Rahul and Emma Shine at National History Day Finals!

On Thursday, June 13, officials from National History Day (NHD) presented the awards for the national finals of the 2019 National History Day Contest, held June 9-13 at the University of Maryland, College Park.  Over a half-million students entered the competition late last year, and over 3,000 of them advanced through the regional and state rounds. Competitors represented 57 affiliate members, including every state, Washington, D.C., American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and international schools in South Korea, South Asia, and China.  The contest required students to create themed research-based projects in one of five categories as individuals or group members: documentaries, exhibits, papers, performances, and websites. Only the top two entries in each category from each state or affiliate then went on to the national contest. The 2019 theme was Triumph and Tragedy.

The Wheatley School was represented at the national level by two students:

  • Rahul Ajmera with his exhibit The Real Housewives of the Lower East Side: The 1902 Kosher Meat Boycott
  • Emma Melnikov, who presented her entry in the performance category with A Murder to Make the Masses Seen:  The Tragic Romanov Fall Paving the Way for Bolshevik Triumph.

This was Rahul’s first time competing at the national level; it was Emma’s second trip to the elite competition.

In order to create projects, students engaged in months of historical research using primary sources found in archives and museums, books, and interviews.  Rahul and Emma also spent hours translating documents from Yiddish and Russian in order to accurately understand their topics. Both students were supported in their research by their teachers, Andrew Ardito, Courtney Clarke, Pat Clarke, and Dr. Scott Eckers, and their school library media specialist Jo Beth Roberts

Rahul Ajmera won 4th place in the nation, in addition to winning the “Outstanding New York Affiliate Award” sponsored by the National Park Service, and the Immigration History special award, a monetary award, sponsored by the Lombardo family.

Both Emma and Rahul have much to be proud of.  The Wheatley School congratulates them both on their tremendous achievements!

[Thank you to Jo Beth Roberts for the write-up!]

The Class of 2019 is Celebrated at Wheatley’s 62nd Commencement Exercises!

Earlier today, Wheatley held its 62nd Commencement Exercises — this year in celebration of the Class of 2019! The 12:00 noon ceremony included three wonderful musical performances and four impressive student speeches. It was a moving ceremony befitting this wonderful graduating class.

Congratulations to all of the graduates and their families!

You can view a copy of the Commencement Program here: Graduation Program 2019

Graduation Program 2019

[Thanks to Melisa Byrns for some of the photos!]

Our 15th Annual “In Recognition of Excellence” Evening Highlights the Impact of Faculty on our Graduates!

Last night, 19 June, our 15th Annual In Recognition of Excellence dinner was held. During a very busy time of the year, this remains one of my favorite evenings. Through our students’ own voices, attendees are reminded of the deep and lasting impact our faculty has on our students’ academic, emotional and social lives. The celebration of the relationships formed and connections made is what makes for such a special evening!

With so much talent in our school, it is still possible for some students to not get the recognition that they deserve. To recognize these students, the In Recognition of Excellence award was introduced fifteen years ago. This honor is given to a group of students who have demonstrated outstanding service to school and community, demonstrated respect and concern for fellow students, and set high expectations for themselves as they have achieved their goals.

The recipients of this award were asked to select one teacher, staff member or coach from their experiences at North Side, Willets Road, and Wheatley who had the greatest positive impact on their life.

Congratulations to our recognized students and the faculty they acknowledged:

Julia Braito

  • Jill Widyn (NS-Ret.)
  • Kristen Kandel (WR)
  • Jenna Stein (Wheatley)

Francis Cappi

  • Amy Potter (NS)
  • Patrick Shanahan (WR)
  • Paul Paino (Wheatley)

Anthony Di Fiore

  • Robert Owen (NS)
  • Patrick Shanahan (WR)
  • Susan Vasselman (Wheatley)

Lauren Druz

  • Jill Widyn (NS-Ret.)
  • Dr. Joseph Coladonato (WR)
  • Alexis Pace (Wheatley)

Jaydon Ephrat

  • Christopher Campbell (NS)
  • Kirsten Donaghy (WR)
  • Joseph Crotty (Wheatley)

Jesse Futerman

  • Roxee Lore (NS-Ret.)
  • Kirsten Donaghy (WR)
  • Danielle Calvagno (Wheatley)

Andrew Gullotta

  • Tracy Kasschau (NS)
  • Dr. Joseph Coladonato (WR)
  • Birthe Seferian (Wheatley)

Hailey Ramalhete

  • Frank Bannerman (NS)
  • Kirsten Donaghy (WR)
  • Cindy Schwartz (Wheatley-Ret.)

Samantha Rothstein

  • Debra Garbacki (NS)
  • Sloane Sepe (WR)
  • Ashley Rogala (Wheatley)

Nicholas Tagios

  • David Einsidler (NS-Ret.)
  • Kirsten Donaghy (WR)
  • Susan Donofrio (Wheatley)


Karen, Victor and Freddy are National Academic Champions!

After being crowned the Long Island Regional Quiz Bowl Champions for the second straight year, Wheatley’s JV Brainstormers team qualified for participation in the 37th annual National Academic Championship in Chicago, Illinois.

On June 8th, an immensely talented JV team consisting of Karen Li, Victor Li, and Frederick Lin arrived in The Windy City and proceeded to blow away the competition. After finishing with a 5-1 record in the preliminary rounds, the Wheatley Brainstormers decisively won the 2019 National Academic Championship with a final score of 365-180.

In between matches, the team made its way to downtown Chicago to visit Cloud Gate, which is more affectionately known as “The Bean” to tourists. Additionally, the Brainstormers were afforded the opportunity to visit The Art Institute of Chicago as well as the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.

Congratulations to Karen, Victor and Freddy for this remarkable accomplishment! A huge “Thank You” to John Beleckas, who coached the students and accompanied them to Chicago for this trip!

[Thanks to Mr. Beleckas for the write-up and the photos!]

Celebrating Excellence at the 2019 Nassau County Superintendents Breakfast!

Earlier this morning, Dr. Kanas and I were accompanied by two of our graduating seniors, Jamie Ryan and Kenton Wu, at a wonderful breakfast at the Crest Hollow Country Club. Organized by the Nassau County Council of School Superintendents, this “Celebrating Excellence” breakfast recognizes the Valedictorians and Salutatorians of all of Nassau County’s public high schools.

Although Wheatley does not name a valedictorian or salutatorian, we send two Honor Students to represent our school at this wonderful event. These Honor Students are selected by the Wheatley Scholarship Committee, and they are identified using the criteria of high academic achievement and outstanding ethical behavior.

Both Jamie and Kenton have demonstrated outstanding academic performance in their years at Wheatley, both having earned perfect grades on their transcripts through the end of their junior year. They have both taken some of the most demanding courses at Wheatley, and they have both been active in Wheatley’s extracurricular life. We are thankful for all they contributed to our school and community over the years.

Congratulations to Jamie and Kenton for this well-deserved recognition!

Dr. Staudt’s Class Goes Fishing!

On Tuesday, 4 June, Dr. Staudt’s College Regional Studies class went fishing as part of its Long Island Maritime Traditions program. For many of the students, it was their first time ever fishing and catching a fish.  Along with the crew of the Dolphin, Mr. Storck, Mr. Hurley and Dr. Staudt took the opportunity to not only teach our students how to fish but also lessons about the bayhouses on the south shore. They also discussed the marine life that is still abundantly populating our waters.

Altogether, the thirty seniors on the trip landed over 16 fish including fluke and sand sharks.  Students really enjoyed their day and many said it was one of the highlights of their senior year.

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

SUPA Forensics Students Solve “Crimes” in the Field

SUPA Forensics is one of two Dual Enrollment classes we offer through Syracuse University Project Advance.  Students who take Dual Enrollment courses earn college credit for the course, credit that is awarded through a transcript from the partner institution.

On Friday, 31 May, thirty-five SUPA Forensics students participated in three crime scene excavation and processing scenarios on the campus of New York Institute of Technology (NYIT).  The two scenes “created” for the students included a clandestine grave and one body in a rug roll.

Using techniques taught by Ms. Chanin-Bermudez throughout the year, students were hands-on in the approach, removal and tagging of any evidence located while unearthing each site.

The scenes were created and supervised by Asst Professor/retired NYPD Deputy Inspector of Police, Andrew Costello and colleagues Gary Gomula, retired Deputy Chief and Josephine Curry, retired Detective.  It was an informative and educational experience for all!

[Thanks to Ms. Chanin-Bermudez for the write-up and the photos!]