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Ward Melville High School

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The Ward Melville Patriots girls volley program has not meet defeat five games into the 2022 season. The team and made it 6-0, defeating Bellport at home with a 3-0 sweep in a League IV matchup Sept. 21.

Senior Mackenzie Heaney notched 34 assists, and senior Gianna Hogan had 16 digs in the sweep, where the Patriots prevailed 25-14, 25-21 and 25-22. The win keeps the Patriots atop the leaderboard in their league. They will retake the court Friday Sept. 23 with a 5 p.m. road game against Newfield and compete in tournament play the following day at Smithtown West High School. First service is scheduled for 8 a.m.

Last year’s League II powerhouse Smithtown East came knocking on Ward Melville’s door in the opening round of the 2022 campaign in which both teams lost just one game last season. The Bulls of Smithtown East finished at 10-1 in league last season, and the Patriots went 11-1 which set the tone in the first set. 

Both teams stayed within three points of one another in the opening game that required the Patriots to win by two with a 27-25 victory. The second round saw both teams swapping the lead several times but the Patriots were able hold off the charging Bulls to take the second set 25-23. The Patriots stretched their legs in the third set breaking out to an 8-point lead thanks in part to a strong performance from the service line winning it 25-16 for the sweep at home Sept. 2. 

Both teams are back in action Sept. 7 when Ward Melville travels to Bay Shore for non-league game at 4:15 p.m., and Smithtown East travels to Centereach with a 4 p.m. start.

By Bill Landon

Coaches often say a team must “play up” to raise its game. That is just what the Mustangs of Mount Sinai did Monday, Aug. 29, visiting the powerhouse of League II, the Ward Melville Patriots, to open their 2022 season.

Ward Melville dominated the time of possession in the first half, scoring four unanswered goals against their League IV visitors. The Patriots added to their lead in the second half, tacking on two more for a 6-0 shutout.

The Patriots shared the wealth as Wilman Castellon, Aiden Burgueno and Owen Haviland each found the net, and teammates Ryan Flockhart, Ron Palillo and Dylan Fastenberg each scored a goal apiece.

Both teams will be back in action on Wednesday, Aug. 31, as the Mustangs go on the road again to face another non-league opponent, the Kings Park Kingsmen. The Patriots will also have their hands full in a road game against a perennially talented Brentwood team. Gametime is 4 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

It came down to the final possession in the Suffolk girl’s lacrosse Class A title game where the Northport Tigers clung to a one goal lead and was able to hold off a late game surge by the Patriots of Ward Melville for the 8-7 win at Newfield High School May 25.  

Northport seniors Isabella Germani led the Tigers with four goals, and Ella Cabrera scored twice with two assists. Teammates Kaylie Mackiewicz and Shannon Smith both scored while Meghan Morris had a quiet day in net with four saves. 

Grace Balocca topped the scoring chart for the Patriots with three goals and goalie Ava Carrillo stopped seven. 

The win sends Northport to the Long Island Championship round where they’ll face either Massapequa or Syosset at Lavalle Stadium in Stony Brook June 5. Game time is at high noon. 

The score was close through 3 1/2 innings of play when Newfield’s bats began to crack in a home game against Ward Melville outpacing the Patriots, 24-12, for the win in for both teams’ season finale Saturday, May 14.

On March 30, 500 students and family members attended the Multi-Industry Career Exploration Fair at Ward Melville High School.

The event was organized by the Three Village Industry Advisory Board with tremendous ongoing support of Alan Baum, Three Village school district executive director for Human Resources and Secondary Curriculum, who along with 3V-IAB oversees the development and implementation of our programs.

As chair of 3V-IAB, I was thrilled to see a terrific turnout.

After the event, Ilene Littman, 3V-IAB co-chair and Ward Melville High School business teacher, and I were pleased to receive positive feedback from many who participated.

The advisory board has hosted the event for students in grades 7 through 12 for four consecutive years. After being held virtually last year, it was satisfying to see the career fair continue and take place in person, providing plenty of opportunities for students to interact with more than 80 businesses and organizations from various industries.

Superintendent Cheryl Pedisich called it a “valuable partnership” for students and community members.

“It was evident that this was a tremendous undertaking involving hours of time and effort,” she said. “However, what was most clear was the enthusiasm and passion that the two of you and your student leaders exemplified in executing the program.” 

The number of students who helped organize the event this year was impressive. The committee members and I appreciate the volunteers from Student Government, DECA and the Robotics Department, as well as members of the Business, Family and Consumer Science, and Guidance departments. They played a big part in the career fair’s success.

Kevin Scanlon, assistant superintendent for educational services, said it best after the fair: “The students’ organizational abilities rivaled any Fortune 500 company.”

One of the young people involved was 3V-IAB student liaison Savanna Pineros who said she felt this year’s career fair was a success.

“Many students were able to meet with a diverse array of businesses, representing a wide variety of fields,” she said. “Students were able to ask many questions and explore several career opportunities in a unique way.”

Grace Smrek, 3V-IAB student president for 2021-22, said, “Walking around this event, I could see our community coming together to support the students in discovering potential career paths. As the student president of this board, I am honored to have been a part of the most successful career fair yet.” 

Incoming 3V-IAB student president Justin Moore noted that this year’s career exploration fair “doubled any other career fair in the past, making it the largest one yet.” 

Since its inception, the 3V-IAB mission is to prepare teenagers for the careers of the future. Career exploration fairs have featured businesses from fields such as technology, finance, engineering, health care, hospitality, government and more. The advisory board feels it’s essential to educate students on all the opportunities available to them to prepare for their futures.

“By bringing together a wide spectrum of industries, we showed the innovators of tomorrow all of the varied opportunities that are possible for them,” said Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn.

Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich said, “I appreciate so many local professionals taking the time to help demonstrate the wide variety of options available to our students.”

One of those professionals, Vinny Menten, manager of Gabrielli Truck Sales and 3V-IAB board member, said the career exploration fair is “a huge value to students who are trying to make their way through life and gain the information necessary to make a good personal decision.”

Stan Abrahamsen, Chick-fil-A franchisee, said, “My two GMs really enjoyed all the interaction with the students as well as parents.”

I’m looking forward to the next 3V-IAB event, Money Talks, to be held May 25 during the school day. Colette Frey-Bitzas, director of financial planning for PPS Advisors, and Nicole Sarno, Webster Bank business managing director, will be heading up the presentation and interactive conversation with the students.

Frey-Bitzas describes Money Talks as the “secrets of success.” It’s not so much what you make but what you save.

“‘Save’ means so much more than what is put in the bank,” she said. “It’s understanding taxes and best places to put your money, so it works for you.”

There will be more to come next school year, and the board is looking forward to these events and planning them with the students. 

Michael Ardolino is the founder/owner-broker of Realty Connect USA.

Bonahue, above, entering the inaugural ceremony at the Suffolk Federal Credit Union Arena on the Michael J. Grant Campus in Brentwood. Photo by SCCC

On Friday, April 8, Suffolk County Community College celebrated the inauguration of Edward Bonahue as the college’s seventh president. 

Bonahue, who took office in June 2021, was joined by students, educators, community leaders and public officials at the Suffolk Federal Credit Union Arena on the Michael J. Grant Campus in Brentwood. During the event, various speakers had an opportunity to share their respective visions for the community college under Bonahue’s direction. 

Sarah Kain Gutowski, a professor of English at SCCC, delivered the inaugural poem, “A Shared Relief.” Gutowski’s poem reflected upon the setbacks faced by the Suffolk community because of the pandemic and offered a message of reassurance and hope.

“Perhaps memory serves us best when it reveals this: That after the onslaught of illness, fear, isolation and doubt, privation and poverty, empty rhetoric and tenuous polity, something remains,” Gutowski said. “Being together again, communing in this space whether virtual or real, masked or unmasked, standing six feet apart or three, is the way to recovery. Our eyes reflecting shared relief, it says, ‘Good, you’re still here.’”

Among the group of inaugural speakers was Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D), who commended Bonahue for his leadership qualities and for his unique ability to generate partnerships throughout the community.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, above, spoke during the inauguration. Photo by SCCC

“We are fortunate now to have a seasoned higher education executive with more than 20 years of experience in community college education leading this great institution,” Bellone said. “If the last 10 months tell us anything, it’s that Dr. Bonahue is a proven leader. Throughout the course of his career, he has successfully implemented creative programs and creative, innovative partnerships.” The county executive added that these are “all talents he has brought with him to his role as our new president.”

Bellone also touched upon Bonahue’s local roots, which he considered vital for the continued connection between residents and the community college: “Dr. Bonahue not only has the experience and know-how to lead this incredible institution, but we know he has a special interest in seeing this region succeed as a native Suffolk County resident and graduate of Ward Melville High School.”

Edward Bonahue (left) and County Executive Steve Bellone (right) share a laugh during the inaugural ceremony. Photo by SCCC

Mary Reid, member of the SCCC Foundation Board of Directors and a tax preparer based in Bay Shore, said Bonahue had met with over 100 community representatives from various organizations throughout the county in September 2021. Since that initial meeting, Bonahue has already strengthened the ties between SCCC and its community partners.

“Dr. Bonahue, you and your staff have kept in contact and have begun to implement the suggestions offered that morning,” Reid said. “You have interacted with library directors, with superintendents of schools, labor leaders, civic groups, religious leaders and mothers wanting to attend college who were seeking day care and financial aid,” adding, “We thank you so much for that.”

Reid said jokingly, “Anyone who knows me knows that I cannot leave without asking for something.” Addressing Bonahue, she said, “Today I ask you to add to your to-do list a program that will meet the needs of persons with disabilities, especially those with Down syndrome,” adding, “Also remember to engage in frequent updates to the community groups.”

Representing the student body was Zachary Frost. He celebrated the appointment of Bonahue as president, arguing that Bonahue intends to bring quality higher education opportunities to low-income families throughout the county.

“The first time I met President Bonahue, we spoke about the many resources made available to students to ensure their success,” Frost said. “President Bonahue wanted to streamline access to these resources and make them more readily available to any student who may be struggling. It was in this meeting that I saw President Bonahue’s passion for driving success, especially for those at a disadvantage.” 

Frost described the challenges of growing up in a single-parent household and of being raised by a parent who struggled to make ends meet. “I remember as a young child, probably six or seven years old, my mother didn’t have the easiest time going through college, whether it be financially or her trying to find someone to watch me while she was in class,” he said. “I can’t help but wonder, had she been a student here at Suffolk County Community College and had access to all of these amazing resources, like our food pantry, writing centers, hardship funds and on-campus day care centers, accompanied by caring professors and a great faculty, she probably would have had a much healthier college experience.” 

Dr. Bonahue, on behalf of our three bargaining units, the Faculty Association, AME, the Guild of Administrative Officers, and the executive leadership team, we welcome you, we welcome your family, to our community.

— Dante Morelli

Representing the SCCC employees and the Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees was Dante Morelli, professor of communications. He said AME union members are the engine behind the entire operation at SCCC’s campuses and downtown centers.

“President Bonahue, I’m going to let you in on a little secret that you probably already know,” Morelli said. “If you really want to know who keeps the college running, it’s the members of AME. It’s the members of AME who are often the first voice and/or a face a student sees or hears when they walk onto campus or pick up the phone to ask for assistance.” He added, “Dr. Bonahue, on behalf of our three bargaining units, the Faculty Association, AME, the Guild of Administrative Officers, and the executive leadership team, we welcome you, we welcome your family, to our community.”

To access our coverage of Bonahue’s inaugural address, click here.

Port Jefferson School District SCMEA Division I students. Photo from PJSD

In-person student musical performances are back, and Port Jefferson School District students represented at the recent Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association All-County Festival held at Ward Melville High School.

In the fifth and sixth grade Division I, students Josie Amtmann, Jenny Cheung, Isabella Fratticci Cseri, Nina Gnatenko, Kai Gronenthal, Ruairi Hogan, Patrick Hutchinson, Nila Manian, Austin Nam, Adyson Nocito, Clara Pearce, Violet Pryor, Sara Puopolo, Aiden Fraticci Rodriguez, Sebastian Salzman, Dylan Sproul, Kaho Sugimoto, Leilani Von Oiste and Elizabeth Yin were selected. Seventh and eighth graders Rowan Casey, Crystal Reustle, Sadie Salzman and Daria Zakharova were selected for Division II, and Division III’s ninth and 10th graders welcomed Earl L. Vandermeulen High School student Andi Kelly.

“Congratulations to all of our outstanding student musicians who were fortunate to perform in the FIRST in-person county music festival in nearly three years!” said Dr. Michael Caravello, district director of music and fine arts.

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Ward Melville opened their 2022 lacrosse campaign with a home game against West Islip March 22.

Trailing by one goal at the half the Patriots’ sticks spoke loudest the rest of the way cruising to a 9-5 victory in the non-league season opener.

Ava Simonton led the way scoring her hat trick, and Grace Balocca found the net twice. Grace Mulham, Courtney Quinn, MJ Timpanaro and freshman Peyton Phillips all scored. Ward Melville retakes the field Saturday morning at home in another non-league contest against Garden City. Game time is scheduled for 10 a.m.

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The Patriots of Ward Melville, after leading at one point by 12 points, clung to a 1-point lead to start the second half in a quarter-final playoff game on the road against Hills East Feb. 18. 

With the game tied at 41 all to begin the final eight minutes of play, the T-Birds exploded in the fourth quarter putting the game out of reach for a 70-51 victory to advance to the semi-final round in Class AA.

Ward Melville senior Tommy Ribaudo led his team in scoring with six field goals and three from the line for 15 points. Teammate Frank Carroll, a senior, netted nine points and sophomore KJ Anderson banked seven.

The Patriots conclude their 21-22 campaign with an impressive 18-4 record.