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LI students named to All-National Honor Ensembles

Pardiss Mehrzad and Kevin Xu of Syosset High

Pardiss Mehrzad and Kevin Xu of Syosset High School have been selected to perform with this year's All-National Honor Ensembles. Mehrzad is singing soprano in the mixed choir, while Xu is playing cello in the symphony orchestra. Credit: Syosset Central School District

Twenty Long Island students are among about 550 nationwide named to this year's All-National Honor Ensembles by the National Association for Music Education.

The ensembles, which include a concert band, guitar ensemble, jazz ensemble, mixed choir, modern band and symphony orchestra, are performing at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando on Nov. 9-10.

Students were selected through an audition process after having qualified for their state's 2018-19 All-State Festival. Their selection means they are among the nation's "top-performing high school musicians," the association said. 

Long Island's selectees and their high schools were: Cristina Vieytez, Commack; Robert Alvarado and Giovanni Santiago, Connetquot; Wells Woolcott, East Hampton; Rebecca Nelsen, Eastport-South Manor; Joseph Geraci and Paul Lloyd, Farmingdale; Karina Ng, Herricks; Emily Fong and Kristen Yang, Jericho; Jonathan Kim, Manhasset; Sarah Benedict, Massapequa; Joshua Cai, Mount Sinai; Fiona Shonik, North Shore; Joseph Albano, Sachem North; Pardiss Mehrzad and Kevin Xu, Syosset; Emmett Conway, Valley Stream Central; and Greyson Nekrutman and Alexandra Woroniecka, Ward Melville.

"Our student-musicians have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in performing music, and we are so proud of their accomplishments," said Kati Behr, Jericho's curriculum associate for fine and performing arts.


Acting superintendent

Eva Demyen has been appointed acting superintendent of the Roosevelt School District. She replaced Shirley Martin, who held the position this summer after Superintendent Marie Hazelton was placed on paid leave. 

Demyen most recently served 10 years as superintendent of the Deer Park School District and before that as deputy superintendent and director of mathematics. She is also a past chairwoman for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and a past president for the Nassau County Association of Mathematics Supervisors.

"Forty-six years as an educator and leader have given me great insight into programs, practices, procedures and systems that move students and staff to even greater outcomes," Demyen said. "I hope to share my experiences and practices so that the Roosevelt School District will continue on its upward trajectory."


Hispanic Heritage Month

Many local schools educated students on the Spanish culture in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, which spanned from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

In North Bellmore, third-graders at Newbridge Road Elementary School used pipe cleaners and Popsicle sticks to create "worry dolls," which Guatemalan children traditionally told their worries to before putting them under their pillows at night.

In Bellmore, Wellington C. Mepham High School's Spanish Honor Society sponsored a Latin-themed escape room that included geographical, food and art-themed clues. Prizes ranged from maraca pens to Guatemalan kick balls.

In Elmont, sixth-graders at Clara H. Carlson Elementary used metallic paint and recycled compact discs to make Mexican mirrors, which are considered a form of folk art. 


World Food Essay Contest

Four Long Island students have been named first-place winners of this year's World Food Essay Contest sponsored by the Amityville-based nonprofit Stop World Hunger. This year's contest received nearly 1,100 entries from 25 schools in Nassau and Suffolk counties, as well as Brooklyn and Queens. 

Winners were: Jennifer Gulliver of Our Lady of Victory School in Floral Park, primary division (grades 1-3); Elizabeth Thomas of Lee Avenue Elementary in Hicksville, intermediate division (grades 4-6); John Piangozza of Trinity Regional School in East Northport, junior high division (grades 7-8); and Marilyn Theagene of St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School in West Islip, high school division (grades 9-12).

Participants responded to the question: "How does the climate affect world hunger?" First-place winners received $100 savings bonds.

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