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Points of Pride



Don Poland, a social studies teacher at East Rockaway High School, along with senior Angelina Sarro, recently collected 250 cases of bottled water donated by the community and transported them to the people of Charleston, West Virginia.  A toxic chemical spill in early January contaminated the drinking water for over 300,000 of the city's residents.  Eternally grateful for the generosity that the students and residents of East Rockaway received after Hurricane Sandy, and inspired by the film "Pay it Forward," Mr. Poland and his students organized the collection and delivered the water personally to the community.  The effort earned the attention of The Weather Channel, as Don and Angelina were guests on the morning show "Wake up with Al."  Mr. Poland and his students understand the value of giving back and are always ready for a new opportunity. 


On Wednesday, November 27, 2013, the East Rockaway Jr./Sr. High School Guidance Department hosted the 2nd annual East Rockaway HS Alumni Day program. As college students returned home for Thanksgiving break, twenty five members of the East Rockaway High School graduating Class of 2013 returned in their respective college sweatshirts and military uniforms to share stories and helpful tips with current high school students. Some of the graduates are attending colleges away from home, including University of Tampa, Cornell University, Rensselaer Polytechnic University, New England College, Manhattanville College, Ithaca College, Mount St. Mary College and SUNY New Paltz, Oswego, Delhi and Oneonta. Others are closer to home at Molloy College and Nassau Community College. Additionally, two graduates recently returned from boot camp and represented the United States Marine Corps.

The alumni arrived early to enjoy a light breakfast, provided by the East Rockaway Junior/Senior High School PTA, and to catch up with one another. The Alumni Day program followed in the ERHS auditorium for two class periods. During the first session, current grade 11 students were invited to hear the panel speak as Mrs. Mona Hecht, Director of Guidance, asked questions about their college application process, finding the right college fit, and if they would have done anything differently in high school to prepare for college.  Much of the presentation related to work habits and skills needed to tackle college expectations successfully.  "Learn how to write a really good essay. Do it now."  "Use the writing center on campus; you will get a lot of writing assignments." And, "Invest in a good alarm clock." Other tips for current juniors related to the college search process. One graduate advised, "You need to look at the surrounding area of the college. The neighborhood is very important." Another added, "College is expensive; research scholarships now, in your junior year."

The second session addressed the particular issues faced by high school seniors and focused more specifically on the college transition process. The ERHS alumni advised students to make the most of their remaining time in high school and to prepare for college work. "In college they cram a full year course into one semester" advised one graduate. Another offered, "Learn how to pace yourself so you can study on your own. Also, find people you work well with and who can support you." Much of the discussion also addressed the social transition to college. Regardless of location, whether students stayed home or moved away, making friends in this new environment was a challenge. As one student noted, "In East Rockaway, I knew my friends from kindergarten; I never really had to make friends before." Faced with this new situation, the graduates offered support. "Everyone is in the same boat. It's important to open up and be vulnerable. It's time to move on from high school. Make an effort to make friends early on. Join clubs and get involved." And finally, "You will be homesick. It's important to know where your roots are. Stay in touch with your old friends but make new friends too. And stay in touch with your parents."

The East Rockaway High School 2013 Alumni Panel was filled with familiar faces, enjoyable stories and plenty of good advice. The current students in the junior and senior classes have valuable role models to turn to as they navigate the post high school planning process. We are very proud of our East Rockaway High School alumni.

• The second annual Supermasters group was honored at an after-school ceremony in September. Members of the group meet with Mr. Spero and offer suggestions for school improvement. This year 44 students were honored for scoring 95 or higher on a Regents exam. An additional 6 students received a perfect score of 100.

• The high school has continued the new tradition of college visits. So far this year, students have visited SUNY Stony Brook and SUNY New Paltz. More visits are upcoming.

• This year’s annual Blood Drive produced 66 PINTS of blood. Congratulations to all students involved and to the Student Council for organizing the event.

• Congratulations to our student-athletes for a successful season. This season, we had 43 Varsity scholar athletes, 28 Junior Varsity Scholar Athletes, and 37 Junior High Scholar Athletes.

Congratulations to the following individual student athletes:
• Jonathan Schloth Boys Cross Country All Division, All Conference, All County, All State.
• Carly Howard Girls Cross Country All Division, All Conference.
• Matthew Barbaro, Joseph Sheridan Football All Conference.
• Gina Skelly Girls Volleyball All County
• Kimberly McCann Girls Volleyball All Class
• Paige Loyer Girls Volleyball All Conference

• Congratulations to all students achieving Honor Roll status. 135 Students attained Honor Roll, while 156 attained High Honor Roll.

• Red Ribbon Week was a success, highlighted by guest speaker Bobby Petrocelli and the SADD club’s participation in the “Out of the Darkness” walk.

• The athletic department would like to extend congratulations to our girls volleyball team, girls cross country team and girls soccer team for achieving the Scholar Athlete Team Award. The award is given by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association and has been created to recognize outstanding scholastic achievement by varsity level student athletes. The criteria for the prestigious award is to maintain an unweighted overall team average of 90% or better.

• Rhame Avenue Elementary School held its first Word Problem Contest.  A word problem for each grade was posted on our math bulletin board, along with large envelopes labeled for each grade.  Students who chose to participate completed the problem and placed their answers inside their grade's envelope.  Out of the correct answers received a raffle was conducted, and for each grade a winner was chosen.  Our K-6 winners were announced Friday.  Participation across the school was very high for our first week of this competition.  We are very proud of the students at Rhame Avenue.  Over the year the Math Challenge Committee will be continuing this competition and branching off with many others.  Our hopes are to heighten our students' interest in mathematics through the use of exciting competitions.

• On October 24th, the 5th and 6th grade Student Council lead the entire school in a Breast Cancer Awareness Walk. This was held during student's recess periods. Students were asked to walk around the entire school playground. Some walked for the full recess period in order to show their true support. The Student Council then passed out ribbons to all who participated. The ribbons were then hung in the school to graph the number of people who walked. It was a great day and the children had a lot of fun showing their support for Breast Cancer Awareness.

• On Thursday, October 17th, Rhame Avenue Elementary School held "Dress Like a Word Day". Students were asked to dress creatively, in a fashion that represented a word of their choice.  Many of the students participated in this school-wide event as well as the staff. Those who participated came to school with their word written on a name-tag, label or an index card, tied to string and worn as a necklace.  Just some of the examples of words that students and staff dressed as were crafty, golden, gloomy, backwards, monochromatic, botanical and genius. It was a fun filled day for all and a great way to learn some new vocabulary words too!

• East Rockaway Students Ride the Waves September 12, 2013

Students from the East Rockaway Jr./Sr. High School and Rhame Ave. School participated in the annual Surfers Healing event at Lido Beach.  Surfers Healing is a non-profit organization that provides students with autism the opportunity to surf with trained surfers.  Students traveled to Lido Beach where they were greeted with music, food and the enthusiasm of all those coordinating the event.  The impending storm provided a surf made just for this occasion.  Students, accompanied by their surfing companions, paddled into the ocean and came in standing high and proud on their boards.