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VIDEO: Feeling “Lucky” at Elwood Middle School

Lucky photo

An Important Message from the Superintendent of Schools

The Elwood Union Free School District is extremely saddened to learn of the loss of Christopher Raguso, John Glenn High School graduate from the Class of ’97. Mr. Raguso proudly served in the New York Air National Guard and was also a lieutenant in the Commack and New York City fire departments.

The district extends its deepest condolences to Lt. Raguso’s family and friends. He died a true hero serving our country and we join the entire nation in mourning his passing.

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Elwood Alumni Returns from Medical Mission

Elwood Alumni Returns from Medical Mission photo
Elwood Alumni Returns from Medical Mission photo 2
Elwood Alumni Returns from Medical Mission photo 3
Elwood Alumni Returns from Medical Mission photo 4
Recently Joseph Rizzuto, a John Glenn graduate class of 2011, visited James H. Boyd to present the students with a medical mission he went on to Nepal. Previously, the student council of Boyd raised funds to assist him in completing his mission. As a result of their fundraising, Mr. Rizzuto was able to provide much-needed supplies and health checks to the community of Gorkha, Nepal. Joseph returned to his past elementary school to share his experience with the students that helped his mission become a reality.

The inhabitants of the community of Gorkha were affected harshly by an earthquake in 2015 and are still trying to rebuild their homes. Mr. Rizzuto’s presentation was an eye-opening experience for students, and they were affected by seeing the plights of people living in another country who don’t have access to the resources that Americans do.

Sophomore Science-Researchers Place Second

Sophomore Science-Researchers Place Second photo
Sophomore science researchers Jennifer Wood, Sophia Ciriello, Madison Mullman, Joseph DeVerteuil, Kayla Alers, and Kerri Rhatigan from Elwood-John H. Glenn High School won second place at the Northwell Medical Marvels Competition on Mar. 9.

In preparation for the competition, students wrote a 14-page proposal entitled “How to Deal with the Present Opioid Crisis.” This proposal was presented by the students, alongside 30 other schools from Nassau and Suffolk counties, and judged by researchers, doctors, and experts in the field. This competition was established in 2013 by The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and the Center for Workforce Readiness to encourage Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) career pathways for Long Island freshman and sophomore students.

In addition to their second-place win, the group was awarded $1,000.

Volleying for a Cause

Volleying for a Cause photo

Elwood-John H. Glenn High School students came together to support a good cause and to take part in some healthy competition during the school’s annual Volleyball-a-Thon on Mar. 1. This year’s chosen causes were the Sean Urda Memorial Soccer Scholarship, Save the Kid and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

All 41 participating teams showed up to the competition in the high school gymnasium with matching team t-shirts, donning creative names such as “Elected to Serve” and “Set it and Forget it,” as well as a whole lot of enthusiasm. Collectively, teams raised a total of $3,010 for the selected causes.

Each team competed on one of the four volleyball courts until one group, the “Birds,” was victorious and crowned the 2018 Volleyball-a-Thon champs.

Dr. Seuss Day at James H. Boyd

Dr. Seuss Day at James H. Boyd photo

Students at James H. Boyd Intermediate School celebrated Dr. Seuss's birthday on Mar. 2. Students and teachers read their favorite Dr. Seuss stories aloud and also carried poems in their pockets. Some students had written their own poems, while others carried their favorite published prose. Poems were shared with one another throughout the day.

In addition, a member of the community, Mr. Harold Roizman, donated new books to be raffled off to help children carry out the joy of reading. Students enjoyed the day’s celebration of reading and their favorite stories.

Getting excited about reading at Harley Avenue

Getting excited about reading at Harley Avenue photo
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Getting excited about reading at Harley Avenue photo 3
Students at Harley Avenue Primary School dressed up as their favorite book characters on Mar. 2 in honor of National Read Across America Day. This day of awareness, conceived and put into motion by the National Education Association, seeks to help get children excited about reading, and to motivate them to read more.

“I’m a boy scout and I like wild and dangerous things, so I was excited to dress up as Fly Guy, my favorite book character,” said James, a second-grader at Harley Avenue.

Students throughout the school dressed up as characters such as the Cat in the Hat, Strega Nona, Mary Poppins, and many more.

World Language Society Members Cook with Compassion

World Language Society Members Cook with Compassion photo

Students in the World Language Society at Elwood-John H. Glenn High School gave back to the community on Feb. 15, when they coordinated a meal donation effort. Under the guidance of teachers Nicole Correia and Nicole Gendjoian, the students took on various responsibilities in planning, preparing for and executing a successful initiative.

The students cooked baked ziti and assembled vegetable platters for the Huntington Tri Community and Youth Agency. They also created two meal baskets for families in need.

Leading up to the event, students were provided with a grocery list and went shopping on their own. Some of the students had never cooked before but were eager to learn new skills and follow instructions in order to help. Five stations were set up for small groups to follow the recipe.

Ms. Correia and Ms. Gendjoian were thrilled to see the students’ enthusiasm and hope to schedule another day of cooking in March.

Local Seniors Treated to Dinner and a Show

Local Seniors Treated to Dinner and a Show photo

Senior members of the Elwood community were treated to a dinner and a show by the high school community service club and the cast and crew of the upcoming theatre production on Feb. 28.

Each year, community service club and theatre students collaborate to reach out to the senior community surrounding Elwood schools. Invitations were mailed, encouraging community members to come for a free meal and a private showing of the dress rehearsal of the upcoming show, The Little Mermaid. Service club members collected food and prepared a dinner, along with coffee and dessert, to serve to the attendees. Principal Burzynski, Superintendent Dr. Bossert, and Board of Education Vice President James Tomeo were in attendance as well, mingling with the members of the community.

“It’s important for our students to reach out to older members of the community,” said community service club advisor Maryann Cabrera. “It helps them become good citizens, and teaches them to represent their generation well.”

The students served the attendees with smiles, and escorted them to the auditorium to watch the performance of The Little Mermaid after dinner was over.

“It’s so special to be able to contribute positively to the community,” said Ashley, a sophomore at John H. Glenn, “and by helping the community, you also kind of help yourself by becoming more aware of the situations of others.”

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Competitive Greatness at its Best

Competitive Greatness at its Best photo
The district is proud to announce that John H. Glenn High School has two students from the same graduating class headed to two of the finest military academies in the Nation. Nathaniel Larkins will be attending the United States Military Academy at West Point and Patrick Giambruno will be attending the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. We are so proud of these two amazing young men! Go army, go navy!

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Students Virtually Visited by Author on World Read Aloud Day

Students Virtually Visited by Author on World Read Aloud Day photo
James H. Boyd celebrated World Read Aloud Day on Feb. 1. Each year people around the globe participate in World Read Aloud Day and share stories to advocate for literacy as a human right.

This year at Boyd, teachers read aloud to their students throughout the day, including books “Love” by Matt de la Pena and “7 Ate 9” by Tara Lazar. Mrs. Bove and Mrs. Held’s third-grade class had the opportunity to Skype with author Tara Lazar during the day as well. After she read her book “7 Ate 9” to the class, students asked her questions about the book, about being an author and more.

Turning Concern into Action

Turning Concern into Action photo
EMS student Nicholas Mourelatos was recognized for an exceptional act of kindness by the Board of Education on Feb. 15.

During the month of December, Nicholas took it upon himself to start a fundraiser for a fellow student who was absent from school due to a serious medical condition. Nicholas knew she must be struggling being out of school for so long, away from her friends and teachers, and wanted to let her know she was not forgotten by her classmates. He expressed his concern to middle school principal Dr. Christina Sapienza, and she encouraged him to follow through with his idea.

After the course of a week, Nicholas and his peers raised enough funds to buy her a present for the holiday season. Nicholas made sure to personally deliver the gift himself.

Dr. Sapienza addressed the board to recognize Nicholas for his act of kindness and compassion.

“Nicholas, we’re so proud of you for turning your heartfelt concerns into action,” said Dr. Sapienza, “and you’ve acted as a true friend and role model for your peers.”

Mock Trial Members Mentored by Alumni

Mock Trial Members Mentored by Alumni photo
On Feb. 7, the high school mock trial team ranked first among 27 competing Suffolk County schools in the county’s first mock trial competition of 2018 ­– a first ever in John Glenn history!

Before the start of the season, two alumni mock trial members visited the team, and volunteered their time to help students prepare for upcoming trial cases. Jordan Bryan, a freshman at Cornell University, and Casey Oualaalou, a freshman at Loyola University, spent many hours helping the young, inexperienced team research and prepare.

Advisor Megan Gieser believes the extra help from the alumni students, along with the work ethic of the current team members, paid off.

“It really meant a lot to the current students to be mentored by experienced mock trial members,” said Ms. Gieser, “and the team members continue to impress me with their hard work and dedication—learning from their mistakes, and improving with every trial they complete.”

100th Day Celebration

100th Day Celebration photo

Harley Avenue Elementary School celebrated the 100th day of school on Feb. 12. Students were encouraged to dress up like they were 100 years old, and many came to school dressed in character with props as well. Throughout the day, 100-centered lessons were taught—counting up to 100 with different coins, discussing something they’d like to have 100 of and why, and more.

A Culture of Inclusivity

A Culture of Inclusivity photo
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Along with over 2,000 schools across the country, Elwood Middle School students celebrated No One Eats Alone Day on Feb. 9. During lunch periods throughout the day, members of the National Junior Honor Society and the Knights of Good brought awareness to social isolation.

“Let’s create a culture of belonging for everyone,” student volunteers read aloud to their peers, “to not be the cool kids, but to be the kids who include everyone…let’s be different Elwood, and end social isolation now!”
Students encouraged their peers to take part in the day by making sure no one was sitting alone, or by sitting with someone they’ve never sat with before. There were activities available for students to connect with new friends, including board games, a raffle, and opportunities to affirm others that they’re not alone.

“This day is so important because no school is without isolated kids,” said Dahlia, a sixth grader at EMS. “And just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there.”

This day was created by Beyond Differences—a non-profit organization founded by the parents of Lili Smith, who was born with a cranial facial syndrome and was socially isolated during her middle school years. Their mission is to bring awareness to the harshness of social isolation, and are determined to teach students to be inclusive.

Senior Commits to Fairfield University

Senior Commits to Fairfield University photo
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A special ceremony was held for Elwood John-H. Glenn senior Stephanie Tsangaris on Feb. 7. In front of family, coaches, and Elwood administration, Stephanie signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) for Fairfield University, where she will be attending and playing soccer in the fall. Stephanie has scored the leading number of points for the Lady Knights for the past four years, is a three-time All- State athlete, and was selected for the 2017 News 12 All-Long Island Girls Soccer Team.

“Your commitment to excellence in this sport will undoubtedly continue to separate you from the pack as you take the next step in your career as a student-athlete,” said Director of Athletics and Physical Education David Shanahan.

Brookhaven Lab National Science Bowl

Brookhaven Lab National Science Bowl photo
Four science-research students from Elwood-John Glenn High School participated in the Regional Competition of the National Science Bowl at Brookhaven Labs on Jan. 27. Students Jacob Goldstein, Nicole Hugelmeyer, Katherine Browne and Samantha Katz performed extremely well during the whole competition. Topics covered were biology, chemistry, energy, astronomy, earth science and math. Each student was competitive in each round, and scored extremely high. Even though the team did not advance to the Nationals, they did an outstanding job.

Student-Athlete Reaches 1,000-Point Milestone

Student-Athlete Reaches 1,000-Point Milestone photo
Alyssa Adomaites, a junior on the Elwood-John H. Glenn girls basketball team, reached the 1000-point milestone on February 1, 2018. Alyssa reached this goal during a victorious game against Miller place, where final the score was 66-49.

In addition to scoring 26 points, she accomplished five assists, four steals and five rebounds throughout the game. Since the start of her high school basketball career in 7th grade, Alyssa has contributed greatly to John Glenn’s success in winning two league championships, and two county finals.

“Alyssa’s played an integral role on our team as point guard,” said Coach Sean McGinty. “She’s an exemplary model of a student-athlete, and one of the most outstanding players on Long Island.”

Congratulations, Alyssa!

Elwood Middle School Hosts VEX Robotics Competition

Elwood Middle School Hosts VEX Robotics Competition photo
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Elwood Middle School hosted its fourth consecutive, and largest, VEX IQ Robotics Competition on Jan. 27. This competition, which is presented by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, welcomed 40 participating teams from 14 different schools and organizations from all across the island.

In this competition, teams of students use robots that they’ve designed and built to compete with other teams in an engineering challenge. Tournaments are held throughout the year at regional, state, and national levels—and ultimately culminate at the VEX Robotics World Championship.

Each year, the VEX IQ challenge changes. This year’s challenge required students to design robots that are able to pick up, move, sort and stack rings on poles of different heights. Students were required to put the STEM concepts they’ve learned to the test as they sharpened their skills in teamwork, leadership, communications, and more.

“The competition encompasses many twenty-first century skills that our students will need in the future,” said Director of Math, Science and Technology Eileen Kelly-Gorman.

In addition, students participated in teamwork activities that selected tasks at random, competed in individual skills challenges, and more. Teams also were judged based on their designs, STEM research projects presented in front of judges, and overall excellence. Teams that win at one of the qualifying competitions qualify for the state finals in Rockville Centre. The winners of this competition will qualify for VEX Worlds in Kentucky.

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Students Selected for LISFA

Students Selected for LISFA photo
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Congratulations to the following students who were selected for the prestigious Long Island String Festival Association Festivals: Jenna Ban, Mina Ban, Blake Goehring, Joanna Kim, Aaram Lee, Rithika Narayan, Angelina Song, and Maya Tallo. The Intermediate Festival Concert, which included students grades fifth to eighth, took place on January 27 and 28. The Secondary Festival, which included high school musicians, took place January 14. All participating students preformed tremendously and made the district proud!

Musical Accolades Recognized at Board of Education Meeting

Musical Accolades Recognized at Board of Education Meeting photo
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During the first Board of Education meeting of the new year, two high school students were recognized for excelling in music.

Elizabeth Choi, a junior at Elwood-John H. Glenn High School and a dedicated violinist, was recognized for being selected for the All-State Symphony Orchestra. Elizabeth is the concert master of the John Glenn Orchestra and Chamber Strings, attends Manhattan School of Music’s pre-college program, and is an active member of her school community.

“Elizabeth is a fine representative of the Elwood Union Free School District and an impressive student who serves as a role model for all of our students,” said high school Principal Carisa Burzynski.

John Glenn senior Alexandra Vallejos was recognized for being selected for the National Association for Music Education All-National Choir. Alexandra was selected for this honor based on her previous participation in last school year’s All-State Women’s choir, and her outstanding audition for the program. Alexandra is a section leader in the school’s concert choir, the president of the Tri-M music society, and has been a participant in the NYSSMA solo festival, using her voice and the piano, all of her years at Elwood-John H. Glenn High School.

“We are extremely proud of all Alexandra has achieved, and will continue to achieve,” said Principal Burzynski.

Elwood-John H. Glenn Coach Named Coach of the Year

Coach of the Year photo
Congratulations to Elwood-John H. Glenn boys soccer coach Lou Hanner for recently being awarded the Section/Region 1 Coach of the Year award by The National Federation of High Schools! Mr. Hanner is one of eleven coaches throughout New York State that received sectional awards for the 2016-2017 school year. Coaches nominated and awarded this honor have outstanding coaching records, display dedication to their sport and their community, and have been serving as a coach for the district for many years.

“We are extremely proud of Lou for all his hard work and dedication to our students,” said Athletic Director David Shanahan.

Elwood-John H. Glenn High School Nominated for National Blue Ribbon Schools Award

Elwood-John H. Glenn High School Nominated for National Blue Ribbon Schools Award photo
The district is pleased to announce that Elwood-John H. Glenn High School has been nominated to join the community of National Blue Ribbon Schools. The high school, selected by the New York State Department of Education as an Exemplary High Performing School, is currently one of 19 finalists in New York State.

“Every staff and faculty member has, in some way, contributed to this prestigious nomination,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Bossert, “and it would be an incredible source pride for the district to achieve such a distinction.”

The district will continue in the application process for the 2018 National Blue Ribbon award, and the recipients will be announced in September 2018.

Moving Full STEAM Ahead

Moving Full STEAM Ahead photo

It was an evening of exploration and investigation as students in grades K-8 attended the annual STEAM Night, held at Elwood Middle School on Jan. 18. This year’s theme, Around the World and Through Time, encouraged participants to use their science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics skills to engage in activities that tied in with international culture and diversity.

STEAM is an instructional approach that employs science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics to guide students in dialogue, critical-thinking, problem solving, collaboration and inquiry.

Technology Instructional Specialist Krista Albrecht explained that the goal of the evening was to expose students to various types of science and technology activities, while emphasizing the importance of being kind to the Earth through recycling. “We also wanted to host activities with origins that expand the globe, emphasizing diversity and culture,” Albrecht said.

Teacher Pam Fine, who collaborated with Albrecht and Director of Math, Science and Technology Eileen Kelly-Gorman in hosting the program, noted that high school student council helpers volunteered their time to run games in the game room section that connected to their own cultures. Students received a passport to write down facts about each of the countries’ games played. Other activities included African basket weaving, the crafting of instruments, various architectural activities, the study of well water and more.

“STEAM night was a great success, thanks to our teachers and high school students who volunteered their time to run sessions, the community organizations who helped sponsor the event, and the families who participated,” Kelly-Gorman said. “We love to see parents and students learning together and trying new things.”