Fundraising for a Cause
Westhampton Beach Middle School students dressed up for a cause on Halloween this year. Seventh and eighth graders in the school's Skills for Adolescence raised more than $550 to help the Southampton Animal Shelter this fall. The effort was part of a regular program run in the class each quarter. Each Skills for Adolescence class is required to participate in a service project to help the local community. Led by teacher Kevin Trentowski, students are asked to find a local organization to help. The students research information about a number of places and ultimately decide on one that they feel strongest about. This year, the class decided to run a "Dress-Up Day" and ask their peers and teachers to donate $2 in order to be able to wear a costume on Halloween, in an effort to raise money for the animal shelter. The money raised was used to purchase items from the shelter’s wish list of supplies. Overall, more than 260 students and teachers participated.
Marian Cassata appointed as Interim Elementary School Principal
The Westhampton Beach Board of Education has appointed Marian Cassata as the Interim Elementary School Principal to replace Dr. Ron Masera who has been named Superintendent/Principal of the Remsenburg-Speonk Union Free School District. Ms. Cassata will serve in this capacity through the close of the 2010/11 school year. Ms. Cassata retired as the Elementary School Principal in September 2003 and has been approved for employmentby the New York State Education Department. Please see the attached letterfrom Superintendent Lynn Schwartz regarding this appointment.
Westhampton Beach High School senior Andrea Schorndorf has been awarded two art scholarships, one that will be bringing her to Spain in the spring and the other to help her enhance her education locally. Awarded by the National Educational Travel Council (NETC), the scholarship awarded to Andrea is designed to give students the chance to be inspired, enriched and educated on one of the council’s 2009 Educational Travel Programs.
Andrea submitted a poster-size drawing of a flamenco dancer to secure her prize. The young artist found the scholarship online and was then nominated by her art teacher, Anne St. John. In addition to her artwork, Andrea submitted an application to the scholarship committee explaining why she should be awarded the prize.
The senior plans on attending art school after she graduates and said the trip would help enhance her education and inspire her. In April Andrea will spend one week, fully paid for, in Barcelona and Madrid.
"I'm so excited," she said about the trip, adding that she is particularly enthusiastic about visiting the Salvador Dali Museum.
In addition to the NETC scholarship, Andrea was recently awarded a scholarship to take art classes at the Long Island Academy of Fine Art in Riverhead. Once again, Andrea found the scholarship on the Internet and submitted some of her work to be considered.
“It’s a really good art school. I get free art classes for two months and they’re really expensive,” Andrea said.
WHB Inducts Six into Honor Society
Six Westhampton Beach High School students were inducted into the National Honor Society in the school’s fall induction ceremony. Jeffrey Kabot, Steven Garbarino, Peter McChesney, Megan Passarelle, Heather Kametler, and John Laadt were all inducted. The National Honor Society honors those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Character. These characteristics have been associated with membership in the organization since its beginnings in 1921.
High School Students Attend 2nd Annual BOCES Career & Technical Fair
On November 21, 2008, several high school students attended the 2nd Annual Career & Technical Fair sponsored by Eastern Suffolk BOCES. It was held on the Brentwood Campus of Suffolk Community College. The fair
assisted our students with career planning and provided an opportunity to meet with representatives of technical/vocational schools.
Our students visited with schools with career options that spanned from Manufacturing Technology, Energy Efficiency, Automotive and Diesel Repair,Alternative Energy,to Allied Health.
Thank you to Ms. Joanne Williams for organizing this worthwhile field trip.
Participate 08 at Westhampton Beach
Tired of the apathetic and unconcerned nature of her fellow classmates, Westhampton Beach High School senior Allie Lehrer organized a mock election, known throughout the campus as Participate 08. The event allowed students the opportunity to vote for President of the United States and on what they considered to be the most important national issue.
“A not properly informed and inactive youth is a crisis in our nation's polls,” stated Allie. “It seemed the perfect time to show kids that they will have a say in only a couple of years, and that they should really care. I wanted to give them unfiltered and unbiased information, far from what they might see on MTV, etc. Overall, I wanted to show what positive things we can do as students and how we can participate with purpose.”
Allie worked with members of the Student Council, CURE, Youth to Youth, Friends for Friends, and Seascape to get out the word. In addition to Allie’s efforts, the student body also studied the historic election in their social studies classes.
For which issue students considered to be the most important, they were given the choice between environmentalism, volunteering, lowering the drinking age, and the arts. To educate ninth through twelfth graders on the issues, the members of CURE, Youth to Youth, Friends for Friends, and Seascape, with help from the journalism class, created videos highlighting each issue.
After all of the classes cast their votes and the ballots were tallied, Senator Barack Obama won with 67.2% of the student vote and environmentalism was the cause they are the most concerned with.
Honored for Heritage
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Marvin Carbajal, a Westhampton Beach High School senior, has been recognized by County Executive Steve Levy and the Suffolk County American Advisory Board for being a role model among his peers.
On October 24 Marvin, whose parents are from El Salvador, was awarded the Hispanic Heritage Month Award for his academic achievement and commitment to the community during a reception at Briarcliff College.
Marvin was the first Westhampton Beach student to be nominated by the district for the award. "It's big for us. We're really excited," High School Assistant Principal Danielle Pappas Garcia said, adding that Marvin was chosen for the award because of a combination of factors, including his dedication to his religious faith, leadership in school and high grade-point average.
WOW All Around
Every year the National PTA sponsors a Reflections Creative Arts Contest, and students submit works of art including photography, visual arts, dance choreography, film production and literature, based around a specific theme. This year the Reflections Contest theme was “WOW!”
The Reflections Program reception was held at the Elementary School on October 25 for students in kindergarten though fifth grade. All students who participated in the contest were invited and received either a certificate of excellence, honorable mention, or participation. The students were also given prizes based upon the category they entered, including a photo album, water bottle, notebook, or construction paper and crayons. The winning district-level entrants earned a placement in the countywide contest.
“I think the children did a wonderful job,” said Reflections Chairperson and PTA member Diane Strebel.
Taking a Stand
Westhampton Elementary School students took a stand against substance abuse by participating in National Red Ribbon Week.
From October 20 to October 24 students learned about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, participated in “Sock it to Drugs” day by wearing a pair of crazy socks, and pledged to be educated about drugs and other chemicals that could be harmful to their bodies by signing red ribbons.
Red Ribbon Week was created by the United States Congress in 1988 to help spread the message about the dangers of drug use.
Wearing Pink for a Cause
On Friday, October 17th, members of the Westhampton Beach Teachers Association, along with colleagues and students from throughout the school district, participated in the Susan G. Komen's Passionately Pink for the Cure. To participate in the event, everyone wearing pink for the day contributed $5 to the foundation's programs in breast cancer research, prevention, education and treatment. The district raised a total of $780.
Visiting Veterans Tell Their Tales
In recognition of Veterans Day, Westhampton Beach High School social studies teacher Paul Bass proudly hosted his Annual Veterans Visit. During the visit to all of the eleventh-grade social studies classes, eleven combat veterans, who fought in World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam War, discussed their experiences as members of the United States Armed Forces.
The United States Air Force, Army, Marines, and Navy were each represented by guest veterans which included Charlie Bass (Navy, WWII), Ed Bodkin (Marine Corp, Vietnam War), Charles Bortzfield (Army Air Corps, WWII), T.J. Hooker (Navy, WWII), Eddie Cartoski (Marine Corps, WWII and Korean War), and Peter Cuthberth (Army, Korean War). The veterans are members of V.F.W. 5350 in Quogue.
The gentlemen spoke about their personal experiences of why they enlisted, leaving for the war, adjusting to a world of combat and cultural differences, and shared their scariest moment. Students were anxious to hear the men’s service-time stories and view their war souvenirs.
Westhampton Beach High School student Anish Dalak won first place in the junior division of the Stanis Science Research Fair this spring for his research project that removed carbon dioxide from water, using plankton.
Anish spent half of the year developing the project, which used the marine plant to counteract the population of CO2.
Westhampton Beach Students Nationally Recognized
Five Westhampton Beach seniors have been recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation for their academic achievement. Alexander McKillop, Leah Buletti, Christian LaDu and Sarah Haupt have been named as this year's Commended Students in the 2009 National Merit Scholarship Program.
Approximately 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation were recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2009 competition for National Merit Scholarships, Commended Students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2009 competition by taking the 2007 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.
Jeffrey Kabot has been named as a Semifinalist in the program, and will continue on in the competition in February 2009 for National Merit Scholarships.
"I’m extremely proud of their accomplishments,” stated High School Principal Christopher Herr. “They are true scholars and deserving of this recognition. Their hard work and effort has paid off and will carry them into a very bright future. This is only one of the many achievements they will receive throughout their lives."
WHB Student a Published Photo Journalist
This month, Westhampton Beach High School senior Kaya Yusi's photography can be seen in City Magazine, which has been publishing award-winning photography for nearly a decade.
In the spring Kaya traveled with her uncle, writer Bill Powers, to the Dominican Republic, where the duo documented a couple's life as surfers and Jehovah’s Witnesses; Kaya with her camera, and her uncle with his words.
The article, "Mission From God," is now out on stands in the magazine's current issue.
Prompted by her uncle, after the magazine's editors saw Kaya's Flicker account - an online photo gallery - they decided to hire the seventeen-year-old for the job. Although she wasn't paid for the work, Kaya's four-day trip to the Dominican was picked up by the magazine.
"It was really cool," she said.
Kaya has only been shooting photography for the last five years, but her work has already been published on the New York Times website.
Fourteen Westhampton Beach students were chosen this year to be members of the All-County Regional All-State Ensembles.
"For our size school, we have a huge number of students," music teacher and chorus director Linda Howard said. "It's a big deal."
In May, the students auditioned for the spots against the county's top chorus, band and orchestra students at a New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) festival. The audition, which is only open to students in grades 11 and 12, secured the students a place in a performance at Northport High School on November 21, where they will perform with the top music students from the county. Sarah Rice, Lila Miller, and Teddy Motz were all chosen to play in the orchestra, while Kevin DeVivo, Billy Finn, Alexa Keegan, John Laadt, Mia Mulvey, Emma Ozman, Leanna Ozman, Louis Rinaldi, Devin Sadloski, Casey Sheren, and Rob Tureski will perform with the choral group.
Westhampton Beach High School students learned firsthand just what solar energy can do when a local solar company brought their Sun Shack to the school for a visit.
The Riverhead-based company, Go Solar, developed the Sun Shack as a portable and educational way to teach people about the benefits of solar and renewable energy.
Normally the Sun Shack, which is a portable shed outfitted with solar panels and a windmill, can be seen at events such as the Riverhead County Fair, but this was the first time the shack was brought to a school district.
The company did not charge the district to bring the Sun Shack to Westhampton Beach. "I just do this because I like the educational piece," Gary Munnick of Go Solar said.
Mr. Munnick spoke to students in the High School about the power of solar. Students were allowed to touch and feel the hot water, air conditioning, see the flat screen television and light, all generated by the solar panels on the shack.
As they explored the Sun Shack, students were encouraged to ask questions about renewable energy and solar power. Mr. Munnick also invited them to visit his company's website, www.gosolar.com, and email him with questions in the future.
The presentation had been set up between Mr. Munnick and High School science teacher John Broich to complement what students are learning in the classroom.
"I'm one of four houses in my village that has one of these on our house. Yes, it's a financial burden to install, but in the long run my kids understand how much of a stance we took on this and we're doing some good," Mr. Broich told students during the presentation.
Mock Conference, Real Life Issues
Congressman Tim Bishop spent a recent morning answering the questions of Middle School and High School students in Westhampton Beach. In an open forum, the future voters asked the Congressman his opinion on a variety of global and national topics ranging from the current economic state of Wall St., the looming energy crisis and abortion to his opinion on the November presidential election.
The event, which has been held with local congressmen in the past, was the idea of Westhampton Beach Middle School Social Studies teachers Jim Duca, Bill Hempfling, Bryan Schaumloffel, and English teacher Glenn Dorskind. The students had spent weeks in class learning how to pose questions, researching current issues and preparing for the event in their government and social studies classes.
“Feedback from the kids has been very positive. A lot of them said they learned a lot and found [Congressman Bishop] to be personable and knowledgeable,” said Mr. Duca.
Candid with his answers, the Congressman put the student’s concerns in context and explained the situations of each scenario to them. But first, before he began taking questions from the panel of seniors sharing the stage with him, he urged students to do one thing.
“The first thing you should do when you turn 18 is register to vote,” stated Congressman Bishop.
When asked about the government’s decision to bail out certain financial institutions in order to stave off bankruptcy, the Congressman explained how the scenario leading up to the current situation unfolded to students.
“We need to help people stay in their homes and we need to put people back to work. One of the things we want to do is invest infrastructure,” he said. “No question, it’s a risk. But the risk of doing nothing is far greater. That’s a risk we just can’t afford to take.”
A devoted Catholic, the Congressman admitted that his position on abortion conflicts with his religious beliefs. When posed with the question concerning testing on fetuses for Downs Syndrome he spoke broadly on the topic of abortion.
“It’s not my call, it’s the call of all the people involved,” he said, explaining that the decision to abort a pregnancy should stand with the expectant families.
Also asked by students why the United States has not interjected to stop the violence and genocide in countries such as Darfur, Congressman Bishop had the opportunity to discuss his views on our current situation in Iraq.
“We just don’t have the troops,” he said, adding that all of our military strength has been absorbed by having our troops in Iraq. “Should we be much more active? Absolutely … It is the tragic, tragic mistake of the decision to invade Iraq.”
Congressman Bishop later stated that in his opinion an “Obama presidency” would help to alleviate the duplication of Cold War behavior being seen by other countries, such as Russia. When asked about his position on renewable energy, Congressman Bishop explained that he is in favor of releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
“If we were to start drilling tomorrow it would take 8 to 10 years to get the oil to the refineries … we need to increase supply and destroy demand to drive down price,” he said.
Welcome Back, Elementary School
Westhampton Beach Elementary School greeted students and their families with a “Welcome Back Picnic” on Thursday, September 18.
With the weather on their side, students, their families and teachers enjoyed a warm fall afternoon of playing in the playground. Activities, such as face painting and tetherball, kept many children busy as others enjoyed fresh sliced watermelon and warm popcorn handed out for all to enjoy.
Westhampton Beach High School Prepares for Homecoming
The gymnasium at Westhampton Beach High School barely contained the roar of the crowd and the air horn blasts as students from grades nine through twelve prepared for the big Homecoming football game on Friday, September 19.
“Welcome to Homecoming 2008,” Athletic Director Kathy Masterson bellowed into the microphone as the students took their places in grade-appointed bleachers. “We want to see some serious spirit today.”
School spirit was in abundance as the four high school classes screamed, shouted, blasted air horns and clapped in celebration of the day and anticipation for the big game that night.
Student class officers and all of the fall athletic teams were introduced at the pep rally including volleyball, soccer, football, golf, tennis, cheerleading, cross country, swimming and gymnastics.
This year’s pep rally had a Walt Disney theme where each of the classes competed for “Best Bleacher” decorations based on a Disney movie. Coming in at fourth place in the contest, the freshman class, who wore black to the rally, chose “Cinderella” as its theme, grey-shirted sophomores, who earned third place, chose “Neverland,” the green-clad, second place-winning junior class chose “Alice in Wonderland” and the first place award went to the senior class who went all out in its “Lion King” theme and toga attire.
The order was reversed for “Spirit Week” award winners, with the freshmen coming in at number one, sophomores number two, juniors in third place and the senior class at number four.
Getting a Head Start on the College Application Process
Some 200 parents and students attended a college workshop at the Westhampton Beach High School. The Director of Guidance for the district, Dr. Robert Finn, reviewed the ins and outs of applying to college with the high school seniors and their families.
The one-hour workshop was designed to help parents and students learn what they should be expecting in the months to come as deadlines for college applications approach. “It was a great turnout,” Dr. Finn said of the evening.
In addition to information on guidelines for the applications themselves, college visits, and interview and resume tips, attendees were given a timeline for college applications which outlines, by month, what hurdles seniors should be tackling in terms of their applications.
For students who were not at the workshop, these guidelines are available in the high school guidance department. While financial aid and the financial aid process were not delved into at the workshop, Mr. Finn said the district will be hosting a financial aid night for families in January.
Westhampton Beach Welcomes New Teachers
At the September 8 meeting, the Westhampton Beach Board of Education, along with Superintendent Lynn Schwartz, held a reception welcoming all new teachers and administrative staff. The reception, held in the library at the High School, allowed the Board members an opportunity to officially meet and welcome the new staff to the district.
“The district is indeed grateful to be welcoming so many quality employees,” stated Mr. Schwartz. “I look forward to a longstanding relationship with each and every one of them.”
The Westhampton Beach School District extends a warm welcome to the following new staff for the 2008-2009 school year: Linda Blumenthal (high school), Christine Capetanos (elementary), Anthony Cappiello (elementary), Kimberly Clarry (middle school), Erika Coiro (middle school), Kristen Conklin (elementary), Katie Fabian (high school), Kerri Jantzen (high school), Dariah Juma (high school), Jessica Kulesa (elementary), Jamie Kurz (elementary), Laurance Lavery (middle school), Kathy Long (middle school), Caitlin MacLeod (elementary), Alexandra Macchia (high school), Tracey O’Reilly (elementary), Meghan Otten (elementary), Lori Reinfurt (elementary), Jessica Rockfor (high school), Jennifer Rosler (high school), Allison Teglasi (middle school), and Toni Zambito-Stanek (elementary).