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.
"It is crazy to be named as an All-National musician because I have been working toward this for so long," said Nelsen, a senior at Eastport-South Manor High School who is playing oboe in the symphony orchestra.
The Three Village Central School District has several new principals: Brian Biscari at Robert C. Murphy Junior High School, Heather Levine at Nassakeag Elementary School, Karen Mizell at Setauket Elementary, and Nancy Pickford at Minnesauke Elementary.
Biscari previously was principal of Minnesauke and replaced the retiring Vincent Vizzo, while Levine was previously an associate principal at May Moore Primary School in Deer Park and replaced Gail Casciano, who retired.
Mizell previously served as Setauket's assistant principal and replaced Kristin Rimmer, while Pickford replaced Biscari and previously was an assistant principal at Nassakeag.
"I am most looking forward to establishing productive relationships with the students, staff and parents in order to meet and exceed the social, emotional and academic needs of our students," Biscari said.
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 Amityville, Northwest Elementary hosted an evening performance by singer Raffi Caballero, while students portrayed famous Latin Americans ranging from Roberto Clemente to Selena Gomez during a separate celebration at Park Avenue Memorial Elementary.
In Riverhead, Phillips Avenue Elementary hosted an assembly that included dancing, following by a walking tour of the school's hallways, which each grade level decorated with elements of various Spanish-speaking countries such as Chile and Mexico.
In Bay Shore, the middle school hosted a presentation of cultural art, dance and music themed around NBC's "America’s Got Talent."
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.