The Board of Education hosted its second Commendation Award Ceremony, an initiative introduced earlier this school year, on March 22. A number of students, along with two staff members, received certificates of acknowledgment and rounds of applause as they were individually recognized during the celebration.
Superintendent of Schools Constance D. Evelyn welcomed the honorees and their guests on behalf of the Board of Education and administration. “The recognition you are receiving this evening is a tribute to how much we value your hard work and dedication to excellence. We hope that it will encourage the maintenance of your outstanding efforts,” she said. “We commend your efforts and want you to know that we highly value your level of commitment.”
Howell Road school psychologist Dr. Gaston Weisz and James A. Dever art teacher Janis Boremski were recognized prior to the presentation of student awards. Dr. Weisz was congratulated for co-authoring research that was selected for publication in the journal Psychology in Schools, and for developing two presentation proposals that were accepted for use at the National Association of School Psychologists’ annual conference. Ms. Boremski was honored for leadership with students through efforts such as Lights On for Education, Reflections and Youth Art Month.
The first students honored were those who had participated in the Colors of Long Island Art Exhibition, a festival that invites students to submit artwork for display at the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook. The honorees included Joseph Chetram, Joshua Hunt, Afia Kapadwala, Gabriella Rivera, Kira Sherman and Leah Thyme.
The next round of student recognitions were presented to members of the Care Package Club, who created blankets and cards for children in hospitals, as well as for veterans and service members. The award recipients were Ricky Chen, Mikayla Cittadino, Gabrielle DiCostanzo, Jenna Graziano, Megan McDermott, Olivia Muscatelli, Nyla Phillips and Christina Ravo.
The largest presentation of awards was bestowed upon students who performed in the All-County Music Festival, an opportunity sponsored by the Nassau Music Educators Association for which students are selected based on their New York State School Music Association solo evaluations. This year, an unprecedented number of Valley Stream UFSD Thirteen students were selected to All-County ensembles. Those honorees included the following: Samantha Altieri, Sofia Barry, Gianna Betzu, Frank Castrofilippo, Isabella Cheque, Ava Cicilia, Michelle Cuocci, Ynah Delamerced, John Delcarpine, Connor Donovan, Madelyn Dusel, Charlotte Graham, Nicholas Grosso, Lindsay Guerra, Sarah Gutierrez, Aiden Hack, Joshua Hunt, Lindsay Jacob, Kate Kalb, Vivian Laskowski, Elyas Layachi, Hannah Lee, Eilanna Madonia-Brea, Grace Mahoney, Rei Maldonado, Giovanni Mascetti, Grace Mastandrea, Ashley Matos, Sarah McGrath, Matthew Meaney, Emma Michel, Nicole Morera, Fazan Munshi, Steven Munson, Sophia Mura, Leah Narain, Marissa Nardone, Craig Papajohn-Shaw, Gianna Petrucelli, Johansson Ramos, Michael Ramos, Kayla Santo, Kira Sherman, Abigaille St. Fort, Samantha Szabo, Megan Taylor, Matthew Tineo, John Valencia, Olivia Walsh, Melan Williams, Amanda Wong, Lucy Wu, Karen Ye, Ivan Ymaz, John Youssef, Alexandria Zerbarini, Ella Zhuo and Kate Zydor.
Also honored for her musical accomplishments was Tiffany Wong, who, along with Michelle Cuocci, was selected to participate in the Long Island String Festival Association’s specialized ensemble.
The next group of awards was presented to participants in the Farmingdale State College All-County Art Exhibition, which featured the works of students throughout Nassau County. Tazio Barra, Sophia Buonomo, Camila Camacaro, Ricky Chen, Reannah Dautruche, Melanie Gangi, Nalani Gayle, Argelina Jeune, Josephine Scalia, Zainab Shahzad, Paris Siegel and Jimmy You were the honorees.
Recognitions were then bestowed upon Aleeza Dhillon, Ericka Leus, Tamryn McKenzie, Sofia Raza and Laraib Rehman, whose artwork was chosen for display in the New York State Art Teachers Association Legislative Art Exhibit. Their pieces were showcased at the state capitol and viewed by the state’s political leaders as well as the Albany community.
The ceremony concluded with the presentation of honors for students who are taking part in the Long Island Art Teachers Association’s “Art in HeART” exhibition, held in conjunction with the New York State Art Teachers Association. Sophia Buccellato, Iveilys Castro, Sabrina Garufi, Christopher Gutierrez, Aiden Hack, Ariann Jean-Baptiste, Ryan Mangru, Allister Roache, Logan Schafer, Peter Tumminello, Sophia Valverde and Gabrielle Walker will have their work showcased in this exhibition.
“We are so proud of these students and their diligence in achieving excellence,” Ms. Evelyn stated as the event came to a close. “To our parents and community members, we also commend you on your commitment to supporting our young people to strive for high achievement.”