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Special Board of Education Meeting - Tuesday, July 25

The Board of Education will be holding a brief special meeting for personnel purposes on Tuesday, July 25 beginning at 6:45 p.m. in the Islip Middle School Library.

IMPORTANT My School Bucks Information

Please be advised that the My School Bucks payment system will be off-line for maintenance. Do not make any payments to your child's account until August 23, 2017. Thank you for your cooperation.

Gina Seymour Honored by ‘Library Journal’

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High school library media specialist Gina Seymour was named a “Mover & Shaker” in the library industry by the national publication “Library Journal.” In a recent issue, “Library Journal” chose 52 outstanding professionals committed to providing excellent service and shaping the future of libraries. Seymour was selected because of her commitment to the profession and for her unique inclusive programming. Seymour’s MakerCare initiative, using the school library makerspace to teach teens about social action and civic engagement, has inspired students to make needed items to be donated to community and global agencies.

Seymour, who has served as Islip’s library media specialist for 12 years, was the recipient of the Suffolk School Library Media Association’s 2014 School Librarian of the Year award and is also an adjunct professor at the St. John’s University Department of Library and Information Science. Seymour is currently working on a book, “Makers with a Cause,” scheduled to be published in 2018.

“It was an honor and a humbling experience to be included among this distinguished list of librarians,” said Seymour. “With the rise of library makerspaces across the country , I am pleased to bring attention to our inclusive practices and inspiring service model as components of maker education.”


HS Video Students Take 10th Place in Film Challenge

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A trio of high school video production students – Selia Mercado, Nancy Pramanand and Lauryn Valdez – took 10th place in New York State for their superhero-themed short film “The Masked Monitor,” competing in the prestigious and grueling 10 Day School Film Challenge. The three young filmmakers were also co-awarded Best Use of Music in a Video, and received a certificate for their accomplishments.

The 10 Day Film Challenge, which evolved from the concept behind the 48 Hour Film Project, required participants to write, shoot, edit and score a movie in just 10 school days, as well as preparing a screenplay and movie poster, all while working only during video class. No work was allowed after school, at night, on weekends or at home. The state competition drew 70 film entries submitted by 29 high schools, with the top five films advancing to the national finals. Nationwide, approximately 1,800 films were submitted

“On day one, the groups picked a genre out of a hat,” said teacher Mike Reilly, explaining the process. “That morning, we were also emailed the main character’s name and backstory, line of dialogue, prop and cinematic technique that all needed to be incorporated into our stories.”

“This project was a difficult and grueling one, but enjoyable and challenging at the same time,” said Pramanand. “I want to study film and editing in college, so this type of project was great for my resume as well as challenging my skill sets so far.”

“This was a tremendous success, considering that it was Islip’s first year in the 10 Day School Film Challenge as well as our first full year offering the video production class,” said Reilly. “The course, and this competition in particular, encompass numerous areas of study including reading, writing and technology. We live in the mecca of social media, communication, advertising, and television and film production, so a class in video production was needed, warranted and requested by the students and community. It certainly prepares our interested students for college and career ready status. We are truly proud and excited about our current accomplishments as well as what the future will entail for us and Islip, as several of our video production students want to pursue careers in the video production, advertising and communications fields.”

Board of Education Meeting on Aug. 8

The next regular business meeting of the Islip Board of Education will be on Tuesday, Aug. 8 in the Islip Middle School Library. The meeting will begin at 6:45 p.m. with an Executive Session with the public business meeting expected to start at 7:30 p.m. We hope you are able to join us!

Co-Valedictorians Reconnect with Their Teachers

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For the second consecutive year, the high school held a special reception to reunite Class of 2017 co-valedictorians Brendan Mercado and Kenneth Ortega with all of their former high school, middle school and elementary school teachers. At the June 21 reception, held the day prior to commencement, the educators helped the pair of seniors celebrate their achievement, culminating in a group photo on the high school’s athletic field.

“Success doesn’t come instantly, it is a reward of several years of hard work,” said Principal Michael Mosca, explaining the idea behind the reception. “In that time, these young men have had the tutelage of many wonderful professionals. These teachers and administrators were all major contributors to Brendan’s and Kenny’s success. This event gives our valedictorians the opportunity to reconnect and thank all of them. For our educators, it provides a full perspective of the educational journey that we only get to experience a small piece of. We wanted everyone who helped them on this journey to have the opportunity to be part of their big day.”


Generations Interact as Seniors Walk through Wing

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Continuing a new Islip tradition begun last year by Michael Mosca and Dr. Christopher Smalley, the respective principals of the high school and Wing, the graduating seniors of the Class of 2017 paid a visit to Wing on June 20. Dressed in their purple and white caps and gowns, the future alumni walked through the halls and around the playground, interacting with the younger students and reconnecting with their own educational past. To the delight of the children of Wing, the walkers this year included the high school’s Buccaneers mascot.

“We wanted to give our students the opportunity to visit the place where their educational journey began,” said Mosca. “This experience also gives our kindergarten and first-grade students a glimpse into the future and a goal to strive for.”




Class of 2017 Celebrates Goals Old and New

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As the 235 seniors in the high school’s Class of 2017 walked onto the athletic field on June 22, clad in purple and white, the first phase of their educational journey was about to conclude in a moving and memorable fashion.

“It amazes me how fast these four years have gone, but then again, it is only natural that time passes quickly when attending such a great school like Islip,” said co-valedictorian Kenneth Ortega. “The amazing friends, teachers and faculty have made my years at Islip High School unforgettable.”

He went on to urge his fellow graduates to seek out positive, supportive people.

“Islip has taught me that we need people who are going to push us to do our absolute best,” he said. “At times we will feel lost in the world, but if we surround ourselves with people who truly want to see us succeed, they will be able to help us reach our goals.”

Board of Education trustee Mary Ann Coughlin, whose son Quinn Coughlin was among the graduates, told them, “Success itself is universal, the journey is what is different.”

Senior Nicole Poliandro, who had kicked off the commencement with “The Star-Spangled Banner,” sang a soaring, sparkling rendition of Darren Criss’ “This Time.”

Principal Michael Mosca spoke of the value of perseverance, the perils of instant gratification and the long, hard road to true success in the real world.

“If this class were an Olympic team, we might not always win gold, but our work ethic, ability to take risks and compassion for each other would always make us successful,” he said. “I’ve found that each and every one of you has something to contribute to our team. Your successes and the ways you’ve overcome setbacks convince me that each of you has something to teach and a story worth telling.”

The penultimate speech – and most unconventional – was from co-valedictorian Brendan Mercado.

“I want to speak to everyone today in a language that I’ve understood longer and loved more than any other, and that’s music,” he said. “There’s a lot of good songs out there, but how many times have you stopped and thought about what their message really was? I searched through all my favorite songs and picked the ones that I felt had some wisdom to share with you.”

Mercado then strapped on a guitar, to the delight of the crowd, and performed excerpts from eight popular songs: Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” The Beatles’ “Yesterday,” Smash Mouth’s “All Star,” “Drake and Josh” theme song “I Found a Way,” Alphaville’s “Forever Young” and Green Day’s “Time of Your Life.”

Finally, Superintendent Susan Schnebel spoke from the heart, urging the young men and women to be unique to be successful.
She told them, “This is certainly a time in your life when you have reached a goal set for yourself years before. It’s an excellent point at which to begin fashioning new goals for the future.”

Diplomas were conferred, caps were tossed into the sky, and the high school’s wind ensemble and concert band began to play the recessional “Fairest of the Fair.” By the time the new alumni strode off the stadium track and on to celebrations with family and friends, the sun was starting to set, and a new era for all began.




A Day of Red, White and Blue at Commack Road

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Urged on by the patriotic tones of the CRES TrebleMakers vocal ensemble, performing the national anthem and “America the Beautiful,” Commack Road celebrated Flag Day with a sea of red, white and blue.  Special guests included Suffolk County Legislator Tom Cilmi, Islip Town Councilman Steve Flotteron and Roby Johnson, the commander of American Legion Rusy Bohm Post 411.

Principal Brian McCarthy presented student contest awards – one for each grade – to third-grader Amanda Owen, fourth-grader Amy Marconi and fifth-grader Carly Herrington, as well as an academic award to Ryan Kelly and a music award to Rebecca Leo.



Islip Earns 10 Nominations at Teeny Awards

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Islip was nominated for 10 Teeny Awards for this year’s musical productions of “Into the Woods” and “The Wiz”, and the school was chosen to create a featured performance for this year’s Teeny Award ceremony, held on June 4 at the CM Performing Arts Center in Oakdale. “The Wiz” cast was one of only four districts to be nominated for a Teeny for Best Ensemble in a Musical.

The Teeny Awards is a student arts recognition program of the Islip Arts Council, intended to celebrate the talented theater students of the Town of Islip.

Matthew Kadam won the Teeny for Best Supporting Male in a Musical, and Faith Terrill won for Outstanding Female Cameo in a Musical; both were for “Into the Woods.”

Other individual Islip students who were nominated for Teeny Awards for their performances were Kristen Baumgartner (Outstanding Female Cameo in a Musical in “The Wiz”), Maria Cacoperdo (Best Supporting Female in a Musical in “Into the Woods”), John DelGenio (Best Lead Male in a Musical in “The Wiz”), Ashley Howell (Student Choreographer for “The Wiz”), Morgiana McDevitt (Best Supporting Female in a Musical in “Into the Woods”), Matthew McManus (Outstanding Male Cameo in a Musical in “Into the Woods”), Nicole Poliandro (Best Lead Female in a Musical in “The Wiz”), and Emma Regina (Best Lead Female in a Musical in “Into the Woods”).


Suffolk Health Warning re: Bats

From the Suffolk County Department of Health Services:

"Suffolk Health Officials Warn Residents to Take Precautionary Measures Following Report of Rabid Bats in Town of Islip"

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services was notified today by the New York State Department of Health that three bats collected on June 12 and June 15 in the Town of Islip have tested positive for the rabies virus. The bats were collected in Sayville, Islip Terrace and Islip.

"We estimate that in any given year, three to six percent of the local bat population typically test positive for rabies; given that we have had three test positive in close proximity within days is reason for enhanced caution," said Dr. James Tomarken, Commissioner of Health Services.

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system. It is most often seen among wild animals such as raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes, but any mammal can be infected with rabies. Pets and livestock can get rabies if they are not vaccinated to protect them against infection.

New York State and Suffolk County laws require that all dogs, cats and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies. Vaccinating pets not only provides protection for the animals but also acts as a barrier to keep the rabies virus from spreading between wild animals and people.

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services recommends the following precautions to protect pets and your family from possible exposure to rabies:
* Do not feed, touch or approach wild animals, or stray dogs or cats.
* Be sure your pet dogs, cats and ferrets as well as horses and other livestock animals are up to date on their rabies vaccinations. Pets too young to be vaccinated should be kept indoors and allowed outside only under direct observation.
* Keep family pets indoors at night. Do not leave them outside unattended or let them roam free.
* Do not attract wild animals to your home or yard. Keep your property free of stored bird seed or foods that may attract wild animals. Feed pets indoors. Tightly cover or put away garbage cans. Board up any openings to your attic, basement, porch or garage. Cap your chimney with screens.
* Do not transport or relocate any wild animals.
* Teach children not to touch any animal they do not know and to tell an adult immediately if they are bitten by any animal.


To keep bats from getting into buildings:
* Do not leave unscreened doors open to the outside.
* Do not leave unscreened windows open to the outside.
* Make sure windows have screens, chimneys are capped, and electrical and plumbing openings are plugged.
* Seal up all openings larger than 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch square into the attic, basement, walls, or occupied areas of the house.
* Use materials such as expanding spray-on foam, caulk, wire mesh, wood that fits tightly, steel wool (around pipes that enter buildings), or polypropylene bird netting, to seal or cover gaps and holes.

If a bat is found in your home, avoid contact with it, attempt to contain the animal and contact the Department of Health Services immediately. If possible, try to contain the animal so that it can be tested.

All animal bites or contact with wild animals should be reported by calling 631-853-0333 weekdays, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
After hours, animal bites or contact with wild animals should be reported by calling 631-852-4820.

For more information on rabies, visit the New York State Department of Health website at http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/rabies/rabies.htm the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies/

HS Students Meet Local Businesses at Job Fair

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The School to Careers Partnership at the high school and the Suffolk County Department of Labor Career One-Stop recently hosted a teen job fair during lunch periods at the school. Eleven local organizations – American Pools, Best Buy, Long Island Ducks, Local Burger Co., Great South Bay YMCA, Marconi Manor, SCOPE, Suffolk County Department of Labor, Town of Islip Recreation, Tropical Smoothie Cafe and Youth Enrichment Services – participated, handing out applications and conducting on-site interviews. Kathleen McGullam, a labor technician at SCDOL, helped organize the event.

“Our goal was to expose students to local businesses that are hiring teens and to give the students the opportunity to meet the businesses, fill out applications and be interviewed,” said teacher Renee Clock.



A ‘Mysterious’ Source of Inspiration for EXCEL

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Fourth-graders in the EXCEL program used Chris Van Allsburg’s unusual 1984 picture book “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick” as inspiration to write their own mysteries to accompany an illustration from the book.

Islip Honors Five Special Olympians

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Prior to the 2017 Special Olympics Spring Games of the South Shore, the district held a pep rally to honor its participating athletes: Morgan Barry, Conor Brennan, Daniel Burns, Claire Constantino and Donovan Zecchini. All five had trained hard for two months prior, working with coaches Dave Claps and Patty Whitehouse as well as several student mentors.

More than 100 people packed the middle school auditorium for the rally to honor the athletes. The high school and middle school bands played onstage while youth cheerleaders performed, led by high school student Marissa Esposito, and Islip Booster Club President Terry Going presented each athlete with a certificate of participation. Following the celebration, the attendees moved to the cafeteria for carnival games provided by the high school’s National Honor Society, a photo booth and banner decorating by the middle school’s National Junior Honor Society, frame making by SEPTA, pennant decorating by local Girl Scouts troops, and refreshments served by Islip teachers.

A bus departed early in the morning of May 7 carrying 40 Islip student volunteers, led by Kerri Schmalaker, to cheer on Islip’s Special Olympians as they competed for medals at the big event, held at Bellport High School. 

“As our athletes walked in the opening ceremony parade with their nine mentors, you could hear the roar from the Islip cheering section, all dressed in purple and waving rally towels,” said Superintendent Susan Schnebel. “The smiles on the faces of our athletes were priceless.”

Throughout the day, the Islip five competed in several track and field events, including the 50-meter, 100-meter, 800-meter, shot put and 4x100 relay, with their coaches and student mentors at their sides, then stood on the podium with a sense of pride and accomplishment to receive their medals. 

“The entire Islip community rallied together to make this special event happen, but the real heroes were all the athletes who competed in the Special Olympics,” Schnebel said.


Tennis Star Germano Signs with DeSales University

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High school tennis player Cameron Germano recently signed a National Letter of Intent to play this fall for DeSales University in Center Valley, Pennsylvania.

Germano was a five-year member and starter on the varsity tennis team. His athletic accolades include three All-League, two All-Division, two All-County and 10 Scholar-Athlete nods. The senior is graduating this month in the top 5 percent of his class, and was also awarded the John Veryzer Memorial Scholarship for exemplifying the ideals of good sportsmanship, citizenship and integrity within the realm of athletics.


Wing Students Dash like Heroes for a Cause

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For the month of May, Wing teamed up with the Children’s Tumor Foundation to bring awareness to neurofibromatosis, often abbreviated as NF. One of the school’s first-graders has this condition. To end this very special month, Wing students and staff participated in a “Hero Dash” on May 31, joined by Suffolk County Legislator Tom Cilmi. Students wore NF-themed “Brave” capes as they walked and ran for the cause, raising $1,680 dollars for the Tumor Foundation.




Islip Senior DaSilva Wins Hofstra Political Essay Contest

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High school senior Alex DaSilva, along with his AP government classmates and teacher Craig Brown, attended Hofstra University’s seventh annual High School Student Symposium and Essay Contest in March, and DaSilva won the ensuing essay contest.

The symposium, co-sponsored by the School of Education and the Peter S. Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency, featured speakers Howard Dean, former Vermont governor and presidential candidate, and Edward J. Rollins, former campaign director for Pres. Ronald Reagan. The event provides high school students and teachers with a view of presidential leadership from the perspective of two seasoned political analysts, and invites the conversations about relevant topics.

In recognition of his winning essay, DaSilva was given an award and was invited, accompanied by Brown, to attend a discussion at Hofstra featuring Dean and Rollins, titled “What Do the First 100 Days Teach About the Trump Presidency?” DaSilva was given the opportunity to meet and speak with both Dean and Rollins.


KIC Club Builds ‘Insect Hotel’ on Pond Day

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On a summery Friday in late May, student members of the high school’s Keep Islip Clean Club celebrated their 11th annual Pond Day event with a number of important environmental projects that benefited the community.

This year, students built an “insect hotel”” out of stacked wooden pallets and recyclable materials.  According to the club’s adviser, Wayne Mennecke, such insect hotels provide places for beneficial insects and pollinators to hide in a garden. Most insect hotels consist of several different sections that offer shelter or refuge for many types of insects, providing them with nesting facilities, particularly during winter. After the completion of the hotel, KIC students released 200 ladybugs into the courtyard.

Students also repaired a swale drainage system leading into Pardees Pond next to the campus tennis courts. Swales filter rainwater from the parking lot before it runs off into the pond. Toxins, pollutants and oil from cars will be removed from the water as it trickles back into the lake and drains to the Great South Bay. 

Additionally, students reinstalled 10 duck nesting boxes in the lake and beautified the gardens in the courtyard area, assisted by district parents Ivy Englehardt and Ken Phalen. A Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant helped pay for many of the building supplies.

The KIC Club is affiliated with the Town of Islip’s Keep Islip Clean program. Each year, high schools across the township elect junior commissioners who are sworn in during an official ceremony. These students represent their community by sharing projects with other students from across Islip during monthly meetings. Through this leadership program, students serve their community and act as positive role models for others. For the 2016-2017 school year, Islip High School has five junior commissioners who serve as KIC Club officers, often guiding other students in the club and assisting Mennecke.




A Terrific 22 in the Top 10 Percent

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The high school recently honored 22 academically outstanding students who placed in the school’s top 10 percent, including co-valedictorians Brendan Mercado and Kenneth Ortega as well as Rachel Barbato, Zoe Camhi, Kelly Conway, Alex DaSilva, Carly Donnan, Cameron Germano, Hunter Giordano, Holly Iafrate, Matthew Kadam, Chris Lopez, Marina Magoulas, Emma Mecozzi, Plabon Paul, Vikash Persaud, Mimita Rahman, Erin Renwick, Kyle Sapia, Samantha Seeger, Lyndsey Sparks and Robert Vonderahe.

“We are very proud of these fantastic students,” said Principal Michael Mosca. “They are our best and brightest.   Their drive and determination to succeed at the highest level has been an inspiration to their peers.  We are confident that these young men and women will succeed at whatever their future holds.”

Crime-Solving Chromatography with EXCEL

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As part of a recent unit of study on mysteries, “crime”-solving fourth-graders in the EXCEL program used chromatography skills to determine who wrote a forged note.   

Cameron Takes Over as Principal at Commack Road

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Commack Road has a new principal, James Cameron, who will take over on July 1 from Acting Principal Brian McCarthy.

Since February 2014, Cameron has served with distinction as the assistant principal of Islip Middle School. Prior to joining Islip, Cameron taught seventh and eighth grades at the Walter Ward School in Queens for seven years, and also served as a staff developer and professional development organizer for that school. He began his teaching career in 2003 in the Brentwood School District, working as a permanent substitute and teaching assistant at the Frank J. Cannon Southeast Elementary and East Kindergarten Center.

A resident of East Northport, Cameron earned his bachelor’s degree in childhood education at Five Towns College, his master’s degree in education at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, and his advanced certificates in educational leadership from Queens College.

“I am thrilled and excited to be selected as the leader of Commack Road Elementary,” said Cameron. “As principal, I welcome the opportunity to collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure that all children flourish and succeed at CRES and in life.”


Commack Road Says Goodbye, Mr. McCarthy

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Brian McCarthy, the acting principal of Commack Road, will exit the building for the final time on June 30, making way for newly appointed Principal James Cameron.

Commack Road has thrived under McCarthy’s leadership, and the staff successfully completed the implementation of a number of initiatives during his tenure, including the full integration of an outstanding fifth-grade departmentalization program; the creation of a STEAM room dedicated to science, technology, engineering, the arts and math; the implementation of CRES TV in the cafeteria and lobby; an enhancement of cultural awareness through Diversity Night; and the reconfiguration of the grade level and constellation of the building, making it safer and maximizing instruction time.

McCarthy is thrilled to pass the leadership of Commack Road on to Cameron, but is filled with both joy and sadness about leaving Islip.

“The sadness I experience is the loss of my daily interactions with your greatest treasure, your beloved children,” he said.

He praised the faculty and staff at the school and districtwide.

“I can now say unequivocally that they are the finest and most caring group I have encountered through my 43 years in education,” he said.

Islip’s Family and Consumer Science Program Earns Recognition

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 Students at the high school and middle school recently participated in the 2017 Long Island Family and Consumer Sciences Challenge, in which they competed to create innovative and user-friendly projects that take new approaches to real-life challenges.
 
Each challenge required students to complete an application and follow the LIFACS four-point scale rubric. Guided by FACS teachers Natalie Hamilton and Heidi Stevens, the Islip students developed their projects to submit to the LIFACS competition.
 
Three Islip students took home first-place awards in three different categories for both middle school and high school divisions. Sixth-graders Kyle Widecki and Emily Wirth were named grand prize winners in the “Let Them Eat Cake” and “It’s Not Easy Being Green” challenges. Junior Nancy Pramanand was the grand prize “Snack Attack” winner. Each winning student received a $100 cash prize and certificate.
 
Additionally, Hamilton was awarded the Promising New Professional Award for Suffolk County, recognizing her excellence in the classroom and her profession.
 
Islip’s winners were subsequently honored at the LIFACS Spring Professional Development Conference, held on April 28 at Fox Hollow in Woodbury.

NYSDOH Health Advisory

Please see the attached Measles Exposure Health Advisory from the New York Department of Health. While the potential exposures occurred in upstate New York, we wanted our community to be aware in case you or anyone you know may have traveled in the area recently.

Attachments:

Six Students from Islip Earn Achievement Awards

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Six outstanding high school students – Jeffrey Atlas, Samantha Guerra, Plabon Paul, Kyle Renwick, Tiffani Sabolchick and Angela Santaniello – were recently honored with Town of Islip Student Achievement Awards.

Teachers and administrators nominate students for this annual award in a number of categories, and write letters of recommendation for them. Atlas was nominated by Jason Franz in the athletics category, Guerra by Gina Seymour for service to people in need, Paul by Nicole Hall and Assistant Principal Lisa Ward for technology, Renwick by Lorraine Knoblauch for fine arts, Sabolchick by Robert Russell for social studies and Santaniello by Pina Prainito for secondary language (Italian).

The students received certificates at Islip Town Hall. Additionally, the Islip Retired Teachers Association awarded $25 to each winner, and the IRTA’s Diana Baranec and Marilyn Gutierrez visited the school to present the students with their checks.

Class of 2017 Co-Valedictorians

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Islip’s Wayne Mennecke Honored as a Teacher of Excellence

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High school science teacher Wayne Mennecke was honored at the second annual Teacher of Excellence Awards ceremony, hosted by State Sen. Phil Boyle at the Bay Shore Fire Department on May 4. 

“We celebrated the achievements of 16 outstanding educators and school professionals who have dedicated their lives to teaching and helping their students learn, thrive, and reach their fullest potential,” said Boyle. “Our school communities are so very fortunate to have such passionate educators.”

In addition to inspiring his students in science classes at Islip High School, Mennecke is an ardent environmentalist, published poet and active member of the Islip community.

“Mr. Mennecke is held in high regard by his students, peers, administration and the community,” said Superintendent Susan Schnebel. “The work that he does, both in the classroom and in the community, exemplifies his commitment to the students and the environment. He is truly deserving of this recognition.”

As an educator, Mennecke has been at the forefront of utilizing technology in the classroom, and was one of the first teachers in the district to begin using an interactive white board for his lessons.  Over the course of a 20-year career, he has taught Regents living environment and chemistry, marine biology, AP biology, and anatomy and physiology. He has been the adviser of the high school’s Keep Islip Clean environmental club for many years, overseeing a large group of KIC junior commissioners each year and encouraging students to undertake environmental activism at the local level through community cleanups and beautification events. 

Mennecke spends every other summer in the badlands of North Dakota and Montana, hunting for dinosaur fossils with the Marmarth Research Foundation, a group of paleontologists that works closely with teachers and students in their educational field program. Mennecke is a published poet, and his work has appeared in “Hanging Loose,” “Avocet,” “Long Island Quarterly” and the environmental anthology “Fracture:  Essays, Poems and Stories on Fracking in America.” His first book of poetry, “Pencils Down,” was published in January 2017.

“It is an honor to receive this award from Sen. Boyle,” said Mennecke. “I am fortunate to work with so many amazing, dedicated teachers and faculty members at Islip High School. It is a pleasure to come to Islip every day, where I not only teach biology to my students but learn from them as well. Through KIC Club and community organizations like Seatuck, students become global citizens while acting locally on behalf of the environment. I thank everyone, especially my awesome wife Suzanne and my daughter Katerina.”