A North Merrick Minute

An e-newsletter from the North Merrick Schools: April 2023

Update from the Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Cynthia Seniuk

Dear Parents, Faculty and Staff,

It feels like it was just a minute ago that I was greeting you to the 2022-23 school year, but here we are almost at its completion! This year has been jam-packed with innovative programs and activities for our students, who are thriving and growing in a nurturing learning environment. Enjoy the video of what's been happening in the North Merrick Schools, which is embedded in this e-newsletter and presented by Jaclyn Guidice, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Personnel, and Instruction, at the March Board of Education meeting.

The North Merrick School District has certainly come a long way since the first school building was constructed in 1923, an eight-room building that was enlarged over the years to become what it is today. That building is our Camp Avenue School, and we celebrate this 100-year milestone as a district on May 12.

This year, Theatre Arts celebrated its 25th anniversary with an amazing performance of The Wizard of Oz. We were all skipping down the Yellow Brick Road! It is so nice to see the students back on stage and the Brookside Auditorium filled with families.

Now that the weather is getting warmer, students are outside at recess. Everyone so enjoyed Parent University being held outdoors last year that we are planning for al fresco activities once again on May 30. And we have a new districtwide STEM event, sponsored in partnership by SEPTA and WINGS, which is sure to be a stimulating evening on May 18. Sign up for these upcoming districtwide events when the flyers are sent home on Parent Square very soon.

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Theatre Arts Marks Its 25th Anniversary with The Wizard of Oz

North Merrick Theatre Arts traveled over the rainbow with performances of The Wizard of Oz on March 17 and 18 in the Brookside Auditorium. Over 100 sixth grade students participated in the show in the large ensemble cast as well as backstage in the art and stage crews. Student dancers performed in the "Jitterbug" number, and student gymnasts took on the parts of the Flying Monkeys. This was Theatre Arts' 25th Anniversary show.

The Wizard of Oz was produced by Director and Choreographer Joyce Kelley, Musical Director Gail Appel, Art Director Sheila Kuschner, and Set Designer Don Davidson with assistance from Lisa Lobell, Lisa Sokol, Christine Vanella, and Ryan Walsh.

Starring in the production were Emma Klein as Dorothy, Joseph Lentini as the Scarecrow, Michael Martino as the Tinman, Tyler Cruse as the Lion, Mia Mucci as the Wicked Witch, Allison O'Lenick as Glinda, and Nathan Cook as the Wizard.

Ms. Kelley explained that the Theatre Arts performance was based on the original stage production, not the movie version, and she said the audiences really seemed to love it. "The students were so talented and so motivated to put on a great show!," she said.

See more photos of The Wizard of Oz.

WINGS Shark Tank

The North Merrick WINGS enrichment program, under the direction of teacher Mara Karfinkel, launched the first annual “Shark Tank” competition. Fifth grade students presented ideas for inventions that could solve real-world problems and pitched their products to an audience of “sharks” to gain their financial support. Just like the contestants on the television show, the students were compelling and poised when answering questions about the need for their product, why it was unique, and what made up their profit margins.

Students provided actual prototypes, and the audience voted for the winners. It was a close contest with Joseph Ardito from H.D. Fayette School winning first place for his product, the Pillow Hat, receiving an investment of $1.4 million. Tristan Schulman from Camp Avenue School won second place for his Smart Pen, receiving $1.3 million, and partners Ayden Luchsinger and Lucas Katz from Old Mill Road School won third prize for their FrostFire Bowl, receiving $1.2 million. All the contestants were dressed for success and prepared for their future endeavors as entrepreneurs!

Districtwide Lego Robotics Club

This year, North Merrick students have the opportunity to join the districtwide Robotics Club after school. The club currently has 16 students from the three district schools meeting at Old Mill Road twice in every six-day cycle with teachers Jim Ufier and Lisa Lobel. The students are using Spike Prime kits and web-based Lego programming to create their own Bots. They have successfully coded to instruct the Bots to perform various commands. Most recently, they constructed motorized lift buckets so the Bots can pick up and move objects. The Robotics Club is preparing to compete in the middle school level robotics competition at Adelphi University next year.
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North Merrick Participates in FIRST in Math State Tournament - Three OMR Students Qualify for Championship Game

The New York State Education Department and the First in Math program are sponsoring a statewide elementary math tournament this year, and North Merrick has been actively participating. Students have practiced grade-appropriate math skills since the start of the school year to familiarize themselves with the types of math challenges they would see in the competition.

North Merrick classes entered the virtual regional tournament on March 30 playing three- to five- minute rounds of the popular 24 Game series. Three students in Linda Casillo's second grade class at Old Mill Road have qualified for the in-person FIRST in Math State Championship at the State University at Albany on May 20. They are Zoey Colasanto, Charles Pavlick, and Michael Squillace. There are only 150 student statewide who have qualified to attend the state championship! We will keep you posted on their progress!

Spring Wellness Retreat for Grades 4-6

The North Merrick Mental Health and Wellness Coalition sponsored the first Wellness Retreat this spring for students in grades 4-6 and their special guests. The retreat was coordinated by teacher Amanda Hocevar and included an array of activities including:

  • "Positivity Rocks!" with Jacqueline Sekunda, district guidance counselor, and Jeannette Gingrich, Fayette social worker
  • Zumba with Mara Karfinkel, WINGS teacher
  • Yoga with Breathe-N-Flow; and
  • Guided meditation, breath work and movement with Body & Brain.

Participants shared a morning of mindfulness and lots of smiles! Students received drawstring bags as a memento, filled with fidgets, coloring sheets, and a few activities to enjoy at home.

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Camp Avenue's 100th Anniversary Celebration

Friday, May 12th, 5-7pm

1712 Merrick Avenue

North Merrick, NY

Walk down memory lane as Camp Avenue celebrates its 100th Anniversary with student performances, a DJ, refreshments and more! Alumni - share your remembrances with the QR code in the attached flyer.

Rain Date: June 15