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A Special Night of Recognitions for Elwood

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It was a very special night for the Elwood School District, honoring successes and careers, and recognizing students, staff, administrators and Board members at the June 13 Board of Education meeting.

On hand was New York State Assemblyman Steve Stern, who was honored for his allocation of capital funding to Elwood, a $250,000 legislative grant for vital security and technology upgrades. Stern worked with Elwood Board of Education Vice President Heather Mammolito on the project.

“Assemblyman Stern has always been a tremendous supporter of the Elwood School District, and as a result of his advocacy in the past five years, Elwood has received bullet aid and grants providing for enhancements to security, classroom technology, building infrastructure and curriculum,” Superintendent Kelly Fallon said. “Earlier in the year, Assemblyman Stern partnered with us once again.”

“I am privileged to serve as our community’s representative in the New York State Assembly,” Stern said. “Heather and I had the opportunity to work together a great deal over the past several months to be able to make this announcement this evening. So, it really is a great personal pleasure to present this legislative grant to the Elwood School District.”

“We have recently been trying hard to update our infrastructure,” Mammolito said. “Security is a major concern, and the old systems and the new systems are not compatible. We didn’t have the money to do this, so this funding is really so helpful. Thank you so much, Assemblyman Stern, for continuing to be such a supportive partner to Elwood, and keep doing the great work that you do.”

Next, Athletic Director Dave Shanahan recognized Elwood-John H. Glenn High School seniors Anthony Bell and Lauren LaMena. LaMena was named as the female winner of the 2024 Butch Dellecave Award while Bell was named a finalist. The Dellecave Award nominates the top male and female student-athlete in each school in Suffolk County, recognizing excellence in three categories: academics, athletics and community service.

The district then turned to celebration of three important milestones in the careers of members of the Elwood school community, recognizing newly tenured faculty and staff, retirees and 25-year employees.

Recommended for tenure were Director of Math, Science, Technology and Federal Grants Dawn Valle; teachers Emily Dana, Dana Dorrian, Jill Greenblatt, Deidra O’Brien, Kristen Poulos and Laura Raimondi; and teacher assistant Francisco Benavides.

Retirees honored were staff members Vicki Cacioppo and Charlayne Scarbelli, and teachers David Anzalone, Margueritte Carvana, Patricia Farrell, Margaret Mahoney and David Trabulsi.
Recognized for 25 years of dedicated service were Anne Marie Chalao, Elizabeth Held, Matthew Lauro    , Amy Lindenbaum, Marsha McLeod, Virginia Rouse, Lisa Sallie, Amy Schombs, Todd Schwartz, Maria Trucios, Christopher Vandernoth and Karen Wenda.

“Achieving tenure is a testament to your hard work, dedication and unwavering commitment to excellence in education,” Superintendent Kelly Fallon said. “We look forward to you continuing to be a driving force in fostering an educational environment of curiosity, creativity and critical thinking. To our dedicated 25-year employees, thank you for your remarkable dedication and service to the Elwood School District. Your contributions have touched the lives of many students and will be valued and are part of the chemistry that is found in this amazing school district. And to our retirees, each of you has dedicated countless hours, boundless energy and such tremendous passion to the notable profession of education. Your contributions have touched the lives of so many students, shaping their future and inspiring them to achieve their dreams. Please know that the entire Elwood school community is filled with gratitude for your years of service. Congratulations and heartfelt thanks to each of you.”

JGHS senior Anthony Bell, the student liaison to the Board, was then honored before giving his final report.

Next, Board of Education President James Tomeo paid tribute to Fallon, the district’s outgoing interim superintendent.

“We would like to recognize an exceptional leader who has made a significant impact on our school during her short period of time with us,” Tomeo said. “We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our interim superintendent, Mrs. Fallon, for her outstanding service and dedication. Stepping into the role of interim superintendent was no small task. It required a unique blend of vision, leadership and unwavering commitment to the success of our students and staff. From the moment you joined our district, you have demonstrated these qualities in abundance, guiding us with grace and determination through a period of transition and growth. Your leadership has been marked by a deep understanding of the needs and aspirations of our school community, and you've worked tirelessly to ensure that our schools remain a place of learning, growth and opportunity. Your efforts to enhance our educational programs, support our teachers, and prioritize our students and our families have been nothing but exemplary. Under your guidance, we have seen significant strides in programs, innovative initiatives and a sense of dedication to Elwood, which are greatly appreciated. Your ability to navigate challenges with resilience and a solution-oriented mindset has been truly inspiring. Whether addressing budget constraints, implementing new policies or responding to unforeseen events, you have consistently shown a steadfast commitment to doing what is in the best interest of our students and our schools. As we reflect on this past year, we are grateful for the countless hours you have invested, the thoughtful decisions you have made and the positive changes you have spearheaded. Your leadership has left an indelible mark on our district. On behalf of the entire Board of Education, administration, staff, students and our community, we extend our deepest thanks.”

“It has been my honor to serve the Elwood School District,” Fallon said. “This has been an amazing Board of Education to work with. The administrative team, teachers and every person who works in this community is here for the right reason, and that’s for achievement of all students and for making a difference each and every day. This is a very, very special place. Don't ever forget it, and thank you for sharing it with me.”
Finally, Tomeo bid a grateful farewell to Mammolito, who is retiring from the Board after nine years of dedicated service.

“Heather’s commitment and passion for education have profoundly impacted our students, staff and the entire community,” Tomeo said. “Over the past nine years, Heather has demonstrated unwavering dedication and genuine care for every aspect of our school district and our community. Your leadership has guided us through both triumphs and challenges with your resilience and wisdom. You have been instrumental in shaping policies that have enhanced the educational experience for all of our students. Your advocacy, your vision and your innovative ideas have fostered an environment where we as a Board have been challenged to do our best. Your tireless efforts have ensured that our school district remains a place where every student has an opportunity to reach their fullest potential. You have been a champion for multiple pathways, curricular enhancements and a proponent of fiscal responsibility. Your legacy is not just in the policies that you've helped create, but in the lives that you have touched. On behalf of the entire school board, our administration, our staff and the students in our community, we extend our heartfelt thanks to you. Your dedication has made a lasting impact and your contributions will be remembered for years to come. We’re appreciative and grateful for your service and your unwavering commitment to the excellence of education.”

“I just want to thank the community for supporting me and electing me to this position,” Mammolito said. “I hope you all feel that I have always made the right decisions, keeping children at the forefront of every decision that I’ve ever made. I feel confident that I can walk away saying that I have done so. I support each and every one of you, and I thank you so much for being so dedicated to our children and our community.”

Date Added: 6/20/2024

John Glenn Music Ensembles Win Big at Music in the Parks

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Elwood-John H. Glenn High School’s band, chorus and orchestra all earned Superior ratings at the Music in the Parks festival, held on June 1 at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. The chorus and orchestra won first place for their divisions and the orchestra won best overall orchestra. Special awards were given to Joseph Bahr for Outstanding Vocalist and to Lily Brown for her ASL interpretation of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

“A big congratulations to all,” music teacher Brittany Wheeler said.

Date Added: 6/19/2024

Boyd Bird Beak Experiments Teach Adaptation

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In the science lab at James H. Boyd Intermediate School, Liz Held’s third-grade class engaged in an interactive lesson on animal adaptation and survival. The children simulated various bird beaks and “foods.” From bird beak replicas (tweezers, spoons, chopsticks) to experimenting with faux seeds, insects and nuts (paperclips, toothpicks, and bolts), the children gained hands-on insight into how the shape and structure of a bird’s beak are tailored to its dietary needs and habitat.

“Through this immersive experience, they grasped the concept of adaptation but also developed a deeper appreciation for the intricate balance between form and function in the natural world,” Held said.

Date Added: 6/19/2024

John Glenn Celebrates a Sunny Senior Day

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Elwood-John H. Glenn High School celebrated a sunny Senior Day on June 13, hosted by Athletic Director Dave Shanahan. The excited seniors took to the football field for an array of fun games, including Kan-Jam, tug of war, dodgeball, field goal kicking, soccer dribbling and an obstacle course.

“The Class of 2024 was certainly a great class,” Shanahan said. “The sky was blue for our Senior Day, the perfect conditions for a great day for our seniors to have fun.”

Date Added: 6/18/2024

Sierra Roizman Brings Morgan’s Message to John Glenn

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Elwood-John H. Glenn High School student-athlete Sierra Roizman recently organized the school’s first-ever Morgan’s Message girls lacrosse fundraiser game. The event was well-attended, and her efforts, including raffles and contests, raised over $200 to support the Morgan’s Message organization for student-athlete mental health. Each participating lacrosse player received a shirt representing John Glenn High School’s stand on mental health, reading “Taking a Shot at Mental Health” and featuring a butterfly drawn by Morgan Rodgers. In July 2019, the Duke University women’s lacrosse player took her life after battling with mental struggles, and the organization keeps her memory alive by striving to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health within the student-athlete community and equalize the treatment of physical and mental health.  

“‘Mental health’ are two words that are thrown around in schools across the nation,” Roizman said. “Sometimes when we hear these words, we brush them off as if they were a redundant concept that just appear over and over again. But for many, mental health isn’t just a topic discussed in school, but instead, a constant anxiety and wreckage of one’s self-worth. Others don’t acknowledge the interior struggles they face, and go along with their everyday lives refusing to seek help and fighting these battles alone with their inner selves. They do so in fear of lack of acceptance for their emotions, the feeling of vulnerability and, ‘weakness.’ I see this weakness in myself and those around me, a fear that if we release our emotions we will be seen as easily destroyed, weak. I wanted to embrace and help other people sharing the same struggles and goals as me. For this reason, I brought Morgan’s Message to John H. Glenn High School.”

As a multi-sport student-athlete, Roizman always found herself in a constant self-battle.

“My anxiety was through the roof, whether it was stomach pains or crying before any game or test, to panic attacks that felt like the world was closing in on me when I felt I didn’t perform,” Roizman said. “I would consistently tear myself apart if I didn’t meet unrealistic high expectations. All of these symptoms drained my mental health and made it difficult for me to love myself. I struggled with expressing this to those around me. I felt that if I did, I would be seen as dramatic for feeling ‘anxious’ over a silly sport or performance, but it was deeper than that. What this was really about was my unwillingness to open up. After learning how to better express my emotions, I found myself able to steadily battle these anxious and deteriorating feelings. My fight with mental health had led me to realize how obligated struggling people feel to stay silent. Morgan’s Message was a way for me to raise mental health awareness, starting with my community. So, one night, I decided to apply to become a Morgan’s Message ambassador. Although Morgan’s life was taken too soon, her energy and legacy live on to act as a change in our mental health standards. The Morgan’s Message vision is to emphasize that there is no shame in seeking help, and that you are never alone. By building the foundation of Morgan’s Message from stories, ambassadors and resources in schools and universities across the world, a community is built. This community is a stronghold for connectivity, which works to battle mental health stereotypes one step at a time. I was placed in a group with over 3,500 ambassadors from the biggest known universities to small high schools across the United States. Together as a community, we can empower those who suffer in silence and make sure it is known that it is okay to not be okay. John Glenn has become a part of this empowering cluster.”

Roizman found that the process of making her goal a reality was both difficult and extremely successful.

“I most certainly couldn’t have done it without the help of my peers and community members, and especially the assistance of Morgan’s Message staff,” Roizman said. Leading up to the game, my team members all helped me organize the details of our event as well as dedicating time and effort to make beautifully painted posters. These posters were hung up at our game, where our community members could see the meaningful paintings that served as a reminder to embrace the fight against mental health. Not only did Morgan’s Message help answer any questions I had along the way, but they supplied me with bracelets, ribbons and stickers all pointing back to the saying, “Mental Health Matters.” I was able to distribute these items not only to my team, but to my community members, which provides only more awareness. Thank you truly to all of those who helped in making my goals a reality.”

Roizman has big plans to expand Morgan’s Message in her school community.

“I hope to continue fighting the stigma of mental health and only expect dedication games to grow,” she said. “Our next step is the hope of establishing John Glenn’s first Morgan’s Message club, where we could have workshops, hands-on activities and discussions all surrounding mental health. Additionally, other sports will be encouraged to host dedication games. Next year, Morgan’s Message will grow even bigger!”

“We are so proud of you, Sierra,” Athletic Director Dave Shanahan said.

Date Added: 6/18/2024