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Board of Education reorganizes for 2019-20 school year

The Port Jefferson School District’s Board of Education held their annual reorganization meeting on July 8 to swear in new board members and elect officers for the upcoming school year.

Newly elected to the Board of Education, Randi DeWitt took the oath of office, followed by the nomination and election of Ellen Boehm and Tracy Zamek as president and vice president, respectively.



With proud parents, siblings, friends, teachers, administrators and members of the Board of Education in attendance, the members of the Class of 2019 received their diplomas during the annual commencement exercises on June 28.

The sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance,” performed by student-musicians under the baton of Dr. Michael Caravello, filled the air as the proud students walked onto the high school lawn to be commended one final time for their successful high school careers.

Words of wisdom and congratulatory remarks on the accomplishments of the students were offered by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Casciano and Principal Christine Austen. She spoke of the small acts of kindness that she noticed in her daily routine at the school, from students who assisted with prom tickets, to those who guided younger peers with personal issues, to a helping a peer’s family member who had an illness.

“Your compassion and support for one another and the underclassmen is admirable, and I want to thank each one of you for making the high school a better place,” she said. She commended them for their grit, courage and determination and encouraged them to remember to believe in themselves, and not to forget to ask for help.

This year’s parent-speaker, Tara Higgins, continued to set a tone of pride for all the graduates. Valedictorian Annalisa Welinder and salutatorian Ava Schully also addressed their fellow classmates with gratitude for family and fond memories of growing up in the close-knit school community. Their many high school achievements will lead them to post-high school studies at Stanford University and Brown University, respectively.

Mrs. Austen then called each student to the podium and highlighted their high school careers and future plans. She was assisted by members of the Board of Education in handing out the diplomas. The students then stood and tossed their caps in the air in celebration of becoming the newest graduates of the high school.

From the entire Port Jefferson School District and community, congratulations and best wishes to the Class of 2019.

A Year In Photos

A Year In Photos

High School Recognized by State Education Department

High School Recognized by State Education Department photo
Praised for its high academic achievement, student growth, graduation rate and progress during the last academic year, Earl L. Vandermeulen High School has been named a 2018-19 Recognition School by the New York State Education Department.

Recognition Schools are identified for being among the highest achieving schools under the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act for performance and for student growth and/or graduation rates. Earl L. Vandermeulen is among the schools named that have also met or exceeded measures of interim progress for English language arts and mathematics, lower rates of chronic absenteeism, and college, career and civic readiness.

“This honor is a testament to the unwavering commitment of our educators, administrators, staff, parents, and most importantly our students,” Jessica Schmettan, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction said. “Their efforts are an integral part in this recognition.”

A Musical Tribute

A Musical Tribute
Thank you to music teacher Christian Neubert and student-musicians Teppei Fukuto, Anna Rebic, Tabitha Schully and Olivia Schlegel for your moving performance at the school district’s public recognition ceremony for the new Armed Forces Tribute at Earl L. Vandermeulen High School last weekend.

Peer Leaders Share Lessons Learned

Peer Leaders Share Lessons Learned photo
Thank you to our high school peer leaders for their well-prepared presentation on the dangers of vaping. With training from John Martin, an educator from the Suffolk County Department of Health’s Office of Health Education, the student leaders highlighted the lessons they learned with eighth graders in an interactive format. With some icebreaker activities, fun games and a Powerpoint presentation, the students shared how they support one another and engaged in a dialogue with the younger students before their entry into the high school in September. “These students did a great job in educating and empowering the future high school students,” school social worker Kristin Britt said.

Student Representative Honored by BOE

Student Representative Honored by BOE
The Port Jefferson School District Board of Education honored senior Chloe Andriani for her service as a student representative in the 2018-19 school year. She was presented with a plaque of gratitude for her dedication and commitment. Chloe attended the monthly board meetings and reported on the high school activities and events. Her many accomplishments during her school career have set Chloe on a successful path to the future. She will have an opportunity to develop civic, social and business leadership skills when she embarks on an eight-week paid summer internship with The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook before starting her freshman year at Boston College in September.

Crosscutting Concepts at Work

Crosscutting Concepts at Work
Students in Kari Costanzo’s, Kristi Krieg’s, Megan Roth-Ueno’s and Christine Wicks’ fifth grade classes worked cooperatively and used their STEM skills to design, build and launch Remote Operated Vehicles in the elementary school indoor pool. The event was the culmination of a seven-day project with three marine science educators from OceansWide, an educational organization that explores the depths of the oceans. The engaging program was a first for the district and brought together all three dimensions of the New York State Science Learning Standards to life - scientific and engineering practices, cross-cutting concepts and disciplinary core ideas.

All the Best to our Retirees

The Port Jefferson School District Board of Education recently honored several retiring employees of the school district. High school Principal Christine Austen spoke highly of science teacher Rod Cawley for his 35 years of distinguished service to the school, citing his skills in educating more than 5,000 students and his influence on many of them who have pursued careers in science and engineering. She also commended him for his coaching expertise in boys track and boys cross-country. Dr. Michael Caravello, the district director of music and fine arts spoke admirably of elementary art teacher of Richard Anderson for his 34 years of teaching the students of Port Jefferson and his leadership and mentorship to other art educators. Elementary school Principal Thomas Meehan commended teaching assistant Katherine Siani – who started in the district in 1981 – for being a valued part of the school. Deputy Superintendent of Schools Sean Leister applauded Joan Lyons for her 33 years of service as head custodian. Also recognized was Michael Stiles for his 14 years of service and commitment to the district’s security staff. In his remarks to the retirees, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Casciano said that the end of a school year is often a time of reflection of all that was accomplished, and it is also a bittersweet time to say goodbye to those who have contributed to the success of the school district. The Port Jefferson school community applauds these retirees for their dedication and years of service and wishes them well in their new endeavors.

An Expedition to Ancient Lands

An Expedition to Ancient Lands photo
Sixth graders took a colorful, exciting trip to Greece and they never even left the building. With social studies teacher Melissa Corey guiding them, and as a supplement to their classroom lessons, the students had an opportunity to work with Google Expeditions Virtual Reality. The simulated environment had them playing a bit of I SPY as they explored the art, architecture, and historical landmarks of the ancient city of Athens and the Parthenon, the Aegean Sea and the island of Santorini. Helping to bring the history to life was BOCES integration specialist Claudia Camassa, whom teachers worked with to learn how to navigate and guide their students with this immersive technology. This was the first time they worked with Google Expeditions in the middle/high school library and experienced what student Sean Wilson described as “incredible detail and color.”

Board of Education Recognizes Tenured Educators

Board of Education Recognizes Tenured Educators photo
The Port Jefferson School Board of Education recognized a milestone in the careers of several staff members at a recent Board meeting. To the applause of family members, colleagues and community members, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Casciano named the staff members – special education teacher Meagan Bellantuono, high school science teacher Amanda Brideson, ELA teacher Megan Lavin, ESOL teacher Christina Marino, music teacher Christian Neubert, high school guidance counselor Kathi Galvin, and teaching assistants June Crovello, Michelle Lautato, Joan Meere and April St. John. The Port Jefferson school community congratulates these educators for their efforts in advancing the goals and mission of our district.

All-League/All-County Honors

All-League/All-County Honors
Five members of the Port Jefferson School District varsity baseball team were honored at the Section XI All-League/All-County Dinner on June 17th.

All-League honors went to freshman Luke Fillipi (shortstop/pitcher) and seniors Charlie Rolfe (first baseman) and Jordan Suarez (outfielder). Junior Peyton Ginas (pitcher/outfielder) received All-County honors and senior Gabe Zoda (outfielder/pitcher) received All-Academic honors.

It All Adds Up for Port Jeff Math Students

It All Adds Up for Port Jeff Math Students photo
Fourth and fifth grade students placed first and second, respectively, in the 2019 Suffolk County Math Olympiad Competition recently held at Stony Brook University. The students, who are all in the SEAL Studies Enriching Academic Learning program, competed against 60 other schools for the impressive achievement.

The competition for the top five fourth-grade and the top five fifth-grade Olympiad students from Port Jefferson was an opportunity to learn important strategies for problem-solving.

Fourth-graders Yan Kai placed second and Austin Garcia placed eighth out of all the fourth-graders in Suffolk County.

In addition to Yan and Austin the fourth-grade team members are Benjamin Batter, Avery Eisaman and Kenshin Sugimoto. The fifth-grade team members are Kevin Hong, Mari Fukuto, Anvang Jiang, Christopher Nam and Tucker Stanton.

“I commend these students on their efforts all year long to prepare for this competition,” teacher Kate Zvokel said. “It is a wonderful achievement.”

Student-Musicians Perform at Barnes & Noble Fundraiser

Student-Musicians Perform at Barnes & Noble Fundraiser
Members of the high school’s Tri-M Music Honor Society teamed up with Tri-M chapters from Miller Place and Shoreham-Wading River to perform at Barnes & Noble at the Smith Haven Mall. The unique performance served as a benefit for the Andrew McMorris Foundation.

“This was a great event, such an eclectic array of music genres and all the students were so talented,” music teacher and Tri-M adviser Christine Creighton said of the event that showcased the accomplishments of Port Jefferson student-musicians.

National Gold Medal Winner

National Gold Medal Winner
Congratulations to high school junior Dylan Dugourd for receiving top honors in the prestigious Alliance for Young Artists & Writers’ Scholastic Art & Writing awards for his independent research on computer graphics and video game design.

Dylan spent many hours researching and developing his game and was honored with a gold medal in video game design at a recent ceremony at Carnegie Hall.

His game – Dylan’s Library – is a narrated multiplatform game that was developed with the halls and classrooms of the high school created in a 3D model as inspiration. His goal is to take a surreal look into the minds of high school students as they create their own stories of themselves – motivators, likes, dislikes, what makes them unique. His work was exhibited with other honorees at the Parsons School of Design’s Art.Write.Now. 2019 National Exhibition, which featured the most creative visual and literary works by teens from across the country.

Dylan credits high school science teacher Melissa Garcia for encouraging him in his research direction and music teacher Christine Creighton for her part in organizing students in the school’s Music Industry II class to create different kinds of music for the various levels in his game. He spent last summer attending a summer academy in engineering at the University of Pennsylvania and this summer looks forward to participating in a game design program at New York University to continue on his creative and technical path of digital game development.

“My game is a testament to the high school experience,” Dylan said. “People want to share their stories and I thought this would be an interesting platform for that. I look forward to expanding on it and enhancing my vision.”

Click here for a preview of Dylan’s Library:

Ten Port Jeff Royals Commit to Colleges

Ten Port Jeff Royals Commit to Colleges

With coaches, parents, peers and administrators in attendance, several Earl L. Vandermeulen High School seniors were honored at the 2019 College Athletic Signing ceremony. Hosted by the Port Jefferson Athletic Department and introduced by Adam Sherrard, director of health, physical education and athletics, each student committed to playing their respective sports at some of the nation’s most prestigious universities in the fall. During the ceremony, each student was lauded by varsity head coaches Brian Snow (track), Andrew Cosci (football), Taylor Forstell (lacrosse), Chuck Ruoff (golf), Deborah Edgar-Brown (field hockey) and Lauren Filiberto (women’s equestrian). The coaches spoke of each student’s high school career highlights and wished them all well at the next level of their education and athletic endeavors.

The Port Jefferson School District congratulates the following students who will continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level:

Jonathan Bachmann: Western Connecticut State University, Football
Amanda Brosnan: Salve Regina University, Cross-Country/Track and Field
Shane DeVincenzo: Fairfield University, Golf
Nicholas Koban: Suffolk County Community College, Lacrosse
Jonathan Moshe: Gettysburg College, Lacrosse
Natalya Patriquin: Long Island University, Women’s Equestrian
Aileen Schretzmayer: Denison University, Cross-County/Track and Field
Sabrina Schully: Wheaton College of Massachusetts, Track and Field
Phalina Sciara: Western Connecticut State University, Field Hockey
Daniel Shaughnessy: Bridgton Academy, Football

60 Students Honored for Commitment to Civic Engagement

60 Students Honored for Commitment to Civic Engagement
Sixty 60 students were recognized with the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for their efforts and active volunteer service of between 50 and 100 hours in the community. Coordinated by Port Jefferson resident Jackie Hull, each student was presented with a certificate at a ceremony attended by members of the Board of Education, school community and families for their commitment to civic participation throughout the year. On behalf of the school district, congratulations to Chloe Andriani, Ella Barrett, Aiden Barrett, Lexi Becker, Sophie Blumenthal, Jessica Boswell, Morgan Bullis, Philip Buonomo, Sam Caltagirone, Giancarlo Caltagirone, Gavin Chambers, Ryan Daly, Carley Davidson, Nicholas DeDonato, Lia Desmond, Dylan Dugourd, Joshua Ecker, Elliana Forgione, Emily Hearney, Sarah Hull, Dennis Jourdain, Grace Keegan, Ameen Khan, Safiy Khan, Emmett Maier, Colin Malinowski, James Marci, Kylie Melzer, Carmella Moran, Owen Okst, Hugo Onghai, Kyle Onghai, Ryan Parmegiani, Kiersten Parmegiani, Royce Perera, Sapphire Perera, Jonah Pflaster, Skylar Pine, Samantha Reichers, Fiona Reichers, Peter Rizzo, Sarah Ruggiero, Joseph Saieva, Andrew Scott, Pratham Sethia, Logan Shaffer, Rohan Singh, Rishabh Singh, Camryn Spiller, Jillian Sullivan, Giuseppina Than, Kalysta Torriero, Valentina Velazquez, Kendall Ward, Lucas Welinder, Annalisa Welinder, Gil Ron Zaltsman, Brooke Zamek, Otto Zimmerman and Eric Zimmermann.

Unified Basketball Team Honored by BOE

The district’s unified basketball team members were honored at a recent Board of Education meeting for their successful inaugural season. High school Assistant Principal Kevin Bernier shared highlights of the team’s season and the support and encouragement that permeated the school.

“A culture of collaboration and inclusion emerged all around the building,” he said, as announcements were made, posters were created and students, teachers and administrators were motivated by the new friendships that formed among the team members. He also lauded the positive energy, leadership and sense of collaboration that has progressed throughout the season and how each student-athlete stepped out of their comfort zone to bring the team to a third-place win at the championship tournament at Farmingdale State University.

Environmental Responsibility at Port Jefferson Middle School

Environmental Responsibility at Port Jefferson Middle School
Sixth-graders engaged in conversations about pollution, green roofs and stormwater management when they were visited by a representative of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County.

The students in Janelle Bellotti’s science classes worked with Mark Cappellino, a marine youth educator from the county’s Stormwater Management Program and planted sedum on the school’s green roof. They learned that sedum is a succulent that can live in dry places with hot or cold conditions. Mr. Cappellino also taught them that green roofs help filter water and make buildings more energy efficient.

“They all felt a great sense of environmental responsibility in replenishing our plants and helping to clean up the garden,” Ms. Bellotti said, adding her gratitude to Mr. Cappellino, Suffolk County and Cornell University for providing the plants. “It really was an amazing experience.”

Lacrosse Team Honored with Crosse Award

The 2019 boys varsity lacrosse season was the best in the program’s history, with the team finishing with a 10-7 overall record. The team was selected by the Suffolk County Lacrosse Coaches Association for the Crosse Award, which is presented to the team that defies preseason expectations by surpassing their preseason league ranking. Port Jefferson was the only team in League II to be recognized with such an honor. Along with the team Crosse Award, individual players have also been lauded for their outstanding play throughout the season – Aidan Kaminska was recognized as an All-County player, and Daniel Shaughnessy, Jonathan Moshe, Colton VanOverberghe and Daniel Koban were each selected as All-League recipients. Congratulations to the team and coaches Taylor Forstell, Omar Karasu and Jonathan Maletta on an awesome accomplishment!

Actions in the Community for Interact Club

Actions in the Community for Interact Club
Members of the high school Interact Club recently took part in a Habitat for Humanity Student Build. The 15 students were selected to work on a new home in Bellport, where they diligently installed new fencing around the property, helping to ready the home for the family who will be moving in later this year.

The students raised $1,500 for Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk, some of it coming from a cheesecake fundraiser they held and some coming from donations.

“The experience was truly a rewarding one,” adviser Deirdre Filippi said. “In addition to learning some new skills, the students really came away with a sense of accomplishment while understanding how they can help to strengthen the greater community.”

Exceptional Marks on National Latin Exam


Students enrolled in the Port Jefferson School District’s Latin course earned exceptional marks on the 2019 National Latin Exam. To recognize their success, each student was honored for their achievements at an awards ceremony hosted by Latin teacher Anne Algieri. The students, who were among 139,000 students from across the nation and 20 countries to take the annual exam.

Seventh-grade students enrolled in Latin IA took the Introduction to Latin Exam. At this level three awards are given for outstanding performance on the exam: Perfect Paper Certificate plus a purple ribbon for a perfect score of 40, an Outstanding Achievement Certificate plus a purple ribbon for a score of 35-39, and an Achievement Certificate for a score of 31-34.

The following students received awards for their outstanding performance:
Katherine Ranjbar* - Perfect Paper Certificate plus a purple ribbon
Michael Melikyan* - Perfect Paper Certificate plus a purple ribbon
Viviane Kim* - Perfect Paper Certificate plus a purple ribbon
Alana Samara* - Perfect Paper Certificate plus a purple ribbon
Michelle Wu - Outstanding Achievement Certificate plus a ribbon
Eric Chen - Outstanding Achievement Certificate plus a ribbon
Ryan Gameng - Outstanding Achievement Certificate plus a ribbon
Gavin Onghai - Outstanding Achievement Certificate plus a ribbon
Andrew Schretzmayer - Outstanding Achievement Certificate plus a ribbon
Carman Stanton - Outstanding Achievement Certificate plus a ribbon
Emily Ambrozy - Outstanding Achievement Certificate plus a ribbon
Alexander Layne-Stasik - Outstanding Achievement Certificate plus a ribbon
Madeline Matvya - Achievement Certificate
* Only 442 students out of more than 22,000 attained this distinction.

The following eight-grade students received awards for their outstanding performance on the Latin I Exam:

Luke Dickhuth - gold medal, summa cum laude
Teppei Fukuto - gold medal, summa cum laude
Olivia Schlegel - gold medal, summa cum laude
Benjamin Perez-Flesler - gold medal, summa cum laude
Tabitha Schully - gold medal, summa cum laude
Brendon Capodanno - gold medal, summa cum laude
Jack Keegan - silver medal, maxima cum laude
Kacey McGorry - cum laude

Luke, Teppei and Olivia achieved a perfect score on this exam.

The following students received awards for their outstanding performance on the Latin II Exam:
Andrew Patterson* - gold medal, summa cum laude
Hugo Onghai - gold medal, summa cum laude
Kasumi Layne-Stasik - gold medal, summa cum laude
Stefano Rabeno - gold medal, summa cum laude
Kate Sommerstad - gold medal, summa cum laude
Beverly Maier - silver medal, maxima cum laude
Hunter Volpi - silver medal, maxima cum laude
Caelan Schretzmayer - cum laude

*Only 698 students this year out of over 130,000 who participated on Levels I, II, III, IV, and the Advanced Level attained this distinction.

The following students received awards for their outstanding performance on the Latin III Exam.
Peggy Yin - gold medal, summa cum laude
Mattea Rabeno - gold medal, summa cum laude
Lucas Welinder - gold medal, summa cum laude
Liam Gameng - gold medal, summa cum laude
Aaron Held - gold medal, summa cum laude
Royce Perera - gold medal, summa cum laude
Ameen Khan - silver medal, maxima cum laude
Grant Samara - silver medal, maxima cum laude
Michela Rabeno - silver medal, maxima cum laude
Selena Ueno - silver medal, maxima cum laude
Nicole Schully - magna cum laude
Grace Keegan - magna cum laude
Veronique Velazquez - cum laude
Courtney Calendrille - cum laude
Sapphire Perera- cum laude

The following students received awards for their outstanding performance on the Latin IV Prose Exam:
Kyle Onghai - gold medal, summa cum laude
Giuseppina Than - gold medal, summa cum laude

Kyle and Giuseppina have won a Gold Medal for the past four years and were awarded an Oxford Classical Dictionary by the National Latin Exam Committee in recognition of this prestigious accomplishment.

The following students received awards for their outstanding performance on the Advanced Level National Latin Exam:
Annalisa Welinder - gold medal, summa cum laude
Ava Schully - magna cum laude
Gavin Barrett - cum laude
David Rotunno - cum laude

Annalisa has won a Gold Medal for the past five years and has been given a Special Book Award by the National Latin Exam committee for this outstanding accomplishment.

On behalf of the school community, congratulations!

Students Perform National Anthem

Students Perform National Anthem photo
Students from the Port Jefferson School District shared their musical talents when they performed the national anthem at Bethpage Ballpark to kick off a Long Island Ducks game. The event – which featured fifth and sixth graders – was organized by the Port Jefferson PTA and elementary school music teacher Mark Abbonizio. It also served as a fundraiser for the Class of 2026.

Students Perform at NYSSMA Majors Festival

Music students from the middle school’s sixth grade orchestra, seventh and eighth grade orchestra and chamber ensemble performed at the New York State School Music Association’s Major Organization Festival held recently at Sachem East High School. Conducted by music teachers Dr. Vanessa Salzman and Mr. Christian Neubert, each ensemble performed several pieces for a panel of adjudicators, who evaluated them on their quality of performance and level of musicianship. The district congratulates our middle school student-musicians on their outstanding musical performances!

Students Represent Broadcasting Class at BASH

Students in the high school’s broadcasting course were invited to attend Stony Brook University’s BASH (Broadcast Awards for Senior High). The students – Lea Desmond, Nathan DiGregorio, Dylan Dugourd, Cole Fortier, Peyton Ginas, Shane Hartig, Emily Hearney, Faye Held, Jacqueline Poten, Mattea Rabeno, Liam Sproul and Gabe Zoda – represented the school in various categories from best community news, entertainment, anchor teams, and overall broadcast, among others. They were subsequently honored for their participation at a recent Board of Education meeting, where high school assistant principal Kevin Bernier introduced them and the success of the program this year. The collaborative class with technology teacher Brian Chalmers and English teacher Michael Augello was lauded for its growth and evolution throughout the year.

Makerspace Creativity

Makerspace Creativity
Middle School students experienced the Middle School/High School makerspace that librarian Mary LaSita had set up for them along with teachers Michelle Landetta, Paige Lohmann and Christina Marino. They had an opportunity to experiment with circuits, controlled robots, problem solved with Jenga, and created 3D images with colored glue pens. “The students truly enjoyed the experience and are looking forward to going back,” Ms. Landetta said.

Valedictorian Celebrated

Valedictorian Celebrated
Senior Annalisa Welinder was among Suffolk County’s highest-achieving students from the Class of 2019 who were honored by school district superintendents, administrators and parents during the recent Suffolk County School Superintendents Association’s 25th annual Valedictorian’s Luncheon.

Congratulating the students on their hard work and achievements were members of the SCCSA Board of Directors and keynote speaker Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini who spoke of education’s vitality to the security of our communities and nation.

Annalisa, who will attend Stanford University in the fall, was called to the stage to receive a certificate and gift of recognition.

In her closing remarks, SCCSA president-elect Bernadette Burns told the students, “Your high school is not the place you’ve gone to; it’s the place you go from.” She also encouraged the valedictorians to listen to others, be considerate, think beyond themselves and to never forget that little acts of kindness will be remembered long after the act itself.

Meritorious Mathematicians

Seven of our talented high school students were honored at the Suffolk County Math Teachers’ Association awards dinner, held recently at the Watermill in Smithtown. The Mathletes team – Sinan Ates, Christine Iasso, Kyle Onghai, David Rotunno, Pina Than, Annalisa Welinder and William Wu – placed third in Division I. Senior Annalisa, who served as team captain, was recognized as one of Suffolk County’s overall high scorers, an achievement she has maintained for all four years of high school. Freshman William Wu was honored for placing fourth overall in Suffolk County on the precalculus contest, which he took part in earlier in the year. Congratulations to all and coach Dennis Christofor!

Exceptional Ending to Extraordinary Golf Career

Exceptional Ending to Extraordinary Golf Career
Senior Shane DeVincenzo tied for second place in the New York State High School golf championships held at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course at Cornell University this past weekend. There were 99 players in the field, representing the best student golfers from all 11 sections of the state. He shot 73-75 and made a great birdie on 18 to grab his share of second place.

By finishing in the top six, Shane qualified for the prestigious Federation Tournament at the Bethpage Black Golf Course on June 9. There he will be among the top 24 players from public, private, city and independent schools in the state.

“Shane worked tirelessly for five years and it all culminated with an outstanding performance,” coach Chuck Ruoff said. “He represented Port Jefferson and all of Suffolk County like a champion.”

Shane will continue his academic and athletic career at Fairfield University this fall. “It has been a privilege to coach him over the past five seasons and he will be dearly missed,” Mr. Ruoff added.

Port Jefferson Students Take their Music to Carnegie Hall

Port Jefferson Students Take their Music to Carnegie Hall
Port Jefferson Students Take their Music to Carnegie Hall 2
Ten students from the Port Jefferson School District experienced a world-class cultural institution when they performed recently at Carnegie Hall. This enriching and educational opportunity was a result of their commitment as participants of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra’s choral and orchestral ensembles.

The students are Sophie Blumenthal, Isabelle Chen, Kenny Dixon-Lanza, David Lawler, Rose Meliker-Hammock, Chloe Pipia, Anna Rebic, David Rotunno, Ava Schully and Nicole Schully.

“On behalf of the school district, we congratulate all of these students on their outstanding musical achievement,” said Dr. Michael Caravello, director of music and fine arts.

Triumphant Tennis Season

Triumphant Tennis Season
The boys varsity tennis team had a successful season making the team playoffs while competing in the Upper League V of Division III this year with many strong programs including Ward Melville, Sachem, Miller Place and Bayport-Blue Point.

All-League honors were earned by sophomores Liam Cooper, Noah Teaney and freshman James Capone for their singles play. Senior Jonathan Kelsch was awarded the well-deserved Sportsmanship Award and senior Josh Gelfond was honored as an All-County player at the Suffolk County Tennis Awards. Josh, who has played a varsity top singles spot for five years, won his final high school singles match in the team playoff in an exciting third set tie-breaker victory against Southold.

Congratulations to all 17 participants of the team and coach Dennis Christofor for making Port Jefferson proud!

League Champions!

League Champions
Congratulations to our Unified Basketball team who took the title of League Champions at a recent game against Longwood. It was a close game that went into overtime but Port Jefferson prevailed with a final score of 67-61. Congratulations to all our athletes on a wonderful season!

Senior Earns Brookhaven Science Associates Scholarship

Congratulations to senior Ju Eun Ha for being named a recipient of a Brookhaven Science Associates 2019 college scholarship. She will receive $2,500 per year for up to four years of study at Boston University, where she will major in biomedical engineering with a goal of becoming a medical practitioner.

Brookhaven Science Associates is an organization that manages Brookhaven National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy. The annual scholarships they present are awarded to children of employees at BNL – a longstanding tradition that began in 1965.

“On behalf of our school community, we are so proud of Ju Eun,” Principal Christine Austen said. “Pursuing higher education and this particular discipline will position her for numerous opportunities in her career options as she aids in the improvements in human health.”

Summer Music Camp



From a Vision to a Legacy: Port Jefferson School District’s Armed Forces Tribute

Armed Forces Tribute

Grey skies were a fitting backdrop to honor former students and staff members who helped to protect and preserve the country’s freedoms at the Port Jefferson School District’s Armed Forces Tribute, held May 30 at Earl L. Vandermeulen High School.

Months of planning, school and community involvement and detailed organizing and implementing of many aspects of the tribute culminated in a skillfully constructed ceremonious salute to military personnel.

Welcoming remarks by Earl L. Vandermeulen High School Principal Christine Austen, senior Reid Biondo, Port Jefferson Village Mayor Margo Garant and Superintendent of School Dr. Paul Casciano set a stage of pride for the dozens of guests and hundreds of students present for the dedication. Senior Chloe Andriani led them in the Pledge of Allegiance, members of the Port Jefferson Fire Department Color Guard paraded the American flag and veteran James Henke shared his sentiments before fifth-grade and second-grade students recited poems they created especially for the event. Other Port Jefferson students involved in the occasion were the Port Jefferson Middle School band, who performed under the direction of teacher Ed Pisano; high school senior Gabe Zoda who created two benches that sit at the tribute’s Path of Honor and senior David Rotunno who performed Taps on trumpet.

For those who were not able to attend the ceremony, a public recognition will be held on Saturday, June 22 at 9:30 a.m.

Sophomore Performs at Carnegie Hall

Sophomore Performs at Carnegie Hall
As a finalist of the Manhattan School of Music’s 2019 spring concert season competition, Earl L. Vandermeulen High School music student Peggy Yin was recently featured as a vocal soloist at Carnegie Hall. A sophomore, Peggy performed Pergolesi's “Se tu ma’ami, se sospiri.”

Two Women Head Class of 2019

Two Women Head Class of 2019
Earl L. Vandermeulen High School is proud to announce that seniors Annalisa Welinder and Ava Schully have been named valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, of the Class of 2019.

Annalisa has an impressive and diversified high school résumé, includes taking eight honors and 12 Advanced Placement courses and one college-level class. She is an Advanced Placement Scholar, a Presidential Scholars Program nominee and a National Latin Exam four-time gold medalist. She serves as president of the Latin Club, is a member of Mathletes and the school’s Academic Team. Annalisa is also a member of the both the track team and tennis team.

Annalisa’s musical achievements are also exceptional and she is applauded by the school community for her many accomplishments. A violinist, she is a member of the prestigious National Youth Orchestra, where she served as a concertmaster in 2017, traveling to numerous concert halls, including Carnegie Hall. She and her brother have run a summer music camp – Sound Strings Long Island – for all age levels and she is a frequent award winner for various violin competitions. Annalisa is also interested in creative writing endeavors.

Asked for some words of wisdom to share with future graduates of the school, Annalisa had an uncomplicated and masterly response. “Everything seems easier and more doable if you enjoy it,” she said.

Annalisa is excited to enter the freshman class at Stanford University in September.

Ava Schully is proud and humbled by her accomplishment as salutatorian of the Class of 2019. She commended her family, peers, and teachers who have helped her succeed in school and other aspects of her life.

Ava’s list of achievements is comprehensive and includes taking 10 AP courses, four honors courses and two college-level courses. She was on the school’s soccer team in ninth grade and has run on both the school’s track team cross-country team. She is a member of the Peer Leadership, Interact, Drama, and Latin clubs as well as a member of Tri-M Honor Society, Honor Society and Sources of Strength.

Ava took a service trip to Peru to help build a clean water system for local people, attended a six-week intensive study of classical music at the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan, took part in the Philadelphia International Music Festival and recently performed on cello in the National Association for Music Education All-Eastern music conference in Pittsburgh, PA. Her extracurricular activities include being a member of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York and Stony Brook University Young Artists Program. She has received numerous school awards and is active in the local community.

Ava’s post high school plans include exploring how music can promote community partnerships and cross-cultural relations. She has committed to Brown University where she plans to create her own major that focuses on a mixture of topics including ethnomusicology, human development, international relations, education, and non-profit organization in an interdisciplinary context.

Ava shared some enlightened words for her peers: “challenge yourself in classes you’re actually interested and take part in extracurriculars that you love,” she said. “Don’t worry about doing what you think a college admissions office might want to do and just pursue your passions. The rest will follow.”

Teamwork Abounds!

Teamwork Abounds
The Earl L. Vandermeulen High School boys and girls varsity lacrosse teams recently hosted their annual youth clinic for the Port Jefferson Village Lacrosse Association. In addition to the hard work and enjoyment of all the students involved, Taylor Forstell, head coach for the boys varsity team, noted the importance of the event as a continuation of the development of the younger players, as they are the cornerstone of the program’s progress.

“Events like this puts faces to the jerseys of the varsity athletes, whom our youth athletes come out to support,” he said. The mutual benefits to both players and volunteers was also expressed by senior captain Jonathan Moshe, who said “it is a great motivator for younger athletes to continue to work at the sport. Their efforts will help to make the lacrosse programs stronger in the years to come.”

Third-grader Receives Brookhaven National Laboratory Accolades

Third-grader Receives Brookhaven National Laboratory Accolades
Student Nina Gnatenko, who participated in Edna Louise Spear Elementary School’s annual science fair, went on to participate in the Brookhaven National Laboratory Science Fair. A student in Rachel Erickson’s third-grade class, she was honored with an honorable mention for her project titled Shiny Penny.

Congratulations Nina!

Sixth Grade Skating Trip: Formulas, Fractions and Fun

Sixth Grade Skating Trip: Formulas, Fractions and Fun
Port Jefferson Middle School sixth-graders took a STEM field trip to the United Skates of America in Seaford and attended lessons and hands-on activities that directly related to what they are learning in their classroom. They then roller skated and continued to grasp the science of roller skating, the laws of motion and even how the rink is designed. “This event really helped students grasp how STEM principles are a part of our everyday lives,” said math teacher Megan Ryan. “It was a great educational opportunity to learn and even get some physical activity.”
Monday, July 22, 2019