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Shoreham-Wading River High School

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. 

Shoreham-Wading River High School students Andrea Castillo-Manas and Katelyn Roberts were each honored with a Quill Award in the Adelphi University Press Day competition. 

Andrea, a senior, won third place for Best Opinion Piece for her article, “The Concern for Long Island’s Future.” Katelyn, a freshman, won first place for Best Opinion Piece for her article, “Uniformed Injustice: Sexism Rooted in Athletic Uniforms.”

Both articles are published in the high school’s digital newspaper, “The Pause.”  

“The journalism students are so proud of their peers,” said English teacher and journalism club adviser Sara Trenn. 

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Senior running back Max Barone finds a hole in the Wildcats 70-13 rout over Center Moriches in the out-bracket playoff round Nov 5. Bill Landon photo

When Center Moriches the No. 8 seed met Shoreham-Wading River the No. 1 seed in the opening round of the football playoff season, the results were predictable. 

But the Red Devils ran into a freight train Friday night at Thomas A Cutinella Memorial Field when the Wildcats crushed their visitors 70-13. 

Leading the way for the Wildcats was freshman Will Hart who found the endzone four times, seniors Max Barone scored three with teammate Liam Leonard punching in twice. 

Ryan Herr the junior rounded out the scoring for the Wildcats who are now 8-1 and will host the semi-final round Nov. 12. 

Game time is set for 7 p.m. and tickets can be purchased online at gofan.co/app/school/NYSPHSAAXI for $8 or $10 at the door.

— All photos by Bill Landon

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Photo from SWRSD

Graduating from Shoreham-Wading River High School, Mika Misawa will be leaving with the honor of being named valedictorian and a 103.7 weighted GPA. 

She will be part of the incoming freshman class at Cornell University’s College of Arts and Sciences this fall. 

As a member of the varsity girls tennis team, Journalism Club, President of the Global Awareness club, editor-in-chief of the Global Awareness Club’s monthly newsletter, co-president of Women in Science and Engineering, Mathletes and the Tri-M Music honor society, Mika has always had an immense involvement in her school and community.

In her high school career, Mika took 13 AP courses, four honors courses and a college level course through Stony Brook University. 

Photo from SWRSD

As a brilliant mathematics student, Mika was also named a Long Island Young Scholar of Mathematics by the Institute of Creative Problem Solving for Gifted and Talented Students.

Her enthusiasm for succeeding in school translated into her music career as well, as she was selected for the National Association for Music Education All-Eastern Honors Ensemble Orchestra and the New York State School Music Association All-State Festival. 

Alongside Mika, valedictorian Owen Beran will be graduating also with a weighted GPA of 103.7.

As the team captain of the golf team and a member of the lacrosse team, Owen was able to be successful in all realms of his high school career. He has taken nine AP courses, four honors courses, and is the vice president of the National Honor Society.

However, his involvement doesn’t stop there. He was also the class of 2021 treasurer and a member of the Mathletes, Natural Helpers, the Robotics Club and the Student Advisory group. 

Not only was Owen heavily involved with his school, but his community as well. His community involvement includes volunteering for St. John’s Church Gathering Inn, Thomas Cutinella Memorial Patriot Run, Lax Out Cancer, Spirit’s Promise Equine Rescue, and Nexus-Animal Outreach.

With a passion for helping his community and furthering himself academically, Owen plans to attend the United States Naval Academy, where he will be majoring in nuclear engineering. 

Daniel Julian has been named salutatorian, graduating with a weighted GPA of 103.4. 

Photo from SWRSD

Discovering his passion for science and mathematics in tenth grade after taking an AP chemistry course, Daniel knew Stony Brook University’s STEM program would be his first-choice college.

“I chose chemistry as my major as a result of my love and ability for the subject and my love for science and mathematics as a whole,” he said. 

In the near future, Julian aspires to become an educator or researcher in the field of nuclear science and plans on pursuing graduate work in the sciences or science education. 

Additionally, the high school gave Daniel an opportunity to pursue his other passion, music. As a skilled jazz player, Julian played in the high school instrumental jazz ensemble in grades 9-12 for SCMEA All-County.

He was also selected as the baritone sax player and an alternate alto sax player with the NYSSMA All-State Instrumental Jazz Ensemble.

“For me, school concerts and other musical performances were special to me as playing in the Shoreham-Wading River High School’s bands gave me opportunities to contribute to my community through music and express myself artistically,” Daniel said. 

Photo from SWRSD

Some of his special experiences At Shoreham-Wading River included working on a research project involving epigenetics with one of his most influential AP biology teachers, Dr. Neff. 

Looking forward to his fall semester in Stony Brook to study chemistry, he is excited to focus on the subjects he is most passionate about on a more advanced level. 

“I enjoyed my time in high school taking multiple classes in various subjects, but I am looking forward to having a more specific focus on math and science as they are where my passion lies,” Daniel said.

Shoreham-Wading River dropped their season opener at home Feb. 11 against Center Moriches falling to the Red Devils by 7 points. 

The Wildcats dusted themselves off and went on a 7-game winning streak that included a semi-final 64-54 victory over Mattituck the day before only to face Center Moriches in the Conference IV finals Feb. 28. Hungry to avenge that season opening loss the Wildcats stayed withing striking distance through 8 minutes of play when the Red Devils stood on the gas and never looked back, to win it 76-61.

The Wildcat seniors led the way from the opening tip off with Joey Dwyer hitting 8 field goals 2 triples and 3 from the line to lead his team with 25 points. Co-Captains Thomas Bell nailed 10 from the floor along with a pair of free throws for 22 and Tristan Costello netted 9.

The Wildcats concluded their abbreviated season at 6-2 for 2nd place in League-VII, 7-2 overall.  Photos by Bill Landon 

Shoreham-Wading River sophomore GraceAnn Leonard drives the lane against Wyandanch in a League VII matchup Feb. 24. Photo by Bill Landon

Shoreham-Wading River punched their playoff ticket with a 67-49 victory against Wyandanch at home led by Sophomore GraceAnn Leonard who topped the scoring chart for the Wildcats in the League VII matchup Feb. 24. 

The win lifts the Wildcats to 3-0 to conclude regular season play in the age of COVID-19, where Leonard had 13 field goals three triples and a free throw for a team high 36 points. 

Colleen Ohrtman followed with 14 points with Annie Sheehan and Mia Rosati netting 8 and 5 points respectively.

Photos by Bill Landon 

Legislator Sarah Anker, left with scarf, presents a proclamation to Rubin alongside his parents and older brother Dec. 18. Photo by Julianne Mosher

Long Island’s very own Carter Rubin is back home and was greeted with a parade in his honor.

The 15-year-old winner of NBC’s “The Voice” was welcomed home Friday with a caravan of people supporting and cheering on the newest local celebrity.

Carter, of Shoreham, won the national singing competition during Tuesday’s series finale, as a representative of Team Gwen, headed by singer Gwen Stefani. 

On Dec. 18, several dozen cars lined up outside Shoreham-Wading River High School with signs and balloons, ready to surprise the sophomore outside his home. 

Also greeted by media, as Carter hosted interviews alongside his family, firetrucks, the local police and community members shocked the young singer with a warm welcoming. They held signs out of their car windows, handed him balloons and flowers, and yelled their joy for achieving a huge feat.

“I’m still in shock, I don’t think it really hit me yet,” the ecstatic and overwhelmed Carter said. “My feet have not touched the ground. I’m still trying to comprehend what happened.”

Since October, the young singer was traveling back and forth from his Shoreham home to Los Angeles to participate on the show. During the initial audition, Stefani and fellow judge singer John Legend both wanted the then-14-year-old on their teams. He chose the No Doubt singer, making this her first win on the show. 

After touching the hearts of both the judges and America as a whole, Carter is now able to share what he loves with the world, his mother, Alonna Rubin said. 

“It’s pretty awesome,” she said. “We’re so happy to be able to see him do what he loves and make so many people happy.”

Throughout the competition, he often dedicated his performances to his autistic older brother, Jack, who was back home watching his little brother shine on the small screen.

“I’m just so happy for Carter that he won ‘The Voice,’” he said, smiling. “It felt so good to see him on TV.”

Their mother is an advocate for the autism community and is founder of the local nonprofit Families in Arms, which helps support families of children on the spectrum.

The father said it was hard having his son and wife across the country, but FaceTime helped, and even the distance was well worth it to watch Carter shine.

“Watching him just do the work, perform and step up was amazing,” David Rubin said. “But he really made a big impact on people which is, as his parents, really incredible.”

Along with his new title as the show’s Season 19 winner, he also was awarded $100,000, a trip to Universal Orlando and a contract with Republic Records. Carter added that his next steps are to start writing his own music and start performing when COVID is done. 

“I want to get in the studio and record music to put out there for everyone,” he said. “Once COVID is over, I want to perform.”

He’s been performing for years, though, his grandfather Ric Mango said. Mango, who was a member of 1960s group Jay & the Americans, said that Carter had opened up for him and his own band since he was 6 years old. 

“He’s a great kid,” the proud grandfather said. “He’s great inside and out, and he’s going to be an idol.”

When Carter and his mother headed home Thursday night, family friend and Shoreham Civic Organization president, Mike Goralski, knew he wanted to do something special for the teen.

“I’ve been friends with the family for a little more than 12 years, and I felt as though something should be done because he’s a wonderful kid,” he said. “The family, from the kids to the grandparents, are
great people.”

So Goralski recruited local elected officials and the rest of the community to give Carter a big hello.

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) presented “The Voice” champion with a proclamation to congratulate him on his achievement. 

“This is the best holiday gift ever,” Anker said. “We really need this, and Carter is the perfect person to provide this excitement. His heart is so warm, his courage is so strong, and his belief that you can follow your dreams has made such a difference, not just for him, but for everyone.”

And while his personality shined on stage, he was still in disbelief he won this honor and received all this love from his neighbors.

“It feels amazing,” he said. “I’m just so grateful for all the outpouring support in the middle of a global pandemic.”

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SWRHS junior Jake Field and Alisa McMorris and John McMorris, parents of Andrew McMorris. Photo from SWRCSD

Shoreham-Wading River High School junior Jake Field conceived of a thoughtful school community addition for his Eagle Scout service project to mark his final rank in the Boy Scouts. Jake designed and built two benches to honor the memory of former student Andrew McMorris. His passionate project included a plaque that incorporated Andrew’s love of art, music, scouting and aviation. The benches were placed at Albert G. Prodell Middle School, where Andrew was a student.

Field said his project was a lot of work but he found it quite worth it. Field’s ability to plan, develop and organize the donation of the benches with Prodell Principal Kevin Vann and Superintendent Gerard Poole point to the leadership skills he obtained in his years as a Boy Scout. Once the district’s building and grounds crew prepped the location at the school, Field and his family met with Alisa McMorris and John McMorris to place the benches that will serve as a place for gentle contemplation in perpetuity.

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Shoreham-Wading River High School is located at 250A Route 25A in Shoreham. File photo by Kevin Redding

*Update* The Shoreham-Wading River school district announced it was closing the high school through Nov. 11, and planned to reopen Thursday Nov. 12.

Shoreham-Wading River school district officials have quarantined 110 students plus eight staff members after two students were tested positive for COVID-19. Officials said those positive tests came after a recent get-together among students.

SWR Superintendent Gerard Poole released a letter to parents Thursday, Oct. 29 informing them that the three students “all attended a weekend social gathering of students.” The district was notified about the positive tests Wednesday night.

Officials closed the high school, and later that day announced the building would also be closed Friday, Oct. 30. The school will continue learning using online distance learning, and students are required to log into their teacher’s Google Classroom at the start of each period to join the class and click on the Google Meet code.  The schedule can be found in the Distance Learning plan which is posted in the Re-Opening section of the District webpage. 

“What students do over the weekend and after school matters,” Poole wrote in his letter to parents. “As we have found out, it impacts our ability to remain open daily for all students.”

The district worked with the Suffolk County Department of Health to conduct contact tracing. Any student that has tested positive is currently under quarantine as well as their family members, which would include school age children as well.

With the additions of the 118 quarantined, the district said there are now a full 125 students and staff members asked to isolate themselves. The New York State School Report Card, which tracks the number of positive cases in districts, reads there have been a total of five positive tests in the district since it opened in September.

Students who tested positive are not allowed to return to school until the DOH gives the go-ahead, Pooles letter stated.

“With the Halloween weekend approaching, children may need an additional reminder about the importance of implementing COVID-19 health precautions at all times and the importance of avoiding large social gatherings,” the superintendent said in his letter. “In order for our schools to remain open and for the health of all students, it is my hope that any large social gatherings that may have been planned for the upcoming weekend are canceled.”

 

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File photo

Suffolk County Police said they arrested a Yaphank man Friday, Sept. 25 for allegedly stealing items from 13 unlocked vehicles in Shoreham and Wading River during the past month.

For several weeks, residents in the SWR community have complained about an alleged individual stealing items from people’s unlocked cars. A man in a hat and mask was seen in several residents’ security cameras walking up to cars late at night and trying their locks.

During the course of the investigation into larcenies from vehicles since Aug. 30, police said 7th precinct officer Karen Grenia observed the alleged suspect, Patrick Fontaine, 38, in the vicinity of Route 25A at around 7:50 a.m. Fontaine was apprehended a short time later on the grounds of Shoreham-Wading River High School.

Fontaine has previously been arrested in 2015 for a string of robberies in Yaphank.

7th precinct officers, who were assisted by canine section officers, charged Fontaine with 13 counts of petite larceny for stealing items from vehicles at the following locations:

  • Circle Drive in Shoreham on Aug. 30.
  • Circle Drive in Shoreham on Aug. 31.
  • Jomar Road in Shoreham on Sept. 13.
  • Reynolds Road in Shoreham on Sept. 18.
  • Frederick Drive in Shoreham on Sept. 18.
  • John Street in Shoreham between Sept. 18 and Sept. 19.
  • Royal Way in Shoreham on Sept. 19.
  • John Street in Shoreham on Sept. 19.
  • Knight Street in Shoreham on Sept. 19.
  • Zophar Mills Road in East Shoreham between Sept. 20 and Sept. 21.
  • Randall Road in Wading River between Sept. 20 and Sept. 21.
  • Zophar Mills Road in East Shoreham on Sept. 21.
  • Thomas Drive in Wading River between Sept. 20 and Sept. 21.

Items allegedly stolen included money, electronics, identification and glasses. Fontaine was also charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and a parole warrant. Police said he will be held overnight at the 7th precinct and is scheduled for arraignment at First District Court in Central Islip Sept. 26.