SWS Organic Farming Planting Beds Upgraded on the Day of Service!

Wheatley’s School-Within-A-School is a democratic, student-run learning community that provides innovative learning and leadership opportunities for students. Several years ago, SWS began a garden unit and created plant beds for organic farming. As part of this year’s Day of Service and Learning, students tended to the existing beds, repairing them and preparing them for the winter months. There was even time to build some new benches for the area!

Thanks to Pat Clarke and Tom Storck for leading a terrific group of students on this project.

[Thanks to Mr. Clarke for some of the photos!]

Nearly 1,300 Sandwiches Made for the INN on our Day of Service

One of the long-standing traditions of our Day of Service and Learning has been the making of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the INN. Over the years, we have made thousands and thousands of sandwiches. This year, we moved away from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and instead made ham and cheese or bologna and cheese sandwiches. Thanks to the last minute generosity of our parents, we collected enough ham, cheese, bologna, mayonaise, mustard, bread and sandwich bags to make 1,237 sandwiches — all delivered to the INN at the end of the day. (The sandwiches can be frozen for later distribution.)

A huge “Thank You” to Alexis Blondrage and John Beleckas for leading the students during this activity!

Creating Canvases of Sunshine on our Day of Service!

One of the activities held during our 8th Annual Day of Service and Learning was the creation of artwork for the Meadowbrook Care Center — a rehabilitation center in Freeport. Led by Danielle Calvagno and Sherri Schacter, students created artwork that would be delivered to the rooms of the rehabilitation center.

In the words of Ms. Calvagno:

I asked the students to think of all of the items in their bedroom that they love: their iPad and cellphone, a pretty comforter for the bed, lamps to add soft lighting, painting and posters on the walls, sports equipment, etc. Then I asked them to imagine their bedrooms without any of those things that are special to them. I explained that when a person enters a short term or extended care rehabilitation center, their “new room” is absent of everything except a dresser, bed, nightstand, and perhaps a chair.

As a result of their work, seventeen canvases were created for the Meadowbrook Care Center — bringing a little bit of sunshine to the residents’ rooms!

Students Organize Birthday Wishes in a Box on our Day of Service

For several years, Wheatley has worked with Birthday Wishes, a wonderful organization that helps to bring birthday celebrations to homeless children. As it states on its website, Birthday Wishes believes that:

one’s living situation should not preclude a joyful birthday celebration with friends, family and fun!

As part of this year’s Day of Service and Learning, Wheatley students had a Birthday-in-a-Box Party, whereas they planned and packed boxes filled with birthday gifts, handmade birthday cards and various treats to be used for one of the birthday parties.

Under the guidance and leadership of Angela Luftig, Julie Jacobson, Mary Martinez, Julia Cashman, Kristen Malik and Meredith Fagan, students spent hours carefully creating, organizing and packing these celebratory boxes; their work will help bring a smile to someone in a difficult situation!

Wheatley’s 8th Annual Day of Service a Wonderful Success!

On Thursday, 20 October, Wheatley’s 8th Annual Day of Service and Learning took place. As part of this day, students and faculty engage themselves in approximately three dozen different service activities throughout Long Island. Some of the activities included:

  • A Canvas Full of Sunshine
  • Amityville Community Gardens
  • Birthday Wishes
  • Book Room Organization
  • Build Storage Shed (donated by Wheatley PTO)
  • Christopher Morley Park Cleanup
  • Concert at Glen Cove Nursing Home
  • East Williston Pumpkin Patch
  • Family Service League Preschool
  • Friends Academy Cemetery
  • Friends and Angels
  • Guide Dog Foundation
  • Hempstead Plains Restoration & Seed Collection
  • Horseability
  • The INN
  • Jessica Cohen Courtyard Cleanup
  • Million Pillowcase Challenge
  • North Side Assistants
  • Prairie Restoration/Invasive Species Removal
  • Project Sunshine
  • Ronald McDonald House
  • Sandwiches for the INN
  • Stage Crew Clean-up
  • Stop Hunger Now
  • Sweet Dreams
  • SWS Planting Beds
  • Veteran’s Memorial Maintenance
  • Video Documentarians
  • Willets Road Music Mentors

Over the next week or so, I will provide more details (and photos) from some of the activities. For now, here are some pictures of the students getting ready to head out to their sites!

Anya Chabria Recognized by Board of Education for her National History Day Work!

At Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting, Anya Chabria (8th Grade) was recognized for her outstanding work in last year’s National History Day competition. As part of this competition, Anya

Willets Road’s amazing librarian, Diane Ilkiw, and social studies teacher, Patrick Shanahan, introduced Anya to the attendees. Part of their introduction is as follows:

Anya Chabria was recognized as having the best historical research paper in all of New York State, not only among her age group, but all students in grades 6-8. By being awarded the best paper in NYS, Anya represented the East Williston School District and New York State at the National History Day competition at the University of Maryland in June of 2016.

Encompassing the theme of Exploration, Encounter and Exchange, Anya’s paper examined in great detail the exchange between American and French officials in moving toward the Louisiana Purchase.

Anya should be commended for her willingness to devote her time and energy to scrolling through historical archives and numerous resource documents to develop and construct a concise research paper about an extremely complex topic. Anya devoted hours before and after school, many lunch periods and most of her free time in accessing sources to develop her paper. In fact, in order to translate an original primary source document written in “Olde French” Anya requested the assistance of Mr. Jean-François Henley at Wheatley. He was able to translate the document which added great significance to her thesis. The judges at both the regional and state competitions remarked at the depth of research and variety of sources contained in her paper.

Congratulations to Anya for her success last year, and thanks to the Willets Road faculty for working so well with her!

Art Students Explore Parrish Museum

Students from Portfolio, Advanced Portfolio, Advanced Portfolio Photography, and AP 2-D traveled to the Parrish Museum in Watermill this past Friday. The students were accompanied by the art teachers Julia Donovan and Nikki Girgenti.

During their visit, had an opportunity to explore the museum and exhibits. More importantly, the students participated in a workshop and gallery discussion in which they explored the concept of “the narrative” in contemporary art.