Rocky Point Soaring

E-News Edition - July 2020


This is the official e-newsletter for the Rocky Point Union School District.

Rocky Point Resiliency

As the 2019-20 school year took an unexpected turn in March, students, staff and families came together in many ways that define the true meaning of community. Our teachers adapted their lessons to online classrooms; students navigated their digital instruction; virtual variety and art shows, athletic accolades, car parades and so much more became the new normal; and a renewed sense of family and fellowship was formed.

In the community and at all grade levels, stories of resiliency emerged. Hundreds responded to our call to highlight frontline Hometown Heroes, and students have continued to contribute to the larger world with their charitable efforts, talents and accomplishments: Mrs. Carrie Casswell’s first graders sent positive messages, drawings and photographs to the Bristal Assisted Living Facility in Lake Grove; third grader Lilianna Bonacasa was honored by the Promise of Hope Foundation for Lily’s Toy House, a toy drive that she founded in memory of her father who was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan; seventh graders were lauded as young heroes for their work as junior firefighters and high school students shared dozens of messages of gratitude and inspiration with the doctors, nurses and medical staff at Mather Hospital.

These stories and more are what make Rocky Point an outstanding school district, where pride and strength are at the core.

Class of 2020 Lauded at Commencement

Sunny skies were a welcome backdrop for the five well-orchestrated commencement ceremonies on June 26 for the Rocky Point High School Class of 2020. The 46th commencement exercises began with a welcome from Principal Jonathan Hart, who thanked the Board of Education, administrators, staff and parents for making the event possible. Speeches from valedictorian Hope Lantz-Gefroh, salutatorian Molly Lambert and Exhortation Speaker Kiana Hammarth were peppered with memories, grateful words to teachers and family members, thoughts on overcoming obstacles and words of advice for their fellow graduates. The ceremony included a number of special presentations, awards, scholarships and words of inspiration, hope and faith from, among others, Mr. Hart and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Scott O’Brien, who spoke of the students’ demonstrations of perseverance, strength, flexibility and resilience and, most importantly, how they responded to this unprecedented time in history.

Trio of Women Head Class of 2020

Leading the Rocky Point High School Class of 2020 were three young women – Hope Lantz-Gefroh, Molly Lambert and Kiana Hammorth – valedictorian, salutatorian and exhortation speaker, respectively.

Hope’s diversified high school career includes president of the National Math Honor Society, member of the National Honor Society, a member of Compassion Without Borders, a math and science tutor, and a regional team dancer and dance teacher. She will join the freshman class at Texas Christian University, where she will be on the premedical educational track.

Molly’s list of achievements is comprehensive and includes being a member of the National English Honor Society, the National Honor Society, the New York State Mathematics Honor Society and the Thespian Society. She was selected to represent Rocky Point School District at the New York State School Music Association’s All-County and All-State conferences as a senior, took part in the high school’s Pocket Theater Productions for three years and has been a leading character in numerous high school musical productions. She took on the responsibility of assistant director on the school’s most recent show, “Fiddler on the Roof.” She intends to major in biology and minor in English at Colgate University in the fall.

Kiana has excelled in the classroom, on the stage and in the arts studio. An AP Scholar with Distinction and a National Merit Scholar semifinalist, she filled her senior class schedule with numerous AP courses. Kiana has been a leader in the arts program, serving as president of the Arts Honor Society, and receiving a Mark Twain Award in art or writing for all four years of her high school career. She received an honorable mention in a national scholastic poetry contest and had her work displayed at the Art League of Long Island. Kiana will head to Alfred University in the fall and plans to double major in business and political science.

“In addition to being at the top of their class, these exceptional students are well-rounded in their academics and interests,” Principal Jonathan Hart said. “Their ambitions and defined goals will lead them to greater achievements, and we all look forward to hearing about their successes in the future.”

Socially Distant Special Delivery!

Excitement filled the local streets on June 12 when more than 70 staff members from throughout the district volunteered to deliver caps, gowns and yearbooks to seniors. The teams of messengers set out in groups to cover all the neighborhoods – sharing the fun with decorated cars, festive music and their best Rocky Point gear! “It was great to see the students and to congratulate them on their accomplishments,” Assistant Principal Lauren Neckin said. “They seemed so excited, happy and really appreciated it.”

Enduring Eagles

Although the spring athletic season was canceled, Rocky Point made numerous outstanding efforts to honor student-athletes with various virtual celebrations. Director of Health, Physical Education, Intramurals and Athletics Mr. Charles Delargy and district coaches created a video congratulating all the students and highlighting major moments of each of their Rocky Point High School athletic careers. The school’s college commitment day in June virtually honored the 14 athletes who committed to play a college sport:

Julianna Calo, field hockey – SUNY Oneonta

Holly Calore, field hockey – Hartwick College

James Curley, cross-country – SUNY New Paltz

Gavin DaVanzo, track and field – Stony Brook University

Justin DeMonte, lacrosse – Mercy College

Maggie Donohue, lacrosse – George Mason University

Sean Flynn, football – Stevenson University

Daniel Heneghan, soccer – SUNY Geneseo

Calista MacArthur, cheer – Hofstra University

Sydney McNamee, cheer – Florida Atlantic University

Jack Meyers, lacrosse – University of Tampa

Anna Raicovi, soccer – Georgia Military College

Joseph Schley, lacrosse – Mitchell College

Dakota Strong, lacrosse – Hartwick College

They join an additional seven students who were honored at the National Collegiate Athletic Association Signing Day in November:

Savannah Feinberg, lacrosse – Southern Connecticut State University

Clare Levy, lacrosse – Stony Brook University

Logan Sciotto, wrestling – United States Naval Academy

Jason Staudte, lacrosse – Caldwell University

Katie Wilbur, softball – Limestone College

Kailee Woods, lacrosse – University of New Hampshire

Anna Zahradka, lacrosse – Stony Brook University

Moving Up the Academic Ladder

Rocky Point Middle School Principal Mr. James Moeller virtually congratulated the eighth grade class on their continued path to success as they enter grade 9 in the fall. Student speaker Sofia Haviland encouraged kindness as she addressed her peers and reflected on shared events and the teachers she considered role models. Assistant Principal Ms. Dawn Meyers then presented subject awards, guidance counselor Ms. Courtney Honan followed by introducing the students, music teachers Mr. Nicholas Butcher and Mrs. Meghan Walter performed The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” and teachers and staff members offered their congratulations to the Class of 2024.

Joseph A. Edgar Intermediate School Principal Linda Murphy congratulated the fifth graders on their promotion to middle school during a special virtual ceremony at the end of June. Try your best, become involved, be proud of yourself, tell the truth and smile were among her suggestions to the students. Teachers congratulated their students, and Ms. Jaimie Arnesen and Ms. Lauren Boyle created a special poem for their class.

A virtual moving-up ceremony for second graders included an important message from Dr. Virginia Gibbons to learn a lot, laugh a lot and be kind. An additional virtual introduction to JAE was a fun way for the students to learn about their new journey next school year. All the third grade teachers had an opportunity to contribute to the video and share what it will be like to be a part of their class, and students learned about the different subjects and daily schedules.

Best Wishes to Our Retirees!

The Rocky Point School District congratulates 12 employees on their retirement. Collectively, they have contributed 194.5 years of dedication to the students of Rocky Point. Thank you and all the best for the future: Frank J. Carasiti Elementary School Principal Dr. Virginia Gibbons and Assistant Principal Vivien Leary (pictured), teacher Lydia Avallone-Balfour and custodian Richard Robertson; Joseph A. Edgar Intermediate School Principal Linda Murphy; Rocky Point Middle School teacher aides Linda Darcey and Anna Spallina and special education teacher Frank Centrone; special education senior office assistant Elizabeth Manger and Rocky Point High School’s science teacher Nancy Hunter and teacher aides JoAnn Lizio and Rosalia Rink.

Welcoming New Administrators

To learn more about these professionals, please read our web news story!

Dozens Honored With Live Like Suzie Awards

The world will be a better place because of the many Rocky Point High School students who work to make that happen. Forty-eight students were honored with the 9th Annual Live Like Susie Kindness Awards. They were highlighted via a video presentation by the Be a Nicer Neighbor club advisers Janessa Eilers and Carly Tribby for their kind, caring and positive attributes.

The awards honor the memory of Rocky Point High School graduate Susie Facini, who made it her mission to spread positivity in the world. Congratulations to seniors Thomas Amalfitano, Mariann Bornemann, Haley Brocato, Catherine Conti, Ben Giordano, Elana Gold, Kiana Hammarth, Julia Jacobelis, Morgan Jaramillo, Tyler Kotarski, Aidan Lasurdo, Clare Levy, Jade Mitchko, Kayley Negus, Ethan Nichols, Taylor Olsewski, James Pousson, Dylon Royer, Cassidy Sander, Katie Strovink, Cameron Taylor and Alexander Trinh; juniors Tanner Bucher, Amelia Callahan, Liam Chiello, Karina Cooper, Joe DiMaggio, CJ Gerace, Ava Glennon, Ashley Golden, Aidan Hamilton, Joan Hicks, Isabella Lehman, Maya Menon, Rosario Orantes, Gary Ortiz, Nelly Perez-Castro, Phoebe Rinn, Alexander Spallone, Sophia Weik, Samuel Wolf and Kristen Zoll; sophomores Sophia Hyatali, Megan Loeser, Hannah Schappert and Caroline Settepani and freshmen Chloe Graham and Annalisse Negron.

Lauded for Scholarship, Service, Leadership and Character

Rocky Point High School congratulates 49 juniors and seniors who became members of the Rocky Point High School Chapter of the National Honor Society. These new members met the scholarship requirements, demonstrated their leadership and character, and served their community in a variety of ways throughout their time at Rocky Point High School. This year’s applicants had the added challenge of adapting and persevering in order to submit their applications during the school closure due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The district congratulates Rocky Point High School’s 49 newly inducted members:

Jessica Barrett, Sean Bernhard, Clayton Brandow, Liana Brennan, Amelia Callahan, Kerriann Campo, Jillian Carley, James Carmody, Elizabeth Carrera, Sophia Cecere, Karina Cooper, Tristan Duenas, Victoria Fisher, Chloe Fish, Benjamin Gansle, Ashley Golden, Ilana Greenstein, Abigail Gunning, Emmarose Hansen, Thomas Haviland, Lea Henke, Katelyn Labuski, Aidan Lasurdo, Isabella Lehman, Kelly Logue, Jack Matzen, Kieran McByrne, Guinevere McCarrick, Thomas McDonald, Fiona McEvoy, Maya Menon, Benjamin Mergott, Sarah Mergott, Morgan Moroney, Samuel Moscosco, Kjersti Mygland, Shreya Patel, Nelly Perez-Castro, Phoebe Rinn, Jacey Ruisi, Celine Singh, Alexander Spallone, Sydney Strohmayer, Sophia Weik, Julia Wheeler, Kaleigh Wilgeroth, Ashlynne Xavier and Alexander Zaslavsky and Kristen Zoll.

The district also congratulates the graduating senior members and wishes them the best of luck as they take the next steps on their path to greatness:

Rex Alex, Thomas Amalfitano, MariAnn Bornemann, Haley Brocato, Michael Caggiano, Megan Cheshire, Zoe Clark, Logan Cline, Catherine Conti, Ashley Coppola, James Curley, Annie Doall, Jennifer Dwyer, JohnHenry Dyroff, Brandon Epp, Emily Farrell, Summer Farriss, Chase Fusaro, Annabella Fusco, Madison Gennaro, Vito Giammarella, Benjamin Giordano, Daniela Grimard, Judith Hammarth, Ayva Hill, Sydney Iannizzotto, Molly Infranco, Julia Jacobelis, Madison Jacobelis , Emily Jaeger, Tyler Kotarski, Molly Lambert, Hope Lantz-Gefroh, Clare Levy, Alexa McAdam, Katie McDonald, Jack Molinaro, Ethan Nichols, Taylor Olszewski, Victoria Pannizzo, Nica Perrino, William Platt, Anna Raicovi, Gary Russin, Alexander Samuilov, Cassidy Sander, Samantha Schmitt, Matthew Stringer, Cameron Taylor, Jennie Vosilla, Riley Watson, Isabela Weihs and Anna Zahradka.

7th Annual Science Research Symposium

High School science research students Sophia Cecere, Aneesh Deshpande, Olivia Grafer, Melina Kalesis, Olivia McDonald, Fiona McEvoy, Shreya Patel, Jasmine Pinkenburg and Ashlynne Xavier were lauded by teacher Ms. Nancy Hunter for their perseverance and hard work for the completion of their science research projects. The students created audio-narrated PowerPoint and Google presentations on complex scientific subjects.

Channels of Communication - Stay Connected With Us!