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Tackan First Graders Learn The Properties Of Magnets

Tackan students test their magnetic strength

First-grade students at Tackan Elementary School in the Smithtown Central School District participated in hands-on lessons on the forces of attraction during a magnet program presented by the Long Island Center for Arts and Sciences on Jan. 16.

During the workshop, students learned about the properties of magnets, the different polarizations and why objects have magnetic attraction and their different strengths. They theorized about whether or not certain objects would be attracted to the magnet and why. 

After the demonstration, the first-graders conducted their own experiments. Each student was given a bag full of objects and then had to guess which objects would be attracted to their magnet. They tested their theories by choosing which objects would stick to their magnets. They concluded the workshop by making their own whale magnets to hang on their refrigerators at home. 

Photos courtesy of Smithtown Central School District


Great Hollow Students Design Computer-Controlled Machines

Designing computer-controlled machines

Eighth-graders from Great Hollow Middle School in the Smithtown Central School District are designing and engineering their own robotic machines as part of a 10-weeklong project in Connor Kelly’s Automation and Robotics Project Lead the Way class. Using Vex robotics parts and Robotec, the students were tasked with coding, building and testing their designs from scratch. The machines had to perform one of eight different tasks and include multiple sensors. Photos courtesy of Smithtown Central School District


Accompsett Students Attend Writer's Workshops With Author Todd Strasser

Accompsett MS students get descriptive during writer’s workshops 

Author Todd Strasser visited Accompsett Middle School in the Smithtown Central School District to present writer’s workshops to sixth-grade students on Jan. 15. Sensory writing and how to use descriptive words were the topics of discussion at the writer’s workshops held at Accompsett Middle School in the Smithtown Central School District on Jan. 15 by author Todd Strasser. The visit was part of the school’s Parent-Teacher Association’s cultural arts program.

Sixth-grade students met in the auditorium for a presentation by Strasser, who discussed his experiences as a children’s author. Following the group assembly, Strasser worked with the students in writer’s workshops in the library. During the workshops, the students learned how to use words in their writing to “show rather than tell” the story. Photos courtesy of Smithtown Central School District


Smithtown Students Recognized At DECA Competition

Smithtown students headed to state DECA championships


Close to 100 DECA students from Smithtown Central School District have qualified to compete in the state DECA championships in March. Smithtown High School East and West DECA students competed in the New York State Regional DECA competition on Jan. 3 at Suffolk County Community College in Selden. More than 1,500 DECA students from various high schools in Suffolk County participated in the competition.

Sixty Smithtown Central School District students received award recognition.  The students had been preparing for the past two months for the competition. These students now qualify for the state competition in March in Rochester, New York.  Additionally, approximately 35 Smithtown students are completing their manuals for the state level competition. Photo courtesy of Smithtown Central School District


Commack Students Recognized For Outstanding Volunteer Service


Commack Students Honored for Community Contributions

left to right, standing: Frank Agovino, AP at Commack Middle School; Nicole Kregler, Director of Guidance; Carrie Lipenholtz, AP; Evelyn Cardenas, AP; Christine Nicols, Guidance Counselor, and Michael Larson, Principal. Students seated: Ryan, Jordan, Athena and Jillian. Four Commack Middle School students received Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, to recognize their outstanding volunteer service and dedication based on their academic accomplishments, character traits, volunteer work, and participation in school activitie

Athena Efthymiou and Jillian Cestaro, each consistent high-honor-roll 7th grade students, were chosen to receive Certificates of Achievement for distinguished accomplishment in volunteer service. They are awards finalists, and their applications have been nominated for state recognition. Jordan Hub and Ryan Smith were selected as “Top Volunteers,” and they both received a Certificate of Merit from Commack Middle School. Their work has truly been inspiring to others and has been beneficial to the greater community.  

Awardee information:

Athena Efthymiou is dedicated to fundraising for research in helping to find a cure for Crohn’s and Colitis through the annual “Take Steps Walk.” This determined young lady reaches out to individuals and businesses for assistance in fundraising. Her passion to this mission hits close to home, as Athena was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when she was three. Athena takes on the role of team leader of “Team Miou,” and her responsibilities in fundraising and organizing have helped to raise over $10,000. On account of her hard work, Athena was nominated to be the spokesperson or “Shining Star” of the 2017 walk. Athena has shared that it feels amazing to be making a difference and to help others who have been going through the same experience.

Jillian Cestaro is a founding member of a family run group called “Kids 4 Causes.” It is a group of five students dedicated to helping others. Jillian was inspired by the classic starfish story, that one person, one step at a time, can make a difference. Her group participates in fundraisers and volunteers their time to support different non-profit organizations. They have helped in various ways, from crafting pillows for patients at Stony Brook Child Life Services to raising funds to pair service dogs with special needs individuals. So far, she and her team have raised $5,000! Jillian is a very well rounded student as she has been involved in school clubs, sports, named Team Spirit Leader and Student Council President.

Jordan Hub, an eighth grade National Junior Honor Society member, got involved in community service for her Bat Mitzvah project and it launched into a dedicated, continuing volunteer effort. Jordan was shocked at the price of sports equipment and wanted to make a difference to others in need. She works with a not for profit organization called “Let’s Play it Forward,” and has collected lightly used and new sports equipment for underprivileged children. She used social media and placed donation boxes in many buildings and businesses throughout the community. She collected over 600 pieces of equipment, including uniforms, balls, sticks, helmets, cleats and sneakers. Jordan feels good that many underprivileged students will get the opportunity to play sports and learn important life skills, like teamwork.

Ryan Smith, an eighth grade student, has the true spirit of community service, and embodies this through his commitment to school activities. He is the president of the Middle School Leader’s Club, an organization dedicated to community service. Ryan is also on the Student Council Executive Board and was newly inducted into the National Junior Honor Society. Ryan dedicates time out of his day, whether it is during lunch or after school; to help organize events and activities, including participating in the Thanksgiving drive, helping in our school’s car wash fundraiser and assisting sixth graders transition smoothly into the middle school.

Athena, Jillian, Jordan and Ryan are just a few of our students dedicated to improving the lives of the people in our community. Special thanks go out to ALL students at the Middle School who selflessly give their time to help others in need. 



Tackan Students Journey Back In Time

Tackan students journey back in time

Fourth-graders at Tackan Elementary School in the Smithtown Central School District stepped back in time as they experienced the ways of the Native Americans during an in-house field trip offered by Journeys Into American Indian Territory on Jan. 9.

The fourth-graders recently completed their social studies curriculum on Eastern Woodlands. Presenters demonstrated how Native Americans hunted and the students were able to touch a few of the hunting instruments they used. They also learned about the different roles of members of the tribe.

Each class learned about the Native American culture, examined artifacts, and went inside a longhouse. The fourth-graders sat on animal skins and listened to Native American stories and tried their hands at a few different Native American games.

Photos : Fourth-graders from Tackan Elementary School in the Smithtown Central School District traveled back in time to the ways of the Native Americans during a presented by Journeys Into American Indian Territory on Jan. 9. Photos courtesy of Smithtown Central School District


Two Smithtown Students Named In 2019 Regeneron Science Talent Search


Two science-researchers from Smithtown Central School District are among the 53 Long Island students who have been named scholars in the 2019 Regeneron Science Talent Search, the country’s oldest high school competition in the math and sciences. The top 300 science research students nationwide were chosen for this honor.

Smithtown High School East senior Anthony D’Amore was recognized for his research, “Habitat Preference Drives Brain Shape in Crocodylomorphs” while Smithtown High School West’s Alexander Rodriguez was honored for his research on “A Genomic and Pharmacological Analysis of Adenosine Receptors in the Sea Anemone Nematostella vectensis.”

From left: Smithtown High School East science research coordinator Maria Zeitlin, Regeneron Science Talent Search scholar Anthony D’Amore and Smithtown High School East Principal Dr. Kevin Simmons.D’Amore used a novel approach for mapping the endocranial structures within both extinct and extant crocodylomorphs. Mentored by Dr. Alan Turner at Stony Brook University, D’Amore worked on par with graduate students to analyze anatomical evolutionary trends by using digital software to provide a novel approach of modeling brain cavities.  

“Anthony spent untold hours mapping structures, analyzing subtle changes of brain shape over evolutionary time, and connecting the information to habitat preferences of both modern crocs as well as extinct species,” said Maria Zeitlin, Smithtown High School East science research coordinator. 

From left: Smithtown High School West Principal John Coady, Regeneron Science Talent Search scholar Alexander Rodriguez and Smithtown High School West Dr. Joanne Figueiredo.Rodriguez’s work is the first to show that the tiny sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis, possesses functional purinergic receptors. These receptors are important because they are involved in physiologic functions such as sleep and coronary regulation. Rodriguez focused on analyzing the genomic and pharmacological properties of purinergic receptors in this basil organism. He hopes that his work will lead to a better understanding of the evolution of these receptors. Rodriguez has been working on his project since his sophomore year in the in-house science research lab at West. HSW: From left: Smithtown High School West Principal John Coady, Regeneron Science Talent Search scholar Alexander Rodriguez and Smithtown High School West Dr. Joanne Figueiredo.

 Photos courtesy of Smithtown Central School District


Legislator Trotta Congratulates Commack Girls Volleyball Team


Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta and Colleagues Congratulate Commack’s Girls Volleyball Team on their First Suffolk County Class AA Championship

Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta was joined by his fellow Legislators Leslie Kennedy and Susan A. Berland to recognize the Commack Girls Volley- ball team, their coaches and athletic director for winning their first Suffolk County Class AA Championship. “As a graduate of Commack High School, I am so proud of these young women for winning their first championship. You have all demonstrated terrific athletic skills and outstanding teamwork and you should be very proud of your accomplishment,” said Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta.


Pictured at the Legislature are from left: Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta, representatives from Commack School District, members of the Commack Girls Volleyball Team, Suffolk County Legislators Susan A. Berland and Leslie Kennedy,


Accompsett Middle School accepts the ‘Challenge’


Aligned with Smithtown Central School District’s focus of supporting social-emotional learning, seventh-graders at Accompsett Middle School participated in the Challenge Day Program on Jan. 7 and 8. The goal of the Challenge Day Program is to build community, promote acceptance and embrace positive peer support. It addresses issues such as bullying, leadership and self-esteem. The Challenge Day program is designed to build compassion using social-emotional techniques. Students and adults work together in different trust building exercises throughout the day that help both parties generate a positive change using empathy and compassion. Photo courtesy of Smithtown Central School District


Smithtown Students See German Masterpieces At Met Museum Of Art


A taste of German culture

German IV and V students from Sallie Culloton’s classes at Smithtown High School West enjoyed a trip to see German masterpieces at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in December. They also visited a traditional German holiday market at Columbus Circle for lunch and shopping.  Photos courtesy of Smithtown Central School District