Fifteen students from Long Island 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 a symphony orchestra — participated in a virtual program Jan. 7 to 9. That event included rehearsals with conductors, workshops with clinicians, and the recording of a performance that will be premiered online.
Students were selected through an audition process after having qualified for their state's 2019-20 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: Alexander Diaz, Amityville; Ethan Young, Eastport-South Manor; Enzo Cupani, Garden City; Adrian Otero, Half Hollow Hills West; Luca Iallonardi and Aidan Lobenstein, Hauppauge; Catherine Kim, Jericho; Chandler Rosenzweig, Long Beach; Andrew Bova, Miller Place; Ana Victoria Serna, Mineola; Logan Mazer, Newfield; Samantha Civil, Oceanside; Kenny Kim, Roslyn; Garrick Neuner, Valley Stream North; and Steven Fontana, Ward Melville.
"I am beyond excited to have been invited to participate," said Iallonardi, a senior at Hauppauge High School, which was the only local school to have multiple students selected. "It is a culmination of the effort I put in through high school."
Amy Laverty has been named the principal of Edna Louise Spear Elementary School. She replaced Thomas Meehan, who retired at the end of December.
Laverty was previously an assistant principal for pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade in the district. Before that, she served as the summer reading program principal and the instructional curriculum coordinator in the Northport-East Northport School District.
Laverty "has a comprehensive educational philosophy and possesses the leadership abilities and positive energies that encourage collaboration among our teachers, students and families," Port Jefferson School District Superintendent Jessica Schmettan said.
Shoreham-Wading River High School junior Jake Field recently designed and built two benches in honor of Andrew McMorris, a 12-year-old boy who was killed by a drunken driver in 2018 during a hike with his Boy Scout troop in Manorville. Field, a Boy Scout, tackled the project as part of his Eagle Scout Service Project.
The benches were installed at Albert G. Prodell Middle School, where Andrew was a student. They are accompanied by a plaque that incorporated his love of art, music, scouting and aviation.
"The benches' permanence at the middle school will serve as reflective reminders to students for years to come to pursue their passions and hone their leadership skills," Albert G. Prodell Principal Kevin Vann said.
Elevator pitch competition
Six Virtual Enterprise teams from Long Island have placed in the top 10%, meaning they won 4.5 out of 5 stars, in a national elevator pitch competition held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The competition, which received 289 entries, challenged students to a deliver a 60-second pitch for a simulated business to a panel of business leaders and entrepreneurs.
The top-placing teams and their high schools were: METAkey, Bethpage; Apollo, Herricks; Pro-Tech, Oyster Bay; BreAkoUt, Rocky Point; Not Your Grandma’s Pudding, Syosset; and UV Clean, Syosset. The first-place winner will be announced in April.
In addition, three Long Island teams — Allergy Alligator from Paul D. Schreiber High School in Port Washington, and ENGYM Fitness and Not Your Grandma's Pudding from Syosset High School — placed in the top 10% of a first-time creative problem-solving business competition called "Design for Delight" coordinated in collaboration with the software company Intuit.