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Bird Feeders, Not Just for Birds

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Both birds and people are benefiting from bird feeders that the students in the middle school Life Skills program are installing throughout the district. While the decorative feeders are helping birds find food during the cold, winter months, they are also helping people enjoy nature right from their offices.

Recently, three students installed a bird feeder outside of the office of Interim Superintendent Thomas P. Dolan, Ed.D. He had seen the bird feeder in a window at the high school and loved the idea. “This is a wonderful way for the students to feel good about something they are doing and a chance to observe nature from my office,” he said.

The students have installed bird feeders outside of offices at the middle school and high school in addition to the one at the administration building. 

Life Skills teacher Jessica Garrison said it is important for the students to successfully integrate into the Locust Valley school community. “Through various activities, such as sharing and stocking the bird feeders and preparing for and hosting different holiday events, the students have had valuable community experiences,” she said. “Communication with others, navigation of the campus and socialization with peers and adults have all improved greatly since the program’s inception. We are so grateful to be a part of such a supportive and welcoming community.”

Winter Counselor Newsletter Part II

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Check out the latest edition of the Counselor Newsletter here: Winter Counselor Newsletter Part II

For the Love of Science

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Love was in the air at Ann MacArthur Primary School on Valentine’s Day, but it was a love of science that these second graders felt.  Students in Amanda McCarthy’s class were enthusiastically conducting an experiment using candy hearts and the scientific method to determine what would happen to the crunchy candy pieces when dropped in various substances.

With six cups in front of them containing water, soda, oil, vinegar, peroxide and hand sanitizer, the students first predicted whether the hearts would sink or float in each one. Then they made educated guesses as to whether the candy would dissolve or stay in tact. 

As the little hands placed the candies in each cup, they watched with awe to see if their predictions were correct. Scientific discussions took place to understand why the hearts both sank and floated in the soda. The students wrote their conclusions and drew pictures of the outcomes. 

Ms. McCarthy said the experiment was a success, with the children honing their skills in the scientific method. “This was a great cooperative project in which they followed directions, made predictions and learned from the outcome.”

National Junior Honor Society Inducts Newest Members

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With nearly 80 Locust Valley Middle School students earning the right to join the exclusive National Junior Honor Society, the school’s auditorium was filled with proud family members for the formal induction ceremony.

Kieran Moran, the president of the Locust Valley chapter, opened the ceremony with the grace and professionalism of a seasoned speaker. He welcomed the inductees and guests and led the traditional candle lighting ceremony with fellow officers Vice President Carly Wolfe, Secretary Catherine Blackman, Treasurer Christopher Cooney and Service Officer Bela Castellanos.

Assistant Principal Michael LoGerfo said the students being inducted and the current members have all persevered. “Perseverance is a word that means we are going to keep on going no matter what the obstacles may be,” he said. He explained that there was so much pride for this group because they have proven that they can do just that.

Board of Education President Jennifer Maselli, whose daughter was one of the inductees, thanked the students for embracing the five pillars of the National Junior Honor Society, which are scholarship, service, leadership, character and citizenship.  Ms. Maselli said she searched the internet for famous members of National Honor Society, and some that stood out to her were the founders of YouTube. 

“They took a chance on an idea, they invested all of their time into solving a problem and they knew they risked failure,” she said. She emphasized that success has no formula, but rather often comes from taking risks.

Interim Superintendent of Schools Thomas P. Dolan, Ed.D., said, “We know that you will exceed our expectations as you have done here tonight.” He said the inductees were on a path to showing us that their contribution to society will be far greater than anyone has imagined.

National Junior Honor Society advisers Kelley Grassi and Jennifer Tichy offered guidance to ensure the event ran smoothly.

Congratulations to all of the inductees!

 

Four Seniors Named National Merit Finalists

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Four Locust Valley High School seniors have been named National Merit finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program, sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. It is exceptional that the high school has four finalists, as the College Board bestows this honor upon less than 1% of high school seniors nationwide each year. 

Nina Cialone, Michael DiSpirito, Michelle Hsu and Nitha Paulus were recognized as semifinalists in September for achieving exceptional scores on the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test. Out of the 1.5 million seniors that took the PSAT, the four Locust Valley students are among only 15,000 nationwide to be named finalists. Each semifinalist had to prove that they had high academic achievements throughout high school and had to earn a score on the Scholastic Aptitude Test that was consistent with their high PSAT scores.

Locust Valley High School Principal Patrick DiClemente said the school’s finalists are exceptional individuals. “These four students are bright, articulate and outstanding students who have had a positive impact at our high school, and each is certain to have a successful future,” he said. “Their families and our entire school community should be proud of their successes and the accomplishment of having four finalists in one year at a school the size of Locust Valley High School.” 

The College Board shares the names of finalists with colleges and universities, and they now become eligible to receive scholarships of $10,000 toward their college educations. These scholarships can come from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, corporate sponsors or the universities the finalists attend. Scholarship winners will be announced in June.

Congratulations to Nina, Michael, Michelle and Nitha on this outstanding achievement!