It was a proud night for the entire district on May 25 as talented students were spotlighted, and there were also celebrations for seven staff members who were granted tenure, as well as a board of education recognition.
First, Board of Education Vice President Kristen O’Hagan was presented with a Board Achievement Award from the New York State School Boards Association for her participation in various leadership development trainings. Councilman Anthony D’Esposito followed that by presenting a citation from the Town of Hempstead to Franklin Infante, who was named one of Long Island’s Top 100 Football Players.
The attention then turned to East Rockaway’s Fine and Performing Arts Department. Daniella Pedi was recognized for being this year’s gold medal winner in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for drawing and illustration. Past honorees were also commended, including Tessa Lark (digital photography, 2018, gold) and Allyson Lovera (drawing and illustration, 2019, silver and drawing and illustration, 2020, silver). District students were also spotlighted for their various works and participation in the numerous art shows and music festivals held throughout the year.
NYSSMA All-State music students were the next to be spotlighted, and East Rockaway had four representatives, including Gabriella Baccari, Sophia Bertolotti, Grace McNally and Emma Pollackov. Pollackov was also selected to the NAfME All-Eastern Honors Ensemble. She’s the first student from East Rockaway to ever be selected for this honor.
Finally, the focus turned to the district’s seven tenure recipients, including Amy Weissman (social worker, Rhame Avenue, ERJSHS), Kelli Hughes (elementary teacher, Centre Avenue), Evan Anastassatos (music teacher, districtwide), Nichole Mihalek (music teacher, districtwide), Maryann Raffaniello (elementary teacher, Rhame Avenue), William Gibbons (social studies teacher and chairperson, ERJSHS) and Bryan Palermo (science teacher, ERJSHS). They were all recommended for tenure by their respective building principals, and Superintendent Lisa Ruiz was proud to pass them through with flying colors.
“I really would like to take a moment to thank all of our teachers and administrators for the incredible job that they have done,” Mrs. Ruiz said. “From our athletic department, to our music, to our art department, to all of our academics, to all of the typical activities that have resumed…we are so proud of this amazing community and this wonderful school district.”
This post contains a complete slideshow of photos from the evening.