Summer Grads Added to Class of 2014
Perseverance and hard work over the summer months paid off for 31 Freeport High School students, who were granted a Class of 2014 diploma during a summer ceremony attended by proud parents, faculty members and administrators in the high school auditorium.
The Class of 2014 achieved a milestone 83 percent graduation rate, the highest in recent memory. Board of Education President Michael Pomerico noted that the achievements of these students contributed to this outstanding accomplishment. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham encouraged the graduates to think of three words – “yes, I can.” “Never underestimate the power of your actions,” he said. “Use your strength and courage to overcome challenges.”
Summer school Principal Gleni Peña told the students that “graduation” is another word for “opportunity.“ “What we learn in school is the beginning of a lifelong process,” she said.
As their names were called, the students crossed the stage to receive their diplomas from Mr. Pomerico and Dr. Kuncham and shake the hands of administrators and Board trustees. A bright future awaits these Freeport High School Class of 2014 graduates.
8/27/14 - BOE Action Mtg. Atkinson 7:30pm
Celebrating Broadway in Freeport
More than 200 students hit the stage at Freeport High School on July 30 to demonstrate their musicality, theatrical abilities and fancy footwork. Broadway Stars 2014 was a production orchestrated as part of Freeport’s Summer Academy of the Arts program.
The four-week program, run by teachers with help from high school and college volunteers, gives students in grades 4-8 an opportunity to explore the arts.
Freeport High School Principal Linda Carter welcomed visitors and district administrators to the high-energy production.
“This is our sixth year running the program and each time it gets stronger thanks to our staff, students and families,” Carter said.
First to the stage was the advanced orchestra, delighting audience goers with “I will Follow Him” from Sister Act and traditional melodies, such as “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” They were followed band performances of “My Girl,” “42nd Street” and music from the Lion King.
Next was the dance performance “A Broadway Blend,” which was included music from Annie, In the Heights, The Wiz and Lion King, and was choreographed by teacher Mahendra Morales. After that was “The 25th Annual Nassau County Spelling Bee,” a theatrical performance adapted from the musical comedy The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The fictional spelling bee, set originally in Putnam County, was revised to take place in Nassau County.
The event also included an art exhibit created by participants, which was displayed in the lobby of the high school, and a choral performance featuring participants singing music from Broadway’s Lion King and the rock-musical Hair.
Summer Academy Coordinator Ruth Breidenbach attributed the show’s success to her “team of star-studded excellence” and to the hard work and dedication of the participants.
“The children take responsibility for how the program will turn out and are very invested in their performances,” Breidenbach said. “We just hope we inspired our audience to go see a Broadway show.”
2014-2015 Board of Education
On Tuesday, July 1, 2014 during the district’s Board of Education
reorganization meeting, the board unanimously elected Michael C.
Pomerico to serve as President and Anthony J. Miller to serve as Vice
President for the 2014-2015 school year. Re-elected trustees Ronald
Ellerbe and Vilma I. Lancaster were also administered the oath of
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham thanked Past President
Debra Mulé and Past Vice President Vilma Lancaster for their leadership,
dedication and commitment to the success of the Freeport schools and
the community. He also congratulated President Michael C. Pomerico and
Vice President Anthony J. Miller. President Michael C. Pomerico
expressed his appreciation to the board for their vote of confidence in
him and thanked Past-President Debra Mulé and Past-Vice President Vilma
Lancaster for their outstanding leadership and commitment. Vice
President Anthony J Miller expressed similar sentiments when he thanked
the board for their vote of confidence and Debra Mulé and Vilma
Lancaster for their leadership.
FHS Class of 2014 Breaks Graduation Record
There was much to be proud of as the Freeport High School Class of 2014 celebrated their graduation at Hofstra University’s Davis S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex with family, friends, teachers and administrators who have watched them grow and helped them achieve this milestone. This year, the Class of 2014 achieved a record-breaking 80 percent of June graduates exceeding previous years’ graduation rates.
“Class of 2014, you are leaving a legacy of success, and there is no doubt that you will proudly represent Freeport in your new journey,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. He made special note of the academic success and high graduation rate of this class. “The choices you continue to make will shape your present and your future so make good choices, take the right actions and make them from your heart; let your heart lead you.”
Musical features of the program included processional and recessional numbers by the symphonic orchestra, under the direction of Jill Boardman. On the opposite side of the stage, the select chorale, directed by Monique Retzlaff, performed the national anthem to open the ceremony.
The student speeches generated enthusiastic applause, laughter and nostalgia. “No matter where we go and how many miles apart we are, we will always have each other,” said Class President Esmerlyn Morel. Morel was the recipient of many awards, including the New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli 2014 Student Achievement Award.
“We’ll be leaving for college soon, a new chapter of our lives far away from our families,” said valedictorian Karolynn Ellis. “My parents have done everything for me and no words can say how much that is appreciated.” She also made a special shout-out to her twin sister Kaylinn, who was also ranked in the school’s top 10. Ellis will continue her academic career at Cornell University in the fall.
“On behalf of the Class of 2014, I want to thank all of the teachers, friends and family members who helped us on our journey to where we are today,” said salutatorian Javier Otero. The crowd applauded when he made special note of the unwavering support of his mother. Otero will attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the fall.
Principal Linda Carter was joined by Dr. Kuncham, Board of Education President Debra Mulé, and assistant principals Wendy Haise and Nelson Holland to certify these graduates. “Now that you have come to the end of your journey at Freeport High School, I hope you will reflect on and cherish the incredible academic achievements you have attained as a class,” said Carter. “You may choose to be the best in the world, but I give you the additional challenge of being the best for the world.”
The final speaker was Assistant Principal Haise who has moved up in grade, with this group of students since their freshman year. She presented each student with a token survival kit. “Your survival kit contains a lollipop to remind you that life is sweet, two chocolate kisses to remind you that you are loved and that you always have love in your life, Band-Aids to take care of all those wounds life throws at you and a pen so that you can always write home.”
At the conclusion of the commencement, the graduates unleashed a celebratory cheer and tossed their caps into the air before continuing their celebration with family and friends.
Freeport Class of 2014 Appreciates Community Support
Selected members of Freeport High School’s Class of 2014 were recognized with scholarships for their outstanding achievements, service, and commitment to success during the district’s forty-sixth annual scholarship and honors program. Representatives of the Board of Education, PTA, parent groups, administration, staff, alumni and community residents and organizations showed their pride and support for the Class of 2014 by generously donating numerous scholarships.
“We are here tonight to honor and celebrate the Class of 2014 for their accomplishments. They have each earned their place here tonight,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “Tonight would not have been possible without the generosity of the scholarship donors. Thank you for your continued support of our children and our schools,” added Dr. Kuncham.
During the program, proud family members and invited guests applauded as more than 100 individuals and organizations presented generous scholarships to the surprised and grateful Freeport High School seniors. The scholarships, with varying criteria, totaled more than $65,000.
Board of Education President Debra Mulé also addressed the scholarship recipients. “Congratulations on all you have accomplished,” said Mulé. “Tonight is not the end, but the beginning of even greater achievements.”
The Class of 2014, many of whom will be attending some of the most prestigious and competitive colleges and universities on Long Island and across the country, was awarded more than $3 million in renewable grants, college and community scholarships.
Awards Breakfast Celebrates Students’ Achievements
The annual Freeport High School academic awards breakfast honored those students, mostly graduating seniors, for their perseverance and achievement with the distribution of certificates and scholarship money. “You’re not here today because of chance. It’s because of your commitment and continued hard work and excellence,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham.
Local dignitaries, including Assemblyman Brian Curran, Nassau County Legislator Laura Curran, and Nassau County Legislator Dave Denenberg, were on hand to present awards.
“I want to congratulate our students for the fine work they have done over the past three or four years,” said Principal Linda Carter. “We are extremely proud of all of the accolades our students received today.”
The attending administration, faculty and parents showered those being honored with applause before, during and after the awards were presented.
iDesign Club Brings Game Architecture to Students
Caroline G. Atkinson Intermediate School successfully launched an experimental afterschool club this year to foster students’ ability to create interactive computer games that are culturally and socially relevant.
The iDesign Club is a collaborative effort between associate professor and Director of Educational Technology Programs at Hofstra University Dr. Roberto Joseph and the district with an eye toward developing technological fluency. This approach is also in conjunction with the district’s goal of improving computer literacy among students.
Dodd teachers Georgia Lambrinos and Kristen Wrigley began this pilot program in February with a group of sixth-grade students. They met weekly for 90 minutes and worked on creating games using the authoring tools found on various websites including Gamestar Mechanic (www.gamestarmechanic.com
) and Scratch (scratch.mit.edu
). The program will continue to follow this group of Atkinson graduates to John W. Dodd Middle School.
Two students will join Wrigley and Lambrinos for a two-week summer institute at Hofstra University.
How Do You Spell…
The Bayview Avenue School of Arts and Sciences completed its seventh annual spelling bee after students spent countless hours studying vocabulary words and definitions.
This event is one of Bayview’s most buzzed about activities of the year. The audience sat attentively as the contestants were challenged with words that progressively became more difficult.
In the end, the students were congratulated for their hard work and preparation and the winners, by grade level, were announced. A special thanks to the teachers and parents, who worked very hard to prepare all the finalists for the spelling bee. Congratulations to all the finalists, you are all winners.
The 2014 Spelling Bee winners are as follows:
2nd Grade 1st Place: Carlos Martinez
2nd Place: Ariya Pesina
3rd Place: James Bailey
3rd Grade 1st Place: Joseph Dibs
2nd Place: Chelsea Chigozie Ezumah
3rd Place: Savanna Valentin
4th Grade 1st Place: Brenna Igneri
2nd Place: Esterline Torres
3rd Place: Genesis Aguilar
FHS Science Awards and Honor Society Induction
The 10th annual Freeport High School science awards and New York State Science Honor Society induction honored Freeport’s highest science achievers in a recent ceremony.
“I’m here to honor what you all are doing,” said Hofstra University Director of Educational Programs Dr. Roberto Joseph, who served as the guest speaker. Dr. Joseph shared how his love of childhood games eventually led him to develop an afterschool computer game design initiative for Freeport students at Atkinson Intermediate School.
Students received certificates and monetary prizes that resulted from participation in various physics and chemistry olympiads, research and robotics competitions, and the in-house science fair. Science research teacher Edwin Irwin presented the awards. Monetary awards were presented on behalf of a wide variety of academic and corporate sponsors from a list that included Adelphi University, Hofstra University, New York Institute of Technology, Northrup Grumman and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Lynda L. Tinglin was the overall Freeport High School science fair winner. Alanna Gordon placed second, followed by Stephanie Rodriguez.
New York State Science Honor Society adviser Peggy Parigoris conducted the swearing in of new officers and the ceremonial candle lighting that framed the induction of the larger group. “We are all very, very impressed with your work,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham to the 11 new inductees.
District Coordinator of Science Dr. Vincent Pereira emceed the ceremony. Board of Education Vice President Vilma Lancaster, trustee Anthony Miller, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Gerard W. Poole, and principal Linda Carter were also in attendance.
Seventh and eighth-grade students at J. W. Dodd Middle School were recognized for their commitment to excellence during two special events. Students in the seventh-grade Honors Research and ELA Skills classes participated in the Freedom Writers Book and Research Celebration and both the seventh and eighth-grade students participated in an academic awards ceremony.
Invited family members listened as students shared their research projects, which were an extension of their classroom lessons. They also enjoyed a student performance featuring singing and dancing followed by a delicious multi-cultural buffet. During the awards ceremony, seventh-grade students were presented with their honor and high-honor roll certificates. Special recognition was given to several eighth-grade students for their academic excellence in several different subject areas.
Math Bee Challenge at Bayview
The Bayview Avenue Annual Math Bee is a tournament where students in grades 2-4 compete in classroom and grade level math competitions. The program is a fun and exciting way to help students achieve extraordinary levels of speed and accuracy with their math skills. The competition consists of individual student oral responses within the designated 10-second time limit. Students who answer correctly within the time limit continue to advance to the next round. Students respond to number sentences with mixed operations, sometimes up to seven facts. Finalists have become so fluent that this year, to the enjoyment of all, the final rounds included word problems. All students who reached the grade level math bee competition were winners. The top three winners received prizes, but all students were given certificates and ribbons.
The 2014 Bayview Annual Math Bee champions are:
Students Expand Critical Thinking Skills
A select group of first- and second-grade students at New Visions Elementary School are participating in the Strategic Thinking Enrichment Program (STEP) through the benefit of the 21st Century Learning Grant.
These students, chosen by their teachers for strong academic skills, tenacity for strategic thinking and problem-solving abilities, have the opportunity to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics through hands-on, project-based activities. The program is run under the leadership of teaching assistant Rachel Kugelmass.
The goal of the program is to provide experiences to expand students' critical thinking skills and foster higher levels of learning that tie into the New York State Common Core Learning Standards.
Students Speak Out About Bullying
Members of Freeport High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (S.A.D.D.) organization visited with third-grade students at Archer Street School to share important lessons about the dangers of bullying. The group's leaders, Freeport High School social worker Alicia Brenneis and Freeport High School social worker intern Saree Wiener collaborated with Archer Street School social worker Elizabeth Biscotti to develop a program that would connect the older students with the younger students.
The FHS students began by introducing themselves and explaining what bullying is, the different types of bullying, and how to handle bullying. After some discussion, the students broke into groups, with each high school student assuming the role of group leader. Each group collaborated to develop short skits depicting a bully, witness, teacher, principal and victim. The groups then shared their skits with each other. As an exercise in developing positive self-esteem, the students also created stars and wrote five unique and different things about themselves. The younger students were excited to have students from the high school visit with them and were eager to learn the valuable lessons they shared about the dangers of bullying.
Be Fit and Be Cool
Students at Bayview Avenue School learned the dangers of childhood obesity from a group of visiting doctors who led them on a mile-long walk as part of the “Be Fit – Be Cool” initiative.
“We hope that this first-time event will become a fixture on the school calendar for years to come,” said principal Odette Wills. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham was on hand to support the program designed to help motivate students to strive to have a better diet and exercise lifestyle.
The “Be Fit – Be Cool” program, sponsored by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin Queens/Long Island chapter, echoed the anti-obesity initiative of first lady Michelle Obama. “We are here to do something to make your life more healthy and more special,” said AAPIQLI President Dr. Ajay K. Lodha. Students were shown a PowerPoint slideshow explaining the health risks associated with poor eating and lack of exercise. Dr. Lodha and other physicians then led the students on their measured mile walk around the building to reinforce the message of proper exercise.
National PTA Reflections Winner
Bayview Avenue Elementary School first-grade student Hannah Islas has been awarded a 2013-2014 National PTA Reflections Award of Merit in Visual Arts for her entry, “Dream big! I want to be a great artist!”
“Hannah is an outstanding artist and a terrific girl,” said art teacher Laurie Kolodny. Submitted student artwork was required to relate to a central theme put forth by the National PTA. This year’s theme was “Believe, Dream, Inspire.”
For the next two years, the National PTA will proudly showcase Hannah’s original work of art in various galleries. She will also receive a silver-plated Reflections medallion, a certificate and letter signed by the National PTA president and recognition in the PTA Reflections online gallery.
Earlier this year, Hannah received the New York State PTA Award of Excellence that qualified her for judging at the national level.
All Reflections participants and their families are invited to attend the annual National PTA convention from June 19-22 in Austin, Texas, where all award recipients will be recognized.
The National PTA Reflections program encourages school-age children to explore the arts and express themselves. In return, the students are given positive recognition for their artistic efforts. The PTA Reflections program was started in 1969 by Mary Lou Anderson, and, since that time, millions of students have participated.
International Educational Delegation Visits Freeport High School
An international delegation of educators from India recently visited Freeport High School to learn more about higher education methods in the United States.
The group of 36 was greeted by Principal Linda Carter, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Gerard W. Poole and Executive Director for Operations Michael Singleton.
After a breakfast and welcoming remarks, the visitors were split into two groups to tour the building to get a better understanding of the broad scope of classes offered in Freeport. Assistant principals Nelson Holland and Joseph Mille conducted the tours.
“Public school education in America is the cornerstone of our democracy,” said Dr. Kuncham. “Our goal has been to provide opportunities to our students, no matter what their backgrounds, to learn 21st century skills,” he said. Kuncham briefly explained the egalitarian principles of public schooling to the group who largely represented private institutions. Dr. Kuncham went on to encourage the exploration of school partnerships, professional development and exchange programs with the visiting administrators.
A panel comprised of Director of Pupil Personnel Services Dr. Alice Kane, Math Department Chair and Community School Coordinator Jacqueline Matos, Director of English Language Arts Pamela Maltese, English Department Chair Andrea Kane, incoming English Department Chair Liana Valletti and Poole explained their roles in Freeport Schools and answered questions regarding the district’s educational goals and practices and how they meet and exceed the New York State Common Core Learning Standards. Among the topics discussed were teacher training and continuous professional development, differentiated instruction in the classroom, leadership within the secondary school system, and new pedagogy and assessment methodologies.
A similar group visited Freeport just a few years ago. This visit was coordinated through the office of William D. Lynch III, study abroad counselor/international recruiter at SUNY College at Old Westbury. All of the visiting educators were presented with informational packets and small tokens of appreciation.
Students Focused on ‘Breaking the Cycle’
John W. Dodd Middle School held a special assembly devoted to “Breaking the Cycle” of violence and hate through forgiveness and by making wise choices.
The assembly, planned by Principal Johane Ligondé, Assistant Principal Danielle Ballard and social worker Felice Niland, was sponsored by Ian Winter and Janet Winter and the Bruderhof Community as part of their outreach program designed to help students better understand non-violent ways to resolve conflicts.
Hashim Garrett, one of three guest speakers, told students, “The tongue is one of the smallest muscles in the body, but it can do the most damage.” Johann Christoph Arnold, a civil rights activist and author who has dedicated his life to peace and non-violence, and retired police chief Charles Williams, who spoke of his own recovery from emotional pain through forgiveness, were the other two speakers in the program.
Students were given a copy of of Arnold’s book “Why Forgive?” which opens with a forward by New York Police Department Detective Steven McDonald, a plainclothes officer injured in the line of duty 27 years ago, and includes a chapter that details Garrett’s story.
Middle School Presents ‘Guys and Dolls’
The John W. Dodd Middle School Drama Club staged the musical “Guys and Dolls” in the high school auditorium in a production that showcased the students’ amazing talents.
Director/producer Robyn Workman and choreographer/musical director Vashti Burke worked with the students to master the unique rhythm and cadence of the show that is based on the stories of writer Damon Runyon and was put to music by composer/lyricist Frank Loesser.
This production featured Myles Carter as Nathan Detroit, Hailey Brown as Sarah Brown, Jada Blassingame as Miss Adelaide, Michael Desir as Sky Materson and Justin Acree as Nicely-Nicely Johnson.
The show captures a bygone era in New York City that was populated with characters who Runyon stylized with highly formal language mixed with the slang of the times.
Advanced Science and Engineering Fair
Freeport High School’s 10th annual Science and Engineering Fair spotlighted the technically advanced research projects conducted by students in the district in an exhibition that seemed to transform the school gym into a research laboratory. “We hope that their experience in the fair encourages them to pursue careers in science, engineering and mathematics,” said Director of Science Dr. Vincent Pereira.
The 47 individual projects spanning a variety of categories were clearly the result of intense work by research students meticulously guided by their advisers. Judges from within the ranks of the school district, local accredited colleges and universities, science-related industries and the Village of Freeport evaluated the projects using a point system that weighed research displayed, methods used, validity of conclusions and the students’ fluency in answering relevant questions.
The many rows of trifold posters neatly presented the ambitious theorems, data-driven charts and analytic graphs revealing the scope of the student work.
The school competition challenges students to advance their scientific curiosity, methodically research and record data, and resolve questions quickly, accurately and efficiently. Several entrants had already been recognized for their hard work at regional competitions.
Students Set Precedents with Firsts in Science Research
Freeport science research students competed in regional competitions and handily demonstrated the strength of the district’s science research program.
High school junior Mohdshobair Hussaini was one of twenty-six finalists from among more than 400 students that took part in the Long Island Science Congress Competition. His research into identifying efficient chelation mechanisms of mercury enabled him to move on to compete in the statewide competition that will be held at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Hussaini is the first ever Freeport student to advance to this next level.
Sophomore Rajiv Chanda’s highly advanced astronomy project took first place in the Molloy College Science Competition and earned him a gold award and monetary prize. This was the first time a student from Freeport had achieved this honor. “We have come a long way in developing an astronomy program at Freeport,” said director of science Dr. Vincent Pereira. “I would like to thank our high school science research teacher Edward Irwin and middle school science teacher Tom Doyle for their mentoring of students.”
The science department is committed to continuing their hard work with their students during the summer to prepare them for the Siemens and Intel Competitions.
Spring Festival of the Arts
The fifth- and sixth-grade music students at the Caroline G. Atkinson Intermediate School gave a rousing 90-minute performance for family and friends in their annual Spring Festival of the Arts at Freeport High School. The performance spotlighted the high level of talent and commitment to the performing arts found in Freeport.
The first part of the program, which included the mariachi band, fifth-grade chorus, and concert orchestra, featured seven pieces of music from a wide spectrum of genres. The sixth-grade portion of the event featured the select chorus, Atkinson chorus and concert band, whose crisp performances demonstrated their readiness for the middle school arts programs and beyond.
Many of the students belong to more than one musical ensemble, demonstrating their musical dexterity and enthusiasm for the performing arts.
Spotlight on the Arts
John W. Dodd Middle School students presented an evening of music spanning a variety of genres during the annual Spring Festival of the Arts at Freeport High School.
Nine groups showed off their diverse and developing talents as testimony to their dedication and hard work with music teachers Adam Rubin, Candice Mordhorst, Sherill Spruill, Justin Friedman, Vashti Burke and Michael Young.
The show opened with the chamber orchestra performance of Elliot Del Borgo’s “Arlington Sketches” and Jeffrey Bishop’s “Orange Jam.” A quick transition brought out the mixed chorus, who impressed the audience with Emily Dickinson’s “Exhilaration Is the Breeze” and Rollo Dilworth’s arrangement of Neil Ginsberg’s “Climbin’ Up the Mountain.”
The concert orchestra followed with performances of Carold Nunez’s “Funny Fiddlin” and ended with a rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” which had audience dancing in their seats.
The concert continued with the swinging sound of the vocal tapestry jazz ensemble, followed by the jazz ensemble sans vocalists. Ray Henderson’s “Bye Bye Blackbird” and Victor Lopez’s “Grooved Pavement” were featured tunes. “Grooved Pavement” featured instrumental solos by Peter Muzac, Marty Scott and Kenny Martinez.
The select chorale impressed the audience with their stirring vocals on Kenneth Riggs arrangement of the African-American traditional spiritual “Sinner Man,” and Stephen Hatfield’s Cuban folk song “Son de Camaguey.”
The concert band melodiously filled the auditorium with three tunes including Gene Milford’s “Jamboree Swing March.”
The mariachi added some spice to the program as they demonstrated their Latin-styled zest on Adam Romo’s arrangement of “Los Machetes” and Jose Hernandez’s arrangement of “Amor Eterno.”
The Spring Festival concluded with the wind ensemble presenting Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Rhosymedre” and David Shaffer’s “Last Ride of the Pony Express.”
Audience members were encouraged to view an art gallery in the lobby created by Nancy Williams’ students before and after the performance.
FHS Students Awarded for Global Initiative Video
Freeport High School students won second place in the 2014 national “Speak Truth to Power” video competition sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers, Tribeca Film Institute, Ensemble Video, and Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights in Washington, D.C.
The students created a six-minute mini documentary about the current advocacy initiative at the high school regarding children who are being used as exploited labor in the carpet industry. Freeport teacher Pamela Mary Schmidt is one of the original writers of the “Speak Truth to Power” global curriculum.
Freeport High School students have been raising awareness of important issues in our global community for the past two years under Schmidt’s guidance. Through an ongoing art bracelet project, they have been generating support for disabled orphans in Haiti and children in Nepal. The programs connect students in the United States to children in both countries to facilitate human potential and promote dignity through self-sustainability and art. The children in both overseas locations paint wooded beads that Schmidt brings back to the United States. In turn, Freeport students turn the beads into bracelets and sell them. All of the support generated goes directly back to the needy children to fund an outdoor play area, a bakery that will feed thousands of Haitians, and support the orphans’ education.
Supporting the Fight Against ALS
Students at Leo F. Giblyn Elementary School showed their support in the war against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) with a gathering to welcome the ALS Ride for Life group as they made a stop in Freeport on their way from the Hamptons to Manhattan. “This ride celebrates perseverance, determination, compassion, responsibility, awareness and hope,” said Principal Amanda Muldowney. “These are all traits that we constantly try to instill in each of you.” Assistant Superintendent for Personnel Dr. Mary Bediako was in attendance to show her support.
Students displayed banners of encouragement that they made showing support for those with the disease who are making the strenuous ride. The banners proclaimed the students’ commitment to help support research into finding a cure. The wheelchair-bound visitors – ALS Ride for Life founder Chris Pendergast and Frank Wojcik and their volunteer entourage – were treated to a performance of Beth Jacoby and Larry King’s song “Power of One” by second- and fourth-graders under the direction of music teacher Shannon Abramovitz. Abramovitz helped organize the event with Meghan McCormack-Carney.
Students and staff members were encouraged to wear navy, white or New York Yankees baseball gear for the event as a reminder that Major League Baseball Hall of Fame first baseman Lou Gehrig, who played for the Yankees, was diagnosed with the illness that is now closely associated with his name.
Musician Extraordinaire Earns Prestigious Scholarship
Freeport High School junior Skye Hamilton Carranza has been recognized for his outstanding musical talents. He has achieved the distinction of winning a full scholarship to USDAN School of Performing Arts on behalf of the Nassau Music Educators Association for the summer of 2014.
Skye’s main instrument is the oboe, however he is also fluent on all saxophones as well as percussion. Skye has been a member of NMEA’s Division 2 band, as well as Division 4 and 5 for vocal. He has performed as a member of the pit for Freeport High School’s musical productions including In the Heights and Once on This Island.
He has also been a member of the Nassau Suffolk Performing Arts group as an oboist in the Youth, Honor and Concert Bands. In Skye’s free time, he is a member of the Silva Dance Academy as well as an instrumentalist and music composer at Brimstone Productions.