Robert Langerman of Patchogue-Medford High School was one of the...

Robert Langerman of Patchogue-Medford High School was one of the four winners of the Long Island Presidents' Council's 13th annual Student Essay Contest. Credit: Handout

Four Long Island students and one teacher recently won the opportunity to broadcast their love of school over the local radio waves.

Student winners were Regan Kielmeyer of Accompsett Middle School in Smithtown, Robert Langerman of Patchogue-Medford High School, Ryan Cozzolino of North Side Elementary School in East Williston, and Rena Shapiro of John Philip Sousa Elementary School in Port Washington. Melanie Sirof, an English teacher at Wellington C. Mepham High School in North Bellmore, was the winner of the inaugural teacher category.

They were selected based on their essays on the topic, "How School Makes Me Feel Good About Me," in the 13th annual essay contest sponsored by the Long Island Presidents' Council.

Each person recorded his or her winning essay during the summer at the studios of WBAB/102.3 and WBLI/106.1, under the guidance of Ray Adell Media Enterprises.

"I kept thinking while writing, and it seemed as though my mind had taken control of my pencil," Shapiro said. Of being named a winner, she said: "I was more than happy. In fact, I was crying from joy after I had read the letter."

The winners each received $500 and their essays aired last month on WBAB, WBLI and nine other stations: FM stations WALK/97.5, WBZO/103.1, WHFM/95.3, WJVC/96.1, WKJY/98.3, WLNG/92.1 and WWSK/94.3, and AM stations WHLI/1100 and WTHE/1520.



New principal

Lori Beekman has been appointed principal of Bellerose Avenue Elementary School, replacing Barbara Falotico.

Beekman has served as instructional coordinator at the district's Ocean Avenue Elementary School for the past three years. She also has been the district's elementary summer school principal and a classroom teacher at Norwood Avenue Elementary School.

"Bellerose enjoys a strong reputation of academic excellence and is known for many wonderful activities and events," Beekman said in a letter to the school community. "I am committed to continuing this rich history and building upon the strengths of an established foundation that has developed over many years."



New principals

The Sachem Central School District has appointed Lisa Johnson as principal of Grundy Avenue Elementary School and Robert Neufeld as interim principal of Waverly Avenue Elementary School.

Johnson replaced Dominique Kawas. Neufeld replaced Dennis Kelly, who has taken a position in private business.

Johnson previously served in the district as a fourth-grade and eighth-grade math teacher, summer reading principal and an assistant principal of Sachem High School North. Neufeld previously was interim principal at the district's Lynwood Avenue Elementary School.

"Being aware that the Sachem community works hard to be proactive, goal-oriented and positive-minded throughout the learning process only makes this new endeavor for me more exciting," Johnson said in a letter to the school community.



New principal

Bryan Lake has been named principal of Oregon Middle School. He replaced James Bertsch, who now is the district's administrative assistant for instruction.

Lake previously was an assistant principal at Patchogue-Medford High School for two years. Before that, he was a business teacher for eight years and associate principal of William Floyd High School in Mastic Beach for five years.

"I am excited to work with the middle school students to assist them with making the best decisions for them to be successful young students and citizens," Lake said.


Farm scholarships

The New York and Long Island farm bureaus invite high school seniors who are involved in agriculture and plan to continue studies in the field after graduating to apply for the New York Farm Bureau's 2013-14 Agricultural Youth Scholarship.

To participate, students must answer the question: "If you had the power to change something in your community or on your farm, what would you change and why?"

Scholarship amounts are $1,500 for first place, $1,200 for second place and $1,000 for third place. The first-place winner will be invited to present his or her essay at one of the bureau's spring events.

Applicants must have a farm bureau family or student membership. The contest is sponsored by the bureau's Promotions & Education Committee.

For application information, visit or call 800-342-4143. The deadline for submissions is Nov. 18.

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