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Holidays, Common Core And Clubs

Concerts Again

I had the wonderful experience of seeing the second Wheatley Winter Concert of this season. The chorale, honors string ensemble, symphonic orchestra, symphonic band and jazz band all sang and played expertly. Thank you to the amazing students who participated and to their outstanding teachers who prepared them and conducted the program, Angela Luftig, Stan Orlovsky, Peggy Ho and Steve Fitzko. It was a beautiful evening of music.  In keeping with our “All In” theme for the year, the program focused on one common subject, Americana. In this way, students studying American history in their classrooms would be exposed to many periods of American history through a musical lens.

 

The student-musicians researched their pieces, composers and the time frame in which they were written. For example, a sampling of our student performances follows: a choral selection “The Bells,” based on an 1849 poem by American poet Edgar Allan Poe and arranged by John Leavitt; the song, “Brother, My Brother,” by Jack Murphy and Frank Wildhorn, was inspired by the tensions between the southern and northern states that escalated into the Civil War; “Americans We” was written in 1929, at the beginning of  the Great Depression, when the composer Henry Fillmore wanted to bring music to the country and ignite spirit and pride in Americans.  As noted in the Concert program, “Music usually reflects the environment and time of its creation.  We increase our appreciation of music when we understand its historical context.” The thematic selections of the evening supported this type of connection to academic learning, while at the same time created an emotional experience that only the arts can provide.

 

Common Core Presentations In The Content Areas

At the December board of education monthly meeting, Dave Casamento, director of science and technology, Brian McConaghy, secondary chair of social studies and Joan Anderson, foreign language department chair made presentations on the Common Core and Literacy in the Content Areas. The presentations can be found on our website at www.ewsdonline.org > left side navigation to Common Core Curriculum Info > CCC Info. Once again following this year’s theme “All In” where we believe students learn best integrating ideas and skills across all content areas, the presentations conveyed the many parallels found in the three content areas above and the ELA and Math Common Core Standards.  (Audio of the presentations will be available online  when we return from the December break.)  In just one example, foreign language students now practice reading and speaking skills by gathering evidence from several sources to support a persuasive argument, similar to the ELA research paper.

 

Intercultural Unity Club 31st Annual Assembly And Luncheon

Each year, Wheatley’s Inter-Cultural Unity Club (ICU) holds its annual assembly and luncheon, an all-day cultural festival filled with live performances and foods from around the world. Over the many years, the luncheon has become a great tradition at Wheatley. Through music and dance performances by students, we celebrated the diverse cultures within our community as a way of bringing us closer together.  Special invited guests are students from the UCP (United Cerebral Palsy) Children’s Learning Center.  I was excited to be able to participate, as did several of our faculty in the end of program fashion show where native clothing from various countries was modeled.   

Following the assembly, our luncheon replaces the normal cafeteria fare with diverse sampling of food from all cultures.  As students enjoy the wonderful food, they are entertained in our transformed cafeteria by a diverse program of student and faculty performers.   We are thankful for the food and other donations from our Wheatley families.  All leftover food is brought to the Interfaith Nutrition Network – The Inn.

 

East Williston/Roslyn Community Coalition For Healthy Youth 

The East Williston/Roslyn Community Coalition for Healthy Youth (EWRCC) has as its goal, emotionally and physically healthy youth. The coalition’s objective is to educate families as they face today’s many parenting challenges by means of parent education workshops, public service ads, community website and a communications network. Coalition members include parents, school officials, religious leaders and other concerned residents and community leaders in the East Williston and Roslyn school communities.

Several times a year, Dan Brenner, superintendent of the Roslyn School District, and I join the parent board members at the Coalition’s Executive Board Meetings to plan programs for the year.   This is an important organization and we need more East Williston parents to take on key roles in this organization, such as board membership, committee chairs, etc.  By collaboratively working with Roslyn, our neighboring school district, we are able to combine our efforts for maximum impact.  For example, we are discussing combining our Parent University efforts at some time in the future to broaden the range of workshops we can offer.  PLEASE, if you have an interest in getting involved, or would just like to find out more about this coalition, contact me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or EWRCC Board member and district resident, Jamie Cutinella at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .   

News

Senator Jack Martins discussed education, business and drug use among other topics in a an exclusive interview with this newspaper and FiOS 1 News. He’s currently seeking re-election in November, being challenged by Democrat Adam Haber. Pointing to what he called “key legislation,” particularly the tax cap legislation passed in 2011 and prescription drug bill he helped shepherd to enactment, Martins feels New York State is on track to continue fiscal responsibility.

 

“In these last four years, we’ve had four balanced budgets, we’ve cut taxes working together, we have paid off debt, streamlined government, kept spending below 2 percent each one of those years,” Martins said.

A contingent of 80 Mineola runners embarked on their first trek to lower Manhattan last year for the Tunnel To Towers 5K Run through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel toward the World Trade Center site. This year, the United Mavericks, a networking group of local business people that support local charities and causes, are gearing up surpass that number.

Mavericks reps say they’re half way to gathering 1,000 people to run in the event’s 13th year on Saturday, Sept. 28.

 

The run honors a fireman Stephen Siller, who was enjoying a day off planning to play golf before he learned the Twin Towers were hit by two airplanes during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. He was one of the 343 firefighters who died when the towers collapsed.


Sports

Though it had already hosted the series of lacrosse games during the regular season this past spring, Chaminade High School’s new Gold Star Stadium was officially christened on Saturday, Sept. 6, named in honor of the 56 alumni who had perished during combat.

 

“Tradition holds that when one dies in the service a gold star is given to the family,” said Chaminade President Bro. Thomas Cleary. “Our 56 Gold Star Alumni are honored for their selflessness, courage, and integrity.”

Although the expectations for the 2014 Mineola Mustangs boy’s varsity soccer season may be somewhat measured, the team enters the season with the goal of a berth in the Nassau County playoffs. The team is young and inexperienced but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

 

There is considerable talent on the horizon. There are only four starting seniors and five sophomores on the roster. Four year starting senior forward Daniel Pardo returns (19 goals in three seasons) as does senior standout goalkeeper Andrew Pereira.


Calendar

Town Zoning Meeting - September 17

International Night - September 18

Bereavement Support Group - September 19


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