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!

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!]

Our 14th Annual “In Recognition of Excellence” Dinner Celebrates Students and Staff!

Last night, 13 June, our 14th 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 fourteen 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:

Brett Bloomberg

  • Lynn Kaye (NS-Ret.)
  • Joseph Virgilio (WR)
  • Birthe Seferian (W)

Herbert Cumming IV

  • John Coyne (NS)
  • Dr. Joseph Coladonato (WR)
  • Ashley Rogala (W)

Nicole Hetzel

  • John Coyne (NS)
  • Michelle Santoro (WR)
  • Christina Cambria (W)

Brett Katz

  • Kara Fraser (NS)
  • Natalie Brew (WR)
  • Danielle Calvagno (W)

Alexandra Ostad

 

  • Dr. Joseph Coladonato (WR)
  • Adam Plana (W)
  • Lauren Walbroehl (W)

Hannah Ostad

  • Dr. Joseph Coladonato (WR)
  • Mary Martinez (W)
  • Cynthia Schwartz (W)

Jesse Romano

  • Patrick Clarke (W)
  • Timothy Schwalm (W)

Michele Strocchia

  • Kelly Powers (NS)
  • Kristen Kandell (WR)
  • Michelle Chalfen (W)

Aiden Wong

  • Bonnie Klein (NS)
  • Bridget Lennon (WR)
  • Robert Teseo (W)

Meet our 2018 PTO Recognition Award Students!

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 past-president, Mrs. Diane Cumming. Here is what was said about this year’s recipients:

This first recipient of the PTO Recognition Award exemplifies the spirit of Wheatley. Mature, confident, poised and persistent, her radiant smile and infectious sense of humor helps to break down barriers and bring people together. With an adventurous spirit, she has taken advantage of many new opportunities during her years at Wheatley.

A member of our Mock Trial Team, a Wheatley Welcomer, a cast member in our school musicals, a participant on our guidance advisory board, co-captain of our fencing team, and a peer tutor for Spanish, she has been engaged in so many facets of our school life. Along the way, she has improved the experiences of all those around her. Our community has benefitted from her positive outlook, and her presence will be missed next year!

On behalf of the Wheatley PTO, it gives me great joy to present the PTO Recognition Award to Caroline Crimmins.


This year’s second recipient of the PTO Recognition Award is the epitome of a well-rounded, highly successful high school student. An outstanding student who earned AP Scholar with Distinction recognition, he has also been a leader in a variety of community service initiatives both inside and outside of school. Described by his teachers as someone possessing the highest ethical standards, good judgment and impeccable character, he is a quiet yet forceful leader in our school and community, always looking to help others in any way possible.

A few days ago, his athletic talents were celebrated at the final Sports Awards Evening of his Wheatley career. On that night, he was recognized for his outstanding athletic achievement, dedication, sportsmanship and love of the game; tonight, we recognize him with the PTO Student Recognition Award.

On behalf of the Wheatley PTO, please join me in recognizing William Feil.

Meet our 2018 Wheatley Medalists!

The final recognition given during our 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, Ananya Bansal and Justin Vega.

The first recipient is known for her warm smile, sharp intellect, athletic skills, leadership, and compassion towards others.  As a change maker, she is always willing to step out of her comfort zone to enhance her life and the lives of others. A catalyst for group discussion, she asks the insightful and critical questions that engage the group and gets everyone involved.

Virtually every teacher looks to her leadership in the classroom where she leads group discussions, poses provocative questions for discussion and assists her fellow classmates. This student has a myriad of interests and is never afraid to take advantage of any challenges or opportunities that may cross her path.

Incredibly well-rounded, she is a scientist, writer, athlete, leader, and activist— as well as an individual who will never compromise her own ideals. A quiet leader, she eschews the spotlight as she goes about her many activities. The Class of 2018 has been fortunate to have her leadership and engagement, and our school is a better place because of her presence.

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


The next recipient of the Wheatley Medal is truly a Renaissance Man. A thoughtful and passionate scholar, a creative and talented musician, an irreverent and fearless actor, and a quiet yet persuasive leader, he has left an impact in so many areas of our school. In fact, many of us cannot imagine Wheatley without this young man!

He has worked in some capacity on stage or behind the scenes for almost every one of our Tri-M or WTC productions. With a true love of music, he has competed in Wheatley’s Got Talent, played in his church rock band, performed with the Jazz Band and played with the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra. His creativity and technical skills are well known through the videos he has created for Showdown or Tri-M.

Due to his thoughtful analysis, passionate discussions and deep understanding of the many connections across different subjects, his teachers describe him as someone who makes everyone in the class better. There are very few high school students who can receive the many accolades he has amassed and still remain humble and unpretentious. We are all part of his fan club!

You have already heard his name this evening, and you will certainly be hearing his name in the years ahead! Please join me in congratulating the second recipient of the Wheatley Medal, Justin Vega.

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