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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.”

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!


County Recognition For Paula Dragone

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Paula Dragone, senior account clerk in the athletic office, has been awarded the Bondene Westring Award by the Nassau County Chapter of the New York State Athletic Administrators Association. This award is given to the administrative assistant who displays devotion to duty, commitment to excellence and a love of children. 
“We all know that Paula is the backbone of the athletic department,” said Dr. Danielle Turner, LVCSD Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics. “I am thrilled that she is being recognized at the county level for the hard work she does in Locust Valley. Her efforts are often recognized by coaches and players, and now a wider audience will understand her value to our program.”
Ms. Dragone will be given her award and recognized at a luncheon given by the Nassau Chapter of the NYSAAA on June 12.

Sixth Graders Have the World in Their Hands

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Sixth graders recently took a trip around the world through the eyes of a true world traveler. During a presentation by Michael Harrold of Jambo Productions, the students viewed an educational program that allowed them to interact with actual artifacts and hear firsthand anecdotes about other cultures.

With a focus on Egypt, the traveling museum aligned with the sixth grade social studies units of study on ancient river valleys and classical civilizations. 

“The opportunity to view photographs and feel real artifacts helps bring history alive for students, and they are likely to remember much about Egypt from the engaging manner in which the information was presented,” said Bryan Sarandrea, Locust Valley coordinator of social studies and business, K-12. He added that Mr. Harrold’s reinforcement that other cultures should be viewed with positivity and respect was an important message for the middle school students.

Jambo Productions works with schools to celebrate the world’s cultural diversity and brought many items from a variety of countries to demonstrate that children and adults live differently around the world. From musical instruments to household tools, students had the opportunity to examine and try things they have never seen in person before.


Seventh Grader Becomes Two-Time Spelling Bee Champ

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An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but for one student a McIntosh made her the Locust Valley Middle School spelling bee champion.

Spelling McIntosh correctly, seventh grader Inshaal Abid took the school title for the second year in a row. Last year, her winning word was “astonishment.” Both as a sixth grader and seventh grader she has beaten her older classmates to the podium.

Sixth grade runner-up Evie Bergman helped prove that age does not guarantee a win. The girls competed among 25 middle school students who had each been the winner in their individual English classes. 

Inshaal now must take a 50-question written computer test to qualify for the Teachers Federal Credit Union Long Island Regional Spelling Bee on March 12, 2020. Each round of competition is part of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

We are rooting for you, Inshaal!