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Driving Home Dangers of Distracted Driving

High school juniors and seniors experienced the dangers of distracted and impaired driving without the actual danger during a program sponsored by the SADD Club. The club brought the international Save a Life Tour to the school to impress upon students what can happen when a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or texting behind the wheel.

This safe driving awareness program began with a presentation that included personal stories of those that lost loved ones through either distracted or impaired driving accidents. Following the presentation, students were invited to jump in the driver’s seat of highly advanced simulators set up in the mini-theater. After strapping on their seatbelts, turning the key in the ignition and putting the car in drive, these young drivers began their journeys. They started out driving well, stopping at red lights, following the speed limit and respecting the laws of the road. Then, the simulator gradually took away their control and their cars were speeding, hitting curbs, going through stop signs and red lights and often crashing. During the texting simulation, each driver was given a mobile phone and told to respond to the text messages they received. When doing so, their cars were swerving, hitting other cars and driving off the road.

“The simulation is a very sobering experience for the students, reminding them that they have no control under these circumstances,” said SADD Club Adviser Adriana Marin. She said the program, which she co-advises with Kristen Sylvan, was first at the high school two years ago, and is an important and effective tool in teaching new drivers the dangers of driving while impaired or distracted.

Musical Accolades Across the District


Student musicians throughout the Locust Valley Central School District are performing their way to the top. Members of bands, orchestras and choruses have proven that Locust Valley musicians have talent! The Board of Education honored these musicians at its June 7 meeting.

Music in the Parks
On April 28, the Locust Valley High School Music Department competed at the Six Flags Music in the Parks Festival. Participants were adjudicated by judges from across the country and each performing ensemble was rated superior, excellent, good, fair, or poor and ranked within their ensemble classification.  The Locust Valley awards were as follows:

The string orchestra, under the direction of Marc Yavoski and AnnMarie Buonaspina was awarded First Place, Excellent Rating.  
The concert band, under the direction of Vincent Guerra and Lisa Conti was awarded Second Place, Excellent Rating.  
The concert chorale, under the direction of Allison Hungate Wood and Jessica Pezdan was awarded First Place, Superior Rating.  


Four groups participated in the NYSSMA Majors Music Festival at Hofstra University. Each ensemble performed three pieces and was adjudicated by two judges. The awards were as follows:

Middle School Concert Band directed by Vinny Guerra and Lisa Conti earned Gold with Distinction.
High School Chamber Singers directed by Allison Hungate Wood earned Silver
Sixth Grade Orchestra directed by AnnMarie Buonaspina earned Gold
Middle School Orchestra directed by Marc Yavoski and AnnMarie Buonaspina earned Gold

Lincoln Center Summer Internship

Three Locust Valley High School students were accepted for a summer internship at Lincoln Center. Senior Leonardo D'Auria-Gupta and Juniors Sophie Matthaei and Timothy Peguillan. The summer program, Middle School Arts Audition Boot Camp, is a partnership between Lincoln Center Education, Carnegie Hall, and the NYC Department of Education.  The student interns will support the teachers, teaching artists and students involved in the summer program. 

Long Island String Festival
The following students participated in the Long Island String Festival (LIFSA) this spring:

Bayville Intermediate School: Ciaran Bowden, bass and Abigale Maselli, cello.
Locust Valley Intermediate School: Sophia Koler, violin.
Locust Valley Middle School: Gianna Palleschi, violin; John D’Addario, bass; Tessa Hutton, violin.
Locust Valley High School: Hannah FitzGerald, bass; Nils Coffey, bass; Nicholas Siconolfi, violin.

All-County Musicians
Students listed below performed in the Nassau Music Educators Association All-County Music Festival. They were selected for the festival based on their New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) evaluations and teacher recommendations. 

Bayville Intermediate School: Owen Pye, band,;Kathryn Constantin, chorus; Julianna DiLorenzo, chorus; Caleigh Encarnacion, chorus; Lauren Hoy, chorus; Ciaran Bowden, orchestra; Molly Bowden, orchestra; Abigail Maselli, orchestra.

Locust Valley Intermediate School: Sara Nearenberg, band; Mia Goodman, chorus; Rani Kapoor, chorus; Sofia Maragos, chorus; Hailey Martin, chorus; Julia Siegel, chorus; Alexander Kanter, orchestra; Sophia Kohler, orchestra; Andrew Wieman, orchestra. 

Middle School: Aidan Moran, band; Olivia Cody, chorus; Brett Dailis, chorus; Claire Sellars, chorus; Ava Titus, chorus; John D’Addario, orchestra; Tessa Hutton, orchestra; Kieran Moran, orchestra.

High School: Ashley Capozzi, chorus; Nils Coffey, orchestra; Hannah FitzGerald, orchestra; Matthew Guerra, band; Timothy Peguillian, chorus; Noah Pietrafesa, band; Nicholas Siconolfi, orchestra.

LVHS Senior Earns National Merit Scholarship

Locust Valley High School senior Brooke DiSpirito has been named a National Merit Scholarship winner, receiving her scholarship from Northeastern University. Brooke is one of only 3,500 high school seniors nationwide to receive a university-sponsored National Merit Scholarship.

Brooke was among 16,000 students chosen in the fall as a semifinalist from 1.6 million high school juniors based on her 2016 PSAT scores. She then was among 15,000 high school students to advance to the finalist stage this spring after submitting a detailed application and an essay including information about her extracurricular activities, awards and leadership positions.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation states that its sponsors join them to enhance the educational opportunities for America’s scholastically talented youth and to encourage the pursuit of excellence.

Congratulations to Brooke on this elite accomplishment!

Falcons Headed to State Track and Field Championships

Students pose on the track
Senior David Fernandez and sophomore Nina Cialone have each earned a chance to compete at the New York State Track and Field championships at Cicero North High School in Syracuse, New York on June 8-9.
David earned his spot on the Nassau County state team in both the discus and shot put. Competing in the Nassau County qualifier, David placed first in the discus with a throw of 121 feet, 2 inches and first in the shot put with an outstanding throw of 45 feet, 3.5 inches. David’s performance came on the heels of being named Class A county champion in the shot put and placing second in the county in the discus. This will be the second consecutive year David competes in the state championships, as he made his first appearance last season competing in the shot put.
Sophomore Nina Cialone will compete in the state championships after qualifying in the triple jump with a career-best jump of 36 feet, 2.75 inches. As a sophomore, Nina has established herself as one of the top jumpers in Nassau County this season in both the triple jump and long jump. Nina recently placed second in both events at the Nassau County Class A championships.
We would like to wish David and Nina the best of luck in the upcoming state championships. Go Falcons!  

Flags for Freedom

A student accepts a flag from a veteran
Locust Valley High School’s fourth annual Flags for Freedom ceremony was a patriotic tribute to members of the military and an important lesson for the high school’s graduating seniors.
The event, sponsored by Operation Democracy and organized by that group’s President Kay Weninger and high school social studies curriculum coordinator David Ethé, included honoring local veterans for their service and presenting each member of the Class of 2018 with their own American flag, hand folded by members of the Bayville and Locust Valley American Legion posts. These veterans also handed the flags to each senior in a symbolic ceremony.
Ms. Weninger told the students that freedoms they have are because of the sacrifices made by members of the military and that the flags they are receiving are a reminder of those freedoms. “Today we will be presenting each of you with an American flag,” she said. “This is a true symbol of America. We are here to remember our fallen, honor our veterans, our community, our country and our graduating seniors.”
Guest speaker Jay Erskin, tactical operations officer and Blackhawk pilot in the United States Army, shared his military story, explaining that serving his country gave him purpose. “It is with great respect for our red, white and blue, our nation’s flag, that I asked you to cherish this flag. It is a very unique thing.” He reminded them that the flags they received represent their very freedom and encouraged them to read the copy of the Constitution they also received. Mr. Erskin said he understands that everyone cannot serve in the military, but encouraged the students to find some way to give back to the country or their community.
The Bayville American Legion Robert H. Spittel Post 1285 and Locust Valley American Legion Howard Van Wagner Post 962  opened the ceremony with the presentation of colors. These veterans spent hours prior to the event folding the flags for the seniors.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Anna F. Hunderfund spoke to the seniors about remembering the sacrifices our military makes. Mr. Ethé also shared the meaning of Memorial Day and the importance of our flag, our veterans and our military.
Student government members Bridget Bianco, Leonardo D’Auria-Gupta and Ella Paz presented readings as veterans demonstrated the proper folding of a flag and then presented that flag to Mr. Erskin.
The high school concert chorale, under the direction of Ms. Allison Hungate Wood, performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” along with “United We Stand” and “A Million Dreams.”
The district thanks all the guests and organizers who made the ceremony special for the veterans who attended and for our graduating seniors.