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Port’s Green Team Roll Of Honor

Members of Port Washington Green Team

Members of Port Washington Green Team

Residents For a More Beautiful Port Washington (Residents) is excited to announce the addition of over 50 new students to their environmental Green Team. Residents work with local community organizations to provide environmental hands-on education for students grades 1 through 5. [Read more…]

Class Of ’70 Takes The Field In Port

Port’s class of 1970 celebrated its 45th reunion and renewed lifelong friendships here in Port last weekend. Of the 500-plus students that graduated that year, more than 100 reconvened, starting off with a tour of Schreiber generously led by Assistant Principal Dave Miller.

The “kids” relived the joy of school ties, St. Peter’s nostalgia, memories of the important events of the late 1960s. Memories also included the Vietnam War, Civil Rights Movement, Apollo 13 and Woodstock. Last weekend in Port, it was the ‘Summer of Love’ all over again. Mark Furth, Greg Decker and Roger Weaver mentioned their favorite 1970s bands: Chicago, Crosby Stills & Nash, Neil Diamond, The Doors. George Oestreich remembers seeing Bruce Springsteen at My Father’s Place, a former Roslyn music venue. Back then, Liz Daly and this writer caught (pre-Piano Man) Billy Joel at the Knotty Knee, also in Roslyn. Katie Nolan proudly wore her original Alpha Omega zip jacket, from the days when there were sororities at Schreiber.

Restauranteur Gillis Poll welcomed all the arrivals Friday night at Bar Frites in Wheatley Plaza for a social warm up to the weekend. Grads from as far away as Thailand, Washington State, California, Ohio and Pennsylvania arrived.

One highlight was a Saturday softball game on Campus Drive, where Melissa (Missy) Mendelsohn leapt up to snag an amazing catch, nixing what would have definitely been a grand slam. Star slugger Frank Pirolo and Coach Russell Gilbert organized the game, Jimmy Fergeson provided the drinks, ice and pizza. Many out-of-towners were thrilled with good “Port” pizza. More ball players were Janet Palmer, Carol White, cheerleader Gail Smith, Neil Gebhart, Dave Brackett, Roger Weaver and Steve Leigh, who just bought a place back in Port, because, “I love it here.”Reunion081915A

Glen Andersen and his mother, Rosaria Frances Andersen were in the stands when she confirmed, “I’ll see you at the next one!” Also in the stands were cheerleader Chrissy Pisciotta, Rose Picardi, Chris Convey, Marcey MReunion081915Bougey and more.

Melissa Mendelsohn said, “There’s nothing like the feeling of safety, of our childhood, when it comes to friendships.” Steffenie Oliver remembered playing softball here in seventh grade.

Hendrick’s Tavern in Roslyn was hopping to the sounds of the ’60s and ’70s DJ as the class partied late Saturday night. Many reconnected, sitting at tables enjoying the updates of children and, yes, grandchildren. There were happy memories and sad ones, too, remembering the classmates who were no longer with them. Congratulations go to the winners of “met in Port and longest marriage”: Joanie Frappaolo and Rich DeMeo. A very close second were cheerleader Laurie Gunther and Doug Moore.

Heaps of appreciation goes to the organizing committee of Linda Papsidero, Melissa Mendelsohn, Dot Wilson, Dee Dee Hatcherian, Janet Palmer and Steve Leigh. They have organized great reunions over the decades; the last one was five years ago. The Schreiber class of 1970 is clearly blessed with amazing, caring, loving classmates. They are all asking, “When’s the next one?” When it happens, you’ll hear about it.

Big Fish Arrives With a Splash

The cast of Big Fish performing “Daffodils” (Photos by Linda Nutter)

The cast of Big Fish performing “Daffodils” (Photos by Linda Nutter)

Big Fish, a musical adventure based on the novel by David Wallace and the film by John August, swam into Port Washington on Aug. 6 to 9 in the 44th installment of the annual Port Washington Summer Show. The Summer Show, a staple event in Port Washington since 1972, provides professional acting experience to 7th- through 12th-graders and allows all involved to express themselves creatively while putting together memorable shows of the highest quality.

Big Fish is a show of epic proportions, leaving the audience, as well as the characters in the show, wondering what is real and what has been exaggerated. And when Will Bloom, played by Wyn Stopford in a powerful performance reminiscent of a seasoned Broadway actor, approaches a new chapter in his life filled with marriage to the beautiful Josephine Bloom (Ariel Waldman), a baby on the way and the news that his father is becoming increasingly ill, he makes it his personal mission to find out who his father, Edward Bloom (played by Sameer Nanda), really is outside of the outlandish tales he has told Will ever since he was a kid.

Edward Bloom (played by Sameer Nanda) and Karl the Giant (played by Jesse Epstein) become unlikely friends as they perform Out There on the Road.

Edward Bloom (played by Sameer Nanda) and Karl the Giant (played by Jesse Epstein) become unlikely friends as they perform “Out There on the Road.”

The show begins with Edward explaining to a young Will, portrayed by Jack Gilsenan, that he must strive to be the hero of his own life story as Edward has been in all the tales he tells to his young son. Edward sings of meeting a witch in his youth who showed him how he would die, a beautiful mermaid who gave him his first kiss and, of course, the love of his life, his wife Sandra Bloom (played by Tessa Peierls whose singing voice truly shines throughout the show). The spectacular nature of the opening number, with its introduction of mythical creatures and magnificent beings, is carried out perfectly by the enthusiastic cast. Nanda brings Edward’s flair for exaggeration to life in an incredible way, with not only a beautiful singing voice to guide the audience through the encounters he has had in his lifetime, but also a stage presence that is as powerful and memorable as the stories that Edward explains. One of the most striking numbers comes early on in the show, when Edward Bloom tells the tale of a witch he once met who showed him his future. The cast of witches, each decked out in a beautiful yet eerie black dress, come onstage in a dance that employs both sharp movements and wonderful grace. When the head witch in charge, portrayed by Nina Grauer in an equally strong and chilling performance, emerges onstage she shows Edward the future, changing his life forever.

Edward Bloom meets many characters on the journeys he tells of in his elaborate stories, including Karl the Giant, portrayed by Jesse Epstein in an impressive performance carried out almost entirely on stilts. Karl serves as both a form of comic relief and Edward’s right-hand man as he eventually happens upon Amos Calloway (played by Evan Gilmore in an unforgettably flashy, as well as hilarious, performance) and the circus he runs. Here Edward meets a young version of his wife, played by Kimberly Winter, and he pledges to someday marry this girl. The first act comes to a close after the musical number “Daffodils,” as the stage stunningly fills with the aforementioned flower as a means for Edward to woo his future wife.

The second act of the play takes a slightly darker turn, as Edward Bloom becomes increasingly sick and Will struggles to figure out who his father really is. Will and Edward perform the number “What’s Next,” and, as Stopford explains, “it’s a very powerful moment from the audience’s perspective and, for my character, it represents the idea that Will is finally accepting what his father has been trying to teach him all along.”

The Alabama Lambs (Elizabeth Muratore, Alexandra DeAngelis, and Kimberly Winter as Sandra Templeton) attempt to impress Amos Calloway in hopes of joining his circus.

The Alabama Lambs (Elizabeth Muratore, Alexandra DeAngelis, and Kimberly Winter as Sandra Templeton) attempt to impress Amos Calloway in hopes of joining his circus.

Big Fish, with its 54-person cast, 14-person crew and 21-person pit, is executed in a way similar to a true Broadway show. With only six weeks to put the show together, it is truly a testament to the hard work of director Jason Summers, who has been involved in the Port Summer Shows for 12 years, as well as producers Jeanne Brennan, Lisa Verdino and the enormous network of parents and Schreiber alumni who put in an incredible amount of effort to make the show a success. Brennan explains that she continues to work with the summer show because it allows her to “watch the kids grow every year.”

And it is certainly true that many of the people involved in the summer show keep coming back. Nanda, who has been a participant in the Port Summer Show for five years, explains that the shows are “a testament to the closeness and the richness of the drama club community.” Similarly, Stopford explains his favorite part of the summer show is that “it’s a unique environment in that everyone is so eager to contribute in any way they can, which makes for a positive experience all around.” Every person involved in the show does so not only because of their love for theater, but because of the closeness and dedication that it inspires.

The Port Summer Show is largely made up of graduated seniors playing the leads, and for many of them this is their final hoorah when it comes to acting with people they have come to know as much more than just castmates. While Big Fish focuses a great deal on characters saying goodbye to Edward Bloom, the real people behind each character also have to say goodbye to one another. But with the help of Big Fish, each cast member that now heads off to college or elsewhere has learned to dream big and to be the hero of their own stories, a lesson that will surely follow the cast, and every member of the audience, throughout their own adventures.

Port Students Invited To Showcase

The nonprofit organization The Gateway presents “Ballroom With a Twist” on Thursday, August 13, at 8 p.m. in Patchogue featuring students from Sousa Elementary and Dancing With the Stars pros Chelsie Hightower, Anna Trebunskaya, Dmitry Chaplin and special guest Gilles Marini, of Sex and the City, Brothers and Sisters, Modern Family and Devious Maids. Finalists from So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol will also be featured.

Port students, along with students from across Long Island, representing Dancing Classrooms Long Island (DCLI) will open the show with a medley of dances.

Sixth-grader Jacqueline Atchley said, “It’s pretty exciting. I’ve never performed in an event like this before.” She rehearsed a lot to learn all of the steps.

DCLI is a social development artist-led residency program geared for students in grades four through eight, regardless of background or experience. The subject of the documentary Mad Hot Ballroom, the program uses the vehicle of ballroom dancing to build students’ social and emotional literacy, confidence, self-esteem and respect for others. For more information, visit www.dancingclassroomsli.org or call 646-345-5234.

The Gateway: Performing Arts Center of Suffolk County (PACSC) produces and presents high-caliber theater and performing arts events as well as engages and trains the next generation of artists. PACSC enriches the cultural lives of Long Island communities, providing a local alternative to Broadway.

Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts is located at 71 East Main Street; Patchogue. For tickets, call 631-286-1133 or visit www.gatewayplayhouse.org.

Music Club Scholarship

The Music Study Club of Port Washington has actively supported the music program of the Port Washington schools for decades. The club, which will celebrate its 100th year of activity in 2018, annually presents a scholarship to a Schreiber senior who has demonstrated dedicated involvement in the Port Washington School music program and achieved a high level of skill in their musical specialties. This year’s Music Club Scholarship was presented by President Mary Watts at Schreiber’s Community Awards Ceremony on June 10.

Scholarship recipient Faith Ausfresser and Music Study Club of Port Washington President Mary Watts

Scholarship recipient Faith Ausfresser and Music Study Club of Port Washington President Mary Watts

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Approved Teacher Evaluations Fall Flat

The Board of Regents ironed out regulations for the new teacher evaluation system in June, which require school districts to base at least 50 percent of teachers’ effectiveness on state test scores.

The State Education Department had originally recommended that 80 percent of student performance be based on state tests, while the Regents suggested 20 percent. They eventually settled on 50 percent, with the other 50 percent of a teacher’s effectiveness score coming from classroom observations. The old system had state tests results making up 20 percent of the score.

Educators and teachers unions voiced their displeasure at the evaluation system, saying that too much weight was being put on the tests. Robert J. Reidy, Jr. Executive Director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents, said in a statement that the changes in the evaluation law were “woefully misguided.” [Read more…]

Curriculum Grant For The Arts

Elise May, a Port Washington resident and teaching artist, has been awarded a 2015 Long Island Creative Curriculum Grant for the Arts for her program “Multicultural Voices: I Have a Dream.” This year’s program, developed with Weber Middle School’s ESL/ELL teachers Amy Booth, Helen Hsie and Debra Ravo, had 17 students from Japan, El Salvador, Korea and Guatemala in sixth through eighth grade.Curriculumgrant070815A [Read more…]

Post Season End For Port Lax

LAX070815AIt was a great year for the Schreiber boys varsity lacrosse team. They finished the year with an impressive 13-4 overall record and went 8-2 in conference play. After getting past the quarterfinals, the team saw their run come to an end in the semis. Two reasons for the team’s magnificent run were the play of Joe Froccaro and Hayden Braider. [Read more…]

Athletes Excel On And Off Field

For the fourth year in a row, all of Schreiber’s varsity teams have been named Scholar Athlete Teams. The New York State Public High School Athletic Association sponsors the New York State Scholar Athlete program which recognizes academic scholarship among varsity sports. Any team with a cumulative 90% or higher grade point average qualifies as a NYS Scholar Athlete team. Once again, Schreiber has managed to accomplish this incredible honor. As a result, the school will be named a School of Distinction by the state, honoring schools in which all varsity squads earn scholar-athlete teams. Schreiber will be presented with this crowning achievement in September.

Members of the lacrosse team are presented with certificates at the Town of North Hempstead board meeting

Members of the lacrosse team are presented with certificates at the Town of North Hempstead board meeting

[Read more…]

Scholarship for Port Student

Alyson Forgione, a Port Washington resident who attends Our Lady of Mercy in Syosset, was one of 82 Long Island graduating high school students who received a $500 voucher from NEFCU, one of Long Island’s leading local credit unions as part of NEFCU’s Making a Difference High School Scholarship program. NEFCU awarded $41,000 this year through the program. Since its inception a decade ago, the scholarship program has awarded more than $1,000,000 in grants.