The Selden campus of Suffolk County Community College. File photo

Suffolk County Community College has been named a 2021-22 military friendlyschool by after a comprehensive evaluation using both public data and responses from a proprietary survey completed by the school. More than 1,200 schools participated in the 2021-2022 survey with 747 earning the designation.

“Suffolk County Community College provides service members, veterans, and militaryfamilies with the flexibility and convenience needed to achieve their educational goals,” said Suffolk County Community College Director of Veterans Affairs Shannon O’Neill, and explained that the College is one of only 104 nationally to be designated as a VetSuccess on Campus program.

O’Neill explained that Suffolk County Community College offers robust services staffed with experts in military and veterans benefits and community resources through its Veterans Resource Centers located on all of the College’s campuses. The services are available in person and virtually for Active Duty, Guard, Reservists, Veterans and their dependents, according to O’Neill. The College, O’Neill said, alsowaives the application fee for all individuals currently serving as well as Veterans and their dependents.

Suffolk County Community College is dedicated to making the transition from the military to the classroom easier for our veterans and to make higher education more accessible for our nation’s service members and their families. We are proud to support those who have served this country as you work toward your academic and professional goals,” said Suffolk County Community College Interim President Louis Petrizzo.

Suffolk’s final ratings were determined by combining the college’s survey response set and government/agency public data sources within a logic-based scoring assessment. The institution’s ability to meet thresholds for student retention, graduation, job placement, loan repayment, persistence (degree advancement or transfer) and loan default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans was measured.

The 2021-2022 Military Friendly® Schools list will be published in the May issue of G.I. Jobs magazine and can be found at


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Above image by Chloe S.

R.C. Murphy Junior High School students in Stony Brook are exploring the history of animation and its basic principles as part of their participation in the buildings’ art and amination class, which is taught by art teacher Brian Baker. 

Above image by Chloe S.
Above image by Morganne P.

To date this year, the students have worked hard to create different animated projects. They made thaumatropes to illustrate a simple two step action or change between two related images. Each picture was drawn and attached to a circular disc. When spun at a certain speed, each picture blends into the other, creating the illusion of movement. 

Students also worked on making digital flip books. They first used note cards to create the different pictures needed for their animation. After they finished drawing, they used a registration to line each image up in their camera. After shooting their photos, students used the google slide program to make a digital version of their flipbook.

Finally, students have recently completed different designs for original cartoon characters that they will be using to create Disney Studios style cell animation. 

Images courtesy of the Three Village Central School District

From left, teachers Bina Omidi, Marissa Guarino, and Paulyne Weiss (Chai Center Preschool Director) with children from The Chai Center Preschool. Photo by Caroline Tamer

The kids of The Chai Center Preschool in Dix Hills, ages 2 to 5, conducted a pajama drive for the Long Island chapter of the Pajama Program and collected over 50 pairs of pajamas to donate to children in need. They concluded the drive with a festive pajama party at school.

“Our students are young, but this charity was something they could really relate to,” said Paulyne Weiss, Director of The Chai Center Preschool. “They wear pajamas at night when they go to bed and those pajamas keep them warm and cozy. When they were told that some children do not have warm cozy pajamas like they do, they immediately wanted to help. This enriching experience taught them kindness in sharing what they have with others and inspired important conversations.”

The Chai Center Preschool, for children 18 months to pre-K, is a Reggio-inspired, New York State licensed preschool program designed to spark wonder and creativity, build confidence and skills and allow children to explore materials that encourage a questioning mind. For more information, visit them on Facebook or at

The mission of the pajama program is to promote and support a comforting bedtime routine and healthy sleep for all children to help them thrive. The Pajama Program, which relies on a national network of volunteers, generous donors, and partnerships, has delivered over seven million good nights for good days to children facing adversity by providing new pajamas, storybooks, and resources for caregivers.

Stock photo

School districts across Long Island have been offering free meals to children throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and the policy from the U.S. Department of Agriculture has extended the program to the end of the school year. 

Over the summer, at the height of the pandemic, the USDA allowed school districts to apply for free meals for all students. Usually, districts only provide free breakfasts and lunches to students who qualify for free or reduced lunch. 

But the coronavirus prompted the federal government to create child nutrition waivers based upon available funding at the time to end in June, then December and now throughout the 2020-21 school year. 

And it’s benefiting hundreds of students, local school representatives said. 

Mara Pugh, Elwood school district food services director, said when the pandemic started in March, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue gave schools the flexibility and waivers to be able to serve lunches to everyone in the community who were learning from home. 

“Back then, we had a grab and go for any family,” she said. “No matter what the financial eligibility was, they would get a free lunch.”

Before the pandemic, families who were struggling or below the middle-class line were able to enroll their children in the free or reduced-lunch programs. The pandemic, however, affected everyone, and some students who came from middle-income households were now struggling. 

When the waiver was passed again at the end of the 2020, Pugh said it was “a relief.”

“It definitely will help to ensure all the children in our district and community have access to the nutritious foods they need,” she said. 

Whether the student is remote learning or in-person, everyone is eligible if they so choose, no questions asked. 

“We have around 2,500 kids in our district,” she said, “And about 30% to 40% of them are taking advantage of it.”

Remote families are able to pick up their meals at the school, where the district packages meals for two or three days at a time, she said. 

“There’s no enrollment needed,” she added. “With these times, people who were well-off last year may not be well-off this year.”

In a release last year, USDA stated that the challenges facing the country called for an effective way to feed children. The waiver allowed changes, like serving meals in all areas at no cost, permitting meals to be served outside of the typically required group settings and mealtimes, waive meal pattern requirements and allow parents or guardians to pick up meals for their children. 

“As our nation recovers and reopens, we want to ensure that children continue to receive the nutritious breakfasts and lunches they count on during the school year wherever they are, and however they are learning,” Perdue said. “We are grateful for the heroic efforts by our school food service professionals who are consistently serving healthy meals to kids during these trying times, and we know they need maximum flexibility right now.”

Three Village school district also has taken advantage of the waiver. Jeffrey Carlson, deputy superintendent for business services, said that he thought it was “a great idea.”

“I’ve felt for a long time that school lunches should be free for all schools,” he said. “Either the district pays for it or the federal government pays.”

Carlson said the free lunches also have gotten better than when parents were in school. 

“It used to be a lot more obvious as to which kids were getting free lunch and then the stigma comes along with it,” he said. “So, if every kid just got lunch in school then we wouldn’t have to worry about that anymore.”

While there are still snacks and extras that must be bought à la carte, he said that daily participation in the program has increased. 

“I think it’ll go up even more after COVID,” he said. “People will be more comfortable with food being prepared for their children again.”

Beth Rella, assistant superintendent for business at Middle Country school district, said they are “thrilled” to be able to offer the program to all of their students — whether they attend in-person, virtual or hybrid classes. 

“Although we began the year starting a little lighter than typical, which was anticipated due to COVID, we have noticed an increase in the number of meals served daily as the school year has progressed,” she said. “We see more and more students enjoying tasty breakfasts and lunches each day. We hope that students, who may have not tried out the food services program previously, use this as an opportunity to taste the various menu items.”

Carlson said that when USDA extended the program, there wasn’t a big announcement about it. Rella added that her district has “utilized ConnectEd messages, board of education meetings, printed flyers, the website and have even encouraged faculty and staff to spread the word about the program.” 

Middle Country students even had the opportunity to design and compete in a “Free Meals for All” poster contest, where the winning poster was used as a promotional display. 

Smithtown school district publicized the program via email to parents. Superintendent Mark Secaur wrote back in September, “The USDA recently announced that all school districts participating in the National School Lunch Program could temporarily serve free lunch to all students until Dec. 31, 2020. We have now also received approval from NYSED to participate in the free lunch offering.”

Memos were sent out to residents within the Port Jefferson School District, too, and Deputy Superintendent Sean Leister said that while “around 10% or 15% of students are remote, this brings a level of normalcy to them.”

Leister added his district has also seen an increase in families participating. 

“There’s always a gap of people who don’t feel comfortable with signing up for the reduced lunch program,” he said. “But the federal government, state and Port Jefferson School District all realize that not having a meal is important to keeping students engaged and attentive — and no one will know they got it for free.”

Rella said Middle Country offers a week’s worth of frozen meals so students can continue to enjoy hot meals during their time off. 

“Having the USDA free meals for all program has not only allowed more students to participate in the program, it has helped to lessen the financial burden that was produced,” Rella said.

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Ward Melville High School. Photo by Greg Catalano

By Andrea Paldy

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was preparing to release its recommendations for the nation’s schools to safely reopen, the focus of the Three Village school board meeting Feb. 10 was on sustaining its in-person learning. Seating was limited in accordance with current distancing guidelines.

Even as parents and students expressed gratitude for the district’s September in-person reopening, there was general acknowledgment of the emotional and financial challenges associated with opening schools every day in the middle of a pandemic.

“It costs a lot of money but the message we had gotten going back to last summer was, ‘Do what you need to do to get our kids back to school and do it safely.’ And we’ve done that,” said Jeff Carlson, deputy superintendent for business services.

But there is a continuing cost. Carlson prepared residents for a 2021-22 budget that would pierce the cap on the tax levy increase. He said Three Village spent about $6.5 million in COVID-related expenses to support last fall’s reopening to all students who wanted to return in-person every day. The school district also provided fully remote instruction to students whose families requested it.

More than $4 million went to hiring more teachers to decrease class sizes so that classrooms would be less crowded, and students could maintain a distance of 6 feet, the deputy superintendent said. The attention to social distancing also meant that as the school year progressed, the New York State Department of Health did not require entire classes to quarantine when someone contracted the virus.

Funds also went toward paying for masks, janitorial staff, cleaning supplies, Chromebooks and desk barriers, Carlson said.

Next year’s budget anticipates similar costs to keep the same protections in place. Though the increase to the budget would be below 2 percent — 1.85 percent — it would exceed the district’s tax cap of 1.37 percent, Carlson said.

The deputy superintendent said the district was able to cover the expenses this year, in part, because Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed a bill allowing school districts and local governments to transfer money from their reserve funds to their operating budgets to pay for pandemic-related expenses. He added that Three Village will have spent between $4 million and $5 million from its reserves, and in compliance with the bill will need to pay back the funds within five years.

In the coming year, the governor’s preliminary budget shows a small decrease in aid to the district.  Additionally, Three Village will begin repaying about $800,000 to its reserves. Carlson said that these pandemic-related expenses, along with the usual increases in health insurance and employee retirement funds, also contractual increases, will make it impossible to put together a budget that stays within the cap.

Since the budget will be above the tax cap, it will need a supermajority — a vote of 60 percent in favor — to pass. The last time the district exceeded the cap was in 2012, the first year such caps were put in place. At that time, $1.95 million in cuts had to be made, because the budget was not approved by a supermajority.

“It’s a different time,” Carlson said of the upcoming budget. “We want to keep schools open. If not for COVID, we wouldn’t even be talking about this.”

Student life

At the same time that parents and students thanked the district for a full reopening, they also voiced frustration about some of the losses in the past year.

Speaking to the board about allowing spectators at sporting events, one parent noted that too much has already been taken away from students.

Superintendent Cheryl Pedisich assured parents that they have the support of the school district, which has registered a vote with Section XI in favor of allowing spectators at sporting events.

And while “school in person was a huge win,” said Jesse Behar, a Ward Melville senior and student representative to the school board, seniors are looking at lost milestones such as homecoming and Senior Day. They are also concerned about whether there will be a prom or “any modified in-person events,” as well as celebrations for students moving up from the sixth and ninth grades, Behar said.

“I feel positive you will make graduation happen, because last year, when many districts threw their hands up, you guys made graduation happen,” he said.

Pedisich responded to these concerns by saying, “We know that those are significant milestones for our seniors and also our ninth-graders moving up, as well as our sixth-graders. We are not giving up hope.”

She added that the governor’s pending approval in March of weddings of 150 people is a good sign and reason for optimism.

“We are looking at options that will make this as special as it can be for our seniors,” Pedisich said.

Sam Woronick

Thirteen Suffolk County Community College students have been awarded prestigious and highly competitive internships at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and are collaborating with renowned scientists and engineers on some of the labs most advanced and emerging research and projects. They include Stefan Baggan, Isaiah Brown-Rodriguez, James Bush, Michael Chin, William Daniels, Benjamin Herr, Danielius Krivickas, Matthew McCarthy, Patricia Moore, Kwaku Ntori, Matthew Warner, Samuel Woronick and Robert Zinser.

“Our College typically places three or four students into this highly competitive paid internship program,” explained Academic Chair and Professor of Engineering/Industrial Technology Peter Maritato, who explained that the students are provided the opportunity to intern under the guidance of scientific and engineering staff on projects that are relevant to the Department of Energy’s mission through transformative science and technology solutions. The 10-week program engages the students in cutting-edge scientific research programs, the chance to present research results verbally and/or in writing and collaborations with leaders that may result in a contribution to a scientific journal. Each intern is provided a weekly stipend of $600. Maritato said the internships and training could also lead to possible employment at the lab.

“Securing a BNL internship is a highly competitive process and our success here proves that a Suffolk County Community College education allows our students to compete and succeed against anyone,” said Suffolk County Community College Interim President Louis Petrizzo.

Suffolk County Community College’s Brookhaven National Lab interns are as unique as the national lab itself and the research they are performing. Here’s more about a few of the students who are now collaborating side-by-side with some of the nation’s premier researchers, scientists and engineers.

Patricia Moore, South Setauket, Suffolk graduation: May 2022

Patricia Moore

Twenty-eight-year-old Patricia Moore of South Setauket graduated from Ward Melville High School in 2010, passed on her admission to Rochester Institute of Technology because she was put off by the cost, and came to Suffolk for a semester before leaving because she was not sure what path to pursue. Fast forward four years.

Moore reentered Suffolk part time, worked in retail, started her own business and discovered that her time outside the classroom helped her develop. “The soft skills you develop as a good adult and employee are helpful in the academic environment,” Moore said. Now attending Suffolk full time, Moore is majoring in engineering and collaborating on the development and fabrication of Low-Gain Avalanche Detectors with her mentor at BNL.

 “I’m excited about being educated on Long Island,” Moore said.  “I didn’t know a lot of these resources and great opportunities were available to Long Islanders, and it’s interesting to see how many different people are involved in the many and varied projects and the scope of the work at the lab.” Moore is expected to graduate from Suffolk County Community College in May 2022.

Matt McCarthy, Smithtown, Suffolk graduation: May 2021

Matt McCarthy

McCarthy, 25, graduated from Commack High School in 2013 and entered Suffolk County Community College. McCarthy left Suffolk to join the Marine Corps where he served for five years, earned sergeant’s stripes and was a Fire Team and Squad leader during two overseas tours to Afghanistan and Iraq.

Back home, McCarthy re-entered Suffolk in spring 2019 and is now majoring in IT Network Design and Administration.

At BNL, McCarthy will be interning at the National Synchrotron Light Source II facility in IT networking. “IT is a structured environment I really enjoy,” McCarthy said.  “I’m trying to pick up work experience and reinforce my resume. I hope to eventually land a job with Brookhaven, it would be fantastic to work in an environment like that.” McCarthy said he has been accepted to New York Institute of Technology and looks forward to earning a master’s degree.

“Suffolk prepared me very well,” McCarthy said, “I was shocked at the rigor and difficulty of my classes. I compare myself to my peers studying at different colleges and universities, and I am one or two steps ahead.”

Matthew Warner, Shirley, Suffolk graduation: December 2020

Matt Warner

Warner, 30, married with a young daughter, attended Suffolk straight out of William Floyd High School (2009), but said he left after recognizing he was not focused and unsure of what he wanted to do. Warner returned to Suffolk and majored in Construction and Architectural Technology, and earned a certificate in drafting. Warner’s goal is to continue his education at Farmingdale State College and earn a master’s degree in architecture. Warner is collaborating on technical engineering at BNL. “I’m hoping there will be a career opportunity available at the conclusion of my internship,” Warner said,

James Bush, Shirley, Suffolk graduation: May 2021

Bush, 20, is a 2018 William Floyd High School graduate majoring in Electrical Technology. At BNL Bush interns in the Superconducting Magnet Division where he is studying high power current sources and techniques to disperse energy from magnets if they begin to overheat. “The internship is a great experience,” Bush said. “I never realized how competitive it was until I met everyone and the BNL staff. I’m excited about this opportunity, and perhaps working for BNL in the future.

Sam Woronick, Center Moriches, Suffolk graduation: May 2022

Sam Woronick

Woronick is a 2019 Center Moriches High School graduate now majoring in Cybersecurity and Computer Science at Suffolk County Community College. Woronick is doing IT at BNL that supports Quantum Free-Space Link.  Woronick is analyzing data from two software programs written for the Windows Operating System with a goal of providing researchers with better control by working to get the software to run in Linux.

“After earning my cybersecurity and computer science degree, I want to attend Stony Brook for my bachelor’s degree,” Woronick said, adding, “I’ll decide about a doctorate when I’m more knowledgeable about the field.”

Dan Krivickas, Hampton Bays, Suffolk graduation: May 2022

Krivickas, 20, a 2018 Hampton Bays High School graduate is an Engineering Science major at Suffolk County Community College. “I’ve always been interested in science,” Krivickas said. At BNL he is collaborating on Coherent Electron Cooling and creating three-dimensional computer models from two-dimensional drawings. Krivickas would like to go on to Stony Brook University, New York University or Stevens Institute of Technology in the future. 

“If I could get a position at BNL, it would be the best that I could accomplish,” Krivickas said. “The environment and people are phenomenal and I am excited to be working at the lab. It’s like a dream come true.”

“The programs at Suffolk have been a tremendous help,” he said,  “everything that I learned at Suffolk, translated over to my internship at Brookhaven National Lab.”

Will Daniels, Center Moriches, Suffolk graduation: May 2021

William Daniels

Daniels, 19, a 2019 Center Moriches High School graduate wants to become a professional researcher. At Suffolk, he’s majoring in physics and says “There’s no better way to do that than to work with researchers. I encourage my peers to apply for this internship. It can get you places. I’ve only heard success stories about past interns.” At BNL Daniels is collaborating on High Pressure Rinse Systems for Super Conducting Radio Frequency Cavities

Daniels says that after graduation from Suffolk County Community College he wants to earn a bachelor’s degree at Stony Brook University, majoring in physics.

Fifth and sixth graders learning about social justice at Pulaski Street Elementary in Riverhead.
The Long Island Museum, (LIM) a Smithsonian Affiliate dedicated to American history and art with a Long Island connection, is pleased to announce the virtual field trip program, Vehicles for Change, in which students learn how to utilize historic objects and documents to understand how transportation has been connected to social changes in United States history.
Long Island Museum’s Public Programs Coordinator Emma Backfish and Senior Educator Kristin Cuomo prepare a virtual learning experience for the students participating in the Museum’s new online program, “Vehicles for Change.”

To pilot this new educational program, the LIM partnered with Riverhead’s Pulaski Street School which has benefitted in the past from the LIM’s Rides for Kids program, a specially funded endeavor that can provide underserved schools with partially-subsidized transportation costs and reduced program fees. The LIM offered the program to all 34 of the school’s 5th and 6th grade classes free of charge during the fall of 2020 as an extension of Rides for Kids, thanks to the generous support received from Avalon Nature Preserve in Stony Brook.

“The museum typically welcomes over 10,000 school children a year for on-site field trips,” said Lisa Unander, Director of Education at the LIM. “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic it will not be possible for us to accommodate onsite field trips this fall and possibly beyond. We are especially mindful of what this loss means to the thousands of students who would have utilized funds from the Avalon-supported Rides for Kids program this year and so we have been working to find alternative ways to serve this important segment of our visiting population.” 
As part of the new Vehicles for Change program students delve into lessons surrounding social awareness, social justice and responsible decision making. The program is part of the school’s social and emotional curriculum.  Each session includes a remote 30-40 minute live museum educator-led presentation that will: 
  • Address content areas covering Social Studies, Citizenship, ELA and Communications curriculum, as well as social emotional learning (SEL), social justice standards, and culturally responsive educational (CRS) principles. 
  • Introduce students to Elizabeth Jennings and her fight for equal rights on public transportation in New York City.  Elizabeth Jennings (1827-1901) was an African-American teacher who fought for her right to ride on a New York City streetcar in 1854, leading to the eventual desegregation of the city’s transit systems. 
  • Examine the Museum‘s 1885 streetcar and other primary documents to understand how transportation has played a role in social justice movements. 
  • Explore the book Lizzie Demands a Seat!: Elizabeth Jennings Fights for Streetcar Rights, by Beth Anderson, to learn the role Jennings played. The LIM will also provide each classroom a copy of the book. 
Four Long Island School Districts have since signed up to participate in this valuable educational tool, including the Three Village Central School District. Three Village students in grade 4 took the opportunity to participate in the LIM’s program and are scheduled to participate in the 30 minute virtual visit from author Beth Anderson in honor of Black History Month. The author generously offered to do several virtual Meet the Author visits, in order to allow for more meaningful conversations with small groups. The Museum helped facilitate an agreeable date/time between the school and the author. 
A fourth grade student and teacher from W.S. Mount Elementary School in the Three Village Central School District participate in a remote learning session program provided by the Long Island Museum.

“Our district feels extremely grateful for our partnership with LIM, as it provided countless resources and opportunities for our students throughout the pandemic. Their virtual programming helped to deepen our school community’s connection, while staying socially distanced, as well as provided enriching content with curricular connections, including a program for our fourth graders that tied into their studies on state and local history. We look forward to our continued partnership and the upcoming program LIM is helping to coordinate with our elementary librarians and author Beth Anderson” said Deidre Rubenstrunk, Director of Instructional Technology / Data Privacy Officer at the Three Village Central School District.

Included in the pilot program were curriculum support materials for the school’s librarian/media specialist, including images of artifacts and access to an educator guide that includes discussion prompts, activities and primary source documents created by author Beth Anderson. In exchange for this program, the LIM asked the Riverhead’s Pulaski Street school to have all students complete an evaluation and for the School Media Specialist, Amelia Estevez Creedon to participate in a virtual wrap-up meeting to provide feedback that will ensure the LIM adequately and effectively meets teachers’ and students’ needs. 
“We are so grateful to Avalon Nature Preserve for supporting this enriching learning experience during a difficult time and we believe that this program will be both successful and meaningful for the participants.” said Unander. 
For more information on the LIM’s Vehicle for Change Program or for information on other school program offerings visit or email Lisa Unander at [email protected]. 
Photos courtesy of the Long Island Museum

Super Bowl “Musical Score” 

Gary Meyer

While most of us were concentrating on touchdown scores on Super Bowl Sunday, Cold Spring Harbor Central School District’s Lloyd Harbor Elementary School music teacher, Mr. Gary Meyer, was concentrating on his “musical score” instead! Although you did not see him during the Sesame Street “The Neighborhood” DoorDash Big Game commercial featured during the Super Bowl, Mr. Meyer’s clarinet could be heard along with Big Bird and the crew.

“I recorded the music from my office using a microphone and Pro Tools program. The music was then sent to the editor who mixed the music and then combined it with the video. As you can see from the YouTube video it involved Sesame Street characters and Daveed Diggs from Hamilton on vocals,” said Meyer.

A former Lloyd Harbor student of mine, Bill Sherman, is the Music Director for Sesame Street and he called me for the gig. I have recorded woodwinds for Sesame Street TV the last ten seasons … so, my former student is now my boss! It was very exciting to have my work featured during the Super Bowl!”

See the commercial here:

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Centereach High School in the Middle Country School District. The district superintendent is just one of many continuing to keep students safe. Photo by Julianne Mosher

The Middle Country Central School District (MCCSD) has selected four students — Isabella Zimmerman, Centereach High School; Parker McPhillips, Newfield High School; Michael Ramos Cody, Selden Middle School; and Naveed Bayan, Dawnwood Middle School — as its student of the month recipients for January.

“Students who are selected as student of the month have distinguished themselves as individuals who actively emulate our district’s mission in empowering and inspiring all students in Middle Country,” said Superintendent Dr. Roberta Gerold. “It is with great pride that we congratulate Isabella, Parker, Michael,and Naveed for this tremendous achievement. Each of these students have proven themselves worthy of this distinction by maintaining exceptionally high standards in the classroom and community, and keeping busy with their respective extracurriculars — all with a positive attitude.”

Isabella Zimmerman

Isabella Zimmerman, a senior at Centereach High School, is widely recognized as a natural leader and ambitious young woman inside and outside of the classroom. Upon graduation in June, Isabella will have completed no less than seven college level courses while also balancing extracurricular activities. 

Since the 10th grade, Isabella has been an active member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society and currently holds the position of president. In her role, she spearheaded a Thanksgiving food drive, as well as a holiday greeting card drive as a way to give back to the community during challenging times. Isabella, also a scholar athlete, has been a member of the CHS Varsity Cheerleading throughout high school. Simultaneously, Isabella pursues gymnastics through an outside organization and mentors younger gymnasts in her free time. 

In the fall, Isabella plans to study at Utica College and pursue a career in physical therapy.



Parker McPhillips

Newfield High School senior Parker McPhillips has a highly regarded reputation for his dynamic personality. He is known as a force to be reckoned with. 

His inquisitive nature, continuously making connections and offering insight to inspire further discussion, has earned him a well-deserved Grade Point Average of 93% and a mentoring role in NHS’s environmental club. 

Parker’s enthusiasm for school and life has distinguished him as a role model for his peers and teachers alikwe. Collectively, Newfield’s staff recognize Parker as an extraordinary individual who has the power to change people’s perspective, and in turn, makes the world a better place.




Michael Ramos Cody

Michael Ramos Cody, an eighth grader at Selden Middle School, possesses the qualities of perseverance and determination at a level not often found in middle school students. 

As a result, his academic pursuits include a 99% GPA for quarter one and he is on track to complete quarter two with the same results. Outside the classroom, Michael’s perseverance and determination are also evident. With his interest in engineering, 

Michael educated himself on computer components, bought the materials and successfully built his very own computer. Michael is also very involved with the community library and has previously volunteered his time as a book buddy, art buddy, and LEGO buddy.




Naveed Bayan


Dawnwood Middle School eighth grader Naveed Bayan is well-known as a motivated and earnest student. His genuine inner drive to learn has led him to success in his academics with a 98.8% GPA for quarter one. 

Naveed’s constant striving to excel is well known among his teachers. In Algebra, for example, Naveed’s teacher, Ms. Beukelaer, oftentimes finds herself reiterating to Naveed that his work is exemplary, and he does not need to detail as much work as he performs, full well knowing that Naveed will acknowledge her advice, and continue just the same in his relentless pursuit of perfection. 

In the future, Naveed would like to take his strong interest in medicine and become a surgeon. – MCCSD

Gabriella Hassilidine

Suffolk County Community College has nominated four outstanding students for the prestigious State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, the College announced.

The SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence recognizes students for outstanding achievements and who best demonstrate the integration of SUNY excellence within many aspects of their lives, which must include three of the following areas: academics, leadership, campus involvement, community service, or the arts (creative performing). 

 Last year only 213 SUNY students of more than 415,000 system-wide were recognized with the honor. SUNY will announce the award recipients later this month.

 Suffolk County Community College’s SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence nominees are:

Leenna Rutigliano

Leeanna Rutigliano

A Child Study Education major from Medford, Leeanna has a 4.0 grade point average and has earned Dean’s List recognition every semester for the last two years. Leeanna serves as President of Phi Theta Kappa’s Alpha Zeta Nu Chapter; is a Division 1 Finalist Oberndorf Scholar, and member of Suffolk’s College Choir. 


Imani Ackerman

Imani Ackerman

A Liberal Arts major from Center Moriches, Imani has a 3.8 grade point average and has earned Dean’s List recognition every semester for the last two years. Imani has been awarded numerous scholarships such as the John Speirs Memorial, Laura Provenzano, Astor Scholarship, and the SUNY Suffolk Rising Black Scholar. 


Gabriella Hassilidine

Gabriella Hassildine

A Liberal Arts General Studies major from Mattituck, Gabriella has a 4.0 grade point average and has earned Dean’s List recognition every semester for the last two years. Gabriella has served as president of the Music Club, president of the Honors Club, and as an Orientation Leader. 


Amrita Deonanan

Amrita Deonanan

A Business Administration major from Brentwood, Amrita has a 4.0 grade point average and has earned Dean’s List recognition every semester for the last two years. Amrita serves as a Peer Mentor, chief financial officer of the Student Government Association, and assistant editor of the Western Student Press.