Recently, the Self-Advocates group from Mill Neck Services, Inc. (MNS) participated in a kick-off event at this year’s Self-Advocates’ Open House. Held at the regional office of the Long Island Developmental Disabilities Service Organization (LIDDSO) in Hauppauge, the event was packed with over 100 advocates and support staff. After being introduced, the MNS participants chatted with other self-advocates about their experiences, including a presentation about deaf culture.
Among the topics the group discussed, with the assistance of a PowerPoint slide show, were how language and communication access are crucial, ways to approach a deaf person, and the importance of the words used in identifying people who are deaf and hard of hearing. The MNS self-advocates wrapped up their presentation with a mini lesson teaching the ASL (American Sign Language) alphabet and the numbers 1 through 10.
For the Oyster Bay Boys’ Varsity Track Team, this season has been inspirational. The team faced setbacks and adversities that would sideline many athletes. The word “quit” was not in their vocabulary as the dedicated and determined runners got knocked down only to pick themselves up and get back in the race.
When senior Pete Tricarico ran competitively on April 11 at the Cold Spring Harbor Invitational, he won a silver medal in the 1,000-meter steeple chase; an impressive performance since it was his first time ever running in the event, placing second only to teammate Teddy Hamlin. Hamlin not only placed first, but established a new meet record with a time of three minutes flat. That was nearly the last race Peter would finish in his high school track career.
The Roosevelt Elementary School spring concert wore a veil of sadness this year when it was announced that after serving 39 years for the district, the famously adored Robert Stern has decided to make this year his last. If Stern’s goal was to go out on top, he has certainly exceeded that mark with this year’s concert topping the best of the best.
The concert played tribute to Broadway, with second graders singing “Sunrise, Sunset,” from Fiddler on the Roof, Beethoven with first-graders perfuming “Ode to Joy,” and The Beatles for the grand finale performance.
Matthew Sisia, a high school music teacher, has been a source of pride and professionalism for the Oyster Bay-East Norwich School District since 2003. His love and deep understanding of what he teaches earns respect from his students and inspires them to be the best they can be. This level of quality has taken Oyster Bay High School musicians to places that most high school musicians never see. In 2008, Sisia’s band played the world premiere of a piece called “Groove” composed by Dr. Shelly Hanson. In March of 2010, Sisia and the combined Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band were invited to perform at Carnegie Hall.
At Oyster Bay High School, Sisia directs the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and Pit Orchestra, and serves as advisor for the Tri-M Honor Society. Sisia, who holds degrees from Pennsylvania State University and the Crane School of Music, is currently a doctoral student at the Hartt School. He has held positions as both the associate conductor of bands and adjunct professor in music education at Long Island University. He is the founder and director of the New York Chamber Ensemble and serves on the executive board of the College Band Directors National Association and the Nassau Music Educators Association.
As stage managers and crew scurried through the wings at 7:50 p.m. on Friday, April 12, hushed calls of “Thank you ten minutes,” and the hum of the pit band could be heard as the cast and crew of Oyster Bay High School’s production of “Anything Goes,” readied themselves for opening night.
On one side of the curtain stood the 24-student cast, stage crew and dedicated stage managers Freshman Jasmine Williams and Sophomore Ernie Williams on the other side a teeming audience full of family, friends and teachers.
Lidia Siracusano’s kindergarten class never gets quieter than a peep these days. That is since nine new arrivals emerged from their permeable shell on April 24, much to the delight of the entire school district community. While the eggs hatched in Room 24, thanks to efforts by the technology team, Michael de’Venau, Rob Wihnuk and Andy Kollmer, a camera streamed live video district-wide. Parents and students were able to access the video from home via the school’s website.
Despite the fact that she has been doing this for 15 years, the process never becomes dull for Mrs. Siracusano who said, “I get a warm and fuzzy feeling every time I do this project.”
As the eager school audience filed into the Old Gym on the morning of April 19, there were some nervous but excited third and fourth grade students seated on the stage. After weeks of studying, the day had finally arrived: the Sixth Annual East Woods School Spelling Bee.
A total of 39 students tried out for the Spelling Bee preliminary round, and 12 students made it through as finalists. Those students were given a challenging list of 250 vocabulary words to study prior to the Spelling Bee. After an impressive 43 rounds, Danielle Rosenthal, fourth-grade teacher and Spelling Bee leader, actually ran out of words, leaving a five-way tie for first place. During the last 15 rounds these five impressive spellers didn’t miss a single letter.
As a fast-moving downpour cleared away on Thursday, April 18, the parents, students and faculty at East Woods breathed a sigh of relief. It was the first-ever “Evening of the Arts” at East Woods School, and everyone was hoping the night would go off without a hitch.
Students and their families arrived on campus by 7 p.m. and were guided to the Upper School Academic building. Showcasing and celebrating the arts program at East Woods, those in attendance were treated to a feast for the eyes and ears.
The Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School has prided itself on offering “brilliant beginnings’ for the students of Oyster Bay – East Norwich. The literacy program in particular is outstanding. Columbia University’s Teachers College has cited OBEN as model schools and teachers from all over have come to observe OBEN teachers in action.
In July of 2007, Gina Faust took over as principal and under her leadership the educational program has garnered acclaim and recognition. A sign of a good leader is one that understands the value of teamwork and collaboration.
The American Sign Language program continues to grow each year in Oyster Bay. Dr. Nicolle Sisia’s Advanced American Sign Language class worked tirelessly to share their love of language with the underclassman at OBHS.
“ASL Day” has become an annual tradition where the Advanced American Sign Language students become teachers for the day, inviting students to the library to learn the language, grammar and cultural experiences they have acquired in their ASL classes.
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