is measured by your happiness.”
Sen. John Brooks also spoke to the soon-to-be graduates and offered words of advice. “Take a minute and look around at your fellow graduates. Fifty years from now, you may not recognize one another but you will remember one another. You will remember what you shared in this school. Treasure the last four years; the friends you made, the things you did, what you learned.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Bannon imparted words of wisdom by sharing the song “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw with the students. “When I think about this class, I marvel how you have exceled in the classrooms, on the athletic fields, on the stage and everywhere in between,” she said. “You have certainly left an indelible mark on Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School. You are to be commended for all of the positive energy, effort and dedication you put into everything you did while you were in high school. I wish you all the best in whatever your future holds for you.”
Salutatorian Samantha Sanchez urged her classmates to embrace their fears and follow their dreams. “I know many of us are scared of what’s to come and are not certain of what our next stage of life will look like,” she said. “No matter what plans you make for the future, we can’t predict the paths we will go down. Each of us has a purpose in this world; each one of us is a puzzle piece of what we call humanity and the goal is to find where we fit as individuals. We will go through highs and lows and those points in our lives will mold us and shape us into who we will become.”
Valedictorian Alexandra Saczawa talked about setting goals and working hard. “Some of you might still not be sure of what you want to happen in the future and all of these things are ok because it’s the journey that you will remember and not the destination,” she said. “However, during the journey, it is important that you have some sort of purpose. Without a purpose in life, people become lifeless and feel as if their life has no meaning. My parting advice to my class is to always set goals for yourself. Even if they are constantly changing, always have something to work toward and always try to improve yourself to ensure that you are growing as a person. Also, stay confident in yourself and know that you are capable of being great because everyone sitting in front of me can do amazing things if they set their minds to it.”
Principal Joseph Agosta encouraged the graduates to make their mark on the world. “When you look back and reflect, you will recognize that there was so much support these past 13 years,” he said. “You were supported by loving families, caring and dedicated teachers and administrators, a board of education focused on providing you with the skills needed to help you reach your potential, stand on your own and take your place as productive world citizens. Looking forward, much is expected of you and I have great confidence in your abilities. As you move on in life, remember the values, pride and sense of community each member of the Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School staff has worked so hard to provide.”
Class of 2018 Senior Class President Shannon Corr presented the class gift — a donation to the incoming freshman class and funds to help beautify the senior courtyard — to Assistant Principal Jonathan Cutolo. Mr. Cutolo and Assistant Principal Jonathan Krawchuk then called the names of each member of the Class of 2018, where Dr. Bannon and Mr. Agosta presented them with their diplomas.
Mr. Agosta instructed the students to then turn their tassels and officially pronounced them Class of 2018 graduates. After tossing their caps high in the air, the students marched out to “Chorale and March.”
Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School honored its soon-to-be graduates of the Class of 2018 at the annual senior awards ceremony on June 7. Gathered in the school’s auditorium, the seniors were recognized for their hard work and dedication during the last 13 years.
Following the national anthem sung by Nicholas Favichia, Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School Principal Joseph Agosta welcomed the audience and praised the students for their passion and motivation. “You are here today because of your unwavering drive for success every day,” he said.
Surrounded by family and friends, as well as members of the board of education, central and high school administration and teaching staff, more than $70,000 in local, memorial and organizational scholarships were presented to deserving seniors. In addition, students were presented with the Principal’s Recognition Award and the New York State Department of Education Academic Excellence Awards.
To close out the evening, Mr. Agosta presented awards to the Top 10 students in the Class of 2018.
Name: Franklin Parra
Hometown: Copiague, NY
Elementary School Attended: In Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Write a Three-Word Scouting Report on Yourself: Great athleticism, competitor, student of the game
Favorite Current MLB Player: Luis Severino, New York Yankees
Favorite Sport to Play Other Than Baseball: Basketball
Favorite Sport to Watch Other Than Baseball: NBA basketball
Favorite All-Time Professional Athlete: Pedro Martinez
My Favorite Copiague Baseball Memory: My favorite baseball memory from Copiague is when I got my first win of my senior year. It was exciting pitching in front of big league scouts. It was great that my teammates were able to finish the game and preserve the win for me after I came out of the game.
My Role Model/Inspiration: Definitely my Dad. He is a hard working man who always made baseball possible for me. Even though he worked many hours, he would always make sure that I was able to play and to get where I needed to go.
What Will You Miss the Most About Copiague: My coach, Coach Bennett, and the relationship we had. My teammates and some of my teachers, especially Ms. Alyssa Marino, who helped me so much through school with my academics and offering caring guidance and support along the way.
In Five Years, I Will Be: Hopefully standing on the mound pitching at Citi Field for the New York Mets in front of thousands, but most importantly in front of my family and Coach Bennett.
Bethel AME Church – Kingz Kidz
June 25-August 17
Breakfast: 8:30-9:45 a.m.
Lunch: 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
20 Simmons St., Copiague
Christian Life Center Church
July 9-August 17
Lunch: 12-1 p.m.
450 Bayview Avenue
Copiague Memorial Public Library
July 9-August 24
Breakfast: Mondays and Thursdays Only
Lunch: Tuesdays and Fridays
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
50 Deauville Blvd., Copiague
North Amityville Pool
July 9-August 17
Lunch: 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.
Albany Avenue, North Amityville