Syosset H.S. students Grace Mittleman, Eric Schess and Hannah Son...

Syosset H.S. students Grace Mittleman, Eric Schess and Hannah Son with teachers and administrators. The teen musicians were selected for All-National Honor Ensembles. Credit: Syosset 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, which were the most of any Long Island school.

“This is the highest recognition that a student musician can receive for participating in a school music program,” Syosset’s coordinator of fine and performing arts K-12 Michael Salzman said. “Having three students from one high school invited to perform on this national stage is a great honor.”

Selectees and 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, Kings 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.


Astronaut interaction

The Freeport School District has been selected by NASA to be among 13 institutions nationwide to make contact next year with astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The district will be the only one making both audio and video contact with the astronauts.

NASA representatives will provide the district with the exact date and time approximately two weeks before contact, which will last about 10 minutes and take place between January and May, district officials said.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our students and we are honored to have been selected by NASA for this distinction,” Freeport Superintendent Kishore Kuncham said.


Best in Show

Valley Stream Central High School junior Christina Mui took first place in this year’s Nassau County High School Student Juried Art Competition & Exhibition.

Mui’s winning submission, titled “Cee-Cee and Penny,” was a colored-pencil drawing created as part of her AP Studio Art portfolio. It was on display last month along with 55 other selected works at the Art Guild at Elderfields Preserve in Manhasset.

Second place went to Oceanside High School senior Charlee Lopez for her pencil portrait, “Kemuri,” while third place went to Wantagh High School senior Erin Hogarty for her oil pastel painting, “Summer Harvest.”


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 Massapequa Park, McKenna Elementary School hosted a veterans breakfast in which children invited relatives who served in the armed forces. Kids also wrote stories about the vets in their lives after reading Valerie Pfundstein’s book, “Veterans: Heroes in Our Neighborhood,” with more than a dozen fifth-graders sharing their pieces as part of a Veterans Day Reader’s Theater.

In Wantagh, students created a thank-you mural outside of the art classrooms at Wantagh Middle School. The project included scrapbook pages of family service members, veterans’ photos and patriotic symbols, and quotes and stories from those who served.

In Westbury, Nassau BOCES’ Joseph M. Barry Career & Technical Education Center hosted a special ceremony that included a pupil presentation on the history of the American flag and a demonstration of the proper way to fold it.

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