Vintage Coffeehouse 2018 Dazzles the Audience!

After months of submitting, revising, editing, and proofing, the 48th Edition of Vintage, Wheatley’s student literary magazine, was released amidst great fanfare at Friday evening’s Vintage Coffeehouse. During this wonderful event, students, faculty and family members assembled in Room 450 to hear some of the selections included in this year’s edition and to be entertained by the incredible talents of our students.

A huge “Thank You” and “Congratulations” to our Editor-in-Chief, Vani Kumar, our Junior Editors of Literature, Saman Suleman and Anne Yan, for assembling a wonderful team of editors for this year’s truly remarkable edition. Thank you as well to Rick Allen Wilson, our Faculty Advisor to Vintage.

Performers included:

  • Ally and the Suncats
  • Emma Melnikov
  • Kenton Wu
  • Alekya Bokka and Adeel Anwar
  • Michaela Balboni
  • Robert Boubour
  • Alexandra Levine
  • Spectrum (see Wheatley’s Got Talent 2018)
  • Shruti Goyal and Talia Rosen
  • Kimberly Esquillin
  • Kajal Kapoor
  • Justin Vega
  • Vani Kumar
  • Patrick Brady
  • Halli ArbitalJacoby

Wheatley Spring Concert (Part 1) is a Breath of Fresh Air!

The first of our two spring concerts was held on Wednesday, 30 May in the Wheatley Auditorium. The evening featured our Stage Band (under the direction of Peggy Ho), our Jazz Band (under the direction of Steve Fitzko), our Intermediate Chorus (under the direction of Angela Luftig with Rick Wilson as accompanist), our Intermediate/Concert Band (under the direction of Peggy Ho and Stan Orlovsky) and our Symphonic Band (under the direction of Peggy Ho).

At the beginning of the concert, Dr. Danielle Gately presented the Wheatley music department with a $250 gift certificate from Sam Ash in recognition of the district being named recently as one of the Best Communities for Music Education.

The concert featured scores of student performers, with 14 of them being members of the Class of 2018. These graduating students have committed countless hours to our music program over the years. We are grateful for their participation and wish them a music-filled life as they graduate from Wheatley!

The graduating seniors include:

  • Hallie ArbitalJacoby
  • Devin Brancato
  • Liam Coffey
  • Rachel Fuzaylov
  • Nicole Hetzel
  • Jamie Horowitz
  • Alexandra Kasparian
  • Ally Kim
  • Megan Kirschner
  • Lucas Miller
  • Ryan Schnur
  • Kristen Tursi
  • Justin Vega
  • Alice Ye

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.


Wheatley’s Fine and Practical Arts Dinner Celebrates Students and their Contributions!

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 this year 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 Mrs. Luftig, this year’s recipient is Justin Vega!

Connections Spring Fling Dance Brings Communities Together!

On Friday night, the Wheatley Cafeteria was transformed into a wonderful center of dancing, food and entertainment! Thanks to the work of our Connections/STEPP club and our Life Skills faculty members, students from many schools across Nassau County were able to enjoy a wonderful evening of camaraderie and activity. In addition to a terrific DJ, the evening included a cannoli station, fresh pizza and a photo booth. Students had a wonderful time!

[Thanks to Liza Laurino for some of the photos!]






You can view the photo booth pictures here:

Jacob Ribotsky Competes in DECA National Conference!

On 21 April, junior Jacob Ribotsky journeyed to Atlanta, Georgia to compete in the 2018 DECA International Career Development Conference (ICDC). DECA, a student-centered club prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. Only approximately 18,000 (of the near one million DECA members around the world), qualify to attend this conference.

Jacob qualified the National Conference through his performance at New York State’s DECA competition in early March. At the NYS Competition, Jacob placed in the top 5 of participants in the Entrepreneurial series. This specific series consists of all participants taking a written exam, one that tests overall business literacy and small business management, while also having to partake in two “role plays,” where a participant must take the role of an entrepreneur. Jacob earned a third-place finish at States.

The first Wheatley student to attend this conference, Jacob performed quite well at the 2018 National ICDC Conference! Congratulations!


Wheatley Captures 2018 National History Bowl Championship!

Earlier today, our Wheatley Brainstormers captured the 2018 National History Bowl JV Championship (Small Schools)! Last week, the team was recognized by the Board of Education in advance of its trip to DC for the finals.

Advised by Joseph Crotty, the team consists of:

  • Rahul Ajmera
  • Patrick Brady
  • Peter Cuomo
  • Frederick Lin

They arrived in DC for the competition on Thursday evening (managing to tour for a bit with our Regional Science Bowl Champions) and wrapped up the competition earlier today.

In addition to the team victory, freshman Freddy Lin earned recognition as a US History Bee National Semifinalist!

Congratulations to the team! Thanks to Mr. Crotty for leading the team on this wonderful journey!

[Thanks to Mr. Crotty for the photos!]