Fourth Time a School to Watch

  • For a FouRth time, 


                            By Fred Keating


    For the fourth time in its distinguished history, the Sayville Middle School has been recognized as a “School to Watch” (STW) by an arm of the NY State Education Department. Such schools have set themselves apart from the norm because of their “academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equity, and superior organization and structure.”


    This year, the Sayville Middle School was acknowledged by the STW in the person of Dr. David Peyton, the NY State Director of STW, along with representatives of the NY State Education Department, NY State Senator Tom Croci, and other dignitaries, in a formal ceremony held in a Sayville Middle School assembly.


    Before the assembly began, the audience was entertained by student Avery Rosado, playing the cello, and by the SMS Band under the direction of teacher Kim Lattanzio. Student Harrison Bench led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, and then introduced Mr. Thomas Murray, the Principal. In his remarks, Mr. Murray welcomed the STW Committee and the honored guests. He thanked the Committee for their focus on recognizing educational excellence because honoring excellence is in itself a motivating factor for young people. He congratulated the students on their achievements. However, he reminded them that only by their dedication, diligence, and hard work will they maintain the school’s standards.


    Mr. Murray called eight students to the stage and presented them with certificates acknowledging their leadership and honoring their contributions in meeting with the STW Committee and cooperating with them. It is possible that without their honesty, thoughtfulness, and school spirit, the STW might have moved in a different direction. Earning certificates and congratulations were Aiden Cappellino, Tara Donohue, Sara Holmes, Sanjeeda Rahman, Conor McGrath, Sierra Boyce, Avery Rosado, Erin Schaefer, and Steven John Devery, Jr.


    Brian Sherman, representing the NY State Education Department and the STW Committee, spoke briefly. He told them that the Sayville Middle School was only one of thirty schools in the state to be so honored this year, and for the school to receive this singular honor for the fourth time was “awesome.” He reminded the students that achievements such as theirs do not happen by accident: “It takes hard work, commitment, and dedication. And today’s ceremony is not the end of the process. Rather, it is a continuing journey that we take together in our quest to achieve our life goals.” He also had some words of advice: “Keep your eyes on the stars, but keep your feet on the ground. And always, always, strive for excellence in whatever you do.”


    Also in attendance were John Verdone, President of the Board of Education; Dr. Walter Schartner, Superintendent of Schools; Dr. Nance Wilson, of the STW Leadership Committee; Sal Nicosia, Legislative Aide to State Senator Thomas Croci; and Lorraine Neumeyer, Parent Member on the Site-Based Team.