English TenP Talks Highlight Student Passions!

On Wednesday, 6 June1 May, students in our English 10P Honors courses invited friends, family and special guests to the second annual “Ten P Talks.” Modeled after the well-known Ted Talks, these student presentations aimed to answer the question, “What Matters?” Students chose topics that reflected their passions and interests, aiming to educate and inform the audience in under ten minutes.

The topics and presenters were quite impressive! Congratulations to the students, and thank you to Vanessa Mahnkens and Stephen Collier, who organized and helped the students through their presentations!

My one regret was that the format of the evening prevented me from seeing more than nine presentations!

The students and topics presented include:

  • Rahul Ajmera: LMFAO: Why It’s imperative that we laugh
  • Alison Amarain: Punch Stress in the Face
  • Kaya Amin: The Simple Step to Dealing with Stress: Mastering your Mindset
  • Kavina Amin: Listening and Learning from the Other Side
  • Zach Azevado: How Bad Decisions Lead to the Greatest Life Lessons
  • Alyssa Belle: Are Doctors Killing Us?
  • Robert Boubour: Observe, Question, Analyze, Reflect: Getting More Out of Less
  • Patrick Brady: Lost in Translation
  • Maggie Caroddo: Surfing Your Stress Away
  • Eric Chu: The Influence of Cinema
  • Matthew Cornacchia: A Thermostat for the Earth
  • Aidan Cozzolino: The Beauty of Video Games
  • Peter Cuomo: Memes: Ubiquitous and Potent
  • Deana Druz: My Anxiety Gives me Anxiety
  • Kaitlyn Ducroiset: Unequal Education is Barbarous
  • Sofia Fuertes: The Inspiring Power of Dance
  • Derek Gilbert: What Diseases Can You Smell on your Breath?
  • Mariam Goher: Let me sleep just 5 more minutes
  • Katie Gold: How Physical Activity Affects Stress
  • Elizabeth Ho: Hey Moms! Don’t Ban Me from Fortnit
  • Alex Horowitz: The Power of Words
  • Eileen Huerta: Should the Private lives of Famous People be off limits
  • Hitangee Jain: The Misconceptions of the Vegetarian Diet
  • Ansh Jhaveri: Why I’m Brown
  • Megan Kaye: The Dangers of Initiation
  • Sanjana Khanna: What the US could learn about learning
  • Teddy Koutsoftas: Riddle Me This
  • Hema Kumar: Are You Self-Diagnosed with Mental Illness?
  • Rachel Lee: Let’s Celebrate Procrastination…Later
  • Eliana Li: Feigned Ignorance is Bliss
  • Karen Li: How Are You?  I’m Busy!
  • Ilana Nimkoff: Food Allergies:  The effect they can have on people
  • Natalia Potrapeluk: The Power of Color
  • Madison Ramos: Why You should and shouldn’t be a Hermione Granger
  • Orell Rayhan: Seeking Discomfort
  • Brenden Resnick: Human Transit: Change Your Perception of Public Transportation
  • Diya Shah: So, You Think You Can’t Dance
  • Kiran Shaikh: Small Hands, Big Responsibilities
  • Dean Sheinman: The Power of Superstitions
  • Rebecca Sparacio: Does Starbucks Make Star Students?  The Coffee Diploma
  • Amanda Ustick: Striding for Success
  • Ashley Vincenzo: I Swear I’m Normal:  Only Child Syndrome
  • Aidan Wong: Play With a Purpose
  • Trenton Wong: College Applications: Are they too competitive
  • Erin Wu: The Key to Happiness
  • Emily Yagoda: How to Change the World with a Single Dollar
  • Alia Yamin: Why We should turn back time
  • Aaron Zachariah: Internet of Things and Future of Technology
  • Becca Zeltsman: We are More than just a number
  • Allison Zheng: Art’s Life Lessons
  • Brenda Zhong: Post-Colonial Obsession: America’s Fascination with the British Royal Family
  • Sharon Zhong: Community of the Not-So-Future

Student Senate Forum is a Model of Civil Discourse During Contentious Times!

Earlier today, the entire Wheatley community took a break from classes to engage in a Student Senate Forum. An outgrowth of discussions I had with some of our students after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the Student Senate Forum was designed to give students an opportunity to discuss controversial topics in a civil manner respectful of each other and each other’s views.

The planning for this day began with the selection of topics to consider in a forum. The following topics were selected:

  1. The Second Amendment – Students will discuss the history and importance of the Second Amendment, including current debate regarding its repeal.
  2. School Safety – Students will discuss current issues regarding school safety, including the use of armed guards, arming teachers and identifying and supporting at risk teens.
  3. Gun Violence – Students will discuss issues related to gun violence in the US. Do guns cause more harm than good? What are the advantages of gun ownership? Should there be restrictions on the types of guns to be sold?
  4. Mental Health – Students will discuss mental health issues and their connection to gun violence. Should tighter gun ownership regulations be put in place to identify and help those suffering from mental illnesses?
  5. Guns in the US and around the World – Students will discuss how gun laws differ among the various states in our country. Comparison will be made with gun laws in other countries. Should there be limits on what the government should do regarding background checks.
  6. Violence in Media and Modern Culture – Students will discuss the impact of video games, movies, TV shows, and social media on gun violence. Students will be exposed to multiple viewpoints about the effect such media has on people.
  7. Understanding School Shootings in the U.S. – Students will discuss the history of US school shootings and learn about factors related to them. How have various school shootings impacted the day-to-day life of high school students.

For each of these topics, groups of students worked together to develop a common presentation and discussion guide. As part of this process, students partnered with a faculty member to provide guidance and feedback. As students were working on their presentations, a survey was sent to all students asking each to select one of the aforementioned discussion topics. The number of concurrent sessions of each topic was dependent on student interest. In total, we had 17 different sessions related to these seven topics.

The students and faculty members involved were:

The Second Amendment

  • Group 1: Ashley Vincenzo and Jessica Poomkudy, Mr. Wilson
  • Group 2: Brenda Zhong and Maggie Caroddo, Dr. Staudt

School Safety

  • Group 1: Rahul Ajmera and Mara Zuckerman, Dr. Klapper
  • Group 2: Jacob Ribotsky and Karan Amin, Mr. Cadet
  • Group 3: Johnnie Scudero and Brooke Schwartz, Mr. Chisholm

Gun Violence

  • Group 1: Dean Sheinman and Jason Koty, Ms. Seferian
  • Group 2: Tony Deluxe and Peter Cuomo, Mr. Ardito
  • Group 3: Ally Kim and Kevin Contreras, Mr. Clarke

Mental Health

  • Group 1: Patrick Brady, Ali Bhalloo, Ali Ostad, Mr. Schwalm
  • Group 2: Michaela Balboni, Vani Kumar, Ms. Maier
  • Group 3: Kimmy Esquilin, Jason Manzano, Ms. Tsabasis and Mrs. Schacter

Guns in US and Around the World

  • Group 1: Aamir Muneer and Freddy Lin, Mr. Eckers

Violence in Media and Modern Culture

  • Group 1: Brenden Resnick and Camellia Ye, Mrs. Roberts
  • Group 2: Alison Amarain and Sana Haroon, Ms. Fatone
  • Group 3: Jamie Horowitz and Rikki Gassman, Mr. Dunn

Understanding School Shootings in the U.S.

  • Group 1: Amanda Kim and Talia Rosen, Ms. Chanin-Bermudez
  • Group 2: Vedant Singh and Megan Kirschner, Mr. Meyers and Mr. Fitzko

It was truly a remarkable morning! I was so proud to see how these students organized themselves and their topics. The discussions were a model of civil discourse. All of the students in our school should be proud of the seriousness with which they conducted themselves this morning. Today was a reminder of the special nature of our school and students!

Special thanks to Allison Chanin-Bermudez, our Student Senate Advisor, for her assistance in organizing the event.


7th Annual Science Research Symposium Showcases Impressive Work of our Students!

Last night, Wheatley’s 7th Annual Research Symposium was held in our lobby (for the poster sessions) and a Room 450 (for the senior research presentations). The breadth and scope of the topics covered a large range of science research topics.

We are thankful to have such wonderfully motivated students along with the faculty to support their efforts. Particular thanks to our Secondary Chair for Science, Mrs. Alexis Pace, for her work with these students and her coordination of the evening. Thanks as well to Mr. DJ Paulson, a Science Research Teacher, for his assistance with the students and the evening.

Science Research Topics and Presentations

Introduction to Science Research Topics

  • Umar Ahmad – The Effects of Antihistamines on the Cell Cycle
  • Zain Akhtar – The Effect of Acid Rain on Lichen Growth
  • Manav Bansal – Identification of Candidate Therapeutics using a Drosophila Model
  • Anya Chabria – A New Look at Writing: Investigating the Presence of Fractal Patterns in the Sentence Structures of Fictional Classic Literature
  • Ubaidullah Hassan – The Effect of Acid Rain on Lichen Growth
  • Aarushi Jain – The Effects of Various Chemicals on Digestive Tract Bacteria
  • Viraj Jayam – Projecting onto the Generalized n-Sphere via Stereographic Projections
  • Olivia Palmieri – The Effects of Various Chemicals on Digestive Tract Bacteria
  • Iman Pirzada – The Ikea Effect and How it Affects Student Learning
  • Avani Rambharose – The Ikea Effect and How it Affects Student Learning
  • Avinash Reddy – Cloning: Balancing Science and Ethics
  • Samar Saleem – The Effects of Various Chemicals on Digestive Tract Bacteria
  • Brian Seo – The Effect of Acid Rain on Lichen Growth
  • Neil Shah – Efficiency of Composting Using Eisenia fetida
  • Arham Sheraz – The Effects of Antihistimines on the Cell Cycle
  • Dean Sheinman – Christopher Morley Park: Invasive vs Native Tree Species
  • Aaron Zachariah – Sustainability of Renewable Energy Sources
  • Lucy Zha – The Effect of Auto Correct on High School Students’ Classwork
  • Sharon Zhong – The Effect of Dairy Products As Compared To Alternative Dairy Products On Plant Development

Independent Science Research Topics

  • Sufia Ainechi – The Tipping Point of Buildings; An Analysis of Future Renewable Energy
  • *Karan Amin – Meditation’s Correlation with Higher Levels of Dispositional Mindfulness and Resilience and its Application to the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT)
  • Alex ArbitalJacoby – The Effects of Synthesized Silver Nanoparticles Compared to the Effects of 10 Nanometer Store-Bought Silver Nanoparticles on Energy Production of a Saccharomyces cerevisiae Microbial Fuel Cell
  • Zachary Azevedo – How Does Turf Affect Bacterial Growth?
  • Matthew Cornacchia – Analyzing Peridotites Ability to Sequester Carbon Dioxide as a Potential Solution to Global Warming
  • *Antony Deluxe – The Prevalence of Stigma Against Depression Amongst High School Students
  • *Lauren Druz – The Effects of Coconut Oil on Alzheimer’s-homologue APL-1 in C. elegans
  • *Roxane Ghadami – How can we revise our criminal justice system in order to  reduce racial profiling and stereotyping?
  • *Sana Haroon – MiR30-c Reduces Apob Secretion in HUH-7 Cells
  • *Farah Hasan – The Effects of Coconut Oil on Alzheimer’s-homologue APL-1 in C. elegans
  • Hitangee Jain – Pretreatment of Pyrabactin Increases the Tolerance of Brassica rapa to High Salinity Levels
  • Ansh Jhaveri – The Effects of Colloidal Silver on the Growth of E. coli
  • *Tiffany Jiao – The Construction of False Memories: Factors That Contribute to the Confabulation of Events and Production Errors in Memory Recall
  • Brett Katz – The Effect of BAMLET on Reversing the Antibiotic Resistance in Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria
  • Theodore Koutsoftas – The Effects of Synthesized Silver Nanoparticles Compared to the Effects of 10 Nanometer Store-Bought Nanoparticles on Energy Production of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Microbial Fuel Cell
  • *Abhishek Kumar – Performance Analysis of a Parallelized Restricted Boltzman Machine Artificial Neural Network Using OpenACC Framework and TaU Profiling System on the HPC1 High Performance Computer
  • Vani Kumar – Simulating the BRAF-D630045J12Ri Fusion in Hek-293t Cells Using the CRISPR/Cas9 Genetic Engineering System
  • John Li – Three Efficient Inventions That Work Together to Reduce the Time and Cost of Automobile Transmission Fluid and Filter Changes by 3/4th
  • Karen Li – TP53 Mutations as Potential Prognostic Markers for Specific Cancers: Analysis of Data from the Cancer Genome Atlas and the Internation Agency for Research on Cancer TP53 Database
  • Victor Li – TP53 Mutations as Potential Prognostic Markers for Specific Cancers: Analysis of Data from the Cancer Genome Atlas and the Internation Agency for Research on Cancer TP53 Database
  • Akiva Mohebban – The Effects of Synthesized Silver Nanoparticles Compared to the Effects of 10 Nanometer Store-Bought Nanoparticles on Energy Production of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Microbial Fuel Cell
  • Jacob Mohebban – Analyzing Peridotites Ability to Sequester Carbon Dioxide as a Potential Solution to Global Warming
  • *Alexandra Ostad – Analyzing Domestic Violence Health Education in Nassau and Suffolk County, New York
  • *Alex Pannullo – Exploring the Effect of the Installation of Metal Detectors on Student Perception of their School
  • *Mahesh Pitchayan – How Effectively the Musical Elements of the Leitmotifs in Star Wars: A New Hope Change with the Emotional Development of Characters
  • Michelle Raja – Reducing Toxicology of Silver Nanoparticles While Maintaining Maximal Antibacterial Properties Through Shape Control
  • Aidan Roldan – The Effects of Colloidal Silver on the Growth of E. coli
  • *Brooke Schwartz – The Effects of Age, Gender, and Degree of Education on Compassion and Empathy Levels of Parents
  • *Manan Shukla – Reprogramming Tumor Associated Macrophages for Optimizing Triple Negative Breast Cancer Therapy
  • *Vedant Singh – Evaluating the Effects of Graphhene-Loaded Poly(4-vinylpyridine) Electrospun Fiber Scaffolds and Spun-cast Thin Films on the Proliferation, Morphology, and Differentiation of Dental Pulp Stem Cells in vitro
  • Rebecca Sparacio – The Identification and Characterization of the DELLA Protein in Lemna minor

* Denotes AP Research participant


Wheatley Students Hear from Senator Bill Nelson at Cradle of Aviation Museum!

Earlier today, five Wheatley students were fortunate to attend a small presentation by Senator Bill Nelson at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. Mr. Nelson, currently the Senior Senator from Florida, spoke to students about his time aboard the Space Shuttle. In January 1986, then Representative Nelson became only the second sitting member of Congress to fly in space (he served as a payload specialist aboard the Columbia).

After praising the engagement among high school students after the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, Senator Nelson described some of his personal reflections on his time aboard the Space Shuttle: the feeling of zero gravity, the overview effect,  the loss of bodily fluids and the challenge in conducting experiments in space. Senator Nelson discussed the 2010 NASA Authorization Law, which continues to guide NASA’s direction.

Finally, Senator Nelson was kind enough to take questions from the students in the audience.

Thank you to Mr. Todd Richman for helping to facilitate this opportunity for our students. The students who participated included:

  • Kaitlyn Ducroiset
  • Sanjana Khana
  • Megan Kirschner
  • Arham Sheraz
  • Justin Vega
  • Sharon Zhong


Wheatley Celebrates Earth Day 2018!

Across our planet, Earth Day took place this past Sunday, April 22nd. At Wheatley, we celebrated the day on the 19th and 20th with a series of activities and information booths intended to educate and inform our students on issues related to Earth Day.

Some of the activities included:

  • Assemblies with guest lecturers on food choices, water conservation, and careers in conservation
  • Interactions with a 10-foot boa constrictor and other animals
  • Fresh squeezed lemonade
  • Demonstration of how coffee grids can be recycled
  • Stainless steel water bottle sales
  • Environmental T-shirt sales and plant sales
  • Bike collection for the EAC’s Afribike donation program
  • Lot’s of music and tasty treats!

As you can see from the photos, Wheatley’s Earth Fest was a lot of fun for all! A huge “thank you” to Steve Finkelstein and our EAC students for all of the work they did to prepare for the activities.


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!]

Wheatley Students Succeed at LISEF!

On Thursday, 15 March 2018, 12 students attended the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair (LISEF) held at Crest Hollow Country Club.  The students participating in the second round of the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) division were:

  • Emily Wang – 2nd Place in Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Vedant Singh – Honorable Mention in Biomedical Engineering
  • Rebecca Sparacio – Honorable Mention in Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Hitangee Jain – Honorable Mention in Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • John Li – Honorable Mention in Engineering Mechanics

Emily Wang also received a special award from the Stockholm International Water Institute.  This recognition allows her to enter her project into the US division fair where she has the opportunity to represent the US at the international level.

Wheatley also had a number of students competing in the Junior Varsity Division of LISEF. These students included:

  • Viraj Jayam – 2nd place in Mathematics and Computers
  • Manan Shukla – Honorable Mention in Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Victor Li – Honorable Mention Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Karen Li – Honorable Mention in Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Emily Yagoda – Engineering and Physical Science
  • Brooke Schwartz – Behavioral and Social Sciences
  • Kenton Wu – Cellular and Molecular Biology

It should be noted this was the first time the Wheatley School had students compete in the mathematics and computer division of LISEF.

We are proud of all of the students who participated in this prestigious competition. Those recognized as honorable mention and above represent the top 10% of their category.  Achieving at this level is an extraordinary achievement.

Thank you to Alexis Blondrage Pace (our Science Department Chair and Research Coordinator) for working with our students. Thanks to Robert Teseo for the group photo!

LISEF Group Photo