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For LI students, learning doesn't take a summer break

Students from the Massapequa school district show off

Students from the Massapequa school district show off the watercolor paintings they created during the school break as part of the district?s Fine Arts Summer Program. Credit: Massapequa School District

The start of a new school year typically means the return to learning for students. But for many, learning didn't take a summer break.

Dozens of local schools hosted a variety of learning opportunities -- ranging from robotics and technology camps to art, music and theater enrichment programs -- to keep children thinking critically and expanding their horizons in the weeks between the academic years.

In Massapequa, students in the district's Fine Arts Summer Program tackled everything from creating movies -- complete with sound effects and music -- to honing their drawing, painting and 3-D design skills. The district also held an invention camp at the elementary level and a five-week recreation program that attracted 1,200 youngsters for games and field trips.

"Our summer programs are a convenient and cost-effective way for our students to develop their talents and broaden their interests," Massapequa Superintendent Lucille Iconis said. "We partner with Nassau BOCES, which helps reduce costs associated with planning and implementing programs."

In East Meadow, the district's Summer Music Program ran for three hours on weekdays for one month at the high school. Students of any musical level were invited to strengthen their playing ability and socialize with other student-musicians. The pupils performed a series of concerts for the community as a culminating event in late July.

In Malverne, a culinary arts chef taught students how to prepare a healthy post-practice meal of cilantro lime chicken tacos as part of the district's Summer Athletic Enrichment Program. In addition, discussions on financial and law-related aspects of sports were held.

Special education students in the Elmont district's Extended School Year Program continued their academic learning and practiced life skills, such as ordering food and waiting in line during an ice cream social.

"These students need routine and a sense of continuation," said Valerie Reese, a kindergarten teacher at Covert Avenue Elementary School in Elmont. "If their education stopped in June, they would experience significant regression in their learning."

In Lindenhurst, middle school students explored their entrepreneurial skills as they constructed and operated a lemonade stand as part of an Extended School Year Summer Program at the district's Daniel Street Elementary School. Tasks included researching and creating their own lemonade recipes, graphing their favorite lemonade flavors, and discussing the economic concept of supply and demand.

"This was another opportunity to provide hands-on learning -- not only to build on the skills they'll need for the work they do in school, but to reinforce actual life skills," said program teacher Kristine Chimenti. "Each student picked their own job responsibility and ran their business successfully."

In the Shoreham-Wading River district, more than 150 students in all grade levels participated in a Summer Music Institute and Theater Arts Program that culminated in a concert for family and friends. The district's younger students staged a skit about insects based on their lessons, while older students performed classic songs from musicals such as "The Lion King" and "The Little Mermaid."

In Amityville, 30 students in fourth through sixth grades at Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School designed, built and programmed LEGO robots to compete in a sumo wrestling tournament. The effort was part of the school district's 21st Century Community Learning Summer Enrichment Program.

In Port Jefferson, dozens of elementary and middle school students honed their musical abilities during a three-week summer music camp at Earl L. Vandermeulen High School.

"The camp provided an enjoyable and positive way for students to either begin learning an instrument or continue their musical studies," said Michael Caravello, the district's director of music and fine arts.


Andrew Gove is the head of school for Long Island Lutheran, an independent Christian school. He replaced David Hahn, who retired after 28 years of service there.

Gove, who most recently served as assistant head of the school, also has experience as the school's assistant principal and as board president for the Lutheran Schools Association.

"I am humbled to have been chosen to lead Long Island Lutheran," Gove said. "With my colleagues in education, I have the opportunity to teach students the life skills necessary to become compassionate and educated leaders who desire to serve others."

EAST MEADOW: Interim superintendent

Leon J. Campo is interim superintendent of the East Meadow school district. He replaced Louis DeAngelo, who retired after six years in the position.

Campo, who will fill the role as a search for a permanent superintendent is conducted, has 35 years of experience in the district -- including serving as schools chief from 2006-09.

"I am pleased to be returning to East Meadow in the capacity of interim superintendent," Campo said. "I thank the Board of Education for having the confidence in me to serve in this role, and I look forward to working with them over the next year to lead our district in a transparent manner."


Clinton Grant has been appointed principal of Amityville Memorial High School. He replaced Mary DeRose, who had held the principal position on an interim basis since 2012.

Grant most recently served as the assistant principal at Uniondale High School, a position he had held since 2005. In addition, he supervised Uniondale's building, district and community activities for student cohorts as well as the Mercy First Advantage Program, an after-school mentoring and tutoring program for at-risk students.

"I am very excited to serve as principal of Amityville High School," Grant said. "I am looking forward to working with the community, parents, students, staff and the Board of Education in building on our past successes and educating our students for excellence."


Marguerite Greene has been appointed principal of Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School.

Greene replaces Florence Tuzzi, who retired. She has been the assistant principal in three of the four school buildings in the Harborfields Central School District. Before that, she was a special-education teacher and assistant principal in the Elwood school district.

"I feel like I died and went to heaven being appointed the new principal of Thomas J. Lahey School," Greene said. "Who can ask for better teachers, staff, stud


Seventeen recent high school graduates from Long Island were among 1,700 students nationwide named over the summer as additional winners of college-sponsored scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corp. They join more than 2,200 other college-sponsored award winners who were announced in May.

The scholarships are paid by colleges and universities and provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the participating institution.

Nassau County winners were Jacqueline Barash of Lawrence High School, Kacie Candela of H. Frank Carey High School in Franklin Square, Rachel Coons and Aaron Engel of Great Neck South High School, Seth Gottlieb of John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore, Emily Gruber of Syosset High School, Xinjie Hu of Manhasset High School, Gene Lee of Jericho High School, William Loughlin of Plainedge High School, Deepti Mahajan of Herricks High School and Christopher Wilson of Paul D. Schreiber High School in Port Washington.

In addition, Mary Michelle Guardino of Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale was named a winner last month of a $2,500 National Merit scholarship. Most of those scholarship winners were announced in May.

Suffolk County winners were Charles Beers of Huntington High School, Matthew Fortmeyer of Hauppauge High School, Alexandra Marie Peterson of Hampton Bays High School, Jenny Truong of Half Hollow Hills High School East in Dix Hills, Felix Wang of Ward Melville High School in East Setauket and Olivia Winkeler of Smithtown High School East.

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