Shoreham-Wading River: Reading & academic achievement – a connection?

Prodell Middle School in Shoreham did something interesting to celebrate National Library Week, held April 8-14. They stopped all coursework and for one full class period sat down to simply read. Librarian Ann-Marie Kalin orchestrated this event “with the goal of luring students to the school library to foster more of an interest in reading.” It is reported that there wasn’t a whisper as students pulled out their books, Kindles, or even magazines. Prior to “Reading Day,” students were encouraged to visit the library to browse among suggested readings and to receive recommendations for summer reading.

Who knows if that had an impact on them because North Shore Public Library had over 947 students enrolled in the annual Summer Reading Club, meaning that over 4,000 books were read during summer vacation to keep reading skills sharp for the school year.

With numbers like that, it’s no surprise that Shoreham-Wading River High School has a great record of academic achievement, something that Newsweek Magazine recognized. Of 10,000 schools across the nation in 2011, SWR High School was chosen in the top 250 from a list that prints the top 500. Data is compiled according to percentages of students that graduate on time, those in Advanced Placement classes, those enrolled in college, SAT/ACT scores and the number of AP/IB/AICEW courses offered.

Congratulations to the district’s top-10 students, those at the absolute top of their graduating class. They are: Melaina Badalian, Queens College; Michelle Gostic, Cornell University; David Heilbrun, Tufts University; Christopher Higgins, Tufts University; Laura Kovach, Johns Hopkins University; Gabriella Mahan, George Washington University; Michael Mazzola, Cornell University; Raffaele Miceli, taking a gap year; Michael Peraza, Cornell University; and Rachel Szymanski, Amherst College.

Well, with the first earthquake that noticeably shook us, the first sonic boom that we experienced the next morning and Hurricane Irene dropping a foot of rain with winds so strong and fast that it completely blew away the rest of summer, the kids will have plenty to write about when they go back to school. But the boys who are 9-10 years old in the Shoreham-Wading River Little League have one more experience to talk about on the first day of school. On July 9, this talented group of baseball players won the New York City District 36 Championship. They are: Nick Bettenhauser, DJ Brown, Ricky Casazza, Anthony Cimino, Danny Curtin, Trey Ekert, Luke Figliozzi, Jack Logan, Michael Smith, Gabe Romano, Zach Thomsen, Everett Wehr and Tyler Widercrantz. The team coaches were Rick Casazza, Everett Wehr and Kevin Widercrantz. Congratulations to all these young men and the men that coached them.

With the Times/Review office closed on Labor Day, there will be an early deadline for the Sept. 8 issue. Please forward your community news by tonight, Sept. 1.

Until we meet here next week, be safe, be proud and achieve your dreams like valedictorian Rachel Szymanski suggests: one step at a time.