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)

 

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!

Wheatley’s Tri-M Music Honor Society Inducts Ten New Members!

Earlier today, before our first Spring Concerts, Wheatley’s chapter of the Tri-M Music Honor Society inducted 10 new members!

Congratulations to the newest members:

  • Joyce Chen
  • Kaileigh Fiorillo
  • Jonathan Friedrich
  • Shruti Goyal
  • Andrew Kim
  • Ian Kim
  • Emma Melnikov
  • Krittika Prajapati
  • Hasan Suleman
  • Aaron Zachariah

As part of the induction ceremony, the audience was treated to some wonderful individual and group performances:

  • Shruti Goyal: Star Spangled Banner
  • Layla Jarrahy and Elizabeth Yuen: Double Violin Concerto in D minor
  • Ian Kim (oboe), Joyce Chen (violin), Allison Keller (viola), Camellia Ye (cello): Oboe Quartet in F Major
  • Kaileigh FiorilloNever Enough (from “The Greatest Showman”)
  • Amanda Kim and Camellia YeWith or Without You (cello arrangement)

Thank you to our Tri-M Faculty Advisor, Angela Luftig, for supporting this active student club!

Meet our 2019 PTO Student Recognition Award Recipients

The penultimate award given during the Academic Awards Evening is the PTO Student Recognition award.

The purpose of this award is to recognize two deserving seniors who exhibit the qualities we value and encourage in our young people:

  • Kindness, respect, and tolerance for self, others and the environment
  • Good judgment and decision making
  • High ethical standards and character
  • Sincerity
  • Dignity
  • Courage to overcome obstacles
  • Good citizenship
  • Dependability and helpfulness

These awards were presented by our PTO co-presidents (Mrs. Perroncino and Mrs. Siskind) and treasurer (Mrs. Cumming). Here is what was said about this year’s recipients:

This first recipient of the PTO Recognition Award is a diligent student who is not afraid to step out of her comfort zone and take risks. She is an incredibly compassionate individual who loves to connect and help others. A quiet but effective leader, she simply gets things done. Her leadership and initiative with our French Club and Connections Club have been welcomed in our community. Her advocacy has improved the experience of so many students.

Her initiatives with American Sign Language have been most remarkable, however. Not only did she learn the language on her own time, but she has taught others in the community the joys of ASL. Through her passion and perseverance, she was instrumental in bringing an evening ASL course to our community this year.

With her growing intellectual abilities and drive to create positive change, she is a student who has unlimited potential. On behalf of the Wheatley PTO, it gives me great joy to present the PTO Recognition Award to Charlotte Goldbaum.


This year’s second recipient of the PTO Recognition Award is the epitome of a well-rounded, engaged, talented student who looks to make a difference in his community. Although he has taken the most challenging academic classes we offer at Wheatley, he is a gifted musician who has always prioritized orchestra in his schedule. That said, this young man’s heart and soul are aligned with the study of history, international affairs and politics.

Serving as Co-President of The World Affairs club for the last three years speaks to his capacity to mediate debates and articulate conflicting political beliefs.  He has also been an active member of Model UN and our student government. Passionate and eloquent, he has submitted opinion pieces on the current state of education to various media outlets. He is also gentleman. As one of his teachers remarked, “Every day he holds the door after class until the last student has left and always thanks me for the lesson as he leaves.”

On behalf of the Wheatley PTO, please join me in recognizing John Scudero.

Meet Our 2019 Wheatley Medalists!

The final recognition given during our recent Academic Awards Evening is The Wheatley Medal. Presented by the Wheatley Principal, the Wheatley Medal seeks to highlight a senior boy and girl who have exemplified the highest standards of scholarship, ethical conduct and service to school and community.

Here is what was said during the presentation of this year’s medalists, Karan Amin and Cecilia Jozef.

The first recipient is the type of student everyone wants to teach: passionate about education, respectful of others and intellectually curious. With a genuine enthusiasm and a thirst to learn, he elevates every classroom discussion. Incredibly well-rounded, he has proven to be an extraordinary researcher, a talented writer, an exceptional athlete, a generous mentor and an individual who will never compromise his own ideals.

Despite his academic and athletic demands, there is a tranquility about this student that is simply remarkable. Possessing a kind and warm personality, he radiates calmness even when the demands are at the highest level. The entire school has benefitted from his presence in the halls and his impressive contributions to our student newspaper, our literary magazine, and our student clubs.

In the years ahead, we are certain he will help us learn more about the mind-body connection as studies neuroscience and plays tennis at Williams College.

Please join me in congratulating Karan Amin as one of this year’s recipients of The Wheatley Medal!


The next recipient of the Wheatley Medal is one of the most well-rounded, thoughtful and kind students in our school. She has managed to have an incredible impact on her teachers, her peers and the community. In fact, the mere mention of her name causes endless accolades to flow out of teachers’ mouths!

Her positive presence has been felt whether you walk beside her in the hallways, take class with her, or participate on an athletic team with her. She is the special blend of talent and grit. She has achieved at the highest level academically and athletically over the years. That said, she works harder—in the classroom or on the team—than just about anyone else. Her innate generosity of spirit, however, ensures that any spotlight directed towards her gets redirected to someone else.

Giving of her time, she has received recognition for her tireless work in the community, including the local library, animal shelter and nursing home. It is her involvement with the Girl Scouts that has served as a beacon for her adolescent years, however. She possesses a wonderful sense of humor, a calm demeanor and a humility and grace that is simply unmatched.

We look forward to hearing more about her as she heads to the University of Delaware’s Honors College as a Nursing major.

Please join me in congratulating the second recipient of the Wheatley Medal, Cecilia Jozef.

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!]

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!