10/10/13 3:02pm
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Students participate in a Project Fit America exercise using weighted hula hoops.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Students participate in a Project Fit America exercise using weighted hula hoops.

Students from all five of Riverhead Central School District’s elementary schools jumped and twirled on Thursday as the district started its participation in Project Fit America, an athletic – and educational – opportunity aimed at battling childhood obesity made possible through a combination of private donations and public grant funding.

Riverhead will be the first school district in the state to run the program.

Aimed at fighting childhood obesity, the program is a new addition to Pulaski Street Elementary School, Roanoke Avenue Elementary School, Riley Avenue Elementary School, Philips Avenue Elementary School and Aquebogue Elementary School – thanks to donations by PBMC Health, the Suffolk County Lions Diabetes Education Foundation, and Brickman Group landscaping and turf maintenance.

The program is used by more than 870 schools nation wide, according to the program website.

The Project Fit physical education program curriculum utilizes state-of-the-art outdoor fitness equipment, which is set up as a playground and designed for exercises that address the areas children commonly fail when doing a physical fitness test, according to the program website.

It also includes equipment that can be used indoors, such as three-pound hula hoops and jump ropes.

The children will learn through games, activities and challenges, “fresh ideas that will get kids excited about staying healthy,” said Bill Hedges, physical education teacher at Riley Avenue Elementary School.

Superintendent Nancy Carney said “pre- and post-test outcomes from other participating schools show a 41 percent increase in upper body strength, 19 percent increase in abdominal strength and 14 percent increase in cardiovascular endurance.

“Riverhead is absolutely thrilled to be the first school in New York State to receive this grant and to work with Project Fit America,” she said.

PBMC Health raised $60,000 in grant funding, which was matched by the Lions. Brinkman covered the cost of installing equipment at each of the five schools.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday morning, PBMC Health president and CEO Andy Mitchell said the event was “a day that defines a community.”

“The results from other areas of the country were what influenced PBMC’s interest in this project,” he said. “This program represents our commitment to schools, children and their families along with a focus on preventative measures that we can invest in to keep our community healthy.”

While helping students show off their new equipment, Philips Avenue Elementary School principle Debra Rodgers said the financial help was what made the project possible.

“There [was] no way our building or our district would have been able to afford it without their help,” she said. “It’s going to promote teamwork, physical fitness along with nutrition and we’re hoping overall well-being.”

Fourth grade Philips Avenue student Azharia Allen, 9, said she was most excited about a climbing exercise on the new outdoor playground.

“You’ve got to jump up onto this pole, and you pull yourself up — you climb it,” she said.


06/20/13 2:30pm
Dingo rap American student

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Carter Richardson, 9, outside Riley Avenue School Wednesday.

What do wild dogs of Australia and rappers Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have in common?

Not much, unless you’re watching a rap video about dingoes that’s been written and performed by local third grader Carter Richardson to the duo’s hit song “Thrift Shop.”

Above all, Carter wanted to show why he believes dingoes are awesome.

Carter, 9, a Riley Avenue Elementary School student, said he decided to make the video after his teacher, Wendy Finter, asked his class to write a report about dingoes and also make a creative project to describe the wild Australian canine.

“After I gathered facts for my report, I used the information to write the song,” Carter said. “I like writing songs and making videos.”

Carter said he enjoyed working on the video with his parents and appreciated that his principal, David Enos, agreed to make a cameo appearance.

Outside his classroom, other teachers across the district have played Carter’s video for their own students.

Carter said he’s been happy with the feedback and plans to make another video.

“They all loved it,” he said. “They wanted to watch it 24/7.”


06/15/13 10:00am

Riley Avenue Elementary School second graders celebrated Flag Day with a spirited parade around the school’s parking lot Friday afternoon.

The students were decked out in red, white and blue attire while shouting, “USA,” as they recognized the holiday which was established by President Harry Truman in 1949 and celebrates the adoption of the American Flag 236 years ago.

The tradition at Riley Avenue began 21 years ago by beloved, and since retired, teacher Marion Dorman, to whom current teacher Terry Messina paid tribute to during the musical program after the parade.

The students read personal essays titled “What the American Flag Means to Me,” which they wrote for a contest at the Riverhead Elks Lodge. The students also sang patriotic songs for family and friends who attended the program.

05/23/13 6:00am
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Riley Avenue School in Calverton.

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Riley Avenue School in Calverton.

To the Editor:

With graduation approaching, I cannot forget the dedication, inspiration and guidance of specific teachers and programs that tremendously benefited our son, Carlos.

While I have often railed against the unsustainability of the benefits and retirement packages at the expense of the beleaguered taxpayer, as well as the general edge that government workers have over those in the private sector these days, the aviation program provided by BOCES through the Southold School District and specific mentors set the stage for a truly exciting and richly rewarding career start for Carlos.

With over 2,000 flight hours already logged and positions from Guam to Ottawa, including flight instruction, first captain and advanced training of other pilots, he has been able to follow his dream.

An early mentor, Mrs. Madigan at the Riley Avenue Elementary School in Calverton channeled some of his apparent attention deficit issues in kindergarten into model rocket building and launching, which captivated him. Later on, after he made the cut into the aviation program, Mr. Dzenkowski was a role model and mentor.

Because of his and others’ dedication, and Carlos’ interest and aptitude for aviation, Carlos earned his private pilot’s license before graduating and was the keynote speaker at the aviation graduation ceremony. All this helped turn a youth who was not particularly thrilled with traditional academics into a good college student with an ongoing passion for aviation and a dedicated purpose in life.

This is all more than I could ever have foreseen during some of the more trying times early on. So, yes, for some graduates who may not have developed a clear idea of what kind of career they would like, or even what their skills and aptitudes are, I would always recommend looking into government work. But for other, such as our son, who have abiding passions, I recommend first following up on what they’re passionate about.

I’m sure they also have had mentors that they and their families will remember for years to come.

Thanks to the schools and teachers who made it possible for Carlos to embark on a rewarding career. At least for now.

Harry Katz, SOUTHOLD

To read more letters to the editor, pick of copy of this week’s News-Review on newsstands or click on the E-Paper.

05/08/13 2:00pm
05/08/2013 2:00 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | From left, Riverhead school board candidates Christopher Dorr, Amelia Lantz and Jeff Falisi will meet tonight in Calverton.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTOS | From left, Riverhead school board candidates Christopher Dorr, Amelia Lantz and Jeff Falisi will meet tonight in Calverton.

Riverhead school board candidates will introduce themselves to the community tonight at the Greater Calverton Civic Association’s meeting.

Challenger Christopher Dorr of Baiting Hollow will face incumbents Jeff Falisi of Calverton and Amelia Lantz of Riverhead. There are two seats carrying three-year terms up for grabs on the seven-member board.

Superintendent Nancy Carney will also discuss the 2013-14 proposed budget.

The 7 p.m. meeting will take place at Riley Avenue Elementary School in Calverton.

Check back for updates.

06/10/12 7:30am

TIM GANNON PHOTOS | Singer Brady Rhymer, left, gets some help onstage from the kids at Saturday's Phillips Avenue Elementary School Community Festival.

The Phillips Avenue Elementary School hosted its second annual “Community Festival” Saturday on the school grounds.

“We wanted to take an opportunity to bring the Phillips Avenue community and the school district together to have fun as families,” said principal Debra Rodgers. “It’s a celebration of our community.”

Entertainment was provided by the likes of Grammy-nominated singer Brady Rhymer of Southold, as well as the Riverhead Martial Arts Center, singer Janice Buckner, the ReDancers, Sweet Rose Revue and others.

The Flanders Fire Department, the Flanders-Northampton Volunteer Ambulance and the Coast Guard all brought vehicles and personnel to give kids tours with outreach organizations such as Island Harvest and the Guide Dog Foundation manned informational booths.

The Guide Dog Foundation is well known to the Phillips Avenue kids. Since December, school nurse Barbara Salmiery has been training a black lab named McCauley to be a guide dog, and she takes the dog to school with her.

Ms. Salmiery said she’ll have the dog for 14 to 16 months to get her used to people and after that, McCauley goes back to the foundation for six months of seeing eye training. After that she’ll likely be paired with a sight-impaired person.

Ms. Rodgers said the festival’s $5 admission fee goes back to the Parent-Teacher Organization, which sponsored the event, for use in programs they run such buying school supplies for kids.

“And some of the money may go into making next year’s festival even better than this year,” Ms. Rodgers said.

Long Island Science Center instructor Leila Makdisi brought some cool stuff to show the kids, including "flubber," a bat (deceased and in glass casing) and a replica T-Rex tooth.

Assistant Principal Steve Hudson gets a smooch from McCauley, a black lab being trained for the Guide Dog Foundation by school nurse Barbara Salmiery (not pictured.) Donna Boscola, left, has the leash.

Six-year-old Samantha Silva pets Scotty, one of the dogs up for adoption who were at Saturday's Phillips Avenue Community Festival, while four-year-old Antonella Morocho looks on.

02/14/12 10:30am

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Riley Avenue Elementary School fourth grade teacher Jimmy Schaefer's annual production of the fractured fairy tale "Cinderella" was performed Saturday afternoon in the Riverhead High School auditorium.

Riley Avenue Elementary School fourth grade teacher Jimmy Schaefer’s annual production of the fractured fairy tale “Cinderella” was performed Saturday afternoon in the Riverhead High School auditorium. The performance has been an annual tradition for about 20 years, when he was teaching at Pulaski Street Elementary.

This year’s players were:

Cinderella — Ailie Kinniel

Princess — Kristy Troyan

Prince — Caleb Zuhoski

Queen- Caleigh Cantalupo

King — Alex Jehle

Stepmother —Ainsley Hipp

Stepsisters — Ryan Schlichting (in purple wig), Tim Duffy (pink wig) Jack Ludwig (green), Ryan Schlichting ( purple), and Jacob Raynor (yellow)

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09/06/11 12:24pm
09/06/2011 12:24 PM

Students in the Riverhead School District once again packed up their backpacks and boarded big yellow school buses for the first day of school in the 2011-12 school year.

Roanoke Avenue Elementary School principal Thomas Payton helped kindergartners off the buses which arrived at 8:45 Tuesday morning. He said that the school has 387 students registered so far, but he expects the number to go up to 390 by the end of the week — the most the school has ever had

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BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Riley Avenue Elementary principal Thomas Payton helps a student off the bus on the first day of school.