One slogan read, “Don’t blurt what might hurt.” Another said, “Have a heart, don’t take part.”
Such considerate catchphrases filled schools as part of programs held in recognition of National Bullying Prevention Month and Unity Day, which was Oct. 19.
In Port Jefferson, students at Eastern Suffolk BOCES’ Jefferson Academic Center attended a “Dignity Day” assembly that included two educational videos and a Q&A in which they held up signs saying “I agree” or “I disagree” to statements about bullying. The children also signed pledges vowing not to bully anyone and to report any bullying behavior that they witness.
“We want them to know it’s not tattling when you tell an adult you’re being bullied, and that bullying is not a normal part of growing up,” Assistant Principal Ken McCloud said.
In West Islip, students at Beach Street Middle School were treated to a musical focusing on scenarios and solutions to bullying in classrooms, hallways and school yards — with emphasis on rising incidents of cyberbullying. The musical, titled “Class Dismissed: The Bullying Project,” was presented by Port Jefferson-based Theatre Three Productions.
In Riverhead, Harlem Wizards basketball players visited each of the district’s schools for anti-bullying assemblies that focused on teamwork and sportsmanship. One player shared how he dealt with bullying as a child after chipping his teeth in a bike accident and being called “Fang.”
In Copiague, middle school students were visited by John Halligan, a Vermont man whose 13-year-old son, Ryan, committed suicide in 2003 after years of bullying and cyberbullying.
“This is a powerful educational program that will leave a lasting impression on how you treat each other,” Copiague Principal Andrew Lagnado said of the “Ryan’s Story” assembly.
The Sachem school district has three new principals: Laura Amato at Grundy Avenue Elementary School, Denise Kleinman at Nokomis Elementary School and Frank Panasci at Sagamore Middle School.
Amato and Kleinman previously were principals of the district’s Tecumseh and Gatelot Avenue elementary schools, while Panasci was principal for nine years of the district’s Sequoya Middle School. All three of those schools were closed because of declining enrollment.
“I am excited to be joining the Sagamore community, which has a rich history of service and a strong commitment to academics,” Panasci said.
Smithtown High School East swept the top three spots in the National Department of Energy’s 2016 BioenergizeME Infographic Challenge, a competition for high school students to learn about bioenergy by designing an infographic. The first-place team included Sydney Bracht, Sidney Davis, Catriona Sheppard and Lexington Zografakis.
The team’s infographic, titled “Cellulosic Ethanol: Fuel of the Future,” outlined advantages and obstacles of cellulosic ethanol as a fuel source. For winning, they were invited to present their infographic at the Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office’s Bioenergy 2016 Conference.
New junior high principal
Daniel McKeon has been named principal of West Babylon Junior High School. He replaced Scott Payne, who now is the district’s executive director of curriculum and instruction.
McKeon had been assistant principal of Northport High School since 2010. Before that, he was a curriculum associate for social studies and family and consumer science at Deer Park High School and a summer school principal for the middle and high schools.
“I am honored to be entrusted with ensuring the success of nearly 1,000 students in this building while setting them on a course toward greatness, not only at the high school level but at the postsecondary level as well,” McKeon said.