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Wagner, Christensen Named Teachers of 2014

Two teachers in the Island Trees School District have been selected as the recipients of the Harvard Club’s “Distinguished Teacher of 2014 Award,” for their dedication as educators.

 

Lori Christensen has been an English teacher in the Island Trees School District for 17 years, and currently serves as Chairperson of her department. She proudly advises the National Honor Society, teaches The College Process, a senior elective and mentors new teachers.

 

Ms. Christensen describes herself as defined by the “three Rs: Running, Reading, and wRiting.” During the year, she is known for attracting teens, teachers, and friends alike for book chat; and during the summer enjoys jogging the Long Beach Boardwalk each day before relaxing with a good book. 

 

Ms. Christensen has received the prestigious “Teacher of Excellence” award from the New York State English Council and, more importantly, received the first ever Teacher of the Year award at Island Trees High School.

 

Mr. Wagner, has taught all but one of his 22 years in the Island Trees district. He currently teaches Physical Setting Earth Science, a course he finds wonderfully stimulating. As the coach of the Island Trees Science Olympiad Team, he enjoys the variety of science that must be mastered, noting that some of what he teaches is college-level material.  

 

An avid photographer of nature and wildlife, Wagner’s hobbies almost consume his interest as much as teaching does. From photographing glacial geology in Alaska to canyons and rock formations in Australia, he tries to use his photos to create memorable images for his students.  

 

Both Christensen and Wagner were nominated for their awards by Kathryn J. Gundersen, a former Island Trees High School student who will graduate from Harvard College in June 2017.

 

Gundersen said that through the teachings of Mr. Wagner, she learned what it means to be passionate about your work. 

 

“I’d never really considered science my ‘thing,’” Gundersen says, “but his passion was absolutely contagious. I can only hope to be as passionate about my future work as he is about his own.”

 

Both teachers exhibit a work ethic second to none, according to Elizabeth Roemer, the Island Trees School District Administrator for Educational Programs, Literacy, and Staff Development. Roemer has worked side by side with both Ms. Christensen and Mr. Wagner, over the past 25 years, and feels they are influential because they live their values. 

 

“Lori leaves the building each day with her purple teaching bag slung on her shoulder, heavy with stacks of her students’ AP Language and Composition papers, current event article responses, and dialectical journals,” Roemer said. “Each night (and weekend) she works tirelessly to offer her students valuable feedback on their written analyses. And she expects the same from her students; just ask any of them, and they would be happy to tell you all about it.” 

News

Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy recently nominated 19 students from the Fourth Congressional District to the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. Kevin Seery of Wantagh has earned one of the nominations to the United States Military Academy from McCarthy. Seery is presently attending Norwich University. 

It’s been a long time since Nicole Shaw and Chris McCabe first met—years, in fact—but after taking a chance on each other, the couple realized that they were meant to be with

McCabe recently proposing to Shaw at Old Westbury Gardens’ annual Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns after six years of dating. 

 

McCabe, now an NYPD officer, and Shaw, who works for Mill Neck Services for Deaf Adults, met in middle school and developed their friendship through high school, said Shaw. 


Sports

Dowling College’s Mike Groenthal, of Levittown, was recently named as Honorable Mention All-Conference selections from the East Coast Conference (ECC) in men’s soccer, as a forward. Groenthal is a junior at Downling. He is a graduate of Island Trees High School. 

 

The ECC was formed in 1989 to enhance intercollegiate athletic competition among member institutions and to assist them in integrating athletics into their academic program in a fiscally sound way. 

John Kane, of Levittown (pictured), scored as the 10th finisher overall in the Greater Long Island Club’s 15th Annual Six-hour 16th Birthday Run, which was recently held at Sunken Meadow State Park. Kane logged a total of 38.22 miles over the six hours, to earn him the 10th slot out of 140 participants.


Calendar

Advent Craft Market - November 29

Rick Bailey Memorial Turkey Bowl - November 29

St. Nicholas Craft - December 5


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