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Smithtown’s New Wall Honors Military Heroes

Smithtown’s New Wall Honors Military Heroes
Five High School West students – Sophia Emma, Shayna Moses, Chloe Mango, Paige Diecidue and Rociel Raymundo – recently spearheaded an initiative that honors, recognizes and connects alumni who served in the military back to their roots in Smithtown.

The project began as a part of a social studies leadership class assignment, under the direction of High School West social studies teacher Joan Havranek. “After speaking with many of these alumni, I feel like this is just a very rewarding project,” Havranek said. “The wall means a lot to them and their families and it’s definitely garnered plenty of interest.”

“We felt like the district needed to love, honor and respect the sacrifices those in the military have given,” said Shayna. Rociel added, “Many times we don’t really know what these alumni do after they graduate.”

To that end, the students decided to create a Wall of Heroes, dedicated to honoring military servicemen and women. They started a campaign to encourage alumni to come forward with information about their military service to be featured on the wall. They created a flyer, QR code and sent out messaging in the local papers and social media to seek submissions.

Although the students initially hoped the project would be complete before last Memorial Day, or at the least before they graduated, the number of submissions was so great, the idea kept growing. So far, the district has received more than 160 submissions and will continue to accept them. Adding new alumni to the wall will be an ongoing project. 

“We have submissions from a wide variety of military, from those who served in the Vietnam War to those who just graduated last year,” Ms. Havranek said. 

The large mural in the front of the High School West building was installed in early July, and High School East will feature a similar tribute. Plaques of each of the “heroes” will be mounted along the walls, featuring the name, branch of service and year of graduation. The students also solicited additional information from the alumni, which may be featured in a future digital library.

“It’s really nice to see our vision come to life,” added Rociel. Once the plaques are mounted in both of the high schools, the district plans to have a ribbon-cutting ceremony and invite the alumni in to celebrate around Veterans Day.

Fifth Grade Graduation

Smithtown Board Elects Officers

Smithtown Board Elects Officers photo
Smithtown Board Elects Officers photo 2
Smithtown Board Elects Officers photo 3
Smithtown Board Elects Officers photo 4
Smithtown Board Elects Officers photo 5
Smithtown Central School District’s Board of Education held its annual reorganization meeting on July 2. Newly elected board members Michael Catalanotto and Michael Saidens were sworn into their seats. The board cast its vote for president and vice president for Jeremy Thode and Saidens, respectively. Board of Education – from left: (seated) vice president Michael Saidens, trustee Mandi Kowalik, president Jeremy Thode; (standing) trustees Michael Catalanotto, Frank James, Jerry Martusciello and Matthew Gribbin. 

East Teacher Honored for Tech Use

East Teacher Honored for Tech Use
High School East media and art teacher Tim Needles received the International Society for Technology in Education’s Teacher Education Network Technology in Action award. Mr. Needles was recognized for sharing a lesson on video poetry along with some of the ways he incorporates technology into the art profession. The ISTE Technology in Action Award honors outstanding technology-using K-12 teachers. Winners are chosen for sharing lessons and video tutorials that show best practices for integrating technology for teaching and learning in a wide variety of grades, subjects, and technologies. Their work is then archived into the ISTE database and used as models and examples for in-service and preservice teachers around the world.

Tackan Student Joins the Fight Against Cancer

Tackan Student Joins the Fight Against Cancer photo
Seven-year-old Dominick Chiuchiolo, a first grader at Tackan Elementary School, is taking a literal stand against childhood cancer by running his own lemonade stand. In just one week, Chiuchiolo’s lemonade stand garnered $11,390 to support childhood cancer research. The “Lemonade Days of Summer” is a seven-day challenge to help benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. After finding out his mother is a childhood cancer survivor, Chiuchiolo set his initial goal to raise $8,000 in one month but far surpassed his expectations thanks to the support of his friends, family and local community.