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Elwood Middle School Creates Food Pantry for the Community

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Elwood Middle School recently created a food pantry designed to support monthly food donations – collected, organized and packed by students and staff – for 10 local families. The ongoing initiative will include fun grade-level competitions, all in the spirit of taking care of those in the Elwood community.

The idea for the pantry came from math teacher Christina Kerensky-DeSimone, and technology teacher Alex Wightman built the donation bins, which were decorated by students. Members of the school’s student council, Community Service Club, National Junior Honor Society and Anti-Defamation League Club are helping to sort the food, stock the shelves and make lists of future needs. The school plans to eventually make this an activity in its Knights of the Round Table advisory program so all students and staff can engage in the behind-the-scenes work.

“This is a full schoolwide initiative of Elwood helping Elwood,” Principal Christina Moran said. “We want all students to feel a sense of service to others. As we seek to educate the next generation, we want students to recognize the benefits of giving. Research indicates that giving makes you feel happier, is good for your health, promotes cooperation and social connections, evokes gratitude, and is contagious. Our pantry is designed to be yearlong with the commitment of donating a box of food monthly to our families in need.”

An Exceptional Undefeated Season for Elwood Middle School Football

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The Elwood Middle School football team recently completed an undefeated season, with all 48 players demonstrating exceptional teamwork. The Knights finished 6-0, including victories over Islip 30-19, Central Islip 39-20, Babylon 36-0, East Islip 15-14, Brentwood 42-0 and Amityville 26-0.

“We started the first day of school and they worked extremely hard every day,” coach Jon Guercio said. “We rarely had a bad practice, and they outworked and outplayed every team we faced. Some of those schools are much larger and have a lot more students than we do, so to come out and go 6-0 with this schedule, playing those teams, is a major accomplishment. I think the thing we are most happy about as a coaching staff is that the kids went out and played for each other every single game. They were selfless, they held each other accountable and they did their jobs. We couldn’t be prouder of this team and what they have accomplished.”

A Perfect Homecoming Weekend for Elwood

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Despite a touch of rain, the Elwood community and the students of John Glenn High School welcomed the return of homecoming on Oct. 23, proudly marching on the traditional parade route from James H. Boyd Intermediate School to the high school, led in turn by Greenlawn Fire Department trucks; local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts troops; the John Glenn kickline, marching band and cheerleaders; district administrators; and the high school’s classes and their creative Pixar-themed floats.

On the prior afternoon, the four classes enjoyed a spirited pep rally highlighted by the introduction of the school’s athletic teams and a tug of war competition. The juniors, dressed in orange, defeated the red-clad freshmen, while the green-wearing sophomores surprised everyone by beating the seniors in yellow. The sophomores took the class championship over the juniors, but then were in turn overpowered by an impromptu team of teachers led by Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Bossert. The rally culminated in the crowning of homecoming king Travis Ancewicz and queen Samantha Barzilai.

Before the big game, the varsity football team’s seniors were recognized in a special ceremony, each athlete taking an honorary walk arm-in-arm with their parents. The Elwood spectators’ hopes were fulfilled as the home team soundly defeated visiting Wyandanch by a decisive 41-14 score. Knights quarterback Chris Franzese completed a perfect 8 of 8 passes for 168 yards and three touchdowns and Craig Decembre’s three receptions earned 93 yards and two touchdowns, while Kevin Vides scored a memorable touchdown in the second quarter on a 26-yard punt return.

Elwood Honors Its Dedicated Board of Education

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In conjunction with School Board Recognition Week, the district honored its Board of Education during the Oct. 14 meeting, offering heartfelt accolades and gratitude for their hard work and dedication.

“The members of the board receive no compensation other than personal satisfaction in their efforts to try to give back to their community and guide our district in a way that they feel serves the needs and best interests of our students and community,” Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Bossert said. “I can say without question that this has been the compass that has guided the district through some very turbulent times. This board of education is a dedicated group of professionals who always have the best interests of students in mind and will advocate in that capacity to make certain that the level of instruction and other opportunities we provide to our students are second to none in our region, our county and our state. It is my pleasure to work with them, and for them, and it gives me great pleasure to recognize their efforts.”

Chosen in the Elwood building rotation to contribute to the recognition was John Glenn High School, which presented surprise gifts to President James Tomeo and members Thomas Scarola, Dr. Sara Siddiqui and Deborah Weiss (Vice President Heather Mammolito was unable to attend) as tokens of appreciation.

Art students made a large, colorful “Thank You, Elwood Board of Education” banner, adorned with leaves signed by each student; students in the food and nutrition class baked loaves of pumpkin bread; and technology students created large Lego-style figures in the likeness of each board member. Under the direction of teacher Rachel Nagle, the high school’s Acapelwood vocal group shared their musical talents by performing Brian Tate’s joyous “Connected” for the board.

“On behalf of the faculty, students and staff of John Glenn High School, we truly thank you for your volunteerism and your unrelenting support of the diverse and robust programs we offer,” Principal Carisa Burzynski said.

Also honored at that evening’s board meeting were seven outstanding students: National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Students Trinity Hausch, Isabella Ross and Maya Tallo; National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalist and NYSSMA All-State Mixed Chorus selected student Anson Kwan; NYSSMA All-State Mixed Chorus alternates Toni Meyer and Kaitlyn Schieble; and NYSSMA All-State Symphony Orchestra selected student Aaram Lee. Kwan and Hausch were also announced as the Class of 2022 valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively. Lastly, retiring Elwood Middle School custodian Enrique Roman was recognized for his dozen dedicated years of service.


Celebrating Fall’s Arrival with Chalk at the Middle School

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Sixth graders at Elwood Middle School celebrated the arrival of the fall season with a creative chalk mural activity on Sept. 29.