06/04/15 1:38pm
06/04/2015 1:38 PM
The McGann-Mercy Class of 2015 at Wednesday's graduation ceremony. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The McGann-Mercy Class of 2015 at Wednesday’s graduation ceremony. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The Class of 2015 at Bishop McGann-Mercy High School celebrated and said goodbye Wednesday evening during the graduation liturgy and commencement ceremony.

Valedictorian Elison Louis of Mastic and salutatorian Magdalena Duda of Riverhead addressed the student body and the school’s chaplain, Reverend Gerald Cestare, presided over the ceremony. Principal Carl Semmler and assistant principal Lisa Navarra presented academic honors and the diplomas were conferred by Bishop William Murphy.

The Class of 2015 featured students from as far east as Montauk and Greenport and as far west as Patchogue and Port Jefferson. The students received more than $12.4 million in scholarship offers; 100 percent of graduates will be pursuing post secondary studies or serving in the military, the school said.

See more photos below:

 

Meghan Bossone (left) and Adafih Blackburn (right) pose for a photo with Bishop William Murphy. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Meghan Bossone (left) and Adafih Blackburn (right) pose for a photo with Bishop William Murphy. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Bishop William Murphy gets friendly with Alyson Touhey of Pennsylvania and her 10-month-old son Killian before the graduation ceremony. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Bishop William Murphy gets friendly with Alyson Touhey of Pennsylvania and her 10-month-old son Killian before the graduation ceremony. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Valedictorian Elison Louis greets Bishop William Murphy. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Valedictorian Elison Louis greets Bishop William Murphy. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Bereket Watts of Southold flashes a warm smile for Bishop William Murphy. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Bereket Watts of Southold flashes a warm smile for Bishop William Murphy. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Jessica Marmelstein of Coram helps classmate City Le of MIller Place with her tassel. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Jessica Marmelstein of Coram helps classmate City Le of MIller Place with her tassel. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

English teacher Monique Hernandez helps Taylor Konkel of Flanders button up her gown. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

English teacher Monique Hernandez helps Taylor Konkel of Flanders button up her gown. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

06/01/15 5:19pm
06/01/2015 5:19 PM

Riverhead School District officials have scheduled a dedication ceremony for dozens of books donated in memory of Jan Mackey.

School officials and the local community have held fundraisers to purchase the books for the Phillips Avenue School library.

Ms. Mackey taught in the district’s elementary and middle schools for over 30 years. She died Jan. 18, 2014 at the age of 64.

The dedication ceremony is June 17 at 4 p.m. in the school’s library. Coffee and cake will be served.

05/28/2015 5:59 AM
SWR Board of Education president William McGrath explains why he opposes field testing during last Tuesday's meeting. (Credit: Paul Squire)

SWR Board of Education president William McGrath explains why he opposes field testing during last Tuesday’s meeting. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Last December, the Shoreham-Wading River school board took a stand against so-called “field testing” of students.

In a unanimous 7-0 vote, the board condemned the tests, which are ordered by the state to help testing companies fine-tune their questions. The board wrote in a resolution that the testing “would hurt children and abuse the public trust by subsidizing private enterprise without public discussion.”

The district’s administration moved forward with a plan to forgo the tests and have students go through normal school days during that allotted time.

But last Tuesday, the board was forced to backtrack on resisting the state’s rules after facing potential cuts in state aid — or worse — as punishment.

According to the school board, the state has not clarified whether the tests are mandatory.

The state refused to clarify what that means, said school board president William McGrath, leaving the district uncertain of whether it can opt out of the tests without facing consequences.

“This is clearly a situation of legal uncertainty,” said the district’s attorney, Patricia Unz.

“It’s a load of crap,” Mr. McGrath said. “I think that these tests … are a waste of instructional time.”

Earlier during last Tuesday’s meeting, Mr. McGrath pushed to cancel the tests and face any potential consequences from the state, which could include withholding state aid or punishment of district administrators.

“If it ‘means my job’ then it means my job,” Mr. McGrath said.

But while every board member at last Tuesday’s meeting said they opposed the field tests, Robert Rose and John Zukowski said they were worried the state would make an example of Shoreham-Wading River if they resisted.

“I totally disagree with them, I really do,” Mr. Rose said. “But I’m not willing to throw someone’s career out there and let the state do what they want with it.”

“People are drawing the lines in the sand in Albany, and I don’t want to be caught, as a district, on the wrong side of that line and maybe be the poster child for what Albany can do to a district,” added Mr. Zukowski.

An assistant district superintendent said the tests would be 45 minutes long and take place during the students’ normal class time — meaning, for example, that social studies field tests would be given during social studies class.

In the end, the risk was too great for the board, which unanimously and begrudgingly voted to hold the tests.

After the vote, Mr. McGrath explained to the one parent present at the meeting that the board’s hands were tied by the state education department. He urged residents to contact their state representatives and demand the tests be stopped.

“It has to come from the public,” he said. “The message has to get to them.”

psquire@timesreview.com

05/27/15 6:00am
05/27/2015 6:00 AM
Riverhead School District Superintendent Nancy Carney, left, school board president Sue K and member Chris Dorr at Tuesday's meeting. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Riverhead School District Superintendent Nancy Carney, left, school board president Sue K and member Chris Dorr at Tuesday’s meeting. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Residents may soon be able to watch Riverhead school board meetings online.

During the Board of Education’s meeting Tuesday night, vice president Sue Koukounas suggested the district upload the videos to its website starting in September, since software is already in place to do so.

(more…)