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Excelling Onward

The members of the eighth-grade graduating class at Jonas E. Salk Middle School proceeded down the aisles of the school’s gymnasium in a ceremonial moving-up tradition, as proud parents and family members watched from the bleachers. Class officers led the salute to the flag, after which the eighth-grade chorus, conducted by Lisa Levenberg, sang the national anthem.


In his opening remarks, Principal John Zampaglione told the graduates that they had clearly risen above what was expected from them during their middle school tenure. “Your desire, maturity and compassion to help others were your most impressive achievements,” he stated. MacArthur High School Principal Kathleen Valentino also welcomed the Class of 2017 and explained that there will always be staff and peer leaders to help the students acclimate to high school. 


In addition, Board of Education President Michael Pappas remarked that it would be the events and club activities of their school years that will be most remembered during adulthood, and advised the students to become involved in the high school. Councilman Gary Hudes then encouraged the freshmen-to-be to follow the steps of Christopher Columbus, a man who had no fear to explore and discover the unknown.      


During the ceremony, the administration and staff bestowed a number of special awards in the areas of educational excellence, character and citizenship. The awards and their recipients included:


Academic Excellence – Casey Butcher


Triple “C” Award – Carissa Giuliano and Brandon Levy 


New York State Comptroller Award – Christina Nelson


Scholar-Athlete Award – Michael Davis, Erin Magliano and Joseph Mooney


Nassau County Legislative Student Citizenship Award – Jack Lugo  


The students proceeded to the podium to receive their certificates. To the delight of the graduates, student Ted Fiber, guitar teacher Dave Insana and music teacher Lisa Levenberg treated the audience to a rendition of “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.” After the ceremony, parents and students were invited for refreshments in the school cafeteria, where the students congratulated their friends on becoming high schoolers.