Honoring Moral Character at the LICAB Awards

LICAB "Community Leadership Awards"  January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

  • Ten Sayville students, two from each building, were honored for their moral character at the recent “Community Leadership Award” ceremony sponsored by The Long Island Coalition Against Bullying.

    For the past two years, Joe Salamone, Founder and Executive Director of The Long Island Coalition Against Bullying, and Sayville Director of  Student Services Jillian Makris have teamed up to promote social and emotional wellness programs in Sayville School District.

    The “Community Leadership Award” has been one such activity to acknowledge those students who daily exhibit fine character traits. These recipients have been nominated by their teachers and administrators for demonstrating “empathy, integrity, compassion, kindness,” to name just a few. 

    Mrs. Makris opened the recent ceremony, noting, “Joe and I were speaking earlier this week:  this award really resonates even more this school year because of the pandemic we’re all living through. The challenges, the adversities, what you may be sacrificing…school doesn’t look the same, you can’t be involved in your activities like normal, see your friends like normal, and yet, what’s the one thing that remains? Your character, your resiliency. It persists.”

    In his introductory address, Joe Salamone remarked, “One of the defining things that we think combat bullying is the nurturing of strong character. For a long time we have been trying to figure out what is our purpose, what is our point in the community. We think it is to answer three questions.  The first is: how do you find kids who are dealing with bullying? The second question is how do you help them? And the third one is how do your prevent future instances of bullying. Awards and things like this are how we think we prevent future bullying because those who stand up and show strong character and are not afraid to show empathy are exactly how future incidents of bullying will start to decline.”

    Joe Salamone further explained, “The one thing we wanted to make sure about this award…is that it has nothing to do with academics. Character is not determined by whether you’re an A student or an F student.” He announced that along with the framed certificate there were prizes that accompanied the “Community Leadership Award.” Each elementary recipient would receive a kit valued at $250 of social emotional materials, books, puzzles, games to continue nurturing character. The Middle School recipients were receiving a check for $500 while the  High School recipients were receiving $1,000.

    The Long Island Coalition Against Bullying (www.LICAB.org) is a federally recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization dedicated to emphasizing the importance of bully free communities on Long Island through education, increased awareness and therapeutic outlets.

    Congratulations to the following students whose contributions towards their school community and those around them make the world a better place.  The Long Island Coalition Against Bullying “Community Leadership Awards” were given to:


  • Aislyn Beach: We are honored to nominate Aislyn Beach for this award. All of the teachers on the fifth-grade team have the privilege of working with Aislyn in school. Aislyn is a well-rounded student who is kind, caring, hardworking, confident, and speaks her mind in a positive way. During class, Aislyn is always eager to complete her work, and goes above and beyond to help her teachers and peers. She strives to be the best version of herself every day.  Aislyn always has a positive attitude and is a great role model to her peers. 

    • NOMINATED BY Melissa Dawes 5th Grade

    Gavin Sack: We are honored to nominate Gavin Sack for this award. All of the teachers on the fifth-grade team have the privilege of working with Gavin in school. Gavin comes to school every day with a smile on his face and a desire to learn. He always puts a great amount of effort into everything he does and consistently participates and volunteers in class. He is respectful of both his peers and teachers, and always has a positive attitude towards whatever task is assigned. Gavin is supportive and collaborative with his peers, which makes him a great role model in class. 

    • NOMINATED BY Melissa Dawes 5th Grade


  • Anthony Marotta: Anthony is a kind, loving soul. He is a true empath who looks out for others and makes sure to stand up for those in need. He is always inclusive whether it's in the classroom, on the playground or out in his community. It's wonderful to watch Anthony brighten up another student's face when he eagerly includes him in his favorite activities. Anthony should be proud of himself.

    • NOMINATED BY Rita Galvin 3rd Grade

    Kara Morris: Kara is a conscientious young lady who exemplifies excellent citizenship. She is actively involved in student government and demonstrates true concern for the well being of her school and community. Kara is so kind and caring toward her classmates, and treats everybody with respect. She goes out of her way to be extra friendly to the more quiet and shy students. She is outgoing and well-liked among her peers and all of her teachers. Kara has expressed her interest in politics and social advocacy, and I truly believe that someday she will go on to a career in public service, and do so with the utmost level of integrity. Kara has my highest recommendation for this honor!

    • NOMINATED BY Mary  Puglisi 5th Grade


  • Macklin Neugebauer:  As Macklin’s teacher, I knew right away that he should be nominated for this very special award! Macklin has a way of making the world a better place! First, he is quick to lend a helping hand to the other students (and myself!) in our class, especially when it comes to technology! Also, Macklin is respectful to others. In fact, one of the secretaries was so impressed with his good manners when he had to go to the office one day, that she took the time to call me up to say that I should be so proud of him! And finally, Macklin is a positive role model for his peers to see. He is the type of student that does the right thing and makes good choices, even when no one is watching! I can always count on Macklin to lead by example! Macklin’s contributions towards his school community and those around him help to make the world a better place each and every day!!

    • NOMINATED BY Gina Romano 4th Grade

    Isabella Lipari:  Isabella Lipari is honest and trustworthy.  She demonstrates excellent manners on a daily basis and is a positive role model for all her peers.  Isabella is kind, respectful and helpful.  She is a model citizen and an outstanding contribution to our classroom.

    • NOMINATED BY Faith Sukoff 3rd Grade


  • Brody Doxsee (8th):  Brody is a bright light at Sayville Middle School. He walks through the halls saying hello and giving a big smile to all who pass. He makes students around him feel welcome and accepted. Brody has a big heart and works hard to spread kindness, humor and cheer to the students and staff at Sayville Middle School. He is a valuable asset to the middle school and will be missed when he moves on to great things at the High School.    

    • NOMINATED BY Noemi Barczak, Social Worker

    PHOTO BELOW Sofia Cangelosi (8th)  (Sofia Cangelosi received nominations from three teachers):

    Sophia is a model student both inside and outside of the classroom. She is polite, kind and helpful to her classmates. She participates in several clubs within the school community.

    • NOMINATED BY Kim Pacia (Math)       

    Sofia is an honest and hardworking student.  She is always kind and helpful to everyone.  She is a role model to her peers with a generous and welcoming personality.  The past two years I have had her as a student, she has always been willing to help and stand up for others without question.  

    • NOMINATED BY Andrea Cacciatore (Home & Careers)

    Sofia is an absolute pleasure.  Always kind and works wonderfully in Breakout Room groups.  She takes on leadership roles in an unassuming way.  What a joy, I wish all students could be like Sofia.

    • NOMINATED BY Danielle Lutz (Biology)           

Aislyn Beach with Mrs. Dawes, Mr. Salamone, Dr. Ihne

Aislyn Beach with Mrs. Dawes, Mr. Salamone, Dr. Ihne

Gavin Sack with Mrs. Dawes, Mr. Salamone, Dr. Ihne

Gavin Sack with Mrs. Dawes, Mr. Salamone, Dr. Ihne

Anthony Marotta, with Mrs. Galvin, Mr. Salamone, Principal Carlson

Anthony Marotta

Kara Morris with Mrs. Puglisi, Mr. Salamone, Principal Carlson

Kara Morris

Macklin Neugebauer with Mrs. Romano and Mr. Salamone

Macklin Neugebauer

Isabella Lipari with Mrs. Suckoff, Mr. Salamone

Isabella Lipari

Brody Doxsee with Ms. Barczak, Mr. Salamone, Dr. Castoro

 Brody Doxsee

Sophia Cangelosi with teachers Ms. Pacia, Ms. Cacciatore, Ms. Lutz, Mr. Salamone, & Dr. Castoro



  • Jordan Milo (12th):  I first met Jordan when she was a student of mine last year in Pre-Calculus Honors.   She took the class after showing strong skills in the Regents program as a sophomore, but was not accustomed to the meticulous nature of the honors level.  Jordan was not the highest achiever in the class, but she was always willing to take on a rigorous challenge with a terrific attitude.  She often stopped in during 10th period to ask questions and enhance her foundational knowledge of items which were difficult in class.  This alone would not necessarily be the reason to recognize Jordan for the LICAB award, though she is a terrific young lady.

    Jordan had to be industrious to keep up in class.  Her time was valuable and also limited when taking such a challenging course load as a junior.  It was here that I became so impressed with Jordan.   During 10th period, Jordan set aside time to volunteer and be a peer tutor for Algebra I students.  When she worked with struggling students, Jordan was kind, patient, encouraging and a true role model for students to look up to.  She took time to listen to the students she was working with, showed them strategies to improve and was the positive energy that struggling students often need.  I am 100% positive that her kindness and compassion was the sole reason one student in particular was able to pass the course.  I don’t believe Jordan knows the impact she had on this young lady, but I am happy that a recognition such as this can highlight her innate goodness.


    • NOMINATED BY Adam Brown, Math Department Chairperson

    Jordan Milo with Mr. Brown, Mr. Salamone, Principal Hoffer
    Jordan Milo


  • Aidan McCullough (12th):  It is my great pleasure to provide a letter of recommendation for one of the most talented, personable, kind, mature, well rounded young men I have taught in over twenty years.  I do not say that lightly.  I have had the pleasure of teaching Aidan McCullough during his freshman and junior years in French 2 and French 4HPreAP.  I also had the pleasure of working with Aidan as both a regular and executive board member of my club, Athletes Helping Others for 3 years. I do not feel my words will do justice to explain the outstanding young man that is Aidan McCullough.  This letter will just never be enough. Here goes...

    As is evidenced by his dossier, Aidan is an extremely talented student.  He stands out in a class of very talented, highly competitive and motivated students.  He is meticulous in his studies, genuinely interested in learning for intrinsic reasons all the while maintaining an incredible kindness, regard for others and positive energy.  Aidan is a self-motivated, determined young man.   Aidan is an assiduous, thorough, and reliable worker.  His study habits are unparalleled.  He is undeterred by a challenge.  Aidan spends countless hours outside of class and regularly requisite school work to engage in further learning.  He has a passion for language, culture and history that are incomparable.   If he finds an area where he thinks he could improve, he commits himself to working on it until he excels. 

    In addition, he is always an enthusiastic participant in class.  During his junior year, I had Aidan in my first period French class.  He came in every day with energy and a positive upbeat attitude at 7:30am.  His energy, enthusiasm, and positivity were contagious. Our class could always count on Aidan to wish literally every student a good morning and greet me personally.  Before leaving every day, he would complement his classmates on their work and their contributions and wish them luck on the way to the next class.  He is the only student in over 20 years of teaching that I have ever had compliment me and thank me for my daily lessons. I must add that all of this interaction takes place 100 percent completely in the French language.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I heard Aidan speak English. One would think that this must be a charade; a young many at this age could not possibly be this kind, mature, and generous.  I can assure you this is no act.  Aidan is easily the most outstanding student and human being I have ever had the pleasure of working with.  Aidan’s nickname among his classmates is “Big Red” after his red hair.  The language department here at Sayville, both French and Spanish teachers alike, refers to Aidan as “Le Grand Roux” (Big Read). On any given day we run across the hall to share a few phrases of a “Grand Roux” essay (his writing is well above high school level), an Aidan story, or a lively debate over who will be fortunate enough to have “Le Grand Roux” in class the following year.  Aidan changes the entire chemistry of a class in a positive way.  He naturally encourages those that are shy, compliments those that are struggling, and brings out the best in everyone around him.  Aidan is crucial in the chemistry of a class. During his junior year, Aidan volunteered his time during our extra period to tutor a young woman in the same class.  He has a gentle spirit, never condescending and always encouraging and building up those around him.  He encourages me!

    Most recently, I inquired of students regarding their favorite memory of their junior year.  Many students enjoyed discussing football games and homecoming.  However, Aidan’s most cherished memory was when he had the opportunity to play badminton with the Special Needs students in our school.  Jacob, his partner, had the night of his life, as Aidan encouraged him, taught him how to play, and held his hand if he felt unsteady.  Etched in my memory are the comments from the teachers surrounding the scene asking, “Who is that kid?”  “What an incredible young man!”  If you asked his classmates about him, I am confident you could not find one student (younger or older) that could find something negative to say about “Grand Roux”. 

    I strongly recommend Aidan for the LICAB Leadership award.  Merci!

    • NOMINATED BY Suzanne Hoss, World Languages (French)


    Aidan McCullough

    Aidan McCullough with Mr. Salamone and Principal Hoffer.