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Ivy League Caliber

Ivy League Caliber photo
Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School’s valedictorian Aaron Eng and salutatorian Abigail Romero have both been accepted to Ivy League colleges.

Aaron plans to attend Princeton University and will major in civil engineering. Abigail has been accepted to Yale University and although still undecided on her definitive college choice, she plans to major in pre-med. Congratulations on this accomplishment! 
 

Interns Get an Inside Look at Law Enforcement

Interns Get an Inside Look at Law Enforcement photo
Two students from Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School – Arelee Ramirez (left) and Brenda Reyes (right) – recently completed the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Internship Program. The program gives criminal justice students an in-depth view of working in the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office offers a broad spectrum of work areas which contain different aspects of law, both criminal and civil. The two students were the first high school students to participate in the 16-week program. Brenda was appointed sergeant of an intern group of college students. 

Paint Night Supports Players and Varsity Club

Paint Night Supports Players and Varsity Club photo
The Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School girls varsity lacrosse team recently held a paint night fundraiser at the school. Eighty guests, including Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Bannon, were in attendance for the annual event. The team raised $1,600 to help send the players to summer lacrosse camp at Adelphi University. The Walter G. O’Connell Varsity Club also ran their Coffee and Hot Chocolate Cafe during paint night and raised $150 for the club’s spring trip.

Leadership Day Inspires Students to Make a Difference

Leadership Day Inspires Students to Make a Difference photo
Twenty students from Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School recently participated in Congressional Black Caucus Youth Leadership Day. 

Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre invited the students to take part in the day’s events. The students were selected by members of the social studies department. They traveled to Brooklyn Borough Hall to participate in a legislative session and a legislative committee meeting. Once the morning session ended, the students met with legislators from across the country. 

“The Congressional Black Caucus Youth Leadership Day was an excellent opportunity and experience,” said student Ajhani Carroll. “I left with a renewed sense of pride and hunger to make a difference and give back to my community.”

Student Jeanine Guelee added “It was an honor and privilege to be selected to attend this meeting. To be in the presence of state legislators and state senators that look like you was absolutely inspiring.”

Social Studies Lessons on Giving

Social Studies Lessons on Giving photo

During their social studies classes at Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School, students are also learning about giving back to their community.

Prior to winter recess, students in Allison Weller’s Facing History and Ourselves class participated in Operation Gratitude. The class made cards and letters to be included in care packages sent to veterans and currently deployed military personnel, first responders, wounded heroes and caregivers.

Students in Colleen Gurtner’s Leadership in History and Action class held a Band-Aid drive for cancer patients at Columbia Presbyterian Children’s Hospital. Thanks to the donations of staff at the high school, the class collected more than 100 boxes to be sent to the hospital along with cards filled with well wishes. 

Young Females Get Inspired and Empowered

Young Females Get Inspired and Empowered photo

Helping young females find their inner strength and power, Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School held its third annual voice to voice empowerment session in the school’s library on Dec. 12. 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.

Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School 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.” This year’s guest speaker was Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School English and drama teacher Sylvia Walsh. Ms. Walsh spoke to the students about her upbringing in Colorado, her family life and how those experiences molded her into the person she is today. 

“You have the power to be in charge of your own destiny,” she said. “Be true to yourself.” Following her speech, Ms. Walsh answered questions from the audience as part of the voice to voice dialogue. Working together in teams, the students reflected on the lessons learned and shared their thoughts in a brief presentation with their peers. 



Signed and Delivered

Signed and Delivered
Since 2002, two years after Copiague High School was officially renamed in honor of former principal Walter G. O’Connell, Copiague alumni and brothers Walter M., Christopher, Francis, Joseph and Patrick O’Connell have chosen their own special way of keeping the memory of their father alive. 

On Dec. 19, Walter and Christopher delivered 53 autographed books to the district, bringing the 16-year total to more than 1,200 books by 1,177 individual authors. Each book has been signed and personalized for the Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School and its library. 

“The original idea was to show our appreciation to the district,” said Walter M. O’Connell. “I never anticipated it going this many years, but it just keeps growing.”

The project originally began with books authored by distinguished Americans and has expanded to other genres over the years. Included in the district’s collection are signed biographies from every U.S. president since Jimmy Carter, with the exception of Ronald Reagan. 

“We are very grateful to the O’Connell family and their continued generosity,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Bannon. 

Every January, a selection of the books is displayed in the main lobby of the high school in recognition of Walter G. O’Connell’s birthday.

Copiague Seniors Get Connected with Local Seniors

Copiague Seniors Get Connected with Local Seniors photo

Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School ushered in the holiday season with its annual Senior-to-Senior Dinner hosted by the Class of 2019 in the school’s cafeteria on Dec. 4.

Local senior citizens joined together with the senior class for an evening of music, dancing, food and companionship. Wearing their most festive holiday attire, the students welcomed guests and escorted them to their tables. The Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School Madrigal Choir, under the direction of Gina Occhiogrosso, provided the holiday tunes for the evening, singing arrangements that encouraged the audience to singalong.

Following the performance, senior citizens were treated to a dinner served by the students. Afterward, the guests and students made their way to the dance floor to enjoy some time together. With raffle tickets distributed at the door, the senior citizens each had a chance to win one of more than three dozen prizes. 

Seniors Named Suffolk Zone Winners

Seniors Named Suffolk Zone Winners photo
Two seniors from Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School – Abigail Romero and Jackson Bright – were presented with the New York State Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Suffolk Zone Award on Nov. 28. The two students were awarded certificates and gold medals for their outstanding achievement as physical education students, scholars and citizens. From left: Bill Bennett, Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High school physical education teacher; Jackson Bright, Abigail Romero, Toni Spencer, physical education teacher, and Athletic Director Pete Cesare. 

Science Researchers Learn About Invasive Species

Science Researchers Learn About Invasive Species photo
Science Researchers Learn About Invasive Species photo 2
Science Researchers Learn About Invasive Species photo 3
Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School held a guest lecture for science research students in the library on Nov. 30.

Organized by science teacher Tracy Wenzler and coordinated by science chairperson Renee Locker, guest lecturers Luke Gervase and Dr. Steve Pearson presented a seminar on invasive species to the group of more than 50 students. Mr. Gervase works with Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management, while Dr. Pearson is part of the Long Island Invasive Species Management Area. After speaking about research, the two conducted a training on iMap, a website and software application used to track invasive species introductions and spreads.

Junior science-researchers Kiara Bennett and Nolan Johnson, who are part of the advanced science research program at Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School, are currently conducting research surrounding the effects of certain invasive species. Kiara has attained high honors in three local competitions. This year, she teamed up with Johnson to expand their research surrounding  “The Effect of Helianthus angustifolius on the Invasive Species Eleocharis dulcis.” Kiara and Nolan were responsible for making initial contact with the Invasive Species Management program.

In the advanced science research program, students are taught a multiplicity of skills including conducting research, writing scholarly papers and networking. Under the supervision of Locker, in conjunction with advisers Ms. Wenzler and Minnett Hall, students reach out to professional experts in the field to authenticate and assist in the development of their research. According to Ms. Locker, who works with the research students alongside teachers, “This seminar is teaching students instructional enrichment, application and how to effectively utilize the superior district technology.” Consequently, Ms. Wenzler said, “It opens up an opportunity for them to pursue a popular area for research studies.”

Fall 2018 Golden Eagle Winners

Fall 2018 Golden Eagle Winners photo
Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School presents its Golden Eagle Awards for the fall 2018 sports season to eight deserving student-athletes in late November. 

The award is presented to the top scholar-athlete in each sport for the quarter. The district congratulates the following students: Jackson Bright (boys soccer), Aleksandra Bugajczyk (girls tennis), Christopher Canenguez (cross-country), Isabella Galarza (girls soccer), Victor Gamarra (football), Faith McCombs (volleyball), Abigail Romero (field hockey) and Gianna Torres (gymnastics). 

Seniors Attend College Fair

Seniors Attend College Fair photo

Members of the Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School senior class recently attended the Malcolm Bernard Historically Black Colleges and Universities College Fair at Riverbank State Park in New York City. Historically Black Colleges and Universities from around the country were represented at the fair. Students met with admissions counselors and received dozens of college acceptances.

Leading by Example

Leading by Example photo
Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School held a Sports Leadership Conference for students on Nov. 20 in the school’s library.

Students were nominated by the coaches to attend the conference. Leadership was the main focus and students were chosen because their coaches have witnessed their leadership potential. Essential questions about how to lead, what leaders look and act like, and the passion/desire to succeed were just some of the topics the students discussed.

Chris Pettit, director of college scouting for the New York Giants, was the keynote speaker. Other presenters included Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School Principal Joseph Agosta, cross-country coach and social studies teacher George Schroeder, baseball coach and physical education teacher William Bennett and coordinator of guidance James McCabe. 

IAB Roundtable

IAB Roundtable photo

Students, teachers, administrators and community business leaders recently met for the Copiague Industry Advisory Board’s annual “Principal's Roundtable.” The 2019 Business Olympics theme – create a mobile business – was introduced. In addition, students and business leaders worked in breakout session to brainstorm ideas and troubleshoot potential presentation problems.




Looking Through the Lens

Looking Through the Lens photo
Students in Lorraine Ciccotto’s digital photography and graphics class at Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School visited Old Bethpage Village Restoration on Oct. 19 to take pictures and explore the site. Students will use the images in upcoming projects. “Taking students to a live experiences is invaluable for them,” said Ms. Ciccotto. “It gives them an opportunity to develop their artistic eye.”

Math Students Make their Mark at High School

Math Students Make their Mark at High School photo

Whether its geometry, algebra, pre-calculus or calculus, math students at Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School are working hard to stay ahead of the learning curve by using their analytical and technological skills.

In Scott Kuhn’s pre-calculus class, 11th- and 12th-graders are working on analyzing quadratic functions, finding roots, intercepts, vertex, domains and range and rewriting absolute values.

Ninth-graders in Timothy Montera’s elective math research class are working to put together a research paper and presentation for the Long Island Math Fair at Hofstra University in March. Students are conducting their own research, reaching out to industry experts for guidance on their topics. 

 

Copiague’s Top 10 Take Center Stage

Copiague’s Top 10 Take Center Stage photo

Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School has announced the top 10 students for the graduating Class of 2019. With a weighted GPA of 103.39, Aaron Eng has been named the valedictorian. Abigail Romero has been named salutatorian with a weighted GPA of 103.13.

Valedictorian Aaron Eng is an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction and a member of the National Honor Society, Global Ambassadors Club, Quiz Bowl, and Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. He has been a member of the marching band for five years and volunteers with the Key Club and Tri-M Music Honor Society. Aaron plans to major in civil engineering but is still undecided on a college.

Salutatorian Abigail Romero is an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction, a National Hispanic Scholar and vice president of the National Honor Society. She has participated in the Farmingdale State College STEP Program since sophomore year. She has participated in the independent science research program and her research has been recognized and honored with awards. Abigail is also on the varsity winter track team and was a member of the varsity field hockey team. She is in the wind ensemble, plays in the jazz band, is a member of the pit orchestra for the musical productions and was vice president of the Tri-M Music Honor Society. Abigail plans to major in pre-med but is still undecided on a college. 

The district congratulates the Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School graduating Class of 2019 top 10 students: Aaron Eng (valedictorian); Abigail Romero (salutatorian); Aleksandra Bugajczyk (third); Owen Rosenberg (fourth); Liam Mahabir (fifth); Jackson Bright (sixth); Jonathan Conlon (seventh); Jahnay Cuffy (eighth); Melinda Mercedes (ninth); and Kailee St. Angelo (10th). 

Student-Artists Get Inside Look at College

Student-Artists Get Inside Look at College photo
Members of the digital photography and graphics classes at Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School recently had a visit from a representative from the College of Art in Maine. Students had the opportunity to see varied projects developed during a collegiate study of art as well as sampled pieces from portfolio submissions.