NCTE Writing Award Winners

Two South High School seniors were named winners of the 2011 National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Achievement Awards in Writing. They are among 520 winners nationwide, from 1,649 high school students nominated by their English departments, when they were juniors. Each nominee was required to create two writing samples for submission. The first, in prose and/or verse, was drafted and revised over time. The second was an impromptu essay, written during a teacher-supervised session of no more than 2 hours, on a topic provided by NCTE. A sampling of past topics have included: "Elections--The World of Politics and Dirty Campaigning," "Students Who Don't Fit," and "Fictional Character as Teacher." Entries were judged on the state level. NCTE contest guidelines indicate that submitted writing should exhibit the "power to inform and move an audience through the control of a wide range of the English language." The Achievement Awards in Writing, established in 1957, are designed to encourage high school students in their writing and to publicly recognize some of the best student writers in the country. Winners receive NCTE certificates of commendation and recommendations for admission to their selected colleges and universities.


South High's Fall Carnival--Oct. 29

South High School's Fall Carnival, originally scheduled for Sept. 24 as part of Homecoming, has been rescheduled for Saturday, Oct. 29, from Noon-4 p.m., on the school's lower baseball field, 341 Lakeville Rd. The event will be ongoing during the football game against Jericho, which begins at 1:30 p.m. Carnival games will include an obstacle course, rock wall, giant slide, and joust. Food will be sold by the South High Boys Athletic Association, sponsors of the Carnival. There will be fees for unlimited ride bracelets and game tickets. Carnival faculty sponsors are Dennis Mooney and James Morrow. For more information, please contact Mr. Mooney at


GNPS/TV Programs

Upcoming programs over Great Neck Public Schools Television (GNPS/TV) will be Focus on Education and Spotlight.

Focus on Education

Focus on Education, an ongoing series hosted by Superintendent Thomas Dolan, highlights what's new and interesting in the district. The current program introduces Ronald Gimondo, new principal at the John F. Kennedy School. Mr. Gimondo, no stranger to Kennedy, has been the school's popular assistant principal since 2006. He replaced Dr. Sue Kincaid who retired. Focus on Education viewing times are: 10 a.m., and 12, 2, 4, 6, and 8 p.m.

GNPS/TV Spotlight

GNPS/TV Spotlight features school news, sports, and events in a magazine-format. This month's show highlights several events: South High School's Pep Rally; the Activity Fairs at North and South Middle Schools (where students learn about their school's clubs and activities); a look at several classes offered by the Adult Program; the new 9/11 Memorial Garden at North Middle School; and rehearsals with some of the performers at the district's Faculty Recital. View times are: 9 and 11 a.m., and 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 p.m.

GNPS/TV Programming

GNPS/TV programming reflects the offerings of the Great Neck Public Schools and the achievements of its students and staff. Programs are student-produced and can be seen in the incorporated villages of Great Neck on Cablevision Channel 75 and on Verizon Channel 32. In addition, selected programs can be seen by all Cablevision viewers on Channel 20, on Sundays, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. For information about GNPS/TV and it programs, please contact Robert Zahn, district educational cable TV producer/director, by e-mail at, or by phone at 441-4676.


Adult Program Trips & Special Events: Dickens Festival, Holiday Train Show & More

Enjoy unique holiday-time special events and trips offered by the Great Neck Public Schools Adult Program. Experience a day immersed in Victoriana at the Dickens Festival in Port Jefferson Harbor; view one of the season's famous spectacles, the Holiday Train & Landmarks Show at the New York Botanical Garden; savor a gourmet Chinese brunch with champagne at Pearl East Restaurant; and celebrate Hanukkah in a musical way with a special concert featuring songs in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, and English. Details of these events are described below. For more information, or to register, please call the Adult Program at 441-4949 or visit our Web site at for online registration and complete catalog offerings.

Dickens Festival & Lunch: Port Jefferson--Dec. 4

Journey back in time to the grandeur of the Victorian Age set in Port Jefferson Harbor during the village's annual, month-long, Dickens Festival. Port Jefferson is one of four must-see towns in New York State highlighted in Car & Travel magazine ("New York's Prize Quartet," July 2011). Begin with lunch at Ruvo East, a Southern Italian restaurant. New York Times critic Joanne Starkey considers Ruvo to be a "standout." The meal consists of an appetizer, choice of three entrées, soft drink, dessert, coffee/tea. Enjoy shopping in an old-fashioned marketplace and decorated shops in historic buildings. Ride in a horse-drawn carriage or trolley. Take in the festive sights of Port Jefferson's decorated streets and costumed characters performing Dickens' readings and Victorian Age songs. Explore a lantern-lit tour of Port Jefferson's historic homes. Refreshments and crafts of that era are available for purchase, if desired. End the day experiencing a Victorian parade, weather permitting. Please dress appropriately. Much of the day will be spent outdoors. Dale Carbone leads this trip on Sunday, Dec. 4. Depart 11:30 a.m. from the Cumberland Adult Center, 30 Cumberland Avenue; anticipated return 7 p.m. Fee: $85 (includes lunch and gratuity, and transportation and gratuity to driver).

NY Botanical Garden Holiday Train & Landmarks Show--Dec. 8

All aboard for one of New York's most beloved winter traditions! One of the most eagerly anticipated seasonal traditions, the Holiday Train Show has enchanted visitors to the NY Botanical Garden since 1992. We've added Landmarks to the title to more accurately describe the meticulously handcrafted structures for this enchanting, mesmerizing exhibition. Wrapped in the glow of twinkling lights, model trains and trolleys chug along, winding their way across trestles, over bridges, around pools, and through tunnels, past scaled replicas of New York landmarks--made from natural material, such as bark, twigs, stems, fruits, seeds, and pine cones. On this private, docent-guided tour, we'll see small buildings lit from within and charming evergreens and flowering plants lit by the winter sky. The setting casts the romantic glow of old New York at twilight during the holiday season. Begin with a private, delicious, buffet lunch prepared by the popular caterer, Abigail Kirsch. Enjoy soup, salad, entrées, desserts, and beverage. There will be time for exploring the Conservatory and a visit to the fabulous gift shop. Helene Schachter leads this trip on Thursday, Dec. 8. Depart 10 a.m. from the Cumberland Adult Center, 30 Cumberland Avenue; anticipated return 4:30 p.m. Fee: $125 (includes admission to Botanical Garden, docent-guided tour of Train Show, catered buffet lunch, transportation, and all gratuities).

Sunday Champagne Brunch at Pearl East--Dec. 11

Back by popular demand--so raise your glasses high as we embark on another extraordinary culinary adventure at Pearl East, rated by Zagat as serving the "best Chinese food this side of the East River." The elaborate brunch will include appetizers: crispy rice-paper shrimp roll, pan-seared chicken dumpling, rabbit-shaped shrimp dim sum, snow-cabbage duck-meat dumpling, boneless BBQ spare ribs; soup: butternut squash seafood; entrées: two-flavor shrimp, chicken with lemon grass and snow-pea leaves, Chinese lantern-shaped steak kew, two-flavor sea bass, four-color vegetable (peacock shaped), cha-han fried rice with Chinese sausage, chicken, shrimp, and basil; fresh fruit, ice cream, tapioca, sweet-potato taro-root soup; served with oolong tea. Champagnes/sparkling wines, handpicked by Eugene Becker, oenophile and wine-tasting teacher, will complement the meal. Cathy, Pearl East's charming and gracious owner, will preside at our special event and her excellent chef will demo a dish to replicate on your own. Harriet Becker leads this special culinary event on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 1 p.m. Preregistration is required. Meet at Pearl East Restaurant, 1191 Northern Blvd, Manhasset. Fee: $59 (includes brunch as listed above, champagnes/sparkling wines; demo, and gratuity). Those who wish to sit together should make the request when registering.

Celebration of Hanukkah in Song--Dec. 15

Vocalist/Guitarist Irene Failenbogen will perform familiar Hanukah favorites in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, and English. Ms. Failenbogen was born, raised, and educated in Argentina and formally trained as a cantor and guitarist. Songs will include "Oh Chanukkah," "Mayn Dreydl," "Ma-oz Tzur," "Ocho Kandelikas," "Light One Candle," and many others. She will weave interesting commentary about each selection into her performance. Liam Murphy will accompany her on guitar. This special concert takes place on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2:30&endash;3:30 p.m. at Cumberland. Fee: $15. No nonresident surcharge. Open seating.