South Country Central School District


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Bellport Art Students Receive Honors

The South Country School District Art Department is pleased to share that four Bellport High School seniors and one junior have been recognized by the Parrish Art Museum as part of its 65th annual Student Exhibition, which ran through April 24.

The 2022 showcase, featured more than 600 young artists, honored seniors David Ayala (digital media), Alexia Benjamin (digital media), Betsy Castro (photography) and Vivienne Love (photography) with Senior Awards for Excellence. Additionally, junior Madeline Day was selected for the “Ones to Watch” category.

Release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Bellport High School Student Council Recognized

For its exemplary record of leadership, service and activities that serve to improve the school and community, the Bellport High School Student Council has been recognized as a gold-level winner of the 2022 National Council of Excellence Award by the National Student Council. The NatStuCo program is supported by its parent organization, the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

A student council must meet a variety of criteria to be eligible for this award. In addition to basic requirements such as a written constitution, regular meetings and a democratic election process, the council must demonstrate successful sponsorship and participation in activities such as leadership development and service to the school and community.

This school year, the Bellport High School Student Council hosted a variety of unifying, schoolwide pride events and held several fundraisers, including a food drive for local food pantries and a collection for Ukraine.

Release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Bellport High School Valedictorian, Salutatorian and Class Essayist Named

School News

Bellport High School has announced Rianna Raghunandan and Calvin Pedatella as its Class of 2022 valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, and Eric Ciavatta as the class essayist. The three seniors earned the top spots in their class through their outstanding commitment to academics.

Raghunandan is an AP Scholar with Honor and holds a National Hispanic Recognition Award. She is treasurer of the Tri-M Music Honor Society and a member of the National, Math and Science honor societies, as well as the Art Club, Spanish Club, Book Club and Key Club. She plays the violin in both the concert and pit orchestras. In addition, she was accepted into the QuestBridge College Prep Scholars Program and selected as a finalist in the prestigious QuestBridge National College Match Program. Outside of school, she volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club. She plans to attend Yale University in the fall to study biological sciences on a pre-med track.

Pedatella is an AP Scholar and a member of the National, Math and Science honor societies. He is a decorated athlete as a member of his school’s wrestling and football teams. For the former, he is a two-time All-League wrestler and a Scholar-Athlete. For the latter, he earned All-County, All-Long Island and All-State honors and was named a Suffolk County News 12 Scholar Athlete. Most recently, he was named the winner of the Top Scholar Athlete Award from the Suffolk County chapter of the National Football Foundation. In school, he volunteers with Athletes Helping Athletes, and outside of school, he helps at Eileen’s Home soup kitchen. He will be attending Williams College in the fall, where he will continue playing football.

Ciavatta is vice president of his school’s National Honor Society, a member of the Math and Science honor societies, and has served as class secretary for the past four years. He is also a member of his school’s Culinary Club and student council. Outside of school, he works at RHUM in Patchogue. He will be attending SUNY Cortland in the fall to study math education.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Celebrating Excellence

School News

Bellport High School commended the top 67 students of the Class of 2022 during a celebratory Evening of Excellence on April 5th. The seniors were honored for distinguishing themselves through their academic performance. All have maintained a grade-point average of 93 or higher.

“Excellence just does not occur by accident,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani. “It is the gradual result of always striving to do your best with high intention, sincere effort and mindful execution.”

Prior to the presentation of awards, high school Principal Erika Della Rosa presented Rianna Raghunandan as the Class of 2022 valedictorian, Calvin Pedatella as salutatorian and Eric Ciavatta as class essayist. They were each named for their dedication to academics.

The evening also featured the presentation of six teachers (one from each school) whom the top students collectively agreed were those who most inspired and positively influenced them during their educational journeys.

Addressing the honored teachers, Dr. Giani said, “Being recognized by these high achievers as having inspired them is a tremendous distinction. It just goes to show that your successes do not always show up in the classroom. Sometimes success shows up when you least expect it.”

The honored teachers included Kevin Glynn, Brookhaven Elementary School; Gina Benzie, Kreamer Street Elementary School; Melissa Fels, Verne W. Critz Elementary School; Suzanne Olivotti-Dodge, Frank P. Long Intermediate School; Victoria Hogan, Bellport Middle School; and Andrew Budris, Bellport High School.

Performing during the ceremony was the Bellport High School Orchestra, with the Bellport High School Cadet Core presenting the colors.

The South Country Central School District congratulates the following top students:

Alexia Benjamin
Boris Berja
Justin Betti
Madison Boehler
Emma Butler
Clayton Cannella
William Caroli
Ryann Christie
Eric Ciavatta
Drew Cioffi
Joel Cruz
Eliana Cruz
Harrison Day
Erica Dickinson
Donovan Edmondson
Sarah Elbaroudy
Courtney Fagan
Elisha Feliz
Josselyn Fuentes
Margaret Fuentes Velasco
Natalie Gentzel
Troy Gentzel
Jack Gerard
Violet Gordon
Dylan Gronenthal
Jessica Hampson
Abigail Horn
Curren Johnsen
Shelby Kaczmarek
Marissa Krawczyk
Tyler Krompier
Paige Lewis
Abby Loeffler
Ashley Loja
Julia Longo
Vivienne Love
Sydney Macioce
Aqsa Majid
Robert Menendez
Leonardo Mignola
Jarithsa Molina Iniguez
Kevin Munson
Colin Murphy
Angela Nadeau
Jamie Nobile
Madison Olivant
Tamara Ortiz Macas
Calvin Pedatella
Anthony Pennachio
Giana Porter
Marc Promutico
Rianna Raghunandan
Charlotte Rauch
Daniel Reilly
Jacob Repper
Matthew Ritter
Isabella Rupolo
Laurens Seubert Jr.
Rylie Sikeotis
Dominic Tigre
Michael Tvelia
Kyle Varuolo
Kayla Vengroski
Nicholas Vital
Victoria Vital
Louis Wilson
Alyssa Wolf

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

South Country Music Program Applauded

NAMM

For its dedication to music, the South Country School District has been distinguished with a 2022 Best Communities for Music Education designation from the nonprofit NAMM Foundation. The district is one of 738 school districts from across the nation to earn the award.

To receive the recognition, South Country demonstrated outstanding achievement in its efforts to provide music access and education to all students. The district was required to answer detailed questions about its program, including funding, music class participation, instruction time and support.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

National Football Honors

Football Honors

Bellport High School senior Calvin Pedatella has been named the winner of the Top Scholar Athlete Award by the Suffolk County chapter of the National Football Foundation.

Pedatella, an outside linebacker and wide receiver, earned the top award from a pool of the top 11 athletes in Suffolk County who were eligible for it.

This is not the only honor bestowed upon Pedatella, who has served as captain of his school’s football team for the past two years. He was featured on a News 12 segment as a News 12 Scholar Athlete Award recipient and received a $1,000 scholarship from Bethpage Federal Credit Union. He also holds All-County, All-Long Island and All-State titles for football.

Pedatella, who recently signed with Williams College, is also an accomplished wrestler, earning two varsity Scholar Athlete Awards and two All-League titles.

In addition to his athletic involvement and academic studies, Pedatella has been named the Class of 2022 salutatorian and is a member of his school’s Athletes Helping Athletes club and National, Math and Science honor societies. He also volunteers at the nonprofit Eileen’s Home for the Holidays.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Retired South Country Athletic Director Recognized

Bob McIntyre

Bob McIntyre, who served as the South Country Central School District athletic director for 12 years before his December 2021 retirement, has been named the 2022 Section XI Athletic Director of the Year by the New York State Athletic Administrators Association.

McIntyre was honored at the Roy O’Neill Awards Banquet in Saratoga on March 17 for making outstanding contributions to athletics over the years and displaying devotion, commitment and promotion of athletics in a positive manner.

Before joining South Country in 2010, McIntyre left his mark in the East Moriches, Eastport-South Manor and Port Jefferson school districts.

“We extend our congratulations to Bob McIntyre,” said South Country Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani. “He certainly is deserving and served the South Country School District well during his tenure here.”

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Success for Bellport High School Athletic Teams

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association has recognized four of Bellport High School’s winter athletic teams as Scholar-Athlete Teams. To earn the recognition, 75% of each team was required to hold a GPA above 90%. The South Country Central School District extends its congratulations to the boys and girls varsity track teams, the boys varsity bowling team and the girls varsity basketball team.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Support for Ukraine

Gaming

The Bellport High School Student Council, National Honor Society and the school’s life skills students have teamed up to provide support to Ukraine through a blue ribbon fundraising campaign and monthlong collection drive.

The effort kicked off on March 18 with students and staff wearing the colors of the Ukrainian flag to show support for the war-torn country. On the same day, life skills students began selling blue ribbons that they had made for $1 each. All of the funds collected will be donated directly to the American Red Cross to provide humanitarian aid to those impacted by the conflict.

Student Council and National Honor Society members, meanwhile, are leading a communitywide collection drive for medical supplies, socks baby supplies (including diapers and wipes), nonperishable food and clothing. All items will be delivered at the end of the month to St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Riverhead, which will ship the items directly to Ukraine.

Community members wishing to help in the effort can drop off items to collection boxes located in the main entrance of the school. Monetary donations can also be delivered to the main entrance in an envelope labeled “Ukraine Relief, Attention: Ellen Hoffman.” Please also include your name and address.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Bellport’s Gaming Team Scores Big First Time Out

Gaming

Bellport High School’s new gaming club, eSports, showcased their impressive skills during their first competitive season, with both teams in the club finishing strong.

The team of Andy Amaya, Ed Argueta and Ava Salinas focused on the video game Rocket League and won six out of eight matches. They finished No. 40 out of 7,600 teams from across the country. The team of Alexia Benjamin, Brandon Impellizzeri, Tyler Montalvo, Jamie Nobile and Anthony Pino, who concentrated on the video game Valorant, also played hard, landing at No. 175.

Both teams competed during a 10-week season, meeting three times a week after school.

“It is pretty impressive what they accomplished,” said club adviser William Langhan. “Some of them never played the games with each other or ever before.”

ESports was inaugurated at the start of the school year and aims to provide students who wouldn’t normally participate in sports, drama or music with a platform to be a part of a unified team.

The idea for the team was developed a few months prior to the COVID-19 school shutdown through a collaboration between Langhan and Bellport Middle School Assistant Principal Reinaldo Latorre. The pair, who are gamers themselves, worked to evolve their gaming team idea into an opportunity for interested students to use their gaming skills in a competitive setting.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Teacher Commended for Swift Action

Brookhaven Teacher

Brookhaven Elementary School teaching assistant Nicole Santana was commended by the South Country Board of Education on March 2 for her heroic action of recently performing the Heimlich maneuver on a choking student. Santana was praised by the board and presented with a certificate of recognition for her actions.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

South Country Honors Alumnus Basketball Star

School

One of Bellport High School’s most accomplished basketball alumni — Jarell White — was honored with a banner in the school’s gymnasium at a ceremony held during a Feb. 9 basketball game.

White, who graduated in 2019, earned the honor for being a Bellport High School statistical leader. He scored 2,100 career points and 1,188 career rebounds during his time at Bellport. He was also the 2018-19 Suffolk County Player of the Year, a four-time state player (2016-2019), Rookie of the Year in 2016, a three-time All-Long Island Player (2017-2019) and a three-time All-County Player (2017-2019). He currently plays basketball at SUNY Sullivan, where he is also studying sports management.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Heading to States

Wrestling

Bellport High School junior athlete Jaiden Green has qualified to compete in the New York State wrestling Championships in Albany on Feb. 25. He earned the spot after finishing second in an overtime match at the Suffolk County Wrestling Championships. Prior to the start of the season, Green was named to Newsday’s Top 50 Long Island Wrestlers list. The athlete received the recognition for finishing his freshman wrestling season as the sixth best Suffolk County wrestler.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

A Celebration of Love

South Country Schools

Students across the South Country Central School District took part in P.S. I Love You Day on Feb. 11. The day aims to raise awareness about bullying and suicide while promoting kindness. Wearing purple to mark the day, students at Bellport High School used dry erase markers to write caring messages on the windows outside the school’s cafeteria, sent kindness grams to friends, and earned “Kindness Koupons” if they were caught performing a random act of kindness. The coupons could be redeemed for treats from the school store. The school also held a staff kindness challenge, where staff members could win a chance to park in an administrator’s parking spot by completing acts of kindness.

Students at the middle, intermediate and elementary levels completed kindness activities throughout the week of Feb. 7. They wrote letters to someone special, participated in a virtual assembly with Brooke DiPalma, founder of P.S. I Love You Day, and created friendship chains that were displayed in their schools.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

A Dream Come True

South Country Schools

Johnnie Booker, a football star from Bellport High School, recently participated in the 2022 Dream All-American Bowl at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Texas.

Booker was one of 167 athletes hand-picked to take part in a weeklong training session that culminated with a game on Jan. 17. Booker’s team — coached by Joe Horn, who played for the New Orleans Saints — won their final game 21-13.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Selected for SCMEA

Fifty-one South Country Central School District students have been selected to participate in the prestigious Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association All-County Music Festival in March. The students were selected based on nominations by their teachers and their 2021 New York State School Music Association solo evaluation performances.
The South Country Central School District extends its congratulations to the following students on a job well done:

Division I Band:
Matthew Chojnacki
Courtney Christie
Olivia DeVito
Emma Fostvedt
Steven Garfen
Tony Hernandez
Giovanna Muro
Isabella Sanabria
Molly Steininger
Connor Togher
Nicholas Wines
Faith Wright

Division I Chorus:
Devon Dinowitz
Bella Evans
Susanna Kliegl
Ava LaScala
Alexa Ulloa
Samantha Valenti
Division I Orchestra:
Lindsey Alvarenga Flores
Sofia Fuentes Rios
James Hines
Gavin Klein
Leighlany Lutchman
Markeese Marrero
Naomi Schindler-Schul

Division II Band:
Aaren Arias
Julius Radino
Kayla Schneider

Division II Chorus:
Madison Aruta
Ava McKee

Division II Orchestra:
Gabriel Andre
Colin Capuano
Penelope Gordon
Ethan Hillard
Lucia McCollum

Division III Band:
Benjamin Santiago
Eva Gallo
Joseph Starpoli
Michael Nesi
Emma Kuegel
Alexa Allan
Anthony Costanza

Division III Chorus:
Karyn Devine
Rileigh Picken
Kaelyn Schmidt
Oscar Hernandez

Division III Orchestra:
Emily Robbins
Marissa LaSorsa
Ella Steckle
Stephanie Rodas
Lila Schultz

Release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

South Country Teacher Earns National Board Certification

TeacherWhile many were navigating new pathways at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mary Pettit, a fifth grade teacher at Frank P. Long Intermediate School in the South Country Central School District, began a journey to earn her National Board Certification.

“Education is a constantly changing landscape, and in an effort to improve my craft and align my teaching with the most current data-based methods, I embarked on a journey that led to one of the best professional development experiences of my career,” said Pettit, who has since earned the teaching credential in English Language Arts and Middle Childhood for Ages 3-12.

The NBC goes beyond a state teaching license. It is an extremely rigorous certification process and includes national standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do.

“The most important reason to get national certification, in my opinion, is the confidence I feel about what and how I teach my students,” said Pettit. “In order to provide my students with the voice they deserve, I needed to enrich my teaching and knowledge of best practices.”

At the same time Pettit was working toward her NBC, she also enrolled in the Educational Leadership for Diverse Learning Communities (Ed.D.) program at Molloy College. She is currently finishing her second year.

“The past two years have been so enlightening, and I am so excited to conduct my own research on issues in education that I feel passionate about,” she said.

Pettit has been a teacher in the South Country Central School District for the past 23 years. She spent her first 10 years teaching first and third grades at Brookhaven Elementary before moving to Frank P. Long Intermediate to educate fourth and fifth graders. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, and a master’s degree from Dowling College.

For her efforts, Pettit was recently recognized by the district’s board of education.
“I appreciate that [Superintendent of Schools] Dr. Giani and the BOE members recognized my achievement, and I am very excited to work with the district to find ways to inspire and motivate other teachers to take the NBC journey,” she said.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

South Country Athletes Earn Honors

Seven Bellport High School fall athletic teams have been recognized by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association as Scholar-Athlete Teams. To earn the recognition, 75% of each team was required to hold a GPA above 90%. The South Country Central School District congratulates the girls varsity cross-country team, girls varsity volleyball team, varsity football team, boys varsity golf team, girls varsity soccer team, boys cross-country team and girls varsity tennis team.

Release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Student Athletes Earn Honors

Bellport High School athletes Natalie Gentzel and Curren Johnsen were recently honored by the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance as winners of the Suffolk Zone Student Leadership Award. The seniors were selected based on their excellence in physical education, leadership ability and service to the community.

Gentzel is captain of her school’s volleyball and track teams and holds a record for track in 400-meter hurdles. She is also president of her school’s Outdoor Club, secretary of Athletes Helping Others and a member of the student council. She plans to study physical education at Lock Haven University in the fall.

“The skills I gained [in the high school’s physical education program] were communication and how to be a leader,” said Gentzel. “These will help me achieve my personal goals in the future.”

Johnsen plays lacrosse, basketball and is captain of his school’s golf team. His accolades include All-County for lacrosse, All-Conference for golf, and MVP for lacrosse and golf. He also participates in his school’s Athletes Helping Athletes program, broadcast journalism program and National Honor Society. He will attend Lehigh University on a scholarship to study business.

“The communication skills that I take away from playing sports allow me to better understand people’s personalities, among other benefits,” he said.

Release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Serving Up Awards

volleyball

Four seniors and one junior member of Bellport High School’s girls varsity volleyball team were presented with prestigious sporting awards at the Suffolk County Girls’ Volleyball Coaches Dinner on Dec. 7.

The South Country School District extends it congratulations to the following athletes on a job well done:

Skye Dodge, 11th Grade, All-County Tournament Team
Natalie Gentzel, 12th Grade, All-Classification
Jessica Hampson, 12th Grade, All-League
Marissa Krawczyk, 12th Grade, All-County
Abby Loeffler, 12th Grade, All-Classification and All-County Academic Team

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Perfect Percussion

MusicMusic

Two South Country School District students have been recognized for their exceptional musical abilities by the Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association.

Bellport High School percussionist Michael Nesi has been selected by SCMEA to perform in the 2021 All-County High School Percussion Ensemble, and Bellport Middle School percussionist Julius Radino was named to the 2021 All-County Middle School Percussion Ensemble. They will both be performing on Jan. 21 at Sachem High School North.

The student-musicians were selected for the honors based on their outstanding musicianship and scores at the New York State School Music Association Solo Evaluation Festival last spring.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

South Country Senior Earns News 12 Scholar Athlete Award

NewsFor his hard work and dedication both on and off the field, Bellport High School senior Calvin Pedatella has been distinguished with the News 12 Scholar Athlete Award.

With the honor, the senior was featured on News 12 segment and received a $1,000 scholarship from Bethpage Federal Credit Union.

Pedatella, who recently signed with Williams College, serves as captain of his school’s football team and a third-year starting linebacker and wide receiver. He is also an accomplished wrestler, earning two varsity Scholar Athlete Awards for the sport.

In addition to his athletic involvement and academic studies, Pedatella is a member of his school’s Athletes Helping Others club, National Honor Society, National Math Honor Society and National Science Honor Society. He also volunteers at the nonprofit Eileen’s Home for the Holidays.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Exceptional Bellport High School Artist

Art Award

An impressive self-portrait created by Bellport High School student Mathew Guerrero took first place in the 13th annual Suffolk County Community College High School Art Competition, held at the Sagtikos Art Gallery at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood.

Guerrero’s work was selected out of 108 entries from 15 participating Long Island high schools. Winners were announced during the exhibit’s opening reception on Dec. 9.
Bellport High School students Shanel Fernandez, Nikki Hirschkind and Thalia Mowdy also have their works on display at the exhibit, which is open through Dec. 22.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Touchdown for Bellport Football

Football

The South County School District’s Board of Education recognized the Bellport High School football team and coaches during its Dec. 9 meeting. Team members were honored with certificates of recognition for making school history by winning the Division II county championship.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

A Busload of Food

Food Drive

The Bellport High School Student Council recently hosted a successful Thanksgiving food drive. During the month of November, the students worked to collect nonperishable goods that were then donated to 20 families within the South Country Central School District, as well as to the nonprofit Lighthouse Mission. All of the donations were loaded onto the district’s mobile library bus, sorted into Thanksgiving baskets and delivered.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Helping Others in Need

Food Drive

Members of the Bellport Middle School Student Council and National Junior Honor Society recently worked together to collect nonperishable food for community members in need. All items will be donated to the nonprofit Lighthouse Mission. “It was a great turnout for a great cause,” said Student Council Advisor, Jeremy Freeman.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Successful Blood Drive

blood drive

The Bellport High School National Honor Society hosted a successful blood drive on Nov. 18. It was the first blood drive they have been able to hold since the COVID-19 pandemic. During the event, 73 people stepped up to donate blood.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Senior Football Players Thank Inspiring Staff

Football

Smiles of appreciation were in abundance on Oct. 28 as 17 Bellport High School senior football players paid tribute to the staff members who made a major impact on them during their time in the South Country School District.

Each player penned and hand-delivered a special note of thanks to one staff member of their choosing. They also lent them their game jersey to display or wear on Oct. 29.

“This was a great way to allow our young men to say thank you to the adults who really inspired them along their journey,” said Assistant Coach Kai Watkins. “It was also a way for the staff to be recognized for some of the outstanding work they have done throughout the years that made a lasting impression.”

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Bellport High School Students Earn College Board Recognition

Students

Three Bellport High School seniors have been recognized by the College Board’s National Hispanic Recognition Program as National Hispanic Scholars. Joel Cruz, Margaret Fuentes Velasco and Rianna Raghunandan earned the honor by scoring in the top 2.5% of all PSAT/NMSQT test takers in their junior year and by maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

A Special Recognition

Art Recognition

The talents of the South Country School District’s student-artists were showcased during School Board Recognition Week, hosted by the New York State School Boards Association, which recognized the district’s volunteer board of education members.

During the recognition, each board member was presented with a colorful, student-made portrait. The artists included students from across the district: Emma Davis, Devon Dinowitz, Emilia Gomez, Axel Haynes, Maeve Jablonski, Alexandra Leong, Leonardo Mignola, Elaina Muro, Elena Nazario, Jordan Saliba, Naomi Schindler-Shul, Anna Schultz, Peyton Sullivan and Fabiana Vargas.

All portraits are on display in the district’s board of education meeting room in the district office.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Bellport High School Seniors Named Questbridge Finalists

Questbridge

Bellport High School seniors Boris Berja and Rianna Raghunandan have been selected by QuestBridge as 2021 National Finalists for demonstrating outstanding academic achievement.

QuestBridge is a national, nonprofit institution that connects the country’s most exceptional students with leading educational institutions and further academic opportunities at some of the nation’s top colleges and universities. As finalists, Berja and Raghunandan will potentially be matched with a full scholarship to one of QuestBridge’s partner colleges.

In its prestigious selection process, QuestBridge searches for academically talented students who match the partner colleges’ level of academic achievement and can potentially thrive on their campuses. Finalists are chosen from a pool of applicants who are in the top 5-10% of their class, have received mostly A’s in the school’s most rigorous classes and have realized strong standardized test scores, if taken.

In addition to being academically talented, Berja is a member of his school’s National, Math and Science honor societies and vice president of the French Club. He also participates in the Outdoor Club and Students for Environmental Quality Club.

Equally involved in her school, Raghunandan is a member of the chamber orchestra, Key Club, and National, Tri-M Music, Science and Math honor societies.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

88 Inducted into National Honor Society

Honor Society

Eighty-eight Bellport High School students were inducted into the National Honor Society during a virtual candle-lighting ceremony on Nov. 8.

To be eligible for membership, the students were required to maintain an average GPA of 90 or better; meet the standards of leadership, service, citizenship and character; and complete six hours of community service.

The South Country School District extends its congratulations to the following inductees:

Seniors:
Kayla Coq
Rachel Ellenwood
Courtney Fagan
Margaret Fuentes Velasco
Riley Nagle
Michael LeBrun
Leonardo Mignola
Kayleigh Py
Nicholas Vital

Juniors:
Avery Ferrara
Paul Gilbert
Aidan Littwin
Rajkumar Murugan
Mirka Zapata

Sophomores:
Shane Abrams
Ethan Amendola
Pietro Ancona Jr.
Bridget Barry
Madeline Budris
James Butler IV
Claire Cannella
Kailyn Ciavatta
Juliette Cuccurese
Justin DeCorato
Evan Dedis
Samantha DeLillo
Sam Dotterman
Ava Fauci
Olivia Fauci
Francis Felice
Shanel Fernandez
Giulia Gannon
Ryan Gaynor
Tyler Gentile
Derek Griffin
Stephanie Grosso
Amber Guiffreda
Kevin Hawaldar
Penelope Henao
Brianna Henn
Amira Hussein
Jaiden Jackson
Brynn Johnsen
Dylan Knakal
Julia Kotasek
Emma Kuegel
Cassandra La Monica
Sean Lannon
Mason Linke
Taylor LiVigni
Adonis Lopez
Taylor Macioce
Ryan Manitta
Sophia Manna
Sude Maris
Gael Michel
Shane Moody
Connor Murphy
Michael Nesi
Tyler Ocasio
Leah Ofori
Folashade Olabode
Jaidyn O'Neil
Andie Pedatella
Rachel Petri
Rebecca Pino
Aarilin Pitre
Jake Polito
Lily Porfert
Jack Porter
Abbey Py
Bryelle Reid
Emily Robbins
Iesha Rodney
Faith Rubio
Caden Rupolo
Kaelyn Schmidt
Lola Schortemeyer
Matthew Smolen
Evelyn Soto
Joseph Starpoli
Ella Steckle
Jordan Truce
Liam Vizcaino Figueroa
Connor Wilson
James Vohrer
Max Yablon
Usman Zahid

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Tricks and Treats at Brookhaven Elementary School

Trick or Treat

Dressed in Halloween costumes, students from South Country School District’s South Haven Early Childhood Center and Brookhaven Elementary School were all smiles as they participated in an evening trunk-or-treat event on Oct. 22, at Brookhaven Elementary School. The event was made possible through a partnership with the two schools’ PTAs.

Deemed a huge success, parents volunteered to decorate their cars and hand out candy to students who trick or treated around the school’s parking lot.

Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Bellport High School Homecoming

Homecoming

Excitement and school spirit filled the air on Oct. 16, as the Bellport High School Clippers celebrated homecoming with a parade and football game that brought the community together.

The celebrations kicked off during the week of Oct. 12 with fun-filled theme days and preparations for the parade. Students constructed colorful floats surrounding the theme of board games. The floats were on full display during the annual parade, which also featured the school’s marching band, class courts, cheerleaders, dance team, and members of the Bellport Fire Department and South Country Ambulance Company.

The stands were full a few hours later for the homecoming football game. Cheers rang out for the Clippers as they took on and defeated Connetquot with a final score of 42-0. The game also featured superb halftime performances by the varsity cheerleaders and varsity dance team.

Homecoming

Homecoming

Homecoming

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Town Celebrates Bellport High School Students

South Country Schools

Ten Bellport High School students are being recognized by the Town of Brookhaven as part of the town’s eighth annual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration. The students were selected for the honor by the town’s Hispanic Advisory Board for maintaining a cumulative GPA of 95 or higher.

The South Country Central School District congratulates the following students: Eliana Cruz, Joel Cruz,
Elisha Feliz, Josselyn Fuentes, Margaret Fuentes Velasco, Jarithsa Molina Iniguez, Tamara Ortiz Macas,
Rianna Raghunandan, Rylie Sikeotis, Dominic Tigre.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

14 AP Scholars Named in South Country

AP Scholars

In recognition of their exceptional achievement on national Advanced Placement exams taken last year, 14 Bellport High School seniors have earned AP Scholar awards. Eight students were named AP Scholars, while another six earned the recognition of AP Scholar with Honor.

To earn Scholar recognition, students are required to score a 3 or higher on three or more AP exams; for Scholar with Honor, they must earn a 3.25 on all AP exams taken and grades of 3 or higher on four or more of those exams.

The South Country Central School District extends its congratulations to the following students:

AP Scholar:
Boris Berja, Joel Cruz, Elisha Feliz, Violet Gordon, Sydney Macioce, Jamie Nobile, Calvin Pedatella and Jacob Repper.

AP Scholar with Honor:
Clayton Cannella, Harrison Day, Robert Menendez, Colin Murphy, Rianna Raghunandan and Charlotte Rauch.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Jazzing It Up

JazzSouth Country Jazz

Two South Country School District students have been recognized for their musical abilities by the Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association. Bellport High School trumpet player Leonardo Mignola has been selected by SCMEA to perform in the 2021 High School Instrumental Jazz Ensemble, and Bellport Middle School percussionist Julius Radino was named to the 2021 Middle School Instrumental Jazz Ensemble. The student-musicians were selected for the honors based on their outstanding musicianship, strong work ethic, dedication and positive attitude.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Star Student-Musician Recognized by All-State

All State

A Bellport High School student-musician has been named as an alternate for the New York State School Music Association’s prestigious All-State Music Festival. Leah Silvestre, viola, was selected as an alternate to perform in the Symphonic Orchestra based on her solo performances at the NYSSMA adjudications last spring.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

South Country Thespian Earns Merit Award

South Country School

South Country High School senior Emma Butler, a talented actress and singer, has been recognized with an award of merit as part of the Long Island Arts Alliance’s annual Scholar-Artist Awards. She was one of 20 students from across Long Island to be selected for the honor after being nominated by her school.

To qualify, Butler had to submit a video recording of a song and a monologue, as well as an essay. She sang “A Part of That” from the musical “The Last Five Years” and performed a monologue from the musical “Now. Here. This.” Both the song and the monologue, she said, resonated with her. For her essay, she wrote about how the arts have enriched her life.

“It wasn’t difficult to write about the arts in my life,” Butler said. “Theater has been a part of me since my first production in the fifth grade.”

Since she first took the stage, she has continued to perform in annual school productions and was recently cast in her first professional show at the Studio Theater of Long Island. She will be performing in the chorus in a production of “Aida.”

“I love theater,” she said. “I love the sense of camaraderie and performing on stage after all the hard work we put in.”

When not performing, Butler can be found reading at her local library, where she recently participated in a Battle of the Books program. She is also president of her school’s National Honor Society and a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society. She plans to study psychology in college.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

New School Year Kicks Off in South Country

Back to School

Students across the South Country Central School District quickly became acquainted with their new teachers, routines and programs as they kicked off the 2021-22 school year on Sept. 1st.

Elementary students began the school year as they stepped off their buses to be greeted by smiling teachers. They entered their colorful classrooms and started their day by getting to know their new teachers and classmates. Secondary students also met their teachers and made a smooth transition back as they adjusted to their new classrooms and schedules.

“We are looking forward to a year filled with outstanding academic and extracurricular opportunities for our students,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani.

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Sophomore Named Ex-Officio Board of Education Member

Ex Officio

The South Country Central School District Board of Education has appointed Bellport High School sophomore Brynn Johnsen as its student ex officio board member for the 2021-2022 school year. She replaces Jack Frankie, who graduated in June.

Johnsen, who will officially take her chair alongside the board on Sept. 15, is looking forward to the advisory position. “I like being able to give back to my school, and to get involved and encourage others in everything,” she said.

As a non-voting board member, Johnsen will provide the board with reports regarding the student body at each board meeting. She will also lend important insight and feedback to the board for designing special events that bring students together.

“I think it is especially important to bring students together through events during COVID,” she said.

Johnsen earned the ex officio position after running a successful campaign at her school. As a freshman, she was elected secretary of student council, a role she thoroughly loved.

“Ever since the fourth grade, I have been a representative in student council,” she said. “It is something I really enjoy.”

Apart from student council, Johnsen can be found running cross-country, playing basketball and lacrosse, and performing on French horn in the school band. As well as being an avid snowboarder and surfer, she has been sailing since the age of 6 and teaches sailing to children at the Bellport Bay Yacht Club.

Other extracurriculars include membership in the school’s Athletes Helping Others club and the science and math honor societies, with her sights set on National Honor Society membership this fall. This September, she will also participate in a training program at her school in which she will shadow the school’s athletic trainer, Gina Siracusano.

“She is a great mentor and I am looking forward to learning from her,” Johnsen said of Siracusano. “Athletic training has always been interesting to me.”

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Bellport HS Senior Named Scholar-Artist

Vivienne LoveFor as long as she can remember, Bellport High School senior Vivienne Love has had a passion for photography. Her devotion to the art has since earned her a Scholar-Artist award in the area of media arts from the Long Island Arts Alliance. She is one of 20 students from across Long Island selected for the honor.

“I am so excited to be recognized for my photography,” said Love. “I think this is great and will help me with college.”

To earn the accolade, Love was required to submit an essay discussing how the arts have influenced her life, as well as a portfolio of her photography. Her submitted photographs, taken with her Canon Rebel T6, focus on the theme of youth and depict her everyday life with friends and family. The shoot was part of an Advanced Placement art class assignment.

Along with her passion for photography, Love is a member of her school’s National, Math and Science honor societies. She is also the historian of her school’s art club and designs the lighting for all of her school’s dramatic productions.

She plans to study film, radio and television in college, with a minor in environmental science. She has her sights set on an early decision from Syracuse University.

According to Love, the secret to her success is to simply jump in. “There is no easy way to start,” she said. “Just go and do it.”

Photo and release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


       

School Contact Info

Pre-K 

Pre-Kindergarten Program
(At Brookhaven Elementary School)

101 Fireplace Neck Road
Brookhaven, NY
631-730-1700
Website


Pre-K 

Brookhaven Elementary School

101 Fireplace Neck Road
Brookhaven, NY
631-730-1700
Website


Kreamer Street Elementary School 

Kreamer Street Elementary School

37 Kreamer Street
Bellport, NY
631-730-1650
Website


Verne Critz Elementary School 

Verne W. Critz Elementary School

185 Dunton Avenue
East Patchogue, NY
631-730-1675
Website


Frank P. Long Intermediate School 

Frank P. Long Intermediate School

599 Brookhaven Avenue
Bellport, NY
631-730-1725
Website


Bellport Middle School 

Bellport Middle School

35 Kreamer Street
Bellport, NY
631-730-1626
Website


Pre-K 

Bellport High School

205 Beaver Dam Road
Brookhaven, NY
631-730-1575
Website


South Country Administrative Offices 

South Country School District Administrative Offices

189 Dunton Avenue
East Patchogue, NY
631-730-1500
Website


 

The links above direct to websites of the South Country Central School District. Photos courtesy of South Country Schools.