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Islip Musicians Earn 36 SCMEA Selections

scmea photo

A total of 36 hardworking and talented student-musicians from the Islip School District were selected to participate in the Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association All-County Concerts this spring, based on their performances at last year’s New York State School Music Association Solo Festival and music teacher recommendations by their school music teachers.

Chosen from Commack Road Elementary School were Tiana Arroyo (chorus), Ailsa Canales (chorus), Abigail Dieumegard (alto sax; band), Olivia Pue (chorus) and Avery Roche (violin; orchestra).

Chosen from Maud S. Sherwood Elementary School were Connor Ancipink (French horn; band), Addison DeFalco (chorus), Ryan Nieves (violin; orchestra) and Jadyn Zink (alto sax; band).

Chosen from Islip Middle School were Alexander Baaden (trumpet; band), Maggie Frazer (alto; chorus), Skylar Marie Greene (soprano; chorus), Lia Guzman (flute; orchestra), Arthur Hampson (trumpet; band), Olivia Johnson (flute; orchestra), Madleynn Lang (alto; chorus), Morgan McLynch (violin; orchestra), Mia Nano (chorus), Brady Nash (clarinet; band), Mason Nasta (alto sax; band), Alexandra Noles (chorus), Alex Romeo (mallets; band), Annalise Rossano (violin; orchestra), Daniel Rubinson (violin; orchestra), Jacob Schifter (trumpet; band), Delaney Tauer (viola; orchestra), Daniel Turk (baritone; chorus), Julian Vitucci (chorus), Alex Weninski (clarinet; band) and Justin Zizza (trumpet; band).

Chosen from Islip High School were Tyler Cirulnick (soprano; chorus), Leah Cyran (soprano; chorus), Isabella Green (soprano; chorus), Alan Lawrence (bass; chorus), Erin Quinn (clarinet; band) and Ryan Van Nostrand (tenor; chorus).

Eight from Islip Earn Town Achievement Awards

Eight from Islip earn Town Achievement Awards
Eight from Islip earn Town Achievement Awards
Eight exceptional Islip High School students were recently selected to receive Town of Islip Achievement Awards. Honored at an April 16 awards ceremony at Town Hall were Deja Boucher Weiss (Performing Arts), Devi Chowdhury (Secondary Language), Lauren Cottral (Science), Hailey Franco (Scholarship & Athletics), Emma Hayes (Service to People in Need), Emily Kearon (Language Arts), Josue Mondesir (Secondary Language) and Tyler Nakken.

Wing Parade Promotes Support for Autism Awareness

Wing Parade Promotes Support for Autism Awareness
Wing Parade Promotes Support for Autism Awareness 2
Wing Parade Promotes Support for Autism Awareness 3
Students at Wing wrapped up Autism Awareness Week with an April 5 parade around the building, promoting inclusion and self-determination for all. During the days prior, each student participated in activities revolving around the awareness and acceptance of all students, guided by teacher Nicole Howley and school psychologist Nancy Sferrazza. The building was filled both inside and outside with symbols showing support during Autism Awareness Month.

Commack Road Student Leaders Paint Paddles Purple

Commack Road Student Leaders Paint Paddles Purple
Commack Road Student Leaders Paint Paddles Purple 2
 Commack Road Student Leaders Paint Paddles Purple 3
Student leaders in Catherine Nieves’ fourth grade class at Commack Road recently decided to give the bus paddles some needed improvements. They stayed after school and painted the 30 paddles purple. Gold letters were then added to complete the project.  

High Schoolers Prepare for the Future with College Conference

High Schoolers Prepare for the Future with College Conference
High Schoolers Prepare for the Future with College Conference 2
High Schoolers Prepare for the Future with College Conference 3

High school students in Renee Clock’s career development work experience class recently attended the “Laying the Foundation: Preparation for College and Vocational Training Success” conference at Suffolk County Community College’s Grant Campus. The day included interactive workshops, facility tours, resource identification and demonstrations of vocational training programs for students.  The event focused on identifying services, tools, and resources that will assist college or vocational training program-bound students to achieve success while attending those programs. 

“The day was great,” said Assistant Principal Curt Juengerkes. “Our students were exposed to real-world opportunities as they obtained valuable resources and participated in the day’s workshops and tours. It seemed to ease student concerns and anxiety about taking on the post-secondary world.”

Islip’s Music Education Program Receives NAMM Recognition for Fifth Consecutive Year

Islip’s Music Education Program Receives NAMM Recognition for Fifth Consecutive Year

For the fifth consecutive year, the district has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from the NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.

Now in its 20th year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. The award recognizes that Islip is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act.

“The Islip community has for many decades been supportive of the arts,” said Vincent Green, director of fine and performing arts. “This designation proves again that the community's resources and efforts continue to make Islip a leader in the musical arts.”

Islip Retires Jersey of Class of ’14 Lacrosse Star Ohlmiller

Islip Retires Jersey of Class of ’14 Lacrosse Star Ohlmiller

On March 26, Islip High School celebrated the jersey retirement of one of its most celebrated athletes, Class of 2014 lacrosse star Kylie Ohlmiller. Her accolades in high school included All-American status and stats of 247 goals and 98 assists. During her subsequent four-year career playing attack for Stony Brook University, she was team captain, America East Player of the Year and a Tewaaraton Finalist twice; an All-American four times; a 2018 America East Women of the Year winner; and earned sponsorships from Brine and New Balance. Ohlmiller was the No. 1 overall draft pick for the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League’s NY Fight team.

Islip Educators Enhance Leadership Skills with Gary McGuey

Islip Educators Enhance Leadership Skills with Gary McGuey

The district’s teachers, staff and administrators – joined by Board of Education trustees Paul Austin and Matthew Clareen – flocked to the high school auditorium on March 18 for an exciting Superintendent’s Conference Day interactive assembly with motivational speaker Gary McGuey, author of “The Inspirational Teacher” and “The Mentor: Leadership Trumps Bullying.” McGuey, a former athletic director and educator and one of the most in-demand educational speakers in the nation, provided the attendees with engaging personal and professional development as well as enhanced principle-centered leadership skills.

“Today we are coming together to be introduced to ideas and concepts that will not only help our students, but give each of us insight into ourselves,” said Dr. Christopher Smalley, the district’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, introducing McGuey. “We know that academics are important, and if our students are not prepared to succeed in a college or career, they will struggle. But we also know that if our students are not prepared to deal with adversity or all the soft skills necessary in life, they will struggle even more. Our students now deal with an incredible bombardment of digital information, busy schedules and the constant pressure to succeed. The good news for our students is that they are in Islip, and we all care.”

McGuey delved deeply into the ideas behind “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” explained the three types of power – positional, utilitarian and principle-centered leadership – and demonstrated the path from dependence to independence and finally to interdependence.

“The only person we change is ourselves,” McGuey said. “We can influence people, and that’s what leadership is. People follow our footsteps much quicker than our advice. Everybody in this room can think of that influence or role model, that person in our lives we’ll never forget. For some of us, that person is no longer alive, but they still have power over us because of the way they led their lives based on words like integrity, hard work, love, service and responsibility.”

Sharp Shooter Success for Commack Road and Sherwood

Sherwood SS
Commack Road SS

Fourth- and fifth-graders from Commack Road and Sherwood recently found hoops happiness competing in the 33rd annual Town of Islip Sharp Shooter Basketball Contest, held on March 2 at East Islip High School.

Sponsored by the Islip Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs and Islip Elks since 1993, the Sharp Shooter “Just Say No to Drugs” program asks local students to score as many baskets as possible in one minute, improving their athletic skills and offering an alternative to drug abuse.

Commack Road’s in-school winners were Hailey Alvarez, Abigail Dieumegard, Amanda Owen, Carmine Rossellini and Andrew Wimmers, while Sherwood’s were Jackson Doring, Julia Dromerhauser, Tierny Recenello and Jane Tierney. Alvarez came away the first-place fourth-grade girls winner in the competition. Owen finished in second for fifth-grade girls, and Doring won second in the fourth-grade boys division.

Students Seek Summer Jobs at Successful High School Event

Students Seek Summer Jobs at Successful High School Event

The high school’s School to Careers Partnership hosted a daylong Teen Job Fair on March 7, open to all students. Business teacher Renee Clock worked with the Suffolk County Department of Labor to recruit local businesses that are seeking to hire teenagers for the summer. In addition to applying for summer jobs, the students had the opportunity to practice job interview skills and networking as well as fill out job applications and participate in on-site interviews.

Participating organizations included the Suffolk County Department of Labor, Town of Islip Department of Parks and Recreation, Tropical Smoothie of Bay Shore, SCOPE Educational Services, Local Burger of Bay Shore, American Pool Long Island, The Great South Bay YMCA, Youth Enrichment Services, Caroline’s Flower Shoppe, Splish Splash, ShopRite, and the Eastern Suffolk BOCES and Western Suffolk BOCES Technical Academies. 

“Our students represented Islip in a professional manner and were eager to apply for summer jobs,” said Clock. “I am delighted to see so many young people actively seek employment in our community and am happy to help many of our students obtain jobs. The organizations that participated in the event realize the value that teens have to offer their businesses and they were impressed with the participation of our student body.”

IMPORTANT - Calendar Change Letter

Please see the letter linked below from Superintendent Semel regarding changes to the school calendar, as snow days were not used this year. Thank you.


Islip’s Top Pastry Chef Owen Eubanks

Islip’s Top Pastry Chef Owen Eubanks

High school senior Owen Eubanks finished in second place in the America’s Best High School Pastry Chef Competition presented by the Culinary Institute of New York at Monroe College on March 9.

A dozen of the best high school chefs in the nation were invited to participate in the final round of the pastry competition, held at CINY’s award-winning Culinary Arts Center in New Rochelle. Eubanks and the other student competitors were asked to demonstrate their skills by creating an original signature dessert that they are able to prepare exactly as submitted in a 90-minute final round.  The upscale-style plated dessert had to include a main item, sauce, cookie or crisp item, chocolate and fruit.

Eubanks’ creation won second prize, which earned him the right to wear the title “America’s Best High School Pastry Chef,” a partial academic scholarship for the pastry arts program at CINY, and the opportunity to apply to CINY’s study abroad program for a semester in Italy.

Islip Celebrates Cultural Diversity on Annual ENL Night

Islip Celebrates Cultural Diversity on Annual ELL Night

The district held its annual ENL Family Cultural Night on March 20, focused on the theme of celebrating cultural diversity, reflecting a district enriched by 18 different student languages.

“In Islip, our student population is culturally diverse and many students come from homes where a second language is spoken,” said Priscilla Zarate, the district’s ENL and world language coordinator. “What does cultural diversity mean for Islip? It means recognition of students’ abundant diversity of cultures, respect for the differences that exist, acknowledging the validity of different cultural expressions, valuing what other cultures have to offer, encouraging the contributions of diverse groups of students, empowering our students to strengthen themselves and others to achieve their maximum potential, and celebrating rather than just tolerating the differences in order to bring about unity in diversity.”

As one of many highlights of the event, Islip recognized the achievements of a dozen of its English language learners: William Pineda and Nicole Quinteros from Wing; Abner Barrios, Kelsey Ortiz and Natalie Pantaleon from Commack Road; David Hernandex from Sherwood; Naomi Del Re and Ashley Toro from the middle school; and Veronica Catalino, Nicole Huaylinos, Osman Marroquin and Mayra Sanchez from the high school.

The evening also included a guest appearance by poet, storyteller and performer Adriana Devers, author of “Mi Chiquitica en Luna Llena My Little One in Full Moon,” “Huellas de Una Memoria Perdida” and “Mi Vida de Cuento en Cuento.” Devers, originally from the Dominican Republic, spoke bilingually to the audience and led them in a festive traditional dance out of the auditorium and into the cafeteria to enjoy food, refreshments and numerous educational displays.

A Happy, Healthy ‘Dinner Time’ for Islip FACS Student

A Happy, Healthy ‘Dinner Time’ for Islip FACS Student

Seventh-grader Kayla James recently participated in the Long Island FACS Challenge, a contest hosted by the Long Island Family and Consumer Science Professionals organization for all middle school and high school FACS students from Nassau and Suffolk.

The idea behind James’ project, titled “Dinner Time,” came from her research that showed families who have dinner together thrive together. During lunchtime at the middle school, James handed out 40 herb seedlings to fellow students along with coinciding recipes using the herb. She encouraged her classmates to plant the seedlings and to use that herb to make a delicious meal with their families.

“Giving the herbs out was an amazing experience that gave me and many others joy,” James said. “Just to see the expression on my peers’ faces was the only thing I needed to make my day, and I know that I made their days too. I talked about the project and the importance of family and healthy eating.”

“I’m thrilled that Kayla chose to participate in the challenge and represent Islip Middle School and our family and consumer science program,” said teacher Natalie DeSena. “The other students were very receptive and loved her idea.”

EXCEL Students Get Excited About Exploration

EXCEL Students Get Excited About Exploration

Campbell “Buzz” Scott of Newcastle, Maine, an ROV pilot and expert in different facets of deep-sea exploration and science research, recently paid a visit to Islip’s EXCEL program for the academically gifted. The founder of the Maine educational program OceansWide spoke to the middle schoolers about the adventures of exploration using ROVs as part of EXCEL’s ongoing “Inventing Self” series of inspirational guest lectures.

Scott studied biology and mechanical engineering, was a Seabee in the U.S. Navy, and spent 17 years as a commercial fisherman in the Gulf of Maine. He then worked on supply ships in the Gulf of Mexico and for the United States Antarctic program as a marine technician, sailing on scientific research ships around Antarctica, crashing through sea ice and enduring cold temperatures. In 1997, he relocated to California where he worked as a mechanical technician and remotely operated unmanned submersible pilot for the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute as well as for the reknowned Bob Ballard in Rhode Island. The tethered submarine has allowed him to work closely with scientists from around the world as they study the deep canyons below the Pacific’s surface, discovering and capturing sea creatures that have never been seen before.

He showed the fascinated students images of animals he encountered during his work, including whales, squid, viperfish and penguins, as well as photos of his many valued mentors.

“It’s important for these kids to have mentors, and mentors come from all different directions,” said Scott. “These kids are intelligent, open and inquisitive. These are the kind of kids we are looking for our adventures and exploration, and adventures get us excited about what we can do."

A ‘Pi’-fect Day at Commack Road

A ‘Pi’-fect Day at Commack Road

In honor of Pi and all things math, fifth-graders at Commack celebrated Pi Day on March 14. They engaged in various mathematics activities such as practicing multiplication with the Great Array game; identifying remainders with “I’ll have the leftovers”; using logic skills with Super Tic, Tac, Toe; and trying to use their feet in solving a walkable “no-left turn” maze, before enjoying five different types of pie to eat.

“The students all agreed that it was a ‘Pi’-fect day,” said teacher Judd Kramarcik.

HS Library Media Specialist Seymour Earns National Recognition

HS Library Media Specialist Seymour Earns National Recognition

High school library media specialist Gina Seymour was nominated as a national finalist for the American Association of School Librarians’ Social Media Superstar award. This AASL recognition program highlights school library professionals who enrich the profession and its work on behalf of students by sharing in social media circles.

Seymour, who has served as Islip’s library media specialist for 14 years, was named a library industry “Mover & Shaker” in 2017 by national publication “Library Journal.” She was the 2014 recipient of the Suffolk School Library Media Association’s School Librarian of the Year award. She is the author of “Makers with a Cause: Creative Service Projects for Library Youth.”

Seymour was nominated for the AASL award in the category of Social Justice Defender, which recognizes an individual who effectively uses one or more social media channels to promote social justice for students and the community.

“I am truly honored to be selected by my peers and colleagues whom I hold in high esteem,” said Seymour. “To be noted in the category of Social Justice Defender is rewarding, as I strive to promote social justice among students and the community using social media. We often hear and see the damage social media can inflict, but here is recognition for using social media for positive actions, social justice and for modeling exemplary behavior. I endeavor to be a positive role model for our students and community.”

Wing’s Literacy Night Proves Just the Right ‘Thing’

 Wing’s Literacy Night Proves Just the Right ‘Thing’

Literacy Night at Wing, held on March 13, featured an ample array of reading-themed activities for visiting students and their families, including a book swap, visits by representatives of the Islip Elks Club and Islip Public Library, and a guest appearance by author Allison Siegel, who signed copies of her book “Flowers and Bubbles.” Dressed as the Dr. Seuss characters Thing 1 and Thing 2, Wing reading teachers Janine Falanga and Sue Wildenauer led the excited students in several games of sight word bingo.



Middle Schoolers Discover the Secrets of DNA

Middle Schoolers Discover the Secrets of DNA
Middle Schoolers Discover the Secrets of DNA 2

As part of their affiliation with Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Open Space Stewardship Program, middle schoolers in Islip’s EXCEL program recently tackled DNA barcoding to identify organisms they found last fall with naturalist Brett Curlew in nearby Pardees Pond.

“We went out and did some collecting of invertebrates, plants, and abiotic components to find out what was going on,” said Curlew. “The students had a driving question: They wanted to see if the biodiversity changed from the north side of the pond to the south side, so they collected samples from both ends. Now what they are doing is extracting DNA from those samples to be able to identify the stuff they found.”

“Brett typically works with high school and college-level students,” said EXCEL coordinator Julia Johnson. “This is atypical for such young kids to have the opportunity to do real DNA barcoding.”

HS Scholars Run World Language Immersion Day at Middle School

HS Scholars Help Immerse Middle Schoolers in World Languages

World Language Honor Society members from the high school set up shop next door at the middle school lobby on March 8 for World Language Immersion Day, running 11 different learning centers for eventh-graders to visit. Activities such as Twister, Uno, Pictionary, bingo, paper flower making and “letter soup”, all undertaken solely in the Italian and Spanish languages, provided the middle schoolers with a chance to converse in a second language, learn the language’s vocabulary, engage in interactive activities to use this language in context and instill cultural awareness.

“I think it was a great experience for the seventh-graders,” said senior Dan Canales, who manned the Twister station.  “And for us, it was great to be able to teach them and instill in them the language they have chosen to learn.”

“The purpose of World Language Immersion Day is for our world language scholars to have the opportunity to give back to the program in which they started,” said Megan Schierhorst, one of the high school’s two World Language Honor Society advisers along with Sarah Ito. “It’s also a great opportunity for our seventh-grade middle schoolers to see where they can progress to in language studies in the future.”

Gymnast Kerin Spadaro Earns All-State Status

Gymnast Kerin Spadaro Earns All-State Status
Gymnast Kerin Spadaro Earns All-State Status 2
Gymnast Kerin Spadaro Earns All-State Status 3

High school student-athlete Kerin Spadaro recently competed in the New York State gymnastics championships at Cold Spring Harbor High School, placing second on the bars, with a score of 9.57, and third on the floor, with a score of 9.45. Spadaro’s excellent performances earned her All-State honors.

Community Readers Share Joy of Literacy at Wing

Community Readers Share Joy of Literacy at Wing

As part of its Pick A Reading Partner program, Wing held its annual Community Reader Day on March 13. Visiting readers had the chance to share the joy of literacy with classrooms of eager listeners.

The guest readers included Board of Education Vice President Tom Leggio, Board of Education trustees Paul Austin and Matthew Clareen, Superintendent Ellen Semel, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Christopher Smalley, Town of Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter and Town of Islip Councilwoman Mary Kate Mullen as well as district administrators, principals and teachers.

“Each community reader brought their own enthusiasm with the book they read, and the students loved it,” said Principal Michael Giacchetto. “This experience reminds students of the joy of reading a great book and is an important step towards the creation of lifelong readers.”

Cilmi Scrutinizes Civics at Sherwood

Cilmi Scrutinizes Civics at Sherwood
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Cilmi Scrutinizes Civics at Sherwood 3
As part of a social studies unit on civics and government, third-graders at Sherwood were visited by Suffolk County Legislator Tom Cilmi for a discussion of the process. Cilmi detailed the branches of government for the students as well as the importance of political parties, while student questions included what it’s like to be a legislator and whether Cilmi plans to run for senator.

A ‘Product’-ive Meeting for HS Business Students

 A ‘Product’-ive Meeting for HS Business Students

High school students from the Business Leadership Academy recently participated in a business breakfast, followed by a question-and-answer session with guest speaker Robert Modica, a field representative supervisor from worldwide meat distributor Porky Products Inc. The students learned about career opportunities and the vast amount of jobs needed to run a worldwide organization.

“A good work ethic is the most important attribute that all employees need,” Modica told the students. “Your desire to achieve goals in life, whether personally or professionally, should always be guided by your morals and work ethic.”

Many of the 25 seniors, juniors and sophomores enrolled in the Academy are interested in majoring in business management, finance, accounting or marketing in college; others want to start their own businesses and learn how they are managed. The Academy students meet monthly with Islip business teachers and business professionals to learn about the world of business and opportunities that exist. Students also take field trips to various businesses where they talk to employees and learn about the ins and outs of moving up the corporate ladder.

“Students are intrigued to learn about the different types of careers and businesses that exist,” said Curt Juengerkes, the high school’s assistant principal and coordinator of the careers department and Business Leadership Academy. “The guest speakers are from different industries, with diverse backgrounds and education, and this forum inspires our students to expand their horizons.”  

Hall of Fame Application


Track Pair Earn All-County Status in Weight Throw


High school winter track stars Sofia Sirico and Leo Soto recently achieved All-County and other honors in recognition of their remarkable athletic performances. Sirico earned All-County as well as All-League in the weight throw, while Soto earned All-County and All-Long Island in the weight throw as well as All-League in shot put.

MS EXCEL Team Wins Fifth at Regional Science Olympiad


The EXCEL Science Olympiad team from the middle school competed in the regional competition on March 2 at Candlewood Middle School, placing fifth overall, which qualified them to compete at the state competition in April. They earned medals in the following 11 events:

Anatomy: seventh place; Christine Chen and Brielle Zink  
Boomilever: seventh place; Carly Herrington and Jean Johnson
Circuit Lab: sixth place; Lauren Limmer and Kacey Schassberger
Crime Busters: fourth place; Robert Belcher and Joyce Johnson
Disease Detectives: eighth place; Parker Barry and Eagan Biscari
Dynamic Planet: sixth place; Joyce Johnson and Robert Belcher
Game On: eighth place; Eagan Biscari and Katelyn Wallace
Road Scholar: fourth place; Robert Belcher and Joyce Johnson
Roller Coaster: second place; Parker Barry and Jean Johnson  
Solar System: fifth place; Mia Byrnes and Katelyn Wallace
Water Quality: seventh place; Parker Barry and Ryder Hansen  

“The team has been preparing since September, and all of the late nights and weekend work paid off,” said EXCEL coordinator Julia Johnson. “Islip competed with only 14 students – a full team is 15 – so this is quite an accomplishment.”

Celebrating Darwin Day at Commack Road

Celebrating Darwin Day at Commack Road
Celebrating Darwin Day at Commack Road 2
Celebrating Darwin Day at Commack Road 3
In honor of the great naturalist Charles Darwin’s birthday on Feb. 12, fifth-graders in Judd Kramarcik’s class at Commack Road celebrated their love of science with a nature project.

Working as naturalists, the students “discovered” a new species of bird. Based on the bird’s habitat, the students were asked to think about what adaptations would help the bird to successfully survive in its ecosystem. With their scientific descriptions in hand, the students created a model of their newly discovered species, showing the bird’s adaptations.

Dr. Smalley Talks Writing with EXCEL Sixth-Graders

Dr. Smalley Talks Writing with EXCEL Sixth-Graders

Middle schoolers in Islip’s EXCEL program for the academically gifted were treated to a visit this year from Dr. Christopher Smalley, the district’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, as part of EXCEL’s ongoing “Inventing Self” series of inspirational guest lectures.

Smalley, who previously served as principal at Wing, is the author of the book “The Energy of Friends and Bullies,” illustrated by Alexandria Bouchard and independently published in December 2017. He spoke to the sixth-graders about being a writer.

“I’ve run Scholastic Book fairs and worked as a roofer, carpenter and ski facility manager, and a whole bunch of other things in between,” Smalley said. “With all those experiences, the one thing that’s remained consistent since I’ve been about 9 years old is being a writer.”

“Think about what a writer really is,” Smalley asked the students. “Writers write about an event so people know what happened. Over the majority of the course of history, there was no such thing as a camera. The only way people knew what had happened was either word of mouth over time, or if someone wrote something down.”

He also delved into neuroscience, noting that writing equals thinking, and discussed the differences between writing with a pen and a keyboard.

“I’m very interested in the way the brain works,” Smalley said. “Just the act of holding a pen makes your brain start thinking. When you are creating a thought in your head, the generation of the thought is different if you are typing or writing with a pen, because you can’t write as fast as you can type. What a pen does is two things: It takes longer to write something, and when you use two hands, you use two sides of your brain. When you use one hand, you use one.”

Before sitting down to a read-through of his book, the assistant superintendent told the sixth-graders that books start with ideas, as his own did. Over time, Smalley had noted his own observations, gathered ideas and wrote them down in notebooks, which led to penning “The Energy of Friends and Bullies.”

“I realized that I dealt a lot with bullying – where it comes from, where it starts, why it exists – and I learned a lot about friendship and what it means,” he said.


Wing Students Explore Healthy, Creative Cookery

Wing Students Explore Healthy, Creative Cookery 1
Wing Students Explore Healthy, Creative Cookery 2
Wing Students Explore Healthy, Creative Cookery 3

Students at Wing enjoyed whipping up a peach quinoa cake with beet frosting in February at the new “Healthy Cooking with Ms. Arlene” program, a monthly culinary session with chef Arlene Leggio. It was the first time that all students at Wing had the opportunity to make something together as a school.

“Arlene continues to find ways for children to eat healthy foods through her delicious creations,” said Principal Michael Giacchetto. “The cake was just another way to get our children excited over a healthy dessert. It is always important for students to have opportunities like this to be creative, especially when they are using materials they don’t often interact with like jicama or beet juice.  It was great to see how she was able to bring what she loves to do every day to all the students at Wing.”

Robotics Team Is ‘Inspire’d to Win at FIRST Tech Challenge

Robotics Team Is ‘Inspire’d to Win at FIRST Tech Challenge

The high school’s robotics team, consisting of 14 students from grade 10 through 12, emerged as big winners in the FIRST Tech Challenge qualifier events held in January, earning first place in the Inspire Award. The victory advanced them to compete in the Long Island Championship on March 9.

The Islip squad, guided by team advisers Brian Brachio and Erika Dannenfelser, also earned first place and the first runner-up spot for the Think Award, first runner-up for the Innovate Award, and second runner-up for the Connect Award, Control Award, Design Award and Innovate Award.

Artistic Creativity Recognized at Annual District Art Show

Artistic Creativity Recognized at Annual District Art Show

Welcoming an exceptional array of 66 student-artists from kindergarten through 12th grade, Islip presented its annual District Art Show on Feb. 13 at the high school’s auditorium lobby. The high school chamber orchestra, directed by Zachary Butterfield, provided lovely musical accompaniment for the event.

“Visual artists, unlike performance artists, don’t often get public recognition or applause,” said Vincent Green, Islip’s director of fine and performing arts. “The art show is a wonderful opportunity for the Islip community to recognize the creativity of these young artists. Let this night inspire them and others to continue learning, growing and creating.”


Trio of Islip Wrestlers Named All-County

Trio of Islip Wrestlers Named All-County
Three high school wrestlers earned All-County honors at the Section XI wrestling championships. Sean Peterson won second place at 132 pounds, Jack Spahn earned third at 152 pounds and Francis Whitehouse came in fourth at 126 pounds. Additionally, Jack Atlas, Logan Delisle, Will Martin, Brendan Miller, Zach Miller, Peterson, Ebed Pineda, Spahn and Whitehouse were named All-League, and Delisle, Peterson and Whitehouse recently earned their 100th career wins on the mat.