Wheatley Students Remember the Holocaust Through Two Remarkable Presentations!

On Thursday, April 11, all students in grades 7-12 had the opportunity to participate in a day of Holocaust education.  In the morning, students in grades 7-9 assembled the Wheatley auditorium to see the play “From the Fires:  Voices of the Holocaust.”  This play traced the life of a Berlin teenager from 1937 to 1945 and helped students understand the events of the Holocaust in an age-appropriate and accessible way.  Following the performance, students had the opportunity to participate in a question-and-answer session with the playwright, Jeff Sanzel, and the ensemble.  The cast was thoroughly impressed with the maturity of the students and their ability to ask high-level questions.

At the same time, students in grades 10-12 listened intently to Felice Katz, who gave her mother’s testimony of surviving the horrors of the Holocaust.  Audience members were so touched by her family’s story that Ms. Katz stayed to talk to several upper-classmen who were free the following period.

In the afternoon, the older students watched “From the Fires” while those in grades 8 and 9 heard Evelyn Altenberg tell the story of her parents, survivors from Germany.  The connection between the historical fiction they had seen in the morning and the true story of one family’s survival was quickly apparent.  Seventh graders heard Ms. Katz speak at Willets Road School.

Throughout the day and into Friday, students reflected on the presentations with their teachers and peers.  Thank you to the entire East Williston school community for supporting programming that touches upon difficult yet important topics such as genocide and tolerance.

Thank you to Dr. Eckers for arranging this most impactful day.

[Thank you to Dr. Eckers for some of the photos.]

Tri-M’s Big Band Night Brings our Community Together over Food, Music and Dance!

Last night, Wheatley’s cafeteria was transformed into a Big Band swinging playland! Hosted by our Tri-M Music Honor Society, our annual “Puttin’ on the Ritz” evening was a delight for everyone in attendance. Scores of our residents enjoyed an evening of free food, terrific music, energetic dance and wonderful company.

Our Tri-M students provided table service to all in attendance. The food was delicious, the dessert was tasty, and the coffee was as hot as the music. Wheatley’s Stage Band (under the direction of Dr. Peggy Ho) and our Jazz Band (under the direction of Steve Fitzko) provided wonderful music. Vocal accompaniments on some of the songs were provided by Shruti Goyal and Shrey Gulati. All the while, our guests were able to eat, dance and enjoy themselves.

Thank you to our Tri-M faculty advisor, Ms. Angela Luftig, for her assistance in organizing this event!



Wheatley Poets Recognized at Walt Whitman Annual Student Poetry Contest!

On Monday, 7 April, the award ceremony for the 33rd Annual Student Poetry Contest was held at the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association. This year’s ceremony was held during the year in which we are commemorating what would have been Whitman’s 200th birthday.

Wheatley English teacher Rick Wilson took his AP Literature students to receive the recognition announced last month. It was a beautiful ceremony with congratulatory tributes by NYS Senator James Gaughran, NYS Congressman Thomas Suozzi, NYS Assemblyman Steve Stern, Huntington Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, and Suffolk County Legislator Susan Berland.

Senior Tiffany Jiao was the Grand Champion in her category! Tiffany read her Whitmanesque “Sweet Poison” piece for the audience of 200.  Other winning Wheatley poets who were present included Huda Ayaz and Yusuf Meghji.  Not present but still honored were Jamie Ryan and Manan Shukla.  Mr. Wilson received the award for our AP class Grand Champion anthology “In the Eyes of an Eagle.”

Whitman Poet-in-Residence Jane Hirshfield was truly inspiring, reading not only from her own poetry but in calling out the importance of young poets in these challenging political times.  Tom Suozzi, too, was highly articulate as to poetry’s purpose in society and the significant accomplishments of our young people.

Congratulations to the students who were recognized during the ceremony. Thank you to Mr. Wilson for engaging his students in this contest celebrating one of our country’s literary treasures!

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

Community Senior Citizens are Treated to Lunch and a Matinée!

On Saturday afternoon, nearly 80 of our community Senior Citizens enjoyed a wonderful luncheon followed by a special matinée production of The Wizard of Oz! This annual tradition was organized and supported by the efforts of the following staff:

  • Linda Leff
  • Joan Anderson
  • Diane Fezza
  • Barbara Klein
  • Julie Jacobson

The Senior Citizens were greeted at the luncheon by our Superintendent of Schools (Dr. Elaine Kanas) and our Board President (Mr. Mark Kamberg). Cast members from WTC’s production of “The Wizard of Oz” also entertained our special guests. After the luncheon, the community members were treated to a wonderful matinée production of the show!

Thanks to Linda Leff for the photos of this wonderful event!

The WTC Production of “The Wizard of Oz” Sparkles on Opening Night!

Earlier this evening marked opening night of the Wheatley Theatre Company’s presentation of The Wizard of Oz. Directed and choreographed by Wheatley graduate Caitlin Calio (Class of 2014), the production included many of our younger students from North Side School. Of course, Caitlin was assisted by many other adults and students; the full playbill can be found here: Wizard of Oz Playbill

Be sure to purchase a ticket for the upcoming performances: Friday evening (7:00 pm), the Saturday afternoon (2:00 pm) or the Saturday evening (7:00 pm). You can purchase tickets through the following link: Tickets to The Wizard of Oz

Here are some photos and video clips of tonight’s performance!

Wheatley Art Students Make Lifelong Gifts for Syrian Refugee Children!

Art students at The Wheatley School have joined the Memory Project, a charitable
nonprofit organization that invites art teachers and their students to create and donate portraits to youth. The project also allows art students to practice kindness and global awareness while enhancing their portraiture skills.

The Syrian conflict has been called the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. Due to years of brutal civil war, millions of families have been displaced and many Syrian children are growing up in refugee camps with no experience of life outside a barbed-wire fence. Each portrait created by the Wheatley students carries a message of kindness and hope from a different world. Each portrait will help them see the beauty of their inner strength and show them they are not forgotten, they are being thought of by those of us here at The Wheatley School and the rest of the world. Our students are telling these children that  we care about their memories and their future,
and to show them how much we admire their strength and courage during this tumultuous time in their lives.

Students at The Wheatley School began their participation in the project with Mrs. Girgenti as a part of the Day of Service and Learning in October and continued to work independently outside of class time to complete these beautiful portraits. To do this, the students received photos of children who are waiting for portraits, once finished, they were mailed to the people at the Memory Project.  The portraits are then delivered by in person to the children. Once the portraits are delivered we will get a video of the children as they receive them. (This is the most exciting part for those who worked so hard on the artwork. seeing the joy on the children’s faces is priceless) In total, we made portraits for twelve children in Syria this year.

Participating students were Avani Ramnarayan, Eva LaMonica, Ciara O’Brien, Allison Zheng, Emma Leng, Gabby Testani, Sami Chusid, Skylar Blechner.

[Thank you to Mrs. Girgenti for the write-up and the photos!]