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The Board of Education will hold a Special Meeting on Monday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m., Administration Building Conference Room

Board of Education Special Meeting, 7 p.m., Administration Building Conference Room


Varsity Teams Earn Scholar-Athlete Honors

The Board of Education at its Dec. 6 meeting recognized the academic accomplishments of the high school’s varsity athletic teams. For the fall season, every varsity team earned scholar-athlete status, which means that at least 75 percent of the team members earned a 90-grade-point-average or better.
Success on the field and in the classroom requires dedication and hard work, which the varsity players are not afraid of, many of them taking challenging Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses.
“We are all extremely proud of our scholar-athlete teams,” said Dr. Danielle Turner, Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics. “This is an accomplishment that proves they are not only dedicated to their sports, but to their academic success as well and that’s a win-win combination.”

The Board of Education will hold a meeting on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in MS/HS Mini-Theater

The Board of Education will hold a meeting on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in MS/HS Mini-Theater.

Balancing Fun and Learning


When the circus comes to town, Locust Valley Elementary School students join in the fun! Thanks to the Locust Valley Parents’ Council, students enhanced physical and mental skills such as balancing, spinning objects, coordination and teamwork.

Fourth-graders perfected their skills during a weeklong circus workshop that culminated with a performance for their families. Students in kindergarten through fifth grade also had the opportunity to learn some circus tricks during their physical education classes. 

The program is run by the National Circus Project, an arts-in-education program, physical education program and cultural program all rolled into one. You can see some of the fun in the video below.


Community of Writers

The middle school/high school hallways are often filled with student artwork, and recently those same walls highlighted a different form of art – the written word. The English Department used the National Day on Writing as an opportunity to celebrate writing by students and staff members. The high school English corridor and a hallway in the middle school are covered with creative writing samples and responses to the prompt, “Why I Write.”

The National Day of Writing is an initiative of the National Council of Teachers of English and, according to the organization’s website, is built on the premise that writing is critical to literacy, but in need of greater attention and celebration. They say that writing is thought of in terms of pencil-and-paper assignments, but that writing is present in all parts of life. 

“It’s part of how you work, how you learn, how you remember and how you communicate. It gives voice to who you are and enables you to give voice to the things that matter to you,” according to the organization.

Students were given the opportunity in their English classes and in the library to share and celebrate “Why I Write” by developing a response and including it on a “Twitter” template crafted by middle school English teacher Emily Storck. If they preferred, personal writing samples could be shared rather than the response to the prompt. Students shared the digital or hard copy with their teachers, and all of the writing was posted in celebration. 

English curriculum coordinator Lisa Czerniecki said the initiative was a success. “I am impressed by the responses students gave, and I am inspired by their creativity. It has been great to share and to continue to build a community of writers.”

January Regents Review Schedule

See attached document for Regents review schedule.


Embracing Cultural Diversity


Locust Valley families grabbed their passports and traveled the world without the hassle of packing suitcases or experiencing jetlag. The Ann MacArthur Primary School and Locust Valley Intermediate School community just had to get themselves to AMP, where an International Food Festival awaited their arrival.

The all-purpose room was filled with delicious smells emanating from culinary delights popular in Albania, Chile, El Salvador, Pakistan, Poland, Romania and many more countries, as guests brought dishes that represented their own cultures. The room décor included placements designed by the students, which represented maps of various countries and colorful pennants hung throughout the space. 

Food and décor were not the only things that created the international feel. Performances by students provided insight into the lifestyle and culture of some of the represented countries. Guests were treated to Irish and Greek dancing and a violin solo. Each child received a passport in which they could document the countries they visited by tasting those foods. A photo backdrop was provided for vacation selfies and games representing various regions were played by children and parents alike. Aboriginal dot painting provided fun and exposure to an activity that children in another culture enjoy.

The International Food Festival was hosted and organized by the Locust Valley Parents’ Council. The annual event provides an opportunity for families to share their own cultures with the community. 

Locust Valley Elementary School Principal Dr. Sophia Gary said the Parents’ Council goes above and beyond to make the evening special. “Everyone truly enjoyed the festival, and our students saw firsthand that the traits that make us unique also make us special,” she said. 

Book Club Offers More than Reading

Every Friday, a group of students at Locust Valley Intermediate School voluntarily bring their lunch to ENL teacher Kristi Van Vleet’s classroom to read, talk and, of course, eat. The book talk program not only includes reading a book together throughout the year, but these voracious readers have the opportunity to communicate with the author through videos they create asking her questions and videos she sends back with the answers. 

There are 10 fifth-graders and three staff members participating in the program, which was organized through #KidsNeedMentors, a free program that matches authors with educators in a literary partnership that lasts throughout the school year. Ms. Van Vleet was paired with author Jodi Kendall and the group is reading her book, “The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City.” 

Each week, the students bring their lunches and share snacks while the book is read aloud, offering their thoughts on questions that Ms. Van Vleet poses to them regarding the book’s themes. Sometimes, the group takes turns reading aloud, and no matter who is reading, the conversations that spark from the story’s content is impactful. 

The book club is a safe place and the participants feel comfortable talking about things that they can relate to in the book,” Ms. Van Vleet said.  “They often speak about their personal experiences and can easily relate to Josie, the main character in the book.”

Having access to the author has been a valuable experience, as their interactions with her validate for the students that their thoughts and opinions matter. They can ask any questions about the book and Ms. Kendall has been very generous in answering them all.  

Reading teacher Diana Oromaner and ENL teaching assistant Cyndy Ergen have become honorary members of the book club, reading along, commenting and bringing snacks. 

Assistant Principal Amy Watson said the book talk is a wonderful academic opportunity for the students. “They are learning so much and sacrificing their free time to do so,” she said. “Ms. Van Vleet is providing a unique opportunity and likely instilling a love of reading in her students.”

Green & White Spirit!


Dressed in green and white, high school students took to the courts for some friendly competition during the Green & White Night, an event that fosters school spirit. You can see some of the fun in the slideshow.

Giving Thanks

Giving thanks was the theme at the district’s elementary schools on Nov. 20 when students and staff were celebrating Thanksgiving with their school families. From songs and costumes to turkey and stuffing, the spirit of giving was in the air. You can see a sampling of the festivities in the slideshow.

Learning From Leading


Learning from each other and sharing ideas was beneficial to attendees of the IB Student Roundtable, hosted by the high school’s IB Leadership Group.  The roundtable included IB students from Locust Valley, Hauppauge High School and The Portledge School.

The Locust Valley student organization arranged the event and many of the details, including suggesting guest speaker, Cory Muscara, a mindfulness and positive psychology specialist. Following his presentation on mindfulness and stress relief, IB Leadership Group members facilitated breakout groups, which allowed participants to gain insight into the IB programs at each other’s schools, form connections with one another and share strategies and tips for getting the most out of the program.

Senior Kyra Schmeizer said she found the event to be successful and helpful. "It was very interesting learning about different meditation and mindfulness exercises, and has inspired me to go on a short silent meditation retreat,” she said. She added that she enjoyed the breakout sessions where she learned how the other school´s complete their CAS hours.

Other Locust Valley participants said that in their breakout sessions they reflected on their experiences with the extended essay, a requirement for all IB Diploma candidates. One Locust Valley High School junior said practicing the five-finger meditation shared by Muscara before a recent test, helped her remain calm and earn 100 percent on the exam.

IB Coordinator Angela Manzo and IB Leadership Group advisor Barbara Mierlak said the roundtable event was the students’ idea and they did much of the planning and moderated the event themselves. “They were true leaders in every sense of the word,” said Ms. Mierlak. “They embodied the principles of the IB program and we are very proud of them.”


VIDEO: Vowel Bats

bats image

Locust Valley Jesters Entertain in 'Check Please’


The Locust Valley High School Jesters welcomed visitors into Guillermo’s Gourmet Café to witness the antics of several disastrous blind dates in the drama “Check Please.” As audience members sat at tables in the café, they observed two single people repeatedly disappointed by the strangers that showed up for their dates. A kleptomaniac, a child, a woman with an imaginary friend, a grandmother and a mime were among the unwelcome dinner partners.

Two performances on Nov. 17 and 18 immersed the audience in the action, including cast members serving coffee and pastries during intermission. The entire waitstaff of Guillermo’s Gourmet Café even came out to sing “Happy Birthday” to an unsuspecting diner. The café owner walked around during intermission to ask patrons if they were enjoying their desserts. 

The Locust Valley High School auditorium stage, which was transformed into the café, was filled with laughter throughout the performances as the cast members played their roles with emotion and creativity.

“Check Please” was produced by Marc Yavoski with costumes by Lisa Conti, stagecraft by Joan Passero and Nicole Stiegelbauer Montenegro and stage direction by Allison Hungate Wood.

The cast included Emily Barosin, Emma Berens, Maria Bubulinis, Aspen Collings, Sydney Collings, Brett Dalis, Sebastian Diaz Gomez, Valentina Friedrich, Ashlee Joly, Ava Lamb, Emma Livoti, Alim Merchant, Christian Ordonez, Lydia Paulus, Nitha Paulus and Timothy Peguillan.

Board of Education Recognized for Dedication

For their dedication to the Locust Valley Central School District, the Board of Education was recognized at its Nov. 14 meeting. Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Anna F. Hunderfund thanked them for volunteering endless hours to ensuring that the district is the best it can be. She presented each board member with a Locust Valley shirt and a paperweight.

Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan attended the meeting to present each board member with a certificate of appreciation, expressing his thanks for a job he knows is difficult as he started his political career as a Board of Education trustee in another district.

The Locust Valley Central School District thanks each of the following Board of Education members for their time and service to our schools:

Brian T. Nolan, President

Kerian Carlstrom, Vice President

John Del Tatto Jr., Trustee

Sarah Henris, Trustee

Margaret Marchand, Trustee

Jennifer Maselli, Trustee

Shawn C. Steele, Trustee


Teachers Teaching Teachers


The Locust Valley High School hallways were abuzz with enthusiasm, excitement and eagerness to learn during the district’s Superintendent’s Conference Day on Nov. 6. While it was a day off for students, staff from every LVCSD school sat in the seats in the classrooms usually filled with teenagers, while their colleagues and some outside experts expanded their minds with new information about mental health, technology, teaching, learning and so much more.

The day began with keynote speaker Julie Wise, who inspired the group to be inquirers, to speak with intention and to have what she called courageous conversations. Following her presentation, faculty and staff went to sessions for specific departments and to sessions they chose for themselves.

With nearly 80 sessions on 40 topics, participants had the opportunity to choose what would benefit them the most. There were eight outside presenters and almost 40 presenters from within the faculty.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Anna F. Hunderfund said that while hours of planning by many people went into making Superintendent's Conference Day the success that it was, she expected that the benefits of the day will last for a long time. 

“Supporting mental health continues to be a top priority for each of us, for our families and for our students,” she said. “It is the foundation for all that we do and hope to accomplish. Everyone walked away from Superintendent’s Conference Day with tools and insights about mental health and other topics of interest that are invaluable.” 

She added that professional development continues to be a priority in the district, and she was thrilled to see the commitment of the staff to sharing their insights and to learning from each other and from outside experts.

International Baccalaureate Coordinator Angela Manzo, who is also a high school math teacher, taught two sessions and said her class of teachers was so eager to learn that it was energizing. 

“Knowing that I was able to contribute to the growth of my colleagues is so rewarding,” she said. She and many others were tweeting photos and praise for the day using #EdCampLVCSD. 


Dedicated Wrestlers

Five Falcon wrestlers made sacrifices during the offseason to improve their bodies and minds, proving they have the attitude to become the best wrestlers they can be. This dedication earned junior Gage DeNatale All-American Honors.

Gage flew halfway around the world for an 11-day training session in Russia, where he trained with some of the best young wrestlers in the world and gained valuable knowledge and experience. Juniors Tommy Coll, Vincent Marchand and Kyle Shriberg spent 15 days of their summer vacation participating in the J Robinson Intensive Wrestling Camp in California. 

The dedication put into training during the offseason proved valuable at the Freak Show wrestling tournament held Oct. 21-22 in Las Vegas. Three Locust Valley wrestlers attended the tournament, often referred to as the Nationals of the West. Gage, Vinnie and junior Vito Rodriguez tested themselves against fierce competition, with Gage making the finals of the 132-lb. weight class in which he earned the All-American honor. Vinnie Marchand and Vito Rodriguez won multiple bouts. 

“Locust Valley wrestling is a family and the goal of individuals to improve themselves is driven by the desire to improve the entire team and the wrestling program as a whole,” said Dr. Danielle Turner, Director of Physical Education, Health and Athletics. “We are all very proud of the boys.”

Senior Earns National Award

Senior Brooke Cody has been named a Wendy’s High School Heisman 2018 School Winner. Of nearly 42,000 high school scholar-athletes considered, Brooke is among only 7,500 chosen for this designation. Honorees must maintain a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher, participate in at least one sport and be a leader in the school community.

Brooke is an IB Diploma candidate and is president of the IB Leadership Club. She is also the editor of Perspective, the school’s literary magazine, secretary of the National Honor Society and vice president of the Italian Honor Society. She will graduate with the Seal of Biliteracy, awarded to students who have attained proficiency in two or more languages.

A well-rounded young woman, Brooke is an avid rower with the Sagamore Rowing Association and a dancer with a focus on ballet. She has also performed with the Locust Valley Jesters in the school musicals.

Congratulations to Brooke on being chosen for this outstanding honor!

Honoring Our Veterans

veterans image 1

Audience members needed to grab their tissues as Ann MacArthur Primary School students honored veterans with emotional songs and tributes. The stage was a sea of red, white and blue with stars and flags mixed in as second-graders, dressed for their important roles in the Celebration of Gratitude.

As the children took turns reading about the meaning of Veterans Day, the importance of our flag and gratitude for the veterans who fought for our freedom, the audience dabbed their eyes, caught up in the emotion of the very serious words coming from the young mouths.

Following the singing of patriotic songs including “I Love My Country,” “Thank You Soldiers,” and “America,” six students introduced their special guests. These honorees were all veterans, having served in various branches of the armed services.

To conclude the ceremony, the crowd joined in to sing “God Bless America.” 
Second-grade teachers Tanya Becker, Amanda McCarthy and Tara Rice, along with music teacher Jane Benstock worked with the children to learn their parts. 

Locust Valley Elementary School Principal Dr. Sophia Gary said the ceremony was beautiful and a fitting tribute to veterans. “The faculty did a tremendous job to ensure that our veterans were honored in the way the deserve and the children made the assembly the beautiful tribute that it was.”

The following veterans were honored during the Celebration of Gratitude:
Edward Ja-kob (great-great-grandfather of Jackson Bosch), Bob Lonigro (grandfather of Kaymon Lonigro), Joe Novack (grandfather of Penelope Novack), Patrick Tomlinson (grandfather of Alex Tomlinson), Warren Wasp (family friend of Charlotte Munsill) and Rick Zappala (family friend of Henry Postillino).

Reinforcing the Importance of Responsible Decision Making

red ribbon collage

Programs and presentations that emphasized making healthy choices filled the days at the middle school and high school during Red Ribbon Week, Oct. 22-26. Events were organized and sponsored by the schools’ Students Against Destructive Decisions clubs, using the theme of the 2018 national Red Ribbon Campaign, “Life is Your Journey, TravelDrug Free.”

From the dangers of drugs to the consequences of inappropriate use of social media, students at both schools were reminded of the importance of making decisions that are healthy, both emotionally and physically. 

Among many activities, high school juniors heard a presentation from two social workers from the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. Amanda Cioffi and Lauren Navarra, who is an LVHS alumna, shared facts and anecdotes about the use of marijuana, alcohol, opiates and vaping. They discussed healthy ways in which students can reduce stress and anxiety, such as exercise, meditation and spending time with friends.

Middle school students attended a presentation by Katie Duffy Schumacher, the founder of Don’t Press Send, an organization that promotes a mindful approach to using social media. Schumacher stressed the importance of thinking before posting to social media, the ramifications that negative posts can have and the ways in which social media can be used appropriately. Schumacher presented her program to parents on the evening of Oct. 24.

High school SADD Club members visited middle school classes to help facilitate discussions on topics related to drinking, decision-making and peer pressure. Middle school SADD Club members asked students to write down how they make good decisions and then hung hundreds of answers in one of the school corridors.

High school psychologists Adriana Marin and Kristen Sylvan, the high school SADD advisers, helped club members coordinate the week’s events. Middle school SADD Club advisers Liz DeGennaro and Amanda Noren helped coordinate the middle school events. Cooperation and assistance from psychologists, guidance counselors and administrators were appreciated.

“The SADD clubs celebrate Red Ribbon Week to help engage students and staff in conversations regarding healthy decision-making and positive coping strategies,” Dr. Marin said. “The goal of the week is to help empower our students if they are ever faced with difficult decisions.”


December Board of Education Meeting Rescheduled

The Board of Education meeting originally scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 12 has been RESCHEDULED for Thursday, Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the MS/HS Mini-Theater.

Halloween Celebrations at Intermediate Schools

carved pumpkins

Coming Together in Pink and Green

Bayville Primary School staff members came together to support a colleague on Oct. 29 for PSC Awareness Day. Stacey Eno, a teacher in the school, has a daughter, Hayley, with primary sclerosing cholangitis, a long-term progressive disease that causes inflammation and scarring of the bile ducts of the liver, causing among many other medical conditions, the need for a liver transplant in 2016 when she was 15 years old. 

Some staff members wore pink T-shirts that said “Fight Like Hayley” to show their support and raise awareness of the rare disease. Others wore green shirts in honor of liver disease/cancer awareness month, which is observed in October.

Ms. Eno said her co-workers have helped her get through a difficult time. “The staff at Bayville Primary has been so supportive and I am very grateful,” she said.

Bringing Community Together for Halloween

kids in Halloween costumes

Elementary students dressed in their Halloween costumes went from door to door, trick-or-treating on Sunday, Oct. 28. They didn’t confuse the date for the real Halloween – they went to classrooms at Locust Valley High School, where the student government sponsored Safe Halloween, providing the community’s children with a safe and fun trick-or-treating experience.

Each classroom had a theme, designed and run by members of various high school clubs. The Robotics Club, for example, held a trivia competition complete with electronic buzzers. There was also mummy wrapping, face painting, bowling, arts and crafts and more. In each room, children were given Halloween candy, leaving them with full buckets by the end of the day.

From school families to staff members, the community came together, bringing their children to celebrate, play and show off their costumes. Patrick DiClemente, who attended his first Safe Halloween as the new high school principal, said the event was a great success. 

“Sunday was a proud day as our youngest and oldest students, our staff members and residents joined together for an event filled with many smiles, outstanding costumes and a positive community atmosphere,” he said.

Reinforcing Fire Safety

fire safety collage
Bayville firefighters shared lifesaving tips with students at Bayville Primary School during the fire department’s annual visit on Oct. 19. Reinforcing fire safety tips that are taught to students as part of the primary school curriculum, Bayville’s bravest donned their firefighting gear to show the children that although they may look scary in their protective pants, jackets, helmets and facemasks, they are there to help and children should not hide from them. 

They also demonstrated the Darth Vader-type sound that is heard when they breathe through their oxygen masks. “When you hear that sound, you know help is there,” said firefighter Rashad Abdel. He and his fellow firefighters reminded the children in kindergarten through second grade that they need to have an escape plan and a meeting place that they’ve determined ahead of time with their families. Some other safety rules shared included not rescuing pets or toys themselves, staying low to the ground and, of course, calling 911 for help. 

While the fire safety tips were the most important part of the day, the opportunity to sit in the fire trucks was surely the highlight for this audience. 

Many thanks to the members of Bayville Fire Company No. 1 for taking time out of their busy schedules to promote fire safety to the Bayville Primary School students!


Bilingual Night Builds School/Community Relationships

Photo Collage
A two-night event brought 85 Spanish-speaking parents together in an effort to improve the community/school relationship and facilitate an increase in parental involvement. Bilingual Night was held at Bayville Primary School and Ann MacArthur Primary School on Oct. 16-17. Parents from the elementary, middle and high schools were invited to attend.
Facilitated by Cyndy Ergen, a teaching assistant at Locust Valley Intermediate School, the program covered topics including ways in which parents can obtain support for their children in academics and where they can find information and homework assignments. They were offered assistance in filling out forms and told who to call at the schools for various topics. Attendees were shown that the district website, at, has an option to translate pages into a variety of languages, an option that helps non-English-speaking parents stay informed.
Ms. Ergen assists in translating for the district, by speaking with Spanish-speaking families and translating documents that are sent home. She said the attendees of the bilingual nights were thankful for the information shared. “They were very happy with all the information we gave them because they want to stay involved in their children's academic lives,” she said.
District employees and representatives from outside organizations provided information about services available to families, as Ms. Ergen translated what they were saying.

In its fourth year, the event has proven successful and helpful to district families. Many thanks to Ms. Ergen for her efforts.

Apple Detectives Investigate

A student works on her apple project

A classroom full of desks with plates of apple slices in front of each student usually indicates snack time. However, in Victoria Shishkoff’s first-grade class at Bayville Primary School, this scene is part of a collaborative lesson that teaches math, science, writingand art. Ms. Shishkoff wanted to expand on the apple theme and 
provide an opportunity for the students to have a hands-on experience.

Students were given red, green and yellow apple slices and asked to predict if they would be sweet or sour, if they would sink in water and what color the fruit would turn when soaked in various liquids. They measured the apple slices using various manipulatives, such as cubes, and they stamped the fruits with paint to create pictures.

Ms. Shishkoff said the first-grade curriculum includes lessons on the life cycle of plants, the parts of an apple and how plants protect themselves, so incorporating apples into other lessons was a positive crossover that led to increased learning.  Drawing, graphing, predictions and descriptive writing were incorporated, keeping these young apple detectives engaged and interested.

“I was thrilled with the result of our investigation,” Ms. Shishkoff said. “Giving students the ability to be independent thinkers and make their own decisions based on their very own investigations created a high level of engagement in the activity, therefore increasing the learning.” 

Bayville Primary School Assistant Principal Dorothy McManus said the activity was not only creative, but also inclusive of many learning objectives, making it the perfect lesson. “The entire class was engaged in several interdisciplinary modalities, while feeling independent and having a great time,” she said.


Megan's Law Presentation

Two students act out emotions
Ask first, check first was the mantra at elementary school presentations aimed at preventing sexual abuse and abduction. Jen Waters, a sexual offense protection educator with Parents for Megan’s Law, provided students at Ann MacArthur Primary School and Locust Valley Intermediate School with important tips for preventing sexual abuse and for reporting any uncomfortable interactions should they occur.

Ms. Waters told children that it was an unconditional rule that they check with their parents or teachers before going anywhere with an adult that is not the person in charge of them. She explained that predators can use trickery to lure them, such as pretending they need help finding a missing dog. 

“Grownups should never ask children for help,” Ms. Waters said. She explained that if they feel compelled to help someone, they must ask the grownup in charge first and explained that adults should only ask other adults for assistance.

Through stories, roleplaying and videos, Ms. Waters covered various scenarios that children could encounter, such as being touched inappropriately by strangers, neighbors or even relatives. She stressed the importance of telling someone they trust if this happened to them. 

“There are no secrets,” she said. She also stressed that victims are never at fault and by telling someone, the predators can get the help that they need to stop abusing. 

Fourth-grade volunteers participated in a roleplay exercise intended to demonstrate that adults cannot know something happened based on a child’s behavior or facial expressions, but rather may think the youngster is feeling ill or tired. Ms. Waters had the student volunteers act happy or sad without using words and then asked the audience to guess what was making them feel those emotions. 

“Without using words, your parents will not know what happened to you or why you feel sad,” she explained.

Similar presentations are shared with the students each year and geared towards particular ages. As students get older, more detailed information is shared. Ms. Waters gives a more detailed presentation to fifth-graders than to third-graders, for instance. 

Class of 2019 Valedictorian and Salutatorian

The valedictorian and salutatorian pose together
Locust Valley High School is proud to announce that Alim Merchant and Joanna Yu have been named Class of 2019 Valedictorian and Salutatorian respectively. Both students have achieved at extraordinary levels and participate in various activities.
Alim has earned an impressive grade point average of 107.98. He is an IB Diploma candidate and an AP Scholar with Distinction. In addition to the five AP courses and 15 IB courses Alim has taken, he is a member of the Science Research program and is undertaking independent study in multivariable calculus because he advanced past the mathematics courses offered at the high school.
Earning a perfect score of 36 on the ACT performance test puts Alim in an elite category with one-tenth of 1 percent of all those who have taken the ACT. Alim began taking high school courses in middle school, earning a grade of 102 in Algebra, 108 in Living Environment and 98 in Spanish I all while still in seventh grade. He has earned perfect scores of 100 on the U.S. History and Government Regents, Global History Regents and Spanish Checkpoint B.
Active in the history and debate clubs, the ethics and quiz bowls, Odyssey of the Mind and the school’s theater productions, Alim is a well-rounded student who has a zest for learning in all areas.
Joanna has an equally impressive grade point average of 107.29 and is also an IB Diploma candidate and AP Scholar with Distinction. She has taken four AP courses and 13 IB courses, is a Biliteracy Diploma Candidate and has earned perfect scores of 100 on Spanish Checkpoint A and B.
Joanna also began taking high school courses in middle school, excelling in these advanced subjects. She earned grades above 100 in several accelerated subjects while in the eighth grade.
Joanna hones her writing skills as a member of the high school newspaper staff, an activity she enjoys and feels passionate about. She is the captain of the cross-country team and a member of Tri-M Honor Society, as well as a participant in clubs such as Odyssey of the Mind and the high school’s book club. Joanna is grateful for the opportunities she was afforded in school and has taken advantage of them to earn the success that has awarded her the status of salutatorian.
Congratulations to Alim and Joanna!

Three Seniors Named National Merit Commended Students

The commended students pose together
Locust Valley High School congratulates seniors Dean Creedon, Alim Merchant and Joanna Yu who were named National Merit Commended students by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. They are recognized for achieving exceptional scores on the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) as juniors. From among the 1.6 million students across the nation taking the exam, approximately 34,000 were named commended students. 

This elite accomplishment will be a highlight for their resumes and college applications. Congratulations to Dean, Alim and Joanna on this achievement!

Building Towers Builds Skills

Students pose with their tower of cups
Building a tower with classmates is an activity that first-graders in Kim Derenthal’s class enjoy so much that they hardly notice that the Ann MacArthur Primary School teacher is providing instruction that conforms to the curriculum.

Working on problem-solving activities during mathematics instruction, the students worked collaboratively to determine the best way to create a tower by stacking empty cups. The group took turns counting and placing the cups one on top of another. If the tower fell, the students needed to start over, recounting and rebuilding. 

Ms. Derenthal said the class “practiced important skills, including counting, arranging, and organizing, while having fun in the process and reinforcing to always have a growth mindset!”

Recognizing Excellence Among the Faculty

Five tenure recipients with certificates
Five faculty members have demonstrated that they are among the best in their fields and contributing to the success of the district’s students at a level that is consistent with Locust Valley’s high standards. These distinguished teachers were granted tenure and recognized at a reception hosted by the Board of Education on Oct. 10.

The challenges that these five professionals overcame became when they decided to apply to teach in the district. They first had to be chosen for an interview and then had to make an impression that landed them the job. Having secured a spot as a member of the district’s esteemed faculty, these individuals then had to prove that they did indeed deserve to serve as role models, mentors and teachers to the community’s children.

Being granted tenure is proof that they excelled during the past three years, helping their students to reach educational milestones and to achieve at high levels. They have instilled confidence in these children and gained the respect of their peers and administrators.

For their dedication and excellence, the following faculty members were honored: Brittany Fassari, Bayville Primary School Special Education Teacher; Marie Fonzo, Bayville Elementary School Teacher; Devon Gallagher, Ann MacArthur Primary School Librarian; Doreen Kobus, Middle School/High School Home and Careers Teacher; and Wendy Mendoza, High School Mathematics Teacher.

Board of Education President Brian T. Nolan and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Anna F. Hunderfund welcomed the honorees and their guests, praising and thanking them for being exceptional educators. Administrators from each building spoke about the newly tenured teachers with pride.

“We are grateful to have such outstanding individuals on our faculty,” said Dr. Hunderfund. “It is my honor and privilege to recognize each of them for the exceptional impact that each has had on our children and our district.”

Congratulations to all of the tenure recipients!

Board of Education Honors Academic Excellence

Locust Valley High School congratulates the accomplishments of current and past students who have distinguished themselves as International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement Scholars, some with honors and distinctions.

Presented with certificates at the Oct. 10 Board of Education meeting, the AP scholars were recognized for their dedication to academics. The achievement is an elite designation for resumes and college applications.

AP scholars have earned a score of three or higher on at least three AP exams. AP Scholars with Honors have earned at least a 3.25 on all of their AP exams and AP Scholars with Distinction have earned a score of three or higher on a minimum of four AP exams.

Students earning the Locust Valley IB Scholar designation have achieved a four or better on no fewer than three IB exams. The alumni were recognized based on exams scores that were released during the summer and therefore could not attend the meeting as many are at colleges and universities outside of the area.

Congratulations to the following Locust Valley High School students and graduates from the Class of 2018:

Advanced Placement Scholars

Student AP Designation Grade
Zophie M. Lemaitre AP Scholar 10
Alexandra L. Amendolara AP Scholar 11
Sophie A. Barteau AP Scholar 11
Christopher E. Bartell AP Scholar 11
Lisa A. Cheung AP Scholar 11
Nina R. Cialone AP Scholar 11
Nils R. Coffey AP Scholar 11
Avery E. Denatale AP Scholar 11
Gage X. Denatale AP Scholar 11
Michael C. DiSpirito AP Scholar 11
Patrick J. Fallon AP Scholar 11
Julia G. Forte AP Scholar 11
Benjamin T. Levin AP Scholar 11
Emma R. Livoti AP Scholar 11
Jordan A. Mastrodomenico AP Scholar 11
Nitha J. Paulus AP Scholar 11
Michelle M. Perrin AP Scholar 11
Noah S. Pietrafesa AP Scholar 11
Ferah L. Shaikh AP Scholar 11
Katherine H. Simon AP Scholar 11
Francis B. Valdinoto AP Scholar 11
Eriks J. Zamurs AP Scholar 11
Victoria A. Chisari AP Scholar w/ Honors 11
Michelle A. Hsu AP Scholar w/ Distinction 11
Katherine G. Berritto AP Scholar 12
Dean Creedon AP Scholar 12
Matthew J. Doyle AP Scholar 12
Christopher J. Dunne Jr. AP Scholar 12
Howard T. Hogan AP Scholar 12
Victoria M. Mangelli AP Scholar 12
Doran B. McCormack AP Scholar 12
Joseph M. McNamara AP Scholar 12
Nicolas L. Reimer AP Scholar 12
Caroline M. Rice AP Scholar 12
Vincent S. Valli AP Scholar 12
Olivia H. Van Velsor AP Scholar 12
William R. VonToussaint AP Scholar 12
Brooke F. Cody AP Scholar w/ Honors 12
Marlene J. Goldstein AP Scholar w/ Distinction 12
Alim S. Merchant AP Scholar w/ Distinction 12
Olivia G. Olynciw AP Scholar w/ Distinction 12
Kyra A. Schmeizer AP Scholar w/ Distinction 12
Joanna Yu AP Scholar w/ Distinction 12

Advanced Placement Scholars - Graduates

Student AP Designation
Danya W. Karch AP Scholar
Kendall E. Morfis AP Scholar
Jessica E. Penny AP Scholar
Margaret S. Ryan AP Scholar
Spencer M. Weingord AP Scholar
Nicholas E. Chisari AP Scholar w/ Honors
Jake Lachman AP Scholar w/ Honors
Jack Ward AP Scholar w/ Honors
Elisabeth Baumann AP Scholar w/ Distinction
Charlotte A. Creedon AP Scholar w/ Distinction
Brooke P. DiSpirito AP Scholar w/ Distinction
Lucas Ferrante AP Scholar w/ Distinction
Hannah R. Fitzgerald AP Scholar w/ Distinction
William A. Fitzgerald AP Scholar w/ Distinction
Andrew P. Weiss AP Scholar w/ Distinction

IB Scholars – Graduates

Katherine Avazis Carly Knopf
Kelly Barker Jake Lachman
Elisabeth Baumann Evangelia Linardos
Alexandra Bebry Sarah Loher
Bridget Bianco Arianna Lombardi
Isabella Byrne Caroline Martocci
Jarred Byron Maya Mehta
Julia Cervoni Elizabeth Meringolo
Nicholas Chisari Alec Miranda
Craig Conn Emily Moran
Charlotte Creedon Kendall Morfis
Edgar Cruz Julia Orski
Leonardo D'Auria-Gupta Hannah Paulus
Gabrielle Dammers Ella Paz
Danielle DeStefanis Jessica Penny
Brooke Di Spirito Emily Petersen
Thomas Eletto Ravi Prasad
Lucas Ferrante Olivia Proko
Rebecca Finke Margaret Ryan
Hannah FitzGerald Ava Schieferstein
William FitzGerald Shannon Simak
Natalia Gonzalez William Trampel
Olivia Guma Jack Ward
Sophia Haynes Spencer Weingord
William Holowchak Andrew Weiss
Larissa Izaguirre Tyler Williams
Danya Karch Danielle Zambuto
Kyle Kavrazonis Jason Zhou
Maxwell Keller

Outstanding String Musicians

Musicians pose with instruments and teacher
For their outstanding performances at the New York State School Music Association last spring, two high school musicians have earned one of the highest accolades of acceptance to the NYSSMA All-State Winter Conference to be held in Rochester on Nov. 29-Dec. 2.

Double bassist Nils Coffey and violinist Nicholas Siconolfi will take the stage with the All-State String Orchestra at the festival. The high school juniors are both members of the school’s orchestra and chamber orchestra and participate in ensembles outside of school. 

Music subject matter coordinator Marc Yavoski said the music department faculty is extremely proud of Nils and Nicholas for being accepted into this highly competitive festival. 

“Nils and Nicholas are diligent and talented young musicians who are very deserving of the opportunity to represent Locust Valley High School at the NYSSMA All-State Festival. This will be a musical experience that they will cherish always,” he said.

Digging Deep for a Cure

JV and varsity teams at bake sale
JV and varsity teams with pink volleyball
JV team at bake sale
Student buy goods at bake sale
Varsity and junior varsity volleyball players became bakers, salesmen and philanthropists in support of the ninth annual Dig Pink fundraiser. The event, held on Oct. 1 to commemorate the start of Breast Cancer Awareness month, raised nearly $800 for breast cancer research in just one day. 

Trading in their usual volleyball uniforms for pink T-shirts that read “Volley for a Cure” next to the iconic pink breast cancer awareness ribbon, the girls sold baked goods to students and staff after school. From pink cupcakes to pastries tied up with pink ribbon, the event not only raised funds, but increased awareness as well. 

Both teams played their annual nonleague games against Glen Cove High School following the bake sale. The Glen Cove teams also wore special pink uniforms.

Varsity coach Bobbee Brancaccio said the event is important to the volleyball teams. “The girls work hard to make this event a success, as they want to make a difference and see a decrease in the number of people diagnosed with cancer.”

Dig Pink is a national breast cancer rally organized by the Side-Out Foundation, which encourages middle school and high school volleyball teams to hold events supporting the cause each October.

Cheering for a Cause

Cheerleaders pose with socks
The varsity cheerleaders have become the cheering section for an important cause that has hit them personally. The team worked together to raise awareness for childhood cancer during September, in support of their teammate Gianna LoRusso and her sister Sabrina who lost their 12-year-old sister, Olivia, to leukemia in 2017. 

For the entire month of September, which is designated Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the team wore black socks with large gold ribbons, the color that represents childhood cancer. Additionally, the girls placed gold ribbons throughout town to raise awareness. The socks came from the Olivia Hope Foundation, an organization started by the LoRusso family to raise awareness and funds to find a cure for childhood cancers.

Gianna, a junior at Locust Valley High School, said that it means a lot to her that her team recognized the importance of spreading awareness. “This is happening and it’s a big deal,” she said of childhood cancers. “It was Olivia’s hope that other children wouldn’t have to suffer, and we are going to help make her wish come true.” Gianna said that raising awareness is important because people don’t realize how many children are diagnosed with cancer. 

Gianna attended the high school’s grade-level assemblies at the start of the school year to discuss this topic and share with her peers ways in which they could help. 

Varsity cheerleading coach Carole Hellyer said she was proud of the team for taking on such an important cause and for recognizing that one of their teammates needed support.