Students Named National Semifinalists for Novel Science Project

Babylon High School seniors and involved members of the school’s science research program, Jed Dale and Max Pitagno, have been named national semifinalists in the Clean Tech Competition, which tasks students with finding real-world clean energy solutions. Their project, “The bioremediation of 1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane (R-134a) by Scendesmus sp. as Facilitated by Titanium Dioxide and Activated Charcoal,” has proven to be a novel solution to facilitating the remediation of car coolant using algae in a clean way and has earned them a minimum of $300 thus far.  

The students are one of only 50 teams to be selected nationwide out of an original pool of several hundred applicants. The 10 teams chosen to move on to the finalist level will be announced at the end of April.  If chosen, Jed and Max will be given a stipend of up to $15,000 to create a new prototype of their solution and will meet with industry representatives to discuss official production of their solution to pollution.  

Pennies for Patients

Babylon Memorial Grade School Student Council coordinated a three-week community service initiative to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The program, called Pennies for Patients, was a service learning, character education and philanthropy program that afforded students the chance to make a difference by working to provide aid to those fighting blood cancers like leukemia. During the initiative, the students collected monitory donations from family and friends and charted their progress on a school chart. The school surpassed their initial goal of $1,900 by raising $1,915.

This is the second year the school has coordinated the Pennies for Patients drive. The student council is advised by Joanne Fasano and Catherine O’Connor.

Extending a Helping Hand

The second-grade students in Marie Poelker's class at Babylon Elementary School completed a community service project to benefit Haven House Bridges, a support shelter in Brentwood for families in transition. With the help of Mrs. Poelker and several parent volunteers, the students created 75 supply bags filled with travel-sized toiletry items and notes of support and caring for individuals living at the facility. This is the fifth year Mrs. Poelker has coordinated this effort.

Babylon Celebrates Student Achievement

Babylon School District’s Board of Education celebrated the musical, scholastic and athletic talent of many district students at its April meeting. Superintendent of Schools Richard Rozakis welcomed the audience and expressed his pride for the students. “We have a lot to celebrate,” he said. “We have many students who have excelled in many different areas.”

Director of Fine Arts Angela Turk honored students in grades five through10 who participated in the Suffolk County Music Educators Association All-County Concert Series.

Ms. Turk and the board also recognized students who participated in the 2014 Long Island String Festival Association Honors String Ensembles. These musicians were among the very best student string players in Suffolk County. Selection to a LISFA ensemble is a highly competitive process, based on superior scores at the annual New York State School Music Association solo festivals and school music instructor recommendations.

Director of Practical Arts Claire Reilly and business teacher Andrew Marulis honored members of Babylon High School’s DECA chapter at the meeting. These students competed and earned multiple awards at the 54th annual DECA State Career Conference in Rochester, N.Y. DECA is an international co-curricular student organization with more than 200,000 high school and college members. It prepares students for careers in leadership, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, management and hospitality.

In the area of athletics, high school wrestlers Dominick Mazzella and Brett Frole were honored by Athletic Director Michael DeJoseph and the board for becoming Suffolk County Division II champions. Dominick finished the season with a record of 24-5, while Brett had a record of 28-6.

Shelby Fredericks was honored for being selected as a National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Scholarship recipient. The NIAAA Scholarship recognizes the distinguished scholastic, leadership and sportsmanship attributes of high school student-athletes, and the importance of high school athletics in each student’s life. For this honor, Shelby received a $250 scholarship.

Celebrating Differences During PARP

Throughout the PARP and Read-a-Thon programs, Babylon Memorial Grade School students teamed up to read hundreds of minutes and worked to develop lifelong reading habits. The programs, which were coordinated by the school’s PTA and under the leadership of Mike Tricker, ran for four weeks and followed the theme “The Olympics – Faster, Higher, Stronger.”

At the start of the program, the school discussed the meaning of the Sochi quilt – namely how it was a symbol of the different regions, cultures and traditions of the hosting country. Throughout PARP, students completed reading based on various themes related to the Olympics and answered several questions regarding their passages. These responses were displayed on a school version of the Sochi quilt. Embracing this notion of diversity and capturing the importance of reading, Lisa Lang’s third-grade class created their own PARP quilt with the help of class mom Danielle Paisley, which depicted the students various reading interests and photos of them reading.

At the end of the program, the hours each student read during PARP as well as the Read-a-Thon were tallied and grade-level winners were announced. Ms. Lang’s class swept the third grade, earning gold medal honors for their participation in both the Read-a-Thon and PARP as well as for meeting the reading goal set by the grade level. Additional commendation went to Danielle Vedder’s sixth-grade class for their 99 percent participation in the Read-a-Thon and for surpassing their grade level’s reading goal. Based on the schoolwide results, the sixth grade was named the gold medal winner for the Read-a-Thon, fifth grade for PARP participation, third grade for their combined participation as well as for meeting the grade level’s reading goal.

Designing, Building and Programming

As part of their technology systems class, Babylon Junior High School seventh-grade students have been engaged in a new hands-on unit of study focused on automation. The three-week STEM-based project centers on the Lego Mindstorms program and encourages critical thinking, problem-solving skills and collaborative learning.

The unit is teaching the students how to construct a robot using Legos and then design a computer program to control the robot’s movements. The students are responsible for setting commands to address the distance the device will travel, how fast it will move, how it can overcome obstacles and how it will respond to sound.   

“Technology classes have evolved over the past several years from building simple objects using common tools to a full integration of electronic resources,” said teacher Brian Katz. “Through this project and others similar, we are fusing together science, technology, engineering and math lessons to engage students in meaningful learning . Students today are inherently creative – they want to not only design but also build while employing a higher level of thinking. This project helps to tap into that natural desire while evolving the way we approach a traditional subject included in the curriculum.”

While the computer-based robotics program is currently only being utilized in the seventh-grade course, several upper-grade-level students with interest in the subject matter are currently working with Mr. Katz during free periods to learn the material.  

“Student-to-student mentoring has always been a component of our program,” explained Mr. Katz. “As they become more experienced with the subject matter, students in the older grade levels volunteer their time to assist younger peers with projects and to share knowledge of subject matter. It truly lends to an enriched learning experience for both parties.”  

The new unit also complements several of the topics covered in the advanced courses, including the 3D modeling study in the eighth grade and the high school elective focused on manufacturing and construction.

Students Commended for Impressive Research Projects

Babylon High School science research students have been conducting hands-on research projects on a variety of complex topics as part of their participation in the building’s science research program. In their inaugural showing, the students earned top recognitions at several regional fairs this year.  

During the second round of the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair, seniors Emily Brown, Sara Mikovic and Meredith Wardell came in third place on Long Island out of 82 projects. Their independent research project studied the efficacy of apricot kernels as a natural pesticide against termites while still maintaining the growth of healthy plants. In addition to this award, seniors Jed Dale and Max Pitagno were honored with the Stockholm Junior Water Prize at LISEF for excellence in water-related research.

Based on these honors, the students qualified to compete at the state level of the New York State Science and Engineering Fair. This was Babylon’s first time competing at the state-level Intel affiliated competition, where participants come from across the state.

“I am extremely proud of the hard work and dedication of these students for not just this year, but their entire research career at Babylon,” said teacher Claire Birone. “They have been leaders in our school and have set the bar high for Babylon research. I could not be any more proud of them, regardless of the outcome of the competitions.”

Reading for the Gold

Babylon Elementary and Memorial Grade School students participated in an Olympic-themed Parents as Reading Partners program this year, reading thousands of minutes as part of the annual multi-week event. PARP, a PTA-sponsored initiative, encourages individuals to take time out of their daily lives to read for pleasure and develop a lifelong habit for reading. Students are encouraged to read daily with friends and family members.

During a special closing ceremony at the elementary school, students participated in a multi-disciplinary program coordinated by the school’s librarian, and music, art and gym teachers. In the gym, the classes represented different Nordic countries and took part in three winter Olympic-themed events – slalom skiing using scooters and cones, cross-country skiing using beanbags on their feet and foam sticks for poles, and a two-man bobsled using scooters and hula-hoops. Decorative posters representing each of the countries blanketed the walls of the gym and a set of Olympic rings and paper torch hung in the facility. The national anthem of each of the represented countries was played at the start of the event and each student received a gold medal at the end of the program.

Panthers Continue to Play in College

Seven Babylon High School seniors have the chance to continue their academic and athletic journeys at some of the nation’s top colleges and universities this fall after signing National Letters of Intent or finalizing written commitments with different military academies.

This honor, which directly reflects the students’ hard work and dedication both on and off the playing field, was celebrated at the school during an official signing day event. The following students were congratulated at the signing by the building’s administration and their coaches and families.

Shelby Fredericks – Northwestern University, Lacrosse
Kaileen Hart – Boston College, Lacrosse
Julianne Koch – Lehigh University, Swimming
Hallie Merz – Stetson University, Lacrosse
Nick Santorelli – U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Lacrosse
Eric Schweitzer – Binghamton University, Lacrosse
Ray Wardell – U.S. Navy, Lacrosse

2014-2015 Budget Information

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Important Information Regarding Changes to the School Calendar

Due to extreme weather conditions resulting in school closings, schools will be in session for a regular instructional day for all students on Friday, May 23, 2014.

DECA Team Competes at States

Babylon High School’s DECA chapter competed in the 54th annual DECA State Career Conference in Rochester, N.Y., this winter and was recognized with several awards. The high school was one of only 10 schools from across the state to receive the prestigious Community Service Recognition Award. Five students were awarded New York State DECA Honor Society status and 13 students received individual awards.

The chapter earned the community service recognition based on the team’s efforts in raising $500 for Relay for Life, the DECA-appointed charity of the year. Membership into the NYS DECA Honor Society required the students – Jayne Dittmeier, Daniel Lum, Emma Rende, Matthew Steffanata and Matthew Taggart – to attend two or more state competitions and exhibit exemplary performance in business classes.

The Babylon School District congratulates the entire team on their performance and the following students on their individual awards:

Matt Taggart: Top 10 Test, Top 10 Role Play – Accounting Applications
Matt Steffanata: Top 10 Test, Top 10 Role Play – Business Services Marketing
Jack Corcoran: Top 10 Test, Travel and Tourism Management Team
Michael Logan: Top 10 Test, Travel and Tourism Management Team
Emily Flaherty: Top 10 Test, Hotel and Lodging Management
Cynthia Katsionis: Top 10 Test, Restaurant and Food Services Management
Michelle Mangini: Top 10 Finalist, Public Speaking
Sean Reynolds: Top 10 Role Play, Business Services Marketing
Jayne Dittmeier: Top 10 Finalist, Broadcast Advertising
Hallie Merz: Top 10 Finalist, Public Service Visual Advertising
Emma Rende: Top 10 Finalist, Decision Making – Human Resources
Junho Song: Top 10 Finalist, Public Service Broadcast Advertising
Luke Zappia: Top 10 Finalist, Public Service Broadcast Advertising

The high school DECA club is advised by business teachers Andrew Marulis and Claire Reilly. DECA is an international co-curricular student organization with more than 200,000 high school and college members.  DECA prepares students for careers in leadership, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, management and hospitality.

Honored for Volunteer Efforts

Babylon Junior-Senior High School eighth-grader Sarah Logan, 10th-grader Haley Watt and 11th-grader Bridgette Rohl have been honored for their exemplary volunteer services with the President’s Volunteer Service Award. This award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their community and country, was granted by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program on behalf of President Barack Obama.

Celebrating the 100th Day

Babylon Elementary School students celebrated the first 100 days of school through a series of fun and creative activities. Many dressed as though they were 100 years old and completed mathematical activities surrounding the number of the day. Watch the video below to learn more about how the students and staff marked this special day.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014