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Superintendent’s Column

In Recognition of Excellence

While there are many opportunities for our seniors to be recognized, there are still some seniors deserving of special recognition who do not get highlighted during other events. Thus the origin of the district’s In Recognition of Excellence evening, several years ago.  


On June 12, Wheatley Room 450 was transformed into a beautifully decorated café.  Ten students were recognized, as well as the three teachers each student picked that they remembered as particularly influential to their school careers, one from North Side, one from Willets and one from Wheatley.  Two buffet dinner courses were served and speeches and recognitions framed the warm dinner conversation at round tables at which district and board leaders, school staff, students and parents had the opportunity to talk together. 


The sequence of the recognitions had Dr. Feeney first introduce the seniors being recognized. The seniors then spoke, in turn, about each of their three teachers selected and then each of those teachers came up separately to receive a token of recognition themselves. 

Dr. Feeney’s remarks about each of the students painted an insightful portrait of the important contributions each of these students has made to the Wheatley community.  Each student spoke beautifully and with such presence about the teachers who made a very special difference in their lives. While the students highlighted three particular teachers, each student made a special mention and thank you to all their teachers they had in their East Williston school career and the indelible, positive influence our staff has had in shaping who they have become today.


Below are the students recognized and the teachers they chose to celebrate:


Senior Samantha Albert: Pamela Goldstein, retired, North Side; Joseph Coladonato, Willets Road and Jim Abdale, Wheatley.


Senior Jonathan Fisher: Judith Syvertsen, retired, North Side: Collette Hardy, Willets Road and Tim Schwalm, Wheatley.


Senior Allison Giller: Pamela Goldstein, retired, North Side; Linda Linick, Willets Road and Brian McConaghy, Wheatley. 


Senior Robert Halpern: Wanda Francis, North Side: Joseph Coladonato, Willets Road and Brian McConaghy, Wheatley. 


Senior Daniel Jorge: Pamela Goldstein, retired, North Side; Scott Hoefling, Willets Road and Lauren DiGennaro, Wheatley.


Senior Rebecca Molinsky: Sharon Forest, retired, North Side; Paul Goldblatt, retired, Willets Road; Jon Dinowitz, Wheatley and Traci Maier, Wheatley. 


Senior Allison Perry: Scott Hoefling, Willets Road; Kevin Meyers, Wheatley and Adam Plana, Wheatley. 


Senior Kevin Polinsky: Susan Soliman, North Side; Kristin Griswold, Willets Road and Paul Chisholm, Wheatley.


Senior Matthew Rothstein: Robert Owen, Jr.. North Side; Sloane Sepe, Willets Road and Kevin Meyers, Wheatley.


Senior Kristina Tarnok: Christopher Campbell, North Side; Leonard Fischer, retired, Willets Road and Tim Schwalm, Wheatley.


What Is The Senior English Project? 

At the June 5 work session, Wheatley senior Andrew McCluskey presented his senior project on the theater and directing.  It was representative of the many wonderful Senior Projects that were showcased in Wheatley’s lobby, all day and in the evening before the board meeting. The Senior English Project is Wheatley’s version of an increasingly popular approach to senior year.  Senior Projects, which go by a variety of names, create a bridge for students from high school to college/and or work so that they may begin to transition to their new, more adult lives with increased ease. The Senior English Project helps students develop greater levels of independence and responsibility and provides students with an opportunity to explore areas of personal interest that may become vocations or avocations in the future.  The projects involve a research paper and an experience, which can include an internship with a working professional, a community service project with a professional advisor, independent creative projects with professional advisors and other explorations.   Each student teaches an entire period of one English class, describing what they learned from his or her Experience. Congratulations to our seniors and to their teachers, Andrea Kaufman and Natalia McMillan for all their hard work and success.


Service Learning

As our students learn, they also share the skills they have developed and the knowledge they have gained. On Wednesday, June 12, North Side’s Chamber Orchestra took a trip to Parker Institute at L.I.J. with their director, Rachel May as well as with music teacher Ed Lattari. This trip has been an annual event for the past 20 years.  The 39 string students performed their pieces from their spring concert for nursing home residents.  In addition, under the direction of Ed Lattari, the students also sang the songs previously learned for their Winter Concert.  After performing, the students greeted and talked to the residents who expressed much appreciation for the lovely morning of music. 


Science Congress Awards Ceremony

The awards ceremony for the 2013 Long Island Science Congress took place Thursday night, June 6 in the Wheatley auditorium.  Students, parents and teachers from various school districts throughout Long Island were in attendance.  Several of our students received top awards for their projects:  Sophomore Courtney Schwartz:  High Honors; Sophomore Rohan Gulati:  Highest Honors, Senior Division Directors Award, L.I. Science Education Leadership Association Award and Dr. P. Ford Award; Sophomore Kuan Yu:  Highest Honors, Anna Weizenecker Memorial Award, Third Place (Biology), Science Teachers Association of NY State – Nassau Division Award; Junior Allison Chowdhury:  High Honors, Edith Stillwaggon Memorial Award in Chemistry, Science Teachers Association of NY State – Nassau Division Special Award, Second Place (Chemistry); and Senior Rebecca Molinsky:  Highest Honors, Dr. P. Ford Award, LISELA Alphonse J. Campbell Memorial Award. 


In addition, Rohan, Kuan, Allison and Rebecca qualified to compete in the State Science Congress Science Fair, which took place on Saturday, June 8 at Brookhaven National Laboratory.  They were four of just 32 projects selected to present at the State Congress.  Some of the students traveled from as far away as Buffalo to present their work.  Kuan Yu received High Honors (Second Place) in the Life Sciences category. 


More Student Recognitions 

As I noted in a previous column, in addition to the many recognitions that our students receive for school and district related events, several of our students have received recognitions for participation in activities and events not directly related to our school district.  A few weeks ago, I asked parents and students to share some of these events with me so I could share with you and acknowledge these students for their accomplishments. I have received information about the following students. Congratulations to:  


Matt Rothstein who was selected for the USA baseballteam to compete in the 19th Maccabi Games in Israel this summer. Matt is one of only 16 boys to be selected from around the country.


Sarah Goldman who was the New York State Level champion for gymnastics on the vault for 15 year olds. She competed in Rochester, New York in April 2013 and came in 8th overall in the state with an overall score of  34.275.


Lianna Goldman who competed in the Gymnastics New York State Championship Meet Level 6 in Buffalo, New York in May 2013, came

in 9th overall for the 13 year old Senior Division with an overall score of 35.375.


• Eagle Scouts: Earlier this spring, I had the pleasure of attending the Eagle Ceremony for Nicholas Arcieri, Gregory Cocchi, Jack Giunta and Robert Vella who achieved the high rank of Eagle Scout.  In addition to the many merit badges and leadership activities they were recognized for, each also successfully accomplished a challenging Eagle Service Project that benefited the broader community.  


• Ice Hockey.   While our district does not host its own Ice Hockey Team, there is an outside sponsored Ice Hockey Team called Wheatley/Jericho on which seniors Matthew Bernot and Graham Turk play.  Wheatley senior Matthew Bernot was named to the All Long Island Ice Hockey First Team.  Wheatley senior Graham Turk was named to the All Long Island Ice Hockey Second Team for his play as goalie. The hockey team was the Michelino Regular Season champions, Michelino playoff champions, Town of Oyster Bay champions and NYS High School finalist.  Among other recognitions, Matthew was voted by all coaches the 2012-2013 Long Island League Most

Valuable Player of the Year and he will be playing in the USPHL Junior A League next year.  Congratulations to Matthew, Graham and the entire hockey team. 


Call 516-333-3758 or email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with any questions, suggestions, etc.  If you have district related questions, don’t hesitate to give a call or email.