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Young Drivers Get Schooled in Safety

Young Drivers Get Schooled in Safety photo

Driver’s education students at Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School had a hands-on lesson in the dangers of driving under the influence from the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s S.T.O.P.P.E.D. program uses simulation driving carts to teach the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol. Students drove a pedal car through a cone maze while wearing goggles that impair their vision and balance. After the simulated driving portion, students then had to wear the goggles and walk through the maze with a partner, trying to avoid the cones and get home safely.

Girls Track Relay Team Takes Second

Girls Track Relay Team Takes Second photo
The Walter G. O’Connell Copiague girls track team participated in the 2019 Penn Relays at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The 4x100-meter team took second place, running a personal best of 52.33. The relay team consists of freshman Jillian McLaurin, junior Alivia Lawrence, senior Ajhani Carroll and sophomore Trinity Roberts. 

Lessons Take Students on a Virtual Trip

Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School students in Diana LaSpina’s computer skills for the 21st century class recently were transported to another reality during a lesson from the Copiague Library. A librarian recently visited the classes throughout the day to offer a look into the world of virtual/augmented reality. 

Students learned about the history of virtual reality during a short video presentation. They also spoke about the differences between virtual reality and augmented reality and some future uses for both technologies. Using their smartphones, students downloaded a variety of virtual reality apps – such as a roller coaster, maze walk, Apollo 13 and maze solver – and had the chance to use the viewfinders to transport into one of the virtual reality worlds. 

Varsity Club Takes the Plunge

Varsity Club Takes the Plunge photo

The varsity club from Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School attended the AHRC Suffolk’s second annual Polar Splash on April 13 at the Bay Shore Marina. The club raised $200 to donate to the AHRC Suffolk by selling coffee and hot chocolate during parent-teacher conferences. The student-athletes who attended were able to brave the bay in 40 degree temperatures for a good cause.

Up Close and Personal Fashion Experience

Up Close and Personal Fashion Experience photo
Up Close and Personal Fashion Experience photo 2
Up Close and Personal Fashion Experience photo 3
Students in Louise Curci’s fashion class at Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School spent three days in New York City getting acquainted with the fashion industry. The students competed in a design competition at Mood Fabrics, home of Project Runway and did a personal styling session at Topshop in Chelsea. They visited a material maker and studied how garments are cut and styled from sketch to completion. They also participated in a marketing seminar at a Vans boutique shop in Soho. The students toured Schmalberg, a100-year-old flower design studio and were taught about the production process.

Young Drivers Recipients of AAA Award

Young Drivers Recipients of AAA Award photo
Copiague School District seniors Aleksandra Bugajczyk and Adam Wiszowaty have received AAA’s Driver Education Awards as the outstanding students in the Walter G. O’Connell High School Driver education course. The students were presented with a plaque on April 10. 

The two students were selected on the basis of demonstrated driving skills, knowledge of the rules of the road, and a mature attitude and approach to driving.

AAA instituted this award in 1936. Its purpose is to not only recognize outstanding high school driver education students, but to also encourage all young drivers to develop the skills and attitudes that will contribute to their being safe drivers. 

Business Olympics Goes Mobile

Business Olympics Goes Mobile photo

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.

Origami and Chopsticks

Origami and Chopsticks photo

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.

Voice to Voice Session Focuses on Resiliency

Voice to Voice Session Focuses on Resiliency

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. 

Photographers Named ‘Best in Show’

Photographers Named ‘Best in Show’

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.

VIDEO: Freshman Flashback

Freshman Flashback photo

Copiague Welcomes Newest Inductees into National Honor Society

Copiague Welcomes Newest Inductees into National Honor Society photo

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. 

Boys Track Team Crowned Champions

Boys Track Team Crowned Champions photo
The boys winter indoor track team won the Suffolk County League II Championship. This is the first time the school has won a team title. Individual champions also helped play a part in the win. They include: James Holland in the long jump, Jackson Bright in the high jump and Khalil Chester in 300 meters. The 4 x 400 meter relay team – James, Jackson, Khalil and John Jerrick – also claimed the championship title. 

Varsity Club Ready to Make a ‘Splash’

Varsity Club Ready to Make a ‘Splash’ photo
The varsity club at Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School held its coffee and hot chocolate café on March 7 and 8 to raise money for the AHRC's annual Polar Splash. The club raised $140 during the two days and enjoyed making hot chocolate and delivering coffee for their teachers. Club members will attend and participate in the Polar Splash on April 13 at the Bay Shore Marina.

Copiague Soars at Community Summit

Copiague Soars at Community Summit photo

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.

For the Love of Language

For the Love of Language photo

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.