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:
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 “Happy Birthday” in both English and Spanish.
The ceremony was marked by the sounding of the bell that sits atop the building, which was formerly used to signal the start and finish of the school day. Ms. Tripp, Superintendent of Schools Daniel Rehman and other district officials traveled to the top of the building to ring the bell as families picked up students at dismissal.
“We continue to celebrate the tradition of honoring the anniversary of Chestnut Street by ringing the bell and coming together as a school community,” said Ms. Tripp.
Sparking Interest in Teamwork
The Chestnut Street School was treated to a special visit from New York Islander’s mascot Sparky the Dragon on Jan. 3.
The Islanders-sponsored school assembly program focused on teamwork as a special lesson for the kindergarten students. The event opened with videos showcasing the Islanders and their community service effort, which Islanders Community Events Tour member Dina followed by introducing Sparky. Dina and Sparky engaged the students in lessons on working together and being valuable members of the school and community.
Following the presentations, students took part in a teamwork activity where groups were tasked with dressing an individual in hockey gear. At the conclusion, each student was sent home with an Islanders fan pack.
Principal Faith Tripp and all of Chestnut Street thank Sparky and the Islanders Community Events Team for educating the students on teamwork.
Field of Honor Generates Donation
With the help of the local community in sponsoring American flags for a Field of Honor, West Hempstead High School was able to give a $915 charitable donation to the Lift and Shift Foundation on Dec. 4.
Throughout the month of November, members of the district and community were invited to sponsor an American flag that was planted in the Field of Honor outside the high school. The efforts produced a display of nearly 80 flags in addition to the monetary donation.
The Lift and Shift Foundation is a non-profit organization founded and run by American veterans that help to redirect wounded veterans following service. The foundation strives to provide access to hands-on activities in fields of science, technology and engineering.
“We are thrilled with the results of the inaugural Field of Honor program,” said Principal James DeTommaso. “As a district and school, we are excited to give 100 percent of the profits to the Lift and Shift Foundation.”
Hoops for SIBSPlace
West Hempstead High School boys’ varsity basketball program held its annual “Hoops for Hope” charity game against Hewlett High School on Dec. 12. The team raised $800 to be donated to SIBSPlace.
SIBSPlace is a free program serving children between the ages of 5-17 that live with a sibling with cancer or another illness or a parent with cancer. An affiliate of South Nassau Communities Hospital, the program focuses the attention of the challenges well siblings face in coping with their emotional response to the medical diagnosis of a loved one.
The boys’ basketball program raised money through t-shirt ads, concession sales and donations while t-shirts were also sold at the game. Both teams were presented with certificates of appreciation from SIBSPlace representatives during the Dec. 12 game.
LIU Post Scholarship Awarded to Senior
Senior Amanda Lashley has been honored as a recipient of the LIU Post Presidential Scholarship. She earned this distinction due in large part to her participation with the school’s Virtual Enterprise program.
Amanda was afforded the opportunity to meet LIU Post’s Business School Dean, Ray Pullaro, during a presentation at West Hempstead. She also participated in a Leadership Conference at LIU Post this past fall that was designed to connect students who share entrepreneurial aspirations. The conference sessions included developing business concepts, elevator pitches and marketing materials.
Amanda serves as the vice president of accounting and human resources of the school’s Virtual Enterprise company, “At Your Service.” She also a member of the varsity volleyball, lacrosse and tracks teams as well as the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society.
The district congratulates Amanda on this selection and wishes her luck during her decision process!
West Hempstead Key Club Feeds Local Families
For the few weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, the West Hempstead High School Key Club accepted donations of turkeys and other food items and gift cards as part of its annual Thanksgiving Food Drive to help provide holiday dinners for families in the West Hempstead and Island Park communities.
By collecting non-perishable items such as canned soup and vegetables, stuffing, gravy, cookies, rice, cereal and more, the Key Club managed to help provide 45 local families with complete Thanksgiving meals as well as about a week’s worth of extra food.
“The holiday season is a time for celebration, but we also know how hard this time of year can be for many people,” said Key Club advisor Stephanie Withopf. “I am in awe every year to see students, staff and community members come together to help one another. The community is amazing and we are lucky to have so many people that help in the weeks leading up to the collection – it is my favorite day of the year!”
The Key Club came together on Nov. 15 and 16 to organize, arrange and package the donations that were then delivered to families on Nov. 19.
The district thanks the Key Club, students and staff for making a difference in the local community this holiday season.
Student athletes Net Nassau County Awards
A group of West Hempstead High School senior athletes were among the honorees at the Nassau County Girls Soccer Coaches Association dinner on Nov. 26 at the Crest Hollow Country Club. They received several distinctions as a result of their commitment to their sport as well as academics.
Sydney Reitz collected the Conference AB 4 Goalkeeper of the Year award while Sabrina Rodrigues was named All-County. Shyla Burrell earned All-Conference honors, Ashley Obando was named All-Class and Catalina Fader received a Senior Scholar Athlete title.
The district congratulates these seniors on their accomplishments and dedication on the field and in the classroom!
STEM Connection With Alumni
With alumni home for Thanksgiving break, West Hempstead High School extended a welcome to recent graduates for a STEM Major Alumni Day panel and discussion on Nov. 21.
Current juniors and seniors were invited to sit in as alumni who are majoring in STEM related fields discussed their college experiences. The speakers ranged from Class of 2018 alumni to those in graduate school programs.
A variety of campuses were represented, including St. John’s University, Johns Hopkins University, Binghamton University, Nassau Community College, Northeastern University, University at Albany and Stevens Institute of Technology. Additionally, students discussed an assortment of majors such as biology, marketing, graphic design, neuroscience, mathematics and engineering.
Topics covered included class registration, living on and/or off campus, the various lab requirements, switching majors, staying close to home and adjusting from high school to college.
The high school and the district thank the alumni for returning to West Hempstead and inspiring their younger peers as they take on the college decision processes.
West Hempstead Honors Red Ribbon Week
Staff and students throughout the West Hempstead Union Free School District participated in several activities and lessons to honor Red Ribbon Week, which was observed from Oct. 22-26.
Cornwell Avenue School assigned each day to a specific clothing theme. Students and teachers wore red on Monday to kick off the week, then followed up on Tuesday by wearing crazy hats to symbolize “putting a lid on drugs.” Wednesday featured team jerseys or shirts in an effort to “team up against drugs” while students wore pajamas on Thursday for the theme of “your choices are key to your dreams.” The week concluded as everyone wore the school colors of black and gold to demonstrate that Cornwell Avenue is united in making healthy choices.
At the middle school, students took part in signing a Red Ribbon Pledge Banner on Monday as a promise to stand up to drugs and make healthy decisions. Red ribbons were then tied to the fences outside of the school to spell out “Rise Up,” the school’s motto to rise up against drugs and bullying. On Wednesday, members of the high school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions club visited middle school classrooms and led a version of Bingo that centered on positive decisions.
Also through the SADD club’s efforts, a damaged car was displayed outside the high school to simulate the scene of a drunk driving accident. The car was meant to symbolize the consequences of bad decisions such as drinking and driving. On Friday, students participated in activities in the school’s lobby while wearing impaired vision goggles to show the effects of alcohol.
The district salutes all of the school buildings for participating in Red Ribbon Week and for teaching the students about positive and healthy decisions.
Senior Selected for LIU Post Presidential Scholarship
High School senior Sirena Brown has been honored as a recipient of the LIU Post Presidential Scholarship. She earned this distinction due in large part to her participation in the LIU Post Summer Honors Institute, which she attended July.
Serena, joined by two classmates, was afforded the opportunity to meet alumni and administrators of the university during the week-long seminar. She participated in an entrepreneurship bootcamp that was designed to connect students from around the country that are involved in various business clubs and have entrepreneurial aspirations. The sessions included developing business concepts, elevator pitches and marketing materials.
During the week, Sirena was mentored by successful start-up founders, established executives, faculty members and current college students. One highlight of the institute was a day trip to New York City, where students visited companies and firms. They also networked with business leaders and LIU Post alumni while enjoying a boat trip around Manhattan.
Sirena was selected for the prestigious scholarship following the institute as well as an interview process. She is currently still deciding on her future college plans. Her other extracurricular activities include captain of the varsity cheerleading team, member of the track team, National Honor Society member, Mathletes and the CEO of the school’s Virtual Enterprise company, “At Your Service.”
The district congratulates Sirena on this selection and wishes her luck during her decision process!
High School Students Honored as Super Masters
More than 100 students at the high school were honored on the evening of Oct. 22 in the school’s cafeteria during the inaugural Super Masters ceremony.
The event recognized 104 current students who scored 95 or higher on a collective 126 Regents exams last school year. The senior class had the highest representation with 44 students while the junior, sophomore and freshman classes had 20, 21 and 19 honorees, respectively. Additionally, 20 individuals achieved marks of 95 or higher on two exams and senior Marisa Sheehan is the only student who earned these impressive results on three exams.
The students, along with their parents, were invited to celebrate their outstanding academic achievements with administration and faculty members. During the ceremony, high school principal James DeTommaso thanked the educators for their dedication and commitment to the students and acknowledged parents for supporting their children.
The gathering helped demonstrate how all members of the high school “Raise the Bar and Compete!”
Cornwell Avenue Dips into Anti-Bullying
Students and staff members at Cornwell Avenue School dressed in blue on Oct. 12 as part of a lesson in recognizing National Bullying Prevention Month.
In addition to wearing blue to spread awareness about bullying, school psychologist Elyssa Mayer and social worker Elizabeth Lindner visited different classes to have students take part in an anti-bullying activity to help reinforce acts of kindness.
Mayer opened the lesson by reading “Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids” by Carol McCloud. The book is written and illustrated to encourage positive behavior as children see how rewarding it can be to spread kindness. The metaphors of bucket filling and bucket dipping set up the effect of how one’s positive and kind actions can help fill another’s bucket or how being rude can dip into someone’s bucket.
Following the book reading, each student joined a partner to come up with examples of being a bucket filler as well as examples of being a bucket dipper. Once the pairs illustrated their examples on a post-it, they were tasked of sticking their example on a poster board for which bucket their action would portray – a bucket filler or dipper.
By the end of the day, students had filled both poster boards with examples of how to be bucket filler and what actions could lead to being a bucket dipper.
Senior named National Merit Commended Student
West Hempstead High School senior Theodore Kim has been recognized as a Commended Student in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program as announced earlier this week.
Theodore is one of about 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation that are being honored for exceptional academic promise. Being honored as a Commended Student demonstrates Theodore was among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.6 million students who entered the 2019 competition. Students entered the competition by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.
The entire West Hempstead School District congratulates Theodore on this accomplishment.
New field Welcomes Back Homecoming Celebration
The new turf field at West Hempstead High School was the site of this year’s homecoming celebrations as the varsity football team hosted Friends Academy on Sept. 22. The football team returned to their home field during this highlight of the weekend festivities after playing on the road last year due to construction of the new field.
Prior to the game, the district gathered at Chestnut Street Elementary School to embark on the annual parade. The route was led by this year’s Mr. and Miss West Hempstead, seniors Robert Bethune and Autumn Collins. Board of Education members, school principals, district officials, the marching band, spirit squads, varsity football players, teachers, and other students were among those who joined in the parade that led to the high school.
A ceremonial ribbon cutting followed the parade at the new turf field to officially introduce the playing grounds to the community members and alumni in the crowd. Also new this year was the school’s initiative to invite alumni to donate a non-perishable item and received a West Hempstead alumni t-shirt in return. The items helped fill a bus organized by the school’s Key Club, which are expected to be distributed within the community at Thanksgiving.
Members of the community and district participated in the surrounding carnival that included an air bouncer, games, crafts and face paint. On the field, the varsity football team was triumphant over Friends Academy by a final score of 32-6 to move to 3-1 on the season.
District Welcomes Back Students in Style
Despite humid temperatures, the West Hempstead School District welcomed students back to all five buildings with smiles and enthusiasm on Sept. 5.
The high school and middle school started the day for the district with first-year Principals James DeTommaso and Sean Murray helping to greet students on Nassau Boulevard. At Chestnut Street School, Principal Faith Tripp and staff opened the doors to the young students. Principal Deanna Sinito rolled out a red carpet and handed out sunglasses for students at the district’s new primary center, Cornwell Avenue School. Meanwhile, Principal Michelle Noti helped to direct fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders through the hallways to start the day at George Washington School.
Superintendent of Schools Daniel Rehman and Assistant Superintendent Dina Reilly were among the many administrators to tour the schools on day one to wish all the student well.
The district looks forward to an exciting 2018-19 school year!
Staff and Faculty Convene for Superintendent’s Conference Day
The West Hempstead School District held it’s annual Superintendent’s Conference Day on Sept. 4 to welcome staff and faculty members into the new school year.
Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dina Reilly opened the day’s greetings in the high school auditorium. Barbara Hafner, president of the West Hempstead Education Association; Chris Mistretta, on behalf of the West Hempstead Association of Supervisors and Administrators; and Karen Brohm, Board of Education president, all addressed those in the room before handing matters off to Superintendent of School Daniel Rehman.
Following the opening remarks, attorney Christopher Mestecky, Esq. discussed district procedures and policies. WHEA and WHASA held respective meetings in the high school’s auditorium and library at the conclusion of presentations in the auditorium.
The final few hours of the days concluded with staff members attending faculty meetings in their respective buildings to discuss goals and expectations that will lead to success in the upcoming school year.