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Students Showcase Their Smarts

Students from the Odyssey and Math Enrichment programs in the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District presented projects they’ve been working on this year at the May 12 board of education meeting. 

 

“We’ve asked some of our students here this evening so you could see some of the outstanding work that’s cultivated by the young men and young women in our district,” Superintendent Robert Katulak said. 

 

Students in fourth through sixth grades from New Hyde Park’s four elementary schools took turns presenting their projects, which covered a variety of subjects from Homer’s Odyssey to cricket to Internet search speeds. 

 

Victoria McGuigan, a sixth grader from Hillside Grade School, introduced the Odyssey program and gave a brief summary of the work the class has done this year, before reading a selection from an illustrated book of her own design called “Sybil Ludington, the Fearless Fighter.” 

 

Fifth graders Kaitlyn Thitibordin, Navdeep Kaur, and Megan Muntzenberger presented a model of an Odyssey themed amusement park. Preesha Mody played Elizabethan music on her flute and Christian Zamora unveiled his Shakespearean puppet show.

 

Dario Gimenez created his own Benjamin Franklin board game. Fourth grader Max O’Connor also tried his hand at inventing.

 

Entry into the programs is based on three criteria: IQ, New York State test results, and teacher recommendation. Students meet for 90 minutes a week for each program during regular classroom hours. They’re responsible for any work missed. Most students are in both the

Odyssey and Math Enrichment programs, but it is possible to be in one without the other. 

 

Sheila Bet heads the Odyssey program, which offers students in-depth humanities studies. Fourth-graders explore literacy through the Junior Great Books program and learn critical thinking skills used to interpret classic works of literature.

 

In fifth grade, they tackle Greek mythology and the works of Shakespeare. In sixth grade, students participate in a program called “The Constitution Works” to learn how a bill becomes a law. 

 

Every year culminates in a trip to New Hyde Park Village Hall for a mock debate where the class attempts to amend and pass a new bill. This year, students analyzed a 14th Amendment right and debated whether boys and girls should be allowed to play on the same sports teams. 

 

“The purpose of the Odyssey program is to provide a challenging, differentiated educational environment, beyond the regular school program. Enhanced decision-making, problem solving, creative, critical and divergent thinking are developed through activities that are designed to challenge our young students’ intellects and talents,” explains Bet.

 

The Math Enrichment program is taught by Tammie Svendsen and allows students to pursue projects based on whatever interests them amount the world of mathematics. The class also participates in the National Math Olympiads, an ongoing competition from November to March.  

 

Several students presented their projects at the Board of education meeting. Fourth grader Rahi Bhatia gave a detailed account of Math in Cricket that focused on different players’ batting averages. Vanessa DiNardo and Ava Giangrande teamed up to determine whether or not it was more cost-effective to buy bows for their hair or to make them themselves. Julia Si did her project on Math in Architecture and studied  different types of bridges.

 

The final presentation came from a pair of sixth graders, Mithul George and Abaan Khalid, who compared Internet search speeds on Google and Bing as well as service providers Verizon FiOs and Optimum Online.

 

The annual Math and Odyssey fairs offer the students a chance to show off their hard work to parents and peers alike. 

 

Contract Talk

The board of education meeting wrapped up with comments from the community. Ralph Ratto, president of the teachers union for the district, spoke out against stalled contract renewals. 

 

“Our negotiations have been at a painfully slow pace, often waiting weeks for an answer or another meeting by your side,” Ratto said. “There is no logical excuse for this.” 

 

The teachers contract expired two years ago at the end of the school year. Under the Triborough amendment to the Taylor Law, they continue to work under the terms of the old contract until a new one is ratified.

 

Because negotiations are ongoing, Ratto declined to discuss what offers are being made by both sides.  While addressing the board, he stressed that the teachers are simply after a “fair and just contract” and reminded them that teachers “are taxpayers and parents too.” 


News

 Online food market OurHarvest has recently joined forces with Mineola-based Island Harvest Food Bank, Long Island’s largest hunger relief organization, to help feed hungry Long Islanders over Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season.

In the year it’s been open, the Space at Westbury has been host to musicians, comedians, dancers and last week, the venue opend its doors for world class boxers and their loyal fans. One of the headliners was Richie “Brazil” Neves, from New Hyde Park.

 

Winner Takes All Productions and Greg Cohen Promotions brought a night of boxing to the Space on Thursday, Nov. 13. While boxing events have come to Long Island before, this was the first of its kind to come to The Space. 


Sports

Despite a disappointing playoff loss against the Wantagh Warriors, Sewanhaka Indians Head Coach George Kasimatis, is pleased with his football team’s season. 

“I’m proud of my team,” he said. “But you are never satisfied unless you win the whole thing.”

 

The Indians faced a big challenge this year, moving up into Conference II left them as the new kids on the block, unfamiliar with the teams they would be going against. 

Kasimatis will have a tall task next year replacing graduating seniors, which made up most of his starting lineup. Kasimatis said most of the offensive line, such as Danny Gianotti, Adrian Gonzalez and Louis Segarra III, and the defensive line, such as Justin Alexandre, Peter LaTorre and Peter Militano are seniors, many of which have started multiple years for him. 

The fifth seeded Sewanhaka Indians traveled to Wantagh to take on the fourth seeded Wantagh Warriors on Friday, Nov. 7 for its opening playoff game. 

 

The Indians opened the game sluggish on offense, and were held in check throughout the first quarter. The Indians defense did its best to keep the team within striking distance, but field position form shaky special teams play, put them in a difficult position. 

 

Warriors running back Dylan Beckwith, was able to punch in a 15-yard touchdown run, to give the Warriors a one score lead after the first quarter. 


Calendar

Songfest Tickets - November 19

PTA Meeting - November 19

Herricks School Board Meeting - November 20


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