Find us wherever you are!
Subscribe To Smithtown Matters
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter







Great Hollow Athletes Help 'Kick' Cancer

Great Hollow teams help ‘kick’ cancer

Helping to do their part in “kicking” cancer to the curb, Great Hollow Middle School in the Smithtown Central School District held its eighth annual Coaches vs. Cancer event on Oct. 4. Both on and off the athletic fields, Great Hollow Middle School’s students, faculty, coaches and spectators joined together in the fight against cancer. 

Throughout the day, students and faculty dressed in yellow to show their awareness of childhood cancer. As part of the fundraising event, students could purchase a t-shirt or a wristband for an entrance on one of several games taking place that afternoon. The field hockey, football, and boys and girls soccer took to the field to support the cause. Great Hollow’s kick line and cheerleaders performed during halftime. The school and community raised about $2,400 and the money collected was donated to the Ronald McDonald House.  Photos courtesy of Smithtown Central School District


Students At Harbor Country Day School Become "Citizen Scientists"

Harbor Country Day Students Become “Citizen Scientists” at Nissequogue River
Upper School students explore river’s ecosystem and collect and analyze data

St. James, New York.  On Friday, October 4, upper school students from Harbor Country Day School, an independent day school for children in preschool through 8th grade, experienced A Day in the Life of the Nissequogue River. The visit was part of a comprehensive program, coordinated by the Central Pine Barrens Commission, Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Portal to Discovery, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and Suffolk County Water Authority, wherein students from across Long Island engaged in hands-on science exploration on Long Island’s major river systems. 

During a Day in the Life of the Nissequogue River, Harbor Country Day students used genuine field techniques to analyze the river and its ecosystem. They gathered and examined fish and other aquatic life, collected water and invertebrate samples, developed a biodiversity inventory of the riparian zone, and analyzed water chemistry — all as a means to better understanding and protecting Long Island’s river and estuary ecosystems.   

“By taking part in this fantastic program, our students have a unique opportunity to develop a firsthand appreciation for and knowledge of Long Island’s precious natural resources,” said Harbor Country Day Head of School John Cissel. “This real-world, hands-on learning leads to a much deeper understanding of the subject matter, and it’s an experience the children will remember for years.”

About Harbor Country Day School

Founded in 1958 by conscientious parents, Harbor Country Day School is an independent, co-educational day school for children from preschool through 8th grade situated in St. James’ Village of Head of the Harbor. The school employs a whole-child approach to education, wherein its rigorous curriculum is supported by a broad program in its academic, athletic, advisory, and visual and performing arts departments designed to develop all aspects of each child’s talents and interests. Harbor Country Day School’s summer camp program, Camp Harbor, is among the leading summer camp programs on Long Island. The school’s mission to “cherish childhood, cultivate wonder, and inspire confident learners and leaders” underscores every child’s experience at Harbor Country Day School and ensures that all of its graduates are prepared to lead fulfilling lives filled with wonder, confidence, and many successes. 

Harbor Country Day School is chartered by the New York State Board of Regents and is accredited by and a member of the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS). It is a non-sectarian, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code governed by a self-perpetuating board of trustees.  For more information, visit   


Students In Mt Pleasant Elementary Team Up With NFL

Teaming up against childhood diseases

Rob Ciavarella’s fifth grade class at Mount Pleasant Elementary in the Smithtown Central School District went on the offensive against childhood diseases by teaming up with the National Football League. The class made activity books that were distributed to children in the pediatric wards of Stony Brook Hospital. This community service project added 2,000 minutes to the “NFL’s Huddle for 100” goal of 100 million community service minutes during the league’s 100th anniversary season. Photo courtesy of Smithtown Central School District


Smithtown HSE Volleyball Team Raising Spirits At Cohen Children's Medical Center

Getting colorful for Cohen’s

The Smithtown High School East girls varsity volleyball team community service project benefited the child life department at Cohen Children’s Medical Center. The team created coloring packets to provide to patients at the medical center. These packets allow patients to be distracted and express their feelings through art. Photo courtesy of Smithtown Central School District


Smithtown CSD Invites Community To Join Housing Committee

Smithtown CSD establishes housing committee

Community residents invited to apply to become members

During the Sept. 24 Smithtown Central School District Board of Education meeting, the Board voted to once again establish a Citizens’ Advisory Committee on Instruction and Housing. The CACIH will be charged with investigating the appropriate long-range housing patterns needed to support a quality instructional program. The recommendations of this committee are to be submitted to the board of education in spring 2020.

The composition of the committee will include a PTA representative from every school, SEPTA, representatives from the community at large, a representative from each of the bargaining units, and representatives from administration at all levels.

Any member of the Smithtown Central School District community who is interested in serving on the CACIH is invited to express their interest no later than Oct. 15, 2019. Interested participants should send a letter of interest, including a list of their qualifications, to the following: 

  •  Parents: Contact your building PTA or district SEPTA leadership (contact information available on your school website and on the district Full Calendar).
  • Bargaining unit members: Contact your unit president.
  • Community at large: Send your letter to

Committee member obligations entail attending one to two evening meetings per month from late October 2019 through May 2020. In addition to attendance at the meetings, committee members are expected to represent the interests of their constituent group (ex. parents, community members, students, unit members); report to their constituents regularly regarding meeting discussions and actions; and report constituent feedback to the CACIH, also known as the Housing Committee.


SHSW Field Hockey Team Held 10th Annual "Play 4 The Cure"

Smithtown High School West’s field hockey team honors teacher

On Sept. 26, Smithtown High School West’s field hockey team held the 10th annual “Play 4 The Cure” game honoring the memory of Sara Long Harte. Each year, Smithtown High School West dedicates a game to the former St. James Elementary School teacher who lost her battle with breast cancer. Harte taught at St. James for eight years, the same elementary school she attended. In her honor and memory, there is a scholarship fund in Smithtown, a memorial garden and a hand-crafted picket fence in front of the St. James Elementary School. Her dedication to her students, work with the Sunrise Fund for Childhood Cancer and her love for the community will never be forgotten. Photo courtesy of Smithtown Central School District


SHSW Teacher Dr. Katie DiGregoria Winner Of 2019 BOCES Technology Award

Smithtown educator receives BOCES technology award

Smithtown High School West ENL teacher and technology coach Dr. Katie DiGregorio has been named the winner of the 2019 Fred Podolski Leadership and Innovation in Technology Award from BOCES. Only one administrator and teacher across Long Island are honored with this award each year. 

Smithtown High School West ENL teacher and technology coach Dr. Katie DiGregorio has won the 2019 Fred Podolski Leadership and Innovation in Technology Award from BOCES. She is pictured with Smithtown High School West Assistant Principal Christopher Elsesser. Dr. DiGregorio was nominated for the award by Smithtown High School West Assistant Principal Christopher Elsesser. “She is always looking for opportunities to share how she incorporates technology in her classroom with her peers,” he said. “Smithtown Central School District is very fortunate to have Dr. DiGregorio working to empower teachers in learning new strategies and instructional tools to promote long term growth and capacity.”

Last school year, Dr. DiGregorio instituted a new program called Triple T (Teaching Technological Tools) to offer instructional technology professional development to a small group of teachers during faculty meetings, after school or during prep periods. 

“Technology has always been my passion,” DiGregorio said. “I think the program has been so successful here in Smithtown Central School District because the teachers really have someone to support them.”

The Fred Podolski Award is presented to educators who have demonstrated outstanding technology initiatives. The award will be presented at the Long Island Technology and Education Summit on Oct. 18.  

Photo courtesy of Smithtown Central School District


Kings Park Interact Club Cleans Up At Nissequogue River State Park

By Pat Biancaniello

A large group of Kings Park Interact Club students showed up enmasse Tuesday afternoon at the Nissequogue River State Park. The students had volunteered to do a fall clean up at the park’s  Healing Garden.

The students, under the watchful eye of club advisor Susan Portnoy, raked, weeded, mulched and edged. Brian Schweizer, assistant park director, was amazed at the number of volunteers. Brian provided the expertise and the tools the students provided the labor and the good will. A winning combination as a lot was accomplished.

The weather couldn’t have been better and the volunteers couldn’t have been nicer. Despite being garden novices the volunteers were hard workers who took their work seriously. The garden looked significantly better when they left.

The garden was created by the Commack-Kings Park Rotary Club and the Nissequogue River State Park Foundation. Dr. Tim Eagen, superintendent of the Kings Park School District, is also a member of the Commack-Kings Park Rotary Club which sponsors the Interact Club.  He is supportive of the volunteer efforts of his students and club advisor Susan Portnoy. 

The Nissequogue River State Park Foundation is a not-for-profit organization devoted to working diligently with the New York State Office of State Parks, Recreation & Historical Preservation and our government representatives to enhance and beautify the Nissequogue River State Park. We are committed to protecting and preserving the park’s historical and environmental assets for present and future generations.



Nine Commack Students Named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

Nine Commack High School seniors were named Semifinalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Competition. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors and includes the highest-scoring students who took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®). The PSAT serves as the  initial screening of program entrants in each state.

Congratulations to these academically talented high school seniors who go on to compete for one of 7,600 National Merit Scholarships. Winners will be announced in the spring and will share in scholarships totaling more than $31 million. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalist must fulfill additional requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition.

Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

In the photo with the Semifinalists are: Superintendent of Schools Dr. Donald James, Principal Leslie Boritz, and Director of Guidance Nicole Kregler. Semifinalists: Tyler Chipetine, Jake Frank, Corey Levy, Kimberly Liao, Michael Parrinello, Paige Robinson, Funda Sahin, Ethan Sontarp, and Louis Viglietta.

Photograph Courtesy of Brenda Lentsch/Commack School District 


Smithtown Students Named Earn Commended Status In National Merit Scholarship 

Fifteen named Commended Students in Smithtown

Seven students from Smithtown High School East and eight students from Smithtown High School West in the HSWCommended: Eight students from Smithtown High School West in the Smithtown Central School District have been recognized as Commended Students in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program. They are pictured with Principal John Coady.Smithtown Central School District have been recognized as Commended Students in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program.HSE Commended: Seven students from Smithtown High School East in the Smithtown Central School District have been recognized as Commended Students in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program. They are pictured with Principal Dr. Kevin Simmons.

To qualify, a student must have demonstrated outstanding performance on the 2018 PSAT exam. Participants must have scored at or above the Commended Student selected index score. The district congratulates the following Commended Students: Smithtown High School East – Lara Cain, Christopher Dervan, William Hayfield, Ammara Mehkri, Shubh Thaker, Caitlin Wilkinson and Ike Zhang; Smithtown High School West – Justin Grafstein, Stephanie Lin, Kate Manalastas, Luke Muratore, William Priebe, Carolyn Qu, Elizabeth Yaboni and Charles Zhao.

Photos courtesy of Smithtown Central School District