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Glowing genes at Great Hollow 

Glowing genes at Great Hollow 

Eighth-grade scientists at Great Hollow Middle School in the Smithtown Central School District recently participated in a hands-on experiment when representatives from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory visited the school on March 29. The students genetically engineered bacteria with the green fluorescent protein gene for bioluminescence normally found in the Pacific jellyfish, Aequoria victoria. Students learned about and utilized some of the same techniques that are employed by pharmaceutical companies to produce human insulin. The students successfully created genetically modified bacteria and were able to see them glow. Photos courtesy of Smithtown Central School District


"Student Day At The Legislature"

Smithtown HS West students spend a day in the life of legislators

 On March 12, students in Joan Havranek’s leadership class from Smithtown High School West attended “Student Day at the Legislature.” They met with a panel of legislators and participated in a mock debate regarding a proposed resolution on school safety. This hands-on experience allowed students to experience what it is like when local government officials work to pass legislation that affects the residents of Suffolk County. From left, Smithtown High School West leadership students Chris Scotto DiMaso, Marianne Lopez and Jacob Nacht. Photo courtesy of Smithtown Central School District


Smithtown Students Participate In Holocaust Remembrance And Genocide Awareness Day

Smithtown holds a day of remembrance

From left, Smithtown High School West students Liam Reynolds, John Petti, Liam Doski and Nil Martinez with guest speaker Dr. Joseph Sebarenzi and Smithtown High School West social studies teacher Christina Cone.Smithtown High School East and Smithtown High School West spent April 11 educating its sophomore classes on events of the Holocaust and Rwandan genocide. As part of its social studies curriculum, the schools have held a Holocaust Remembrance and Genocide Awareness Day for the past 18 years.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. During the full-day event, the 10th graders listened to a lecture by Rwandan genocide survivor and former Parliament speaker Joseph Sebarenzi. A second guest lecture included  a testimony from Holocaust survivor Werner Reich. The lectures help students connect on a more personal level and understand the importance of empathy and forgiveness despite these tragedies.

“Werner Reich and Joseph Sebarenzi’s presentations were both very inspirational and gave you a feeling to be a better person and try to keep peace for the future,” said Ashley Lockwood, Smithtown High School West student. “Also, to try and forgive others to stay healthy and get rid of anger and bitterness.”

During breakout sessions, students worked in smaller groups for different activities. They spent two periods learning the background of what happened in Cambodia and Rwanda through a presentation and film clips and created an awareness poster.  Photo courtesy of Smithtown Central School District


Smithtown HSE Student Alexis Yang Named Scholastic Winner

Smithtown HS East writer named Scholastic winner

Smithtown High School East junior Alexis Yang has been awarded a silver key in the 2019 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for her flash fiction, “Bubble Gum.” Yang, a 2018 national gold medal winner in the Scholastic competition, is the co-editor of Solstice, Smithtown High School East’s literary magazine, a member of the National English Honor Society and Habitat for Humanity. Last summer, Yang attended the Juniper Summer Writing Institute at University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is pictured with Smithtown High School East librarian and Solstice adviser Jean Marie Kliphuis and Smithtown High School East Principal Dr. Kevin Simmons. 


Photo courtesy of Smithtown Central School District


Dogwood Students Perform "An Adventure In Mother Goose Land"

Kindergarten students at Dogwood Elementary School in the Smithtown Central School District recently performed the play “An Adventure in Mother Goose Land.” In the play, Mother Hubbard’s dog has lost his bone and asks characters from Mother Goose rhymes if they have seen it. The mystery is solved when the mouse in “Hickory Dickory Dock” finds the bone in the clock. Photos courtesy of Smithtown Central School District


Smithtown Elementary's "The Lion King Kids"

Theater comes to life at Smithtown Elementary

In March, Smithtown Elementary School’s stage was transformed into the African savannah as the fifth-grade students put on a production of Disney’s “The Lion King Kids.” During the last five months, the students worked alongside music teacher Mrs. Payne and Mrs. Yoon to learn all the aspects of theater from acting exercises to dancing and singing. Several of the musical numbers were sung in different languages including Zulu and Swahili.  Photos courtesy of Smithtown Central School District


Smithtown SD Seeks Alumni Submissions For Wall Of Heroes

Smithtown seeks alumni submissions for Wall of Heroes

Smithtown Central School District is seeking submissions from its alumni for its Wall of Heroes. The two high schools are currently compiling information from alumni – graduates of Smithtown High School West, Smithtown High School East, Central High School and Smithtown Branch High School – who have served in any branch of the armed forces. 

The district would like to honor those individuals who have defended our freedom. They will be featured with name, military portrait, high school graduation year and branch of military on the memorial wall in the Smithtown High School West and High School East buildings. 

Alumni are asked to share their service using the link: http://bit.ly/SHSWWOH. For more information or questions, please contact Joan Havranek at jhavranek@smithtown.k12.ny.us or Morgan Tavis at mtavis@smithtown.k12.ny.us. Submission deadline for the inaugural round of candidates is May 1, 2019. 


Kings Park Math Team Wins Division Title In Suffolk County Sr High Math League

Kings Park Math Team Wins Division and Second Place in Suffolk County! 

(Back Row: Standing L to R: Parker Seaman, Finn Tekverk, Eric Mitchko, Mr. Jason Huntsman-KPHS Principal) (Front Row: Standing L to R – Dr. Timothy Eagen-Superintendent, Weslyn Cai,

The Kings Park Senior High Math Team has been performing very well over the 8 past years, each year placing first in their division in the Suffolk County Senior High Math League.  This year, the team secured the division championship and also second place in the entire county, a remarkable accomplishment for a small district.   Merrick Cai and Eric Mitchko are the captains.  Four of the members qualified as individual high scorers in the County; Merrick Cai, Eric Mitchko, Taryn O’Connor and Welsyn Cai.  Each team member contributed to the success of the team and they are a great example of the talent and dedication of the students at Kings Park High School.


Holocaust Survivor Ruth Minsky Sender Inspires Smithtown Students 

Smithtown students inspired by survivor’s story

From left, Smithtown High School West student Kristen Hogan, Smithtown High School West tutor Sharon Hornberger, Smithtown High School West student Nick Herbst, guest speaker Ruth Minsky Sender and Smithtown High School West social studies teacher Christina Cone. Smithtown High School West recently welcomed Holocaust survivor Ruth Minsky Sender to speak to the Holocaust and genocide classes of Smithtown High School East and Smithtown High School West. Sender is the author of “The Cage, To Life,” “The Holocaust Lady” and “While There’s Life.” 

She shared her experiences of a tragic time in history and how she wrote poetry while in the camp. The poems depicted scenes of anguish, but also inspired others to continue their will to live. Her testimony helps educate the new generation of the atrocities of the past and inspires them to live a life free of hate. 


Photo courtesy of Smithtown Central School District


Two Commack Students Recognized With Prudential Spirit Of Community Award

Michael Larson, Principal at Commack Middle School, Jillian, Athena, and Christine Nicols, Guidance Counselor. Photo Courtesy of the Commack School District (Brenda Lentsch)Commack Middle School seventh grade students, Athena Efthymiou and Jillian Cestaro, were selected as local and state honorees for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards recognizes outstanding volunteer service and dedication. The scope and time of their selfless efforts to help others put them within the top ten percent of all honorees considered for selection in New York State, earning them the state-level Prudential Spirit of Community Certificate of Excellence Award. 

In addition to her Certificate of Excellence, Jillian Cestaro is also the recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award. This award, presented on behalf of President Donald Trump, recognizes Americans who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country. Jillian is a founding member of a family run group called, “Kids 4 Causes.” Jillian participates in fundraisers and volunteers time to support different non-profit organizations, providing adaptive bicycles for those with handicaps, making pillows for hospital patients, to name a few. She and her team have raised $5,000 for Kids 4 Causes. Jillian was inspired by the classic starfish story, that one person, one step at a time, can make a difference.

Athena helped to raise over $10,000 for the Crohn’s and Colitis foundation. Over the past four years she has been tirelessly working with her “Team Miou,” fundraising and organizing the annual “Take Steps Walk.” Athena’s efforts were so impressive that she was nominated to be the spokesperson or “Shining Star” of the 2017 walk.