From left, Sayville High School students Dea Ahlgrim, James Velazquez...

From left, Sayville High School students Dea Ahlgrim, James Velazquez and Olivia Anderson were selected for the All-National Honor Ensembles. Credit: Sayville School District

Twenty-one Long Island student musicians were among 608 nationwide to perform last month in one of four prestigious national ensembles.

The National Association for Music Education selected the teens based on audition videos submitted for one of four 2017 All-National Honor Ensembles: concert band, jazz ensemble, mixed choir and symphony orchestra. The performances took place at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando on Nov. 28-29.

Syosset and Sayville high schools both had three students selected, the most of any Long Island school.

“They have worked very hard to achieve this and deserve this great honor,” Sayville school district’s music department chairman Jeffrey Hoffman said of the district’s selectees. “It is a tribute to their voice teachers from elementary school through high school as well as their private vocal instructor.”

Selectees are their high schools were: Ricardo Vallejo, Central Islip; Kevin Martin, East Meadow; Alexandra Vallejos, Elwood-John H. Glenn; Rose Kelly, Garden City; George Misthos, Half Hollow Hills East; Noah Marcus, Half Hollow Hills West; Morgiana McDevitt, Islip; Ashley Kim, Jericho; Luke Bergaglio, King Park; Chelsie Howell and Daniel Miller, Manhasset; Matt Ferrugia, Massapequa; Claire Cai, Mount Sinai; Kevin Lynch and Matthew Sala, Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK; Dea Ahlgrim, Olivia Anderson and James Velazquez, Sayville; Grace Mittleman, Eric Schess and Hannah Son, Syosset.



Walt Whitman High School hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony last month to unveil a Practical Assessment Exploration System (PAES) Lab designed to provide opportunities for career exploration, work readiness training, and hands-on work simulations for special-needs students.

Lab tasks ranging from data entry to food measurement to operating a cash register, with students acting as “employees” and teachers acting as “employers,” school officials said.

“This lab provides an opportunity for kids to transition to entry-level employment opportunities,” said Geraldine Maurice, lead curriculum writer for career development for the South Huntington School District. “It also helps us tap into their work interests and abilities.”


TV show; keyboard lab

Patchogue-Medford High School has launched a weekly video series, titled “Raider TV,” which covers topics ranging from the school’s sports teams to extracurricular activities. The series is being produced and edited by student journalists who also participate in the school’s online newspaper “The Red & Black,” which launched last school year.

In other news, the school recently added 88 new Yamaha electronic keyboards as well as new desks and chairs to its keyboard music lab. The lab was created about 10 years ago for music theory classes, with two piano courses added about six years ago, school officials said.


Veterans Day

Many local schools hosted activities and assemblies last month honoring those who have served, or are currently serving, our country in celebration of Veterans Day.

In Dix Hills, Half Hollow Hills High Schools East and West’s Senior Experience classes raised $275 and collected food for the United Veterans Beacon House based at the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center. They were also visited by U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Michael Zacchea, who shared stories as a soldier in Iraq and discussed his book, “The Ragged Edge.”

In Sayville, American Legion Post 651 members were cheered as they walked the halls surrounded by students holding flags, posters and banners at Eastern Suffolk BOCES’ Sayville Academic Center. The veterans also ate breakfast with students and answered questions about their military experience.

In Greenlawn, Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School students watched a video message made by Commack native and U.S. Army member Michael Fiorentino from Italy and wrote him thank-you letters.

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