South Country Central School District

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Bellport High School Honors the Class of 2021’s Brightest


Bellport High School’s top seniors were recognized during the annual senior awards ceremony, held in the gymnasium on June 7. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the former senior awards format was divided alphabetically into three separate assemblies to allow for parents to attend. Additionally, the ceremony was livestreamed via a link posted to the high school webpage, Grade 12 Google Classroom and the Senior Awards and Recognition Google Classroom.

In all, 138 awards were presented to the Class of 2021’s highest achieving students who received community scholarships, local and regional recognitions, department honors, military honors, student government recognitions and athletic awards.

During his opening address, Class President David Carlson described his classmates as resilient individuals who learned to adapt to the many challenges they faced through the pandemic. “Life will constantly throw curveballs at you. Life will constantly keep you guessing,” David said. “We’ve been through COVID, so I can guarantee you can get through much more.”

Principal Timothy Hogan said he was proud of the individuals who are receiving “special and meaningful awards.” He called each student to the podium as their photo and list of recognitions flashed on a screen. Each of the students received a senior tote bag, containing the honors they received, and copies of the senior awards programs.



Suffolk County School Superintendents Recognize Class of 2021 Valedictorians


On June 3, the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association continued its long-standing tradition of recognizing the highest-achieving graduates in Suffolk County. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 27th annual Celebration of the Class of 2021 Valedictorians was presented as a virtual event. School superintendents, valedictorians and their parents gathered in small groups, within their own school districts, to view the event and celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of this year’s valedictorians.

SCSSA President and Center Moriches School District Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ronald M. Masera hosted the event, thanked the association’s corporate partners for their support in helping to make the event possible and congratulated the valedictorians on their success.

“Some of the most highly regarded schools in the nation are located in Suffolk County,” Dr. Masera said. “To achieve the status of a Suffolk County valedictorian is an extraordinary achievement.”

This year’s keynote speaker was Jon Gordon, well-known author of several books including “The Energy Bus” and “The Power of Positive Leadership.” He spoke to the valedictorians about the benefits of positive leadership and the true meaning of encouraging others to succeed.

“You have the power to transform the world,” Mr. Gordon said. “You decide your future. Be a positive leader and impact the people around you. Remember, the best is yet to come.”

The SCSSA would like to congratulate all of this year’s valedictorians, including Bellport High School Class of 2021 valedictorian Anthony Notartomaso.

This year, on behalf of the SCSSA, South Country Central School District Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani presented Anthony with a commemorative program, congratulatory video, a certificate of achievement, a cherished childhood storybook, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss and Jon Gordon’s book “The Energy Bus.” The program and video, which was created especially for the Class of 2021, featured information about each valedictorian’s school district, their formal senior yearbook photo, their college of choice and anticipated major. The choice of the storybook was certainly appropriate, as this year’s valedictorians plan to attend some of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the nation.

In addition to recognizing the valedictorians, the SCSSA and their corporate partners awarded scholarships in every high school in Suffolk County to a highly deserving graduating senior planning to pursue a career in education or social services. These worthy scholarship recipients were selected by their own school districts for this special recognition.



South Country’s Megan Bevan Named Social Studies Teacher of the Year

Megan Bevan

The South Country Central School District is pleased to announce that Bellport Middle School social studies teacher Megan Bevan was named Social Studies Middle School Teacher of the Year by the Long Island Council for the Social Studies.

Nominated by Director of Humanities Jaclyn O’Hagan, Ms. Bevan was formally recognized for her teaching accomplishments during an awards ceremony, held on June 10 in Melville. As a winner of the Social Studies Middle School Teacher of the Year Award, Ms. Bevan has been invited to present at the 40th annual LICSS Conference on Oct. 29, 2021.

Ms. Bevan has taught social studies at Bellport Middle School for 17 years and currently teaches seventh and eighth grade inclusion social studies. She is also the lead social studies teacher at the middle school.

“As a social studies teacher, my goal is to help students develop an interest in social studies and civic engagement,” Ms. Bevan said. “As an inclusion teacher, I also try to create a classroom environment in which students value each other’s differences and work together to achieve goals.”

During the past two years, the Bellport Middle School social studies department has developed a project-based learning experience for seventh graders. One example is Civics Day, in which students identified problems in the community, researched the causes and provided solutions to district administrators and local officials.



South Country Marks Two Important Milestones


The South Country Central School District marked two important milestones for faculty retirement and tenure during the virtually held June 10 board of education meeting. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the district was unable to hold its traditional reception, but instead announced and congratulated the recipients, prior to broadcasting a special video presentation.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani noted the retirees 370 collective years of service to the district. About the retirees, he said, “You came to the district with the potential to be successful and have done that. We thank you for your commitment and outstanding service over the years.”

The faculty and staff retiring during the 2020-2021 school year include:
Susan Bugden – Brookhaven Elementary – special education – 23 years
Deborah Carleton–Tierney – Bellport Middle School – special education – 21 years
Elizabeth Driscoll – South Haven Early Childhood Center – office assistant – 6 years
Michele Falcone – Bellport Middle School – special education aide – 29 years
Paul Feltman – Bellport High School – social studies – 23 years
Timothy Hogan – Bellport High School – principal – 42 years
Kathleen Gillim – Bellport Middle School – teaching assistant – 16 years
Dorothy Long – Frank P. Long– teaching assistant – 21 years
Patricia Miller – Bellport Middle School – office assistant – 15 years
Cynthia Pfister – Bellport Middle School – family and consumer sciences – 23 years
Michelle Procida – Brookhaven Elementary – art – 23 years
Vivian Rignola – Bellport Middle School – teaching assistant – 29 years
Carol Rooney – Kreamer Street Elementary School – school nurse – 16 years
Marybeth Stitt – Bellport High School– office assistant – 27 years
Lisa Zaccaro – Bellport Middle School – assistant principal – 30 years

To the individuals receiving tenure, Dr. Giani explained that the granting of tenure signifies the district’s decision to make a more permanent commitment toward an individual’s professional career. “I am looking forward to our continuing work together and watching them grow as professionals,” Dr. Giani said.

Faculty receiving tenure during the 2020-2021 school year include:
Ashley Adelwerth – Kreamer Street Elementary – teaching assistant
Tina Barone – Verne W. Critz Elementary – ENL
Patricia Braver – Bellport Middle School – ENL
Allison Carruthers – Bellport Middle School – teaching assistant
Jill Ciavatta – Brookhaven Elementary – teaching assistant
Celeste DeRosa – Brookhaven Elementary – teaching assistant
Carol DiOrio – Bellport Middle School – teaching assistant
Suzanne Eckert – Bellport Middle School – ENL
Tammi Esposito – Frank P. Long – teaching assistant
Carl Ferrara – Bellport High School – technology
Carol Garcia - Bellport High School – World Languages
Gregory Gilroy – Bellport High School – special education
Lois Harrow – Brookhaven Elementary – teaching assistant
Mandy Hoffman – Frank P. Long – art
Aimee Iuliucci – Bellport High School – science (biology)
Susan Lannon – Bellport Middle School – teaching assistant
Krysta Kanowsky – Verne W. Critz Elementary and Kreamer Street Elementary – reading
Erin Kelly – Frank P. Long – elementary
Greta Kiss – Brookhaven Elementary – teaching assistant
Reinaldo Latorre – Bellport High School – assistant principal
Merideth McCarthy – Bellport High School – science
Nicole McGinnis – Bellport Middle School – special education
Jennifer Petti – Brookhaven Elementary and Verne W. Critz – social worker
Maria Perez – Bellport Middle School – teaching assistant
Michele Polito – Kreamer Street Elementary – teaching assistant
Monica Pullows-Tetuan – District Director of ELL, Bilingual & World Language Programs
Donald Schaaf – Bellport Middle School – mathematics
Eufemia Sokolowski – Kreamer Street Elementary – teaching assistant
Cristina Sullivan – Frank P. Long – ENL
Brianne Torre – Bellport Middle School – English
Junior Turcios – Bellport High School – school social worker (bilingual)
Joann Vassilatos – Kreamer Street Elementary – teaching assistant
Marlyne Vecchione – Bellport Middle School – school social worker
Lindsay Voegler – Bellport High School – mathematics
Angelina Wasson – Bellport Middle School – music



Bellport High School’s Laura Slovensky Pursues U.S. Coast Guard Career


Bellport High School senior Laura Slovensky has been appointed to the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut and will report for summer training to the Academy’s Corps of Cadets on June 28, just two days after high school graduation. Laura’s appointment was only one of the 400 offered annually from a pool of 2,000 applicants.

“I’m extremely proud and excited for this opportunity to attend my dream school and am really looking forward to it,” Laura said.

The smallest of the nation’s five military academies, the U.S. Coast Guard Corps of Cadets is a credited college which educates future Coast Guard officers. Cadets receive a full tuition scholarship and monthly stipend for a five-year service commitment to the U.S. Coast Guard upon graduation. All graduates receive a Bachelor of Science degree and are guaranteed a position of leadership as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Laura’s road to this appointment parallels her love of being on the water. She was recruited to the academy for competitive sailing. For the past two years, Laura spent her sophomore and junior years of high school at the U.S. Performance Academy, an online high school, so she could train and travel around the world full time and compete in sailing on the Olympic level. She will continue her sailing career on the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s dinghy sailing team against other top colleges.

Laura has chosen a government major with a security studies track. She hopes to pursue law enforcement within the U.S. Coast Guard upon graduation.



Bellport High School Students Exhibit at Parrish Art Museum

Bellport High School’s top student-artists were selected to exhibit their artwork at the Parrish Art Museum’s 2021 Student Exhibition.

This prestigious show exhibits work amongst students from East End townships in various mediums including computer graphics, photography, sculpture, drawing and painting. Those students selected to display their work demonstrated creativity, enthusiasm and technical skill in diverse media including painting, sculpture, drawing and photography.

Dream Smith (painting), Cameron Kerr-Smith (graphic design/digital media) and Ana Iniguez Lojano (drawing) were selected as Senior Honorees. Additionally, Alexia Benjamin, Sara Cornacchiulo and Leonardo Mignola garnered the coveted Ones to Watch award.

The community can view the artwork of these talented students by logging onto



South Country Participates in the Murph Challenge

Murph Challenge

Bellport High School students, teachers and administrators commemorated Memorial Day weekend through participation in the second annual Lt. Michael P. Murphy Murph Challenge, a grueling fitness workout to benefit the school’s fundraising efforts for the Wounded Warriors Project.

Participants came together on the high school track to finish a 1-mile run, followed by a trip to the high school’s gym to complete 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups and 300 squats, followed by another 1-mile run.

Lt. Michael Patrick Murphy was a U.S. Navy Seal officer and the first recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War for his actions in the War in Afghanistan. He was born and raised in Suffolk County and after participating in several War on Terrorism missions, was killed in 2005 after his team was surrounded by Taliban forces. While in the Navy, he discovered CrossFit, creating his own CrossFit-style workout that involved running, pushing, pulling and lifting. The annual Murph Challenge has evolved into a workout that pays tribute to Lt. Murphy and to all fallen heroes.

Social studies teacher Joe Scioli, who started and runs the program at Bellport High School, said the event puts the actions of a local hero in perspective. “This challenge is a good way to make Memorial Day relevant to our students,” he said.

Class of 2020 graduate and student-athlete Joshua Leidig said he has participated in the event each year as a way to honor fallen heroes and the contributions of Lt. Murphy, calling the workout a tradition. Shaun Bolton, also a participant, described the event as a “bond that can’t be broken.”



159 Bellport High School Students Inducted into National Honor Society

Honor Society

Bellport High School’s National Honor Society inducted 159 students during a virtual ceremony this spring. Co-adviser Suzanne Hines explained that the district’s annual induction included students from the Class of 2020, who were unable to be officially inducted due to the pandemic, and students from the Class of 2021. The celebration commenced with the Cadet Core, who led viewers in the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Bellport High School String Quartet, who played the national anthem.

Co-adviser Danielle Stuckey said that the inductees have proven themselves capable of achieving success in academics, sports, clubs and community service. “It is to your benefit to continue to make yourself a well-rounded person,” she told the inductees.

National Honor Society officers President Angie Gomez, Vice President Mariz Baslious, Secretary Melisa Kilic and Treasurer Caitlin Saliba, explained the meaning of the society’s tenets of scholarship, service, leadership and character prior to each inductee’s photo being flashed across the screen.

Principal Timothy Hogan noted that having maintained a 90% grade point average or above, a society requirement, is a remarkable achievement in itself, but he is more impressed by the leadership, service and character components that each inductee possesses. “These components paint a broader picture of you and the school community,” Mr. Hogan said. “You are leaders in the building and to those around you.”

Mr. Hogan then led the inductees in the National Honor Society Oath, making their membership in this prestigious organization official.



South Country Student-Artists Among Long Island’s Best



The artwork of Bellport High School student-artists Giana Porter and Maria Slavnova were selected from 331 submissions to exhibit at The Heckscher Museum’s Long Island’s Best Young Artists 2021 juried exhibit. Additionally, Giana won the Donald G. Hom, Jr. Scholarship Award for her piece, “The Beauty of Day Dreams.”

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Long Island’s Best: Young Artists at The Heckscher Museum is among the most prestigious juried art shows for high school students on Long Island. Of the 50 high schools that participated, only 83 pieces were included in the exhibition.

To be considered for the exhibition, students chose an artwork on display in one of The Heckscher Museum’s artist exhibitions. They then created their own work of art based off of their chosen inspiration piece. Each student wrote a statement as to why they chose that particular piece of art and how it influenced their work.

Both Giana and Maria completed their submitted artwork while enrolled in their current courses at Bellport High School. Maria takes Advanced Placement Studio in Art – 2D with Brandon Payne, while Giana takes Drawing and Painting 2 with Devin Auricchio.



Bellport High School Student Council Receives National Recognition

Council of Excellence

The South Country Central School District is pleased to announce that National Student Council has recognized Bellport High School Student Council as a 2021 National Council of Excellence for the organization’s exemplary record of leadership, service and activities that improve the school and community.

“I am really proud of the students for all of their hard work, even with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” student council adviser Ellen Hoffman said. “And I would like to extend a thank you to the principals for all of their help and support with our projects.”

NatStuCo’s goal is to prepare and empower student leaders to better serve their communities. To meet the requirements for the National Council of Excellence Award, Bellport High School Student Council submitted information about three activities that demonstrated leadership development and service to the school and community, Hoffman explained. The highlighted activities included Trick or Treat Street, an annual safe Halloween festival for the district and community’s students. Christmas in a Shoebox, a drive to distribute wrapped gifts and toys in decorated shoeboxes for the holiday season, was also submitted. Finally, members provided information about last year’s tile project in which Class of 2020 seniors decorated tiles illustrating their perceptions of school and life during the pandemic. The tiles will be mounted on one of the high school walls this year.

President Jack Frankie said that what sets Bellport High School Student Council apart from others is “our drive and motivation to put a foot forward to help the school and the community.”

“Receiving a National Council of Excellence Award reflects dedication on the part of the school to provide a strong, well-rounded student council program,” National Association of Secondary Principals Director of Student Leadership Nara Lee said. “NatStuCo applauds the work of the National Councils of Excellence and challenges them to continue their leadership and service to their schools and communities.”



South Country Central School District’s Music Program Receives National Recognition


For the eighth consecutive year, the South Country Central School District has been designated by the NAMM Foundation as one of the nation’s Best Communities for Music Education for its outstanding commitment to music education and for demonstrating outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and advances active participation in music. To qualify for the Best Communities for Music Education designation, the district answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

“The music program here at South Country has continued to provide students with a well-rounded education from kindergarten to the 12th grade,” said District Music Chairperson Victoria Hartman. “This award recognizes the commitment our teachers, administration and community make toward a child's educational, cognitive, emotional and social skill development by way of a strong music education program.”

Ms. Hartman explained that during the pandemic, school districts like South Country have re-committed to their already stellar music education programs, which provide valuable ways to keep students engaged. Bellport High School junior and vocalist Emma Butler described the importance of music in her life.

“Music is important to me because it provides me with an outlet to express myself throughout the school day,” Emma noted.

Bellport High School Principal Timothy Hogan expressed his deep pride in the district’s music program. “Even during these turbulent times, our teachers have provided a supportive and meaningful experience for our students,” Mr. Hogan said. “I look forward to a return in normalcy in the years ahead but am thankful for the opportunities and experiences provided to our students in the interim.”



Bellport High School’s Kerri Campbell Receives Pilot’s License

Kerry Campbell

Education comes in all forms and locations, as seen in the case of Bellport High School student Kerri Campbell. In addition to learning her core courses, the high school senior has also been tuned in to a cockpit’s controls as she regularly takes off from an airport runway.

As a senior, Kerri is looking forward to receiving her diploma this coming June but has recently gotten a jumpstart on her future career. The future airline pilot recently passed her FAA checkride, a Federal Aviation Administration examination a pilot must undergo to receive an aircraft pilot’s certificate or rating for flight privileges. Additionally, her recently acquired private pilot’s certificate allows Kerri to now fly a single engine plane with passengers as pilot in command.

The road to becoming a pilot has been in the making since Kerri was 13 years old when she first joined the Civil Air Patrol. Her interest flourished after attending a Civil Air Patrol National Glider Flight Academy where she flew solo in a glider for the first time at just 16. Kerri is not only interested in powered flight, but gliders and lighter than air aircraft. She plans on obtaining both her glider and lighter than air ratings in the near future as well.

In September, Kerri plans on attending ATP Flight School, located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she will begin her professional flight training to become an airline pilot.

Kerri currently attends Bellport High School classes remotely, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Being able to acquire my certification has been a positive outcome of remote instruction,” Kerri said.

The Brookhaven Hamlet resident is also a member of Bellport High School’s National Honor Society and various other clubs. She said she has had little time to participate in many activities other than flying throughout her high school career but is pleased that she could participate in community service projects through Civil Air Patrol membership.

“I have basically spent my whole life flying,” Kerri said. “It has been my whole focus."



Top Students Honored During Fourth Annual Evening of Excellence

Evening of Excellence

Bellport High School celebrated the 72 top academic students of the Class of 2021 during the fourth annual Evening of Excellence, portions of which were held virtually and livestreamed, on March 23. This tradition celebrates the most inspiring and influential seniors who completed their seventh high school semester with a weighted cumulative grade point average of 93% or higher.

After a presentation of colors by the Cadet Core, the Bellport High School String Quartet, under the baton of Victoria Hartman, performed the national anthem.

During a livestreamed portion of the program, Principal Timothy Hogan thanked teachers Aimee Iuliucci and Amy Krawczyk who produced the video and livestream. He also welcomed viewers and thanked the faculty members chosen by the students as those educators who had a significant impact on their educational journey and who possess energy, work ethic, talents and enthusiasm brought to school each day. These honored educators include Henry Finnegan (Brookhaven), Tricia Bartkewicz (Kreamer Street), William Champlin (Verne W. Critz), Joseph Tortora (Frank P. Long Intermediate), Leck Nhotsoubanh (Bellport Middle School) and Alan Kupferman (Bellport High School).

To the students, Mr. Hogan said, “The Class of 2021 exemplifies those qualities, particularly given the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic which has had a direct impact on the final two years of your time at Bellport High School.” He continued, “The leadership and grace you have shown in navigating this unprecedented set of circumstances is beyond admirable.”

In honoring both the distinguished seniors and the teachers they selected as most inspiring and influential, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani spoke about the definition of excellence as “meaning greatness,” as “never easy to do,” being a “quality that people really appreciate because it is hard to find,” and as the “quality of being truly the best at something.” He continued by saying, “This evening, excellence is you.”

Mr. Hogan then announced the names of the top 10 students from the Class of 2021 and gave a description of their accomplishments. The top 10 students include, in order, Anthony Notartomaso (valedictorian), Victoria Monte (salutatorian), Charlotte Kellogg (essayist), Jack Armann, Kanya Shah, Madison Peters, Lindsey Belmonte, Madison Baumann, Cailey Ziegler and Anna Mezzatesta. Mr. Hogan also announced in a pre-recorded message, the names of the honored teachers.

The evening concluded with the presentation of all of the distinguished seniors, whose photos were flashed across the screen one-by-one, and a video montage of all of the celebrants.



"We are Stronger Together"

Bellport Strong

One year after closing its doors to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bellport High School celebrated the gradual comeback of activities and the students’ and faculty’s resiliency during a tough year of closures and social distancing. On the evening of March 12, the Bellport Strong event commemorated not only the anniversary of the shut down, but the message that as a community, “We are stronger together.”

Student council adviser Ellen Hoffman said, “On March 13th, we closed the doors to our schools and all that went with them. Now one year later, we’re back and stronger than before.”

As residents and students drove into the high school’s back parking lot, student council members handed out luminary candles in a paper bag. Drivers proceeded to the tennis courts and passengers placed their candles inside the chalk-drawn letters that revealed the message Bellport Strong. In total, 1,400 candles were laid inside the letters to represent each high school student in the return to the “new normal,” Hoffman said. Livestream and drone footage were available on the student council Instagram and the drone footage was filmed by special education teacher Rodney O’Neal. It can be viewed here. Additionally, at 20:21 (8:21 p.m.), the scoreboard was turned on to recognize the seniors’ and the community’s return.

Bellport Strong

Bellport Strong



Bellport High School Hosted First Live-Streamed Concert of the 2020-2021 School Year


The resonating sounds of instruments and voices in South Country Central School District’s school auditoriums were required to pause during the 2020-2021 school year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, students and faculty have become more creative in their broadcasting of live music for the community. On March 8, Bellport High School Tri-M Music Honor Society members and All-State musicians hosted their first live-streamed concert on Zoom, allowing participants to showcase their talents from home.


District Music Chairperson Victoria Hartman thanked the community for the great turnout, which marked one full year to date from the high school’s last live concert in 2020.

“The students and their teachers have worked so hard preparing these solos despite all of the challenges in their way this year,” Ms. Hartman said.

Soloists included the following:
Violet Gordon – violin – “Concerto no. 4 in D major”
Keira Ballan – voice – “Et Exultavit”
Emma Butler – voice – “O del mio dolce ardor”
Hannah Carlson – violin – “Concerto no. 4 in D Major”
Liany Kasten – voice – “Se tu m'ami, se sospiri”
Tamara Ortiz Macas – flute – “Sonata V” and piccolo – “Damare”
Sydney Macioce – flute – “Sonata VI” (in E major)
Michael Marziliano – voice – “Finishing the Hat”
Leah Silvestre – viola – “Concerto in D Major”



Bellport High School Athlete Teams Designated Scholar-Athletes

Scholar Athletes

The South Country Central School District and Bellport High School athletic department are proud to announce that the New York State Public High School Athletic Association has designated the girls varsity basketball, boys and girls winter track, girls bowling, cheerleading and wrestling teams as scholar-athlete teams.

To acquire scholar-athlete team status, 75% of a high school athletic team’s roster must acquire a 90% GPA or greater during the sports season.

South Country Director of Athletics, Health and Physical Education Robert McIntyre congratulated the winter athletes on this prestigious designation. “The student athletes have exceeded our expectations on the fields and courts, as well as in the classroom, during what has been a difficult year for all students,” Mr. McIntyre said. “They should all be proud of their accomplishments.”



Brookhaven Elementary School Celebrates a 100/101 Day Milestone


South Country Central School District students celebrated the first 100 days of school with special and engaging hands on English language arts, mathematics and arts activities to mark the momentous occasion for the district’s elementary school students.

At Brookhaven Elementary School, Kindergarten students in Jennifer Drake’s class came dressed in specially designed t-shirts to reflect the number of days they have attended school. The class made 100-day hats and stacked pennies for 100 seconds. They made Fruit Loop necklaces, separating the cereal in groups of 10. Students tried to see how many sight words, letters and their names they could write in 100 seconds and jumped, ran in place and stood frozen for the same amount of time. The students also enjoyed playing dice games such as Race to 100, a dot grid game for finding specific groups, and Toss a Penny 100 times to see whether heads or tails is revealed the most.

Due to the number of snow days, the 100th day of school landed on a virtual day, so Mrs. Drake’s class also celebrated 101 days with a 101 Dalmatian theme. Like the 100th day celebration, students participated in themed activities, such as placing 101 dots on a dog, playing the Racing to 101 dice game and barking for 101 seconds. They also stacked dog bones for 101 seconds as “Who Let the Dogs Out?” played in the background. To top off the activities, the students shared Scooby graham bones and fruit snacks.

100 Days

100 Days

100 Days

100 Days

100 Days

100 Days



Because of Them We Can


Bellport Middle School in the South Country Central School District presented “Because of Them We Can,” a 30-minute video, celebrating the school’s fourth annual Black History Month on Feb. 10.

After an official welcome from student Hope Gorden, Madison Roberts led the Pledge of Allegiance. Principal Dr. Jamal Colson then set the theme of unity and progress by noting that looking into the past, one can witness the contributions of African Americans to the nation’s history. He also gave a brief history of Black History Month.

Recorded were biographies, photos and historical newspaper clippings of notable African Americans. Students Kourtney Gaynor and Jillian Ferrara also read Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s “The Miracle of Morning.” Associate Professor of African Studies Dr. Zebulon Miletsky encouraged viewers to reflect on the people who helped them to get where they are today. He lovingly spoke about the support received from his parents and grandparents and the influence they had in his life.

“I think of the teachers and mentors who helped along the way,” Dr. Miletsky said. “This is a big part of African American culture.”

There was a cameo appearance by U.S. Congressman Jamal Bowman of the 16th Congressional District, who quoted verses from the album “God’s Son” by hip hop band Nas. He told viewers that as a former teacher and principal, he would encourage students to ask questions about who African Americans were before they were slaves.

“Before slavery, what was your history?” he asked.

The video concluded with a flashback of photos depicting middle school students participating in educational activities such as science, technology, physical education, sports and writing.

The Black History Month Celebration video can be viewed here.



South Country Faculty and Students Develop Virtual Parent Help Center

South Country School

A collaboration of South Country Central School District faculty and Bellport High School students have developed a new and invaluable resource to assist parents and the community with navigating through the online world. Under the advisement of the guidance department and with assistance of students enrolled in Sophia Black’s video production class, the Virtual Parent Help Center, located under the Resource tab of the district website, contains links, videos and tutorials to help parents grasp further understanding about topics such as the Parent Portal, Student Portal, Google Classroom and much more.

Director of Guidance and Counseling Programs Jenna Restivo explained that this important resource is in line with the Board of Education’s priorities to increase parent involvement and communication within the schools and learning community and to assist parents in supporting their children’s accountability and success with remote learning.

“Instead of sending a letter to parents, they can now look at a video or link, which is much more helpful,” Ms. Restivo said.

Furthermore, Ms. Black talked to her students about areas of assistance parents needed the most help. She then asked the video production class to research each of the topics and, using their newly acquired screen recording skills, to record videos and voice overs using green screen technology.

“The students needed practice editing, so this was the perfect opportunity for the students to use their skills to help the community,” Ms. Black said.

To access the Virtual Parent Resource Center, viewers need to click on the district website’s Resources tab > Parent Resources > South Country Parent Resource Page. There, viewers will be able to access social media sites, school websites and staff directories and administration information. The Resources and Tutorials page also contains videos about the portals, Google Classroom tips, student videos and more. There is also an invaluable tab, “What do I do if…” which answers frequently asked questions and the persons to contact in case of an issue with a Chromebook, getting locked out of Google Classroom, how to reset a Naviance account and more.



Bellport High School Seniors Honored During Brookhaven Town’s Black History Month Celebration

Black History Month

The academic accomplishments of Bellport High School seniors Nora Hunt, Cameron Kerr-Smith, Michael Paredes, Dream Smith and Delielah Tinsley were honored during the Town of Brookhaven’s virtual 30th annual Black History Month Celebration, held virtually on Feb. 5. Sponsored by the Black History Commission, these high achieving seniors were recognized for overcoming challenges during their high school tenure and for having acquired and maintained a minimum 3.5 or higher or 90% grade point average.

Black History Commission member Charlotte Pressley said the town wanted to congratulate and thank the students for achieving the learning goals placed before them, especially during the past school year. “It has been a trying task to do distant learning, yet our students have achieved that goal,” Ms. Pressley stated. “We want to congratulate and thank them for achieving that goal.”

Principal Timothy Hogan also congratulated the students by saying, “These students embody the high standards and expectations Bellport High School sets for all of its students and we encourage the school community in joining us in celebrating their achievements.”

The celebrated students can be viewed here.



South Country’s Charlotte Kellogg Wins QuestBridge Scholarship


The South Country Central School District is pleased to announce that Bellport High School senior, Charlotte Kellogg, was selected for admission to Amherst College with a QuestBridge College Match Scholarship and welcomed into the QuestBridge Scholars Network. This year, only 1,464 Finalists were selected as Match Scholarship Recipients at the organization’s 42 college partners, with only 18 students matched to Amherst College. As a member of the QuestBridge Scholars Network, Charlotte was awarded a full, four-year scholarship to Amherst College, which will cover tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies and travel expenses.

In being considered for this prestigious opportunity, QuestBridge searches for academically talented students, like Charlotte, who match the college partners’ level of academic achievement and can potentially thrive on their college/university campuses. Finalists are chosen from a pool of applicants who are in the top 5% to 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.

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. In June, Charlotte was named a College Prep Scholar and was subsequently considered for a finalist designation and then College Match Finalist.



Bellport High School Shoebox Christmas


The Bellport High School Student Council hosted the annual Christmas in a Shoebox to benefit the South Country Central School District community’s young children.

Each year, the student council hosts a drive to collect gifts and toys for the impending holiday season. The members then gather to wrap the gifts in shoeboxes prior to being distributed throughout the community.
“This is our favorite activity for the community, and there is even more need during the pandemic,” adviser Ellen Hoffman said. “The student council really enjoys the opportunity to lift some of the burden. Everyone in the high school was so generous; faculty, staff and students really came through in this challenging time to help make the holidays happy.”

Bellport High School math teacher Amanda McCauley and social worker Ann Haddad also hosted a similar activity to benefit high school students this year. Faculty, staff and students were extremely generous with their donations of gifts that were included in gift boxes for secondary-level students struggling this holiday season.



South Country Central School District Announces New Assistant Principal


The South Country Central School District is pleased to announce the appointment of Manouchka Daniel as assistant principal of Bellport Middle School, effective Dec. 14. Ms. Daniel replaces former assistant principal Joseph Watson who resigned his position earlier this school year.

An Amityville resident, Ms. Daniel joins South Country from the Westbury Union Free School District, where she served as assistant principal of Powells Lane Elementary School since 2019. Prior to her administrative duties, Ms. Daniel taught sixth grade English as a Second Language to students at Westbury Middle School. She also has elementary school teaching experience as a former kindergarten and third grade integrated co-teacher at PS532 New Bridges Elementary School in Brooklyn and as a fourth grade lead teacher, grade level chair and Saturday Academy Director at Leadership Prep Brownsville, Uncommon Schools, Inc. in Brooklyn.

Prior to a career in education, Ms. Daniel acquired a bachelor’s degree of administration in finance and investments from Baruch College. She holds a master’s degree in childhood education from Hunter College and an advanced certification in educational leadership from Hofstra University. Ms. Daniel additionally holds a Master of Divinity from the Alliance Theological Seminary.



Putting ‘Heart’ Into the Community


Brookhaven Elementary School students in the South Country Central School District designed and created holiday cards for residents of the Bellhaven Care Facility. Their collective efforts to spread holiday cheer was in conjunction with the Brookhaven Village Association, who invited the school to participate in the Put a Little Heart in Your Community event. The annual event on Dec. 12 was an event that celebrated the spirit of giving, unity and joy by giving back to the community.



Bellport Seniors Receive Suffolk Zone Awards

Zone Awards

Bellport High School seniors Madison Baumann and Bobby DeSantis were selected as recipients of the Suffolk Zone Award. Sponsored by the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, this award recognizes one male and one female Suffolk County high school senior from each school district who exemplify outstanding scholastic ability, physical education performance and leadership qualities.

“The physical education staff at Bellport High School recognize the leadership, enthusiasm and inclusive nature of Bobby and Madison,” Director of Athletics, Health and Physical Education Robert McIntyre said. “They are a spark of energy and always bring out the best in their peers.”

Ranked in the top of her class, Madison was named a scholar-athlete for varsity volleyball in 2017-2019. In 2019, Madison was the team’s Offensive MVP and Ace Leader. She has also pursued dancing for the past 14 years and is a leader on the Bellport High School Clipperette Dance Team. Madison also excels at academics as a member of the National Honor Society, Science and Math honor societies, and is a high honor roll student. Madison also shares her athletic skills with peers as a member of Athletes Helping Athletes and as a teacher at Stage Door School of Dance.

Bobby is also ranked at the top of his class and is a three-sport athlete who competes in football, basketball and lacrosse. He is a three-year starter in football. Prior to being named captain during his junior and senior years, Bobby was named captain of the junior varsity football and lacrosse teams. As a junior, Bobby earned the designations of All-Division and Academic All-County honors in football and continues to be a leader on and off the field.



Celebrating an Important Career Milestone


The South Country Central School District Board of Education announced the tenure of five faculty, marking the most important milestone of their educational careers. Although the district was unable to introduce the individuals to the community during the Dec. 2 virtual board meeting, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani congratulated them for their commitment and outstanding service to the district.

The district congratulates the following faculty:

Allison Carruthers – Teaching Assistant – Bellport Middle School
Jill Ciavatta – Teaching Assistant - Brookhaven Elementary School
Greta Kiss – Teaching Assistant - Brookhaven Elementary School
Susan Lannon – Teaching Assistant - Bellport Middle School
Maria Perez – Teaching Assistant - Bellport Middle School 



South Country Students and Faculty Demonstrate Generosity

Thanksgiving Drive

Hybrid learning and the COVID-19 pandemic did not hinder South Country Central School District faculty, PTA and students from generously donating food to assist those in need this Thanksgiving season.

At Bellport High School, the student council organized a food drive during the month of November and members successfully packed more than 30 large boxes for the Lighthouse Mission and for a number of individual district families. The student council also donated turkeys and hams, accompanied by individual donations from faculty and staff.

Student council adviser Ellen Hoffman said, “The Student Council has been really impressive in their drive to fill donation boxes as much as they can in a cohort setting. There are a lot of fresh new faces in our meetings and so many students want to help and be involved.”

Brookhaven Elementary School’s PTA also sponsored a schoolwide food drive for families in need of holiday treats. In order to support families and local businesses, community members supplemented donations with meals from Rudi’s Bar and Grill to be picked up by community families, school social worker Kate Coppola said.

Through the student council, Bellport Middle School also collected food throughout the month of November. Additionally, Verne W. Critz Elementary School donated 11 complete Thanksgiving meals to school families looking forward to celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday. The collection was sponsored by the PTA and staff.

Thanksgiving Drive

Thanksgiving Drive

Thanksgiving Drive



South Country’s Andrew Budris Named LICSS Teacher of the Year

Andrew Budris

South Country Central School District is proud to announce that the Long Island Council for the Social Studies has recognized Bellport High School teacher Andrew Budris as the 2020 Outstanding High School Teacher of the Year.

Mr. Budris, a Bellport resident, has taught social studies in the South Country Central School District for 25 years and is currently Lead Teacher for Social Studies. He has worked diligently to lead the high school and Bellport Middle School in implementation of Project Based Learning. With the input of colleagues, his development of the Kiva Project has provided students with the opportunity to conduct research on global business and economic challenges and to provide microloans to applicants through partnership with the South Country Education Foundation.

Social studies teacher Megan Bevan said, “He has opened the door for students of all backgrounds and skill levels to get involved in research and civic action. Thanks to his leadership, Bellport High School is working to develop a generation of students who are engaged in solving society’s problems through informed action.”

Mr. Budris currently teaches Advanced Placement Government and 10th grade Global Studies and said social studies is a way to better understand humanity. “I have a fundamentally optimistic view that the better people understand each other, the more likely they are to see each other’s humanity,” he explained. “We need an understanding of our shared experiences to build a workable community.”

Mr. Budris also noted that as a social studies teacher he aims to foster critical thinking and the ability to build views that are based on sound reasoning. “The most important skill today is to use critical thinking to determine what information is reliable,” he said. “I’d like to see kids use knowledge as a tool to build bridges between groups of people.”

Mr. Budris is married to high school English teacher Ellen Hoffman and has a daughter, Maddy, who is enrolled at the high school as a freshman. The Budris family took up residence in Bellport 20 years ago.



College Board Recognizes 45 Bellport High School AP Scholars

AP Scholars

The South Country Central School District is pleased to announce that 45 current Bellport High School students and 2020 graduates were recognized as Advanced Placement Scholars for exceptional achievement on the May 2020 national exams.

Twenty students qualified for the AP Scholar Award by receiving a 3 or higher on three or more exams and include: Mariz Baslious,* Erin Boehmke, Eva Colon, Mathew Bokehi Costa,* Rachel Dickinson, Carly Diolosa, Alexa Ferrara, Samantha Fuentes,* Courtney Gerard, Jahid Hossain,* Victoria Pennachio, Samantha Porsche, Jonel Poueriet-Santana,* Ella Rauch, Caitlin Saliba,* Peri Sallah, Maya Samuel, Peter Schortemeyer,* Mia Suarez and Eliza Ynoa.

Thirteen students received the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average grade of 3.25 on all AP exams taken and grades of 3 or higher on four or more of those exams and include: Jack Armann,* Lindsey Belmonte,* Kayzjah Charles, Aidan Gaynor,* Taylor Kelly,* Jared Lorenzo, Victoria Monte,* Liam Murphy, Anthony Notartomaso,* Troy Sica, Katherine Vignona, Ryan Voegele* and Cailey Ziegler.*

Twelve students received the AP Scholar with Distinction Award by earning an average grade of at least 3.5 on all AP exams taken and grades of 4 or higher on five or more of these exams and include: Audrey Barry, David Bellante, Connor Coleman, Sebastian Derosa, Ali Guillermo, Natalia Jordan, Charlotte Kellogg,* Juliana Lewkowski, Nicholas Promutico, Luca Scharpf, Kanya Shah* and Kunj Shah.

Additionally, Sebastian Derosa and Juliana Lewkowski were recognized as National AP Scholars by earning an average score of at least 4 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams.

* indicates students who are currently enrolled at Bellport High School.



Bellport High School Seniors Mariz Baslious and Charlotte Kellogg Named 2020 QuestBridge Finalists

Mariz Baslious

Quest Bridge
Charlotte Kellogg

Bellport High School seniors Mariz Baslious and Charlotte Kellogg were selected by QuestBridge as 2020 National Finalists for having demonstrated high 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. In June, Mariz and Charlotte were two of 3,770 high school juniors named 2020 College Prep Scholars out of a pool of 12,600 applications. As finalists, they will potentially be matched with a full scholarship to one of QuestBridge’s 42 partner colleges.

In being considered for this prestigious opportunity, QuestBridge searches for academically talented students who match the college partners’ level of academic achievement and can potentially thrive on their college/university campuses. Finalists are chosen from a pool of applicants who are in the top 5% to 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 be academically talented, Mariz is highly involved in extracurricular activities. She is vice president of the National Honor Society and a member of the math and science honor societies, as well as a member of Math Team. An avid tennis player on both the junior varsity and varsity teams, Mariz received the recognition of Most Valuable Player last season. She is also a Sunday school teacher for her church.

Charlotte is an Advanced Placement student and a member of the National Honor Society and Math Honor Society, where she serves as corresponding secretary. She is also president of the Chess Club and math team and recently assisted in forming the previously defunct debate club. Charlotte also spends time with computer club activities and drama club. Although not a varsity athlete, Charlotte maintains a rigorous personal athletic program in which she trains with weights and participates in functional training, such as everyday moving and compound exercises.



South Country Welcomes Assistant Superintendent Elizabeth Doyle

South Country Schools

The South Country Central School District welcomes Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Accountability Elizabeth Doyle, effective Nov. 1, who was appointed by the board of education during the Sept. 29 business meeting.

“We are extremely fortunate to have such a qualified educator to fill this position,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani said. “The Board of Education and I look forward to working with Ms. Doyle in achieving the district’s educational and instructional goals.”

Ms. Doyle, an East Hampton resident, joins South Country from the East Hampton Union Free School District, where she served as principal of John M. Marshall Elementary School since 2013. During her tenure, she successfully implemented a prekindergarten program and a Spanish dual language program. Ms. Doyle also partnered with Sag Harbor’s Wellness Foundation to implement a Wellness Zone while extending recess time for all grades to promote health and wellness and increase student focus and motivation. She also implemented a character education program to further promote diversity and a positive school climate. Ms. Doyle also developed and led K-12 professional development in literacy, mathematics, school culture, professional learning communities, critical friends groups, classroom management and co-teaching.

Prior to her tenure at East Hampton Union Free Schools, Ms. Doyle was principal of Explore Empower Public Charter School and the former coordinator for K-12 English in the White Plains City School District. She was additionally director of operations and school support and director of instruction for Replications, Inc., an education nonprofit partner with the New York City Department of Education. She began her educational career as an elementary school teacher at The Jackie Robinson School in Queens. Ms. Doyle was formerly vice president for Citigroup Private Bank before answering New York City’s call for career changers to become teachers in high needs districts. She thus applied to the NYC Teaching Fellows Program where she served as a fellow and selector.

Ms. Doyle holds a master’s degree in elementary education from Queen’s College and certification in Advanced Studies in Education Administration from LIU Post. She also received a bachelor’s degree in business administration and international business from Hofstra University.



Celebrating the Day of the Dead Through Art


In recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept.15-Oct.15), Frank P. Long Intermediate School students learned about Mexico’s annual Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos, a celebration which honors the lives of ancestors who have passed.

Fifth graders in art teacher Mandy Hoffman’s class learned to draw colorful sugar skulls, which represent ancestors and which are included in altars during the popular holiday held on Oct. 31-Nov. 2. A YouTube video narrated by Ms. Hoffman and skeleton helper Mr. Bones, engaged the students with the how-to instructions on drawing a skull and its decorative design qualities.

After the sugar skulls were completed, they were hung on the wall of the art room for everyone to enjoy.



Meet the Student Ex-Officio Board Member


When tuning into the South Country Central School District’s YouTube channel to view the latest streamed board of education meeting, a new face has popped up on the virtual screen. During the Sept. 23 board of education meeting, Student Council President and Bellport High School senior Jack Frankie was appointed as the board’s newest student ex-officio board member for the 2020-2021 school year.

President E. Anne Hayes welcomed Jack to his new position and said she will look forward to hearing his report each meeting. During his first report to the board, Jack relayed that school opened smoothly and students are cooperative and compliant with wearing masks. During future meetings, his job will be to report high school activities and happenings to the board and to relay important board business to the student council.

“I am very excited to tell the Board of Education all of the great things that are happening at the high school despite the pandemic,” Jack said. “I think the high school is in the best shape it’s ever been.”
In addition to his Student Council presidency, Jack is a member of the jazz band and plays the trumpet and euphonium. He’s an Advanced Placement student and a former cross-country athlete. His biggest interest, however, is acquiring his certification and flying hours as a student-pilot at BOCES, where he is in his second year of study to fly small planes and hot air balloons. Jack explained that his goal is to pursue a major in aviation management and to possibly pursue all FAA certification and licensing, in addition to pursuing space travel with NASA or Space X.



Bellport High School Artists Garner Top Art Honors


The South Country Central School District is pleased to announce that the Long Island Arts Alliance selected Bellport High School senior Anna Mezzatesta as one of 20 Long Island Scholar Artists for the 2020-21 school year. Under the direction of former teacher and art department chairperson Suzette Fandale, Anna was recognized for her excellence in media arts and for academic achievement. Additionally, senior Caitlin Saliba was one of 20 recipients who received an Award of Merit for portfolio work completed under the direction of teacher Devin Auricchio.

To be considered for these prestigious designations, students must be nominated by their school for representing the highest level of artistic talent in media arts, visual arts, music, dance or theater. The student must also submit a portfolio of their work for consideration by the selection committee and must hold an unweighted grade point average of 90% or above. As a scholar-artist, Anna’s profile and photo will be published in Newsday in December.



Top Notes for Bellport High School Student-Musicians


The South Country Central School District is pleased to announce that Bellport High School student-musicians Jack Burkhardt (Bb clarinet) and Taylor Kelly (French horn) were selected to participate in the New York State School Music Association Virtual All-State Festival for symphonic band, being held virtually on Dec. 3-5. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, NYSSMA will not be able to host these students to rehearse and perform at the Winter Conference in Rochester at the renowned Eastman Theater of the Eastman School of Music.

The duo was nominated and selected based on scores they received at the NYSSMA Solo and Ensemble Festival during the 2018-2019 school year. Director of Music Victoria Hartman explained that being selected is a remarkable achievement in that 6,500 students statewide auditioned for a position in the All-State Music Festival. Performing ensembles include the All-State symphonic band, wind ensemble, mixed chorus, treble choir, symphony orchestra, and instrumental and vocal jazz ensemble. Fifteen Bellport High School students auditioned for All-State in spring 2018.



South Country Central School District Welcomes Students Back to the Classroom

Opening Day

In addition to backpacks, school supplies and face masks, South Country Central School District students toted an abundance of enthusiasm on their entry back into the classroom during two official reopening days of school, held on Sept. 8 and Sept. 10. As the students entered the buildings, their temperatures were checked and hands were sanitized prior to being escorted to their designated classrooms to immediately begin instruction.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani reported that the district’s reopening after the six month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic was smooth with students seated appropriately, mask compliant and engaged in learning. “I am looking forward to growth and improvement as we come to settle in this new normal of teaching and learning,” Dr. Giani said.

Board of Education trustees and President E. Anne Hayes were equally complementary of the smooth opening by administration, faculty and staff. “A lot of thought was put into the process and we were confident in our staff that they would get things done,” Ms. Hayes said. “Through helping each other and pulling together, we will continue to have a strong and productive school year.”

Opening Day

Opening Day



Bellport High School Thespian Wins Coveted Teeny Award


Bellport High School’s theater art program is pleased to announce that student-thespian Jack Burkhardt was the recipient of a coveted 2020 Teeny Award for his supporting male role as Lumiere in the school’s musical “Beauty and the Beast.” The award was presented during a virtual awards ceremony, held by East End Arts on July 23.

“This is a terrific accomplishment,” art department Chairperson Barbara Gallagher said. “Jack is an extremely talented actor and the South Country Central School District congratulates him on this special achievement.”

Each year, Bellport High School is one of 18 school theater programs whose productions are celebrated by the East End Arts for student talent and excellence in acting, production, pit orchestra, stage management, lighting design and crew and more. This year, the theatre program received 36 nominations for its productions of “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Game’s Afoot.”



South Country Student Named a 2020 QuestBridge College Prep Scholar


Bellport High School junior Charlotte Kellogg has been chosen by QuestBridge to be a 2020 College Prep Scholar for having demonstrated high 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. Charlotte is one of 3,770 high school juniors named a 2020 College Prep Scholar out of a pool of 12,600 applications nationwide, and later in the fall, will potentially be matched with a full scholarship to one of QuestBridge’s 42 partner colleges. As a College Prep Scholar, Charlotte will also receive exclusive awards and access to opportunities to develop a strong college application. Awards for being a College Prep Scholar also include opportunities to attend summer programs at Yale, Stanford and the University of Chicago.

Charlotte is an Advanced Placement student and a member of the National Honor Society and Math Honor Society, where she serves as corresponding secretary. She is also president of the Chess Club and math team and recently assisted in forming the previously defunct debate club. Charlotte also spends time with computer club activities and drama club. Although not a varsity athlete, Charlotte maintains a rigorous personal athletic program in which she trains with weights and participates in functional training, such as everyday moving and compound exercises.

Charlotte said she does not have her eye on a particular college or university at this time but will pursue an academic program that allows her to combine computer science and statistics.



South Country Thespians Nominated for 36 Teeny Awards

Teeny Awards

Bellport High School is proud to announce that its theater program has received 36 nominations for 2020 Teeny Awards for its productions of “Beauty and The Beast” and “The Game’s Afoot.” Bellport High School is one of 18 high schools whose theater productions are celebrated annually by East End Arts for student talent and excellence in acting, production, pit orchestra, stage management, lighting design and crew and more. Winners will be announced on Thursday, July 23, during a virtual format.

The South Country Central School District congratulates the following individuals for receiving Teeny Award nominations:

Play and Musical:
Michael Marziliano as William Gillette – Lead Male in a Play in “The Game's Afoot”
Autumn Margaret Walthers as Daria Chase – Lead Female in a Play in “The Game's Afoot”
Michael Marziliano as the Beast – Lead Male in a Musical in “Beauty and the Beast”
Jack Burkhardt as Lumiere – Supporting Male in a Musical in “Beauty and the Beast”
Troy Sica as Cogsworth – Supporting Male in a Musical in “Beauty and the Beast”
Emma Butler as Mrs. Potts – Supporting Female in a Musical in “Beauty and the Beast”

Jasmine Armann – stage manager – “Beauty and the Beast”
Juliana Lewkowski – stage manager - “The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays” and “Beauty and the Beast”
Vivienne Love – lighting – “The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays” and “Beauty and the Beast”
Kieran Sawyer – lighting – “The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays” and “Beauty and the Beast”
Ryan Wilson – sound – “The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays” and “Beauty and the Beast”
Troy Sica – assistant director – “Beauty and the Beast”

Pit Orchestra:
David Bellante (percussion), Bella Caypinar (violin), Kayzjah Charles (bass), Mariah Chavez (violin), Ryann Christie (clarinet), Sara Cornacchiulo (flute), Sebastian DeRosa (violin), Vivian Fritz (harp), Isabella Gascon (violin), Emily Gentzel (violin), Violet Gordon (violin), Taylor Kelly (oboe), Daniela Mondi (cello), Victoria Monte (cello), Timmy Montick (trumpet), Liam Murphy (French horn), Anthony Notartomaso (baritone/euphonium), Tamara Ortiz Macas (flute), Rianna Raghunandan (violin), Ella Rauch (cello), Aidan Sawyer (French horn), Kat Vignona (trumpet), Emily Zahralban (violin) and Grace Zimlinghaus (French horn)



South Country Tri-M Music Honor Society Inducts 75

Tri Music Honor Society

Bellport High School’s Tri-M Music Honor Society inducted 75 seventh and eighth grade student-musicians to the prestigious Tri-M Music Honor Society. The new inductees are members of either band, orchestra or chorus and were recommended for membership by music faculty.

Music teacher Victoria Hartman explained that the students were selected to participate in the 2019 New York State School Music Association’s solo festival and were preparing to participate in the 2020 NYSSMA solo festival, which was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She also described the inductees as “leaders in the classroom” and students most likely to assist behind the scenes at concerts.

Tri-M Music Honor Society is formerly known as Modern Music Masters. A program of the National Association for Music Education, Tri M recognizes students for academic and musical achievement. To be eligible, a student must maintain an A average in music lessons, a C average in academic courses, be presently enrolled in a high school music course and be recommended by faculty.

The South Country Central School District congratulates the following students:

Katherine Alayon
Alexa Allan
Pietro Ancona Jr.
Brynne Ballan
Angely Banegas
Maddy Budris
Claire Cannella
Christopher Chaves
Shaniah Chavez
Kailyn Ciavatta
Nolan Comerford
Juliette Cuccurese
Rosario Curcio
Evan Dedis (VP)
Samantha DeLillo
Karyn Devine
Maya Dixit
Nathan Ernst
Kenya Escobar
Erin Fagan
Frankie Felice
Christopher Ford
Giulia Gannon
Sean Glynn
Malena Gomez
Kevin Gonzalez
Louisa Gordon (Pres.)
Connor Gronenthal
Stephanie Grosso
Dylan Horn
Molly Hough
Brynn Johnsen
Melina Kasten
Dylan Knakal
Julia Kotasek
Emma Kuegel
Lauren LaGrega
Danika Leidig
Taylor Macioce
Diana Malchiodi
Anay Maldonado
Ryan Manitta
Catherine Masem
Sarah Meininger
Erini Michaels Hrysanthopoulos
Gael Michel
Derek Minden
Connor Murphy
Alana Negron
Macy Neider
Riley Neider
Michael Nesi (treasurer)



Bellport High School Class of 2020 to Brace Significant Challenges Ahead


The Bellport High School Class of 2020 embraced and overcame the limits of social-distancing in a pandemic era to celebrate an important milestone in their educational careers during the annual commencement ceremonies, held on June 25. Prior to the ceremony, the police and fire departments escorted students, parents and family as they drove through the middle of Bellport Village from Bellport Middle School to the high school grounds where they were greeted by the administration and members of the board of education. If a student was unable to drive, Lyft donated transportation services so that every student was able to participate in this exciting event.

“Pomp and Circumstance” was played over the PA system as Bellport Security assisted each car with parking. Although required to remain in their cars during the ceremony, students could watch the ceremony, which was livestreamed on a movie screen, and listen to the ceremony live on 94.9 FM radio. After Assistant Principal Erika Della Rosa welcomed the students, Student Council President Carly Diolosa led the salute to the flag.

During her introductory comments, Carly explained that the obstacles the Class of 2020 experienced will be chronicled in history books and gave important advice to her peers. “Your achievements in life should not be measured by the car you drive or the job you have, but by the impact you have on others’ lives, the kindness you share and the values you reflect into the atmosphere.”

Principal Timothy Hogan, in acknowledgement of challenges faced by the pandemic and social injustice reforms, he told the students that significant challenges are ahead. “We must continue to work collectively in developing new models and new initiatives to navigate this ever changing environment,” he said.

Essayist Audrey Barry, whose task was to talk about the memories of the past, said she sometimes finds herself wanting to go back to a sense of familiarity and comfort. She encouraged peers to, take the good times of your past and use them to motivate your present.”

Natalia Jordan spoke about presence in her salutatory address. “In today’s society, the present is our tool to construct the future. Thus, it is imperative to not only be aware of a current crisis but also be involved in the action to create a better future.”

During the valedictorian address, Ali Dennis Guillermo Jr. told peers that the path to success does not have to be traveled alone and relationships made can help foster success. He attributed his path to success to his recently deceased father and deceased friend R.J. “After being made valedictorian, there were 10 seconds where I was completely ecstatic that my hard work had paid off. But there had to be an 11th second, right?” Ali said. “In that 11th second, I remembered what had gotten me this far. It was the motivation and influence of both RJ and my father. It was a motivation that could not be ignored.”

After the celebratory speeches, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani certified the diplomas and announced that the seniors had completed the requirements for graduation. Board President E. Anne Hayes then led the students in the traditional moving of the tassel, symbolizing that the seniors were now alumni of the South Country Central School District.

After a brief fireworks show by Grucci Fireworks, the students and their guests then proceeded to the front of the high school where they received their diplomas and had the opportunity to take a graduation photo.



School Contact Info


Pre-Kindergarten Program
(At Brookhaven Elementary School)

101 Fireplace Neck Road
Brookhaven, NY


Brookhaven Elementary School

101 Fireplace Neck Road
Brookhaven, NY

Kreamer Street Elementary School 

Kreamer Street Elementary School

37 Kreamer Street
Bellport, NY

Verne Critz Elementary School 

Verne W. Critz Elementary School

185 Dunton Avenue
East Patchogue, NY

Frank P. Long Intermediate School 

Frank P. Long Intermediate School

599 Brookhaven Avenue
Bellport, NY

Bellport Middle School 

Bellport Middle School

35 Kreamer Street
Bellport, NY


Bellport High School

205 Beaver Dam Road
Brookhaven, NY

South Country Administrative Offices 

South Country School District Administrative Offices

189 Dunton Avenue
East Patchogue, NY


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