Led by the American Celtic Pipe Band, members of the Babylon High School Class of 2014 processed through a ceremonial aisle lined with American and Panther Pride flags to commence this year’s graduation ceremony. Surrounded by parents, family members, administrators and educators, the students donned white and black graduation caps and gowns and marched to their distinguished seats as the high school band performed “Pomp and Circumstance.” As the name of each graduate was announced, they proudly walked across the stage to receive their diploma and words of congratulations from the administrators in attendance.
A Bright Future
As the sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance” echoed off the walls, Babylon Memorial Grade School’s sixth-grade class proudly entered the high school auditorium to symbolize the start of this year’s moving up ceremony. After a warm welcome from Principal Steve Goldberg and the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Officer George Lynagh, Superintendent of Schools Richard Rozakis and PTA President Dina Molinaro shared their well wishes for the class.
Throughout the ceremony, the students showcased their musical talents when the symphonic band performed “Cardiff Castle” and the entire class joined together to sing the school’s alma mater. Additionally, before each student received their moving up certificates, two sixth-graders reflected on the memories the class has made over the last three years and the hopes they collectively share for the future.
Moving Up to BMGS
Wearing colorful shirts inscribed with their promotion year, Babylon Elementary School second-grade students took part in a moving-up ceremony in June. As their name was announced, each student proudly walked to the front of the gymnasium and was congratulated by Principal Jessica Kemler. They concluded the milestone occasion by joining together in song, performing a number of selections. Later that afternoon, the students participated in a variety of spirited field day events and celebrated their promotion to Babylon Memorial Grade School together.
Babylon Memorial Grade School sixth-grade students had the chance to construct and launch their own rockets as part of a grade-level interdisciplinary unit of study. The project, which tied into the students’ science and math curriculum, focused on the properties of a rocket, the impact wind speed, wind direction and weight have on the flying object as well as the conditions needed to ensure flight. They also discussed the NASA rocket launch program and selected a day for their simulation that mirrored the official process.
After constructing their original rockets and associated parachute, each student took a turn at sailing it high into the sky off a launching pad on the back field of the school. The students participated in a debriefing exercise with their teachers after the launch – discussing what conditions contributed to some rockets not launching and sharing what they would have done differently with the experiment. Incorporating their English Language Arts skills, the students then reflected on the entire process through a short writing assignment.
Eagle Scout Helps Guide Visitors Through the Village
Babylon High School student Timothy Martin recently received his Eagle Scout ranking – the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program – after completing a thorough application process and an extensive service project.
With the help of the Babylon Village Historical Society and several elected and village officials, Timothy creating a walking tour video showcasing 18 historically significant sites located in Babylon. The video has been made available on YouTube and will be used in the education center for the Babylon Village Historical Society. The link to the piece can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDhdx2q3eFg
Future plans for the effort are being considered, which include transforming the video into a mobile phone application that guides people through the village and shows them videos and pictures of the points of interest.
The athletic achievements of Babylon High School students Colin Godfrey and Ashley Lucas were recognized during the district’s mid-June Board of Education meeting. The district’s administration, Board of Education and athletic department congratulated the winning track stars for their outstanding post-season honors and presented them with certificates of recognition.
Colin earned third place in the long jump and 10th place in the high jump at this year’s NYSPHSAA Division II Track and Field Championship, as well as All-State honors. Ashley earned third place in the 100-meter dash and fifth place in the 200-meter dash at this year’s NYSPHSAA Division II Track and Field Championships, All-State Honors and the Good Sportsmanship Award.
The professionalism and dedication of four Babylon School District educators was applauded and honored during the Board of Education’s mid-June meeting, as these individuals were unanimously granted tenure within the schools. Superintendent of Schools Richard Rozakis individually recognized each of the candidates and provided some background on their careers within the school district.
The district congratulates the following professionals on receiving tenure this June, along with Lisa Brush (secondary, family and consumer sciences), who was granted tenure in January:
Jessica Kurtz – Birth-Grade 6, Special Education
John Greaney – Secondary, Social Studies
Brooke Carey – Secondary, English
Al Cirone – Principal
Hands-On History Lesson
Babylon Memorial Grade School sixth-grade students in Rick Punzone’s class had the chance to expand their understanding of WWI and WWII through a multi-disciplinary learning project. Combining their art, technology, library and social studies curriculum, the students participated in an enriching, cross-curricular project under the guidance of each of these area teachers.
Building upon what they learned about the wars in their social studies
curriculum, the students worked with library media specialist Lisa
Lindeman to research the time period and understand the important role
letter writing had in the soldiers’ lives as well as the censorship that
took place with messages sent home.
After studying the history behind the medal of honor and other distinguished honors bestowed upon soldiers, the students had the chance to create their own medals. Using clay, they sculpted their pieces and inscribed the attributes each one would honor, as well as selected a corresponding ribbon to distinguish the original pieces. To provide an individual perspective on the material, art teacher Pat Stork shared her family’s story of service during these historical wars.
Finally, writing as soldiers, the class penned letters to their family members and took turns censoring the work of their classmates following the protocols that were in place during the time period they were studying.
Babylon High School dedicated a portion of this year’s June Principal’s List with High Honors ceremony to celebrate the achievements of several soon-to-be Class of 2014 graduates. During the ceremony, the 12th-grade honorees were individually recognized and presented with generous local scholarships from community residents, businesses and organizations. This year, more than $13,700 in scholarships was awarded to the Class of 2014.
This year’s honorees included:
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF VALEDICTORIAN and SALUTATORIAN – DANIEL LUM and SARA MIKOVIC
ALIVE OUTSTANDING STUDENT SCHOLARSHIP – BRYAN CAMPBELL
ASSET SCHOLARSHIPS – Jed Dale and Hannah Walsh
BABYLON BREAST CANCER COALITION – DANIEL LUM
BABYLON BUDDIES AWARD – KAILEEN HART
MAE FEELEY BERNAGOZZI SCHOLARSHIP – LOGAN MIDDLETON
CLASS OF 1974 MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP – HANNAH WALSH
COMMUNITY AND SCHOOL SERVICE AWARD – ELIZABETH LOGAN
GEORGE F. CONARD MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP – LUKE ZAPPIA
FITZHARRIS SCHOLARSHIP – MARIA CAMILA ROMERO
BRIAN HUXTABLE-WILLIAM HADLER MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP – ROSEANNA BRYANT
CHERYL T. LEE SCHOLASTIC AWARD – ASHLEY LUCAS and MARIA CAMILA ROMERO
PTSA ART SCHOLARSHIP – SAMANTHA SASSO
PTSA MUSIC SCHOLARSHIP – SAMANTHA GERDES, OLIVIA GRANDAL and MATTHEW TAGGART
PTSA SCHOLARSHIP – ROSEANNA BRYANT and LYLA DALE
PTSA SCHOLARSHIP IN HONOR OF VIRGINIA MASON – HANNAH WALSH
SAGTIKOS MANOR HISTORICAL SOCIETY SCHOLARSHIP AWARD – SHANNON BRUSHETT
SAVE THE BEACHES SCHOLARSHIP – LYLA DALE
WILLARD J. STANEWICK MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP – LYLA DALE
STUDENT OF THE YEAR AWARD – KAILEEN HART
SUFFOLK COUNTY EXECUTIVE STEVEN BELLONE PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD – CAITLIN MORGAN
SEPTA Honors Teacher and Student
As a result of their yearlong fundraising efforts, Babylon School District’s SEPTA aided in the district’s mission to further integrate technology in the classroom by presenting Eileen Ratto with an Apple iPad Mini during their early June meeting. As a special education teacher, Ms. Ratto will utilize the device to enhance the multi-sensory learning approach currently implemented within her classroom at Babylon Memorial Grade School.
In addition to the technology presentation, SEPTA also honored the outstanding educational achievements of one graduating senior during the meeting. The student, who wishes to remain anonymous, was presented with a $500 scholarship based on an essay describing how, with the support of school-related resources, the student was able to achieve goals.
SEPTA thanks the community for supporting its fundraising efforts throughout the year and helping to ensure that these presentations were possible. The organization is planning future fundraisers to aid in the purchase of a SmartBoard for the high school self-contained classroom.
A Lasting Memory
Babylon High School National Art Honor Society members helped create personal mementos for orphans living in Haiti through the nationally run Memory Project. As part of their participation in the project, the students created portraits for children based on photographs provided through the organization. As a commemorative thank you, the artists will receive a photograph of the recipients displaying the artwork in their hometown.
“This project is a great way for our students to use their artwork to make connections around the world,” said NAHS adviser Cheryl Schweider. “They enjoy receiving the photos back with the children holding their drawings or paintings.”
The idea behind the Memory Project is to provide children who do not have many personal belongings a lasting, positive memento from their childhood. The school’s NAHS has partnered with the Memory Project twice a year since 2006 and has created more than 100 portraits to date. Over the years, the finalized pieces have been shared with children in Cambodia, Haiti, Nicaragua and Burma.
Commending Class Leaders
Babylon High School seniors Daniel Lum and Sara Mikovic have been named the Class of 2014 valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively. Daniel will be attending Stevens Institute of Technology this fall to major in mechanical engineering. Sara will be attending Lafayette College this fall, where she will major in chemical engineering.
During his time at Babylon, Daniel has been immersed in extracurricular activities while maintaining his weighted GPA of 104.3. He is the president of the student council and active member of the class cabinet, National Honor Society, National Science, Spanish and Business and Marketing honor societies and math team. He has been named an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction and placed on the Principal’s List each year of high school. He is also active in the community, helping to raise money for various organizations, such as JDRF and the Babylon Breast Cancer Coalition.
Sara has been an active participant in the science research program and holds a 103.85 weighted GPA. She earned third-place honors during this year’s Long Island Science and Engineering Fair for her original research and is the founding member of the school’s Science Olympiad and Science Club. Sara is also an accomplished musician, secretary of the school’s French and Science National honor societies, as well as a member of the National Honor Society. She volunteers at several local organizations, including as a Sunday school teacher.
The Board of Education and administration honored the academic and scholastic achievements of several students during its June meeting.
For their participation in the fourth annual Babylon Art Festival and earning awards of excellence, the Board publicly commended student-artists Shannon Brushett, Suzan Gee, Brendan Laing and Rori Sutkowski. Students Hannah Benneche, Chandler McMillan, Drew O’Connor and Paula Romero were also praised for earning honorable mention at the event. The district also made note of a special proclamation the school received from the festival organizers for their overall participation in the program.
As a result of their interest in the field of science research and commitment to their studies, multiple students were honored for their winning entries in the 2014 Babylon Covantage EcoTech Scholarship Program, the CleanTech Competition and the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair. Jedidiah Dale and Maxwell Pitagno were selected as winners of the Covantage EcoTech Scholarship, semifinalists in the National CleanTech Competition and winners of the Stockholm Water Prize in the Long Island and Science and Engineering Fair. Also winning EcoTech Scholarships and earning second place in the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair were Emily Brown, Sara Mikovic and Meredith Wardell. Jack Corcoran was also honored for being named a 2014 Covantage EcoTech Scholarship winner.
Lastly, the Board honored three students who have contributed a students’ viewpoint at each of the meetings this year. Student Council Board of Education Delegates Giovanna Domingo, Maxwell O’Handley and Ronald Pashen were applauded by the Board and presented with certificates of recognition before presenting their most recent updates to the Board.
Preparing for the Move
In an effort to ease the transition for incoming seventh-graders this fall, Babylon Junior-Senior High School recently hosted an engaging orientation program for the students and their parents.
The school’s upperclassmen aided the administration in welcoming the sixth-graders during a morning transition program. Attendees were provided with an overview of the school and took part in several activities around the building. They worked in small groups to complete a scavenger hunt aimed at familiarizing the students with key areas of the building, completed social skill building activities and discussed ways in which to succeed academically. Additionally, the students embarked on guided tours of the school and visited select classrooms.
During an evening event, parents met with members of the administration to learn about the building’s seventh-grade requirements, academics, extracurricular activities and expectations. Parents were also provided with a packet of information that contained relevant information to help their children make a smooth transition to the junior-senior high school in September.
Cleaning Up Local Beaches
Babylon High School students worked to beautify their neighboring beaches by taking part in this year’s Save the Beaches’ spring cleanup and beach grass planting program. The local nonprofit coastal environmental group provides community service events each year for Babylon High School students who enjoy the beaches and want to volunteer to help preserve them in the fall and spring.
As part of this initiative, three groups from the high school visited local parklands this spring. Members of the school’s Thoreau Society and their adviser Dr. Mark Malaskzczyk helped to plant beach grass bulbs on the dunes of Oak Beach, previously heavily damaged by Superstorm Sandy. The building’s varsity and junior varsity lacrosse teams, coached by Timothy Harrison, collected debris from Gilgo Beach. Lastly, the Honor Society students worked with adviser Jeff Kenney to help collect almost 350 pounds of trash.
As part of their nonfiction unit of study, Babylon Elementary School kindergarten students in Jenn Brooks’ and Keri Rossano’s classes have learned about the publishing process in a hands-on way.
During their writer’s workshops, the students learned about the differences between nonfiction and fiction and sharpened their creative writing skills by penning original books. Tying the lesson into the grade’s science curriculum, the students used their newfound knowledge of aquatic life to pen books about life “under the sea” and lessons about the rainforest to craft stories about the animals found in this protected land area. The multi-disciplinary project enabled the students to practice the writing process – from creating drafts to editing – and sample the publishing process as they transformed their short stories into a book.
To celebrate their pieces, the two classes hosted a read-aloud where they shared their completed books with their peers.
Perfect Artistic Portfolios
The artistic works of 21 Babylon Memorial Grade School and Junior Senior High School students was showcased and honored at this year’s NYSATA portfolio day. During this competitive contest, each Babylon student received the highest rating of “distinguished” and will have one of their pieces displayed at the in the NYSATA region 10 art show at Dowling College in the Anthony Giordano Gallery.
For their entrance into the program, each student had to submit a portfolio of their original pieces. For the elementary and middle levels (junior high), the students created five pieces. For commencement (studio 1 or 2), they created six. For elective (studio 3 or 4), they created seven, and for major sequence (studio 4 or 5), they created eight pieces, which included a concentration. All students also had to write an artist statement and a written critical analysis on one of their pieces. During the program, they spoke to a judge about their artwork and then received a rating on the whole portfolio. The students have worked on the project since January and have been attending weekly art club meetings as well as monthly night meetings.
The district congratulates this year’s talented artists:
Ece Bapcum, grade 9
Shannon Brushett, grade 12
Victoria Buonagura, grade 10
Hannah Bushery, grade 6
Erin Corcoran, grade 6
Amanda Crowley, grade 11
Suzan Gee, grade 12
Felicia Giaramita, grade 6
Emily Guerra, grade 10
Jack Hoffman, grade 6
Christina Krisberg, grade 10
Brendan Laing, grade 11
Sarah McLean, grade 10
Chandler McMillan, grade 10
Kyle Mees, grade 6
Drew O’Connor, grade 9
Bridgett Rohl, grade 11
Anna Romero, grade 6
Paula Romero, grade 8
Sarah Valencia, grade 10
Paige Wolny, grade 11