Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School celebrated the 58th annual commencement exercises on June 22 as the Class of 2017 was honored at their graduation ceremony.
As administrators, Board of Education members, faculty and invited family and friends watched, the Class of 2017 marched on to the football field to “Pomp and Circumstance” played by the concert band and directed by Eric Dobmeier.
Board of Education President Brian Sales addressed the graduates and urged them to have the right attitude and make the right choices moving forward. “Be good listeners; truly listen and don’t just hear,” he said. “Embrace different points of view. Always be a lifelong learner. Even with all knowledge you may amass over time, there is no substitute for good common sense.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Bannon wished the students all the best in their future endeavors. “Each of you have made a positive imprint at Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School,” she said. “This is far from being the end – it’s the beginning of all of your tomorrows. I have taken great pride in watching each of you grow into the fine young people you are today.”
Class of 2017 salutatorian Mikayla Angel spoke to her classmates about expectations. Not only did she deliver her speech in English, she also recited it in Spanish as well. “This is the time to make your own expectations,” she said. “You now decide whether you will challenge yourself or remain the same; that’s up to you. You control your expectations. You control how you deal with the doubt of others. I implore you to have hope and remember to stand up for yourself. My legendary kings and queens of ’17, you are unstoppable.”
Valedictorian Tomasz Solecki addressed the Class of 2017 and challenged them to be the change they want to see in this world. “If all people work together in harmony, we as a society can accomplish unimaginable feats,” he said. “It’s you, the people who have the ability to change things for the better. You the people have the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to create a better world for everyone, not just for yourselves. You have the power to make this life free and adventurous. Let not class, religion, race, ethnicity nor gender divide us. If we all live by that motto and offer helping hands to the community with even little acts of kindness, we can truly make this world a better place for all.”
Principal Joseph Agosta spoke to the students about their journey to graduation and the path that lies ahead. “In the future, I have great confidence in your abilities,” he said. “It’s an honor for me to know that I have been a part of your final year as high school students. As you move on in life, remember the values, pride and sense of community that each member of the Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School staff has worked so hard to provide. I have had the distinct privilege of seeing many of you enter your first year of kindergarten and now I have the honor of granting you your high school diploma.”
Senior class president Lyndsey Wilson presented the Class of 2017 gift – a donation to the incoming freshman class – to Assistant Principal Bradley Reminick. Mr. Reminick and Assistant Principal Jonathan Cutolo then called the names of each member of the Class of 2017, where Dr. Bannon and Mr. Agosta presented them with their diplomas.
Prior to turning their tassels and tossing their caps high in the air, the Class of 2017 received a final message from Sen. Chuck Schumer. He encouraged the students to live their lives to the fullest, and always follow their dreams. Following the cap toss and the cheering of the crowds, the Class of 2017 marched off the field to “Chorale and March.”
Copiague School District administrators and Board of Education members recognized the faculty and staff members who will be retiring at the end of the 2016-2017 school year and also acknowledged teachers who were granted tenure during the June 5 board of education meeting.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Bannon, board of education members, district administrators and department chairs offered their congratulations to the five retirees, who have close to 150 years of combined service to the district. Retiring at the end of the school year are Stacy Bach, Rose Marie Bell, Lynne Cook, Deirdre Whiston and Rosette Verriotto.
Four teachers ¬– Karen Kazlaukas, Michael Olsen, Danielle Russo and Ioanna Spyris – who were recently granted tenure, were also celebrated prior to the board of education meeting.
Twenty-eight new members of the Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School’s Isabella Driscoll Chapter of the National Honor Society were inducted in a ceremony held in the school’s auditorium on June 1.
Members of the National Honor Society each held candles as they entered the ceremony. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Bannon offered welcoming remarks to the board of education members, administrators, family, friends and community members in attendance and congratulated the new inductees for their hard work, community involvement and academic excellence in achieving membership into the National Honor Society.
After National Honor Society advisers Allison Weller and Clare Nugent lit the first candle of knowledge, National Honor Society officers each explained the four main pillars of scholarship, leadership, service and character before lighting their respective candles.
National Honor Society members chose social studies chairperson Michelle Penyy as guest speaker for the ceremony. Ms. Penyy spoke about her many travel experiences and lessons she had learned along the way with each new trip. “As National Honor Society members, you are all stewards of our past and your knowledge and appreciation of it will guarantee all of us a better future. Each of you has taught me and your fellow students how to be more confident, flexible, humble, appreciative and kind,” Ms. Penyy said. “The fact that you are being recognized for your service, scholarship, character and leadership demonstrates that you possess the very characteristics needed to be global citizens. Think of your membership into the National Honor Society as your passport.”
Principal Joseph Agosta offered words of encouragement before reading the oath for new members. The district congratulates the following inductees: senior Ona Kean; juniors Ashley Collado, Brittany Faustin, Ayana Fields, Sierra Lenee Gaul, Isabella Gilbert, Jordy Hernandez-Rivera, Kyria Moore, Rianna Rivera and Davina Smith; sophomores Jackson Bright, Aleksandra Bugajczyk, Ajhani Carroll, Mercy Gomez Herrera, Jeanine Guelee, Melinda Harris, James Holland, Emily Korba, Faith McCombs, Lacy McIntyre, Gabriela Ordonez, Jimmy Padilla-Ortez, Kriyal Patel, Kembalee Rolle, Abigail Romero, Owen Rosenberg, Samantha Sattler and Deana Simon.
To ensure students continue receiving proper nutrition during the summer months, the District will offer free lunch for children 18 years old or younger at no cost to local taxpayers. Open sites will serve lunch Monday-Friday, from July 10 through Aug. 18. Additionally, the Bethel AME Church will have breakfast service. Please note, the Copiague Memorial Public Library site is only open on Tuesdays and Fridays. There will be no residency or identification required; however, all meals must be eaten on site. Menus vary by location.
Below is a list of sites, serving times and addresses.
Bethel AME Church
Breakfast: 8:30-9:45 a.m.
Lunch: 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
20 Simmons St., Copiague
Copiague Memorial Public Library
11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
Tuesdays and Fridays Only
50 Deauville Blvd., Copiague
North Amityville Pool
11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.
Albany Avenue, North Amityville
Students at Great Neck Road Elementary School have been busy working on honing their math skills throughout the school year in preparation for the Math Mania event on May 26.
Students came to school dressed in shirts with numbers to show their support for the Math Mania event. Each grade gathered in the library for their online mathematical quiz. Fifth-grade members of the TechTeam club helped assist students in their online setup while Great Neck Road Elementary School technology coach Jeanie Mullins read the rules of the competition.
Students in grades K-5 have been practicing basic math facts throughout the month to commit them to memory. During the first round of Math Mania, students competed to be named one of the top three in their class. Using their tablets, students had to answer 10 questions accurately and quickly. The top three students from each class then went against the other classes from their grade level to be named champions of the competition.
Six Copiague Middle School students were inducted into the National Junior Honor Society during a ceremony held at the school on June 1.
Advisers Paul Harvey and Francesa Walker welcomed the board of education members, administrators, family and community members to the ceremony. In order to qualify for membership, seventh- and eighth-grade students must possess a cumulative grade point average of 92 or above and receive faculty recommendations. The National Junior Honor Society officers spoke about the qualities of scholarship, character, service and leadership that members must demonstrate in order to qualify.
Principal Andrew Lagnado led the oath for newest inductees to the National Junior High Society: Adam Antosiak, Arlin Alvarez Almonte, Adela Guifarro Soto, Sofia Lounici, Marcela Torres and Emmeli Vizcaino.
Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School students received accolades and scholarships from the Kiwanis Club of Copiague during their annual breakfast on May 31.
Members of the Key Club were recognized with scholarships presented by Kiwanis Club president elect Phil Guerra. The Anthony Iannotta Scholarship of $1,000 was awarded to Lyndsey Wilson. The Robert McIntosh Scholarship was presented to Jackalyn Gonzalez and Sofie Wilson won the Warren Gumbs Scholarship, both for $500. Additionally, six Key Club members were awarded $250 scholarships each: Ashley Burgos, Jenna Langan, Nicole Mikolajczak, Amorelle Penick, Tiana Roe and Nilsu Yildiz.
Key Club president Alexandra Saczawa and vice president Joshua Taveras spoke about the many volunteer activities in which the club participated this year. Sophie Bright, president of the Middle School Builders Club, the junior version of the Key Club, also shared some of the various community service activities completed this year.
The cast of the recent production of “The Little Mermaid” treated the audience to a special performance of some of the favorite hits from the show.
The Suffolk Zone of the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance sponsored the annual Physical Education Student Leadership Awards Ceremony at Longwood High School on May 3. Students who qualify for the award are recognized for their achievements in physical education, leadership, character and academics.
Honored at the ceremony was Copiague Middle School eighth-graders Sarah Manzanarez and Kenneth Tejada; Deauville Gardens East Elementary School fifth-graders Ava Reichelt and Zachary Rosenzweig; Deauville Gardens West Elementary School fifth-graders Stanley Buissereth and Stefana Lipari; Susan E. Wiley Elementary School fifth-grade students Brian Gonzalez and Jordana Jagnarine; and Great Neck Road Elementary School fifth-grade students Nicole Araujo and Kamar Birthwright.
The Copiague School District honored its spring student-athletes during its annual Sports Awards dinner at the Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School on May 23. District administrators, board of education members, friends and family gathered to honor the athletes in girls track, girls lacrosse, boys track, boys lacrosse, softball and baseball.
As coaches recognized each of the student-athletes for their contributions throughout the season, individual awards were given to most improved players, most valuable players and coach’s award for each team. Three special memorial awards were presented to student-athletes for boys lacrosse and baseball. The Jared J. Pennington Memorial Lacrosse Award was given to Noble Matubber, Tquan Wint was the recipient of the Sean Ryan Noonan Memorial Lacrosse Award and Joshua Lester received the Daniel O’Connell Memorial Baseball Award.
The Section XI Gold Key Award, the highest Section XI honor that an athlete can receive, is awarded to student-athletes who letter in eight junior varsity or varsity seasons in grades 10-12. This year’s recipients were Mikayla Angel (field hockey, winter track, spring track), Cris Castillo (field hockey, winter track, lacrosse), Maya Jones (soccer, winter track, spring track, softball), Amira Kemp (tennis, winter track, spring track), Vincent Ruggiero (soccer, bowling, baseball), Matthew Spadone (soccer, bowling, lacrosse), Sean Walsh (soccer, football, bowling, lacrosse) and Anna Zaborowska (volleyball, basketball, lacrosse).
The Golden Eagle Award is given to the student on each team who had the highest cumulative grade point average for the season. For the spring season, Mikayla Angel (girls track), Kelly Cheung (girls lacrosse), Noble Matubber (boys lacrosse), Peter Milillo (baseball), Christopher Canenguez (boys track) and Sofie Wilson (softball) received the Golden Eagle.
National School Boards Association President Kevin Ciak, along with district administrators and Copiague School District Board of Education members, spent the afternoon of May 31 touring the many academic offerings of the Copiague School District.
Ciak, who was on Long Island for a speaking engagement at the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association’s annual dinner, connected with the Copiague School District through Copiague Board of Education President Brian Sales, who also serves as president of the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association.
“We are very proud of Copiague School District and the things we accomplish here and we are honored to be able to share that on a national level,” Sales said.
The tour of the district included classroom visits at an elementary school, middle school and high school. “From the minute I walked in, I felt very much at home in this district,” Ciak said. “I was very impressed with all of the 21st century learning going on in the classrooms. Students were fully emerged in learning and using high-level analysis.”
At the elementary level, the visit showed the district’s use of technology with its 1:1 computing class and students using the zSpace virtual reality, 3-D computers. Copiague Middle School students demonstrated their earth science and English language arts skills, while science research students at Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School presented some of their recent studies.
“In the visit I conducted, I was able to see exactly what public education was built for: addressing the needs of all of its students,” Ciak said. “This district is building its student body up from when they enter kindergarten. That type of planning and culture starts from above with a Board of Education and administration that knows what their students need to be successful.”
Celebrating the notable accomplishments of the science students at Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School, the district held its third annual 2016-2017 science research symposium on May 18.
District administrators, board of education members, representatives from the Town of Babylon, members of the science department and invited guests gathered to recognize the hard work, determination and perseverance of the students currently enrolled in the independent science research program, the advanced science research program and the introduction to science research program.
“You have all worked a tremendous amount of hours with teachers who have fostered your love of science enough to do this work outside of the classroom,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Bannon. “Congratulations to all of the recognition you have brought to yourselves and your school for your dedication and perseverance.”
Seven Copiague science research students presented a brief overview of their projects, many of which have garnered numerous awards throughout the school year. Projects were on display for a poster presentation walk following the ceremony, giving attendees an opportunity to speak with the students firsthand about their research.
Each student in the program was presented a certificate by science chairperson Renee Locker in recognition of their accomplishments this school year.
The following students were presented with certificates: Jackson Bright, Tatiana Henry, James Holland, Kriyal Patel, Owen Rosenberg, Osazuwa Eghafona, Marianna Espinoza, Brittany Faustin, Jade Dickenson, Claudia Motley, Brayan Pena, Alexandra Saczawa, Joshua Taveras, Sofie Wilson, Shane Abney, Kiara Bennett, Baron Chen, Vincent Cipriani, Erhumwunse Eghafona, Daniel Galeas, Melanie Garcia, Nicole Hernandez, Gregory Jean-Baptiste, Elijah Johnson, Nolan Johnson, Jade Jones, Austin-Sing Loo, Sheza Mirza, Richelle Modestil, Marwin Pineda Lobo, Blanca Reyes, Jeniffer Romero, Josh Simon, Gianna Torres and Tamara Washington.
Deauville Gardens East Elementary School had a special visit from a furry friend on May 15. Therapy dog Buffalo Bill Cody, and his trainer Bruce Kollmar, from the program Love on a Leash, spent the morning in Kevin Beach’s first-grade class. The students are learning all about what a therapy dog can do and took turns reading to him.
Ten students from the Copiague School District were recognized by the Town of Babylon for placing among the top students who entered the Babylon Covantage EcoTech Scholarship Contest during an awards presentation at Babylon Town Hall on May 6.
Under the advisement of High School Science Chairperson Renee Locker and Middle School Science Chairperson Dr. Daniel Leccese, students submitted an energy or environmental-based science project, through which they carried out an experiment and wrote a detailed scientific paper explaining their procedure and conclusion.
Brittany Faustin placed first among all entrants and earned a $1,000 scholarship for her project “The Effectiveness of the Antibacterial Activity Utilizing Silver Nanoparticles on the Growth of Aspergillus niger.” Other winners from Walter G O’Connell Copiague High School included: Brayan Pena and Osazuwa Eghafona, who received a $625 scholarship for their project “Doped Magnesium Aluminate as a Viable Basis for Production of Inorganic, Long Lasting, Non-Toxic, Pigments;” Sofie Wilson and Jade Dickenson, who won fourth place and a $250 scholarship for their project “A novel investigation surrounding Geukensia demissa as a probable control mechanism for the invasive species Phragmites australis;” Erhumwunse Eghafona received a $250 scholarship for his project “Falling Temperature on a Species of Tree;” and Claudia Motley took home a $125 scholarship for her study on “Cultural Orientation and its Effects on Secondary Education in Japanese and American Students.”
The three Copiague Middle School students each took home $125 scholarships for their projects. Dylan Bedell project was to show how drones can be used to monitor coastal erosion. He used his drone to fly over a shoreline of the Great South Bay and looked at evidence that showed decreasing levels of coast. Olivia Healy examined how different insulating materials help keeps a home warm in the winter. DaVeyah Williams studied nanosilver and how nanosilver affects pond life. Nanosilver is called colloidal silver and is found in many consumer products with the purpose of killing bacteria. Her project studied how greater amounts of nanosilver decreased the population of daphnia (microscopic pond organism).
Open to students in grades eighth to 12th throughout the Town of Babylon, the Covantage EcoTech Scholarship Contest awards scholarships annually to students who create the top-ranking science projects with eco-tech themes. Through this program, students are encouraged to explore concepts related to sustainability and environmental solutions.
“Covanta and Babylon have been exceptional in not only encouraging STEM among our students, but offering an incentive for pursuing science discovery and excellence. Even more noteworthy and distinctive by Covanta is the endorsement of environmental science as an area of focus,” said Ms. Locker.
Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School hosted the seventh annual Urban & Walsh Memorial Invitational on May 15. Organized by Copiague track coaches George Schroeder and John Sack, the annual event is held to honor Christopher Urban and Brittney Walsh.
Hosting 28 teams from across Long Island, the invitational featured 18 events including girls and boys shot put, boys and girls disc, long jump, high jump, triple jump, pole vault, the 2,000/3,000 steeplechase, 100/110 high hurdles, high jump and more. In addition to the standard track and field events, fifth-graders from the four elementary schools – Deauville Gardens East, Deauville Gardens West, Great Neck Road and Susan E. Wiley – participated in a special boys and girls 4x100 relay.
For the Copiague boys, David Lawrence placed second in the 100-meter dash with a time of 0:11.74, took third place in the long jump with 21 feet, 7.5 inches and placed second in the triple jump with 43 feet, 2.5 feet. Antoine Moore Jr. placed second in the 400-meter dash with a time of 0:50.82. Jackson Bright, Aryes Garrett and Brenton Bennett took fifth, sixth and seventh place, respectively, in the high jump.
For the Copiague girls, Halle Moore took first place in the 400-meter dash with a time of 60.66, while Akajia Atkins placed third in the 100-meter dash with a time of 0:13.25. The girls 4x400 meter relay team placed second with a time of 4:36.29, and high jumper Lyndsey Wilson secured third place with a jump of 4 feet, 10 inches. Akajia Atkins placed first in the long jump with a 17 foot, 3-inch jump, and Kyria Moore took fifth in the shot put with a toss of 32 feet, 6.75 inches.
Kindergartners at Great Neck Road Elementary School recognized the special ladies in their lives with a Mother’s Day celebration on May 11. Handcrafted bags decorated with messages of love were filled with photo albums showcasing their first year in school. Paper bouquets of flowers and messages about their special person were presented to each of the attendees.
From the musical announcement to auditions, tryouts and opening day,
here’s an inside look into Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School
students making “The Little Mermaid."
Second-grade students in Diana Daniels’ class at Susan E. Wiley Elementary School honored their mothers and special ladies in their life during a Mother’s Day Tea on May 11.
Invited guests shared the afternoon with the students in their classroom while listening to each student share a story about their special person. Mothers, grandparents, aunts and sisters gathered together for tea and cupcakes while spending some quality one-on-one time with their special second-grader.
Using their magnifying glasses, third-graders in Mary Prisco’s class at Deauville Gardens West Elementary School have been observing the lifecycle of butterflies. They are carefully watching as the caterpillars housed in jars in their classroom are transforming into painted lady butterflies. Students also made diagrams depicting their observations of the butterfly lifecycle.
Enjoy this video put together by Board President Brian Sales for the 2017 Community Summit.
Fifth-graders at Deauville Gardens East Elementary School showed off their confident spirits when they presented their monthly character education assembly to their peers on April 28.
In a game show-style format, the fifth-grade students played the game “Show Your Confidence” in an effort to illustrate this month’s character education trait: confidence. While some students portrayed a game show host, others acted as contestants to answer questions about positive vs. negative thinking in everyday situations.
The students concluded the assembly by reminding their peers to show their confidence, and keep positive thoughts first to show that they believe in themselves.
Three teams of Copiague Middle School students have been named national finalists in the second annual Bright Schools Competition. The competition is a collaborative effort of the National Sleep Foundation and the National Science Teachers Association that encourages students in grades 6-8 to explore the correlation between light and sleep and how it influences a student’s health and performance.
The winning students from Copiague Middle School are Qbar Velasquez, Roman Burrus and Adam Antonsiak, who investigated “How Do Different Color Lights Affect Sleep?”; Tyler Rosario, Semaya Robinson and Asiatul Hoque, who studied the “Impact of Blue Light on Sleep;” and Elizabeth Garrovillas, Olivia Healy and Lauren David, who submitted research on “How Does Asthma Affect Sleep?”
Under the mentorship of Middle School science chair Dr. Daniel Leccese, the team identified, investigated, and researched an issue related to light and sleep as it pertains to their community and/or young adolescents. Teams develop a prototype, create an awareness campaign or write a research proposal for the competition. Each team then submits a written report detailing their project along with a three-minute video showcasing their investigation. Projects are evaluated on the basis of several criteria, including scientific accuracy, innovativeness and potential impact.
The three Middle School teams were chosen among 50 national finalist teams of nearly 500 students from 53 schools. National winning teams will be announced in early May.
The cafeteria at Deauville Gardens East Elementary School was transformed into a candlelit Parisian café and student-poets showed off their talents during the school’s poetry café on April 25.
Dressed in their colored berets, students in grades 3-5 celebrated literacy night by reading both original and published poems of their choice to their families and peers in an open mic format. Each student received a treat bag filled with a beret, sunglasses and an acrostic poetry book to take home. During the intermission, guests snacked on cookies and treats served by their teachers.
It was a night of memorable performances as students at Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School showcased their vocal skills and dancing abilities at the annual Pops Concert on April 19 in the auditorium.
Kicking off the evening was a performance of “Calling All Hearts” by Stephanie Abreu, Cameren Jackson and the Pops Dancers. The trio of Jamilla Jackson, Halle More and Jelani Bond recreated Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name” and the Spice Girls catchy chart-topper “Wannabe” was performed by Sarah St. Jean, Cameren Jackson, Katherine Abreu, Tiana Roe and Rose Spanato. “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas got the audience moving performed by Andrew Szabo, Lesly DeCastro, Kishaar Hodge, Kyree Scott, Jonah Ramdas and Nicholas Favichia.
Solo performers were also the highlight of the evening’s concert with performances by Kyree Scott of “Ride” by 21 Pilots; “Free Fallin’” by Nicholas Favichia; “Where the Streets Have No Name” by Jillian Payne; “Rise Up” by Elenys Diaz; “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Jonathan Angel; Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing” by Kishaar Hodge; “Don’t Dream It’s Over” by Nilsu Yildiz; “Invincible” by Kayla Dixon; “Stone Cold” by Crystal Betz; and “Me and Mrs. Jones” by Lesly DeCastro.
To open the second act, the Madrigal Choir performed a show-stopping version of “Hallelujah.” Powerful duet performances included Sam Smith’s “Lay Me Down” by Taylor Sharpe-Adams and Lesly DeCastro, and Meaghan Trainor and John Legend’s “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” by Kaitlyn Besse and Kyree Scott.
Along with the Pops Choir, the Madrigals closed out the evening with “We Are the World.”
In recognition of Earth Day, first-graders in Terri Alzmann’s class at Deauville Gardens West participated in “The Lorax Challenge.”
The Dr. Seuss book, which each class read in celebration of his birthday, delivers the message that one person can make a difference. For the challenge, students were invited to make a difference at home, in their community or at school.
Ms. Alzmann’s class decided to make a difference in their community and their school by planting flowers in the front of their school. The students will continue to observe and take care of their flowers throughout the school year.