Harvard Club of Long Island Names Adam Plana as a Distinguished Teacher of 2018!

This past Sunday, the Harvard Club of Long Island recognized eleven teachers from Long Island as “Distinguished Educators of 2018.” Wheatley’s own Adam Plana was one of the educators recognized at this event.

The  press release is as follows:

“This award honors teachers who transform lives,” explained Dr. Judith Esterquest, Harvard Club of Long Island Chair of the Distinguished Teacher Selection Committee. “Devoted teachers like Mr. Plana offer Long Island students deep expertise, extraordinary talents, and countless hours of attention.  By capturing the minds and imaginations of our children and preparing them for challenges that were unknown even a few decades ago, these teachers shape the future of our country.”

Mr. Plana will be honored at the Harvard Club of Long Island’s annual University Relations Luncheon on April 15, at the Heritage Club at Bethpage, along with 11 other teachers from across Long Island. Following the award ceremony, Harvard Professor Michael Klarman will lecture on The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the U.S. Constitution. A renowned legal historian and constitutional law scholar, Prof. Klarman will discuss questions that resonate today: why so many features of our constitution insulate the national government from populist political influence, why the Philadelphia convention was so unrepresentative of national opinion, and why ordinary Americans approved a scheme that drastically reduced their political influence?

Mr. Plana attended SUNY Stonybrook and there received both his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering and his graduate degree in Education. Mr. Plana, who teaches all levels of Physics, has taught for 22 years, all of them at The Wheatley School.   He attributes his long tenure to “mutual respect” between students, teachers and administrators at the school.

The respect earned by Mr. Plana has come from effort, initiative, and vision.  In addition to teaching Physics, he has introduced new classes, such as Forensics and the Physics of Sports and Stunts — and coached the Physics Olympics team, advised classes and clubs, coached middle school soccer, and led set-building for school theatricals.

Mr. Plana brings this same level of participation and energy to his personal life, coaching the soccer teams of one or more of his 3 sons for the past 10 years.  In recent summers, Mr. Plana, his wife and boys have driven across the country, discovering the wonders of the road while visting many national parks along the way.  In his “free time,” Mr. Plana has been the lead guitarist and singer for several rock bands, including the faculty rock‑and‑roll band that plays at student functions.

Andrew Zuckerman, a former Wheatley student who is expected to graduate from Harvard College with the class of 2021, nominated Mr. Plana.  Mr. Zuckerman was class president, when Mr. Plana was his class advisor, and a student in Mr. Plana’s Physics class.  “What I loved about Mr. Plana was the seriousness with which he took physics,” recalls Mr. Zuckerman.  “He wanted us to understand each topic fundamentally. Live demos were frequent. Diagrams were abundant. Questions after class were welcome.”

Mr. Zuckerman credits Mr. Plana with his motivation for success at Harvard.  “Mr. Plana stressed the importance of learning for the sake of learning.  He reminded me to push myself for reasons that lie outside of external validation.”

Dr. Sean Feeney, Principal of The Wheatley School, says “One of our veteran educators, Mr. Plana is loved by students and parents alike. A collaborative educator, Mr. Plana is a leader in our school. He mentors younger teachers and freely shares his strategies and techniques with colleagues. In the classroom, his hands-on approach to teaching helps students connect the content to the practical. He motivates and inspires some of our best students.”

Dr. Feeney continues, “Outside of the classroom, Mr. Plana connects with students in a variety of ways, most notably the weekly early morning soccer scrimmages. Mr. Plana epitomizes the Wheatley Spirit of collaboration, close connections with students, and classroom creativity. We are fortunate to have him as part of our faculty.”

At the ceremony on April 15, the Harvard Club of Long Island will announce the Distinguished Teacher of 2018 who will also receive a scholarship for a “Harvard experience” at the Harvard University campus in Cambridge, Mass. Past winners of the scholarships have enhanced their teaching by sampling the resources available to Harvard students: meeting with faculty; visiting research laboratories, rare book archives, and specialty museums; and enjoying visual and performance art. The scholarships are funded by contributions from Harvard alumni living on Long Island.

This year’s 12 Distinguished Teacher Award winners were nominated by current Harvard undergraduates and then selected by Harvard Club of Long Island board members. This year’s award winners teach economics, English, history, math, physics, chemistry, science research, and Spanish. The winners teach in the Bellmore-Merrick, Bohemia, Brentwood, East Meadow, East Williston, Herricks, Hewlett, Lynbrook, Manhasset, Mt. Sinai, and Roslyn school districts.

The East Williston School District has had one previous winner;  Kevin Meyers, teacher of mathematics, was recognized in 2006.

Thanks to Dr. Judith Esterquest, we have some photos from Sunday’s event!

JBE Plana RS

Dr. Judith Esterquest, HCLI; Adam Plana, Honoree; Robert Sherlock, HCLI

*2018 Distinguished Teacher honorees and Klarman

2018 Honorees and Harvard Law School Professor. Front row: Renée Barcia, Herricks HS; Adam Plana, Wheatley School; Dr. David Rifkind, Hewlett HS; Dr. Rebecca Grella, Brentwood HS; John Halloran, Connetquot HS; Back Row: Prof. Michael Klarman, Harvard Law School; Laura Lastorino, Brentwood West MS; Jason Boland, Calhoun HS; Glynis

Wheatley’s Will Feil Commits to the ​University of Albany!

The Wheatley Athletic Program is honored to recognize the accomplishments of Will Feil (Class of 2018). Will has signed a letter of commitment to continue his impressive academic and baseball career at the University at Albany.

Will Feil is a rare three-sport athlete. As a member of our Varsity Soccer, Basketball and Baseball teams, Will has established himself as a student-athlete of high recognition. Will played on our Nassau County Class B Championship Soccer team. As Captain of our Varsity Basketball team, Will earned All-Conference recognition for his outstanding play during the 2017-18 season. Will is a returning Captain for the Wildcats Baseball team, and a returning “All-County 2017” and “All-Conference 2016” member of our varsity baseball team. Will’s accomplishments on the baseball field have earned him recognition as one of Newsday’s Top 100 Players.  Will was a key contributor to the baseball team’s 2016 Nassau County Class B and Long Island Class B Championship as well as the 2017 Nassau County Class B Championship. As our most complete player, he performs at the highest level on the field and continually inspires and supports his teammates. Will’s leadership and ability are being counted upon to lead us back to the Nassau County Class B Baseball Championship and beyond.

Will’s outstanding transcript speaks for itself. Will has a weighted GPA of 4.0, his rigorous course of studying includes 8 Advanced Placement course. Through his efforts Will has earned the “AP Scholar with Honors” distinction. He has extensive community service and volunteer experience as a member of our National Honor Society and Foreign Language Honor Society. Will is also a member of the St. Aidan’s Peanut Butter Gang. Will is a well-rounded student-athlete.

In February, Will signed his Letter of Intent to attend the University at Albany to compete in baseball.  His academic scholarship and athletic prowess will allow Will Feil to continue his pursuit of excellence. We are all very proud of the accomplishments he has earned and look forward to his future achievements!

[Thanks to Tom Fitzpatrick for the write-up and the photo!]


Alumnus Scott Weiss (Class of 1999) Shares his Experiences!

Over the past several years, the SWS community has welcomed back former students who want to share their post-Wheatley experiences with our community.

On April 11, Scott Weiss (Class of 1999), a former SWS Moderator (President), came to our Community Day to share his story. Today, Scott is a design professional who, after working in IDEO’s San Francisco, has set up his own business working on social impact design projects. He described how he is currently working with the Harvard Graduate School of Education to create new ways to provide opportunities for underserved communities.

In addition to describing his projects and the basics of design planning, Scott described how he has reinvented himself repeatedly during his career. After studying film at Syracuse’s Newhouse School, Scott pursued his Hollywood dreams in Los Angeles where he worked on major motion pictures and in reality television. He then transitioned to a new city and a new path, moving to San Francisco and IDEO. IDEO is one of the premier design firms, having partnered with Steve Jobs and Apple very early and helping design the mouse for the early Macintosh computers.

Scott’s presentation also included an interactive activity where pairs of SWS members created a secret handshake that revealed something about each of them. It was raucous and enlightening.
SWS plans to continue this program of bringing back alumni to present to the community. In the past, we have welcomed back a Peace Corps volunteer who is now a quail farmer on the North Fork. Writer Eric Brach returned to discuss his published work as did Stephanie Klein. Performer and educator Elana Jaroff also visited last year, exposing the community to her dance career and her mindfulness practice.
[Thanks to Pat Clarke for the photos and the write-up!]

59 Students Inducted into World Language Honor Societies!

Earlier this evening, 48 Wheatley students were inducted into the three national language honor societies: La Société Honoraire de Français, La Società Onoraria Italica and La Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica. The purpose of these organizations is to stimulate interest in the study of these languages, to give recognition to scholarship and achievement in these languages and to promote an understanding and appreciation of the cultures and civilizations of the people who speak these languages.

In order to be eligible for induction into Wheatley’s chapters, students are required to maintain an average of at least A- for two consecutive years plus the first semester leading up to the induction ceremony. These initiates have also demonstrated interest in using the language beyond the classroom through their participation in local and national competitions, language clubs or travel experiences.

Over the course of the evening, Ciara O’Brien and Dustin Wong (Class of 2019) eloquently reflected on their Wheatley World Language Experiences, Danielle Smichok (Class of 2019) recited “Quand tu dors” by Jacques Prévert, Patrick Brady (Class of 2019) recited “In Morte del Fratello Giovanni” by Ugo Foscolo and Tiffany Jiao recited her original poem, “Un mundo maravilloso místico.”

The following 7 students were inducted into the Société Honoraire de Français:

  • Alex ArbitalJacoby
  • Robert Boubour
  • Maggie Caroddo
  • Madison Ramos
  • Trenton Wong
  • Emily Yagoda
  • Brenda Zhong

The following 8 students were inducted into the Società Onoraria Italica

  • Emily Blumberg
  • Patrick Brady
  • Peter Cuomo
  • Eliana Li
  • Victoria Mora
  • Brooke Rubenstein
  • Dean Sheinman
  • Ashley Vincenzo

The following 44 students were inducted into the Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica

  • Rahul Ajmera
  • Alison Amarain
  • Kavina Amin
  • Kaya Amin
  • Isabel Avila
  • Zachary Azevedo
  • Brandon Behar
  • Alyssa Belle
  • Patrick Brady
  • Brooke Christman
  • Jacquelen Daniels
  • Deana Druz
  • Jenna Fey
  • Norah Gidanian
  • Emily Gothelf
  • Alex Horowitz
  • Hitangee Jain
  • Sahil Jain
  • Viraj Jayam
  • Megan Kaye
  • Jason Koty
  • Theodore Koutsoftas
  • Matthew Kreitzer
  • Hema Kumar
  • Rachel Lee
  • Karen Li
  • Ari Ostad
  • Natalia Potrapeluk
  • Orell Rayhan
  • Avinash Reddy
  • Tyler Schore
  • Isabella Rios
  • Jayda Rubino
  • Diya Shah
  • Jaylyn Soleimani
  • Kiran Shaikh
  • Rebecca Sparacio
  • Erin Wu
  • Justin Wu
  • Kenton Wu
  • Alia Yamin
  • Rebecca Zeltsman
  • Allison Zheng
  • Sharon Zhong

Congratulations to all of the inductees, and a huge “Thank You” to the World Language teachers who helped them achieve this milestone: Mrs. Joan Anderson (Department Chair), Mr. Jean-François Henley, Mrs. Julie Jacobson, Mrs. Mary Martinez, Mrs. Pilar Príncipe-Franco, Mrs. Daria Reid, Mr. Angel Rivero and Mrs. Susan Vasselman!

Boys Varsity Lacrosse Photos from 28 March!

While most Wheatley students were heading out for their Spring Recess on Wednesday, 28 March, the Wheatley/Carle Place Boys Varsity Lacrosse team was getting ready to face off against Valley Stream. The Wildfrogs earned a solid 8-4 victory in this non-league contest. Our friends at Island Photography were there to capture the action!