06/22/13 5:41pm
06/22/2013 5:41 PM

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Riverhead graduates at Saturday morning’s ceremony.

Riverhead and Shoreham-Wading River both held their graduation ceremonies Saturday morning as hundreds of students saw their high school journey come to an end.

There was plenty to celebrate and many wished congratulations to their classmates and friends via social media.

Below is a sample of what some people were saying today:


06/22/13 1:51pm

BILL LANDON PHOTO | The Riverhead High School Class of 2013 celebrates graduation Saturday morning.

On a beautiful, sunny morning Saturday, the Riverhead High School Class of 2013 celebrated its graduation at a ceremony on the football field.

Riverhead’s valedictorian in 2013 is Daniel Raynor, who will attend Yale. Daniel Tysz was salutatorian and is attending SUNY Stony Brook.

For a complete list of graduates and bios on the valedictorian and salutatorian, pick up a copy of the June 27 News-Review for the special graduation section.

06/21/13 4:00pm
06/21/2013 4:00 PM

CLAIRE LEADEN PHOTO | Riverhead students pose for the cameras at Thursday’s pre-prom photo op.

Riverhead High School hosted its senior prom Thursday — with a new twist.

The school sponsored a pre-prom photo-op and reception called “Sparkle and Shine.”

The event, coordinated through the Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth, was meant to address the issues of drinking and drug use during the high-risk social outing that is the prom.

“We just want to keep the kids safe,” said Clare Lundberg, who helped coordinate the reception. “This is the first year we’re doing this and we’re really hoping to grow it.”

Peconic Bay Medical Center and Ivy Acres provided a photo backdrop and plant and flower arrangements for the stage in the auditorium. Prom-goers were able to walk on stage, strike their best pose for the local newspapers’ paparazzi, and then continue out of the auditorium for personal portrait shots.

Emcee Matt Piscani of Clean Slate Living (a non-profit that helps adolescents in local communities) made sure to get everyone excited as he announced each couple. After enjoying some refreshments, students boarded Hampton Jitney buses to take them safely to Smithtown to dance the night away.

Parents seemed to enjoy the new tradition.

“I thought it was very nice,” said mother Jeanne Schumacher. “And I absolutely thought it was a safer choice for the kids.”

intern@timesreview.com

06/20/13 12:00pm
Joe Ogeka retires from Riverhead

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Joe Ogeka talks to Riverhead school officials on election night.

Longtime Riverhead School District assistant superintendent Joe Ogeka will retire at the end of this month after 30 years in the district.

Mr. Ogeka was not among the retirees announced at the Jun 11 school board meeting, when he was the one presenting plaques to the 31 district employees who are retiring at the end of this year, including another assistant superintendent, Lois Etzel.

But while rumors spread Wednesday that Mr. Ogeka was being forced out of the position, Superintendent Nancy Carney said this is not the case.

“Mr. Ogeka has been contemplating retiring for over a year,” she said. “He is retiring after many years of dedicated service.”

The retirements of two assistant superintendents has set off a change of other changes in district administrative positions.

Ms. Carney said current high school principal David Wicks will be replacing Ms. Etzel as the assistant superintendent for curriculum and insruction.

Assistant high school principal Charles Regan will replace Mr. Wicks as principal, and Sean O’Hara, who is the district’s director of fine arts and music, will replace Mr. Regan as assistant high school principal, according to Ms. Carney.

In addition, Stephen Hudson, who is the associate principal at the Phillips Avenue Elementary School, will take that same position at the Pulaski Street Elementary School, while Pulaski Street’s current assistant principal, Alison Conroy, will take that same position at Phillips Avenue, according to Ms. Carney.

“This is a mutually agreed upon opportunity to broaden their experiences,” she said of that switch.

The changes would take effect at the beginning of July, pending board of education approval.

The district has yet to name a replacement for Mr. Ogeka’s position of assistant superintendent for personnel and community service.

Mr. Ogeka is the district’s longest serving administrator, having been an associate high school principal prior to moving to the district office in 2003.

tgannon@timesreview.com

06/14/13 3:44pm
06/14/2013 3:44 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The News-Review journalism award winners were Kendall Stark (left) of Riverhead and Ashlyn Vicari of Shoreham-Wading River.

The Riverhead News-Review honored its journalism award recipients Thursday night at a ceremony in Mattituck.

Senior Kendall Stark received the award for Riverhead High School. Kendall’s school activities include the interact club, chamber orchestra, chamber choir, community awareness program and a photography internship with Steve Berger. Kendall plans to major in journalism at Emerson College.

Senior Ashlyn Vicari received the award for Shoreham-Wading River. A soccer and track player, Ashlyn said she enjoys writing, drawing and reading. She plans to major in journalism and minor in economics at St. John’s University.

06/09/13 10:15am
06/09/2013 10:15 AM
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO  |  The Riverhead Blue Masques rehearse a scene in 'Fiddler on the Roof.'

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | The Riverhead Blue Masques’ production of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ earned a Teeny Awards nomination for choreography.

The 11th Annual Teeny Awards will be held at Southold High School today. The awards, presented by East End Arts and sponsored by Suffolk County National Bank and Riverhead Toyota, showcase the best in local high school theater.

The red carpet begins at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 at the door.

Southold, with 11 nominations, and Riverhead, with 10 nods, lead the way for local schools.

Check back this evening for a list of winners.

The nominees for all the North Fork high schools are listed alphabetically by school below:

DRAMA

Lead Actor in a Drama

Eliminas Abromaitis, Riverhead, “A Christmas Carol”

Jonathan Troiano, Riverhead, “A Christmas Carol”

Jamie Tuthill, McGann-Mercy, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

 

Lead Actress in a Drama

Nicole Chiuchiolo, McGann-Mercy, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Brionna Cook, Riverhead, “A Christmas Carol”

Amanda Osborne, Riverhead, “A Christmas Carol”

Jordan Tapley, Riverhead, “A Christmas Carol”

 

Supporting Actor in a Drama

Andrew Nucatola, Riverhead, “A Christmas Carol”

Patrick O’Brien, McGann-Mercy, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

 

Supporting Actress in a Drama

Danielle Allen, McGann-Mercy, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Emma Bernhardt, Riverhead, “A Christmas Carol”

Erin Plitt, Riverhead, “A Christmas Carol”

Jessica Sisti, Riverhead, “A Christmas Carol”

COMEDY

Lead Actor in a Comedy

Zach Fisher, Shoreham-Wading River, “Don’t Drink the Water”

Sean Mannix, Shoreham-Wading River, “Don’t Drink the Water”

Oliver Orr, Mattituck, “Are Teachers Human?”

 

Lead Actress in a Comedy

Maggie Daley, Shoreham-Wading River, “Don’t Drink the Water”

Gayle Gammon, Southold/Greenport co-production, “Trixie, Teen Detective”

Mally Fogarty, Mattituck, “Are Teachers Human?”

Rachel Lohrius, Shoreham-Wading River, “Don’t Drink the Water”

 

Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Tom Batuello, Mattituck, “Are Teachers Human?”

Anthony DeVita, Shoreham-Wading River, “Don’t Drink the Water”

Ryan Zlatniski, Mattituck, “Are Teachers Human?”

 

Supporting Actress in a Comedy

Nicole Chiuchiolo, McGann-Mercy, “You Can’t Take it With You”

Gwyn Foley, Mattituck, “Are Teachers Human?”

Sydney Campbell, Southold/Greenport co-production, “Trixie, Teen Detective”

MUSICAL

Lead Actor in a Musical

Sam Bracken, Southold, “Grease”

John Drinkwater, Greenport, “Guys and Dolls”

 

Lead Actress in a Musical

Laura Logan, Shoreham-Wading River, “Sweeney Todd”

Susanna Kelly, Southold, “Grease”

Brianna Pagano, Greenport, “Guys and Dolls”

 

Supporting Actor in a Musical

Matt Drinkwater, Greenport, “Guys and Dolls”

Jack Dunne, Southold, “Grease”

 

Supporting Actress in a Musical

Lea Gianbruno, Shelter Island, “Legally Blonde”

Michaela Manno, Southold, “Grease”

Shelby Pickerell, Southold, “Grease”

Outstanding Performance

This category recognizes students who “shine brightly” in roles not eligible for adjudication in the leading or supporting categories.

Alexandra Lasot, Southold, Teen Angel in “Grease”

Lara Mahaffy, Southold, Ursula in “Trixie, Teen Detective”

Choreography

Victoria Carroll, Riverhead, “Fiddler on the Roof”

Southold dance captains, Southold, “Grease”

Outstanding Ensemble

Mattituck, “Once Upon a Mattress”

Playbill/Poster Art

Stephen Spinelli, Shoreham-Wading River, “Sweeney Todd”

Gretchen Walter, Southold, “Trixie, Teen Detective”

Judge’s Choice Award

This noncompetitive award is given for a scene, musical number, dance number or group that the judges feel stands out enough to warrant special recognition.

The Greek Chorus, Shelter Island, “Legally Blonde”

Stage Management Recognition

(noncompetitive)

Mariah Brengel, Shoreham-Wading River

Ian Byrne, McGann-Mercy

Quinn Carey, McGann-Mercy

Helen Chen, Mattituck

Jaclyn Conway, Southold-Greenport co-production

Jaclyn Conway, Southold

Mayra Gonzalez, Mattituck

Melissa Hickox, Mattituck

Julie Lindell, Shoreham-Wading River

Anne O’Rourke, Mattituck

Stephen Spinelli, Shoreham-Wading River

Jerilynn Toole, Riverhead

Sean Walden, Greenport

Rachel Williams, Riverhead

Technical Design recognition

(noncompetitive)

Savannah Calderale, Southold, set design for “Grease”

Catherine Penn, Riverhead, costume design for “Arsenic and Old Lace” and “Footloose”

cmiller@timesreview.com

06/06/13 8:00am
COURTESY PHOTO | Riverhead High School's top 15 students. Front left to right: Daniel Raynor, Daniel Tysz, Samantha Colt, Alexandra McKillop, Charlotte Palmer. Middle row left to right: Julia Vunkannon, Jayson Cosgrove, Brian Unruh, Leia Kent, Jaclyn Griffith. Middle row left to right: Julia Vunkannon, Jayson Cosgrove, Brian Unruh, Leia Kent, Jaclyn Griffith. Back row left to right Roger Rosenquist, Kyle Trypuc, Peter Schumejda, Karla Reyes, Jonah Spaeth, SUNY Binghamton.

COURTESY PHOTO | Riverhead High School’s top 15 students. Front left to right: Daniel Raynor, Daniel Tysz, Samantha Colt, Alexandra McKillop, Charlotte Palmer. Middle row left to right: Julia Vunkannon, Jayson Cosgrove, Brian Unruh, Leia Kent, Jaclyn Griffith. Middle row left to right: Julia Vunkannon, Jayson Cosgrove, Brian Unruh, Leia Kent, Jaclyn Griffith.
Back row left to right Roger Rosenquist, Kyle Trypuc, Peter Schumejda, Karla Reyes, Jonah Spaeth, SUNY Binghamton.

Each year, officials release a list of the Riverhead School District’s top 15 students, determined by grade-point average. The list also includes details about the graduating class valedictorian and salutatorian and lists each of the 15 students’ college of choice.

And every year, it seems, the list is more impressive. The performance of the Class of 2013 is particularly noteworthy.

How about valedictorian Daniel Raynor and his eye-popping 109.54 weighted average? A true renaissance man, Daniel was named a Commended Student in the National Merit Scholarship Program, sang in the chamber choir, played baritone horn in the school band, acted with the Blue Masques Drama Club and interned for a local photographer.

Daniel also served as a mentor to his peers, passing along his knowledge — and perhaps more important, his outlook on life and learning — to other local students, undoubtedly helping them reach new heights as well. The News-Review wishes Daniel the best as he pursues a physics degree at Yale University in New Haven.

The other standouts are to be commended as well, including salutatorian Daniel Tysz, who earned a 108.06 weighted average. He will attend SUNY/Stony Brook, where he’ll study math and biochemistry in preparation for a career in medicine. (See page 14 for a complete list.)

It was also interesting and encouraging to see eight male students among the Class of 2013’s Top 15, as female students have outnumbered them for years.

What gets lost in all the talk about tax caps and teacher pensions and tea parties — especially during the annual run-up to the school elections — is the fine performances of students in Riverhead, Shoreham-Wading River and across Long Island, a region that has come to utterly dominate the annual Intel Science Talent Search competition.

There are undoubtedly excesses in our school districts when it comes to spending and compensation, and stricter adherence to open meetings laws and such could help dispel distrust between school boards and taxpayers. But so many of these students work so unbelievably hard, day in and day out, it’s a shame their effort sometimes gets overlooked due to politics. So, thank you, Daniel Raynor and Daniel Tysz and the entire graduating Class of 2013, for reminding us of all the great things being accomplished by so many fine young people.

Kudos, too, to all those proud educators who helped every step of the way.

05/31/13 12:11pm
05/31/2013 12:11 PM
COURTESY PHOTO | Riverhead High School's top 15 students. Front left to right: Daniel Raynor, Daniel Tysz, Samantha Colt, Alexandra McKillop, Charlotte Palmer. Middle row left to right: Julia Vunkannon, Jayson Cosgrove, Brian Unruh, Leia Kent, Jaclyn Griffith. Middle row left to right: Julia Vunkannon, Jayson Cosgrove, Brian Unruh, Leia Kent, Jaclyn Griffith. Back row left to right Roger Rosenquist, Kyle Trypuc, Peter Schumejda, Karla Reyes, Jonah Spaeth, SUNY Binghamton.

COURTESY PHOTO | Riverhead High School’s top 15 students. Front left to right: Daniel Raynor, Daniel Tysz, Samantha Colt, Alexandra McKillop, Charlotte Palmer. Middle row left to right: Julia Vunkannon, Jayson Cosgrove, Brian Unruh, Leia Kent, Jaclyn Griffith.
Back row left to right Roger Rosenquist, Kyle Trypuc, Peter Schumejda, Karla Reyes, Jonah Spaeth.

The Riverhead School District announced Friday the class of 2013’s top 15 students, including this year’s valedictorian and salutatorian.

Valedictorian Daniel Raynor, whose weighted grade-point average is 109.54, will be attending Yale University to study physics. He was named National AP Scholar during his junior year, which is the first time in the district’s history that a junior earned the award.

Daniel Raynor was recently named National AP Scholar. The designation is the highest achievement in the AP Scholar Program, school officials said.

He was named a Commended Student in the National Merit Scholarship Program, an honor that indicates he was among the top-5 percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the competition.

In addition, he’s a Mentathlete, a member of the Math Club, Foreign Language Honor Society, National Honor Society, Protein Challenge Team, CSI Challenge team, LI Challenge Team, Student Government vice present, Youth Court, Latin Team, and an actor in Blue Masques Drama Club.

Daniel Raynor is also in the chamber choir and plays baritone horn in the band. He practiced photography while interning with photographer Steve Berger. He tutors elementary students and is a counselor at Camp Invention.

“Although my parents were relieved to know that they had successfully found a way for me to keep myself amused by giving me math workbooks, something much greater happened to me: I had discovered my enthusiasm for mathematics,” he said. “My interest in math led to my even greater interest in science and its practical applications. My interest in math and science has led me to a decision to pursue the study of physics in college.”

The Class of 2013 Salutatorian is Daniel Tysz, who earned a weighted grade point average of 108.06. He will be attending SUNY Stony Brook to study math and biochemistry and plans to practice medicine.

“Intelligent, focused and caring are the first words that come to mind when I think of Daniel Tysz,” his guidance counselor Christy Salerno said. “Dan has two great gifts: a wonderful memory and the focus and drive to take advantage of it. In spite of being an extraordinary student academically, he is very humble and his peers look up to him for that.”

Daniel Tysz earned a 98 average in trigonometry and took an AP Calculus BC course. This fall, he was named an AP Scholar with distinction. He has been the school’s student of the month and outstanding student of the year. He was also on the Advanced Latin Certamen Team, which won second place in this year’s competition at SUNY Stony Brook.

He’s a volunteer in the “Going Green” program where he teaches students about the importance of recycling and environmentalism. He also volunteers at his local church. Daniel Tysz has been a member of Key and Math clubs, and tutors high school students in geometry.

Other top 2013 Riverhead High School grads include:

• Samantha Colt, University of Rhode Island, pharmacy
• Alexandra McKillop, Cornell University, pre-med neuroscience
• Charlotte Palmer, Case Western University, history/psychology;
• Julia Vunkannon, St. Joseph’s College, physics /chemistry/neuroscience
• Jayson Cosgrove, Rowan University, engineering
• Brian Unruh, SUNY Binghamton, undeclared
• Leia Kent, Albany College of Pharmacy, pharmacy
• Jaclyn Griffith, Monmouth University, social work
• Roger Rosenquist, SUNY Stony Brook, computer science
• Kyle Trypuc, St. Joseph’s College, secondary education/history
• Peter Schumejda, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, biology
• Karla Reyes, SUNY Stony Brook, biology
• Jonah Spaeth, SUNY Binghamton, pre-med

jennifer@timesreview.com