Harborfields Central School District Logo
Washington Drive Primary held a special ribbon cutting ceremony for
their new Makerspace, which has long been in the works, on Nov. 8. The
school was honored by the presence of Mr. Roger Tilles, who represents
Long Island on the New York State Board of Regents at the ribbon cutting
ceremony, along with Superintendent Dr. Francesco Ianni and other
Students lined the halls outside the space, peering in, eager to explore
what the room had to offer. Once a few students assisted Dr. Ianni in
cutting the room’s ribbon, students poured in. The students treated
those in attendance by singing the school’s theme song to christen the
room. First grade teacher Melinda O’Donoghue explained to the students
what a makerspace was, and how fortunate they were to have such a space
that most primary schools don’t have.
Students were then released to explore all of the items within the
space, where they tinkered with the Lego wall, programming robots, and
more. Mr. Tilles spent some time interacting with the children,
encouraging them to be creative, and reading them a few inspiring poems
by various authors, including Shel Silverstien.
Creating this unique space that enables students to explore creativity
and innovation aligns with the district’s goal to maximize student
opportunities in the areas of science, technology, engineering, art and
mathematics (STEAM). These spaces, which are a part of the “Maker
Movement”, incorporate all of those areas in a new and fun way.
“Watching small ideas turn into tangible experiences for our students is such a source of pride for us,” said Dr. Ianni.
The Makerspace, which was made possible by a grant gifted to the school
by the Harborfields Community Educational Foundation (HACEF), was
dreamed up and made into reality by Assistant Principal Kathryn McNally,
Interim Principal Kelly Fallon, Karin Fey, Co-President of HACEF and
“Makers are needed to add to the global sum of human knowledge,” said Mrs. McNally, “so we’re starting now!”
Additionally, we would like to recognize the staff members who were
instrumental in bringing the Washington Drive Makerspace to our
students. A special thank you to Melinda O’Donoghue, Christopher
Maresco, Guy Semione, Joey Rice and Jimmy Brauer for all their efforts!
In honor of Veterans Day, Thomas J. Lahey Elementary hosted the Bring a
Vet to School program on Nov. 8. This program, sponsored by Altice and
in collaboration with the History Channel, allows schools to honor
veterans by having them visit, showing appreciation for their service,
and giving students the opportunity to ask them questions. Nine veterans
were in attendance that day, and most of them were family members of
students at TJL, including Mr. Eric Harris, a Persian Gulf War veteran,
who was responsible for bringing the program to the school.
The veterans entered the school’s multipurpose room to reverent applause
from everyone in attendance, expressing gratitude for their service.
Students performed “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” accompanied by piano, for
the veterans. Two by two, selected students read letters, poems and
essays to thank the veterans for all they’ve done.
“Thank you for protecting our freedom,” read a letter from Mrs.
Sheehan’s third-grade class. “You are so brave to risk your safety to
protect ours, and we are so honored to have you with us.”
Veterans then dispersed to visit third-grade classrooms to engage in a
Q&A time with the students, where they were asked questions about
their time serving the country.
“We want our students to realize that Veterans Day is not just another
day off,” said Principal Susan Kenny. “It’s an opportunity to show honor
and respect to those who’ve given up so much to protect us.”
Seventh graders at OMS tried their hands at learning the mountain
dulcimer during the month of October. Learning this extremely accessible
instrument enabled beginning musicians to learn the basics of making
music, while challenging advanced musicians to build melodies,
harmonies, and chords. Students had the opportunity to compose their own
solos, to play duets, or collaborate and create rounds with other
students. Each shared their solo composition with the class, as well as
the title of the piece and the story behind it.
“This project was the first opportunity students had to create their own
compositions,” said music teacher Ms. Jessica Lowenhar, “and it was
wonderful to watch them express themselves creatively with what they
learned in class.”
Both experienced and beginner musicians alike enjoyed experimenting with
the mountain dulcimer. Some played multiple instruments already like
the piano, clarinet and ukulele, while others had little to no musical
experience at all.
“Working in groups to compose and play music together is different than
playing sheet music that’s just been handed to us,” said Sydney, a
seventh grader at OMS. “It was really cool.”