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Amityville Seniors Walk the Halls of the Past

Amityville Seniors Walk the Halls of the Past photo

Amityville Memorial High School seniors returned to their roots for the annual Senior Walk on June 7, in which they visited the district’s elementary schools and middle school.

After departing from the high school on six buses, the seniors arrived a short time later at Northwest Elementary School. Clad in their red caps and gowns, they walked through the halls as “Pomp and Circumstance” played over the public address system. Students and teachers lined the halls to cheer the soon-to-be graduates. Many children displayed their handmade congratulatory signs and held out their hands for high fives, while teachers snapped pictures and hugged many of their former students. 

Accompanied by Principal Maria Andreotti, Dean of Students John Cardone and several teachers, the seniors then traveled to Northeast Elementary School where they got their starts as either pre-K or kindergarten students. Following trips through Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School and Edmund W. Miles Middle School, the seniors returned to the high school for lunch. 

The Senior Walk was one of many celebratory activities leading up to graduation including the senior and sports awards ceremonies, college athlete celebration day and the senior prom.

Amityville Athletes Commit to Their Sports

Amityville Athletes Commit to Their Sports photo

Sixteen of the district’s finest senior athletes will continue their athletic pursuits as they take their talents to colleges and universities on Long Island, regionally and across the United States. During College Athlete Celebration Day, held in Amityville Memorial High School’s library on June 1, administrators and coaches congratulated the seniors on their next step.

“Today is a celebration of their decision to continue their sports on the college and university level,” said Evan Farkas, director of athletics, physical education and health. “They have worked hard their whole lives to get to the next level and have paved the way for future Amityville athletes.”

The district congratulates the following athletes:

Jala Coad, football, SUNY Brockport  

Julius Goddard, basketball, SUNY Oneonta

Deandre Harding, football, Morrisville State College

Nyleek Hendricks, football, Utica College

Bri’Anna Jones, basketball, Nassau Community College

Jacob Marrero, track and field, Norfolk State University

Damion McPhaul, football, Jacksonville University

Deonte Palmer, football, Hampton University or Clark Atlanta University

Donte Palmer, football, Hampton University or Clark Atlanta University

Jayson Robinson, basketball, Springfield Commonwealth Academy

Joshua Serrano, basketball, Iona College 

Kacey Smith, volleyball, Suffolk County Community College

Sabrina Tobin, track and field, Niagara University

Enroy Toney, football, undecided

Ashley Wilson, dance, SUNY Brockport 

Deonte Wilson, wrestling, North Carolina State University

District Honors Standout Seniors

District Honors Standout Seniors photo

Nearly 200 awards and scholarships were presented to members of Amityville Memorial High School’s senior class on May 31. The Senior Awards Ceremony was an opportunity to recognize the achievements of the soon-to-be graduates.

The seniors were joined by administrators, board of education trustees, teachers, guidance counselors, families and fellow students. Also on hand were representatives of the dozens of organizations that sponsor awards and scholarships. Superintendent Dr. Mary T. Kelly said that the Class of 2018 is receiving approximately $1.5 million in scholarship money, “a very significant contribution to our young men and women.”

Awards recognized accomplishments in academics, the arts, athletics, community service and leadership. The honored seniors were called up one by one, and guidance counselors announced each individual’s awards and scholarships. A video presentation featured the top 25 graduates, who spoke about their college plans and what they would miss most about Amityville.  

“Members of the Class of 2018 have been positive role models whose outstanding achievements are cause for celebration,” Principal Maria Andreotti said. “Their dedication, hard work and commitment to success in all areas the school are truly appreciated by the Amityville school community.”


High School Students Explore Medical Careers

High School Students Explore Medical Careers photo

Amityville Memorial High School students learned about dozens of job possibilities in the healthcare field during the first Medical Career Day on May 24. The fair was coordinated by Northwell Health’s Plainview and Syosset hospitals.

At a medical career fair in the gymnasium, students were able to visit tables to learn about different healthcare departments including radiology, laboratory, pharmacy, patient experience, human resources, marketing and communications, food and nutrition, dental and many more. 

“What makes Medical Career Day unique is that students have the opportunity to learn about so many different careers in healthcare, not just clinical ones,” said Christine Patti, Plainview and Syosset hospital’s community relations director. “Any position that they can think of can relate back to healthcare and is featured at Northwell Health.”

There were several interactive activities. At the dermatology station, students could look into a DermaScan machine, which used a LED black light to show sun damage on their skin. The occupational therapist table had a game of Jenga in which students had to use their non-dominant hand to remove the pieces. They could also practice hands-on CPR on dummies, and see the various instruments used by doctors and nurses.

South Oaks Hospital of Amityville had information about its art therapy program and Project C.A.R.E., its team-building adventure course. Doctors, nurses and other professionals led workshops in the library and auditorium on various topics such as healthy lifestyles, coping with anxiety and how to obtain careers in nutrition, pharmacy and healthcare finance. Students heard from people with military backgrounds who have transitioned into healthcare and from a doctor who immigrated to the United States and became one of the nation’s leading cardiologists. 

“The range of options out there for our students is amazing, and they were recently able to learn about these opportunities from the experts,” said Principal Maria Andreotti. “Students took advantage of this hands-on experience to engage in conversations with some of the leading healthcare professionals. They learned that they can achieve anything if they work hard and set their mind to it.” 

First Season in the Books for Girls Lacrosse

First Season in the Books for Girls Lacrosse photo
First Season in the Books for Girls Lacrosse photo 2
Amityville Memorial High School’s girls lacrosse team recently finished its inaugural season, as the popular sport was added for the spring 2018 schedule. 

The junior varsity team was coached by a pair of Amityville teachers with experience playing at the collegiate level. Northwest Elementary School third-grade teacher Nicole Bass was part of three NCAA championship teams at Adelphi University and high school social studies teacher Margot Howard was an inaugural member of St. Joseph College’s women’s lacrosse team. 

The Warriors played a 13-game schedule from late March through early May against Suffolk County opponents from Lindenhurst to Hampton Bays. Homes games were held at Lou Howard Field. 

Coach Howard said the team was more competitive as the season went on, and successfully increased their goal-scoring ability. It also continued to gain players as word spread about the new team, finishing with about 20 players. Senior captains Gaby Alberto, Kimberly Bonilla and Allison Martinez led the group of mostly freshman, sophomores and juniors. Next year’s team will have many returning players with a full year of playing experience. 

“It’s a young team and we have a lot of potential,” Coach Howard said. “The girls were so amazing and so dedicated. I’m just really excited about the future of this program.”

Coach Howard said she was extremely proud of her players, who added lacrosse to their rigorous academic schedules. They committed themselves to learning the rules and strategies, and played well together as a team.  

Evan Farkas, the district’s director of athletics, physical education and health, said the hope is to expand the girls program to include a varsity team in the near future. Amityville will introduce intramural boys lacrosse next year to eventually grow into a full program.

“We’re incredibly proud of the girls and the coaches,” Mr. Farkas said. “It’s a challenge to start up a new team. I think this is going to be one of our great programs in Amityville. Watching a game, it felt like lacrosse was always here.”

Sophomores Make a Personal Connection to History

Sophomores Make a Personal Connection to History photo
Sophomores Make a Personal Connection to History photo 2
Sophomores Make a Personal Connection to History photo 3
Sophomores Make a Personal Connection to History photo 4
Sophomores at Amityville Memorial High School heard a powerful story from a Long Island man who, more than seven decades ago, survived the Holocaust. The first-hand account from Werner Reich gave students insight into one of the biggest atrocities in history. 

Mr. Reich has been visiting the high school for the past decade to support the 10th-grade social studies curriculum, which focuses on world history and includes extensive study of World War II. He told students that as a teenager, he was arrested and held in a concentration camp before finally being liberated at 17 years old and later moving to the United States. A PowerPoint presentation with photographs, maps and cartoons illustrated his tales of capture and survival while providing historical context of the Holocaust.  

His story served as inspiration for students to lead lives based upon kindness and respect. Mr. Reich urged them to fight injustice and oppression, and to stand up for anyone being mistreated.

“Ask yourself, ‘What is the right thing to?’ Then do it,” he said.

Social studies teachers explained that students learn how to cite primary sources in their writing, and there is no greater primary source than hearing from a person who lived through a historical event. 

District Celebrates its Champions

District Celebrates its Champions photo

Amityville Memorial High School’s state championship basketball team marched through the streets of town on May 12 as the community came out to celebrate their accomplishment.

The Parade of Champions began at Edmund W. Miles Middle School and was followed by a recognition ceremony in the high school auditorium. Marchers included administrators, board of education trustees, cheerleaders, junior varsity athletes, representatives from the middle and elementary schools, elected officials and community leaders.   

After winning the county and Long Island championships, the Warriors defeated Irondequoit High School, 52-42 on March 17, then captured the state title the following day with a 74-54 win over defending champion Ardsley High School. Amityville’s first state title in 15 years was a cause for celebration.

“They are a tremendous source of pride for our entire community,” said Superintendent Dr. Mary T. Kelly. “Our student athletes truly embody the Warrior ethic. They are gentlemen of character.”

On hand to honor the team were Amityville Mayor Dennis Siry and Deputy Mayor Kevin Smith, Babylon Town Supervisor Richard Schaffer, Town Councilman Terence McSweeney, Town Clerk Gerry Compitello, Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory and State Sen. John Brooks. The varsity basketball players, along with head coach Gordon Thomas and assistant coach Paul Robinson, were presented with citations.

The ceremony concluded with the unveiling of a championship sign that was donated by the Town of Babylon. 

School officials also honored New York State wrestling champion and three-time All-American Deonte Wilson, who was unable to attend because he was competing that day in the discus throw for Amityville’s track and field team. 


Medical Research Earns Science Students First Place

Medical Research Earns Science Students First Place photo
A team of student scientists from the district took first place in the project competition at the recent STEM Diversity Summit at Farmingdale State College. 

The group of Amityville Memorial High School students, including Jeffrey Garcia, Nathalie Larin, Amber Palmer, Amelia Tisk, Alexa Victor and Z’Dhanne Williams, are part of the Independent Science Research program. They presented their project, “Treatment of Polycythemia Vera with Resveratrol and Other Small Molecules,” which they have been working on since middle school. 

The students have been trying to determine molecules that would be best for the treatment of Polycythemia Vera, a rare blood cancer. They have been working one day a week at Farmingdale alongside biology professor Dr. Andrew Michaelson, with support from science research teacher Alexis Charles and retired science teacher Deborah Charles.  

“All of this research is for a good cause,” Jeffrey said. “This can one day save lives.”

The five students were honored at the May 9 board of education and presented with certificates and plaques from Dr. Veronica Henry, the executive assistant to the president at Farmingdale. Amityville’s Independent Science Research program, now its third year, continues to grow in terms of enrollment and participation in regional science competitions. This year, students took part in the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair and Molloy College’s Kathy Belton Science Fair for the first time.  

Amityville Athletics Are on the Air

Amityville Athletics Are on the Air photo
Reporting live from Amityville Memorial High School, it’s Justin Bethea and Devontay Rickenbacker. The two students have added a new dimension to Amityville athletics by broadcasting several Warriors contests. 

Justin, a sophomore, and Devontay, a junior, called all of the home games for the boys and girls varsity basketball teams as well as select road games. They were also able to travel with the boys team throughout its playoff run that culminated in a state championship. In addition to calling the plays and providing in-game commentary, the duo conducted postgame interviews with players, coaches and administrators. 

The games were livestreamed on The Cube and filmed using Padcaster, a kit that includes an iPad, case, tripod and microphone. Justin and Devontay were supported by fellow students Brian Portillo and Sabitha Joseph, who operated the camera, and technology teacher Paul Cimmino. 

“I found something that I enjoy doing,” Justin said. “Broadcasting is what I now want to do as a career.”

Devontay, who used to make YouTube videos about the NFL and NBA when he was younger, said he has always had an interest in sports commentary and this experience opened his eyes to the preparation that professional broadcasters must undertake. He and Justin both spoke of the importance of good pronunciation and cutting down on saying words such as “like” and “umm” while on camera. Additionally, they had to learn to be unbiased by referring to the team as “Amityville” or “the Warriors” instead of “we.” 

The pair learned how to fill an entire broadcast with commentary. For each game, they had statistics at the ready for both Amityville and the away team. Because they are classmates with Warriors players, they also had several anecdotes they could tell when there were breaks in the action. 

Although they weren’t able to broadcast the state championship game in Binghamton, Justin and Devontay both were given seats on press row, in which they were able to take photos and videos and network with members of the media. Devontay said that one of the greatest moments of the season they did get to call was when senior captain Josh Serrano scored his 1,500th career point.

Evan Farkas, the director of athletics, physical education and health, said a group visited Harborfields High School last year to learn about their broadcasting program, and this year’s goal was to livestream a handful of games.

“Little did we know that Justin and Devontay would come in and take it to a whole new level,” he said. “We’ve quickly become a model school for broadcasting.”

Mr. Farkas said the goal for next year is to add even more sports to the broadcasting lineup. Additionally, they are looking to add some new equipment such as noise-canceling headphones. 

Justin said that having several hundred people tune in to the games and hear him and Devontay’s commentary was a rewarding experience. It was just as thrilling as being on the sidelines for the basketball team’s title run. 

“There was a huge learning curve,” Justin said, “but it was a great experience.”
Sunday, June 24, 2018