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Historical Exhibits At West Hempstead High School

Historical Exhibits At West Hempstead High School photo

West Hempstead High School students celebrated Black History Month by creating an in-class museum featuring influential African Americans and their contributions to art, music, poetry and civil rights.

Michael Paul’s and Stephanie Withopf’s social studies classes researched historical figures, events and groups that have impacted black history. Applying their research and creativity skills, the students developed exhibits consisting of posters, trifolds, dioramas and books to highlight individuals such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Fredrick Douglass, Madam C.J. Walker, B.B. King and the Obamas.  

As peers, teachers and administrators browsed the exhibits on Feb. 15 and 16, they were asked questions about how the individuals on exhibit had made a significant impact on society. 

West Hempstead High School Principal To Retire At End Of February

West Hempstead High School Principal To Retire At End Of February photo
West Hempstead High School Principal To Retire At End Of February photo 2
After serving the West Hempstead community for nearly 18 years, West Hempstead High School Principal Alvaro Escobar has announced his retirement, effective Feb. 28, 2018. 

“I will forever cherish my time collaborating with parents, Board of Education members and colleagues for the betterment our students,” he said. “Thank you to everyone in this community for making my experience in West Hempstead truly unforgettable.” 

The longtime educator began his career 34 years ago as an adaptive physical education teacher for the New York State Education Department, a role in which he developed and implemented curriculum for elementary and junior high school students with disabilities. He advanced to coordinator of high school adaptive physical education, training educators and high school students about adaptive physical education, as well as developing and supervising innovative programs such as after-school academic and recreational centers. Later, he served as an assistant coordinator of adaptive physical education for K-8 students, managing 195 teachers across 32 districts serving 14,000 students. 

The next stage of his career was in the Mount Vernon City School District, where he was the administrator for health, physical education, home and careers, and athletics. His responsibilities included developing curriculum for 15 schools impacting 10,000 students, conducting professional development for K-12 faculty, and implementing new course offerings inclusive of first aid/CPR and lifeguard training. 

Mr. Escobar began his tenure at West Hempstead in 2000, starting as the district’s director of health, physical education and athletics. In this role, he was responsible for evaluating instructional delivery in the areas of health and physical education for grades K-12; managed an athletic program at the high school level; and organized Community Sports Day, Health Awareness Day, blood drives and the “Athletes Helping Athletes” initiative that promotes sportsmanship at the elementary level.

From this position, Mr. Escobar was promoted to assistant principal of West Hempstead High School, supervising the daily operations of campus with the school’s lead administrators. As assistant principal, he introduced and coordinated the ninth-grade orientation program for incoming students from West Hempstead and Island Park middle schools. He re-organized how both State and local exams were administered at the building level. He also assisted in the coordination of Parent University, as well as exploring new initatives such as the Twilight Program and the Advisory Program. Additionally, he served as interim principal during the 2008-2009 academic year, assuming responsibility of the entire campus. 

In 2015, Mr. Escobar was appointed to his current role of West Hempstead High School principal, leading a building of 100 staff members, two assistant principals, six directors and 780 students. Along with observing teachers and class lessons, he has organized professional development opportunities and conducted meetings for faculty, and has served as a member of the district leadership team, meeting with the superintendent of schools to discuss academic achievement of students, community relations and budgetary issues. 

As principal, Mr. Escobar established a collaborative environment working together with administrators, faculty and students to create a variety of programs, extracurricular opportunities and committees. Among these initiatives were the creation of the Curriculum fair, the ambassador program for English language learners, the development of an Advanced Placement Committee to oversee the AP program and he co-chaired the Academic Achievement Committee to raise academic standards of all students.

“On behalf of the West Hempstead School District, we thank Mr. Escobar for a remarkable career in the district and wish him continued success in retirement,” said Superintendent of Schools Patricia Sullivan-Kriss. “Admired by former and current students, staff and community members, Mr. Escobar was an educational leader who established an atmosphere of respect and kindness, and always had students’ and staff’s best interests at heart.” 

West Hempstead Senior Signs Letter Of Intent For Iona College

West Hempstead Senior Signs Letter Of Intent For Iona College photo

Surrounded by proud family members, school district administrators and teammates, West Hempstead High School senior Taylor D’Alessandro signed a national letter of intent on Feb. 7 to continue her athletic career at Iona College.

As a five-year member of the girls varsity soccer team, Taylor has scored 14 goals, recorded 10 assists, and played in three playoff appearances and one conference championship in 2013. Serving as team captain since her sophomore year, she has earned numerous county-level awards, including All-Conference, All-Class and All-County, and has been named MVP of the school’s Senior All-Star Game.  

“Learning from leadership examples set by my coach and the team captains who came before me has served as a template for my own success, both on and off the playing field,” said Taylor. “I personally believe that the purpose of being a captain is to lead your teammates to success and to cultivate interpersonal relationships. I’ve always tried to lift the spirits of the group and foster a culture of positivity by giving inspirational pep talks, initiating cheers before games, encouraging sportsmanship and refusing to quit.”

Aside from soccer, Taylor is a member of Key Club, ranks among the top 25 seniors and is involved in a variety of senior activities.  

In attendance for the signing was girls varsity soccer coach Michael Scaturro. “We couldn’t be more proud of Taylor,” he said. “I know she will continue to excel academically and athletically as she embarks on her next chapter at Iona.”     

West Hempstead Senior Honored For Receiving Unsung Hero Award

West Hempstead Senior Honored For Receiving Unsung Hero Award photo
West Hempstead High School senior Latrell Rawlins was recognized for receiving the Unsung Hero Award from the Long Island Association of Football Officials Foundation at the district’s Board of Education meeting on Feb. 13.

Principal Al Escobar, Athletic Director Christopher Mistretta and Board President Karen Brohm presented Rawlins with an achievement certificate during the meeting as recognition for his athletic prowess and exceptional character. Rawlins received the award at the Nassau County Football Awards Dinner on Dec. 6.

“Latrell, West Hempstead is very, very proud of you, as I know your family is,” said Superintendent Patricia Sullivan-Kriss.

A multi-sport athlete, Rawlins joined the varsity football team in 2016 and played running back and strong safety. He helped lead the Rams to the playoffs this past season and a near first-round upset against eventual Long Island Class IV champion Seaford. He garnered a reputation for attending all practices and games along with encouraging his teammates to play at their best.

“It means a lot to me that I’m being honored,” Rawlins said.

According to its website, the LIAFO honors student-athletes who embody true sportsmanship and teamwork. Rawlins was among four students in Nassau County to receive the Unsung Hero Award based on his love of the game, strong work ethic and willingness to help his team in any way he can.

West Hempstead Students Spread Kindness On P.S. I Love You Day

Love and kindness traveled across the district as students in grades K-12 participated in P.S. I Love You Day on Feb. 9.

According to its website, P.S. I Love You Day was named after the nonprofit organization established by sisters Brooke DiPalma and Jaimie DiPalma, who lost their father to suicide in 2010. Observers of the day wear purple in a display of solidarity for the organization’s causes, which are to take a stance against bullying and to help end depression and prevent suicide.

Donning the initiative’s signature purple, students at Chestnut Street and Cornwell Avenue elementary schools crafted a quilt out of Post-it notes inscribed with characteristics of a good friend, such as caring, funny, thoughtful and nice. Students at George Washington Elementary School received purple hearts to pass along to cherished friends, family members and teachers. They also wrote heart-shaped letters to a person they love. 

At the middle school, sixth- through eighth-grade students created “We Are the Change” banners during their lunch periods. Adding their own unique touches, they personalized the banners with illustrations and colorful paper hands bearing uplifting and compassionate messages. 

Students and staff at the high school prepared for P.S. I Love You Day with Love Is Universal Week, a weeklong set of activities that promoted compassion, appreciation and love for one another. Students received badges for completing random acts of kindness, linked kindhearted words together in a paper “kindness chain,” and wrote notes of appreciation to classmates and teachers. Students and teachers were also encouraged to sign a “P.S. I Love You” poster and take photos in a photo booth during lunch periods. 

On Feb. 9, the entire staff and student body at the high school were encouraged to wear purple and participate in the “Take One – Give One” Post-it note activity, which resulted in the lobby being filled with colorful sticky notes bearing messages of hope, love, empathy and compassion. Throughout the day, students were asked to take a note and keep it for themselves or give it to someone else. 

2018 Science Expo

2018 Science Expo photo
Middle school students in grades 6, 7 and 8, and high school students enrolled in the following Regents-level courses: Earth Science, Living Environment, Chemistry and Physics participated in this years annual Science Expo. In order to be considered as a finalist, the students went through several rounds of judging and were invited to the evening awards ceremony. For each category, the students were eligible to win either 1st, 2nd or 3rd place. Moreover, the winners would now move on to the Long Island Science Congress competition this April.

VEX Robotics Competition

Robotics Teams Pic
On Saturday, February 10, two teams from the West Hempstead high school robotics class along with their teacher, Ms. Perri, participated in the VEX Robotics competition which was hosted at East Rockaway high school. Each team did an amazing job in the competition including the autonomous session where students had the opportunity to demonstrate their programming skills.

Cheer Kickoff to Nationals

Force For Change

Force For Change photo

In honor of the new Star Wars movie, Star Wars – The Last Jedi, West Hempstead High School seniors held a community service event, “Force for Change” to make a positive impact on their community by raising more than $1,000 to support West Hempstead and Island Park families this holiday season.

Inspired by Lucas Film’s “Force for Change” charity and the movie debut, the Class of 2018 kicked off “Force for Change” on Friday Dec. 15 encouraging students and faculty members to sign a banner pledging to be a positive force of change within their community and enter a raffle to receive a prize. 

During the event, students, staff and administration could enter the “Force for Change” raffle to win various gifts such as Chipotle and Moe’s gift cards, as well as Star Wars memorabilia. A photo booth was also set up for students, teachers and administrators to pose with a Darth Vader cut-out, Storm Trooper masks and light sabers. A total of $1,032 was raised through the raffle with all proceeds going to local families.

In addition, teachers incorporated a positive force for change in their class lessons with students learning about individuals who made a positive impact throughout history. Students also learned what force was and how to say “May the Force Be with You” in various languages. 

West Hempstead High School Senior Receives Unsung Hero Award

West Hempstead High School Senior Receives Unsung Hero Award photo
Latrell Rawlins, a senior at West Hempstead High School, received the Unsung Hero Award from the Long Island Association of Football Officials Foundation at the Nassau County High School Football Awards Dinner on Dec. 6. 

As stated on its website, the LIAFO recognizes student-athletes who embody true sportsmanship and teamwork, and whose participation requires personal sacrifice with little recognition – but without whom there would be no team. Latrell was one of four students in the county to receive this award based on his love for the game, strong work ethic and willingness to help his team in any way he can. 

The district commends Latrell for his athletic prowess and exceptional character within the community and on the field.