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Studying Abroad in Amityville

Studying Abroad in Amityville photo
A love of language brought Letizia Cazzaniga nearly 4,000 miles from Milan, Italy to Amityville Memorial High School. The senior said she is thoroughly enjoying her year as a foreign exchange student and her immersion in American culture.

Growing up in Italy with a mother from Lebanon, she learned to speak both Italian and Arabic as a child. Since then, her linguistic interests have grown and Letizia is now fluent in five languages including English, French and Spanish, along with a little Portuguese.  

“I really like languages,” she said. “Being here and studying here for a year is good for my skills.”

Several of her courses foster her language development including dystopian literature, journalism, college French and Advanced Placement Spanish. She is taking algebra, plays the violin for the orchestra and sings in the chorus. Letizia was excited to participate in the winter concerts. She noted that schools in Italy typically do not have instrumental music instruction.

She said two differences about going to high school in the United States are the earlier start time and changing classes. There is also a greater emphasis on critical thinking while in Italy the focus is learning material and studying for tests. When she returns home, she will have one more year of high school remaining. Letizia hopes to attend college in Paris or the Netherlands and said possible majors include architecture or interior design.

Her host family in Amityville and the students at the high school have been very welcoming, she said. Letizia spent much of her holiday break visiting sights in New York City including the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Christmas tree and World Trade Center memorial site. She has also been to Washington, D.C. and North Carolina since her arrival. 

While she misses her family and friends in Milan, Letizia said she is able to stay in contact with them through telephone and Facetime. Family members who live in Texas have come to New York to visit her. 

“We are very pleased that Letizia decided to spend the year with us here in Amityville,” Principal Maria Andreotti said. “We have amazing programs and activities at the high school and are happy Letizia will get the share those experiences with our students. Through knowing her, students are learning more about Italy, and, as an Italian-American myself, I take great pride in that as well.”

Student Musicians Tapped for Regional Ensembles

Student Musicians Tapped for Regional Ensembles photo

Several students from the district have been chosen to participate in regional music festivals.

Amityville Memorial High School sophomore Alex Diaz and Edmund W. Miles Middle School seventh-grader Madeline Shingleton were selected to Long Island String Festival Association ensembles. Alex played the viola with the secondary school orchestra on Jan. 12 at St. John the Baptist High School. Madeline will showcase her skills on the cello with the seventh- and eighth-grade orchestra on Jan. 27 at Hauppauge High School. 

Dr. Fran Fernandez, the district’s director of fine and performing arts, said the selection process for LISFA ensembles was extremely competitive. Students were chosen based on their New York State School Music Association evaluation scores from the spring 2018 festival and on teacher recommendation. 

Alex and Madeline were also among six Amityville students selected for the Suffolk County Music Educators Association’s All-County music festival in March. Alex will represent the high school while Madeline will join bass clarinet player Donovan Graham McRae from the middle school. Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School choral students Tiffany Asbell, Sydney Carter and Brianna Cuevas will share their vocal talents.   

Music teachers for the students include Megan Ashe, Michael Bonasera and Bianca Ferrante.

Soccer Star Earns All-American Honors

Soccer Star Earns All-American Honors photo
The district congratulates Amityville Memorial High School senior Henry Martinez on his numerous accolades a member of the state championship boys varsity soccer team. The midfielder was instrumental in bringing the team its second title in four years.

Henry was one of only two players on Long Island to earn a selection to the United Soccer Coaches Association’s 2018 fall high school boys All-America team. He recently was honored at an awards ceremony in Chicago. 

“It is certainly an amazing accomplishment to be recognized as an All-American athlete,” Superintendent Dr. Mary T. Kelly said. 

Henry was additionally named as an All-County, All-State and All-Region player as well as the Section XI Small Schools Player of the Year. He had 14 goals in the regular season along with both goals in the title-clinching game.

Amityville, East Islip Students Create New Bonds

Amityville, East Islip Students Create New Bonds photo

Amityville Memorial High School welcomed 39 students from East Islip High School, who made the 15-mile journey west on Jan. 7 to take part in the Cultural Exchange program.

East Islip students were warmly greeted by their peers from Amityville shortly after 7 a.m. The groups gathered in the auditorium for breakfast, light conversation and icebreaker activities to explore common interests. Each East Islip student then attended classes with his or her Amityville buddy from the Warrior Awareness Club before everyone reconvened at the end of the day for lunch. 

“I just love the new connections that are made,” said Jason McGowan, advisor of the Warrior Awareness Club and coordinator of the Cultural Exchange program. “It doesn’t end today. The students will continue these relationships.”

Amityville students will visit East Islip High School in February. Each year, Amityville partners other districts on Long Island for the Cultural Exchange program which is designed to foster new friendships and have students appreciate the cultural diversity of the world. Earlier this year, students from Bayport-Blue Point High School came to Amityville, and past partnerships have included Islip and Sayville.

Students, Sheriffs Partner for Safe Schools

Students, Sheriffs Partner for Safe Schools photo
Suffolk County deputy sheriffs recently visited Amityville Memorial High School to present the “Say Something” program. The initiative is a collaboration between County Sheriff Errol Toulon’s office and the Sandy Hook Promise. 

The deputy sheriffs spoke to students in social studies about how to notice the signs and symptoms of a fellow student in distress or with bad intentions. Students learned how to approach a trusted adult to intervene, the pros and cons of social media and the efforts taken by school and law enforcement officials to keep them safe.

High School Student Shutterbugs Honored

High School Student Shutterbugs Honored
A pair of student-artists from Amityville Memorial High School had their work selected for the Advanced Visions 15: High School Artists of Excellence showcase at LIU Post. 

Juniors Brianna Desire and Jonathan Gambella are enrolled in Advanced Placement art classes with teacher Jayne Grasso. Brianna’s digital photography piece, “Space,” and Jonathan’s digital photo, “Johnny Pump,” are on display in the S.A.L. Gallery, located in the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library at LIU Post. The students will be honored during a closing reception on Jan. 9. 

“We are so proud to have two of our talented artists represent Amityville at this regional exhibit,” said Director of Fine Arts Dr. Fran Fernandez. “Congratulations to Brianna, Jonathan, their families, and their past and present art teachers on this fine accomplishment.”
Wednesday, February 20, 2019