Michael Szczesniak and Nicole Piccolomini planted the seeds for their operatic futures at Hicksville High School, and now they’ve gained international acclaim.
The Hicksville graduates recently performed at the Caramoor Festival in Katonah, NY, a major accomplishment in opera.
While attending Hicksville High School, Szczesniak, who changed his name to Michele Angelini to honor his Italian heritage, and Piccolomini spent many hours in the high school chorus room sight-reading opera arias, art songs and theatre numbers with the late Dan Kristoff. Both students were featured soloists several times with the symphonic orchestra, string ensemble, concert choir and madrigal singers.
This year’s Hicksville High School Class of 2014 valedictorian is Ashna Joseph, coming out at the top of her class with a GPA of 102.82.
“I was really shocked when I first heard. I thought I’d be somewhere in the top 10 but I didn’t know I’d be valedictorian,” says Joseph. “Everyone in my class is really smart and they help each other. I didn’t
see it coming but it was a great honor to get this title.”
We’ve all heard the saying about birds of a feather. And for Hicksville High School Class of 2014 salutatorian Alessandra Riccio the flock she was with pushed her to work harder and achieve more.
“People around me strived to do better in school and activities, and that pushed me to do better to keep up with them. I saw everyone else around me was doing it, so I was motivated,” says Riccio. “And
even working together in class or on a project and seeing different ideas, it makes you a better thinker and opens your mind to how you can approach situations—both in and out of school.”
She counts the top students in her class as some of her closest friends, and says being named the number two spot with a GPA of 102.82 is a great honor.
On June 25, elementary school teachers in Hicksville will say goodbye to their students for the last time. But for Mary Pisanti, it’ll be the last time she ever says goodbye to a class. Pisanti, a second grade teacher at Woodland School, retires this year after teaching for the past 36 years.
“I’ve had a ball. There are so many things I’m going to miss," says Pisanti.
The Hicksville Public School District continued the tradition of hosting local senior citizens for a special luncheon this year with a sit down reception held in the high school. The gathering featured a full meal with live entertainment that spotlighted student talent. The back of the room featured an art gallery displaying student work.
“It is indeed our pleasure to have you here to acknowledge your contributions to our community,” said Superintendent of Schools Maureen Bright as she thanked the 150 attendees for their ongoing support. “Hopefully you will see the contributions you made helping us maintain our tradition of providing a quality education for our students.”
The Hicksville Congress of Teachers recently hosted its third annual “Ice Cream Social” for the district’s students. Each student in the Hicksville School District was given a flyer by their classroom teacher which entitled them to a free ice cream cone from Friendly’s. The HCT wanted to congratulate their elementary, middle, and high school students for working so hard this year in preparing for their tests. Seventy-one teachers volunteered their time after school to attend the social, greet the students, meet the parents, roll up their sleeves, put on an apron and get to work behind the counter, scooping out the yummy treats. Each year more and more students look forward to joining in for this special end-of-year event, and this year teachers scooped out an unprecedented 890 cones from 3 to 5 p.m.
Students at Hicksville High School have been busy creating artwork throughout the entire school year. They were finally able to show off the hard work they put into their art projects at the school’s annual art show held on Monday, May 19.
The art show displayed at least 1,000 pieces of art, and a minimum of 150 pieces from sculpture and ceramics alone.
Sculpture and Ceramics teacher Angela Galante says that the school likes to foster the arts and help students develop their talents.
On May 20, Hicksville residents will take to the polls to vote for the school budget and for a new trustee to represent them on the Board of Education. Three seats are up for re-election. Incumbents Kevin J. Carroll and Steven Culhane are running unopposed and trustee Dolores Garger is not running again when her term expires July 1. Running for Garger’s open seat are David Jao and Michael Beneventano.
Jao has lived in Hicksville for more than 20 years. He has four kids; three who have graduated from the district and another who is a sophomore at the high school. This is his second time running for school board and says he now has more time to dedicate to the community.
The Hicksville Board of Education presented its budget for the upcoming school year at a board meeting on May 7.
“The board looks at all the pieces together in order to figure out what is important in regards to the budget,” said Maureen Bright, Superintendent of Schools.
The total budget for the 2014-15 district budget is $127.9 million. Of that, $2.5 million is from the fund balance and an additional $3.07 million has been taken from the district’s reserves to fill the budget gap. The 2014-15 budget is an increase of 2.7% from 2013-14’s budget of $124.5 million. The tax levy increase is .09%. The budget for the year will result in a $4 increase per home from last year, a total of $4,859 for the year.
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