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Shoreham-Wading River Central School District

By Bill Landon

It was the inaugural battle for the Cat Cup at Shoreham-Wading River High School Feb. 29, a fundraiser to kick off the traditional LAX Out Cancer campaign, a charity that helps local families fighting this insidious disease. 

The event pitted the faculty of Albert G. Prodell Middle School, Wading River School and Miller Avenue School along with the high school in a fun-filled Olympic-style competition. Included were a tug-of-war, beach ball relay, rope skipping relay and hockey shot competition among other events in the high school gym in front of a capacity crowd. There were food sales, raffle tickets, silent auctions and apparel sales in the hallways just outside the “stadium.” 

After the dust settled, it was the Miller Avenue faculty that stood above all others capturing the coveted Cat Cup.

At the last tally, the event raised $8,500 according to Lax Out Cancer committee member Melissa Brandt, adding that this year there are three recipients in the community that will benefit from this year’s effort.

The event bookends the LAX Out Cancer lacrosse event featuring local teams in a carnival-like atmosphere at Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field Saturday, May 4.

From left, Shoreham-Wading River High School’s student government adviser Maryanne Agius, students Everett McClintock, Harrison Zeller, David Formisano, Shawn Engman, Sophia Minnion, Aliana Kurz and Ashley Militz and adviser Brittany Davis. Photo courtesy of the Shoreham-Wading River Central School District

Members of Shoreham-Wading River High School’s student government shared their ongoing efforts at a recent board of education meeting. The students work year-round with advisers Maryanne Agius and Brittany Davis to represent, advocate and empower their peers through creative ideas, leadership and resources to unify and enhance the high school community.

Students Shawn Engman, David Formisano, Aliana Kurz, Everett McClintock, Ashley Militz, Sophia Minnion and Harrison Zeller shared highlights and video clips from the to-date elections, Homecoming theme and floats, dances, fall pep rally, spirit days and fundraisers.

Board of education president, Thomas Sheridan, commended the advisers and student leaders for the school spirit and camaraderie they help to create throughout the high school and community. 

Just past the halfway point in the season Shoreham-Wading River, the 2023 Suffolk County class A champions, find themselves in the middle of the pack in their division. The Wildcats (5-5), having lost to Mount Sinai three days earlier, were hungry to get back to their winning ways when they hosted Center Moriches (1-8), making short work of the Red Devils winning 58-35 in the League VI matchup Jan 8.

Senior Juliana Mahan led the way for the Wildcats doing what she’s done all season battling in the paint netting eight layups/putbacks for 16 points. Grayce Kitchen, a junior, netted 11 points and Kady Keegan, the sophomore, banked eight. Kitchen had a 3-pointer as did freshman teammate Stamatia Almiroudis.

The Wildcats next two games will be their litmus test with a road game at Elwood-John Glenn on Tuesday, Jan 16, followed by a home game against Hampton Bays Jan. 20. Game times are 5:15 p.m. and noon respectively.

Michael J. Winfield Sr. Photo from Marquis Who’s Who
By Aidan Johnson

Being a teacher can mean more than just helping kids learn arithmetic and reading. Teachers have the power to leave a lasting impression on the lives of their students. Such is the case with Michael J. Winfield Sr.

Winfield, who has been an educator for over 25 years, with teaching and administrative posts at Shoreham-Wading River, Riverhead and South Country school districts, among others across Long Island, currently serves as a sociology instructor at St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School in West Islip.

Though an accomplished educator and administrator, he did not originally intend to go into that field.

“I kind of backed into it,” Winfield said in an interview. “I was transitioning from my business … and I went back to school, and I was going to stay in security.”

While Winfield was working in the security sector, he wanted to get his master’s in sociology. However, after a deal for the security company to pay for his master’s did not pan out, he left and began working as a substitute teacher.

Although substitute teaching was supposed to be only temporary, he found himself enjoying the work.

Teaching was “something that I just kind of warmed up to,” Winfield said. “Before you know it, I was in my master’s program, and I was taking additional courses to get my teacher’s certificate.”

As an educator, Winfield knew it wasn’t just his job to know what to teach kids; he also needed to understand how to teach them. He described how if his students needed help understanding a particular subject or concept, he wouldn’t automatically fault them. Instead, he would ask himself what he could do better to help register with them.

“I think the students appreciated that because they needed those opportunities, those extra looks at things,” Winfield said. “I always learn from them how I can be a better teacher [and a] better person.”

While students may forget their teachers are still humans, they can still make mistakes. Winfield never felt afraid to admit or apologize to his students if he was having a lousy day.

But Winfield’s efforts continue beyond the classroom. While at Spring Valley High School, his supervisor tasked him with creating a Black History Month program that also included all members of the community.

To achieve this, Winfield focused the celebration on community member Edmund Gordon, a well-known psychologist and mentee of W.E.B Du Bois (an American sociologist, socialist, historian and Pan-American civil rights activist), and created a community service award for him and his wife, Susan Gordan.

Winfield also partnered with community-based organizations to bring his diverse community full of different ethnic backgrounds together during a single event.

“We just had so many different people that all came and participated, and really that’s the goal: to share the history with everyone,” he said.

While these types of celebrations can help expand a community’s knowledge of Black history in America, Winfield still feels that the U.S. slipped in instructing what Black people have contributed to American history. 

“There are some periods of history, as you must be aware, that were not so good,” he said. “But we have to learn from them. We can’t hide them.”

“I think there are some people in the educational world that feel as though these things are divisive, and they’re not divisive,” he added. “They help us learn from it, and they help us grow because history is instructive.”

Winfield’s dedication to his career shows in his continued advocacy work. He still has students reach out to him and give him updates on their lives.

“I had a couple of students this year that sent me cards, and in one card, the student said that she thanked me for creating a safe space to learn,” he said.

Winfield, who has authored “Mentoring Matters: A Practical Approach to Fostering Reflective Practices,” a book that advises teachers in their formative years, among other books, has successfully left his mark on the community around him. For that, he is invaluable.

Michael J. Winfield Sr. is also listed in “Marquis Who’s Who.”

Pixabay photo

Residents of the Miller Place, Mount Sinai, Rocky Point and Shoreham-Wading River school districts are gearing up for this year’s school elections on Tuesday, May 16.

Miller Place Union Free School District

Voters in Miller Place will consider the district’s proposed 2023‒24 annual budget. With total expenditures at approximately $80.4 million, the budget increased by 3.47%, with a 2.34% tax levy increase and staying under the tax cap.

According to school officials, the increases will enable the district to accommodate new elective course offerings; continued funding for co-curricular activities, clubs and athletics; and universal prekindergarten. 

Residents will also pick two of the three candidates running for the district’s Board of Education. Three-term incumbent trustee and BOE president Lisa Reitan will defend her seat against challengers John Galligan and Jenna Stingo, both of whom ran for the school board in 2022.

The three candidates squared off during a Meeting the Candidates forum on Tuesday, May 2. The full video from this meeting can be accessed from the district website’s homepage.

Voting will occur from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at North Country Road Middle School.

Mount Sinai Union Free School District

Mount Sinai residents will consider a proposed 2023‒24 annual budget totaling $66.8 million, which stays under the tax cap with a tax levy increase of 4.65%. 

Three additional propositions are on the Mount Sinai ballot, including Proposition II, the district’s $1.8 million library budget. 

Proposition III would authorize the district to use $1.5 million from its capital reserves to renovate and/or replace science classrooms with proposed renovations of library, technology and guidance facilities at Mount Sinai High School. Proposition IV calls to amend the district’s capital reserve, increasing its ceiling to $20 million. District officials maintain these capital improvements will not affect the tax levy.

For this year’s Board of Education election, voters will select three candidates to serve three-year terms. In a crowded field, incumbent BOE president Peter Van Middelem and trustee Edward Law will defend their seats against Nicholas DeVito, Christy Barbera and Charles Carron. Incumbent trustee Robert Sweeney is not seeking reelection.

The budget and BOE votes at MSSD will take place from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Mount Sinai Elementary School.

Rocky Point Union Free School District

The proposed 2023‒24 annual budget for the Rocky Point Union Free School District increased to $93.9 million, up from $88 million last year. The proposed budget carries a tax levy increase of 3.23% that stays under the tax cap.

According to the district newsletter, the budget increases would enable Rocky Point schools to maintain existing programs and services; implement a nine-period program at the middle and high schools; expand elective opportunities; and build upon safety and security efforts.

This district’s current capital reserve fund expires this month. Consequently, voters will also weigh in on a ballot measure, Proposition II, creating a new 10-year capital reserve fund, with no funds allocated to this reserve in this year’s budget. This reserve would enable the district “to set aside funds for future capital building maintenance and improvement projects,” according to the newsletter.

Rocky Point residents will also select two candidates to serve three-year terms on the district Board of Education. Incumbent BOE president Jessica Ward and trustee Erin Walsh will defend their seats against challenger Nicole Kelly, who ran for the school board in 2022.

Voting will be held in the gymnasium at Rocky Point High School from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Shoreham-Wading River Central School District

Shoreham-Wading River Central School District proposes an $84.8 million annual budget for the 2023‒24 school year, up 2.2% from the previous year and carrying a 1.61% tax levy increase that stays under the tax cap.

According to the district newsletter, the proposed budget would maintain existing programs and class sizes, support facilities maintenance, enhance safety and security standards and lower the use of reserves.

Three incumbents are up for reelection in this year’s Board of Education contest, all of whom are running unopposed. BOE president Katie Andersen, vice president Henry Perez and trustee Michael Lewis have each declared bids for reelection.

To read their candidate profiles, visit the district website, selecting the “Meet the BOE Candidates 2023” tab on the homepage.

Voting at SWRCSD will take place from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the main gym at Shoreham-Wading River High School.

Shoreham-Wading River School District's varsity wrestling team. Photo courtesy SWRCSD

The Shoreham-Wading River varsity wrestling team won the Nassau/Suffolk D2 Double Duals, defeating the Nassau County No. 2 ranked Locust Valley, 57-6, and Island Trees, 46-21. 

The Wildcat wrestlers finished the regular season with an impressive overall record of 25-6. The team defeated nine highly ranked teams from six sections — both large and small schools. The team will compete at the Suffolk County D2 New York State qualifier at Mattituck High School on Saturday, Feb. 11.

Albert G. Prodell Middle School students with music teacher Fred Volz. Photo courtesy SWRCSD

Fourteen Albert G. Prodell Middle School students were selected to perform in the Intermediate Long Island String Festival on Jan. 22 at Northport High School. 

Working under the musical leadership of Fred Volz, they are sixth graders Sonny Alessi, Natasha Azmoun, Eve Calvert, Alexis Cordano, Hazel Cresser, Gianna Horsford, Linda Hu, Zachary Lister and Brynne Shinnick; seventh graders Kai Hidaka and Aiden Weng; and eighth graders Michael Ceschini, Spencer Lee and Timothy Worthington.

The talented students were selected along with others from across Suffolk County on a competitive basis, with New York State School Music Association scores as the main criteria, along with teacher recommendations.

By Chris Mellides

Shoreham-Wading River Central School District

Shoreham-Wading River High School will serve as the polling site for this year’s school budget and board of education election. File photo

The proposed budget to be voted on is $83 million, an increase of 2.87% and a tax levy hike of 1.70%, within the district’s limit. There will also be a Proposition No. 2 on capital projects of $2,898,040 with no tax levy increase.

Incumbents Thomas Sheridan and Meghan Tepfenhardt are running unopposed for reelection as trustee candidates.

Only Sheridan responded to a request for interview. He has been serving on the board of education for the past three years. His dedication to the district comes from a determined perspective to help ensure that his school district continues to build on its accomplishments and to better enable it to be recognized and celebrated for its points of pride. Sheridan said that the biggest challenge facing Shoreham-Wading River is the commitment from New York State to continue its funding for the district’s schools.  

The budget vote and board of education elections will be held Tuesday, May 17, at gym from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

Mount Sinai Union Free School District 

The proposed budget of $63.8 million with a 2.02% increased tax rate, does not exceed the tax cap. District funds are being earmarked for renovations, replacements and upgrading infrastructure. 

Mount Sinai Elementary School will serve as the polling site. File photo

Voters will be asked to vote for any two of the four candidates on the ballot, who are Alice Samantha Dreyer, Alexis Fliller, John Hnat and Anthony Mangione. Incumbents AnneMarie Henninger and Lisa Pfeffer (incumbent) are not seeking reelection. Only Dreyer and Mangione responded to requests for interviews. 

Alice Samantha Dreyer

Dreyer is a first-time candidate running for a seat on the board of education. A doctor of psychology, Dreyer’s focus if elected will be on mental health, as it relates to the rise of depression, anxiety and suicidality among students nationwide. Dreyer sees the importance in recognizing the needs of her district’s students and believes in inclusivity when it comes to students of all ability levels. She said that the biggest challenge facing her district stems from the COVID-19 pandemic and its ill effects on students’ learning and anxiety levels. Dreyer hopes to see her district continue to provide a broad-based, foundational education for all its students. 

Anthony Mangione

Mangione has never sat on the Mount Sinai board of education. The first-timer said that a large group of local residents take to social media to and ask why their voices aren’t being heard. This is the driving force behind what made Mangione run. His goal is to reverse the loss of learning that school students experienced while learning remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Mangione promises to fight to end or prevent unfunded or underfunded mandates. 

The budget vote and board of education elections will be held Tuesday, May 17, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Mount Sinai Elementary School.

Rocky Point Union Free School District

The proposed budget to be voted on totals $88 million, an increase of 2.72%. Voters will also be asked to elect two trustees. The candidate receiving the highest number of votes will fill the seat for three years and the second seat will fill the seat immediately following the election, expiring June 30, 2023. 

The following candidate information was obtained from the district’s website.

Nick Contes

Contes has been a Rocky Point resident for the past 15 years, has two daughters in the school district and is risk and insurance manager at Henry Schein. Contes and his family have contributed to an array of local youth programs, including soccer, tee-ball and cheerleading. He has openly spoken at many BOE meetings and is an advocate for parental choice, improved school lunches and highlighting areas of cost savings for the district. 

Nicole Kelly 

Kelly is a Rocky Point resident and mother of a child attending Rocky Point High School. As a senior administrator at Brookhaven National Laboratory, her work experience includes project management, contract administration and compliance on the state and federal levels. She’s been critical in implementing various interactive events within the district to enhance learning and opportunity for students of all ages. If elected, Kelly plans to include increased strategic planning, safety and security for increased community communication. 

Jason Ford 

Ford has been a community member for 10 years and a father of three children who attend Rocky Point schools. Ford serves full time in hospitality management and volunteers his time throughout the community. He is an active PTA member as well as being a baseball coach for St. Anthony’s CYO and is a volunteer for both North Shore Little League and Rocky Point Youth Soccer Club. Ford would like to work collaboratively with fellow board members, teachers and administrators to provide the best education for the district’s students and be a voice for the community during these challenging times. His goal is to help bridge the gap between parents and educators. 

Susan Sullivan 

Incumbent trustee Sullivan has been a resident of Rocky Point for 37 years and retired from the district after serving as a teacher and administrator for a total of 40 years. She holds a B.A. in education, a master’s in liberal studies and a master’s in education. Sullivan said that it has been an honor to serve on the board for the past nine years. She looks forward to continuing as a trustee, representing the entire community, keeping in mind that she serves as one of a team. Sullivan will work together with her fellow trustees to offer an educational program that supports the needs of all students and is mindful of the fiscal responsibility to the community. 

Erin Walsh

A veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve, catechist, PTA volunteer and legal secretary, Walsh has recently completed her paralegal qualifications to bolster her advocacy and knowledge in law. Walsh, a 14-year Rocky Point resident and mother of two, looks forward to serving the students and families of the district through transparency and communication along with parental involvement in the schools. She focuses on making certain that every dollar in the budget delivers enthusiastic learning along with smaller class sizes, while eliminating administrative waste in her district. 

Susan Wilson 

Wilson is a retired teacher and administrator who has been part of the Rocky Point community since the 1960s. She is a married mother of two local Point graduates. She holds a B.A. in accounting, an M.A. in liberal studies/technology and an advanced degree certificate in educational leadership. She has served on the boards of the PTA, Rocky Point Civic Association and the North Shore Beach Property Owners Association. Wilson’s goals will be to continue being an advocate for a nine-period day, while also supporting districtwide improvements with a focus on increasing the graduation rate. She also seeks out perspectives on the issues helping in her consideration of the financial impacts of the budget on the taxpayer. She supports decisions that have the interests of the school community at heart.  

Rocky Point High School will serve as the polling site. File photo

The budget vote and board of education elections will be held Tuesday, May 17, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Rocky Point High School. 

Albert G. Prodell Middle School seventh grade students in the Shoreham-Wading River School District are commemorating Women’s History Month with their studies and a paper quilt that was created to showcase the dynamic and powerful contributions of many women in history. 

The project was spearheaded by social studies teacher Corinne Fallon, who is a member of the Women’s History Month committee. 

The quilt features black and white cutouts and short profiles of Clara Barton, Amelia Earhart, Anne Frank, Frida Kahlo, Helen Keller, Rosa Parks, Sonia Sotomayor and others. It is a tribute to and reminder of the vital role that they play in America’s past, present and future.

Photo from SWRSD

How many opportunities are there to celebrate the number 100? Miller Avenue School staff and students celebrated the 100th day of school with STEM projects galore, dressing as if they were 100 years old, having a 100th Day Parade and so much more.

Science, art, technology and, of course, math skills were used throughout the building to celebrate this exciting milestone. 

Students in Vicki Radonavitch’s kindergarten class used their growing imaginations to build whatever their engineering skills would allow out of 100 different manipulatives. Cara Behrens and Janelle Belotti’s first grade students built with 100 cups, Legos, pattern blocks and snapping cubes. They also organized stickers and fruit loops into 10s to make necklaces. 

“We had so much fun,” Ms. Behrens said. “It was an exciting day with the students collaborating together to work as a team and develop their interpersonal skills.” 

Other classes completed various center activities throughout the day, incorporating the number 100 and signifying the successful move forward in the academic year.