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Junior-Senior High School Earns Prestigious State Recognition

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The district has officially been recognized as New York State Public High School Athletic Association Scholar-Athlete Team School of Excellence for the first time in school history. This honor recognizes that 75% of the district’s varsity programs have qualified and received the NYSPHSAA Scholar-Athlete team award for the 2020-2021 school year. The Junior-Senior High School is slated to be recognized by NYSPHSAA Executive Director Dr. Robert Zayas at the Section VIII Athletic Director Meeting on Sept. 17.

The district congratulates the Junior-Senior High School and its student athletes on this wonderful accomplishment.

Congratulations, Class of 2021!

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The Junior-Senior High School’s Class of 2021 took new steps into the future, as they became graduates in front of family, friends, district staff and members of the Board of Education.

The ceremony kicked off with the Pledge of Allegiance, along with a beautiful performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by six graduating seniors.

Several speakers delivered moving speeches and offered words of advice to the graduating class, including Superintendent of Schools Lisa Ruiz, Board of Education trustee Peter McNally, valedictorian Lucy Temple, salutatorian Emma Kathryn Pollackov, Class of 2021 advisers Melinda Best and Caitlin Castellano, and high school Principal Richard Schaffer. Class presidents Raymond Acampora and Emma Kathryn Pollackov also delivered a farewell message prior to presenting their class advisers with a flowers and gifts.

Superintendent of Schools Lisa Ruiz expressed how proud she is of the resilience and strength that the Class of 2021 demonstrated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. “What is truly extraordinary is that each and every one of you were the other half in our reinvention of how we do school, and that’s pretty amazing,” she said. “Not only did we figure it out but you had to be the recipients and, most importantly, had to learn under those really challenging conditions. Life is going to throw us curve balls, things we are not prepared to handle, but how each one of you chooses to respond will make the difference in your life. It is not the challenge itself but how we respond to that challenge that defines our character and shapes our lives. We know you will do extraordinary things as you travel down life’s road.”

Mr. Schaffer took the podium and urged graduates to face the impossible head on. “Set your goals high and never give up until you’re satisfied with the result, and even then, push a little further,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to get right back up should you fail and, most importantly, know who you are, what you believe is right and stay true to yourself. Don’t allow yourself to be derailed as you strive to achieve what others may think is impossible. I know for you there is nothing you can’t accomplish. For you, nothing should ever be seen as impossible.”

Following the distribution of diplomas, the East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School’s Class of 2021 turned the tassels on their caps from right to left and then joined together in a celebratory cap toss.

Students to Represent East Rockaway at U.S. Capital

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The district is proud to congratulate five Junior-Senior High School students who were selected as winners of the 2021 Congressional Art Competition.

East Rockaway selected winners include Hailey Arnold, who took first place for her piece "Contaminated"; Grace Wooding, who took second place for her submissions "Through the Shadows" and "View from Ball-ow”; Rikki Caracciolo, who took second place for her piece, "A Sight for Sore Eyes"; Lauren Cronin, who took third place for her submissions "Flood Water Ruins" and "Requiem for a Home"; and Allyson Lovera, who took third place for her submissions "By Myself," "Open Wide" and "Descansando."

The nationwide high school arts competition is hosted by members of congress every year. It offers the opportunity to recognize and encourage the artistic talent in the nation, as well as in the congressional district.

As a first-place winner, Hailey’s artwork will be hung in the underground walkway between the House Offices and the Capital Building in Washington, D.C. for a period of one year. This is the third consecutive year that a student from East Rockaway has taken first place in the competition. The exhibit in Washington will also include artwork from other contest winners nationwide.

The district applauds these students on this wonderful achievement.

Congratulations, Teachers!

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The district is proud to announce that three East Rockaway teachers were recognized in the Long Island Herald’s Head of Class awards. Junior-Senior High School foreign language teacher Rebeca Rodriguez was selected as a winner, while Junior-Senior High School English teacher Sara Perrone and Rhame Avenue Elementary School special education teacher Erin Kennedy were both named finalists. This recognition honors outstanding K-12 education leaders in public, private and charter schools. Please view here:,132956

Professional Development on Discovery Techbook

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Science teachers at the Junior-Senior High School participated in professional development on Discovery Education’s Science Techbook. This fully digital, interactive and extensive platform provides numerous instructional resources and educational materials.

As part of the program, teachers prepared mini lessons that were shared with colleagues and a Discovery Techbook trainer who was present through a Zoom videoconference. After the lesson, colleagues provided constructive feedback on how to enhance each other’s lessons and further their knowledge and use of this invaluable resource.