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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

The Sewanhaka Central High School District selected Brentwood-based Park East Construction as its bond construction management firm last week. The group will oversee the $86.6 million in improvements coming to the district. Park East will analyze school architect Wiedersum Associates’ plans before applying for New York State Education Department approval.

 

“They are going to make sure the [firms that win district contracts] do the work right,” District Superintendent Dr. Ralph Ferrie said. “They’re going to make sure [the engineer’s] drawings are right before they are sent up to New York State. [Park East] reports directly to the architect and the Board of Education to make sure what we say we’re going to do is done well.”

The Sept. 18 meeting of the Herricks Board of Education covered a range of issues, from the district’s overall performance to the sudden death of a student to fiscal and personnel issues—even to the loss of maple trees. 

 

National Ranking 

Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Bierwirth announced that the district’s high school had achieved an impressive level of distinction in a recent national survey that measured scholastic achievement; in fact, a great deal of Long Island made the cut, he said.


Sports

Seniors Daniella Ford and Margie Londono highlight a Sewanhaka Indians girls soccer team vying for its second straight winning season. 

 

Ford, who is in her fourth season as starting goalie for the Indians, netted a season-high 24 saves in a 3-1 loss to Valley Stream Central. 

 

“She’s a stud back there,” said Sewanhaka third-year coach Eric Premisler, whose team is 0-3 as of press time, after going 8-3-1 last season. “If we can stop a team from taking five shots because of good defense, Daniella is going to stop another 15 shots. And we’re going to have a chance to win every game.”

The Sewanhaka Indians continue to let their presence be felt in Nassau Conference II. 

 

The Indians played their second game as members of the conference on Saturday, Sept. 21, against the Long Beach Marines, topping the south shore squad 51-30. 

 

On the opening drive, the Indians relied on running back Brenton Mighty’s legs to get them into the red zone. On first and goal from the 15-yard line, quarterback Elijah Tracey hit

Michael Parasconda on a screen pass for the first score. 


Calendar

Exercise Class - September 24

Silver Sneaker Fitness - September 25

Live Music - September 26


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com