Click here to return to WI News Index




West Islip Cheerleading Champs

On Saturday, January 31, 2009 the West Islip Cheerleading team placed fifth in the Long Island Cheerleading Coaches Association Finals (LICCA) held at Suffolk Community College. “This event was comprised of the ‘best of the best’ teams from the Long Island and merely qualifying for the competition was an honor. Placing 5th in the competition was an extremely exciting moment, as they realized that all of their hard work, commitment, and determination had paid off. For the seniors, it was bitter sweet, as this is what they have been working for throughout their high school career. Also, a special congratulations to Julie W. for being a part of the All-Star Team and Kristin D. and Michelle S. for their participation in ACT (Ambassador Cheer Team), which is an organization designed to get teams involved with community service,” said Cheerleading Coach Ariana Breitfeller.

Pictured front row (l-r) Carlie S., Captain Kristin D., Captain Sheila P., Annie L., and Jill S.; middle row (l-r) Elizabeth B., Emily S., Captain Julie W., Brianna R., Caitlin K., and Megan H.; back row (l-r) Coach Megan Ross, Maggie B., Lauren D., Lauren B., Coach Ariana Breitfeller, Victoria G. and Christen M.; not pictured Alternates Sarah N. and Nicole H..

Gift of Giving at Beach Street Middle School

On December 15, 2008 Beach Street Middle School Student Council hosted a Holiday Dance raising $1,500 for the National Kidney Registry in honor of a Beach Street student who has recently received a kidney transplant.

Gift certificates, donated from local businesses including Slices and Ices, Torta Fina Bakery, Babylon Movie Theater, Panera Bread, Hershey’s Ice Cream, Cold Stone Creamery, and Barbi Nails, were raffled at the dance.

The Holiday Dance Fundraiser was part of the school’s Holiday Gift Giving program.

Additional holiday gift giving activities included sixth graders using their geometry and language arts skills to make gingerbread houses to give to someone important in their life, the annual student-faculty volleyball game, art students decorating the school including the office windows and students delivering holiday flowers to the elderly at the Consolation home.


Coin Drive for Compassion at Bayview

Every month, the Character Education Committee at Bayview celebrates a new character trait. This month‘s trait is compassion and Bayview students and staff are going to show Long Island that they care about others by participating in the Island Harvest Coin Drive. For the next two weeks, students and staff are encouraged to donate their spare change to help feed the nearly 259,000 Long Islanders who turn to soup kitchens, food pantries and other emergency programs each year.

Elisa Weick, a representative from Island Harvest and a West Islip resident, visited Bayview and told the students that for 21¢ a day, Island Harvest can provide someone a nutritious meal. Large white containers are located by the main doors and in the cafeteria for spare change. So...check your pockets, the couch, car, and countertops for spare change and send it in to Bayview to help fight hunger and show compassion. Last year, Bayview raised over $1100.00 for Island Harvest. Pictured are 2nd grade teacher Katherine Passamenti, Island Harvest representative Elisa Weick with students Taylor H., Jamie M. and Tommy L.

District Participates in the West Islip Chamber of Commerce
Installation Breakfast

On Friday, January 30, 2009 members from the West Islip School District attended the West Islip Chamber of Commerce 2009 Installation Breakfast held at Villa Monaco Restaurant with Keynote speaker Congressman Peter King. Pictured (l-r) Chamber of Commerce President Joseph DiPalma, School Board President George Smith, School Board member Annmarie LaRosa, Congressman Peter King, School Board Vice President Steven Gellar, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Beth Virginia Blau, Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Raymond Rendina and Vice President of Programs Nancy Donohue.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Mr. Haas’ third grade class at Oquenock Elementary School welcomed the Year of the Ox on Friday, January 30th when his class celebrated the Chinese New Year. 

This was the 18th year that Mr. Haas has celebrated the arrival of the Lunar New Year, believing it is important to share and explore other peoples cultures.  

The week included creating haikus, learning Chinese lettering, and learning about the lunar calendar.  Bits of Chinese New Year were also included in other areas of academic study. 

The week ended with a feast of Chinese food from Boh Wah Kitchen and the annual Chinese Dragon Dance.  This year the honored head of the dragon was Grace D. 

Great fun was had by one and all that participated including the Assistant to the Superintendent for Elementary Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Parvey and principal of Oquenock, Mrs. Morrison who were honored guests at the celebration.


Marie Valenti Retires After 42 1/2 Years
in the West Islip School District


Marie Valenti recently retired from the school district’s Food Service Department after 42 1/2 years of service. She began as a substitute food service worker on January 31, 1966, and went on to become the Assistant Cook at Oquenock Elementary School. In addition to working at Oquenock, she has helped at other schools including the high school, Paul J. Bellew, Captree, Paumanok, Southgate, Westbrook and Udall Road Middle School. “Marie Valenti was a hardworking and dedicated employee who truly enjoyed preparing and serving breakfast and lunch to the children. She was a tremendous asset to the West Islip School District,” said Suzanne Salus, School District Director of Food Services.


Middle School Students Participate in
Kids in Action
Youth Conference

On Friday, December 5, 2008, students from Udall Road and Beach Street Middle Schools, and middle schools from across Long Island, attended the 8th Annual Kids in Action Youth Conference at Farmingdale State College. Sarah H., an eighth grade student at Udall Road Middle School and Student Council President, submitted an essay which won the $250 first-prize for Udall’s Student Council. The students in attendance also had an opportunity to meet privately with John Basedow and Fran Capo, the featured speakers of the conference.

Kids in Action is a not-for-profit charitable organization that partners with the business community, elected officials, civic leaders and educators to promote character education that fosters respect, responsibility and leadership skills for middle school students from all across Long Island. Its goal is to help young people become respectful, responsible, caring citizens with good judgment and integrity – necessary attributes for tomorrow’s workforce and community leaders.

Infinite Campus Portal Opens for West Islip Parents!

Parents who have patiently awaited the opportunity to access student data on-line, were rewarded with the opening of the West Islip Infinite Campus Portal. The new system allows parents to access announcements, calendars, household and individual demographic information, schedules, assessments, school fees and attendance data for all of their children with a single login account. In addition to more types of data being available, parents are able to access information more quickly.

“The Infinite Campus Portal takes school to home communications to the Web," explains Joseph Stern, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. Another big plus is that the new West Islip Portal operates by household, which means only one login to view all of their children's information, regardless of the different schools they may attend. It offers one consolidated calendar for the family so that all activities, at all schools, appear on one page. The new West Islip Portal operates real-time, which means as soon as the teacher hits the "Enter" key for attendance, the information is available to parents.

Parents can find additional resources and registration information on the district website, by clicking on the link for the Parent Portal. User IDs and passwords are required as added security measures to further protect the confidential information of our students.

Stern adds, "We are very excited about the versatility of this software and how it can improve communication for our parents and ultimately improve student success." More communication between school and home increases adult involvement in the students' lives and strengthens everyone's commitment to the educational success of our children.


Annual PTA Council Holiday Breakfast Hosted by
Bayview Elementary School

On December 16, 2008, West Islip Council of PTA celebrated their Annual Holiday Breakfast hosted by Bayview Elementary School. The Bayview and Oquenock 5th grade band, conducted by Mrs. Luann Peskanov, performed several holiday tunes during the breakfast. West Islip Council of PTA brings together PTA units, school district administration, Board of Education members, and community groups to advocate for the health, safety, welfare and education of our children. “By working together, we can achieve our goal of speaking for every child with one voice,” said West Islip PTA Council President Jennifer Smith.


Pictured back row (l-r) Allison Reichel, PTA Treasurer Terry Gebbia, PTA Historian Denise Rubino, West Islip PTA Council President Jennifer Smith, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Beth Virginia Blau, New York State PTA President Susan Lipman, West Islip Board of Education Trustees Annmarie LaRosa, Steve Gellar, and Bob Ulrich and PTA Council Vice President Theresa Shaw. Front row (l-r) students Anthony C., Matthew M., Kristina G., Sloane G., Emma H. and Taylor W..

Udall Middle School Student Honored for Festival of Lights
Cover Contest



Udall Road Middle School student Eric T.  won the Festival of Lights art contest, hosted by the American Legion, West Islip Post 1738. Eric’s artwork was featured on the cover of the event program.

He was recognized on December 7, 2008 by West Islip Chamber of Commerce President Joseph DiPalma.

Pictured, West Islip Chamber of Commerce President Joseph DiPalma presenting artwork winner Eric with an Award of Recognition.



Westbrook Artists Have Their Work Displayed in Local Museum


Fifth grade students at Westbrook had their artwork displayed at The Long Island Museum's - Colors of Long Island : Student Expressions Art Exhibition in Stony Brook. This exhibit featured artwork from students all over Long Island.

Pictured are Principal Jack Maniscalco, Art teacher Jill Culver  and fifth grade students, James, Michael and Haley.



Kyle G. Accepts Baseball Scholarship

West Islip High School senior Kyle G. will be attending George Washington University in the fall on a baseball scholarship after recently signing a letter of intent.

 Pictured (l-r) Administrative Apprentice Tim Horan, Kyle G., Head Varsity Baseball Coach Steve Mileti and High School Principal Ken Hartill.


Polar Express Visits Westbrook

On December 23rd, Westbrook's kindergarten through second grade classes took a ride on the Polar Express.
With a golden ticket in hand, they boarded the train to the North Pole.


At the North Pole they had hot chocolate, cookies and
a visit from Santa.

It was a wonderful and memorable day.


Susan Lipman is NYS PTA President

Eastern Suffolk BOCES Board member Susan Lipman has been installed as president of the New York State Parent Teacher Association (PTA), an organization she is extremely proud to lead. This is where she got her start as an advocate for children and their education. One of the most respected and familiar faces in West Islip, Ms. Lipman’s commitment to education led her to serve on the West Islip Board of Education for 12 years, where she was elected vice president and president by her peers. During her term, several West Islip schools underwent reconstruction and rededication, and an elementary building was reopened, providing all-day kindergarten. At the end of her fourth term, she decided not to run for reelection in order to turn her attention to ESBOCES.

Ms. Lipman holds a Master’s degree in education from Adelphi University; has been a hard-working community activist; was elected delegate to New York State School Boards; and served on numerous committees supporting various projects. Having served West Islip PTA as council president, Ms. Lipman worked with the Suffolk District PTA for six years, and served both Suffolk County Girl and Boy Scouts. For her NYS PTA president’s theme she selected the ocean as a metaphor. As an avid beach goer, she said recently, “There are so many lessons we can learn from the ocean and the power of its waves.” Her administration’s theme is titled, The Power to Shape the Future!

Described as an excellent example of how one person can make a difference in a community, she modestly denied the expression as fact. A friend said that while she is a terrific leader, she’s also a natural team player. Evidently, West Islipians agree because two years ago she was presented the Outstanding Community Member Award by West Islip PAWS, the education foundation, during a dinner dance attended by 250 guests at the Venetian Yacht Club. Additionally, she has received the NYS PTA Distinguished Service Award, the Golden Circle of Leadership Award, and Suffolk District’s Peg Davis Leadership Award.

Her dedication to ESBOCES and the PTA are unsurpassed. Her commitment to husband, Jay, and their two college-graduate children is unswerving; her pledge to public education, unchallenged; and her respect for family and friends, unequaled. Almost as an explanation of her tireless capacity for work, Ms. Lipman said, “I come away from spending time near the ocean and listening to the waves, with a renewed sense of energy.”


West Islip Students Score High on Financial Literacy Challenge

Forty-six West Islip students scored in the top 25th percentile of the US Department of Treasury’s fall National Financial Literacy Challenge. The program is an initiative recommended by the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy and encompasses over 75,000 high school students. West Islip High School Business Education Department and teachers Trish Portnoy, Patricia Morgigno, and Diana Saadat coordinated the student participation in this program, which was created to inspire students and teachers to focus on financial education and to reinforce the many financial education programs currently available in high schools across the country. For more information go to   

The following students scored in the top 25th percentile in the Challenge:

Aaron. A., Jason . B., Brian . B., Lauren . C., Richard. C., Natalia C., Joseph .C., Joseph C., Shane C. Megan  C., Anthony D.., William D., Ryan D., Kristen D.., Tina D., Melissa E., Kyle G., Heather G., Andrew G., Chris H., Daniel H., Antonios K., Dylan K., Thomas L., Vincent L., James M., Michael M., Corey M., Andrew N., Kevin P., Keith P., Amanda P., Daniel R., Patrick R., Michelle R., Michelle R., Edward R., Joseph S., Paul S., Jeffery S., Matt T., Kurtis T., Daniel V., John W., Danny W., and Ray W.


James W. Bosse Joins West Islip School District

James W. Bosse has joined the district as the new Director of Building and Grounds. Prior to joining the district, Mr. Bosse was Eastern Suffolk BOCES’s Energy Manager in the Operations and Maintenance Department, where he focused on energy saving technologies, building improvements and cost-cutting strategies. He implemented an agency-wide comprehensive energy management program with various energy cost-saving operational strategies and procedural programs throughout all Eastern Suffolk BOCES facilities, which provided a cost savings of over $5 million. Mr. Bosse also managed many BOCES facility construction projects and worked as the Building Administrator for the Sherwood Instructional Support Center in Holbrook. In addition to his building and operations background, he was employed as a 6-8th grade math and science teacher for the Broward County School District.  Mr. Bosse received his Bachelor of Arts degree from State University of New York at Cortland and he is currently pursuing a Masters of Energy Management in the School of Engineering at New York Institute of Technology.  

 “I believe my background and experience will help the West Islip School District Facility Department better meet the changes and challenges of the future.  I will work hard to use district funds wisely to maintain and improve our facilities,” said Mr. Bosse.

West Islip's Holiday Coat Drive

During the holiday season, West Islip High School Student Senate coordinated the district-wide Annual Coat Drive and collected over a thousand coats, which were given to the Wyandanch Community Center for distribution. Every school in the West Islip School District collected coats for the coat drive.

“The amount of coats raised by our community was unbelievable, hundreds and hundreds of coats were collected. Everyone did a phenomenal job. Stephanie J., by herself, for the second year in a row, collected over 100 coats,” said Norm Wingert, advisor to the High School Student Senate.




Pictured (l-r) Program Coordinator for Wyandanch Community Center Charlie Storm, Stephanie J., Shane C., Student Senate President Paige E. and Lindsay A. help load and transport coats collected for the West Islip’s Annual Coat Drive.

Have a Heart for a Little Life

 The National English Honor Society has organized a fundraiser for the Kent Animal Shelter and Hospital, here on Long Island. They are collecting old towels, blankets, cat/dog food, leashes, collars, stuffed animals, peanut butter, old animal beds, etc. Anyone interested in donating any of these items, can leave them by the attendance office window in the High School until February 10th. For additional information, contact Mrs. Scudder at the the High School.



West Islip Music Students Recognized by BOE

On December 11, 2008, West Islip’s Board of Education recognized high school students for their musical accomplishments. 
Pictured (l-r) front row Melissa G. (Nassau/Suffolk Performing Arts Concert Band), Caitlin C. (Nassau/Suffolk Performing Arts Wind Symphony, Gemini Youth Orchestra and Youth Symphony), Victoria A. (All County Band, All State Wind Ensemble and Nassau/Suffolk Performing Arts Wind Symphony), Marianna A. (Gemini Youth Orchestra), Miranda C. (Long Island String Festival and Gemini Youth Symphony), Emily B. (Metropolitan Youth Orchestra), back row (l-r) Douglas B. (All County Band, All State Wind Ensemble and Nassau/Suffolk Performing Arts Wind Symphony), Vincent M. (Long Island String Festival), Rob D. (Nassau/Suffolk Performing Arts Concert Band), Matthew C. (All County Band, All State Band, All County Chorus, All State Chorus, Juilliard Pre-College Orchestra and the Long Island Youth Orchestra), Andrew W. (Long Island String Festival and Gemini Youth Orchestra), Cortlandt  M. (All County,  All State Chorus and All Eastern Chorus), Amanda C. (All County and All State Chorus), Michael S. ( Nassau/Suffolk Performing Arts Concert Band), Bevin F. (Nassau/Suffolk Performing Arts Wind Symphony), High School Orchestra Director Judith Hayes, High School Band Director David Kaufman, and West Islip Director of Art, Dance and Music Education Bernie Jones.  Not pictured: Matthew S. (All County Band and Nassau/Suffolk Performing Arts Wind Symphony), Rebecca O’C. (All County Chorus) and Brittany W. (All County Band, Nassau/Suffolk Performing Arts Concert Band).

“These students have all excelled in the New York State School Music Association Solo and Ensemble Festival, performing at the most difficult level and receiving the highest scores. In addition they have performed very well in group selection auditions as well as seating placement. Congratulations to each student on their outstanding musical achievements and their strong work ethic,” said West Islip Director of Art, Dance and Music Education Bernie Jones.

Helping Hands' Holiday Drive

The Helping Hands' Holiday Drive was a great success with many West Islip Students helping decorate donations.

Helping Hands in West Islip, Inc. started in 1990 by a mother who wanted to inspire children and the community to unite in an effort to assist local Long Island children in need.  

West Islip students of all ages turned out to lend a hand decorating, sorting and preparing toys at the Helping Hands 18th annual toy drive.

All the school nurses, the district social workers and our YES community program were contacted! Toys go to West Islip children first  and than they are distributed to other organizations throughout Suffolk County, including Headstart programs, local soup kitchens, and the Gerald Ryan Outreach Center at Miraculous Medal Church. West Islip's YES probably received about 100 toys alone!

We are grateful for the student's community service where they learned that 'GIVING" is very cool! 


Pictured at right is Westbrook Brownie Troop #281 with Principal, Jack Maniscalco who recently volunteered their kindness, time and effort in order to create holiday food baskets for the Helping Hands Program.


Captree Elementary School Cultivates a Giving Tree

During the month of December, Captree Elementary School coordinated a Giving Tree in their efforts to assist West Islip families in need, during the holiday season. The school obtained wish lists from several families, transcribed these items onto paper "tree ornaments" and hung them on the tree. 

Parents, faculty and staff had an opportunity to choose ornaments and purchase the gifts for the adopted families.  In addition, Captree received donations from Old Navy stores with the assistance from Bayshore Manager Kristin Hammel and West Babylon Managers Lisa Wessly and Kim Wilson. 

On December 18th, Captree staff and their children participated in a well-attended  "wrapping day" to wrap the donations.  Pictured (l-r) coordinators of the Giving Tree, School Nurse Trish Reimer and Teaching Assistant Joann Niesen.


A Gift of Life

On Friday, December 5, 2008, 10-year old Natalie H., saved her mother’s life by calling 911, after her mother, Kathy, suffered an epileptic seizure.  Natalie, preparing to celebrate her 10th birthday that day, awoke to find her mother unconscious. After trying to contact relatives for help, Natalie called 911 for assistance. Her mother was taken to the hospital and released.  

Bayview Principal Rhonda Pratt comments, “We are all so proud of Natalie for her quick response to a very scary situation. We have a strong building wide character education program at Bayview. Our motto is that our students are "STARS" - Students Taking Action and Responsibility, and she is "our shining star" and a role model for all our students!”

Ian B. Accepts Lacrosse Scholarship



West Islip High School senior Ian B recently signed a letter of intent with the University of North Carolina to play lacrosse on a lacrosse scholarship. Pictured (l-r) Head Varsity Boys Lacrosse Coach Scott Craig, Ian, Administrative Assistant to the Athletic Director Tim Horan and High School Principal Ken Hartill.




Mystery Readers at Bayview 

Books, books and more books!  The students at Bayview  Elementary School were visited by a host of mystery readers as they celebrated their two-week long Parents as Reading Partners (PARP) reading program.  Mrs. Pratt invited district office administrators, parents, teacher aides, secretaries and Board of Education members to read to classes.  Mystery readers brought in their favorite books and shared their enthusiasm for reading with our students.  Dr. Blau, Superintendent of Schools, read to Mrs. Spinella’s first grade class.  Her book was about a teacher who retired and kept finding ways to disguise herself and sneak back into school.  Mrs. Spinella’s students all agreed that they do not want her to retire!  School Board trustee, Mrs. LaRosa, read a wonderful book about New York City and its many wondrous sights.  The students in Mrs. Shierant’s class truly enjoyed sharing their own experiences in the Big Apple!

Other Mystery Readers included Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Mr. Joseph Stern;  Assistant to the Superintendent for Elementary Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Magda Parvey; Assistant Superintendent for Business, Ms. Wendy Duffy; Director of Fine Arts and Music Education, Mr. Bernie Jones; Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, Mr. Lou Zocchia and Bayview’s PTA President, Mrs. Siconolfi. 

In total, Bayview students read 30,000 minutes during PARP and met the Principal’s Challenge causing Mrs. Pratt to become “kid for the day.”

Suffolk County Music Educator's Tuba Day 08

Members of the West Islip Bands attended the November, Suffolk County Music Educator's Tuba Day with their teacher Mrs. Peskanov and Mr. Kaufman.

The students played in the massed Tuba Ensemble, attended a master class by the Crane School of Music Tuba Professor Dr. Charles Guy and listened to a concert by the Long Island Tuba Ensemble. The evening’s concert ended with the 270 strong massed Tuba Ensemble featured concert. Congratulations to all our students who did an outstanding job.

All our baritone and tuba players will playing at their local school concerts in December and will be preparing for their upcoming NYSSMA solo competition in the spring.

Mrs. Peskanov and SCMEA Tuba Day Chairperson William Triano with
West Islip Students


Mr. Kaufman with WIHS Baritone and
Tuba Players


Student from Bayview Elementary School plays in the massed Tuba Ensemble


Mrs. Lucie's Fourth Grade Class Adopts a Local Soldier


Mrs. Lucie’s fourth grade class at Bayview Elementary School has been writing letters and sending goodies to Sergeant Trent Narra, who is currently stationed in Iraq. 

Sgt. Nara resides in West Islip with his wife and two young daughters; one of which is a kindergarten student in West Islip.  Mrs. Lucie’s class is currently working on collecting gloves to send over for Christmas.

Please keep Sgt. Narra in your thoughts and prayers for a safe return. 



Tri-M Music Honor Society Induction
Written by, Victoria A. - Tri-M Historian

On Tuesday November 8, 2008, the Tri-M Music Honor Society inducted their new members, installed their new officers and honored Dr. Beth Virginia Blau as a lifetime member.  The ceremony began with a musical presentation by the West Islip High School Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Mrs. Judith Hayes.  After the performance, the Tri-M advisor, Mr. David Kaufman made his welcome speech which emphasized taking leadership without fanfare. Following Mr. Kaufman was Ms. Christina DeFrancisco, an alumnus of West Islip High School who recently graduated from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam.  She spoke about the incredible journey from high school to college.  Her speech was directed towards students, giving advice on time management and work ethic.

Front Row: Victoria A., Scott S., Deanna J., Dr. Beth Blau, Christina DeFrancisco, Karen Isaksen-Taylor.

Back Row: David Kaufman, Lenny LaPinta, Thomas T., Kelly T., Brittany W., Kenneth Hartill, Melissa G., Tim Hogan.

Mrs. Judith Hayes, the orchestra director, gave a speech on the importance of parents in a student’s life.  The keynote speaker, Mr. Timothy Hogan, the past president of SCMEA, spoke about the impact of music educators.  A special presentation was given for Dr. Beth Virginia Blau.  She was awarded lifetime membership to the Tri-M Music Honor Society because of her strong support of the arts in schools. 

The induction of the executive board members and the society members followed.  The executive board of West Islip High School Tri-M Chapter 5333 is Brittany W., President; Melissa G., Vice President; Tom T., Treasurer; Scott S., Secretary; Victoria A.; Historian, Kelly T.; Band Liaison, Deanna J.; Chorus Liaison, Laura R., Orchestra Liaison.  New and returning members were inducted.  The returning members were James A., Dana A., Victoria A., Christina C., Kerri F., Shaun H., Deanna J., Diana L., Mariko L., Corine M., Nicholas M., Christopher M., Jennifer P., Laura R., Tom T., and Brittany W..  The newly inducted members are: Casey B., Scott S., Kelly V., Matthew C., Heather R.,  Cortlandt M., Brianne S., Christopher C., Victoria S., Brittany W., Kristen D., Kelly T., Douglas B., Rebecca O’C., Alexandra C., Aran O’G., Cora M., Melissa G., Stephanie S., Samantha S., Robert S., Christopher W., and Alyssa F..


After the induction ceremony, there was a reception in the band room with live performances.  Tom T. played guitar with Chris W. who played bass.  Also a performance was made by the All Star Sax Quartet. 


Overall, the induction was a success and all members are looking forward to an eventful and exciting year!


"Pumpkin Perfect"

Matthew T, a 4th grade student at Westbrook Elementary, recently guessed the exact weight of a giant pumpkin at the "Giant Pumpkin Contest."  Out of the 400 students, Matthew guessed 111 lbs. 6 oz. - the exact weight of the pumpkin!! He certainly learned his estimation skills!


Pictured with Matthew, in front, are his brothers Brandon, Guy and Jonathan and sister, Courtney.


High School Magazine Wins Gold Medal

West Islip High School’s literary magazine Spectrum, was awarded a gold medal by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association in its 2008 competition. The publication received 938 of a possible 1,000 points as its overall rating. It was also awarded All-Columbian Honors for Design receiving 333 out of 350 possible points. English teacher and Spectrum advisor David Gershfeld is proud of his editorial staff Editor-in-Chief Emily M., Graphic Design Editor Kevin C., Art Editor Kaitlyn “Kora” C., Assistant Editor Bill R., and staff members Ryan B.l, Caitlin B., Ryan L. and Donnie M., for the long hours and commitment they have given to produce the publication.  

“These kids are committed, talented and responsible and I’m very proud of them. They deserve all the credit,” said David Gershfeld. “Graphic Designer Kevin C. deserves a lot of credit for his design direction.”


Youth Achievement Award

On September 18th, West Islip High School senior Leslie B. was the recipient of the Suffolk County Youth Achievement Award, presented by County Executive Steve Levy.  Through her own personal challenges, she was inspired to engage herself in promoting education, mental and physical awareness, and positive ways to handle peer pressure. She has been involved in speaking engagements throughout Long Island on topics concerning academics, depression, death, and consequences of negative behaviors.

 “Leslie is truly an inspiration to her peers, faculty and the community,” said High School Counselor Michelle Falco.  After graduating in January 2009, Leslie will be attending the New York College of Health Professions. 

West Islip’s Outstanding Physical Education
Students to Receive Award

The Suffolk Zone of the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation has recognized Olivia Z. and Mike M. as West Islip’s Outstanding Physical Education Students. The annual award is given to students who best exemplify outstanding physical performance, scholarship, character, and citizenship. The award ceremony is scheduled for December 3rd, at East Wind Caterers in Wading River.

Mike is ranked 17th and has maintained a 100.3 average in honors and advanced placement courses and has an A average in Physical Education. He has been on the Principal’s Honor Roll throughout high school. Mike is captain of the varsity football and lacrosse teams and will attend Yale next year where he will play lacrosse.

Olivia is ranked 34th out of a total senior class of 451 and has a 98.74 academic average with an A average in Physical Education. She has taken advanced placement courses in English, US History, Chemistry, Calculus and Economics and will attend Fairfield University on a lacrosse scholarship.

"Olivia and Mike exemplify the many positive traits of this award and are great role models for every student athlete," said Administrative Assistant/Head Football Coach Tim Horan.

Students Participate in Democratic Process


On November 3rd, Oquenock Elementary School students in Mrs. Parson’s 4th grade class cast their votes for president in a mock. The election booth was donated by the Hohorst family. “It’s great for students to see what an impact they can make when they vote, and for them to become aware of the importance of the democratic process,” said Principal Dawn Morrison.  Pictured Principal Dawn Morrison, 4th grade teacher Mrs. Parson, her class, and parent Eileen Hohorst.


Bellew's Cares and Shares Club Raises Money for Lionheart Fund

The Bellew Cares and Shares Club recently sponsored a "Pumpkin Decorating Contest."  Club advisors, Dianna Grancagnolo and Nancy Piccirilli, organized the event in order to raise money to donate to the West Islip Lionheart Fund.  Students voted for their favorite pumpkins by placing a nickel in a numbered bag. The Cares and Shares Club raised $300 to contribute to the Lionheart Fund. A nickel sure goes a long way!


NY Islanders Encourage Reading

On October 21st, New York Islanders Joey MacDonald and Thomas Pock visited Manetuck Elementary School to celebrate New York Islander Literacy Day, a program created to encourage young children to read. During their visit, the hockey stars read the book “Ice Magic” to the third, fourth and fifth grade classes. Two different team members visited ten Long Island schools during the day.

Manetuck students asked many questions including: when did you start playing hockey (the answer from both players, around the age of 3 years old), what kind of car do you drive (the answer from both players SUVs), and what was your favorite book growing up (Joey MacDonald’s answer - Call of the Wild).

After reading and answering questions, players autographed items and took photos with the students. “Reading is so important in life. Everything you do in life includes reading. The better you can read, the better you do in life,” said New York Islander Joey MacDonald.“  This program provides a great way to encourage kids to read. The players are good role models and we’re so happy to have them visit,” said Manetuck Principal Mary Anderson.


New York Islanders Joey MacDonald and Thomas Pock sign autographs for Manetuck students at the New York Islander Literacy Day


New York Islanders Thomas Pock and Joey MacDonald visit the third, fourth and fifth grade classes during the New York Islander Literacy Day celebration

Long Island Scholar Artists

Long Island Scholar Artists Chelsea L. and Susan L.



Seniors, Chelsea L. and Susan L. were named Long Island Scholar Artist Honorable Mentions for 2008-2009. Both young ladies challenge themselves with rigorous honors and advanced placement courses, while being members of a dance company and chorus and orchestra, respectively.  They will be honored at a ceremony in the spring.


Chelsea and Susan have been members of the WIHSDC since its inception and have played integral roles in the growth of the company.   Both dancers are also accomplished choreographers, showcasing their work in various places, including the WIHSDC Dance Concerts.  


National Merit Commended Students

Pictured (l-r) National Merit Commended students Jacqueline M., Sherilyn H., Daniel F. and Principal Ken Hartill.Seniors Jacqueline M., Sherilyn H. and Daniel F. were chosen as Commended Students by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation in its 2009 National Merit Scholarship Program.

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise.  Although they will not continue in the 2009 competition for National Merit Scholarships, Commended Students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2009 competition by taking the 2007 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).

 “The young people named Commended Students in the 2008 National Merit Scholarship Program are distinguished by their strong academic performance in this rigorous competition,” commented a spokesperson for NMSC. 


National Merit Semi-finalists

 National Merit Semi-finalists Christopher M. and Amanda P.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) recently named West Islip High School seniors Christopher M. and Amanda P. as semi-finalists in the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.  Christopher and Amanda were two of the 16,000 semi-finalists named nationally who will be competing for 8,200 Merit Scholarships, worth $34 million, that will be offered next spring.  To be considered for a Merit Scholarship, semi-finalists must advance to the finalist stage.            

NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Program.  Scholarships awarded through the program are underwritten by NMSC’s own funds and by approximately 500 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals for honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.


Students Named All-State in Music 

The New York State School Music Association recently named six West Islip High School students to its All-State ensembles out of the thousands who auditioned last spring.  The New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) All-State Conference will be held in Rochester on December 4-7, 2008.

Pictured All-State Music ensemble students (l-r back row) Douglas B., Cortlandt M., Matthew C.
(l-r front row) Amanda H., Victoria A. and Amanda C


Kindergarten Registration for September 2009 Classes
To ensure that your future kindergartner is placed at the elementary school in your attendance zone, parents/guardians need to register students on the following dates:

Paul J. Bellew Elementary School - Mon. & Tues., Nov. 3 & 4

Manetuck Elementary School - Mon. & Tues., Nov. 3 & 4

Westbrook Elementary School -Thurs. & Fri., Nov. 6 & 7

Bayview Elementary School - Wed. & Thurs., Nov. 12 & 13

Paul E. Kirdahy Elementary School at Captree - Wed. & Thurs., Nov. 12 & 13

Oquenock Elementary School - Wed. & Thurs., Nov. 12 & 13

To expedite the process, please pick up a kindergarten registration package from your home school prior to the registration date.

The hours for kindergarten registration on the above dates are: 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

* When registering, please bring your child’s birth certificate, proof of residency and proof of immunizations.

By registering your child on the above dates listed for your school, the district is able to plan for transportation, class sizes and other budget information.For additional specific information, please call the individual elementary school. If you are unsure which school your child should attend, please call the Transportation Office at 893-3300.


Public Issues on the Radio

On Wednesday October 15, 2008 students from the 12th grade Public Issues classes were invited by Professor Michael D’Innocenzo to be in the audience and participate in a live broadcast of the Brian Lehrer Show that aired from Hofstra University.  Gary B., Will D., Alyssa F., Kerri F., Phil M., Christine R. and Ray W. were in attendance for a special pre-debate episode as the audience discussed politics and issues affecting young Americans.  The first hour of the show was focused on Presidential Candidates Barack Obama and John McCain in a preview of the final debate held later that evening.  The second hour was focused on the rising cost college tuition and how students are handling that amidst the current economic situation.  The audience was able to discuss both candidates’ platforms regarding higher education and student loans.  To view photos from the event, click here.



Mersa (MRSA) and Viral Meningitis Presentation


A Mersa(MRSA) and Viral Meningitis Presentation will be held on Tuesday, November 18th at Udall Middle School at 7pm. The evenings presenter will be Dr. Howard Balbi, Infectious Control Specialist, from Good Samaritan Hospital. Staph infections, including the serious MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) strain, have spread through schools nationwide in recent years.  MRSA is a strain of staph bacteria that does not respond to penicillin and related antibiotics. It can, however, be treated with other drugs. The infection can be spread by skin-to-skin contact or by sharing an item such as a towel or clothing used by an infected person. Mark your calendars and learn the truths vs. the myths about these conditions.

West Islip Robotics Booster Club will be hosting
a Defensive Driving Course

The West Islip Robotics Booster Club will be hosting a DEFENSIVE DRIVING course as a fundraiser on Saturday November 8 at the high school from 9AM-3PM.   Completing this 6 hour class enables you to get a discount on your automobile insurance or points off you license.   For the 4th year, Mr. Dan Weber of Hometown Insurance is volunteering his time for this so all funds raised benefit the WI High School Robotics team and middle school LEGO teams.
If interested, please click here to download a registration form to reserve your spot. Mail the form and the $40 fee to:
West Islip Robotics Booster Club
649 Cadman Rd
West Islip, NY 11795
Email if there are any questions. 

West Islip Schools Open

On September 4, 2008 West Islip School District opened for the 2008-2009 school year. The district is implementing several new programs to help facilitate instruction, student interest, and expand parent communication. In addition, the district welcomed Dr. Magda Parvey as the Assistant to the Superintendent for the Elementary Curriculum and Instruction; Dr. Judith Toussaint, Director of World Languages; Lisa Martinolich,  Beach Street Middle School Assistant Principal; Sal Alaimo, Udall Road Middle School Assistant Principal; and Sarah Anker, District Publicist. West Islip's schools opened with an enrollment of 5,538, slightly down from last year.

Pictured at the Paul J. Bellew Elementary School welcoming kindergartners are (left to right) Dr. Magda Parvey, Principal Dan Hunter, and teacher Kristen Fawess.  Making comparisons on their attire for the first day of school are Bellew Elementary School student Lauren K. and Gianna S.  Looking on is Sarah K.Greeting students when the school buses arrived were Principal Dan Hunter and teacher Dianna Grancagnolo.
 Pictured with their mom at the Bellew Elementary School are twins Francesca and Arianna M. 

Breakfast for the Class of 2008 hosted by Amica Insurance

Amica Insurance, a long time friend and supporter of West Islip High School's efforts to educate its students on safe driving, once again hosted a breakfast for the Class of 2008 prior to its graduation rehearsal in June.  This was the sixth consecutive year that Amica joined forces with the high school to create awareness about the dangers of driving under the influence.  Representatives Marla Kluberdanz and Nancy Richter explained, "At Amica Insurance, we learn first-hand about the devastating accidents that result from teen drinking and driving.  This is why we sponsor events such as the high school breakfast."  A check for $500 to Principal Ken Hartill was given as a donation to continue the school efforts.



Click here to return to WI News Index