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Sophomores Make a Personal Connection to History

Sophomores Make a Personal Connection to History photo
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Sophomores at Amityville Memorial High School heard a powerful story from a Long Island man who, more than seven decades ago, survived the Holocaust. The first-hand account from Werner Reich gave students insight into one of the biggest atrocities in history. 

Mr. Reich has been visiting the high school for the past decade to support the 10th-grade social studies curriculum, which focuses on world history and includes extensive study of World War II. He told students that as a teenager, he was arrested and held in a concentration camp before finally being liberated at 17 years old and later moving to the United States. A PowerPoint presentation with photographs, maps and cartoons illustrated his tales of capture and survival while providing historical context of the Holocaust.  

His story served as inspiration for students to lead lives based upon kindness and respect. Mr. Reich urged them to fight injustice and oppression, and to stand up for anyone being mistreated.

“Ask yourself, ‘What is the right thing to?’ Then do it,” he said.

Social studies teachers explained that students learn how to cite primary sources in their writing, and there is no greater primary source than hearing from a person who lived through a historical event. 

District Celebrates its Champions

District Celebrates its Champions photo

Amityville Memorial High School’s state championship basketball team marched through the streets of town on May 12 as the community came out to celebrate their accomplishment.

The Parade of Champions began at Edmund W. Miles Middle School and was followed by a recognition ceremony in the high school auditorium. Marchers included administrators, board of education trustees, cheerleaders, junior varsity athletes, representatives from the middle and elementary schools, elected officials and community leaders.   

After winning the county and Long Island championships, the Warriors defeated Irondequoit High School, 52-42 on March 17, then captured the state title the following day with a 74-54 win over defending champion Ardsley High School. Amityville’s first state title in 15 years was a cause for celebration.

“They are a tremendous source of pride for our entire community,” said Superintendent Dr. Mary T. Kelly. “Our student athletes truly embody the Warrior ethic. They are gentlemen of character.”

On hand to honor the team were Amityville Mayor Dennis Siry and Deputy Mayor Kevin Smith, Babylon Town Supervisor Richard Schaffer, Town Councilman Terence McSweeney, Town Clerk Gerry Compitello, Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory and State Sen. John Brooks. The varsity basketball players, along with head coach Gordon Thomas and assistant coach Paul Robinson, were presented with citations.

The ceremony concluded with the unveiling of a championship sign that was donated by the Town of Babylon. 

School officials also honored New York State wrestling champion and three-time All-American Deonte Wilson, who was unable to attend because he was competing that day in the discus throw for Amityville’s track and field team. 


Medical Research Earns Science Students First Place

Medical Research Earns Science Students First Place photo
A team of student scientists from the district took first place in the project competition at the recent STEM Diversity Summit at Farmingdale State College. 

The group of Amityville Memorial High School students, including Jeffrey Garcia, Nathalie Larin, Amber Palmer, Amelia Tisk, Alexa Victor and Z’Dhanne Williams, are part of the Independent Science Research program. They presented their project, “Treatment of Polycythemia Vera with Resveratrol and Other Small Molecules,” which they have been working on since middle school. 

The students have been trying to determine molecules that would be best for the treatment of Polycythemia Vera, a rare blood cancer. They have been working one day a week at Farmingdale alongside biology professor Dr. Andrew Michaelson, with support from science research teacher Alexis Charles and retired science teacher Deborah Charles.  

“All of this research is for a good cause,” Jeffrey said. “This can one day save lives.”

The five students were honored at the May 9 board of education and presented with certificates and plaques from Dr. Veronica Henry, the executive assistant to the president at Farmingdale. Amityville’s Independent Science Research program, now its third year, continues to grow in terms of enrollment and participation in regional science competitions. This year, students took part in the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair and Molloy College’s Kathy Belton Science Fair for the first time.  

Amityville Athletics Are on the Air

Amityville Athletics Are on the Air photo
Reporting live from Amityville Memorial High School, it’s Justin Bethea and Devontay Rickenbacker. The two students have added a new dimension to Amityville athletics by broadcasting several Warriors contests. 

Justin, a sophomore, and Devontay, a junior, called all of the home games for the boys and girls varsity basketball teams as well as select road games. They were also able to travel with the boys team throughout its playoff run that culminated in a state championship. In addition to calling the plays and providing in-game commentary, the duo conducted postgame interviews with players, coaches and administrators. 

The games were livestreamed on The Cube and filmed using Padcaster, a kit that includes an iPad, case, tripod and microphone. Justin and Devontay were supported by fellow students Brian Portillo and Sabitha Joseph, who operated the camera, and technology teacher Paul Cimmino. 

“I found something that I enjoy doing,” Justin said. “Broadcasting is what I now want to do as a career.”

Devontay, who used to make YouTube videos about the NFL and NBA when he was younger, said he has always had an interest in sports commentary and this experience opened his eyes to the preparation that professional broadcasters must undertake. He and Justin both spoke of the importance of good pronunciation and cutting down on saying words such as “like” and “umm” while on camera. Additionally, they had to learn to be unbiased by referring to the team as “Amityville” or “the Warriors” instead of “we.” 

The pair learned how to fill an entire broadcast with commentary. For each game, they had statistics at the ready for both Amityville and the away team. Because they are classmates with Warriors players, they also had several anecdotes they could tell when there were breaks in the action. 

Although they weren’t able to broadcast the state championship game in Binghamton, Justin and Devontay both were given seats on press row, in which they were able to take photos and videos and network with members of the media. Devontay said that one of the greatest moments of the season they did get to call was when senior captain Josh Serrano scored his 1,500th career point.

Evan Farkas, the director of athletics, physical education and health, said a group visited Harborfields High School last year to learn about their broadcasting program, and this year’s goal was to livestream a handful of games.

“Little did we know that Justin and Devontay would come in and take it to a whole new level,” he said. “We’ve quickly become a model school for broadcasting.”

Mr. Farkas said the goal for next year is to add even more sports to the broadcasting lineup. Additionally, they are looking to add some new equipment such as noise-canceling headphones. 

Justin said that having several hundred people tune in to the games and hear him and Devontay’s commentary was a rewarding experience. It was just as thrilling as being on the sidelines for the basketball team’s title run. 

“There was a huge learning curve,” Justin said, “but it was a great experience.”

High School Students Check Out College Choices

High School Students Check Out College Choices photo

Amityville Memorial High School students had a chance to explore their futures during the annual spring college fair on March 29. Representatives were in attendance from more than 100 colleges and universities on Long Island, in the city, upstate and throughout the Northeast. Attendees could also earn about opportunities in the military and law enforcement.

Students traveled throughout the gymnasium and were able to ask questions about academic programs, athletics and extracurricular activities, scholarship opportunities, on-campus housing and more. For underclassman, the college fair gave them a chance to understand admissions requirements, while seniors could learn about the next steps in the application process. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018