South Country Central School District


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Bellport High School Alumni Spotlight: Grace Curcio 

School

Bellport High School 2016 alumna Grace Curcio recently earned a first place recognition at the 55th annual Metropolitan Association of College and University Biologists Conference in the category of biochemistry, biophysics and biotechnology. To earn the top spot, Curio presented her research on titanium dioxide nanoparticles and their effect on agriculture, specifically mustard plants (Brassica juncea).

Curcio, who graduated a year early from Bellport, is currently a senior at St. Joseph’s University studying to earn a Bachelor of Science in biology with a minor in environmental studies.

“St. Joseph’s has given me a ton of opportunities and my professors are all incredible,” said Curcio, who had the opportunity to participate in a study abroad program in Greece over the summer for a Science Without Borders course. In her final semester, she will be interning with Dr. Tetyana Delaney, who has been recognized by NASA, to continue her environmental studies. Dr. Delaney is Curcio’s current thesis adviser and worked with her on her MACUB presentation.

Of her higher education journey, Curcio said it wouldn’t have come to fruition without her experiences at Bellport High School. “I am so incredibly thankful for the experiences I had at Bellport High School,” she said. “They made me who I am, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without those experiences.”

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

 


 

Bellport Athletes Freezing for a Reason

School

Thirty-one members of the Bellport High School Athletes Helping Others club raised more than $2,500 for Special Olympics by participating in a “Freezing for a Reason” polar plunge at Cedar Beach on Nov. 19. The Special Olympics organization raises money to fund athletes who want to participate in the Special Olympics and provides them with training to prepare.

This is the 12th year that Bellport’s Athletes Helping Others has taken part in the fundraiser. Throughout the years, the club has raised more than $12,000 toward the Special Olympics organization. The Athletes Helping Others club also sponsored two families by donating full Thanksgiving dinners.

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

 


 

Bellport High School Varsity Volleyball Coach Wins 400th Game 

Volleyball Coach

Bellport High School varsity volleyball coach Larry Auth recently celebrated his 400th career victory and finished his last season as a coach with a total of 407 wins. Auth, a special education teacher who is set to retire this school year, has coached varsity volleyball for the past 27 years. Each of those years, his team has earned a spot in the playoffs. During his time in Bellport, he also coached girls soccer and wrestling.

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

 


 

Bellport High School Teacher Recognized

Teacher

Bellport High School teacher Henry Finnegan was recently selected as a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction by the National Society of High School Scholars. Finnegan, who has taught in the South Country School District for the past 24 years, was selected for his outstanding dedication and commitment to excellence in the profession. His nomination was made by one of his students.

“I was shocked and touched,” said Finnegan, who teaches chorus, mixed chorus, piano and treble choir at the high school.

“It comes as no surprise to me that our students see Mr. Finnegan as an outstanding, dedicated and committed educator,” said Principal Erika Della Rosa. “Just by spending a few minutes with him in the hallway, one can see how much he cares for all students.”

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

 


 

South Country Spirit Displayed at Homecoming

Homecoming

School spirit filled the air on Oct. 22, 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. 17 with theme days and preparations for the parade. Students constructed colorful floats that were on display during the annual parade, which also featured the school’s marching band, class courts, cheerleaders, 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 Newfield with a final score of 35-9. The game also featured a halftime performance by the varsity cheerleaders.

Homecoming

Homecoming

Homecoming

Homecoming

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

 


 

Brookhaven Town Celebrates Bellport High School Students

Hispanic Heritage

Ten Bellport High School students were recently recognized by the Town of Brookhaven as part of the town’s ninth 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:
Sara Abdelbasset, Tatianna Alvarado, Hannah De Los Santos, Liany Kasten, Patricia Lopez, Scarlett Maldonado, Isabella Moreno, Melissa Saquicaray, Katherine Yanza and Mirka Zapata.

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

 


 

Bellport High School Seniors Named QuestBridge Finalists

Questbridge

Bellport High School seniors Tatianna Alvarado and Rachel Li have been selected by QuestBridge as 2022 National Finalists for demonstrating outstanding academic achievement.

QuestBridge is a national, nonprofit institution that connects the country’s most exceptional students with academic opportunities at some of the nation’s top colleges and universities. As finalists, Alvarado and Li 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 their schools’ most rigorous classes and have realized strong standardized test scores, if taken.

In addition to being academically talented, Alvarado is a member of her school’s National Honor Society, Key Club and Fathom Literary Magazine.

Equally involved in her school, Li is a member of the National Honor Society, Key Club and Fathom Literary Magazine and plays the viola in her school’s chamber and pit orchestras.

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

 


 

Bellport Middle School Athletic Complex Named for John E. Conquest

John Conquest

During a ceremony and ribbon-cutting on Oct. 15, the South Country Central School District honored the legacy of John E. Conquest by dedicating the Bellport Middle School athletic complex in his name.

Much loved by the Bellport community, Conquest was remembered for his caring nature, leadership abilities and for molding the future of countless students. His ties to the South Country School District run deep. During his tenure with the district, he served as assistant principal at Bellport Middle School and Bellport High School. He was also the district’s coordinator of school community relations, dean of students at Bellport Middle School and a truant officer.

Conquest was also a beloved coach in the district, coaching varsity football for 32 years and boys varsity basketball for 30 years.

Click here to watch the ceremony.
Click here to watch the tribute video.

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

 


 

Pink Power

Volleyball

The Bellport High School varsity and junior varsity volleyball teams raised $1,600 for breast cancer research as part of their annual Dig Pink fundraiser game on Oct. 3. Over the past 10 seasons, the athletes have raised more than $22,000. Team members worked to garner monetary donations from friends, family, classmates and community members. All donor and memorandum names are being displayed on pink paper volleyballs in the school’s gymnasium during the month of October. All of the proceeds benefit the Side-Out Foundation, a nonprofit organization that encourages volleyball players, coaches and families across the country to raise money for clinical trials for individuals with stage 4 breast cancer.

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

 


 

Bellport High School Sophomore Earns Award from Department of Labor

School News

Bellport High School sophomore Sheriyah Ballard recently earned an Outstanding Job Performance Award from the Suffolk County Department of Labor for work she completed through the department’s Summer Youth Program. She was one of 700 participants and 250 nominees to earn the award.

“I was very surprised,” said the South Country student, who spent her summer working alongside South Country School District employees at Frank P. Long Intermediate School to prepare the school’s classrooms for the new year.

Ballard had applied and was accepted to the program prior to the start of the summer and said she learned a lot on the job.

“Everyone was so nice and treated me like family,” she said. “I learned how to work as a team, budget and save money, and I was empowered as one of the few women working in this position.”

Ballard, who spends her free time working on various art projects, said if the opportunity presented itself again, she would be more than thrilled to participate.

Looking to the future, Ballard said she hopes to one day work in the medical field and follow in the footsteps of her grandmother, who was a certified nursing assistant at Stony Brook University Hospital for over 30 years.

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

 


 

33 Bellport High School Students Inducted into Center for Excellence

School News

During a ceremony on Sept. 29, 33 Bellport High School students were officially inducted into the school’s Center for Excellence Club.

Run by advisers Nicole Colao and Colleen Oates-Robesch, the Center for Excellence provides support and experiences for students who are on the path to college but do not have someone in their home lives with experience on that path. Club activities aim to develop a network of support that students can rely on as they work toward their college and career goals. Students are inducted following a spring application and interview process.

Ceremony speakers included Superintendent of Schools Antonio Santana, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Beth Doyle and Board of Education President Cheryl A. Felice, who described the challenges they had faced on their respective higher education journeys and offered sound advice.

“Always take advantage of other people’s generosity,” said Santana, whose sentiments were shared by Doyle as she urged students to avail themselves of all the support the school and community has to offer,” Felice noted, “You are in control of your own destiny, and there is always a way.”

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

Nicole Alvarado, Anahi Avecillas Paz, Mike Bolanos-Buestan, Gianna Brown, Christopher Carrillo Hernandez, Christopher Chaves, Daphne Delgado Riera, Erin Dupaya, Leilanie Fernandez Echavarria, Jennifer Fuentes, Jeremy Guaraca Salinas, Aljon Guillermo, Andrea Hernandez Monroy, Aysia Hernandez, Oscar Hernandez, Sha’Niyia Hollman, Sebastian Mangru, Janeiry Marroquin Fuentes, Angel Matute Aguilar, Anthony Molina Salgado, Angelina Negron, Remy Padgett, Adamaris Perez Vazquez, Vincent Pitre Jr., Natalie Ponter, Iesha Rodney, Jeremy Saltos Delgado, Evelyn Soto, Angely Trujillo Martinez, Mia Walker, Reginald Elliot Watkins II, Giovanna Yancy and Amber Ynoa.

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

 


 

Students Volunteer at VFW Post

Vets

Bellport High School students Angelica Brito, Destiny Brooks, Juliette Cuccurese, Daniel Lewkoski, Emily Melgar, Gael Michel, Faith Rubio and Usman Zahid spent a recent sunny Saturday morning volunteering their time at VFW Post 8300 in Patchogue. The students assisted in cleaning up the grounds and spent time getting to know some of the VFW members. The volunteer experience was made possible through a community service collaboration between Bellport High School and the VFW post that provides students with an opportunity to obtain community service experience.

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

 


 

Bellport High School Senior Earns Perfect Score on AP Research Exam

Reserach Score

Bellport High School senior Rachel Li has much to celebrate. She is among just 1.14% of AP Research exam takers from around the world to earn a perfect score.

To earn the score, Li was required to submit a college-level research paper that she penned following a year’s worth of research while enrolled in her school’s AP Research class. Her paper explores New York City’s specialized schools and the stereotypes associated with them, as well as the history and discussions surrounding those stereotypes, specifically those related to Asian Americans.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” Li said of her perfect score. “I wasn’t even thinking about the score when working on my paper.” She urged her fellow students to enroll in the AP Research course. “I learned a lot about myself and my work habits. My teachers and classmates were very supportive.”

Li is an exceptional academic. She is a member of her school’s National Honor Society, is an AP Scholar with Distinction and recently earned an AP Capstone Seminar and Research certificate. She is expected to graduate with an AP Capstone Diploma designation in June. In addition, she plays the viola in her school’s chamber and pit orchestras and is a member of her school’s Key Club and Literary Magazine.

“We are so very proud of Rachel,” said Principal Erika Della Rosa. “This is an amazing accomplishment.”

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

 


 

Bellport Seniors Earn AP Capstone Designations

Capstone

Nine Bellport High School seniors have earned the prestigious AP Capstone designation on their diplomas. To earn this distinction, the students participated in their school’s AP Capstone program, in which they were required to earn a score of 3 or higher in two courses — AP Seminar and AP Research — and score similarly on four AP exams.

AP Capstone Diploma Recipients:
Sara Abdelbasset, Alexander Brigadir, Madeline Day, Hannah De Los Santos, Skye Dodge, Kaitlyn Foley, Alexandria Lewkowski, Nikolle Slavnova and Megan Wilkinson

Seminar

Additionally, 25 students earned an AP Seminar and Research Certificate. To earn the certificate, the students were required to earn scores of 3 or higher in both AP Seminar and AP Research.

AP Seminar and Research Certificate Recipients:
Eliza Beitel, Hannah Carlson, Sydnie Climan, Alexander Cornacchiulo, Mackaylah Deacon, Hope Duncan, Autumn Gambles, Maya Hassan, Kate Higgins, Nikki Hirschkind, Liany Kasten, Amelia Kocay, Rachel Li, Scarlett Maldonado, Faith Mangano Austin, Cara Murphy, Deirdre Notartomaso, Sarah Ofori, Luke Prisco, Estefani Reyes, Daniel Rubin, Ryan Schneider, Kaylie Vertichio, Abigail Welch and Katherine Yanza

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

 


 

30 AP Scholars Named at Bellport High School

In recognition of their exceptional achievement on national Advanced Placement exams taken last year, 30 Bellport High School seniors have earned AP Scholar awards.

Eighteen students were named AP Scholars, two earned the recognition of AP Scholar with Honor and 10 earned an AP Scholar with Distinction 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; and for Scholar with Distinction, they must receive an average score of 3.5 on all AP exams and grades of 4 or higher on five or more of those exams.

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

Ap Scholars

AP Scholar:
Tatianna Alvarado, Keira Ballan, Eliza Beitel, Hannah Carlson, Laila Elbaroudy, Autumn Gambles, Maya Hassan, Liany Kasten, Amelia Kocay, Patricia Lopez, Scarlett Maldonado,
Isabella Moreno, Deirdre Notartomaso, Daniel Rubin, Ryan Schneider, William Schuessler,
Ashley Schulz and Katherine Yanza

 

AP Honor

AP Scholar with Honor:
Sara Abdelbasset and Madeline Day

 

Distinction

AP Scholar with Distinction:
Alexander Brigadir, Sara Cornacchiulo, Hannah De Los Santos, Skye Dodge, Kaitlyn Foley, Nikki Hirschkind, Alexandria Lewkowski, Rachel Li, Nikolle Slavnova and Megan Wilkinson

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

 


 

Bellport High School Students Earn National Honors

National Award

Nine Bellport High School students have earned national recognition through the College Board National Recognition Program, which colleges use to identify academically competitive, underrepresented students.

Autumn Gambles and Hannah De Los Santos earned the National African American Recognition Award. De Los Santos also earned a National Hispanic Recognition Award. Sara Abdelbasset, Tatianna Alvarado, Liany Kasten, Patricia Lopez, Scarlett Maldonado, Isabella Moreno and Katherine Yanza earned the National Hispanic Recognition Award, as well.

To earn the recognitions, the students were required to hold a grade point average of 3.5 or higher, excel on the PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 exams, or earn a score of 3 or higher on two or more AP exams.

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

 


 

South Country Student-Musicians Named to All-State

All-State

Four Bellport High School students have been selected to perform in the All-State Festival of the 2022 New York State School Music Association Winter Conference.

The students were selected after receiving perfect scores from state adjudicators on their solo performances at last spring’s NYSSMA Solo Evaluation Festival. They are among only 565 students selected for the state conference out of over 4,300 auditions. South Country had 17 high school students audition for All-State last spring.

The conference will take place in Rochester from Dec. 1-4. Two days of concert performances will be held at the renowned Eastman Theatre of the Eastman School of Music.

The South Country School District congratulates the following talented students: Keira Ballan (alto 1, Mixed Chorus), Hannah Carlson (violin, Symphony Orchestra, alternate), MacKenzie Cover (soprano 1, Mixed Chorus, alternate) and Emma Kuegel (violin 2, Symphony Orchestra and oboe, Symphonic Band).

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

 


 

South Country Senior Named a Merit Artist

Artist

Bellport High School senior Nikki Hirschkind has been named a Merit Award winner in the category of visual arts by the Long Island Arts Alliance and Scholar-Artist Committee. She will be featured in an upcoming issue of Newsday.

Hirschkind is one of only 20 student-artists from across Long Island to earn the recognition. She was selected after submitting a digital portfolio that included a variety of her works.

“I was shocked that I won,” said Hirschkind. “I couldn’t believe it when I read the email.”
Hirschkind became serious about art during middle school, but really honed her skills during the COVID-19 pandemic. She spent hours working in different media, her favorite being graphite pencil.

The accomplished senior is a member of several of her school’s honor societies, including the National Honor Society and National Art Honor Society. She is also a member of her school’s art club. Looking to the future, she intends to study graphic design in college.

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

 


 

The Sounds of Summer

Camp

The South Country Central School District wrapped up its sixth annual summer music program on Aug. 12 with a concert at Bellport High School that showcased the talents of the participating student-musicians.

The weeklong summer program provided the opportunity for student-musicians in grades 5-12 to learn two new musical pieces on their primary instruments and also perform using djembes, xylophones and the marimba.

The 19 students practiced for four hours each day and performed pieces including “Intensity” by Sean O’Loughlin; “Sweet Guava Jelly,” a Jamaican folk song; “Banuwa,” a Liberian folk song; and “Viva La Vida” by Guy Berryman, Jon Buckland, Will Champion and Chris Martin.

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

camp

camp

 


 

South Country Athletes Earn All-League Titles

all league

Bellport High School student-athletes Aarilin Pitre and Giulia Gannon were recently awarded All-League titles at the Suffolk County Softball Coaches Association’s 43rd annual banquet. The sophomores earned the accolades for their athletic ability and talent. Pitre is an outfielder and Gannon plays shortstop.

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

 


 

South Country Names New Athletic Director, Assistant Superintendent for Finance

New Admin

The South Country Central School District Board of Education has appointed Jennifer Segui as its new assistant superintendent for finance and management services, effective Aug. 11, and Patrick Hayes as its new director of health, physical education and interscholastic athletics, effective Aug. 9.

“We are pleased to announce these two new appointments,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani. “They both bring a wealth of experience to our district, and we are certain that they will prove to be an integral part in ensuring that our students receive the best education.”

Segui, of Stony Brook, has served as the assistant business administrator in the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District since 2015. Prior to this role, she worked in the Bayport-Blue Point School District as a senior accountant/treasurer. Earlier in her career, she was an accountant and payroll supervisor in the Middle Country Central School District and an account clerk for the Village of Patchogue.

Segui holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from SUNY Binghamton and a Master of Arts from Dowling College.

“I am grateful to the superintendent and the board of education for selecting me to be a part of their central office administrative team,” Segui said. “I look forward to applying my business office experience and collaborating with my colleagues, the board and the school district community.”

Hayes, of Sayville, joins South Country from the Longwood School District, where he has served as a physical education teacher at the elementary, middle and high school levels, as well as the principal of the high school’s summer school. He also coached several teams at Longwood, including basketball, tennis, lacrosse, football and soccer.

Hayes holds a Bachelor of Science in physical education from SUNY Cortland and a Master of Science, advanced certificate in coaching, and advanced certification in school building and school district leadership from Stony Brook University.

“I am excited and humbled by the privilege to join the South Country school community as the director of athletics, health and physical education,” Hayes said. “It is an honor to become an integral component of the educational process for the students of the South Country School District.”

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

 


 

South Country Board of Education President, Vice President Named, New Trustees Sworn In

During their annual reorganization meeting on July 6, the South Country School District Board of Education elected Cheryl A. Felice as its new president and E. Anne Hayes as vice president. Both were sworn in by District Clerk Christine Flynn. Also sworn in by Flynn at the meeting were new board trustees Joseph Barry, Rafyel Flippen and Tara Kavanagh. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani, District Clerk Flynn, District Clerk Pro-Tem Sara Cioffaletti and District Treasurer Christine Johnson also took the oath of office.

Release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

South Country Superintendent Recognized

Dr. Joseph Giani, superintendent of the South Country Central School District, was honored for his years of service to the school district and community by Bellport Village Mayor Ray Fell on July 6. Fell presented a proclamation to Dr. Giani, who will retire at the end of July after serving as the district’s superintendent for the past nine years.

Release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Students Commit to Athletics in College

Signing

Twenty-nine Bellport High School seniors who committed to compete in athletics at the collegiate level where recently honored during a signing day ceremony. Family members, friends and coaches showed support as the students each signed a certificate symbolizing their commitment.

The South Country School District congratulates the following student-athletes:

Baseball
William Caroli – SUNY Cortland
Dylan Gronenthal – SUNY Herkimer
Evan Virno – Muhlenberg College

Basketball
Javin Riddick – SUNY Herkimer

Football
Johnnie Booker III – SUNY Cortland
Amari Cook – Alfred State College
Chau’zen Davis – University of Massachusetts
Riley Murphy – Alfred University
Calvin Pedatella – Williams College
Marc Promutico – Salve Regina University

Lacrosse – Boys
Jack Halpin – University at Albany
Curren Johnsen – Lehigh University
Tyler Morrell – Dominican College

Lacrosse – Girls
Erica Dickinson – SUNY Plattsburgh
Savannha Lanzetta – St. Joseph’s College
Julia Longo – SUNY New Paltz
Isabella Rupolo – Western Connecticut State University
Alexa Versaci – Limestone University
Alyssa Wolf – Pace University

Soccer
Samantha Ostrowski – Southeastern Louisiana University
Charlotte Rauch – Kutztown University
Nicholas Vital – American International College

Track
Kayla Coq – North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University
Natalie Gentzel – Lock Haven University
Jazmin Riley – Coastal Carolina University

Volleyball
Marissa Krawczyk – Assumption College
Mary Trowbridge – SUNY Morrisville

Wrestling
Troy Gentzel, East Stroudsburg University
Wyatt Gentzel, SUNY Cortland 

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

 


 

Bellport Athletes Earn Butch Dellecave Award Nominations

Athletic Awards

Bellport High School seniors Natalie Gentzel and Calvin Pedatella were recently honored as nominees for the prestigious 22nd annual Butch Dellecave Awards.

The top Suffolk County female and male awards are presented to student-athletes who demonstrate impressive academic and athletic achievements. The awards are named for Dellecave, who served as an educator at Connetquot for 30 years, was a sports official in Suffolk County for nearly 20 years and founded the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.

Gentzel earned a nomination for maintaining a 98 GPA and her athletic ability in volleyball and track. She holds an All-Classification title in volleyball and All-County titles in track for the 100- and 400-meter hurdles.

Pedatella was presented with a nomination for maintaining a 102 GPA and excelling in football, wrestling and lacrosse. He holds All-State and All-Long Island titles in football and is a two-time All-League wrestler.

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

 


 

South Country School Board Recognized by School Board Association

BOE Awards

The members of the South Country Central School District Board of Education were recently recognized by the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association for the critical role they played in confronting educational challenges and making tough decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

South Country board trustee Chris Picini, who sits on the executive committee of the N-SSBA, accepted the recognition on behalf of his colleagues.

The certificates were inscribed with a thank you to each board member and the Harry Chapin quote: “We all have the potential to move the world and the world is ready to be moved.”

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

 


 

Bellport Middle School Musicians Inducted into Tri-M

As proud family members looked on, 31 student-musicians from Bellport Middle School were inducted into the Tri-M Music Honor Society during a ceremony on June 13.

To be inducted, the students were required to be full-time members of a performing ensemble at Bellport Middle School, participate in the NYSSMA Solo Evaluation Festival, and exhibit leadership, service and character. They must also maintain a B average in their music classes and receive a recommendation from their music teachers.

The South Country Central School District extends its congratulations to the following inductees: Madison Aruta, Logeen Baslious, Barbara Bautista Castellanos, Valeria Bautista, Colin Capuano, Meaghan DeLillo, Rebecca DeLillo, Kaylyn Donovan, Hope Gorden, Penelope Gordon, Colin Knakal, Gabriella Lembo, Sarah Lewis, Matthew Manitta, Caitlin Maragioglio, Lucia McCollum, Stephanie Meininger, Bianca Mignola, Julio Montes-Santos, Jennifer Morales, Elizabeth Orsino, Nayla Ortiz Macas, Samantha Panasuk, Julius Radino, Sara Repper, Madelyn Schmidt, Kayla Schneider, Ryan Spence, Taylor Vertichio, Gabrielle Waller and Dylan Weiner.

Release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Bellport High School Tri-M Induction Ceremony

Bellport High School recently inducted 34 student-musicians in grades 10, 11 and 12 into its Tri-M Music Honor Society chapter.

To earn the honor, the students were required to participate in their school’s chamber concerts, perform at the 2021 and 2022 New York State School Music Association Solo Evaluation Festival, have strong music teacher recommendations and volunteer at district music performances.

The South Country School District congratulates the following Tri-M members: Luke Allan, Keira Ballan, Madeline Budris, Emma Butler, Hannah Carlson, Ryann Christie, Sara Cornacchiulo, Samantha DeLillo, Karyn Devine, Skye Dodge, Francis Felice, Elisha Feliz, Violet Gordon, Olivia Horn, Liany Kasten, Emma Kuegel, Rachel Li, Sydney Macioce, Taylor Macioce, Leonardo Mignola, Michael Nesi, Kennedy Parris, Rachel Petri, Rianna Raghunandan, Emily Robbins, Benjamin Santiago, Kaelyn Schmidt, Ryan Schneider, William Schuessler, Leah Silvestre, Joseph Starpoli, Ella Steckle, Jordan Truce and Grace Zimlinghaus.

Release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Bellport Middle School inducts 197 into National Junior Honor Society

During a candlelighting ceremony on June 2, Bellport Middle School inducted 197 new members into its the National Junior Honor Society.

To be eligible for membership, the students were required to maintain an 88 academic average or an 85 if the student is in two or more Regents classes in each of the first three quarters of the school year; have no grade less than a 70 as a quarterly class average; demonstrate service, leadership, citizenship and character; and participate in at least three extracurricular activities.

The South Country School District congratulates the following inductees:

Grade 7
Erik Anderson, Muhammad Anees, Arianna Barrett, Logeen Baslious, Edith Batres Guevara, Mariah Battist, Barbara Bautista Castellanos, Valeria Bautista Castellanos, Joseph Bellone, Deniz Bitirim, Deanna Dawn Caguicla, Megan Candelaria, Colin Capuano, Ashley Castillo, Nicolette Comeau, Daniel Day, Rebecca DeLillo, Kevin Diaz Sanchez, Ashley Dondero, Leslie Espinoza Chavez, Jack Fauci, Jayden Garcia, Addison Gilbert, Nick Gonzalez, Hope Gorden, Penelope Gordon, Bryan Guaman-Guachun, Sajdah Hayat, Alexander Hershkowitz, Menaal Hussain, Anders Johnsen, Gavin Katz, John Kavanagh, Elizabeth Keenan, Yasra Khan, Marcella Krotschinsky, Gabriella Lembo, Sarah Lewis, Avery Loeffler, Adrian Lopez, Johnathan Lutchman, Matthew Manitta, Caitilin Maragioglio, Stephanie Meininger, Bianca Mignola, Madeline Mohabir, Lily Monastero, Julio Montes-Santos, Nathan Moody, Chase Morris, Sophia Morroun, Joelle Mylonas, Gabriella Neumann, Soraya Ortega Cordova, Nayla Ortiz Macas, Evangeline Pacini, Evan Peters, Onyelukachukwu Philip-Ikpo, Aish Porter, Jim Salazar, Jordan Saliba, Keyla Sanchez Quiroz, Christina Schaefer, Wesley Schmidt, Kayla Schneider, Rowan Schultz, Amir Scott, Cooper Scotti, Henry Siavichay Najera, Vanessa Sisalima, Thomas Smith, Johnna Spagnoli, Darlyn Toribio Capellan, Taylor Truce, Troy Turuta, Brian Umanzor, Emily Uyi, Logan Vazquez, Taylor Vertichio, Gabrielle Waller, Dylan Weiner, Frankie Wilk and Fayth Williams

Grade 6
Abigail Abaldonado, Anthony Abbatiello, Alyssa Abner, Emma Amendola, Griffin Antos,
Ian Arias, Diego Arriaza, Liam Bal, Aarom Balkaran, Charlotte Barry, Gavin Bell, Josue Benitez, Colleen Benze, Brooke Bodkin, Katelynn Bohn, Autumn Booker, Melissa Calle, Landon Carapezza, Rylee Carpenter, Valerie Castillo, Marcelo Chaves, Matthew Chojnacki, Courtney Christie, Noah Clarke, Evan Comerford, Jason Cuji, Dominic DeCaro, Olivia DeVito, Shani Dilan, Alexis Drapal, Jack Drapal, Morgan Dunbar, Dylan Epstein, Julia Ferrara, Jocelyn Fitzgerald, Emma Fostvedt, Caitlin Fox, Brody Frabizio, Amber Gambles, Steven Garfen, Allison German, Johan Giraldo, Connor Griffin, Gavin Gronenthal, David Guaman, Nylah Hall, Declan Hart, Carly Hawaldar, Ines Haynes, Bianca Henn, Joshua Hernandez, Michael Hernandez, Tony Hernandez, James Hines, Riley Hollywood, Landon Horn, Mateo Hurtado, Lena Issam, Sean James Jr., Kellan Jensen, Destiny Johnson, Andrew Jones, Cassaera Kelly, Gavin Klein, Taylor La Grega, Michael LaPaz, Ethan Leidig, Reece Lesser,
Maite Lojano, Christian Lunsford, Aubrey Mantione, Leila Masillo, Madeline Mayer, Jaela McCullough, Tyliah Miller, Tyler Mordente, Giovanna Muro, Roma Nichols, Alaythea Nix, Michael Nunez, Emma Orsino, Desmond Pacini, Michael Petoello, Robert Pauletti,
Jaime Portillo, Sadie Pracher, Griselda Rios-Reyes, Marian Rivas, Joshua Rodas, Jaden Santos, Lee Santos, Seth Santos, Pablo Saquicaray, Nelian Scott, Asahel Seaman, Summer Seif, Ahad Shah, Luke Shelley, Kevin Sorrentino, Christopher Sorto Hernandez, Molly Steininger, Victoria Strecker, Christopher Taveras, Connor Togher, Gianna Tuzza, Alexa Ulloa, Jaime Umanzor, Scarlett Van Wyen, Paula Vasquez, Estefany Velasquez Umanzor, Samantha Webster, Keira Williams, Yanza Escobar Yanzy and Dennis Zhunio

Release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

South Country School District Retiring/Tenured Staff Honored

During their June 8 meeting, the South Country School District Board of Education formally recognized 23 retiring staff members. Between them, they logged 507 years of service to the district. The board additionally granted tenure to 33 staff members. The celebration also included a reception with food prepared and served by students in Bellport High School’s culinary program.

The board thanks the following retirees for their dedication to the district:

Bellport High School:
Vicki Barthelmess, Bernardina Fields, Mark Jennings, Linda Lippl and Lynette Murphy

Bellport Middle School:
Grace Beemer, Michael Fiore, Carolee Lally, Theodore Loizides and Ellen Zeller

Frank P. Long Intermediate School:
Christine Harjes and Milagros Milliner

Brookhaven Elementary School:
Donna Caldicott, Brian Hilliard, Juliane McDermott and Diana Tebaldi

Verne W. Critz Elementary School:
Ann Marie Baldino, Robin Montick and Amy Watson

Central Office/Student Support Services:
Mariann Anderson, Catherine Barone, John Frankie III and Robert McIntyre

The board also congratulates the following tenured staff members:

Bellport High School:
Katelyn Burke, Salvatore Finocchiaro, Alic Johnsen, Catherine Johnson, Christopher Palatucci, Danae Paniagua, Amanda Parry, Marissa Reitzel and Jeanine Sparacin

Bellport Middle School:
Jessica Arrigotti, Brian Brinskelle, Lisa Ferrara, Jeremy Freeman, Audrey Garcia, Alic Johnsen, Courtney Liberatore and Christopher Loeschner

Frank P. Long Intermediate School:
Margaret Glennon-Indilla, Samantha Parente and Katherine Romano

Brookhaven Elementary School:
Keri Kearney

Kreamer Street Elementary School:
Erica Panepinto, Heather Talmage and Cynthia Wilcken

Verne W. Critz Elementary School:
Christopher Loeschner, Lidia Swinkin and Christine Tomasino

Administration:
Jack Burke, Heather Giacomin, Rosa Kalomiris, Mandy Mazziotti, Jaclyn O’Hagan and Dr. Rebecca Raymond

District-wide:
Laurie Kruse and Lauren Parasmo

Release courtesy of the South Country Central School District.

 


 

Student Filmmaker Takes Top Prize

Jillian 

Bellport High School senior Jillian Kerr-Smith recently won the Best High School Experimental Film title at the 12th annual Luminaries Film Festival, held as part of the Long Island Media Arts Festival at Five Towns College.

Kerr-Smith took the top spot for her music video, “Wake Up,” that aims to shed light on the social isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Her two-minute film, which took her two weeks to create, incorporated numerous props that she made herself.

“The whole film was an experiment to test how many props I could make myself,” she said. “This award means a lot to me because it shows how much I have grown as a filmmaker, being able to create something that shows my creativity even though I lacked resources.”

When not making films, Kerr-Smith spends her time playing a variety of instruments and performing community service. She will attend Hunter College in the fall to study film. 

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

 


 

Art Student Recognized for Impressive Portrait

Betsy 

Bellport High School senior Betsy Castro never thought capturing a simple moment for her Photo II assignment would garner so much attention, but her moving photograph has done just that. The photograph has been showcased at various art shows around Long Island, including the Suffolk County Art Leaders Association, the Bay Area Friends of the Fine Arts student exhibit, the Parrish Art Museum student exhibit and, most recently, the Heckscher Art Museum’s prestigious Long Island’s Best Exhibition.

Not only has Castro’s photograph been showcased in numerous art shows, but it has also garnered her several awards and scholarships, including a first-place Photography Award and Scholarship from the Suffolk County Art Leaders Association, a second-place Digital Photography Award from Bay Area Friends of the Fine Arts, a Senior Photography Award from the Parrish Art Museum, and the Cozza Family Photography Award and Renzo & Lynette Bianchi Scholarship Award from the Heckscher Art Museum’s Long Island’s Best Exhibition.

Castro’s image depicts her grandmother, Margarita, gently cradling her grandchild, Castro’s infant nephew. While it is a simple moment, the full range of values, the folds of patterned fabric and the varied textures captured in black and white make it a striking image.

The photo was taken as part of an “elder portrait” assignment in which Bellport High School teacher Sophia Black tasked Castro and her peers to capture images of older generations.

“Photographing my grandmother and my nephew, I sought to emphasize a family through different stages of life while also exploring the idea of age and youth,” said Castro. “Through this intergenerational portrait, I also wanted to capture that comforting sense of support that nobody but our grandparents can give.”

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

 


 

South Country Teacher Earns Appreciation Contest

TorreBellport Middle School teacher Brianne Torre was recently named a winner in the Teachers Federal Credit Union’s second annual Teacher Appreciation Week Contest. She was one of 12 educators out of 1,000 nationwide to earn a $1,000 classroom grant.

“I'm truly honored and surprised to be recognized in this way,” said Torre. “My job is a privilege, and making a difference in the lives of students on a daily basis has always been a priority and what I consider to be part of the work.”

Torre received the honors after being nominated by her colleague and friend, Dr. Lindsay Blaszcyk, who also mentored her when she first arrived at Bellport Middle School in 2015.

Torre was praised for her educational philosophy and the work she has done in the classroom.

“I love laughing and learning with my students,” said Torre. “Every day is new and exciting. I get to watch my students grow as young adults, both academically and emotionally, and I enjoy coaching them through their ups and downs.” She added, “Growing up is confusing, ever-changing and sometimes very isolating. I want to always be a constant in my students' lives, someone they can depend on each and every day to support them, love them and prepare them for their lives ahead.”

Torre began her career at Bellport Middle School as a permanent substitute teacher and leave replacement teacher in 2015. She was later hired for a probationary position in the English language arts department. She attended SUNY New Paltz for her undergraduate degree, where she majored in adolescent education concentrated in English, and attended St. Joseph's University for a master's degree in literacy and cognition.

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

 


 

A Free Ride to Yale

Gates

Bellport High School senior Rianna Raghunandan has earned a full Gates Scholarship to attend Yale University in the fall to study biology on a pre-med track.

Raghunandan is one of only 300 students from across the country to earn this highly selective scholarship following an application process and interview. Among other criteria, applicants must be in the top 10% of their graduating class and participate in extracurricular and community service activities.

Raghunandan is the Class of 2022 valedictorian, an AP Scholar with Honor and a National Hispanic Recognition Award recipient. She is also 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.

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

 


 

Honored for Leadership

Youth Award

Ten Bellport High School students were recently recognized with New York State Senate Youth Leadership Awards. They are among 14 students in the third senate district to earn the award. The students were acknowledged by New York State Sen. Alexis Weik for displaying leadership skills in the areas of community service, athletics, the arts and academics. They were also required to submit an essay and a letter of recommendation from a school official.

The South Country School District congratulates the following honorees: 10th graders Ethan Amendola, Maddy Budris and Brynn Johnsen; 11th graders Sydnie Climan and Kaylie Vertichio; and 12th graders Eric Ciavatta, Natalie Gentzel, Tamara Ortiz Macas, Isabella Miglino and Calvin Pedatella.

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

 


 

Bellport High School Junior Named Questbridge College Prep Scholar

Scholar

Bellport High School junior Tatianna Alvarado has merited the prestigious title of Questbridge College Prep Scholar.

Alvarado was one of 3,414 juniors from across the country to receive the honor from a pool of more than 13,000 applicants. She earned the designation based on her academic achievement and personal character. She now has the opportunity to participate in the Questbridge College Match program and earn scholarships.

“I am hopeful that this will open more opportunities for me,” said Alvarado.

A stellar student, Alvarado is also a member of her school’s National Honor Society, Key Club and Fathom Literary Club.

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

 


 

Veteran Educator Named Next Superintendent of South Country Central School District

SantanaDuring the May 18th meeting of the South Country Central School District Board of Education, the board appointed Mr. Antonio Santana as its next superintendent of schools. To ensure a smooth leadership transition, Mr. Santana will join the district on July 1 as assistant to the superintendent. He will work closely with current Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani before assuming the role of superintendent effective July 30th.

A veteran educator with more than 23 years of experience, Mr. Santana joins South Country from the Glen Cove City School District, where he has served as principal of Glen Cove High School for seven years. Prior to joining Glen Gove, he served as principal of Port Jefferson Middle School and held administrative positions in the Three Village Central School District and Valley Stream Central High School District. He began his career in education as a teacher at Alfred B. Mason School, PS/IS 226, in Brooklyn.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mr. Santana to our district,” said E. Anne Hayes, president of the board of education. “His dynamic personality, experience and joy for education makes him an excellent candidate to lead our school district to new and greater heights.”

Mr. Santana brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience. During his years in Glen Cove, he collaborated with stakeholders and local and state agencies to elicit a change in school culture, including establishing a “PRIDE” leadership team that developed restorative building practices and school-wide social-emotional learning lessons. He also developed and implemented a credit recovery program utilizing district resources facilitated by teachers, as well as a work-based learning coordinator, to provide opportunities for students to utilize career and technical education pathways. In addition, he oversaw the development and implementation of the high school’s budget, including auditing school expenditures and forecasting programmatic changes and related costs to inform budgetary planning.

“I am extremely excited and humbled to have been selected to serve the South Country Central School District as the superintendent of schools,” Mr. Santana said. “Through the valuable experiences I have been afforded in the various districts I have served, I have come to appreciate what an educational community values and what its role is for the families it serves. The South Country Central School District prides itself on its innovativeness and diversity, and my number one goal as the superintendent of schools will be to cultivate a positive and supportive professional environment that preserves the past and finds its future. I am eager and excited for the challenge that the office brings.”

A resident of Rocky Point, Mr. Santana holds a Bachelor of Science in communication from Cornell University and a Master of Science in school administration and supervision from Touro College.

Mr. Santana was appointed following an exhaustive months-long search coordinated between the board of education and Eastern Suffolk BOCES. The search also included the board’s review of feedback from the community, faculty and staff via online surveys conducted by BOCES on behalf of the board.

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

 


 

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.