08/18/13 4:15pm
COURTESY FILE PHOTO | Students from Shoreham-Wading River’s Global Awareness Club in Meru, Kenya, in 2011.

COURTESY FILE PHOTO | Students from Shoreham-Wading River’s Global Awareness Club in Meru, Kenya, in 2011.

A Shoreham-Wading River High School student won a $10,000 grant last month and plans to donate the money to help an orphanage in Kenya.

Julie Lindell, 17, volunteers in the school’s Global Awareness Club and is involved with Hope Children’s Fund, a nonprofit organization that operates an orphanage in Meru, Kenya.

Amway, a worldwide distribution company, awarded 10 grants last month in its annual Amway’s Who Cares Challenge: Youth Leadership Contest. Each winner received $10,000 to give to the nonprofit organization of their choice, according to Amway’s website.

“The children already have the motivation and foundation for success and with a solid education they will have the ability to go out into the world, support themselves and give back to their community,” Julie wrote in her entry essay, called “A Helping Hand for Hope. “The children have hearts of gold and with an education they will be able to combine the two to do incredible things and change the future of Kenya and their communities.”

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07/24/13 9:15am
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | SWR Superintendent Steven Cohen explains some of the changes the district is considering.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | SWR Superintendent Steven Cohen explains some of the changes the district is considering.

Briarcliff Elementary School as a kindergarten-only building. Online courses in the middle and high schools. Sorting students through the district’s elementary schools by grade, not location.

It may be the early planning stages, but these were some of the ideas the Shoreham-Wading River school board floated to the public at an open forum held at the board’s meeting Tuesday night.

The mid-summer discussion was designed to get parents and community members talking about ways to “preserve district programs” while also cutting back on costs and keeping the district under the state’s tax levy cap.

The plans, if approved by the board, would not be implemented until at least the 2015-16 school year.

Board members cautioned that districts across Long Island were at a “tipping point” and were having to make decisions about where to cut spending.

Because the district has roughly $9 million remaining in reserve funds and another $9 million due from prior un-awarded state aid, school officials said the district has another two or three years left before those funds run out and the district must begin cutting programs.

School board trustees said they hope to have a plan in place by then that would limit the damage.

“Any change requires sacrifice from the community,” said school board vice president John Zukowski “The community has to decide what it’s willing to sacrifice to keep our programs and whether or not it’s worth it.”

One of the proposals discussed at the forum was the “Princeton Plan,” a system that would divide students up between the district’s elementary schools by grade. All kindergarteners would attend Briarcliff, while all grades 1-3 would attend Miller Avenue school with all of grades 4 and 5 in Wading River Elementary.

Superintendent Steven Cohen said the plan would keep average class sizes the same, but would allow the district to eliminate clerical and teaching positions that would be deemed as excess after the switch.

However, some district parents at the meeting said they were wary of such a plan because of increased times on bus schedules and asked for the board to consider other options.

Mr. Cohen said the district had not yet determined how much would be saved under such a plan, adding that the idea was “not set in stone, or even ink.”

The superintendent also raised the idea of collaborating with local school districts to use online learning to save electives that might have otherwise been dropped due to lack of enrollment.

District officials said even if online courses were approved, teachers would be used in the classroom to re-enforce the material.

Discussions about the district’s plans, as well as a potential school bond to pay for repairs at the district’s buildings, will continue into the fall, school officials said.

“We have to keep in mind the melancholy reality that the changes are going to happen,” Mr. Cohen said. “Our choice is for us to be in control of that process or for us to be passive and be forced to do something that we’re not going to like.”

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06/23/2013 2:30 PM

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | The student journalism award winners in Shoreham-Wading River include (back row, from left) editor-in-chief Giavanna Verdi, Barbara Ferentinos, editor-in-chief Ashlyan Vicari, (front row) managing editor Shannon Steimel, news editor Gabrielle Bruno and Kelly Granzen.

Shoreham-Wading River journalism student Giavanna Verdi wants to tell you a story about the real person behind a character in the 1992 hit movie, “A League of Their Own.”

The Betty Spaghetti character is based on Giavanna’s great-great-aunt Betty Trezza, who was known by friends, family and fans as “Moe.”

“Betty was often referred to as ‘Moe’ on the diamond,” Giavanna wrote in an article — printed in the shape of a baseball diamond — for her student newspaper, Wildcat Pause, of which she is co-editor-in-chief.

“She had trouble remembering her teammates’ names when first playing for the Racine Belles. If she wanted to get someone’s attention, she would yell ‘Moe!’ So, as a team joke, her teammates and eventually her fans called her ‘Moe.’ ”

Giavanna’s feature won two awards — third place, format buster and an honorable mention in the sports feature category — at the Long Island Press High School Journalism Awards ceremony May 22 at Hofstra University, where more than 1,200 submissions were judged.

Her awards were among the 33 total that Wildcat Pause took home from the competition.

This was the paper’s best year for awards, said student newspaper adviser Jean Branna.

“[The students] are very dedicated,” she said. “They really care about what appears in the paper and work hard. They really think through what they’re doing, and I think that’s one of the reasons why they are so successful.”

Another successful submission was Kelly Granzen’s “Small Town Teens,” which won first place in the serious feature category. She also won second place for news illustration, third place for informational feature and third place for a feature-local story.

Kelly said she was able to get a local teen drug abuse story after she agreed to keep her student sources anonymous. Asked by a reporter if she was worried that students weren’t telling her the truth, since they could hide behind anonymity, Kelly said she wasn’t concerned.

“Most of their stories were already known, so I knew they were being honest,” she said. “I was scared to ask them if I could use their names because I felt they would back out of the whole interview. I told them that we wouldn’t use their names and they agreed to speak.”

One award Ms. Branna said she was wasn’t expecting was the first place for layout/overall, since the district uses an obsolete layout program called PageMaker.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” she said, adding that the paper’s software will be updated to InDesign this summer. “[The students] really care. They come in after school and adjust any layout things that have to be adjusted. Sometimes we get a little obsessed with things that the reader isn’t even going to notice. [Graphics editor Paul Whitbeck] did a great job. He can do anything.”

As six of the paper’s 46 staff members reminisced last week about the school year’s top stories, co-editor-in-chief Ashlyn Vicari said she’s most proud of how the paper tackled the stickiest issues of abortion, gay rights and gun control.

“I’m really proud of everybody,” she said. “Everyone did an amazing job.”

Ashlyn, a senior, earned three first place awards: reporting on Newtown, for “Newtown Reawakens Ideas for Stricter Gun Control”; entertainment & lifestyle, for “Students Can’t Shake Their Hillbilly Bone”; and layout/single page, for “Like This Article if You Agree.” She also won this year’s Riverhead News-Review journalism award and plans to major in journalism and minor in economics at St. John’s University.

News editor Gabrielle Bruno said she’s also interested in pursuing journalism and enjoys being able to write about any topic she’s interested in.

“I think writing something that you’re passionate about and seeing it all come together is very rewarding,” she said.

Gabrielle won four awards, including first place, food commentary, for “All I Want for Christmas is … Food?”; second place, social commentary – general, for “Keep the Fashion Trend Out of Religion”; third place, opinion, for “Celebrities Catch a Case of Obsessive Teens”; and honorable mention, news story, for “Triumphant Wildcats Share Homecoming Spotlight.”

Barbara Ferentinos’s article on the district’s capital improvement proposals won a second place award for a school news story. Barbara also earned a third place award in the serious feature category for her story about tattoo and piercing trends.

Barbara said she enjoyed conducting interviews and found school administrators’ comments added more reliable information to her stories than did student comments.

“Administrators put thought into what they are saying whereas students just say whatever they feel like,” she said.

Shannon Steimel said she enjoyed writing a narrative about being a twin, as well as her feature about teens living double lives. She received honorable mentions for both stories.

Here’s a summary of the other Wildcat Pause award winners:

Lauren Lustgarten, second place, non-deadline news, “School Security Ups Student Safety Procedures.”

Tom Cummings, second place, entertainment & lifestyle, “Energy Drinks & Caffeine – The Truth Behind Labels” and honorable mention, student profile, “Corey Cairo Plays with Pros.”

Tim Haggerty, second place, reviews/criticism, “What’s Cooking for Helsenberg?”

James Kuczewski, third place, arts review – film, “Caped Crusader” and third place, layout/single page, “Initiate Phase Two: The Avengers Reassembles in 2015.”

Spring Yu, third place, arts & entertainment, “Psy Says ‘Dress Classy & Dance Cheesy.’ ”

Emily Kulesa, honorable mention, first person, “Eat Haggis & Ceilidh,” and honorable mention, first person, “Students Panic … Lost APs.”

Michael Julian, honorable mention, student profile, “Rotanz Improving Already Stellar Career.”

Casey DePalma, honorable mention, opinion piece – school, “Bullying Behind the Monitor.”

Carolyn Rogers, honorable mention, arts review – art, “Media Students Display ‘Best in Show’ Talent.”

Thomas Kirby, honorable mention, sports feature, “Amputees Dribble Down Wildcat Court.”

Joseph Whelan, honorable mention, political/local feature, “Minimum Wage: Beneficial for Whom?”

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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:

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River High School students at their graduation Saturday morning.

The Class of 2013 at Shoreham-Wading River received diplomas Saturday morning in a ceremony at the high school.

Valedictorian Cari Gostic and salutatorian Taylor Brant delivered speeches to their classmates and Eric Lopez sang “You Raise Me Up.”

The graduating class featured 206 students.

For a full list of graduates and bios on the valedictorian and salutatorian, pick up a copy of the June 27 News-Review to find a special graduation insert.

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:


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”


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”


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”


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


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


Savannah Calderale, Southold, set design for “Grease”

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

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05/08/2013 6:00 PM
At Tuesday's school board meeting, Shoreham-Wading River High School students unveiled a mural they will send to Newtown, CT.

RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | At Tuesday’s school board meeting, Shoreham-Wading River High School students unveiled a mural they will send to Newtown, Conn.

Less than six months after December’s deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., art students at Shoreham-Wading River High School are preparing to send a large mural there that they spent weeks creating.

The mural, which was unveiled at Tuesday evening’s Shoreham-Wading River school board meeting, was commissioned by high school principal Dan Holtzman and supervised by art teacher Shannon Lustig. It will be shipped to the Connecticut town at a future date.

“Mr. Holtzman wanted to do the mural so he came to me and asked if I was interested in participating,” Ms. Lustig said. “He wanted something uplifting and happy. I brought it to the students’ attention and we decided we wanted to do a landscape.”

The finished project features a woodland scene with a meadow and the words “Hope. Love. Dream.” Ms. Lustig’s students also painted 26 butterflies to represent the 20 children and 6 adults who were killed in the shooting.

Ms. Lustig, 33, said that the eight students who worked on the project donated “countless hours” to create the mural, which was started after winter recess and completed last week. She said the Home Depot in Coram donated about $150 in supplies for the project.

“This mural represents respect and admiration for the 26 people that were prematurely taken from this earth in Newtown on December 14, 2012,” Ms. Lustig said.

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