Welcome to the #RamPride page of the West Hempstead Union Free School District. #RamPride means the various examples of how students, staff and community members demonstrate their pride of West Hempstead by excelling in the classroom, spending time in the community, demonstrating pride in athletics, creating award winning music and art, and representing the district with honor, among other ways.
Below are examples of how #RamPride is showcased and exemplified:
George Washington Students Crack the Code
Oscar Aguilar and Yosef Lalehzari, two sixth grade students from the George Washington School in the West Hempstead School District, have been excelling in coding and recently mastered a platform typically aimed toward middle and high school students.
Oscar is an advanced coder for his age and has collected almost 200 badges in the coding program KidOYO. Looking for a new challenge, he requested the Arduino platform from his STELLAR teacher Dara Perlow, who borrowed a supplies kit from West Hempstead High School.
Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. The circuit boards are able to read inputs and turn them into outputs, which are controlled by using the platform’s programming language and software.
Oscar taught himself the new program by studying online tutorials. His classmate Yosef took an interest in Arduino as well, so they began working on it together.
“Both Oscar and Yosef support each other's learning and growth while using KidOYO and the Arduino Kits,” Perlow said. “They have become the masters and I have become the student!”
For Oscar and Yosef, Arduino is exciting and challenging, offering them an advanced look into the world of coding.
“I think it’s really cool that this kind of coding can be used to make things like drones and remote-control cars,” Yosef said.
“Arduino is both hardware and software,” Oscar added. “I like that I have to use my computer and the switchboard to complete the challenges.”
Both students are also members of the school’s Hackathon team, which will compete with surrounding schools virtually in April to solve a multitude of coding challenges.
“Watching them progress in this domain as an educator is both thrilling and inspirational,” Perlow said. “I can't wait to see where this takes them.”
WHHS Students Named College Board National Recognition Program Scholars
The West Hempstead School District is proud to announce that four of its high school students have been named College Board National Recognition Program Scholars. Students Oluwadolapo Babalola and Zaki Michel were both recognized with 2020-21 African American Scholar for Excellence in Academic Achievement awards, while Michael Sheehan and Nicholas Solar were honored with 2020-21 Hispanic Scholar for Excellence in Academic Achievement awards.
To be recognized through this program, students must score in the top 2.5% of PSAT/NMSQT test takers and identify as one or more of the following: African American, Hispanic American or Latin, Indigenous, or attend school in a rural area or are from a small town. During the past several months, students who submitted applications were evaluated and recognized accordingly.
“I am incredibly proud of Oluwadolapo, Zaki, Michael and Nicholas,” said West Hempstead High School Principal James DeTommaso. “This recognition will help colleges see the potential and power of their curiosity and their commitment to learning. They are outstanding role models and have raised the bar for other students to follow!”
WHHS Student Selected for NYSSMA All-State Ensemble
West Hempstead High School senior Jonathan Douglas was selected as a member of the 2020 NYSSMA All-State choral ensemble. Although the 2020 Winter Conference has been canceled, NYSSMA plans to assemble the All-State ensemble in a digital format to record a virtual concert.
The district congratulates Jonathan on his achievement and wishes him the best with his virtual performance.
#RamPride Highlight: Kevin Sarwan
#RamPride means demonstrating excellence in the classroom, spending time in the community, demonstrating pride in athletics, creating music and art and representing the district with honor.
Kevin Sarwan is a perfect example of #RamPride and after a decorated career in West Hempstead, he will be entering the United States Navy this month. As a passionate member of his school community, Kevin held leadership positions as treasurer of the Class of 2020, secretary of National Honor Society and Environmental Club, vice president of Debate Club and as a member of student council. Kevin exhibited excellence in academics as a member of the Top 25 and dedication to athletics as a member of the baseball team. He also played the baritone saxophone and was the lead in multiple school plays.
Kevin was also dedicated to Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), which he describes as his favorite organization to be a part of. “I was in it all four years and very active,” Kevin said. “SADD really tries to make a change and I get to talk to young kids in person, helping to fix a problem before it happens.”
When asked what motivated him to reach his goals, Kevin credited his teachers with encouraging him to be the best version of himself. “West Hempstead has allowed me to achieve my goals through the constant push that teachers give to their students,” he said. “They want us to see our full potential.”
Kevin specifically recalls the support of two special teachers, orchestra teacher Mr. DiPasquale and middle school algebra teacher Ms. Parillo. “I never had Mr. D has a teacher, but I always saw him as a friend who I could go to with a problem and he would always try his best to help get through it.,” said Kevin. “Ms. Parillo was a teacher I had back in middle school, but I always returned to visit,” he continued. “She made me feel welcome and her classroom was like a second home.”
Staying true to Principal James DeTommaso’s motto, Kevin always raised the bar. His choice to enlist in the United States Navy was a culmination of years of dedication and hard work. “I feel like everyone has a phase where they want to be in the military and I never grew out of that phase,” Kevin said. “I constantly worked towards it.”
Over the last weekend of July, Kevin left for eight weeks of bootcamp in Chicago. He will then move to South Carolina for two years of schooling in nuclear engineering. Upon successful completion, Kevin will receive a GI Bill, which he can use to pursue a bachelor’s degree.
Before he departed, West Hempstead High School held an intimate graduation ceremony for Kevin and his family in order for him to be rightfully recognized for his achievements. Principal James DeTommaso, Superintendent of Schools Dan Rehman, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Dina Reilly and Assistant Superintendent for Business Joel Press gathered to congratulate Kevin for his accomplishments and present him with his diploma.
The district is proud to call Kevin a member of the #RamFam and wishes him luck and safety in his future endeavors!
West Hempstead Middle School Math Olympiad
Several students from West Hempstead Middle School were among 160,000 students worldwide to participate in the Math Olympiad program. From November to March, the students participated in a series of five monthly contests of five problems each and participated in monthly practice sessions. Students learned and shared strategies for solving unusual and difficult problems and to think creatively.
Six West Hempstead Middle School students were awarded embroidered felt patches for placing in the top 50% of all the participants. The WHMS students were:
Dylan Ford (Top 20%)
Aniyah Delany (Top 25%)
Aden Palmer (Top 40%)
Stephen Schreck (Top 40%)
Sophia Ciminera (Top 50%)
Babacar Seck (Top 50%)
The district congratulates the students on this impressive accomplishment!
Moving Up GW 2020
Moving Up MS 2020
West Hempstead Senior Receives Full College Scholarship
Congratulations to Grace DeStasio, a senior at West Hempstead High School, for receiving a full scholarship (academic and athletic) to attend the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) in the fall. Grace is West Hempstead High School's all-time leading scorer in girls lacrosse. Throughout her high school career, Grace scored 209 goals, had 22 assists and was an All County athlete in tenth and eleventh grade. The entire school district is proud of Grace’s accomplishments and wishes her well in future endeavors.
Welcome to Virtual STEAM Night!
The West Hempstead School District was unable to hold the annual Family STEAM Night in person this year, but AP STEM students and educators put together this virtual event so families can still participate at home! Click the link below to access the various science and math related projects for every grade level, including video and written instructions. Happy experimenting and be sure to share your projects on social media!
WHHS Senior Recognition Parade
West Hempstead High School administrators, faculty and staff celebrated the Class of 2020 with a Senior Recognition Parade on June 5. Led by the West Hempstead and Lakeview fire departments, the Class of 2020 and their families drove their cars from West Hempstead Middle School to the high school. They were enthusiastically cheered on with signs and car decorations by many of their teachers and administrators.
“This is exactly what the students, parents and faculty needed,” said West Hempstead High School Principal James DeTommaso. “It was a way to show tribute to our senior class. We hope this created a memory that the Class of 2020 and their families will cherish, and we wish them well in all their future endeavors.”
#RamPride Shout Out: Fifth Grade GW Student Oscar Alvarez
Oscar Alvarez is a fifth grade student at George Washington. Oscar has taken kidOYO coding lessons to a new level and has acquired over 100 badges on the program. West Hempstead is committed to evolving the way our students learn and our coding initiatives are a part of the effort. We are proud to call him a special part of the #RamFam and wanted to share his achievements with our community!
High School Orientation 2019
Seventh Grade Orientation 2019
West Hempstead Welcomes Two New Rams
The District is excited to welcomed Vronski Mesidor as the Director of Humanities and Gina Callesano as the Assistant Director of Pupil Personnel Services for the 2019-20 school year.
Mr. Mesidor spent the past two years as the assistant principal at the New Visions Charter High School where he was also the Instructional Supervisor for the humanities department. Previously, he was an assistant principal at the Long Island City High School for three years, which included a role as department chair for the English and English as a New Language departments.
After earning a bachelor of arts degree in English from Hofstra University in 1997 and a Juris Doctorate from the Albany Law School of Union University in 2001, Mr. Mesidor began a legal career before transitioning to the education field. He holds a Master of Arts in Secondary English Education and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Brooklyn College. He first taught at Kellenberg High School as an English teacher before serving as an English and Law teacher for 10 years at the East New York Family Academy.
Ms. Callesano joins West Hempstead from the Farmingdale School District, where she taught since 2001. She was a teacher in the life skills program for high school students since 2012, prior to which she worked with second through fifth graders in settings of 12:1:1 and 6:1:1. She first began in Farmingdale as a fourth grade collaborative setting teacher.
Ms. Callesano holds a bachelor of science degree from Long Island University in Special Education in addition to a Master of Science degree in Special Education from Queens College. She also earned an advanced certificate for Behavior Analysis from Hofstra University as well as School District Leader and School Building Leader certificates from LIU.
“We are very excited to welcome Vronski and Gina to the Ram family and look forward to their contributions this coming year,” said Superintendent of Schools Daniel Rehman.
Board of Education Holds Reorganization Meeting
The Board of Education welcomed a new trustee during the annual reorganization meeting on July 2 with District Clerk Kathryn Girolamo administering the oaths of office.
Gavi Hoffman was sworn in for a three year term as the newest trustee while Karen Brohm and Patricia Greaves took oaths for new terms. Mrs. Brohm was also elected president for the seventh straight year and Andrea Shinsato was voted as vice president for the third consecutive year.
A Rate of Excellence
The district was proud to announce a 97% graduation rate at West Hempstead High School for the Class of 2019. This represents an increase of five percent from last year.
“We are so proud of the Class of 2019 for raising the bar of excellence and expectations for future West Hempstead students,” said Principal James DeTommaso.
Many factors contributed to this accomplishment, including support from administration and the Board of Education to provide quality and targeted professional development for the faculty. Additionally, assistant principals Adam Hopkins and Michelle Maron helped to place students in appropriate courses to ensure a path to graduation.
Increased instructional time was added to provide students with more one-on-one time with teachers. Office hour appointments, academic meetings and the motivation of the School Counseling Team helped lead to further success. English as a New Language support was also enhanced with the assigning of teacher caseloads as well as morning and roundtable meeting to acclimate students and specify their needs.
The entire district congratulates this year’s graduating class for this impressive feat and setting an example of success for classes to follow.
Class of 2019 Graduation
A structure of movement
The district celebrated a successful school year following the districtwide restructuring, as the Chestnut Street School, Cornwell Avenue Primary School, George Washington Intermediate School and the middle school recently celebrated moving up ceremonies.
District administrators and staff honored students as they took the next step in their educational path in the district. The principals shared their gratitude to the students and families that helped to make the transition of restructuring a success for each building.
The district congratulates each moving up class for their achievements thus far and looks forward to the positive impact the students will have on West Hempstead.
Pre Prom 2019
Middle School Moving Up 2019
A Celebration of Literacy Growth and Achievement
Julie Healey’s English 7 class at the middle school earned a celebratory pizza party on June 19 after winning a recent Achieve 3000 Read to Succeed contest.
The contest was a school-wide 30-day race to accelerate and motivate literacy growth. Ms. Healey’s class completed the most activities with a 75% or better correction rate in the school to earn the pizza party.
Achieve 3000 representative Robert Marantz sponsored the pizza party by visiting and congratulating the class with achievement certificates. Principal Sean Murray also applauded the students for their success.
“Congratulations to Ms. Healey and students on their accomplishment of building outstanding literacy growth in the classroom,” said Mr. Murray.
George Washington Moving Up 2019
Chesnut Street Moving Up 2019
Cornwell Avenue Moving Up 2019
2019 Tenure Tea and June Board Meeting
Education Growing from STEM
The George Washington School hosted its inaugural STEM Education Day for fourth graders on June 17.
The day was scheduled to help introduce various STEM activities to the fourth grade students as they prepare for similar lessons going into fifth grade and beyond. Constructed with the help of Director of STEM Joseph Cangemi, Director of Innovation, Music and Art Ryan Emmanuel-Cooke and STELLAR teacher Dara Perlow, the day provided students with opportunities to participate in a dissection, ice cream making, mathematical board games, coding and robotics throughout the day.
The district thanks the staff members at George Washington for introducing engaging and interesting STEM lessons that fourth graders can look forward to as they progress through West Hempstead schools.
2019 Middle School Orientation
2019 Underclassmen Awards
A Special Tour
Kindergarten students from the Chestnut Street School visited Cornwell Avenue School on June 12 to become familiar with their future school building.
Cornwell Avenue Principal Deanna Sinito welcomed students before inviting first grade teachers and students to speak about expectations for the 2019-20 school year. Students described their favorite subjects, activities and traditions at Cornwell Avenue. Teachers spoke about the schedule for next year’s first graders in addition to the fun and learning that will occur.
Third graders acted as tour guides for the kindergarten students by showing them various areas of the building including the nurse’s office, gymnasium and main office. Upcoming first graders also had the opportunity to view their future classrooms in addition to meeting teachers and building staff throughout their walk.
The district thanks all of Cornwell for welcoming Chestnut Street students for this important step in becoming first graders next fall.
Shining the Light on Seniors
West Hempstead High School honored the accomplishments and achievements of the Class of 2019 during the annual Seniors Awards Assembly on June 10.
Families, administrators and community members gathered to celebrate this year’s seniors as they received various scholarships, awards and certificates for leadership, character, academics and community service. Additionally, valedictorian Marisa Sheehan and salutatorian Isabella Caldwell were formally acknowledged.
The district congratulates the seniors and their families for representing the best of West Hempstead.
Team Work in Athletics and Academics
The high school athletic department was pleased to recently announce that 15 of the school’s 24 varsity teams were honored as scholar athlete teams in the 2018-19 school year.
In order to achieve this distinction, 75 percent of the roster must earn a grade point average of 90 percent or better. In total, 196 student athletes were named scholar athletes throughout the athletic department. The girls’ varsity teams honored were soccer, tennis, cross country, volleyball, swimming, bowling, winter track, winter cheerleading, softball and badminton. The boys’ scholar athlete teams were cross country, volleyball, bowling, basketball and tennis.
The district congratulates the players, coaches, staff and administration members that helped these teams succeed in the classroom and in competition.
2019 Senior Awards
2019 Senior Yearbook Breakfast
West Hempstead Welcomes ENL Jericho educators
The district welcomed Jericho School District teachers on June 5 to showcase the content and pedagogy of the English as a New Language program in West Hempstead High School.
Director of ENL Faith Tripp welcomed Jericho High School ENL teacher Tina Keeling and Jericho Middle School ELA teacher Jennifer Han to view the various ENL classes the high school offers students. The educators observed coteaching classes as well as Stand Alone ENL, Sheltered English and content support classes.
In addition to visiting classrooms, Ms. Keeling and Ms. Han were able to compare ideas, ask questions and have discussions with Ms. Tripp, Superintendent of Schools Daniel Rehman, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dina Reilly, high school principal James DeTommaso and members of the ENL team. The group shared strategies that best support the academic and social-emotional learning needs of English Language Learners.
“We hope that Ms. Keeling and Ms. Han enjoyed their visit to West Hempstead and are able to bring some ideas back to Jericho,” said Ms. Tripp.
2019 Family STEAM Night
Spring College and Career Day
Spring 2019 Middle School Concert
2019 Art Show
Touch a Truck
2019 High School Top 25 Dinner
2019 High School Class Night
Senior Sirena Brown officially made her decision regarding the next chapter of her educational and athletic path on April 1, when she signed a National Letter of Intent to join the cheerleading team at Long Island University.
Earlier this year, Sirena was also honored as a recipient of the LIU Post Presidential Scholarship due in large part to her participation in the LIU Post Summer Honors Institute last July. Collectively, the two honors have afforded Sirena the opportunity to attend LIU on a full scholarship and major in accounting.
“We are extremely proud of Sirena as she has chosen to attend nearby LIU after raising the bar as a student-athlete in West Hempstead,” said Principal James DeTommaso.
2019 High School Honor Society Inductions
The District hosted its annual Parent University at the Chestnut Street School on March 19.
Principal Faith Tripp welcomed community parents and their children to a night of workshops on literacy, writing and math. Parents separated into classrooms to take part in presentations led by district teachers and administration. Meanwhile, children remained in the school’s cafeteria to create magnets with Tom Kemnitzer and Annalee Ickowics of the West Hempstead Scholarship Fund as well as members of the high school’s English a New Language Club and the middle school’s National Junior Honor Society.
District members spoke to the parents about the importance of reading to their children every day, how to incorporate math concepts into everyday activities and how games can be engaging and educational.
Following the sessions, children rejoined the parents to take part in activities of reading, math games and scholastic activities to conclude the workshop.
“I would like to express my genuine gratitude to the many volunteers who helped make the night a success,” said Mrs. Tripp. “From the students to the teachers, administrators, office staff, PTA members, the public library and members of the Scholarship Fund – thank you!”
Award Winning Training
The Board of Education was full of exciting news and developments on March 19.
The high school’s athletic department was recognized for receiving the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Safe Sports School award, which acknowledges secondary schools around the country that take crucial steps to keep students-athletes free from injuries. West Hempstead is one of only four schools in Nassau County and 22 in New York State currently holding the award. Athletic trainer Calogero Curcuru and Athletic Director Chris Mistretta were honored by Board President Karen Brohm and Superintendent of Schools Dan Rehman for this outstanding achievement.
The meeting also included presentations from district administrators regarding programs and initiatives.
Director of Innovative Education Ryan Emmanuel-Cooke, Director of STEM Joseph Cangemi, middle school Principal Sean Murray, George Washington Principal Michelle Notti and Chestnut Street Principal Faith Tripp spoke about the progress the programs ST Math and KidOYO have made with students. Additionally, Mr. Murray joined high school Principal James DeTommaso to discuss the new programs at the two buildings including office hours, new courses, success in the classroom and joining together to create six-year path for students.
The district congratulates the athletic department for the NATA Safe Sports School award and thanks the administrators for presenting on the growth in our schools.
March 2019 Board Meeting
Words to Be Lifted By
Art Honor Society students at West Hempstead High School invited their peers to take part in a “What Lifts You” project during lunch periods on March 18.
Members of the Art Honor Society created a backdrop with colorfully painted wings and positive messages for students to take a picture in front of. On a dry erase board, students wrote down uplifting words and listed people who uplift such as their parents, friends and sports. They also shared other meaningful text.
The project is part of Youth Art Month through the New York State Art Teachers Association’s #MakeArtMonday initiative. The photos were printed and posted on the original background in the building’s entrance.
Eighth-grader Mouhammad Seck has qualified for the Geographic Bee state competition for his third straight year.
After winning the school’s bee on Jan. 23, Mouhammed then scored within the top 100 on the online written test and advanced to the state level of the 31st Annual National Geographic Bee. The event will be held at the New York State Museum on March 29 in Albany. Last year, Mouhammad finished sixth in the state.
Students from across the state will compete for spots in the National Geographic GeoBee Championship at the National Geography Society headquarters in Washington D.C. from May 19-12.
The district congratulates Mouhammad for the feat of reaching the state level for a third straight year and wishes him luck on March 29!
Student Advisors Present to Board of Ed
Students who are part of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council had the special opportunity to present to the Board of Education during a budget workshop meeting on March 5.
The nine-member council is comprised of students from the high school, middle school, George Washington and Cornwell Avenue. To begin the meeting, each student spoke to Board trustees about opportunities they see for improvement in the district’s buildings. Items included water fountains, lockers, desks and science lab equipment.
“These students should really be commended for the hard work they put into these presentations and the courage to speak in front of administrators, the Board and community members,” said Superintendent of Schools Dan Rehman.
The next Board of Education budget workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, March 12 at 7:30 pm in the high school’s video conference room. All residents are invited to attend as the district continues its process of developing the proposed spending plan for the 2019-20 school year.
Battle of the Schools 2019
Math Inspired Futures
West Hempstead High School seniors Cameron Phillips and Marisa Sheehan were both recently awarded with scholarships from the Long Island Mathematics Board. They received these distinctions with plans to major in mathematics college.
In order to qualify for these scholarships, students identified teachers that had the most influence on their study of mathematics and wrote essays that expressed their love of math.
Each student selected a current teacher at West Hempstead High School. Cameron highlighted Melissa Benson and Marisa featured Cathieann Rowland as the teachers that have provided inspiration to perform well in mathematics.
The presentation of the scholarships is scheduled to take place on March 15 at SUNY Old Westbury. The ceremony is held during the introductory ceremonies for the Long Island Mathematics Conference.
“Congratulations to both Cameron and Marisa as these scholarships help the two of them reach their goals of careers in mathematics,” said Principal James DeTommaso.
Middle School Proud
West Hempstead Middle School celebrated P.S. I Love You Day on Feb. 8 as seventh- and eighth-graders added personal touches to previously created banners.
The two grades formed groups that worked on three separate banners, each of which conveyed the theme, “Be Proud of Who You Are.” During their lunch periods, all students added a unique, one-word characteristic about themselves that they are proud of. By the end of the day the three banners were filled with proud traits such as caring, empathetic, tall, clever, beautiful and smart, among many others.
P.S. I Love You Day was named after the nonprofit organization established by sisters Brooke and Jamie DiPalma, who lost their father to suicide in 2010. The sisters created the movement as a way to take a stance against bullying, to help end depression and prevent suicide.
All That Jazz
For the second year in a row, West Hempstead High School senior Jacques Naugaus was honored as a Division V All-County vocal jazz selection.
Jack earned the distinction after auditioning and being selected by NYSSMA. He joined the rest of the Division for a concert on Jan. 19 at the Tilles Center on the campus of LIU Post.
“We as a district are so proud that Jacques qualified for All-County for a second straight year,” said Director of Innovative Educational Opportunities and Fine Arts Ryan Emmanuel-Cooke. “We celebrate his achievement as the great honor it is.”
Students at Cornwell Avenue School and Chestnut Street School have combined their excitement for the Super Bowl and aiding the community by participating in the “Souper Bowl.”
A pair of boxes representing the two Super Bowl LIII teams, the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots, has been set up at both schools. Students then put cans of soup into the box of the team they are rooting as part of a way to collect donations.
The collections started on Jan. 22 and will conclude on Feb. 1, after which they will be brought to the Mary Brennan Food Pantry. The box with the most cans at the end of the challenge will be announced as the Souper Bowl winner for each school!
The district thanks both schools for combining the Super Bowl and community service in an effort to make an impact!
Chestnut Street Rings in 106th Anniversary
The District acknowledged the 106th anniversary of the Chestnut Street School with a special ceremony at the end of the school day on Jan. 14.
The celebration started last week when students throughout the building learned the poem “I Love My School,” which kindergarten student Zayn Dungersi was selected to over the PA system during the celebration as students were being dismissed. A group of students also joined Principal Faith Tripp to sing %2