Wheatley Students Celebrated at the 2019 Academic Awards Evening!

On Thursday evening, hundreds of students, faculty, family members and community members gathered in the auditorium to celebrate our students’ academic, artistic and service achievements.

Students receive invitations to this evening without knowing what recognition they will receive. As such, there is excitement and anticipation in the air throughout the ceremony.

Each academic department presents awards to students who have excelled in classes. Additionally, there are community awards and some school-wide recognitions given. Some of the highlights of the evening occurred at the end, with the following recognitions:

PTO Teacher of the Year

This award is voted on by parents and given by our PTO. This year’s winner was Mr. DJ Paulson.

Susan Bergtraum Leadership in Action Award

This award is given in recognition of the senior who best illustrates the breadth and depth of leadership demonstrated by our former parent, Board Trustee and past president of the New York State School Boards Association. The recipient of this award was Sofia Greenfield.

The Jim O’Brien Award

Named after a retired faculty member, this award is given to a junior who exudes honesty, integrity and a deep devotion to helping others. This year’s recipient was Emily Gothelf.

PTO Recognition Award

This award is given by the PTO in recognition of a senior boy and girl who exemplify qualities such as kindness, good judgment, sincerity, dignity, good citizenship and dependability. This year’s recipients were Charlotte Goldbaum and John Scudero.

The Wheatley Medals

These medals are given to the senior boy and girl who have exemplified the highest standards of scholarship, ethical conduct and service to the community. This year’s recipients were Karan Amin and Cecilia Jozef.

You can view the entire program through this link: 2019 Academic Awards Night Full Program May19

Academic Awards Cover 2019

[Thanks to Dr. Eckers for some of the photos!]

Wheatley’s Mock Trial Team Competes in the State Finals!

Last month, Wheatley’s Mock Trial Team captured the Nassau County Championship—the first time in our school’s history! As part of this victory, the team was celebrated (along with finalist Locust Valley High School) by the Nassau Bar Association with a lovely dinner during which the championship trophy was presented to the team and school.

This past Sunday, the team departed for the State Finals Competition. They were accompanied by Mr. Ronald Roaldsen, the Mock Trial Advisor, and Ms. Melinda Gomez, who accompanied the team as a chaperone. Mr. David Schwartz, the team’s legal advisor, also took the trip to Albany.

Going up against the best teams in New York State, the students performed admirably. Although they just missed advancing to the final round, they had a great experience and are proud of their work!

Congratulations to the team members:


  • Jacob Ribotsky
  • Rebecca Sparacio
  • Ashley Vincenzo
  • Emily Yagoda
  • Brenda Zhong


  • Maggie Caroddo
  • James Li
  • Brooke Schwartz
  • Rebecca Zeltsman

The students were led by our Mock Trial Advisor, Mr. Ron Roaldsen, and have been supported throughout the season by Mr. David Schwartz, who has served as the team’s legal counsel.

Thank you to Mr. Roaldsen for the team photo at the State Competition. Thanks as well to Melinda Gomez for the wonderful courtroom sketches from today’s action!

Athletics Signing Day at Wheatley!

Last month, friends and family gathered together to recognize and celebrate the Wheatley student-athletes who have committed to pursuing athletics in college. Mr. Scaturro provided a write-up of these remarkable members of the Class of 2019.

Karan Amin

Karan has been playing tennis since the age of six. This was a year-round commitment to training, playing first at the regional and eastern section levels.  Karan qualified and played his first national tournament when he was twelve and has been continuing to grow his game every year. Karan represented the Eastern Section Team both in the 14s and 16s junior boys’ divisions at the National Zone Team Championships. In his junior year, Karan was ranked inside the top 150 in the country and top 10 in New York State. Currently, he is playing first singles for Wheatley, and he looks forward to playing for Williams College next year! This past weekend, Karan played in the Nassau County singles championship. Although he came up short in this finals match, he qualified for the State Competition.

Tiffany Bernot

Tiffany Bernot began playing Varsity Soccer for The Wheatley Wildcats as a starter in 8th grade and made an immediate impact. She has always been a complete player. Very motivated, a hard worker, enthusiastic, always helping her teammates, and performing at the highest level, culminating in her being named Captain as a Junior. She was a major contributor to our 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 Conference and Nassau County Championship Girls Soccer Teams and even led our Wildcats into State Semifinals in 2016. She has been awarded All-Class, All-Conference, All-County, and Playoff MVP honors throughout her High School career. Tiffany was voted a Newsday Top 50 High School Player To Watch, MSG Varsity Playoff Player of the Game, and Verizon Fios Playoff MVP of The County Championships. Tiffany is looking forward to attending SUNY Albany to play Division 1 Women’s Soccer next fall.

Samantha Rothstein

Samantha has played Varsity lacrosse for 4 years at Wheatley and has been captain since 11th grade. This year, Samantha was recognized as a News 12 Scholar-Athlete and was listed in the top 100 lacrosse players on Long Island to watch. In 2018, she was Long Island’s top scorer with 94 goals 16 assists and was recognized as an Honorable Mention Academic All-American. Additionally, Samantha broke the school record for the most goals scored in one game by an individual player. In 2017, she was named Newsday’s Athlete of the Week.  Samantha also captained the Varsity Soccer team in 2018, which won the Long Island Championship and competed in the NYSPHSAA Girls Soccer Final Four. She was named All-County and All-State this past for her efforts in soccer. She loves being a part of the team here at The Wheatley School and is very excited to continue her lacrosse and educational career at Tufts University in the fall. Recently, Samantha was celebrated for scoring her 250th career goal in lacrosse!

Sydney Silverman

Sydney was a three-year starting goalkeeper at The Wheatley School who earned All-County and All-State honors as a sophomore.  She helped the Wildcats to three Nassau County Championships and a Long Island Championship. She was a part of the 2016 NYSPHSAA Girls Soccer Final Four team in 2016.  She was honored as the Albertson Soccer Young Goalkeeper of the Year in 2014 and Junior Goalkeeper of the Year in 2015. Sydney was then awarded the ECNL Goalkeeper of the Year in 2016 before claiming the Senior Goalkeeper of the Year in 2017.  Sydney is looking forward to attending UNC Wilmington next fall to play Division 1 Women’s Soccer.

Nick Tagios

Nick has been a four-year starter on the Varsity Boys Soccer team here at The Wheatley School.  He was named All-County and All-State in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Nick was named the Conference Player of the Year in both 2017 and 2018 while being the team captain in those years as well.  He was a participant in the 2018 Exceptional Senior All-Star Game at Manhasset High School. Nick will be attending Long Island University at CW Post next fall to play Division 1 Men’s Soccer.



Wheatley’s Fine and Practical Arts Dinner is a Festive Celebration of Student Talent and Commitment!

Wheatley has an incredibly talented student body, involved in so many activities both inside and outside the classroom. Areas in which students have always excelled have been the fine and practical arts. From incredible stage performances to award-winning literary magazines and newspapers, Wheatley students have provided so much entertainment and value to our school and community. To recognize some of the students who have made special contributions in these areas, the faculty advisors invite them to a special dinner held at The INN at New Hyde Park.

In addition to a lovely sit-down dinner, the evening features student performances and a mini art show. The faculty advisors and students are reminded of the critical role they play in helping Wheatley remain a school where there is a place for everyone to shine.

A highlight of this evening is the presentation of the Eve and Jerry Jerome Award, a recognition given to the music student who has demonstrated outstanding skill, character and citizenship at Wheatley. Presented by Mr. Orlovsky, this year’s recipient is the incredibly talented Amanda Kim!

[Thanks to Dr. Eckers for some of the photos.]

Our East Williston School District Fine and Performing Arts Festival Inspires All Who Attend!

On Tuesday 30 April, Wheatley hosted the district’s inaugural Fine and Performing Arts Festival. Through the incredible work of our art and music teachers (with lots of support from our custodial staff!), Wheatley was transformed into a multi-room exhibit gallery highlighting the talents of our student-artists and student-musicians from all three schools.

This event proved to be one of the most well-attended events our district has ever held! Throughout the evening, there were audible gasps from parents and faculty members as they walked about and reviewed the incredible work on display.

An evening like this happens through the dedication and efforts of so many professionals throughout the district. Thank you to:

  • Steve Fitzko
  • Nicole Girgenti
  • Denise Giuliano
  • Melinda Gomez
  • Colette Hardy
  • Peggy Ho
  • Scott Hoefling
  • Angeliki Kyrou
  • Ed Lattari
  • Angela Luftig
  • Rachel MacCleod
  • Julia Maloney
  • Stan Orlovsky
  • Caroline Salm

Thanks also to Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and Personnel, Dr. Danielle Gately and Wheatley’s Assistant Principal, Dr. Karen Klapper for coordinating the event.

[Thanks to our friends at Island Photography for some of the photos!]

Rahul and Emma are Heading to the National History Day Finals!

As April Recess was winding down, students and faculty were preparing for the New York State History Day finals in Cooperstown. Five Wheatley students were accompanied by Mrs. Jo Beth Roberts, Mr. Patrick Shanahan and Dr. Scott Eckers, departing on Sunday, 29 April. The Wheatley competitors, who had winning entries in last month’s Long Island History Day at Hofstra University, were:

  • Ashley Vincenzo (Senior Individual Website):  The 1953 Iranian Coup:  A Tenuous Western Triumph, A Significant Global Tragedy
  • Aliza Virji (Junior Individual Website):  Operation Babylift:  The Triumph of Enduring Vietnamese Culture After the Tragedy of War
  • Benjamin Casella (Junior Individual Documentary):  The Space Shuttle Program:  A Cosmic Triumph with a Tragic End
  • Rahul Ajmera (Senior Individual Exhibit):  The Real Housewives of the Lower East Side:  The 1902 Kosher Meat Boycott
  • Emma Melnikov (Senior Individual Performance):  A Murder to Make the Masses Seen:  The Tragic Romanov Fall Paving the Way for Bolshevik Triumph

Our students were proud of the work they had produced over the past few months and excited to share their findings with judges, parents, and peers.  All five of our students made it to the run-off round, in which each category’s top four to six projects from the state competed again!  Both Rahul Ajmera and Emma Melnikov took first place in the state for their projects! As such, they will be competing in the National Finals at the University of Maryland in June!

All district social studies teachers should be commended for working so diligently with all our students.  Their efforts helped support a high level of historical inquiry and writing—critical skills that transcend high school social studies classes.

Congratulations again to Rahul and Emma!

Next year’s National History Day theme is “Breaking Barriers in History.”  There is already buzz about possible topics!

[Thanks to Dr. Eckers for the write-up and photos!]

Brandon and Jason Compete in National DECA Competition!

This past week, Juniors Brandon Behar and Jason Koty attended the DECA ICDC National Competition in Orlando. Accompanying the students was our DECA Advisor, Mrs. Kristen Malik. Brandon and Jason earned a spot at this National competition by winning 3rd place in the Sports and Entertainment Category at the New York State level.

The students joined an elite group of the DECA members from across the United States (and the world) who each earned a top spot from their state and category. These students were there to spar in a series of competitive events.

The competition was an amazing opportunity as well as a great learning experience for Jason and Brandon, who have already begun strategizing so that they can repeat and improve upon their success next year!

Thank you to Mrs. Malik for taking time out of her family’s vacation plans in order to accompany the students to the conference!

[Thanks to Mrs. Malik for the photos and the write-up!]