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Grundy Students Show Support for Autism

Grundy Students Show Support for Autism photo
In celebration of Autism Awareness month, students and staff from Grundy Avenue Elementary School joined together to raise awareness and funds for a special cause. 

Throughout the building, students and staff dressed in autism awareness shirts and bracelets that were sold to raise money for the Spectrum of Dreams Foundation. Additionally, students decorated countless creative puzzle pieces that lined the hallways of the building.

During the month, students learned about the autism spectrum as they watched various videos and listened to announcements each day in which a number of prominent role models with autism were highlighted for their outstanding achievements.  

As a culmination to the monthlong initiative, the school presented a $1,025 check to the Spectrum of Dreams Foundation President Tim Szlosek.

Athletics and Community Service Honored at May Board Meeting

Athletics and Community Service Honored at May Board Meeting photo
Athletics and Community Service Honored at May Board Meeting photo 2
Athletics and Community Service Honored at May Board Meeting photo 3
The Sachem Board of Education recently recognized three sports teams for their outstanding seasons and four students for their contributions during its May meeting. 

The Sachem North varsity cheerleading team was recognized for its first-place finish in the Suffolk County Division I Large School championship this season. The team boasts top three finishes in each of its Division I Large School competitions this season. 

Sachem East girls cross-country and track and field teams were collectively recognized for a dominant 2017-2018 season, easily navigating Section 11 on their way to a Suffolk County winter track and field championship. 

In addition, four Seneca Middle School students were recognized for their continued commitment to supporting the Sachem community. Paige Brunsma, Nickolas Fieschel and Francesca Natale were recognized for their help during Grundy Avenue’s Halloween Spooktacular. The student trio assisted in numerous areas of the event and ensured its overall success. 

Concluding the recognitions, Abbey Walsh was honored for her efforts assembling a holiday season display featuring numerous pictures of faculty and staff from throughout the building. 

Students Go Modern and Digital With Grundy Tech Club

Students Go Modern and Digital With Grundy Tech Club photo
Students Go Modern and Digital With Grundy Tech Club photo 2
Students Go Modern and Digital With Grundy Tech Club photo 3
The Grundy Avenue Elementary Tech Club meets monthly in the library with the goal of exposing students to technology they would not normally use during the school year.

From graphic design programs where students created their own company, to Google Expedition using virtual reality glasses to climb Mount Everest and go to the Museum of Natural History, it has been a fun experience for everyone involved.

“They loved this,” said Melissa Lawler, who runs the library and is the Tech Club adviser at Grundy.

Students also spent a week working with Ozobots, small programmable robots, and a program called Story Board to map out digital stories with online cartoon strips. 

Most recently, students wrote scripts about their Grundy memories and filmed the scenes using a green screen, allowing them to write, shoot and edit their own videos. 

Clearly, the Tech Club takes extracurricular activities to a diversified and educational level.

Student Chefs Share Winning Recipes With Sachem Staff

Student Chefs Share Winning Recipes With Sachem Staff photo

During a display of culinary expertise three teams of Sachem chefs from Seneca Middle School shared their award-winning recipes with cooking managers from each of the Sachem Central School District’s 15 buildings.

The three teams of students who placed at the recent eighth annual Junior Iron Chef competition held at Whole Foods Market in Lake Grove prepared the original dishes they created. Each delicious recipe, which was composed of all USDA-approved, cafeteria-ready ingredients and were served with careful presentation, were then taste tested by cooking managers from across the district.

Teams worked in unison as they navigated the Seneca cafeteria kitchen for the first time while they managed their one-hour cook time with precision. The first-place team, Team Golden Girls, plated their Jardin Burrito filled with eggs, guacamole, Monterey jack cheese, peppers, onions, black beans and corn that was paired with a delicious mango salsa. The third-place team, the Greek Goddesses, presented their Greek omelet, coined Demeter’s Dish, that was filled with potatoes and paired with tzatziki sauce, and the fourth-place team, the Slice and Dicers, served their savory breakfast quesadilla. 

“Today was incredible,” District Chairperson for Family and Consumer Science Mary Louise Faller said. “We were able to give back to our food service staff by preparing a few of our delicious dishes and the students got to show off their culinary techniques.”

The event allowed food service staff to observe each step of the cooking process and gather ideas to bring back to their own buildings to incorporate into the lunch menu. 

Sachem Science Duo Shines Through Brain Imaging Research

Sachem Science Duo Shines Through Brain Imaging Research photo
Sachem Science Duo Shines Through Brain Imaging Research photo 2
Innovation and collaboration serve as the staples for success in the science research laboratory at Sachem High School East as two juniors continue to conduct advanced brain imaging research in connection with the Department of Radiology at Stony Brook University.

Since September, Ian Limjoco and Vincent Zhang have been working side by side on a study to identify gray matter lesions in the subcortical structures of the human brain brought on by multiple sclerosis. With help from a special high-powered computer provided by Sachem administration, the students have the ability to remotely access anonymous patient data and run analysis software to analyze fMRI brain scans. Utilizing the ITK-Snap 3D imaging software, the duo creates segmented renderings of patient data that is then studied in an effort to improve brain analysis techniques in the scans of multiple sclerosis patients. The students hope to identify where impairments become apparent in the patient’s bodily function by identifying the location of the lesions in the gray matter. 

“This is the closest we have come to working with human subjects,” Limjoco said. “This program has allowed us to advance our research through human connection.”

The ongoing collaborative research efforts led by Dr. Tim Duong, Stony Brook University’s vice chair for research, radiology, provides the Sachem scientists with countless educational opportunities as they progress through their research. Working in connection with medical students, Limjoco and Zhang have had the chance to attend college-level pillar courses studying MRI radiology and access labs that aren’t normally available to students until graduate-level college courses. 

“All of the institution-level research we conduct is an incredible introduction that supports my pre-medical aspirations,” Zhang said.  

Limjoco and Zhang recently presented their research at the Long Island Science Congress at St. Anthony’s High School and aim to continue their gray matter research into the summer. 

Waverly Celebrates Cinco De Mayo

Waverly Celebrates Cinco De Mayo photo
Waverly Celebrates Cinco De Mayo photo 2
A festive Cinco De Mayo celebration recently immersed a class of Waverly Elementary School fourth-grade students in a collection of fun cultural activities.  

Students in Jennifer Savio’s class participated in a number of activities as they reflected on different aspects of Mexican heritage. As part of the informative celebration, students learned important phrases in Spanish such as hello, goodbye, please and thank you. The class also reflected on the history of Cinco De Mayo and learned that the day is a celebration of the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Continuing the activities, students enjoyed churros as they listened to popular Mexican music. 

Concluding the fun-filled celebration, students decorated their own sombreros with colorful glitter, pompoms and various other decorative supplies. 

Sachem High School North Valedictorian and Salutatorian

Sachem High School North Valedictorian and Salutatorian photo
Abigail Bandl and Kaylyn Spotton are Sachem High School North Class of 2018’s valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively. The two well-rounded student standouts have shown a relentless commitment to academic excellence during their four years of high school.

Among countless academic accolades, valedictorian Abigail is the president of the National Honor Society and an active participant in the Foreign Language, History, Math, Science and Tri-M honor societies. She has played trombone for nine years and has been a member of the varsity field hockey team for three years, serving as a team captain for two seasons. In addition, Abigail is a four-year member of the winter track team and a two-year member of the spring track team where she was a captain this year. Continuously challenging herself academically, she is enrolled in a number of Advanced Placement classes, including calculus, chemistry, government and politics, English, psychology and Spanish. Abigail will be attending Binghamton University to study biomedical engineering this fall.   

“A high school experience is what you make of it,” Abigail said. “Sachem has provided me every opportunity to make my dreams come true.” 

Salutatorian Kaylyn also has an impressive academic résumé. She is an active member of the Foreign Language, History, Math, National and Science honor societies and boasts a successful five-year athletic career as a varsity gymnast, beginning in eighth grade. Kaylyn has continuously challenged herself academically by enrolling in multiple college-level courses, including Advanced Placement biology, chemistry, English, B.C. calculus and economics this year alone. She will continue her academic journey at the Stevens Institute of Technology this fall, where she will study chemical biology. 

“During my time at Sachem I have made so many great relationships with my teachers,” Kaylyn said. “I have been able to learn so much from their professional experiences.”

The two Sachem standouts will receive their diplomas during the commencement ceremony on June 22. 

Sachem High School East Top Students Announced

Sachem High School East Top Students Announced photo
Tharini Prakash and Tim Chiu have been named Sachem High School East Class of 2018’s valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively. Tharini and Tim excelled to rise to the top of their class after 13 years of persistent academic excellence. 

Tharini, the valedictorian for High School East, is a National Merit Scholarship Finalist and boasts an unweighted grade point average of 99.1846. She is enrolled in multiple Advanced Placement classes, including calculus, economics, English, environmental science, French and physics. Complementing her impressive academic résumé, she is also the treasurer of Class Government and a member of the Outdoors Club. Tharini plans to study economics and politics in college following graduation. 
“Sachem has so many special teachers who have helped me choose my career path,” Tharini said. “Their passion in the careers they have chosen inspire me.” 

Tim, this year’s salutatorian, has a longstanding commitment to academic achievement that earned him an unweighted grade point average of 98.4083. Selecting a collection of challenging upper-level classes, he is enrolled in Advanced Placement computer science, government and politics, literature, physics I and statistics. In addition to his challenging course schedule, Tim is a member of the English, Math, National and Tri-M honor societies. He plays violin in the string ensemble and has been a yearly participant in New York State School Music Association festivals. Beyond the classroom, Tim is a member of the varsity tennis and golf teams and has served as the captain of the tennis team since 10th grade. Tim plans to attend Georgetown University following graduation to study neurobiology on a premedical track. 

“The people I have met and the friends I have made at Sachem cannot be matched,” Tim said. “All of the friendships are what has made high school a truly special experience.”  

These two spectacular students will receive their diplomas with the rest of their class at the commencement ceremony on June 23. 

Outstanding Physical Education Students Honored

Outstanding Physical Education Students Honored photo
The Suffolk Zone of the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance recently recognized 26 Sachem students for their outstanding character, leadership and performance in the Physical Education program. The one male and one female student selected from each of the district’s 10 elementary schools and three middle schools were honored during an awards dinner in Bay Shore on May 2. 


Peer Education Project Encourages Inclusion

Peer Education Project Encourages Inclusion photo
Peer Education students at Sachem High School North shared a powerful message recently through the release of a video project for the song “This is Me,” performed by Keala Settle from “The Greatest Showman” soundtrack. The student project aims to spread feelings of empowerment, inclusion and being proud of who you are. 

Click here to view the project

‘Frozen’ Faces Depict History for Hiawatha Students

‘Frozen’ Faces Depict History for Hiawatha Students photo

Prominent figures stood suspended in time throughout the gymnasium of Hiawatha Elementary School, as second-grade students dressed up like historical role models for the 10th annual Hiawatha Wax Museum.

Students incorporated various props into their displays, such as posters and short informational essays filled with facts about the person they chose to portray. As the second-graders remained frozen in their poses, students throughout the building had the opportunity to walk through the wax museum. Parents also visited and learned about the many significant people from history the students represented. 

The “wax” figures included Susan B. Anthony, Neil Armstrong, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Barack Obama and George Washington, among many others. 

The annual wax museum aligns with the nonfiction genre studies element of the English language arts curriculum, in which students choose biographies of historical figures to research. 


Sachem Finishes First at Regional Envirothon

Sachem Finishes First at Regional Envirothon photo
A team of five Sachem High School North students secured a first-place finish at the 20th annual Long Island Regional Envirothon environmental studies competition on April 25. 

Seniors Chris Eagler, Emily Hudak and Molly Kearns teamed up with junior Emily Gelardi and sophomore Miranda Garcia-Cassani as they navigated the five subject areas of this year’s Envirothon. The topics included the four recurring subjects of aquatics, forestry, soils and wildlife, and rangeland management served as the current issue for this year. 

During the competition, students cycled throughout the subject stations, where they answered a collection of multiple-choice questions that incorporated hands-on elements, including various equipment, maps and audiovisual devices. As part of the competition, students were given an environmental issue for the focus of an oral presentation that is delivered to a panel of judges. Students underwent extensive preparation during their free time leading up to the detailed 10-minute presentation. 

As first-place winners, each team member received $500 and a local field guide and was awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to compete at the New York State Envirothon in Geneva, New York, on May 23 and 24. 

Teachers Share Favorite Stories

Teachers Share Favorite Stories photo
A special selection of stories was on display at the Grundy Avenue Elementary School library recently as part of the building’s celebration of National Library Week. 

Lining the library shelves was a collection of staff-selected stories chosen for students to take home and read. Each book was labeled with the name of the teacher who selected the book as one of their favorites. Once students read one of the teachers’ picks they were asked to provide their own review on the story for other students to see before checking out their own book. 

The initiative served as a unique addition to the library for the special celebration of literacy and learning. 

SMILE! Sachem North Drama Produces Smash Hit for Spring Theater

SMILE! Sachem North Drama Produces Smash Hit for Spring Theater photo
Starring seniors Matthew Mazer, Sofia Medaglia, Paige Menneci and Kailey Valenti, with a supporting cast of over 40, “Smile” is an effervescent musical spectacular set in the 1980s about the friendships formed and the bonds of family tested over the course of putting on a student beauty pageant.

Sachem North Drama produced this play as part of its spring theater performance.

It was directed by Stefan Kelleher and the pit was conducted by Mike Carroll.

Students Learn Facts About Epilepsy

Students Learn Facts About Epilepsy photo
Third-graders at Waverly Elementary School recently attended an informative presentation delivered by the Epilepsy Foundation, which taught students important facts about epilepsy and seizures. 

Through an interactive puppet show, “The Kids on the Block,” relatable, everyday interactions between young students were presented, with a focus on openly discussing epilepsy. The presentation aimed to debunk myths and misconceptions surrounding epilepsy and inform students on what to do if a friend or classmate experiences a seizure. 

Following the presentation, students asked questions to gain further insight about the disorder.  

Merrimac Hosts Inaugural Family STEAM Night

Merrimac Hosts Inaugural Family STEAM Night photo

Parents marveled at countless crafty creations made by students during Merrimac Elementary School’s inaugural Family STEAM Night on April 19.

The family event served as an opportunity for each grade level to showcase a specific classroom project that students participated in as part of STEAM instruction. First-graders created kites, second-graders crafted musical instruments, third-graders made recycled paper, fourth-graders constructed robots from recycled materials and fifth-grade students showed off their Ozobot Olympic course. 

Throughout the building, a number of exciting activities were taking place for families to enjoy. Sachem Aftershock robotics team towed a wagon with one of their past robots, the Sachem Public Library provided STEAM activities for families to take part in and the art room was dedicated to design and construction challenges with Legos. 

In addition to the night’s festivities, the winner of the fifth-grade science fair was announced. Nicholas Prosa and his project that determined if hand dryers or paper towels are a healthier hand drying option will be moving on to the science fair at Brookhaven National Laboratory on May 5. 

World Championship Exposure for Sachem Robotics

World Championship Exposure for Sachem Robotics photo
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World Championship Exposure for Sachem Robotics photo 3
World Championship Exposure for Sachem Robotics photo 4
Sachem Robotics Team 263, Sachem Aftershock, competed at the FIRST World Championships in Detroit from April 25-28.

Aftershock was one of 67 teams in the Curie Subdivision and was ranked No. 22 after the qualification matches, which placed them as one of the top-two ranked Long Island teams that attended the championships.

Sachem was granted a qualification bid to the world championships after a spirited performance at the Long Island Regional Competition at Hofstra in early April and another strong performance at the Palmetto Regional FIRST Robotics Competition, as well as similar performances earlier in the season.

Aftershock placed eighth coming out of the Long Island event.

Attending the competitions, both on Long Island and across the country, were an amazing experience for the team members, mentors and family members that traveled to the event.

Wenonah Community Night Brings a Breath of Fresh Air

Wenonah Community Night Brings a Breath of Fresh Air photo

During a collaborative display of community, family and friends, Wenonah Elementary School transformed its classrooms into a collection of informative activities for all to enjoy as part of its annual community night held on April 19.

The theme for this year’s community night was “The Air Around Us” and was the basis for each of the exciting activities taking place throughout the building. As part of the theme, students engaged in a number of lessons during classroom instruction that focused on a wide range of careers and concepts involving air. 

Serving as an exciting kickoff event, on April 18, students were treated to a unique presentation on hot air balloons given by Captain Lee Teitsworth of the Liberty Balloon Company from Groveland, New York. Teitsworth performed a partial inflation demonstration from which students learned how a balloon reacts to wind. During the introduction to ballooning, students learned about the importance of weather, physics and aviation concepts that contribute to a balloon’s successful flight. 

On the night of the event, the school cafeteria was lined with booths represented by local vendors and community members who have careers associated with air. Students and their families visited booths led by BeeWitched Bee Local Honey and Bee Products, CPI Aerostructures, Patient AirLift Services, St. Charles Hospital CPR educators and a commercial airline pilot, among many others.   

Around the building, students had the opportunity to fly a plane using a flight simulator with help from private pilot Brian Schulman, Skype with meteorologist Chris Bruin from The Weather Channel, learn how sound waves move through the air and view air-themed projects created by students on each grade level. The fun continued at multiple other stations where students spoke with scuba divers, learned about birds and bird feeders, crafted egg carton helicopters and constructed paper airplanes. 

In addition to the night’s festivities, the student chorus put on a perfect performance of air-themed songs, including “Defying Gravity” from the world-renowned Broadway musical “Wicked.”

Sachem Accepted to Tri-State Consortium

Sachem Accepted to Tri-State Consortium photo
As part of the Sachem Central School District’s continued commitment to enhance educational opportunities, the district has recently been accepted as a member district to the Tri-State Consortium. 

The Tri-State Consortium is a dynamic learning organization focused on providing assistance to member districts through reoccurring evaluations designed to support student success in high-performing districts. Led by trained educators from the Consortium, these collaborative assessments use multiple sources to identify district strengths and create a framework that encourages future growth. 

“Being accepted as a member district to the Tri-State Consortium provides a powerful opportunity for members of administration and educators on all levels to continue conversations focused on instructional advancement,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Graham. 

On July 1, Sachem officially becomes one of more than 40 member districts located across Connecticut, New Jersey and New York.  

Middle School Musicians Share Experience

Middle School Musicians Share Experience photo
Middle School Musicians Share Experience photo 2
Seneca Middle School music students shared their performance experience with fifth-grade musicians from Grundy Avenue, Merrimac, Nokomis and Tamarac Elementary Schools during the annual moving-up music visit. 

The visit was an opportunity for elementary students to become better acclimated to the various experiences they will encounter while practicing and performing on the middle school level. The fifth-grade students were able to ask the middle school musicians questions about their experience, including when they received their instruments, what extra music opportunities are available to them and how lessons are taught in a large group setting. 

Following the opportunity for questions, band and orchestra students separated into their respective ensembles for a large group performance that joined middle and elementary school students together. The band performed “The Great Gate of Kiev” by Modest Mussorgsky and the orchestra performed “Dragon Slayer” by Rob Grice.

Each Sachem middle school welcomes students from its feeder elementary schools for a similar music experience each year. 

Winter Athletics Post Season Honors 17-18

Winter Athletics Post Season Honors 17-18 banner


Waverly Goes Wild With Library Research

Waverly Goes Wild With Library Research photo
Student-zoologists took over Waverly Elementary School recently after an animal assignment introduced fourth-graders to the many research tools and techniques available at the library. 

With help from Waverly library media specialist Louann Cronin students embarked on the trimester long project that explores a multitude of animals from around the world. Students selected an animal they wanted to research and then utilizing the BOCES School Library System Virtual Reference Collection navigated through multiple databases to collect information on their animal. Once students gathered information from the articles they discovered, they inserted photos into their lap books – a mini-book that students create to record details of their studies – and began to compose an essay on their animal. Student animal selections included wolves, lions, goats and bears, among many others. 

The animal research project introduces students to important research tools they will use throughout their educational journey and serves as a complementary connection to the fourth-grade unit on animals. 

Cracking Into Gravity Concepts

Cracking Into Gravity Concepts photo

As part of a recent curriculum lesson on gravity, third-grade students at Hiawatha Elementary School participated in an exciting “eggsperiment” exploring the science behind a free-fall.

All third-graders were asked to compile assorted household materials that they could fit into a small milk container to protect an egg. Working in teams, students crafted their protective containers filled with various materials, such as cotton balls, cereal, feathers and tissues, that would be dropped from the roof of the school building. To increase the chances of a safe descent, several student groups added parachutes to their containers. Each student-designed container was tested by being dropped from the roof by Principal Kathleen O’Farrell. 

To conclude the lesson, students discussed the effects of gravity on the world around us and how they could improve their designs. 

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Music

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Music
A perfect performance recently wowed an audience of family and friends as second-grade students at Waverly Elementary School performed their musical, “Lemonade.”

All students were dressed in colorful costumes to resemble characters from Mother Goose nursery rhymes as they performed different scenes. Led by music teacher Bonnie Businski, the second-grade performers had been hard at work since January practicing their lines and songs for the performance. 

Through the songs and scenes from the play, the message “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” echoed throughout the cafetorium. 

Amy DeLury Named Professor for a Day

Amy DeLury Named Professor for a Day
Sachem High School North science research junior Amy DeLury was among 16 high school students from New York City and Long Island chosen to participate in the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Professor for a Day program, examining protein homeostasis in health and disease.

The program serves as an opportunity for Amy to expand upon her extensive prion research and hear the latest innovative ideas from leading investigators in the field. 

In addition to her work in science research, Amy is currently enrolled in a number of challenging Advanced Placement classes, including chemistry, language and composition, physics, Spanish and U.S. history.

“I love science research because you can choose any project you like,” Amy said. “It is just like ordinary problem-solving but your solutions can change the world.”

Student Community Service Recognized at April Meeting

Student Community Service Recognized at April Meeting Pic
Student Community Service Recognized at April Meeting  Pic 2
During its second meeting this April, the Sachem Central School District Board of Education recognized students for their extraordinary commitment to community service. 

Waverly Elementary School fifth-grade student Casey Lynch was recognized for the organization of a fundraiser that collected donations and raised awareness for pancreatic cancer. Through Casey’s efforts, Waverly raised over $700 that was donated to the Lustgarten Foundation.

Continuing the special student recognitions, the fourth- and fifth-grade student lighthouse teams from Wenonah Elementary School were recognized for their continued excellence assisting those in need throughout the community. The student group was commended for their participation in the Kindness and Justice Challenge where students worked to increase their understanding of empathy. In addition, the students organized fundraisers to generate donations and raise awareness for Down syndrome and animal shelters. 

The recognitions serve as a recent addition to the monthly Board of Education meetings and aim to showcase student community-service initiatives throughout the district. 

The Unity Project Showcases Community Connections

The Unity Project Showcases Community Connections photo
A dazzling display of community collaboration between Sachem Central School District students and community is currently a focal point of the Sachem Public Library garden, thanks to an interactive public art venture known as The Unity Project.

The goal of this global movement is to create a healthy dialogue between members of opposing political parties in an effort to depolarize politics and enhance civic education across the country. The project aims to remove the adversarial stigma between political parties and create a community committed to solving the problems they face as a society. 

Students from the Sachem High School East National Art Honor Society assembled a structure for The Unity Project with help from adviser Katrina Wrigley and her husband Dane. The larger-than-life structure helps celebrate how individuals’ unique qualities and strengths tie each other together. 

For the installation, students and community members connected a piece of yarn to a post labeled with a description of a specific identity. As participants’ yarn began to intertwine with others, the complex labyrinth of yarn showcased the true interconnectedness of the community. The completed display will remain on exhibit at the Sachem Public Library until May 12. 

In addition, the artistic work of district middle and high school students is also on display at Sachem Public Library as part of its Teen Art Show. These pieces will remain in the gallery until the end of the April.

Sachem Students Decode Long Island Biodiversity

Sachem Students Decode Long Island Biodiversity photo
Six Sachem High School North science research students making up two teams recently worked to expand their genetics knowledge through the Barcode Long Island program. 

The program, led by the Cold Spring Harbor DNA Learning Center and in collaboration with the American Museum for National History, Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University, aims to enhance student understanding of the interdependence between humans and the natural environment. 

Each team of Sachem students developed a project to investigate biodiversity on Long Island and submitted a written proposal to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for its annual symposium. Once accepted, the student-scientists took to the field to collect water quality data and biological specimens. Students then recently utilized the genetics lab at Stony Brook University to complete gel electrophoresis before sending the DNA samples out to be sequenced. Students worked alongside professional geneticists to extract and amplify DNA from almost 40 organisms. 

Through the Barcode Long Island program students gain an authentic science research experience harnessing the capabilities of genetics labs they would not otherwise have access to until college. Following the student research, each team will create a poster that will be presented to peers and professionals at the annual symposium held at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s DNA Learning Center. 

Last year, a team of Sachem students discovered two organisms that have never been sequenced for DNA before. 

Sachem Teams Up for Technology

Sachem Teams Up for Technology photo

Technology transcended grade levels at Sachem High School North as students throughout the building explored numerous educational technologies during a collaboration between the library at High School North and the Sachem Public Library.

During the Sachem Public Library’s studio tour, the library at High School North bustled with students engaged in the latest technologies. High-tech devices offered were drones, mBots, Ozmo drawing tablets and a virtual reality headset simulator. Students interested in creative design and engineering could explore lower-tech options such as Strawbees and Legos.

“It was a really interesting experience,” student Joe Ennisi said as he waited on line to experience the VR headset. “These activities really make you think outside the box.” 

The introduction to the new technologies encouraged students to expand on curriculum concepts through tactile learning.

Click here to view a video from the event.

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Exploring the Wonders of Wizardry

Exploring the Wonders of Wizardry photo

Magic and mystery filled Allison Poffenbarger’s classroom at Grundy Avenue Elementary School as her fifth-grade students participated in multiple engaging, Harry Potter-themed STEAM activities throughout the day.

As part of the English language arts curriculum, students recently completed the first book of the Harry Potter series, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Looking to make cross-curricular connections, Poffenbarger then developed collaborative thinking and problem-solving skill-building activities based on the story. 

Separated into four groups representing each house depicted in the book, the students began work on each activity in timed 30-minute increments. Students were challenged to create a contraption capable of launching the “Golden Snitch” the greatest distance possible. Equipped with rubber bands, tape, scissors, string and paper towel rolls, the students were free to design and construct the most efficient launcher. In a different activity students were asked to design a marble maze mirroring the one in Gringotts Bank. Each maze was required to have three turns and use 3 feet of paper towel rolls, among other objects, to transfer the marble. 

Continuing the fun-filled activities, students crafted their own wands out of various materials provided. Students wrapped their wands in pipe cleaners and string and covered them with colorful glitter to show off their wizardly crafts. As part of another activity, students were tasked with designing the longest dragon possible out of paper towel rolls.

As the culminating activity to the day’s events, each group raced to the finish in a Harry Potter-themed Breakout EDU activity, navigating clues from the popular novel. 

Sachem Students Get International Education at Model U.N. Conference

Sachem Students Get International Education at Model U.N. Conference photo
Sachem Students Get International Education at Model U.N. Conference photo 2
Sachem Students Get International Education at Model U.N. Conference photo 3
Sachem Students Get International Education at Model U.N. Conference photo 4
Students with the Sachem North Model United Nations Club participated in the National High School Model United Nations international conference in March.

Accompanied by adviser Dr. Afxendiou and chaperoned by Mrs. Marcazzo-Skarka, they joined thousands of other students at the New York Hilton Midtown for a weekend of debates and discussions.

Delegates from schools around the world come to New York City for a unique conference hosted by the International Model United Nations Association. 

This year, Sachem’s delegation represented the nation of Jordan. They met with Mrs. Samar Sukkar, one of six delegates representing the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in the United Nations, for a question and answer session.

Students also had the opportunity to visit the United Nations for the opening ceremony, which was held in the General Assembly Hall. 

Towers Test Students’ Teamwork

Towers Test Students’ Teamwork photo

Critical thinking fueled student designs recently as all fifth-grade students at Merrimac Elementary School participated in a STEAM activity aimed at enhancing student collaboration.

The activity, led by Merrimac art teacher Jenna Motroni, challenged student groups to design and construct the tallest tower possible out of predetermined amounts of spaghetti, tape and string, which at the end of the build would have to hold a marshmallow at its peak. Students were given a 20-minute build time to carefully construct a functional tower out of the limited resources provided. 

“It is fun to teach students traditional concepts in a unique way,” Ms. Motroni said. “Students get to work on solving different problems through teamwork.” 

At the conclusion of the activity, students collectively discussed alternative construction approaches that could improve the design of their towers.

Sachem Resident Shares Music Knowledge

Sachem Resident Shares Music Knowledge photo
Soft notes and musical magic flowed through Nokomis Elementary School recently as Sachem resident Donna Basile held an informative assembly on the recorder for all third-grade students. 

A former music educator from the Harborfields Central School District, Basile holds a vast knowledge of the recorder and shared this insight with Nokomis students. Beginning in the third grade, all students across the district are introduced to the recorder and begin learning various scales and songs as part of the music curriculum. 

During the assembly Basile periodically integrated the history of the recorder dating back to the 15th century. Students learned about seven different sized recorders ranging from the Garklein to the great bass. After showing students each recorder, Basile demonstrated the unique pitch of the varying instruments by performing familiar melodic songs. 

The assembly provided students added knowledge about their instruments before taking the stage this May for the annual third-grade recorder concert. 

Sports Physicals Information

Click on the appropriate link below to access the necessary medical documents for try outs. These are the ONLY forms that will be accepted by the district for athletic try outs: 


Click on the appropriate link below for important sports physicals information including free physical exam dates/times & paperwork submission dates/times:

Merrimac Students Stand Out With Supplies Surprise

Merrimac Students Stand Out With Supplies Surprise photo
A collaborative effort at Merrimac Elementary School created connections between literacy and community service through a student-organized Pick a Reading Partner theme for the month of March. 

Two fifth-grade students, Brooke Storan and Meadow Murphy, teamed up with second-grade student Lorenzo Vargas to develop a PARP theme that encouraged reading throughout the building, while also collecting school supplies for less fortunate students at Merrimac and other schools in Sachem. The student trio coined the PARP theme, “Supplies Surprise,” and set a goal to collect a plethora of school supplies while logging reading time along the way. 

The students held two assembly programs informing students of the various incentives associated with the program they organized. For students in kindergarten, first- and second-grade, once they reach 200 minutes of reading they earn a sheet of quotes to decorate that will be given to the recipients of the school supplies. Fourth- and fifth-grade students that reach 150 minutes of reading earn raffle tickets that will be drawn to select the students who would help organize the collected supplies before they are distributed.

As part of the unique initiative, each grade has been assigned a different group of supplies to donate. The schoolwide goal for “Supplies Surprise” is to reach 150,000 minutes of reading by the end of March. 

Sachem Student Named Town of Brookhaven Student of the Month

Sachem Student Named Town of Brookhaven Student of the Month photo
Sachem High School North Senior Emma Hirt was named Town of Brookhaven Student of the Month for February by Councilman Kevin LaValle.

Emma excels in a number of Advanced Placement classes and is an integral participant in multiple extracurricular activities. She is the president of Student Government, a member of the Model United Nations and sits as a student representative on the Sachem Central School District Board of Education. 

Emma plans to pursue a medical degree at Drexel University after graduation. 

Sachem Robotics Qualifies for World Championships

Sachem Robotics Qualifies for World Championships photo
After a spirited competition at the FIRST Robotics Long Island Regionals this past weekend at Hofstra University, Sachem’s Aftershock 263 robotics team has qualified for the world championships.

These talented student-engineers will head to Detroit from April 25-28 and compete with the very best robotics teams in the country.

Coming out of the qualifying matches on Saturday morning at Hofstra, Sachem Aftershock earned a place as a seed team heading into alliance selection for the playoff matches. The team played as part of the third alliance, a group of teams/schools competing together, which made it as far as the semifinals.
Because of the team’s overall competitive performance at both the Long Island Regional, as well as previously at the Palmetto Regional, Aftershock 263 was invited to Detroit.

The team placed eighth overall at the Long Island Regional.

Student Volunteerism Recognized at April Board Meeting

Student Volunteerism Recognized at April Board Meeting photo
Student Volunteerism Recognized at April Board Meeting photo 2
Student Volunteerism Recognized at April Board Meeting photo 3
Student Volunteerism Recognized at April Board Meeting photo 4
During its April meeting, the Sachem Board of Education recognized three schools within the district for their exemplary community service efforts. 

Grundy Avenue Elementary School was recognized for the extraordinary volunteer work of third-grade student Bret Auricchio. Bret organized the Grundy Avenue Breast Cancer Awareness Walk that raised $1,200 last October. 

From Samoset Middle School, eighth-grade student MaKenna Homayoon was recognized for her continued commitment to giving back to the community. MaKenna was the leading collector in the Long Island Cares food drive, which raised over 10,000 pounds of food for families in need. Additionally, MaKenna continues to raise awareness for epilepsy and participates in the Buddies Club helping special-needs students. 

Also recognized for their continued community support through volunteerism were the students of the Kids Care Club at Tamarac Elementary School. The students’ collective efforts created countless letters for soldiers, organized food drives and made blankets for children staying in the pediatric units of local hospitals. 

Concluding the special recognitions, the Sachem Central Teachers’ Association was honored for the organization of the Pink Night Out Breast Cancer Awareness fundraiser that raised $20,000. 

Basketball, Fundraising, School Spirit Define March Madness

Basketball, Fundraising, School Spirit Define March Madness photo

Sachem’s annual March Madness tradition has been a staple for the student body for more than 20 years.

Students spend the days enjoying a spring spirit week where each day promotes a different fun theme – America, decades, school pride – and the week culminates with a basketball tournament featuring both staff and students.

This year saw the creation of a Sachem Showdown event where both Sachem East and Sachem North came together for activities one evening. From tug-of-war to balloon pops and other engaging activities, the students made the best of the cross-district event and wish to expand it in the future.

At Sachem East, the March Madness fundraiser was combined with an effort to raise funds for the ALS Ride for Life organization. Student Government officers handed a check in the amount of $1,500 to ALS patients Dr. Christopher Pendergast, Paul Weisman and Frank Wojcik. 

“People left that day speaking of actually getting chills listening to Dr. Pendergast speak to the students through his eye-gaze computer while the entire gymnasium was so quiet,” said Michael Jannace, a teacher and club adviser at Sachem East. “What a beautiful scene! The care and respect demonstrated at Sachem East helped to spread awareness of this deadly disease with no cure.”


Superintendent Gains Insight Through Student-Directed Discussion

Superintendent Gains Insight Through Student-Directed Discussion photo
To gain important insight on building culture and student concerns, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Graham and various other members of the administration continuously participate in a student-directed roundtable at each building throughout the district.

As part of the periodic visits, student representatives of varying school activity levels are selected by each building principal to meet with Dr. Graham to discuss the questions and concerns of their peers. The roundtable discussions provide students across all grade levels the opportunity to have their voice heard by administrative members.  

Among the numerous topics highlighted during each discussion were student engagement in class, safety and security, school culture, and extra- and cocurricular activities. 

Science Erupts at Waverly

Science Erupts at Waverly photo

Waverly Elementary School fifth-graders had a blast during a recent STEAM activity exploring the geographic and scientific elements of volcanoes.

As part of the students’ study, each group selected a volcano from around the world to research. After students collected information on their chosen volcano they created colorful informational posters displaying interesting facts and characteristics about the unique landforms.  

As part of the activity students utilized Play-Doh to sculpt miniature replicas of their volcanoes. To mirror a volcanic eruption, students were provided with a collection of ingredients that they used to conduct experiments to develop a combination that would produce the best eruption. Students determined a calculated mixture of baking soda and vinegar created the best eruption and added red food coloring to mimic the color of flowing lava. 

Throughout the activity each student group referred back to the key principals of the design and engineering process to assess areas that needed improvement and incorporated new design ideas to complete their goals. 

Tamarac Student Takes a Duck to Class

Tamarac Student Takes a Duck to Class photo
Tamarac Student Takes a Duck to Class photo 2
Tamarac Student Takes a Duck to Class photo 3
In celebration of fifth-grade student Jacob Rubbo being named a TD Bank “Take a Duck to Class” essay contest, Tamarac Elementary School was visited by the Long Island Ducks for a special program. 

As part of the contest, students across Long Island were challenged to write an essay about a hero in their community. Jacob chose to write about a close family friend and President of the Spectrum of Dreams Foundation Tim Szlosek. After his son Shane was diagnosed with autism, Mr. Szlosek started the nonprofit organization to help children with special needs acquire the financial resources necessary to enhance their quality of life. Jacob’s essay earned the attention of the contest judges, as he chose to recognize an unconventional type of hometown hero. 

“Tim made the Spectrum of Dreams Foundation because he wants to help kids like Shane get the resources they need,” Jacob wrote in his essay. “He did something very nice and helpful for kids with autism. I am so happy to know such an amazing person.”

To begin the assembly, all Tamarac students filled the gymnasium to celebrate Jacob’s accomplishment. Following praise from Principal Michael Saidens, Jacob read his essay aloud to the audience of his peers before being presented with a Visa gift card by TD Bank Vice President of U.S. Field Marketing Strategy Eric Fishon and TD Bank Lake Ronkonkoma store manager Ed Pesapane. 

Concluding the visit, Jacob and his classmates enjoyed a game of Wiffle ball with Ducks mascot QuackerJack and the Ducks Street Team.

Lynwood Elementary Dances the Night Away

Lynwood Elementary Dances the Night Away photo

Elegance and grace filled the gymnasium at Sachem High School East recently as Lynwood Elementary School fifth-grade students took part in the Dancing with the Lynwood Stars culminating performance as part of the Dancing Classrooms program.

In its ninth year at Lynwood, the 10-week Dancing Classrooms program teaches students eight ballroom dances, a line dance and a folk dance. As students worked through numerous dance classes, teamwork, respect, self-confidence and nonverbal communication were continuously emphasized by teaching artist Jessica Heins.

As a culmination to their study, the students performed the merengue, foxtrot, rumba, waltz, tango, swing and polka for a packed crowd of family and friends. Each dance was prefaced with a student-led demonstration showcasing the cadences for each step the students learned. In between the performances, students read essays reflecting on their dance experiences. 

To conclude the fun-filled night, members of the audience were asked to join the students in a large group dance demonstration. 


William Gavin to Attend Washington Journalism and Media Conference

William Gavin to Attend Washington Journalism and Media Conference photo
Sachem High School East junior William Gavin has been selected as a national youth correspondent and invited to attend the prestigious Washington Journalism and Media Conference held at George Mason University this summer. 

As part of the conference curriculum, William will participate in hands-on learning led by industry-leading professionals from a number of media backgrounds. The participating youth correspondents will learn through decision-making simulations that prompt students to face similar creative, practical and ethical pressures they will encounter in media and journalism careers. In addition, the student-participants will enjoy expert insight from multiple guest speakers during the weeklong conference. 

William is enrolled in a number of Advanced Placement classes, including composition, biology and U.S. history. Complementing William’s enrollment in multiple challenging courses is a robust cocurricular résumé, as he is active in the Chess Club and the Diversity Club. He plans to pursue further journalism in college, with a focus on political journalism. 

“I look forward to meeting many well-known journalists during the conference,” William said. “I am excited for the experience to learn from the professionals.”

Security Summit Update


Holocaust Survivor Visits Seneca

Holocaust Survivor Visits Seneca photo
Holocaust Survivor Visits Seneca photo 2
Eighth-grade students at Seneca Middle School recently attended a captivating assembly program presented by Holocaust survivor Irving Roth. 

As a young boy, Mr. Roth was separated from his family and taken to Auschwitz, where he was forced by Nazi soldiers to work long hours with very limited food. Mr. Roth survived his time at Auschwitz but was transported to Buchenwald, another concentration camp that was liberated in 1945. 

Mr. Roth spoke with students about the numerous social injustices he endured when German soldiers took over Czechoslovakia and how his family was forced into hiding in Hungary. His stories depicted the horrible living conditions he faced during his time at Auschwitz and how his ordinary way of living was taken from him by Nazi soldiers. 

Following the assembly Mr. Roth joined a small group of students for refreshments and answered student-prepared questions about his experiences. Students asked about his connection with other survivors, family and current world issues. 

The visit from Mr. Roth serves as an excellent introduction to upcoming lessons on social injustice as part of the humanities unit.

Delectable Dishes Secure Top Finishes for Seneca Chefs

Delectable Dishes Secure Top Finishes for Seneca Chefs photo
Four Seneca Middle School students turned up the heat as they used their superb cooking skills to secure a first-place finish at the eighth annual Junior Iron Chef competition held at Whole Foods Market in Lake Grove. 

For the third consecutive year, Seneca students finished first among countless junior chefs from across Long Island. All middle and high school-age students came to the competition with a prepared recipe and cooked their dish in the allotted one-hour cook time. 

The educational event encourages students to learn and execute the culinary skills necessary to prepare dishes essential for a healthy lifestyle. The competition promotes the use of local food to support farmers and the environment. Students are encouraged to create new healthy vegetarian or vegan-based options that can be easily implemented into the school cafeteria menu. Each recipe was judged on taste, presentation, creativity, use of local ingredients, use of USDA ingredients, healthy choices and cafeteria readiness. 

Each team worked closely with its family and consumer science teachers to develop recipes and practiced for many hours leading up to the contest. Team Golden Girls was named the first-place finisher after presenting its winning dish, the Jardin Burrito – “jardin” translates to “garden” in Spanish. It was filled with eggs, guacamole, Monterey jack cheese, peppers, onions, black beans and corn and was paired with a delicious mango salsa. 

In addition, Team Greek Goddesses placed third with a Greek omelet coined Demeter’s Dish that was filled with potatoes and paired with tzatziki sauce. Placing in fourth was the final Seneca team, the Slice and Dicers, which received a special award for its teamwork, order and professionalism. 

“Congratulations to all of our students for their hard work and dedication,” District Chairperson for Family and Consumer Science Mary Louise Faller said. “It was a great day for Sachem.” 

Cosgrove, Mellor Take Home Top Basketball Honors

Cosgrove, Mellor Take Home Top Basketball Honors photo
Cosgrove, Mellor Take Home Top Basketball Honors photo 2
Cosgrove, Mellor Take Home Top Basketball Honors photo 3
Sachem may not have won a girls basketball championship during the year, but for many other reasons it was a banner season. Sachem East’s Danielle Cosgrove was named Suffolk County Player of the Year by Newsday and the Suffolk County Girls Basketball Coaches Association, and Sachem North’s James Mellor was named Suffolk County Coach of the Year, also by the coaches’ association.

Cosgrove, who was named League I Player of the Year, is the third player from Sachem East to win the honor, after Katie Doherty (13-14) and Meagan Doherty (11-12). The Notre Dame-bound Cosgrove finished her career with 1,573 points, the second most in Sachem East history, and 1,037 career rebounds, an overall Sachem record.

Mellor, a Sachem alumnus, is the first Sachem coach since 1987 to win the honor. Risa Zander, an inductee of the Sachem Athletic Hall of Fame and Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame, won it that season.

“It was definitely unexpected to have my name called when they gave this award, but very exciting as well,” Mellor said. “When you are sitting in a room with over 50 coaches, many of whom you have become good friends with over the years and respect, it is an honor to be recognized as a top coach. Much of the credit goes to the girls on the team for performing at high levels all year long.”

Sachem North was 14-8 this season and 8-6 in League I, a bounceback season after not qualifying for the playoffs for a few years. The Flaming Arrows, ranked No. 10, upset No. 7 West Babylon in the first round of the Suffolk County Class AA playoffs and lost to county finalist Hills East in the second round.

In other honors, Sachem East’s Kaitlyn Wolff was named All-League for the first time in her four-year varsity career. Alyssa Signor earned All-Academic honors and freshman Mackenzie Szlosek earned League I Co-Rookie of the Year. From Sachem North, Annie Keenan was named All-County, All-League and All-Academic, while Lisa Galante and Kennadie Hallum were also All-League.

High School East Project Happiness

High School East Project Happiness photo
Sachem High School East was recently chosen by Project Happiness as one of 10 high schools from across the United States to receive a scholarship to establish a Happiness Club supported by the “Life’s Good: Experience Happiness” corporate social responsibility platform. 

On March, 20, High School East was featured on the Discovery Education channel’s Virtual Field Trip: Discover Your Happy. 

Click the link below to see the video.

Sachem Student Delegates Inspire Diplomacy at Model UN Conference

Sachem Student Delegates Inspire Diplomacy at Model UN Conference photo

Imagine a scene where high school students were diplomatically solving the world’s problems. Now imagine all that taking place on the second floor at Sachem High School North.

In one engaging and fulfilling day of international relations, students from Sachem North ran a highly successful Model United Nations Conference on Saturday, March 17. This is the seventh time the school has hosted such an event.

Students debated real-life topics and important policy issues in the following areas: the European Union, the General Assembly, the Historical Security Council, the Humans Rights Council, UN Women and the World Health Organization.

Each student and school is assigned a country and research topic and then developed a working knowledge of that area prior to the conference. The event featured teams from five other high schools on Long Island – Connetquot, Eastport-South Manor, Patchogue-Medford, Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK and Ward Melville. 

“Model UN allows students to learn about world issues and become global citizens,” said Caitlyn Humann, a Sachem North student who served as Secretary General of the Model UN. “It allows us to be passionate about positions of debate and yet listen to the positions of other delegates, as we are willing and able to compromise. It sharpens our public-speaking skills and prepares us best for our future.”


Celebrating Literacy With Readers as Leaders

Celebrating Literacy With Readers as Leaders photo

As part of a special celebration commemorating the birth of Dr. Seuss, students across Grundy Avenue Elementary School listened to stories read by prominent members of the school and community as part of a Readers as Leaders event.

During the collaborative event, multiple guest readers shared stories with students promoting literacy. Those in attendance included, but were not limited to, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Graham, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, New York State Sen. Phil Boyle and Suffolk County Police Officer Keith Murphy. 

After each guest concluded their chosen story students asked a series of questions related to their specific careers, gaining interesting insight from the distinguished visitors. 

Sagamore's St. Baldrick's Event 2018

St. Baldrick's 2018
St. Baldrick's 2018

By Emily Brodsky and Gina Sacco, 7th grade

Sagamore Middle School's St.Baldrick’s event on March 16th was a lively and fun event for the teachers and student body. The Sagamore Arrowettes and Cheer Team showed off their fantastic talents in the gym for all the students and teachers to see.  There were also many volunteers who had a chance to play Minute-to-Win-It games, as well as the chance to pie a teacher in the face, in honor of pie day, at the event.  Most importantly, many students and staff members volunteered to shave their heads, and several girls cut off inches of their very own hair to donate it to make wigs. For many of the shavees, it was not their first time participating in the event either. For those who shaved their heads for three years or more, students won awards for their continued donation to childhood cancer and were inducted into the League of Legendary Heroes. Sagamore raised over $12,000 this year with a 7th grade student, Joseph Sciara, donating the most. That money will be donated to childhood cancer research to help save the lives of child cancer patients. The amazing event could not have taken place without all of the brave students from Sagamore who raised money and gave up their hair. Many thanks to Mrs. Clark (Ms. Alexander), Mrs. Gustavsen, Mr. Berger, and the many others who volunteered to make this a great event.


Slideshow of Sagamore's St. Baldrick's Event 2018

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As we embark on the 2017-2018 school year, we look to enhance the level of communication within the Sachem family.

In an effort to build upon our connections with our parents and community, we are excited to announce the creation of our e-newsletter. The newsletter will be sent monthly to those who sign up and will include district news, announcements and important dates. Our hope is to provide valuable information about the happenings inside our classrooms while strengthening our community bond as we move forward on the path to a successful academic year.

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2017-2018 District Calendar Summary

Calendar Summary Pic 1
Click here to see the 2017-2018 School Calendar Summary.