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Multicultural Teach-In at JFK

Photo of Multicultural Organizers with Principal Ron Gimondo and AP Kathy Murray

The John F. Kennedy School hosted its annual Multicultural Teach-In on March 23. This full-day program introduces students to different world cultures and encourages them to take pride in their own cultural heritage.

More than two dozen parent volunteers visited classrooms during the morning to present lessons about their cultural heritage. These parents represented more than 20 different countries from all around the world.

In the afternoon, JFK students were treated to performances by the Asian Culture Club and the Multicultural Club from North High School. Several of these North High performers are graduates of JFK, and they were happy to return to their former elementary school to address students.

The Asian Culture Club and the Multicultural Club presented traditional and modern dances that represent the members’ ethnic heritage. The performers also interacted with audience members and invited them on stage to learn dance steps. During one point in the performance, the high school students asked audience members to raise their hands if they speak another language at home; many JFK students raised their hands with a true sense of pride. “They need to see themselves as the great cultural and linguistic resources they are!” said Susanne Marcus, ENL teacher at North High.

JFK Principal Ron Gimondo and Assistant Principal Kathleen Murray shared their appreciation for the hard work of all the event organizers, parent volunteers, and student performers. Mr. Gimondo added a special thank you to Ms. Marcus for her long-time support of this program: “Her contributions over the years have had a tremendous impact on our ENL students and the multicultural program in the Great Neck school community.”

This partnership between JFK and North High is coordinated by Amy Kubel and Christine Ahl, ENL teachers at JFK, and Susanne Marcus, ENL teacher and Multicultural Club advisor at North High.


Robotics Team Wins Two Awards at FIRST Regional

Photo of South High Robotics Team

The Great Neck South High School Robotics Team won two prestigious awards at the Smoky Mountains FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Regional Competition, held at the University of Tennessee from March 21-24.

The South High team, known as “Rebellion,” traveled to this regional event to compete against 50 of the best teams in the country. Their robot performed very well and advanced to the playoff round of competition. Additionally, the team earned two top awards in recognition of their commitment to safety and outstanding planning practices.

The South High team is the recipient of the Safety Award, sponsored by Underwriters Laboratories. This achievement celebrates the team that progresses beyond safety fundamentals by using innovative ways to eliminate or protect against hazards. “We teach our team that safety drives productivity and is the foundation for all areas of their lives, including future employment opportunities,” said faculty advisor John Motchkavitz.
The Rebellion is also the recipient of the Entrepreneurship Award, sponsored by Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers. This award recognizes a team that has developed the framework for a comprehensive business plan to scope, manage, and achieve team objectives.
The FIRST Robotics Competition is a worldwide event with more than 6000 teams competing from over 50 different countries. The team’s next competition will be the SBPLI Regional at Hofstra University in April.

Robotics faculty advisors are business/technology department head John Motchkavitz; business/technology teachers Matthew Corrigan and Michael Passuello; and math/computer programming teacher Andrea Zinn.


South High Presents The Tales of Hoffmann

Photo of the South High Cast of The Tales of Hoffmann

South High School’s music department continues its long-standing tradition, now in its 49th year, of presenting exceptional, full-scale student-performed operas. This year’s opera will be The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach. Performances will take place on Friday, April 20, and Saturday, April 21, both evenings at 7:30 p.m., in the school auditorium, 341 Lakeville Road.

The opera will be under the musical direction of Dr. Janine Robinson, conducted by Michael Schwartz, and directed by Robert Stivanello.
Performance tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Tickets may be reserved in advance (suggested) by calling (516) 441-4851, or may be purchased at the door. There will be open seating for both performances.


The Phantom of the Opera at North High

Photo of North High Cast of The Phantom of The Opera

North High School will present The Phantom of the Opera on Thursday, April 19, and Saturday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m. Performances will be held in the school auditorium, 35 Polo Rd. (Please note that there will not be performances on Friday evening or Saturday afternoon, which are listed the district calendar.)

Based on the 1910 horror novel by Gaston Leroux, which has been adapted into countless films, The Phantom of the Opera follows a deformed composer who haunts the grand Paris Opera House. Sheltered from the outside world in an underground cavern, the lonely, romantic man tutors and composes operas for Christine, a gorgeous young soprano star-to-be. As Christine’s star rises, and a handsome suitor from her past enters the picture, the Phantom grows mad, terrorizing the opera house owners and company with his murderous ways. Still, Christine finds herself drawn to the mystery man.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors, and may be purchased in advance at Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door.

For additional information, please call (516) 441-4743, or contact Ilana Meredith Schikler, Junior Players Theatre Director, at