A time-honored tradition at Barnum Woods Elementary School continued on November 9, when Elena Maria Dicocco’s fourth-grade class hosted a meaningful Veteran’s Day ceremony. This marked the thirteenth year that Ms. Dicocco has organized this special tribute to those who have served our country.
Approximately 27 veterans were in attendance and included Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth A. Card, Jr. and school psychologist Dr. LeeAnne Bonnet, who served as a personnel man second class in the United States Navy and captain in the Army, respectively. They both emphasized the fact that individuals can serve in the military and also pursue professions such as theirs. Ms. Dicocco’s father and several of his friends were also among the honored guests, as were parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and family friends of students and staff members.
The fourth-graders welcomed the veterans into the All-Purpose Room as Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” played and flags were waved. Student Council representatives led the Pledge of Allegiance and Star-Spangled Banner, and Principal Gregory Bottari shared introductory remarks. Students took turns at the podium, where they explained the significance of Veteran’s Day, led a moment of silence while Taps was played and described positive qualities that soldiers exemplify. For each of the seven Pillars of Character, Nicolas Rodriguez and Maxton Shafran folded an American flag to eventually form a tri-cornered shape representative of hats worn by soldiers during the Revolutionary War.
The students introduced their guests and also paid homage to the veterans who are either deceased or were unable to attend the ceremony. Several of the veterans then spoke, noting the meanings behind this annual event that acknowledges their humbling, life-altering experiences in the military.
Korean War Veteran Richard Begandy, who served as a Petty Officer Third Class in the United States Navy, shared ten inspiring lessons that focused on qualities such as responsibility, trustworthiness, determination and gratitude.
“If you keep trying, your confidence grows tremendously,” Begandy said. “Eventually, you feel that nothing is beyond your reach.” He also expressed that in the military, people are relying on each other all the time and are able to count on one another.
“Being a veteran is significant because it represents fealty and fidelity to one’s country,” said Dr. Card. “It was through my military service that I learned how to be honest, a good citizen and a leader.”
The class came together to perform Mariah Carey’s “Hero,” guests viewed a slideshow of the veterans being honored and Mr. Bottari addressed attendees once more. Students concluded the ceremony with a “Greenlight a Veteran” gesture, in which they lit green glowsticks symbolizing hope as the veterans exited the stage. This act is intended to shine a light on the impact transitioning veterans make, in and out of uniform, in communities across the country.
The class prepared for the ceremony through lessons leading up to it. They read about, researched and discussed Veterans’ Day and wrote reflective pieces about why veterans should be honored.
“I want my students to have an appreciation and respect for those men and women who served our country and protected our freedoms,” Ms. Dicocco said.
It was a special gathering on November 8 at Meadowbrook Elementary School in the East Meadow School District as United States Air Force Sergeant Thomas Hartley returned home after four months of deployment to surprise his two daughters.
Fourth-grade and kindergarten students gathered in the APR of the school building to create thank you messages as part of a Veteran’s Day lesson. Two of the students in the room were Sergeant Hartley’s daughters Averie and Alyssa, a fourth-grader and kindergarten student at Meadowbrook.
While teachers were instructing the students on the next part of the craft lesson, Sargent Hartley entered the APR to the shock of Averie and Alyssa as the school’s band played Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” in the background.
After a tearful and excited greeting between Sergeant Hartley and his daughters, school principal Kelly Di Scalfani-O’Brien presented the Hartley family with a certificate of commendation from the students at Meadowbrook as well as throughout the district. This return home marks Sergeant Hartley’s retirement after 21 years of service.
The entire district thanks and salutes Sergeant Hartley and his family for his service to our country!
The hallways of East Meadow High School took on a different look as Halloween themes and decorations welcomed community members and younger students for a Safe Halloween event on October 30.
The event, coordinated by the school's Planning Management Team, invited school organizations, clubs and varsity athletic teams to join them in transforming the hallways into festive and haunted scenes. Student volunteers dressed the part and handed out candy to young trick-or-treaters. In addition, Halloween music was played on an organ in the main lobby by East Meadow High School senior Christian Cang cuesta.
Young attendees and their families entered in unique and creative costumes ready to collect candy and participate in games at various stations. The high school students grouped together in areas of the hallways with themes that included Disney characters, the tropics, emojis, decades, countries and many more.
The district thanks the volunteers for creating a safe environment for our younger district students to trick-or-treat.
To celebrate Halloween on October 31, fifth-grade and kindergarten students at Meadowbrook Elementary School collaborated to create shape-o-lanterns.
Shape-o-lanterns are created through a hands-on way to educate students on different shapes and colors. Smaller pieces of paper helped construct the faces of the larger pumpkin piece without the mess of carving a real pumpkin.
In addition to the shape-o-lantern activity, Assistant Principal Gail Galucci was joined by students to form a group costume as the “Incredibles.”
Students at Meadowbrook Elementary School participated in Red Ribbon Week from October 22-26, when they demonstrated promises to make positive and healthy decisions.
The week kicked off that Monday with an assembly centered on mindfulness. The PTA hosted “Try it Tuesday,” which provided samples of vegetables during lunch periods as a way to encourage healthy food choices. Finally, classes throughout the building took the Red Ribbon Week pledge to be drug-free by placing a signed sticker on a banner, titled “Life is Your Journey; Travel Drug Free.”
Red Ribbon Week concluded with “Fitness Friday,” which featured a 10-minute obstacle course that promoted physical activity in a fun setting.
Students and staff in the East Meadow School District dressed in orange on October 17 and joined together in a stance against bullying as they celebrated Unity Day.
At W.T. Clarke Middle School, there was an assembly for each of the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade classes throughout the day. Clarke Middle School is partnering with Sandy Hook Promise to take part in the “Start with Hello” initiative, which creates a culture of inclusion by teaching students skills for reaching out to and including those who may be dealing with social isolation.
The culminating activity of Unity Day included every student, from all nine of the district’s buildings, signing their names on large paper flowers, signifying their pledge to say no to bullying and yes to kindness. The flowers were then sent to the Leon J. Campo Salisbury Center, where Art Honor Society students from East Meadow High School and W.T. Clarke High School came together with PTA Council members to create a “One East Meadow” mural. This “garden” mural will be proudly displayed in the conference room through the end of the year.
The district thanks the PTA Council and PTA members at each school for their assistance as well as the students and teachers who created the spectacular mural.
Throughout the week of October 22, fourth-grade students at Parkway Elementary School in the East Meadow School District had the unique opportunity to be part of a program called Submerge Storytelling. This opportunity helps to inspire creativity in children by facilitating a physical and metaphysical environment where they can lose themselves in their imaginations.
Following the along with the fictional storyline of “Surfing on Saturn,” the school’s literacy center was transformed into the room of Emmy Sagan by Cory Levine of Submerge Storytelling. Emmy is a 12-year-old scientist and engineer who has invented the award-winning Emmy Engine to help her best friend Broman improve his surfing skills.
As the story and week evolved, Emmy asked the students to take part in an Operation Battery simulation along with NASA. With the supply of batteries nearly gone in the world as part of the plot, NASA asked the assistance of Emmy and the students at Parkway to assist with a mission to Saturn to recover minerals that can help restore the supply of batteries.
Throughout the lesson, students used critical thinking and problem-solving strategies. Submerge Storytelling provides a pragmatic educational curriculum in addition to teaching important life skills and values through text-to-self literary connections. The interactive learning strategy is used to foster a sense of individuality, camaraderie and community.
Parkway thanks Mr. Levine for coming to the school for this adventure as well as the PTA for providing students with the opportunity to enter the realm.
The sun shined down on administrators, board of education members, students, staff and the community as East Meadow High School celebrated its homecoming festivities and football game against Oceanside High School on October 20.
Community members lined the streets to watch as dignitaries, the high school marching band, cheerleaders, the Rockettes kickline team, homecoming court and creative class floats made their way from Veterans Memorial Park to Carman Avenue. Fitting the 2018 theme, “Countries,” the freshmen class showcased their United Kingdom float, the sophomore class displayed their Egypt float, the junior class presented their China float and the senior class cheered as they waved on their USA float. Onlookers caught candy from the parade participants as they traveled to East Meadow High School.
At the conclusion of the parade, community members enjoyed a carnival filled with activities and food from Arby’s, Mille Grazie Pizzeria, SoBol and Qdoba. Additionally, senior football players were recognized on the field with their parents. The players gave flowers and a T-shirt to their parents for their support and encouragement. Captains of the Rockettes were also honored for their hard work and dedication to the kickline team.
The crowd roared as the Jets ran onto the field for the start of the big game. The senior chorale performed the National Anthem and the game began shortly after this. The cheerleaders showed their spirit as they entertained the crowd and displayed their Jets pride.
During the halftime show, the Rockettes, varsity cheerleaders and marching band performed on the field. This was followed by the anticipated announcement of the homecoming king and queen. The homecoming court, dressed in their best gowns and suits, were welcomed onto the field. Seniors Ryan DeRosa and Leila Sayan were crowned king and queen, respectively, to the delight of their peers. Other nominees included Victoria Cuttone, Analisa Giannone, Debbie Jaffe, Ryan Kochie, Dean Lanza, Katerina Liangus, Jeffrey Liu and Jake Wiscovitch.
Although the game did not end in a victory for the Jets, they were successful in showcasing determination and sportsmanship on the field.
Throughout two weeks in October, third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students at Meadowbrook Elementary School, in the East Meadow School District, have been helping to tidy up the garden in front of the school building.
Led by Assistant Principal Gail Gallucci, students were tasked with digging out weeds and other materials in the garden areas at the front of the school building. The process helped to showcase the flowers and trees that have been planted in front of the building while also teaching students about the responsibility of grooming a garden. Each of the three grades came together during three different sessions to tackle different areas of cleaning up.
The cleanup lesson also was intended to help beautify the entrance of the building ahead of the school’s fall festival on October 20.
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Enthusiasm in the stands and on the field lasted from pregame festivities through an exciting finish at the W.T. Clarke High School varsity football game against Locust Valley during the school’s homecoming on October 13.
After overnight and morning rain cleared, parents and volunteers from the W.T. Clarke PTSA and the W.T. Clarke Parent Booster Club set up tents to sell food as well as maroon and gray items to support the Rams. Fans and community members began to fill the stands as the varsity football team ran through two banners held by the varsity cheerleading team to cheer the kickoff against the Locust Valley Falcons.
The Rams went into the locker room with a 6-0 lead at the half and then the halftime festivities began. The cheerleading team opened the halftime ceremony with an enthusiastic cheer that lead into a strong performance from the marching band and color guard. Superintendent Dr. Kenneth A. Card, Jr., along with the East Meadow School District Board of Education and central administrators led the annual halftime procession.
Following district officials’ greetings was the announcement of the homecoming royal court. This year’s court included this year’s king and queen, seniors Tom Talbot and Briana Iadevia. Due to wet conditions on the field, class floats were unable to be displayed in front of the crowd. However, class officers paraded onto the field while tossing candy into the stands while dressed as characters for this year’s theme of action movies. The Avengers, Star Wars, Jurassic World and The Incredibles were all portrayed from the senior, junior, sophomore and freshmen classes respectively.
The parade concluded with dozens of representatives from the Class of 1968, who were invited back to serve as grand marshals while also celebrating their 50-year reunion.
The action on the field led to overtime with a 6-6 tie after regulation. Trailing 9-6 after a Locust Valley field goal, the Rams came out victorious 12-9 as senior Anthony Caputo scored the winning touchdown.
East Meadow High School seniors helped sixth-grade students at Woodland Middle School create a positive and bully-free school environment by accepting and participating in Rachel’s Challenge on October 11.
Rachel’s Challenge was established following the 1999 tragedy at Columbine High School. The mission of the challenge is to inspire and equip every person to create a permanent, positive change in their school through assemblies, team building exercises and the acceptance of others. The non-profit organization is led by Darrell and Sandy Scott in memory of their daughter, Rachel.
The day of the challenge began with an assembly for the sixth-graders to explain Rachel’s story of spreading kindness, dreaming big and starting a chain reaction of positive change. Following the conclusion, the students were asked to fulfill five goals during the school year: look for the best in other, dream big, choose positive influences, speak with kindness and start your own chain reaction.
During the final two class periods of the day, seniors from East Meadow High School visited sixth-grade classrooms to conduct lessons that incorporate Rachel’s Challenge. The lessons started with sixth-graders introducing themselves while also adding a fun fact about their personality. The senior leaders then asked each class if they accept Rachel’s Challenge for the upcoming school year.
The lesson proceeded with the task of having each student receive their act of kindness sheets signed by a different student. The activity helped to enforce the ways students can be kind and inspire positivity. The lesson in each classroom concluded with a video compilation of movie scenes, speeches and interviews that demonstrated various ways of how to create a positive environment and a slide on how to be a good example at school.
The district thanks the seniors from East Meadow High School for taking the time to demonstrate the importance of kindness and positivity to the sixth-graders!
After hours and hours of practice, the high school marching bands of the district enjoyed successful performances at the New York City Columbus Day Parade on Oct. 8. The success led to the East Meadow High School marching band earning first place honors while the W.T. Clarke High School marching band garnered fourth place.
“Both of our bands represented our school district with pride and excellence on display for thousands of people on Fifth Avenue,” said Director of Music and Art Christopher Hale. “Many parents lined the street to support our students and to also show their school pride.”
In addition to participation in the New York City parade, the two groups also marched at the Huntington Columbus Day on Oct. 7.
The district congratulates both bands and all administrators on these great achievements and for representing East Meadow proudly!
Throughout the week of Oct. 1, students at Parkway Elementary School participated in yoga sessions with instructor Donna Coogan. The sessions presented opportunities for students to experience lessons in breathing exercises along with introductory yoga poses.
Coogan welcomed two classes at a time during 45-minute sessions throughout three days. Students were taught yoga techniques such as the cobra, cat, downward facing dog and child’s pose as they learned how to stretch while focusing on mindfulness.
Many of the students were excited to welcome Coogan back after being introduced to the benefits of yoga last April. The groups were reminded of how yoga can help in school, sports and many other areas of their lives by keeping calm and centered.
Students at Barnum Woods Elementary School in the East Meadow School District gathered in the school’s newly paved courtyard on Oct. 5 to celebrate David Rothman’s 25 years of service to the school, district and community.
Mr. Rothman has been a volunteer at Barnum Woods for 25 years while also serving on the school’s Planning Management Team (PMT). He joined the community when his two children were students at Barnum Woods three decades ago. As a member of the PMT, Mr. Rothman and the committee have been responsible for raising money for playgrounds, helping to donate money to schools in need, rebuilding the school’s front lawn sign and many other initiatives.
During the surprise honoring ceremony, all students at Barnum Woods gathered to thank and greet Mr. Rothman while the Student Council Advisory Board presented him with thank you cards, letters and a cake.
Barnum Woods Principal Greg Bottari led the ceremony as many community members joined the students in thanking Mr. Rothman for his continued service. During the ceremony, students were led by music teacher Meegan Coleman in the singing of “Thank You for Being a Friend,” by Andrew Gold while PMT Coordinator Melody Schillen presented Mr. Rothman with a plaque of congratulations.
“Volunteering for 10 years is an amazing individual accomplishment, but 25 years is unheard of,” said Bottari.
The entire district congratulates and thanks Mr. Rothman for his 25 years of service to Barnum Woods and the whole community.
Students at Bowling Green received important skills in fire safety on Oct. 1, when members of the local East Meadow Fire Department visited as a way to kick off National Fire Prevention Month.
Kindergarten and first-grade students gathered for the first session in the school’s cafeteria, where firefighters broke down valuable lessons about how to escape a fire. They were advised to set up a meeting spot with their families when they went home later that day. Students were also introduced to what a firefighter looks like in full uniform and gear when they arrive at a house fire.
Second-grade students in the building sat for a similar second session, and were then treated to a look at one of the department’s fire engines outside of the school. Principal Maria Ciarametaro was among one of the faculty volunteers to go up in the engine’s turntable ladder to demonstrate the height that can be reached.
Bowling Green and the district thank the local firefighters of East Meadow for taking time to educate the students on valuable fire safety and prevention rules.
The East Meadow School District opened the 2018-19 school year in September with many events in addition to student awards. Miss any of it? Watch the video below to get a full review of the district’s happenings in the month of September.
Members of the East Meadow High School and W.T. Clarke High School marching bands gathered on their respective football fields on Sept. 27 for full-day marching band clinics. These clinics are held in preparation for the upcoming Columbus Day and homecoming parades.
The band at East Meadow started the day by practicing formation, line-up and marching rhythm. The colorguard took the front of the line as members of the brass and woodwind sections along with the drumline followed in formation.
At W.T. Clarke, the morning started at 7:30 with a section challenge to prepare for the rest of the day. Other section challenges occurred throughout the sessions, including a “march off” between the upperclassman and younger members of the band.
The New York City Columbus Day Parade is scheduled for Oct. 8, following the Long Island parade in Huntington on Oct. 7. Meanwhile, the marching bands can also be seen at the schools’ upcoming homecomings. W.T. Clarke’s Homecoming will be held on Oct. 13, while East Meadow’s homecoming is on Oct. 20. The community is invited to both of these events.
Students from the other side of the world were greeted as special visitors to East Meadow High School on Sept. 24. Principal Richard Howard, staff members and students welcomed guests from Balwyn High School, a school in Melbourne, Australia.
More than a dozen students and staff members from the Australian high school traveled to the United States and made East Meadow a point of visitation during their trip. Members of the East Meadow High School National Honor Society led the group on tours of the school while also inviting them to participate in classes. The Australian students had the opportunity to interact in gym, art and the various academic classes at East Meadow High School.
Educational World Travel coordinated with Custom Tours Inc. to arrange the visit to an elite Nassau County school. The goals of the visit were to allow the Australian students an opportunity to see the daily routine at East Meadow, experience the variety of class offerings, and socialize with American students. Many of the Australian students indicated that the visit was the highlight of their trip thus far.
The district wishes the members of Balwyn High School a safe remainder of their trip!
Members of the Wantagh Fire Department visited Parkway Elementary School on Sept. 21 to demonstrate lessons of fire safety and prevention for students, prior to National Fire Prevention Month in October.
Firefighters from the department exhibited proper techniques of how stop, drop and roll in the school’s gymnasium in addition to educating the kindergarten, first-grade and second-grade students about general fire safety. Fire department representative Bill Mackay dressed head-to-toe in equipment to showcase a full firefighter uniform.
In the school’s cafeteria, third- through sixth-grade classes were shown a fire safety video followed by lessons on how to escape a house fire. The lessons were put to the test as students had the opportunity to enter the Wantagh Fire Department smoke house. One by one, they used the safe escape route to ultimately gather as a group.
The district thanks the Wantagh Fire Department for educating students on these valuable fire safety and prevention rules.
Classes at Parkway Elementary School in the East Meadow School District showcased a pilot program called “responsive classrooms” on the morning of Sept. 18 by holding morning meetings between teachers and students.
Inside the kindergarten and first-grade classrooms of Krystal Mancuso and Amy DePaulo, respectively, students gathered to greet one another while also engaging in sharing discussions, group activities and morning messages. In Mrs. Mancuso’s class, students made eye contact before shaking each other’s hands. Students also had the opportunity to share stories of a recent activity and some even told jokes.
The objective of the morning meetings is to allow the students to gather as a community while merging social, emotional and intellectual learning in addition to creating a climate of trust and respectful interactions.
Classes at Bowling Green Elementary School are also engaged in this pilot this year. If successful, this program could be expanded to more classrooms and other district elementary schools next year.