skip to main content
Committed to Excellence

Six from High School Earn Seal of Biliteracy

Six from High School Earn Seal of Biliteracy
Six from High School Earn Seal of Biliteracy 2

The high school recognized six students on June 18 for earning the Islip School District Seal of Biliteracy. This was the second year that Islip has bestowed this prestigious honor, offered by the New York State Education Department, which recognizes high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading,and writing in one or more languages, in addition to English.

The honored students were Christian Guerrero (project on El Salvador), Nicole Huaylinos (project on Peru), Harold Martinez (project on Argentina), Bianka Morales (project on Guatemala), Isabella Pollina (project on Cuba) and Leonardo Soto (project on Colombia).

The Seal of Biliteracy affirms the value of diversity in a multilingual society, recognizes the value of world and home language instruction in schools, encourages the study of languages, identifies high school graduates with language and biliteracy skills for employers, provides universities with additional information about applicants seeking admission and prepares students with 21st century skills.

“Our district has been recognizing students for their bilingualism, biliteracy and cross-cultural competence with the Seal of Biliteracy since its inception in 2018,” said Priscilla Zarate, the district’s ENL and world language coordinator. “The first year, only one student from the high school received this award. This year, we were excited to recognize six students. Next year, we are expecting 15 students to work on earning the Seal of Biliteracy. My thanks to ELA coordinator Barbara Wagner for supporting the ELA pathway for these students, and to world language teacher Karen Maisano, for guiding the students in their project development to meet the world language criteria.”

Softball Star Hodulick Named Suffolk Player of the Year

Softball Star Hodulick Named Suffolk Player of the Year
Islip High School softball star Keren Hodulick was recently named Newsday’s Suffolk Player of the Year. The rising senior hit .600 this past spring, notching nine home runs, 22 extra-base hits and 41 RBIs, while leading Islip to the county championship game.

High School’s Hennessey Earns LIASEA Student of the Year Award

High School’s Hennessey Earns LIASEA Student of the Year Award
High School’s Hennessey Earns LIASEA Student of the Year Award 2
High School’s Hennessey Earns LIASEA Student of the Year Award 3
The high school’s Erin Hennessey was recently honored with the Long Island Association of Special Education Administrators Student of the Year Award. She was sponsored by the Life's WORC Family Center for Autism, and was recognized at LIASEA’s annual scholarship awards luncheon, held on June 7 at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury.

Class of 2019's Seniors Proudly Graduate

Class of 2019' Seniors Proudly Graduate
Class of 2019' Seniors Proudly Graduate 2
Class of 2019' Seniors Proudly Graduate 3

With sun in the sky above and pride in their hearts, the high school’s Class of 2019 walked together into the athletic field on June 26 for a remarkable and exciting commencement marking their last moments together as seniors before the next phase of their life begins.

Senior and All-State vocalist Deja Boucher Weiss not only sang the national anthem but performed a special rendition of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” while the school’s wind ensemble and concert band, directed by Steven Campanella, provided the processional and recessional music.

“Today we collectively share the excitement of our graduating seniors, the tremendous pride of their families and friends, and the deep satisfaction of the entire school district staff,” said Board of Education trustee Paul Austin, whose daughter Taylor was among the graduates.

Austin took the students down memory lane, remembering numerous good times and accomplishments, from field trips to concerts. Said Austin, “I challenge you to take the best of what you have learned from each and every experience with you into the real world and make the most of it.”

“Tonight, the tenor of my words will those of fond memories and gratitude at the honor of being part of your journey,” said Michael Mosca in his final address as outgoing principal. After thanking his colleagues and the community, he turned to the seniors.

“You make my job the greatest job on the planet,” Mosca told them. “Thank you for the lessons that you have taught me. Graduates, when you leave our campus today, set out to do good. Be good to others, and most of all, be good to yourselves, and you will never walk alone.”

Superintendent Ellen Semel told stories demonstrating the power of kindness and forgiveness, and thanked Mosca for his dedication to the students of Islip, before offering words of wisdom.

“Graduates, you have one precious and remarkable life,” Dr. Semel said. “Don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, as they somehow already know what you truly want to become. My fondest wish for all of you is that you each discover some magic in this world, what you are passionate about that makes you want to get up in the morning. I hope you find that and harness it into your career, because then, if you are truly lucky as I am, you will never work a day in your life. Your work will be the best part of your day.”

In a message of optimistic change, salutatorian Matthew Southard noted both the presence of looming global problems as well as the power of community.

“It is time to mobilize our education,” Southard said. “It is time to charge ahead in regard to progress, and it is time to utilize the lessons of our past to empower change in the future. Run for office, start your own company, lobby for a cause. Now is the time for change.”

Valedictorian Victoria Arthus began by recalling Commack Road’s Flag Day ceremony seven years ago, when she first decided that being valedictorian one day was her goal.

“This right here, this was my dream, the first of many,” Arthus said. “All of you sitting in this graduating class have your own dreams. I believe it is the paths you take and the sacrifices you make in pursuit of that moment, that dream, which define and make that goal worthwhile. Yes, people may remember the title you one day earn, but even more so, they will remember how you earned it. Class of 2019, it is time to make our dreams a reality.”

Diplomas were then conferred, tassels turned, and purple and white caps filled the air before the evening came to a celebratory close.


Val and Sal Reconnect with Former Teachers

 Val and Sal Reconnect with Former Teachers
 Val and Sal Reconnect with Former Teachers 2
 Val and Sal Reconnect with Former Teachers 3
For the fourth consecutive year, the high school hosted a special reception on June 25 for the valedictorian and salutatorian, providing a chance for both students – Class of 2019 valedictorian Victoria Arthus and salutatorian Matthew Southard – to reconnect with all of their former high school, middle school and elementary school teachers.

“We are here to congratulate these seniors, our valedictorian and salutatorian,” said Superintendent Ellen Semel to the assembled educators. “But so many of you have had a hand in helping shape their lives, and I want to thank you all for this. We so seldom realize the power we have as educators, and this is one of those times you get to see it in living color.”

Turning to the two seniors, Semel told them, “I congratulate you for your leadership, your perseverance, your excellence in academia. You’ve been an inspiration not just to the other students, but to all of us here for what you’ve accomplished. I know that you’re going to be doing wonderful and great things. Please remember where you come from. Please visit and share what you’ve learned with all of us. We do want to follow your careers as you move forward and have the pleasure of knowing that we had a hand in that.”