District Bond Vote - Dec. 10
Celebrating with Thanks and Giving
Turkeys, Pilgrims and Native Americans were the subject of many classroom discussions at Babylon Elementary School this November. From history lessons about the first Thanksgiving to discussions on the importance of community service, the students learned about the meaning behind the holiday.
During the month, students and staff worked to make this Thanksgiving a bright one for others by contributing to the school’s annual food drive. As a result of the building’s overwhelming generosity, several boxes were filled to the brim with nonperishable breakfast, lunch and dinner items. The collected donations were packaged and delivered to several local families in need just before the holiday.
The school’s second-grade students helped kick off the holiday weekend with their traditional Thanksgiving Feast. Prior to the event, the students put their creative skills to the test and fashioned Pilgrim and Native American hats and shirts from paper. They wore these artistic pieces as they proudly marched into the cafeteria, where they sang a few songs, including a piece they called “The 12 Days of Thanksgiving,” and enjoyed a healthy feast.
Conducting Research in State-of-the-Art Center
Inspired student-researchers at Babylon Junior-Senior High School have been conducting authentic research in a state-of-the-art facility this school year, due in large part to a generous donation made by resident Theresa Patnode Santmann. Mrs. Santmann made a $270,000 donation on behalf of the Theresa Patnode Santmann Foundation to redesign the high school’s previous art room into a new laboratory.
During a recent session of the 12th-grade research class, taught by Claire Birone, the students provided Mrs. Santmann and members of the administration with an up-close look at the projects they are completing.
Jed Dale and Max Pitagno explained their project, "The Bioremediation of HFCs Utilizing Scendesmus Algae in a Titanium Dioxide-Activated Charcoal Solution." The students discussed how they are using treated algae to break down HFCs (car coolants) into nontoxic chemicals inside the algae themselves, while displaying the device they created to accomplish this task.
Emily Brown, Sara Mikovic and Meredith Wardell spoke about their project, "The Effects of the Derived Organic Pesticide Amygdalin on the Growth Rate of Plants.” The small group discussed how they are using a chemical extracted from apricot kernels, which they proved last year is effective against termites. They are now investigating how plants are able to survive when exposed to this same chemical.
The students within the research program plan on entering their projects into this year’s Long Island Science and Engineering Fair and New York State Science and Engineering Fair, both of which are Intel-affiliated fairs.
The school’s science research program continues to be of growing interest to students in grades 8-12, and the new facility has helped to enhance group and independent research skills.
Iconic scenes from the famous ’80s movie-turned-Broadway musical unfolded on stage at Babylon Junior-Senior High School when the theater company presented “Footloose” to packed audiences this November. Between hit songs including “Almost Paradise” and “Footloose,” the cast of nearly 40 members entertained audiences of all ages with their well-rehearsed productions.
The show follows teenager Ren McCormack (played by Logan Middleton) as he moves from Chicago to the small town of Beaumont. Ren’s displeasure for this sudden life change quickly intensifies when he learns that his love for rock ’n’ roll and dance will be shortchanged by Reverend Shaw’s (played by Devin Golder) ban on such things. During the two-act show, the Reverend’s daughter Ariel (played by Julia O’Handley), her mother Vi (played by Brooke Wexler) and other members of the cast educated the audience as to the history of the ban before collectively convincing the Reverend to reverse the sanction.
In addition to their evening and matinee performances, the students staged a free show for the community’s senior citizens, prior to which attendees feasted on a delicious three-course pasta dinner served by the school’s Leo Club.
Teacher Lisa Drance directed this year’s production, with musical direction provided by Charles Leech. For the first time in recent history, two students, Amanda Albert and Jayne Dittmeier, choreographed the show. Audiences were transported back in time with the help of the creative sets, designed by the stage crew with the help of Linda Napolitano, and distinctive lighting and sound, under the direction of Colleen Angerami.
Board Honors Students
Babylon’s November Board of Education meeting was filled with celebratory remarks and praise for a number of students. The Board and administration honored the following students and presented each with a certificate of recognition:
Rose Ann Bencivenga: AP Scholar with Distinction
Emily Brown: AP Scholar
Jennifer Cornbrooks: AP Scholar
Amanda Crowley: Selected for the 2013 NYSCAME/SCMEA All-County Festival
Jedidiah Dale: 2014 National Merit Scholarship Commended Student; AP Scholar with Distinction
Lyla Dale: AP Scholar with Honor
Alexandra Diaz-Pane: 2013-14 National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar
Emily Flaherty: AP Scholar with Honor
Daniel Lum: AP Scholar with Distinction
Sara Mikovic: AP Scholar with Honor
Maxwell Pitagno: AP Scholar
Kelly Quigley: AP Scholar
Marisol Rivas: Artist whose work is exhibited at the NYSSBA Convention
Camila Romero: Selected for the 2013 NYSCAME/SCMEA All-County Festival
Nicholas Santorelli: AP Scholar
Eileen Savastano: Artist whose work is exhibited at the NYSSBA Convention
Matthew Steffanetta: AP Scholar with Honors
Matthew Taggart: Selected for the 2013 NYSCAME/SCMEA All-County Festival and as an alternate for the All-State Band
Hannah Walsh: AP Scholar with Honor
Meredith Wardell: AP Scholar
Brooke Wexler: Selected for the 2013 NYSCAME/SCMEA All-County Festival
Luke Zappia: AP Scholar
In addition to the student honors, representatives from each building gave thanks to the seven members of the Board of Education for their dedication and service to the community. In honor of School Board Recognition Week, a video was shown of the elementary school second-grade singing club performing a song about being kind and generous, the grade school presented a poster about gratitude, and cast members from the high school musical presented a short scene from their upcoming production of “Footloose.” Members of the administrators association and parent support groups also gave each member a small token of their appreciation.
Teaming Up For Family Literacy
Babylon Memorial Grade School students and families recently came together to celebrate literacy in a fun and interactive way. During the school’s second annual Family Literacy Game Night, attendees had the chance to play a number of fun games while brushing up on some basic literacy skills.
Starting with Scattergories, participants practiced their creative-thinking skills as they were given an initial letter and worked to identify and spell the highest number of objects within a set of categories. They then rotated between five classrooms to play Upwords, Apples to Apples Junior, Hedbanz, Boggle and Jeopardy. These games inspired the groups to use and improve vocabulary, spelling and critical thinking abilities in a fun-filled way.
At the end of the program, students received a packet of literacy activities and a prize bag.
Hands-on History Lesson
The French Revolution was the central topic for a recent interdisciplinary lesson that joined together Babylon High School’s French 3 class, taught by Melissa Anderson, and the global studies class, taught by Paul Venezia. To help enhance the students’ understanding of the event, the classes used their collective knowledge to simulate several aspects of that historic period of time.
Students were divided into estates, the same way that the French people divided preceding the revolution. Each was assigned a role and given instructions on creating a tapestry for each group. The students were also required to purchase supplies using tickets from the king and the queen, played by students. The number of tickets that each student was given varied, depending on which estate he or she belonged to.
In coming weeks, the students will reconvene to hear tax laws proclaimed by the royals while the estates will have the arduous task of deciding what taxes to pay, what members to feed, and whether or not to sit by quietly or allow their revolutionary ideas to simmer.
Annual Halloween Parade
Familiar children’s book characters, superheroes and a few spooky figures were the talk of the town when Babylon Elementary School students and staff members took part in the building’s annual Halloween parade. Dressed in creative costumes, students and staff marched around the school’s front circle, waving proudly at cheering family members.