The Bridgehampton School District hosted a parent/staff/student/volunteer kickoff dinner to start the Robotics Club competitive season and to honor two community volunteers who have been instrumental in the success of the robotics program: Julie Burmeister and Jonathan Fletcher.
Burmeister, a former science teacher, has supported the program since its initiation six years ago, and Fletcher, an employee of Liberty Iron Works in Southampton, brings his metal fabrication expertise to the program. The two were honored for their countless volunteer hours mentoring Bridgehampton students.
The team will compete in 2020 FIRST Robotics International competition in Orlando as well as the FIRST Robotics national competition at Hofstra University.
To mark Computer Science Education Week, Westhampton Beach Elementary School students each spent an hour learning code through activities provided by Code.org.
Students also showed their eagerness for coding by participating in spirit days throughout the week, wearing bright colors, jeans, sneakers, and Westhampton Beach spirit attire to school.
Project MOST is opening a new campus at the Neighborhood House in East Hampton. The Three Mile Harbor Road building will be the home of new public programming for children and families.
On Saturdays, beginning January 11, the nonprofit will be offering both full and half days of Project MOST arts, STEM, games, sports, and more. For information and to register, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Four students in Southampton Intermediate School coding classes competed in the Mid-Atlantic Finals of the Cyber Robotics Coding Competition, sponsored by CoderZ, on December 13 at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Eighth-graders Danny Bustamante and Dyson Smith, and seventh-graders Thomas Dunkirk and Bryan Rosales represented the school against 30 schools in several rounds of timed, online coding qualification challenges.
In music news, 16 student-musicians from Southampton High School had the opportunity to earn college credit through Suffolk County Community College’s beacon program. Sarah Brady, Citlalli Chino Martinez, Sarah Eckert, Ethan Gates, Wilson Green, Dreanne Joseph, Lily Kenahan, Kevin Nguyen, Joshua Rabin, Michaela Schulman, Logan Shumway, Vimarsha Sital, Sofia Skoldberg, Nika Lea Tomicic, Emmett Wetter, and Jack Zaloga worked with high school orchestra director Nancy Caine during a two-month period before performing on December 5 at the college’s Ammerman Campus under the baton of SCC’s Dr. Richard Wright. Southampton is currently the only high school on Long Island that takes advantage of the beacon program.
In other high school news, senior Tonoa Pender was recognized as the Rotary Club of Southampton’s student of the month for December. She is the treasurer of the Rotary Interact Club and a member of the Spanish and National honor societies. She also participates in the Best Buddies program and the Southampton Village Planning Commission. In the fall, Pender plans to attend either Southern Connecticut State University or Syracuse University to study sociology, with the goal of becoming a social worker.
Giving back to the community, Southampton High School Interact Club members, under the direction of advisor Sarah Fitzsimons, prepared a meal for homeless guests at the Southampton Presbyterian Church.
To mark Computer Science Education Week, Southampton Elementary School students spent an hour learning code through activities provided by Code.org during their STEM period. Known as the Hour of Code, the experience gives students an opportunity to explore coding as the basis for a possible career in computer science. It also allows them to hone their problem-solving skills and celebrate the birthday of computing pioneer Grace Murray Hopper.
Southampton Elementary School third-graders plunged into a lesson on penguins during their STEM lab on December 6. The students expanded on their classroom learning about the flightless birds by watching penguin videos on the lab’s computers and answering trivia questions.
Seven Riverhead High School students were among approximately 900 student-musicians who performed in the All-State Festival at the New York State School Music Association Winter Conference in Rochester on December 7 and 8. They performed in five out of the eight distinguished ensembles, which were led by world-renowned conductors. The students were selected based on their performances at the NYSSMA Solo Evaluation Festival last spring.
“I had the pleasure of watching each of these students become better musicians during their time working with fantastic conductors,” said RHS choral director Dena Marie Tishim. “They are certain to remember this weekend for a long time to come.”
Laura Allen and William Green played bass clarinet and percussion, respectively, in the All-State symphonic band. Nathaniel Bollermann performed with the All-State string orchestra. Lauren Enos was chosen to perform in the All-State symphonic orchestra. Sarah Jordan is a two-time All-State participant who performed with the treble choir. Ethan Lucas and Madison Payne were chosen for the mixed choir.
When Riverhead High School senior Perrin Toole enrolled in one of her school’s ceramics classes her junior year, she never thought it would inspire her to pursue a career in art. Ceramics was not something Toole thought would be of interest to her, but her art teacher urged her to take the class. Toole fell in love with the craft right away, and now takes not only the school’s new advanced ceramics course, but also a ceramics class outside of school. She has made a variety of pieces, including a vase and countless bowls, and recently designed a 3D Christmas tree.
“It’s just so relaxing and satisfying,” she said. “I love how when you throw it, it all stays in one place.”
Twenty female students in the Pulaski Street Elementary School Technology Club participated in National Coding Week. The event was held by the Women in Computer Science Club at Stony Brook University in collaboration with the Long Island Latino Teachers Association.
During the event, students toured the Stony Brook University campus and learned more about careers in coding.
“The girls were eager to participate,” the district’s library media specialist Amelia Estevez Creedon said. “Some were even inspired to pursue careers in computer science.”
To boost Aquebogue Elementary School’s character education program, Principal Bryan Miltenberg and Assistant Principal Gary Karlson have been visiting classrooms to read books and host discussions.
During the month of November, for example, students learning about the character trait of caring listened to their principals read “A Sick Day for Amos McGee” by Philip C. Stead. The reading was followed by a talk about what it means to look out for others. In December, when character education focused on teamwork, students listened to a reading of “The Crayon Box that Talked” by Shane Derolf and entered a dialogue about how working as a team makes a group stronger.
“It’s wonderful to be able to connect the traits we promote in our school to characters in books that kids love,” said Miltenberg. “The read-aloud is the beginning of a conversation about what it means to embody various character traits.”
Second-grade students at Roanoke Avenue Elementary School boosted the holiday spirit at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital by collecting toys for pediatric patients. They promoted the drive by making posters and speaking to school staff, family, and friends about offering toy donations.
At its regular December 10 meeting, the Riverhead School District Board of Education recognized several staff members for their retirement, a teacher receiving tenure, and a secretary for her dedication.
The retirees, including special education teacher Lorraine Dunkel, high school health and physical education teacher Sandra Hummer, high school science teacher Kimberly Skinner, and school bus monitor Lynn Ligon were presented with certificates of appreciation.
The board also approved tenure for English Language Arts teacher Vanessa Sosa and presented her with a certificate. Mary Hull, a middle school staff secretary, was given a certificate of appreciation for “staying with children after her designated work hours and responsibilities to ensure they had extra supervision while waiting for their bus to arrive.”
In continuing its mission to take history out of the textbooks by honoring a local veteran each month of the school year, the Hampton Bays School District paid tribute to Vietnam War veteran Dick Crescenzo of Hampton Bays by flying an American flag in his honor throughout December.
“The district is proud to honor Mr. Crescenzo for his bravery and service to the United States,” said Superintendent of Schools Lars Clemensen.
Crescenzo was recognized at a ceremony on December 6 at Hampton Bays Elementary School, where high school students in the district read his biography and sang. The event culminated with the raising of the flag on the school’s flagpole.
Crescenzo was born in Brooklyn in 1946 and moved with his family 10 years later to Huntington. He attended Half Hollow Hills High School, where in addition to his studies, he ran track, and graduated with a New York State Regents Diploma in Industrial Arts.
After graduation, Crescenzo went to work for the Environmental Testing Laboratory in Hicksville, where he received several deferments that eliminated him from the draft. Although he could have continued in this manner, he eliminated his deferment out of a sense of patriotism and was drafted into the U.S. Army in May 1966.
Instead of being trained individually for his assignments, Crescenzo became part of a newly-reinstated Army division. This new unit was the 9th Infantry Division, known as the “Old Reliables.” The unit was formed at Fort Riley, KS, where Crescenzo completed both his basic and advanced individual training. Upon graduation, he was awarded the military occupational specialty of 13 Echo 20, Artillery Fire Direction Center specialist.
In January 1967, the entire 9th Division was loaded onto transport vessels and shipped out to Vietnam.
Crescenzo returned to the states in January 1968 and was assigned to Fort Irwin, near Death Valley in California. In addition to his Vietnam campaign and service medals, he was awarded the U.S. Army Commendation Medal with a “V” device for valor in combat. Unfortunately, he was exposed to Agent Orange while in the delta and suffers from that exposure today, 50 years later.
After separation from the Army, Crescenzo returned to Long Island to work in the environmental industry and obtained his degree from Suffolk County Community College. In 1980, he started his own environmental company, which he still runs today. He has three sons, two daughters, and six grandchildren, with his youngest grandchild just born in November. He is a lifetime member of the VFW, active as a Scoutmaster, and an elder and deacon in his Presbyterian church.
Students at Cutchogue East Elementary School in the Mattituck-Cutchogue School District eagerly participated as a team in the Students Rebuild 2019-2020 Hunger Challenge, a program that empowers students and educators to learn more about and contribute to improved global nutrition.
The team, including students in second through fifth grades, joined youth and educators around the world to investigate how hunger affects education and development, and support both emergency relief and long-term solutions for hunger-related issues like malnutrition and food insecurity.
The Hunger Challenge is the latest annual challenge by Students Rebuild, a program of the Bezos Family Foundation that mobilizes young people to act on some of the world’s most critical problems. Teams participated in the Hunger Challenge by creating and submitting an artistic rendering of their favorite recipes. For each piece of artwork submitted, the Bezos Family Foundation donated $3 — up to $700,000 — to programs aimed at alleviating malnutrition and hunger-related issues worldwide.
A staggering 151 million children across the globe suffer from chronic malnutrition. Additional information about the Hunger Challenge can be found at www.studentsrebuild.org/hunger.