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Letter from Dr. Ianni, June 28, 2019

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A Bright Future Awaits the Class of 2019

Congratulations to the Class of 2019 photo
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Before the Class of 2019 stepped foot onto the track to begin commencement exercises, family, loved ones, and friends were already cheering wildly for the soon-to-be graduates on the sunny morning of June 22. Students entered the field proudly in their green and white caps and gowns, waving and smiling as the high school band played “Pomp and Circumstance.”

To start off the ceremony, senior members of the high school choir performed “The Star Spangled Banner” and the Harborfields alma mater. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ianni then took the podium and congratulated both students and proud parents for making it to this point together, and offered words of encouragement for the future, drawing from the Roman Philosopher Seneca.

“There are likely more things that will scare us than will crush us,” said Dr. Ianni, “so let your hopes hold more weight than your fears, and let every moment be a learning experience.”

Salutatorian Katherine Paradise addressed her fellow graduates and expressed that it had been an honor to grow together from the days of Washington Drive to the day of graduation.

“Every student here contributed something unique to HF,” she said. “This class encompasses such a wide variety of talents. Every one of us has something to be proud of, and a bright future to look forward to.”

Valedictorian William Waring also commented on the high caliber of the class of 2019 and the unique and beautiful nature of being a part of the Harborfields family. When imparting last words of wisdom to his classmates, William encouraged them to always hold onto a sense of perspective.

“Every day is precious, no matter how insignificant it seems,” he said, “so take risks, live life to the fullest, and focus on the people that really matter in your lives.”

Class President Eric Warbitsky congratulated his fellow graduates, recalled fond district-wide memories, and commented that he would never forget what it was like to be a part of the Harborfields Family. Featured speaker Kerri McGinty English teacher, addressed the graduates and encouraged them to use their voice and face challenges head-on.

“The more you use your voice, and the more you take on challenges, the more you discover who you truly are.”

Principal Timothy Russo congratulated the graduates, commending them for the incredible young men and women they’ve become. He reflected on the things he may have wanted to hear as a graduate, but ultimately settled on something he would have needed to hear.

“Make sure you don’t speed through your life, and wish you could run every red light,” he encouraged them. “And instead, when you’re stuck at a standstill, take a moment to remember all the things that have brought you here—and make sure you’re still going in the direction you truly need to go.”

Russo also presented each graduate with an evergreen tree, symbolizing the foundation and roots of their support system. “Let this be a reminder to you of HF and what you’ve meant to us,” he said.

Each graduate then received their diploma from a member of the Board of Education. After moving their tassels from the right to left to commemorate their completion of high school, graduates tossed their caps into the air, officially marking them as Harborfields High School alumni.

Congratulations, Class of 2019!

Teacher Awards

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Washington Drive Primary School teachers Mrs. Ambrosio and Mrs. Sullivan both received the “Teachers are Out of this World” Award from the New York State PTA at the end of the 2018-19 school year. Both teachers were nominated by their students by writing a classroom essay and sending in a nomination video. Congratulations!

Acts of Kindness in Times of Turmoil

Acts of Kindness in Times of Turmoil photo
Five exceedingly compassionate students were commended by the Board of Education for being recognized by the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission’s Anti-Bias Task Force. Recently, in response to acts of violence committed during a Jewish holiday, students Areeba Malik, Esha Malik, Rebecca Pashman, Zoe Krief, and Joshua Krief participated in Interfaith Outreach through the Huntington Jewish Center. Working together, students created baskets and goodie bags to donate to local mosques in the community to show their support and love in a time of turmoil.

“Small acts of kindness like this can have such a huge impact on those around us,” said Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Administration Dr. Rory Manning, “and we commend these students for helping to make our community an even more welcoming, and wonderful place to live.”

Way to go, students!

Board of Education Statement on Capital Bond - June 19, 2019

Click here to view the statement

Fourth Bond Presentation - June 19, 2019

Click here to view the presentation

Harborfields Retirees Honored

Harborfields Retirees Honored photo
The Board of Education held a special reception to honor retiring members of the district for wholeheartedly serving their school community on June 19. Following Superintendent Dr. Francesco Ianni’s welcoming remarks, principals and central administrators congratulated each retiree individually, recalling special moments throughout their career, and commended them for all of their hard work.

The retirees are as follows:

Jean Amodeo, Teaching Assistant at Oldfield Middle (OMS); Maxine Cherofsky, Account Clerk at OMS; Shelley Goldstein, Teaching Assistant at OMS; Tomas Gonzalez, Social Worker at Thomas J. Lahey (TJL); Maureen Kelly, Principal at Washington Drive Primary School (WDPS); Therese Kennedy, LOTE Teacher at OMS; Randi Logerfo, Clerk Typist at Harborfields High School (HHS); Dawn Marinac, Principal Clerk at TJL; Lisa Mastrantonio, Reading Teacher at OMS/WDPS; Frank Mondelli, Facilities Supervisor District wide; Bill Nimmo, Assistant Superintendent for Business; Laurie Oates Teaching Assistant at WDPS; Andrea Parker, Special Education Teacher at TJL ; Joey Rice, Maintenance Mechanic at OMS; Donna Robson, Reading Teacher at TJL; Virginia Sekreta, Office Assistant at TJL, Patricia Szewczuk. Principal Clerk in the District Central Office; Joan Verardo, School Nurse at HHS; Alan Walter, Music Teacher at OMS, Karen Wills, Teaching Assistant at HHS.

The district thanks each and every retiree for their service and extends best wishes to all in this next season of life!

Bringing Positivity into the Future

Bringing Positivity into the Future
The students of Thomas J. Lahey received a gold star at the No Place for Hate Recognition Ceremony for the second year in a row on June 7. No Place for Hate, a movement instated by the Anti-Defamation League, seeks to improve and maintain school climates in which all students can prosper by taking action to promote anti-bias and anti-bullying.

TJL was awarded a gold star for going above and beyond the requirements to be named a No Place for Hate School—namely, by hosting four school-wide activities to promote kindness. Activities included “Start with Hello” week, the Kindness Project, the Peaceful School Bus, and a scarf-making fundraiser to benefit Autism Speaks.

Along with school administration and select teachers, TJL’s No Place for Hate committee consists of six teacher-nominated students.

“These students all exhibit shining character, show inclusivity to all of their peers, and are all around kind human beings,” said committee advisor and physical education teacher Michele Turchiano.

Even though school was closed for these students on June 7, they still excitedly made the trek to the York College Performing Arts Center in Queens to accept a new banner that celebrates their school’s accomplishment.

“We do our best to bring everyone together, no matter what race, gender or color they are,” said Kemar, one of the committee members. “We want to bring more positivity into our future.”

Students on the committee echoed each others’ sentiments, commenting that making people feel like they belong is of the utmost importance.

“People may not remember you, or the things you say, but they’ll remember how you made them feel,” said committee member Yoselin. “So, we’re going to keep spreading kindness and leading by example.”

Orchestrating the Love of Music at TJL

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Earlier this year, the TJL fourth grade orchestra learned how science connects with music in the production of sound, with orchestra teacher Cathy Ferraro. Students learned about sound waves, and explored the mechanics of how their string instrument creates sound. The students performed a piece called “Rock It Science” by Bill Beachy in their spring concert.

Additionally, both third and fourth grade orchestra students were invited to watch and participate in a fifth Grade Orchestra open rehearsal, coordinated by TJL orchestra teachers Cathy Ferraro and Nick Rinaldi. Third and fourth grade students got to mix into the orchestra setup, and sit near fifth grade students as they performed their spring concert music. Students played some familiar songs together, such as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Hot Cross Buns. The third and fourth grade students were so excited to be a part of this rehearsal, and were encouraged to continue in their orchestra involvement at TJL and beyond.

Veterans’ Appreciation Breakfast

Veterans’ Appreciation Breakfast
Harborfields High School’s AP US Government and Politics classes hosted a veterans’ appreciation breakfast for the surrounding communities’ veterans on June 7th. The event enabled students to express their gratitude for the veterans' service to the United States and aided students in learning firsthand what military service entails. At the breakfast, students interacted with veterans from WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, and Operation Iraqi Freedom, who shared openly about their service. In addition to serving breakfast and engaging in conversation, students provided musical entertainment for their guests of honor.

Nation-wide WordMasters

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Recently a group of TJL fifth-graders that participate in the L.E.A.P. program placed third nationally in the 2018-19 WordMasters competition, with a cumulative score of 581 points out of a possible 600! This competition is a national vocabulary competition for students in grades 3-8 that encourages growth in vocabulary and verbal reasoning.

Third place students include Norene Miraglia, Angelina Fernandez, Jackson Dunham, Brendan Schmitt, Orion Yberg, Abigail Durham, Christopher Palermo, Rhys Walter & Talia Steinberg. Fifth-grader Jackson Dunham also earned individual highest honors in the overall competition with a perfect score in all three meets. The highest honors are reserved for students who place among the top 10-15 students in their division nationally.

Additionally, a group of fourth graders in the L.E.A.P program finished in the top ten of the WordMasters competition as well. These students include Paul DiPaolo, Alec Gerde, Lucas Johnson, K.C. Almstrom, Aileen Collins, Piper Greenberg, Aidan Greco, Jacob Lam, Grace Wingert & Brynn Gerde. Pier and Aidan tied for first place and were our grade 4 medal winners.

Way to go students!

Student-Athletes Commit

Student-Athletes Commit
Seventeen of Harborfields High Schools’ outstanding student-athletes signed their national letters of intent on May 29. A special breakfast was held to celebrate the students’ commitment to play sports at a collegiate level—an accomplishment less than 2% of high school seniors reach nationwide. Families, coaches, and administration were in attendance to honor these impressive student-athletes.

Director of Athletics John Valente congratulated students on their excellence in their chosen sport.

“You each have been recognized for the dedication and hard work you emulate both in the classroom and in athletics,” said Mr. Valente. “And now, because of the time and effort you’ve put into your athletic career, your dreams of playing at the collegiate level have become a reality—and we applaud you.”

Harborfields athletes, corresponding sports and colleges:

Erin Eivers - XC - Track & Field - SUNY- Geneseo
Casey Nickerson - Soccer - Susquehanna Univ.
Samantha Huntington -Field hockey -New Paltz
Thomas Sangiovanni – Lacrosse -Siena
Jonathan Vuono – Lacrosse LIU - Post
Matt Conversano – Lacrosse - Western Connecticut
Aiden Costello – Lacrosse- SUNY Delhi
Connor Phelan –Baseball - St. Joes College
Jenna Bergin - Lacrosse - Marist
Layla Morris - Lacrosse - Monmouth
Caitlin Tucker - Lacrosse - Roberts Wesleyan
Hallie Simkins - Lacrosse - Syracuse
Kyle Gordon –Baseball- Ithaca College
Mike Harvey- Lacrosse - Nassau Community College
Nate Gegwich- Soccer- Hamilton College
Ryan Rittberger- Golf - St. John’s
Patrick Williamson - Basketball- Salve Regina

Congratulations, students!

Hunting-Tonys

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Congratulations to the Harborfields Theatre Company on for winning Best Technical Production of a Musical (The Boy Friend), Best Lead Actresses in a Play (Skya Theobald and Jade Cheung-Becker), and Best Play for The Miracle Worker at the Hunting-Tony Awards!

HHS Senior Awards

HHS Senior Awards
On May 28, members of the Harborfields High School Class of 2019 were recognized for their exceptional academic achievements, acts of citizenship and service at the high school’s annual senior awards ceremony. In addition to teachers and administration presenting well-deserving students with program awards, over 30 memorial and organizational scholarships were presented by members of the local community.

Principal Tim Russo announced William Waring and Katherine Paradise as the Class of 2019 valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, and commended them for their hard work and dedication to academic success throughout their high school career, and acting as shining examples for their peers. In addition, Mr. Russo announced the other eight students that made up the high school’s top ten graduating seniors.

The following are the top 10 students in the graduating Class of 2019: William Waring, Katherine Paradise, Carlos Godoy, Mikaela Gordon, Emma Riley, Genie Miraglia, Kelsey Fowle, Eric Werbitsky, Emma Grabowski, and Tyler Lee.

In the spirit of tradition and honor, a plaque inscribed with their names was added to the high school’s Wall of Scholars.

Congratulations to all of this year’s outstanding graduating seniors! 

Dog De-Stressing at Oldfield Middle School

Dog De-Stressing at Oldfield Middle School
Dog De-Stressing at Oldfield Middle School
Dog De-Stressing at Oldfield Middle School
Dog De-Stressing at Oldfield Middle School
Dog De-Stressing at Oldfield Middle School
Dog De-Stressing at Oldfield Middle School
Dog De-Stressing at Oldfield Middle School
During this past school year, the guidance department at Oldfield Middle School has been bringing in furry friends to interact with students. Now that finals are around the corner, two trained therapy dogs have been helping de-stress children and afford them a “brain break” during the day. According to recent studies done by universities across the country, having the incentive of a visiting dog increases motivation and improves student behavior. Additionally, having a dog present helps students cope with lessons covering heavy topics such as wars and historical tragedies, and also aids student growth in Social and Emotional learning (SEL), which is now incorporated into New York State’s mandated curriculum.

One of the school’s regular visitors, a beagle named Lala, belongs to guidance counselor Dahlia Roemer, while the other, a cockapoo named Morris, belong to OMS eighth-grader Orla—both of which have been trained and certified by the organization “Pet Partners, and have brought many smiles to the students of Oldfield Middle.

Along with Ms. Roemer, members of the student group “Tornadoes Listening and Caring” (TLC) have shared responsibilities of visiting classrooms with the therapy dog as well. This group of students were chosen by their peers and specially trained by the guidance staff to help students with everyday problems and to know when to get the help of an adult.

“Having the chance to pet a dog helps get your mind off of the things worrying you,” said Nahrahel, a TLC member, “and it brings a different, positive kind of energy into the classroom.”

In addition, students can go directly to the guidance office if they are in need of a counselor and the comfort of a therapy dog. Students have reported feeling more at ease while sharing difficult aspects of their lives while petting a dog.

“I’m so glad she’s here,” Will, a seventh-grader, exclaimed while petting Lala in Ms. Rohmer’s office. “She’s definitely doing her job, I’ll tell you that much—I feel better already.”

Science Olympiad

Science Olympiad photo
Congratulations to three HHS junior AP Chemistry students—Brian Hyun, Daniel Shenkelman, and Ilan Messing—for participating in the Chemistry Olympiad at Stony Brook University which consisted of 60 challenging multiple-choice questions. The students, mentored by science teacher Scott Wallace, met twice a week for three months to prepare for the competition. Students gave the Olympiad their all and made the district proud. Way to go!

The Ancient Art of Mosaics

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Local artist Esther Tollen visited the students of HHS to teach the ancient art of mosaics on May 20. Students heard from Ms. Tollen about her art career and gleaned helpful techniques for mosaic making, such as keeping the layer of grout (the adhesive agent) consistent on their mosaic tile and the value of keeping a flow of material sizes moving through the piece. Students then worked throughout the afternoon to create their own unique masterpiece. After completion, the tiles will be permanently installed in the high school’s art wing.

“Our district's support of cultural arts programs allows our students to experience different art forms first hand,” said art teacher Ms. Eugenia Ritter, “and it’s truly an invaluable experience for our young artists.”

HHS County Champ

HHS County Champ photo
Congratulations to HHS student-athlete Alex Rzehak for securing the Suffolk County Boys Singles Tennis Championship title—a first in Harborfields’ history!

Alex was named county champ after winning two close sets at the Section XI Individual County finals at Half Hollow Hills West on May 18.

On May 30, he will be traveling to the USTA National Tennis Center to compete in the Section XI New York State Tennis Championship.

Way to go Alex!