The Class of 2012--New Awards

In a previous edition of this newspaper, the valedictorians, salutatorians, and Barstow and Scott Moss award winners from Great Neck North and South High Schools were recognized. Special recognition is also given to students who received new awards.

There were three, first-time awards granted this year--Dennis Young Memorial Award at North High, and Marjorie Urciuoli Senior Award and Theresa McCormack Memorial Award in Mathematics, at South High.

Dennis Young Memorial Award

Kashfia is the recipient of the Dennis Young Memorial Award. This award was established by Susan Babkes, current North High social studies department head, in memory of Dennis Young, the husband of Barbara Young, former social studies department head. The senior chosen to receive this award should "exemplify a love of history and a commitment to scholarship and the arts." Kashia has been described as a "natural leader" within her school community, bringing new ideas to classroom discussions and being actively involved in many activities and clubs, including Peer Leadership, Interact, Animal Rights, Creations for Donations, Asian Club, DECA (business), and SAVE (environmental protection). She has also volunteered at Head Start and at an orphanage in Bangladesh. She is an Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar with Distinction (earning perfect scores on her five exams), a National Merit Commended Student, 2011 AP US History Student of the Year, and a National Spanish Exam winner. Kashfia will be attending the University of Pennsylvania this fall.

Marjorie Urciuoli Senior Award

Daisy is the recipient of the Marjorie Urciuoli Senior Award, given to a special education student for post-high school studies. She was vice president of the Hispanic Culture Club and a member of the National Technical Honor Society. Daisy was also an active member of the Varsity Soccer, Spring Track, and Winter Track Teams. She will be attending Queensborough Community College.

Theresa McCormack Memorial Award in Mathematics

Shelby is the recipient of the Theresa McCormack Memorial Award in Mathematics. This award was presented to a senior who has "faced and conquered challenges in his/her life and who has demonstrated by his/her hard work and enjoyment that he/she appreciated the beauty of mathematics." Shelby was secretary of Christian Seekers Club and a member of South High's Robotics Team. He was an active volunteer at local soup kitchens and in food and clothing drives. He has also done missionary work through his church, India Christian Assembly, that involved rebuilding homes and helping less privileged people with hygiene, food, water, and clothing. His missionary work has included trips to China, India, London, and Mexico. Shelby will be attending Nyack College.


Great Neck--Best in Music Education

In April, the Great Neck Public School District was again named among the "Best Communities for Music Education" by the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Foundation, a coalition of music and educational organizations. This marked the fifth consecutive year (and six times overall) that the district has received this prestigious award. Of greater significance, as the district was later to learn, was that Great Neck was among the top three districts of the 176 winning districts nationwide. In recognition of this outstanding achievement, NAMM asked JW Pepper, a member of NAMM and the world's largest retailer of sheet music, to present a framed award certificate to each of the top three districts. Denise Collins, from JW Pepper, presented Great Neck with its Best Communities award during the Board of Education meeting on June 4. As part of the recognition ceremony, most of the district's vocal and instrumental faculty joined together in a choir/chamber orchestra to perform a stirring rendition of Samuel Barber's "Sure on this Shining Night" (words by James Agee). Performing were: Roger Ames (North High), Mark Boschen (South High; South Middle), Denise Eisner (North Middle), Anne Fogarty (Baker), Cynthia Gorney (Baker), Jennifer Hood (all elementary), Amy Kempton (Kennedy), Chad Lasky (Saddle Rock), Dr. Pamela Levy (South High), Dr. Janine Robinson (Kennedy), Joseph Rutkowski (North High; North Middle department head), Alan Schwartz (South Middle department head), Michael Schwartz (South High department head), Alexander Swerdlin (South Middle), Jacquelyn Tomlet (North Middle), Matthew Trinkwald (North Middle), Anthony Virgilio (South High; South Middle), and Shelley Willcox (South Middle). Also at the award presentation were Board of Education President Barbara Berkowitz, Board Trustees Donald Ashkenase, Lawrence Gross, and Susan Healy, and Superintendent Thomas Dolan.


Staff Granted Tenure

At its June 18 meeting, the Great Neck Public Schools Board of Education granted tenure to 36 secondary and elementary school faculty, to the district coordinator of information systems, and to a district psychologist. Tenure becomes effective on Sept. 1 for most of the candidates; one will be tenured in August, another in October.

Board President Barbara Berkowitz, in her congratulatory remarks, said granting tenure is a "celebratory event. We attract and nurture the best of the best. We look forward to more successes on your part."

Superintendent Thomas Dolan enthusiastically concurred with Ms. Berkowitz's use of "celebratory" to describe the event, adding that when he became superintendent three years ago, one of his first tasks was to interview each of the teaching candidates who were now being granted tenure. He felt that they are part of the same "class," having begun in Great Neck at the same time. He complimented the teachers on an "achievement truly earned" reflective of "what it means to be a teacher in Great Neck. Earning tenure from Great Neck is worth a lot," he said.

Principals and administrators introduced their tenure candidates, praising their outstanding teaching, their ability to engage their students, and the joy they bring to their classrooms.

High School Teachers

North High teachers (subject area in parentheses) granted tenure were: Erik Connolly (physical education & recreation, also at SEAL), Kristen Cornicello (counseling & guidance), Elana Hagler (mathematics), and Jennifer Virgilio (mathematics). South High's teacher granted tenure: Christopher Beaujon (special education). Village School teachers granted tenure: Dr. Lisa DiRosa-Coen (psychologist) and Tobias Hatten (science).

Middle School Teachers

North Middle teachers granted tenure: Dr. James Bowman (psychologist), Lindsay Caruana (special education), Robin Ernst (industrial arts/computers), Lindsey Finjer (mathematics), Lauren Neckin (home economics), Kristin Randazzo (physical education & recreation), and Terence Rusch (special education). South Middle teachers granted tenure: Megan Byrnes (special education), Catherine Graybosch (library media specialist), Marissa Rabinovich (special education), Claudia Re (science department head), and Dr. Doris Stanick (science).

Elementary School Teachers

Elementary school teachers who were granted tenure, by school (subject/teaching area in parentheses): E.M. Baker: Margaret Dooley (library media specialist), Cheryl Gluzband (remedial reading), and Cynthia Gorney (music). J.F. Kennedy: Jennifer Cottone (classroom), Daniel DiSalvo (physical education & recreation), Erin Grieco (classroom), and Jamie Raskin (classroom). Lakeville: Felisa Myer (remedial reading) and Dena Weiner (classroom). Parkville: Jonica Ficeto (classroom). Saddle Rock: Nancy Ekstam (classroom), Karen Heitner (remedial reading), Leigh Herrel (classroom), Mindy Hoffman (classroom), Keith Kasdorf (physical education & recreation), and Elizabeth Tejada (TESL).


Catherine Davidson, district coordinator of information systems, and Dr. Jeanne Rolih, district psychologist, were also granted tenure.


Upcoming Summer Classes at the Adult Program

Great Neck Adult Program summer classes begin the week of July 9. For those looking to lower automobile-insurance premiums or reduce violation points, defensive driving is offered. Interested in pursuing creative endeavors during the summer season? The art of pastels and jewelry design are among the fine arts and fine craft offerings. Details are provided below. All classes meet at the air-conditioned Cumberland Adult Center, 30 Cumberland Ave., Great Neck. For more information, or to register, please call the Adult Program at (516) 441-4949 or visit for online registration and complete catalog descriptions of summertime offerings.

Defensive Driving: Insurance/Point Reduction

The Empire Safety Council, in cooperation with the NY State Department of Motor Vehicles, offers a way for drivers to lower automobile-insurance premiums, reduce driver-record violation points, and sharpen driving skills. This six-hour classroom course addresses accident-prevention skills. On completion, you will be eligible for a three-year, 10-percent discount on collision and liability premiums (including property damage, bodily injury, and personal-injury protection) on all vehicles for which you are listed as principal operator. Four points will also be deducted from the total on your driver record, if you have incurred violations during the 18-month period prior to completing the course. Bring driver's license and pen. Allow 6-8 weeks for certification. Instructor Roger Chizever is certified to teach the NYS-approved accident-prevention course/point-reduction program. He is a graduate of Great Neck South High School and lives in Great Neck with his wife and daughter. He is an Allstate Insurance Agent in Manhasset and an active member of the Great Neck Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce. Class meets two Thursdays, July 12 & 19, from 6-9 p.m. Fee: $40.

Pastels: Hypercolor at Your Fingertips

Pastels are all about the color--contemporary and classic pastels, models, and set-ups, as well as your own diverse visual inspiration will kick start your creative genes in this class. New, textural, colorful papers and boards will inspire drawing and painting pastel-experimentation using traditional, abstract, and multimedia solutions. All levels are encouraged to grow their art-making skills in this supportive and friendly class. Instructor Shelli Robiner-Ardizzone has owned ArtZone Decorative Painting and Contracting for 25 years. She taught art in the public schools of Detroit, Michigan, as well as New York City on a NYFA grant for 4 years. Her post-degree fine arts training includes Art Students League of NY and National Academy School of Fine Art, the Woodstock School of Art, and Silvermine Art Guild. She teaches popular "Flower Power" workshops at National Art League and Art Guild of Port Washington. She was awarded Vermont Studio Center Artists Fellowship Residency Award, 2004 and 2011, and is a Juried member of Pastel Society of America. Class meets seven Thursdays, July 12-Aug. 23, from 1-4 p.m. Fee: $169 for Great Neck and Manhasset residents 59 years old and younger; $102 for Great Neck and Manhasset residents, age 60 and older; $102 for Great Neck and Manhasset high school students; $179 for nonresidents.

Jewelry Making

Individual instruction in designing and making original jewelry: sawing, soldering, fusing, forging, simple stone settings, and use of all tools. Protective goggles required. Instructor Leslie Hirschhorn has been making jewelry since 1976. She earned her BFA from Carnegie-Mellon University in fine arts/metalsmithing. She previously worked as a corporate art director for 20 years. All Levels Class meets five Tuesdays, July 10-Aug. 7, from 9:30-12:30 p.m. Intermediate/Advanced Class meets on five Wednesdays, July 11-Aug. 8, from either 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., or from 1-4 p.m. Prerequisite for Intermediate and Advanced class: completion of beginner jewelry making class or proficiency in soldering, sawing, and basic metal techniques. Fee for jewelry classes: $136 for Great Neck and Manhasset residents, age 59 and younger; $89 for Great Neck and Manhasset residents, age 60 and older; $89 for Great Neck and Manhasset high school students; $146 for nonresidents.