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Life of Fire Island

Life of Fire Island – Scientifically Speaking photo

Woodhull Elementary School sixth-graders braved windy and wet conditions for the chance to learn more about their unique island and school surroundings as they contributed to the second annual Day in the Life of Fire Island ecology project on Friday, Sept. 28.

Assisted by Ranger Kelsey Sucena of the National Park Service, Adelphi University Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Ruth Coffey, BOCES Teacher Integration Specialist Deborah Gerken and Woodhull sixth-grade teacher Gabrielle Donovan, the students practiced collecting and testing samples of water and earth along the shores of Ocean Beach. As Woodhull students examined the physical and chemical aspects of the water and conducted biodiversity inventories of the flora and fauna in and around the shorelines, students from Bay Shore High School, Longwood Junior High School and other schools worked simultaneously in different areas of the island as in the previous year. Together, some 70 students and teachers studied the water source that spanned the length of Fire Island.

Last year was the inaugural year of the Day in the Life of Fire Island project, in which Fire Island students studied the same environments in the same ways as this year, effectively creating a benchmark against which to compare this year’s data. Since 2011, annual Day in the Life events involving students have been jointly coordinated for various Long Island aquatic ecosystems by Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning & Policy Commission, the New York State Department of Energy Conservation and the Suffolk County Water Authority. The information collected from these projects helps specialists determine the health of the aquatic ecosystem and the biodiversity of Fire Island.

Taking Time to Reflect

Taking Time to Reflect photo
Taking Time to Reflect photo 2
Woodhull Elementary School students and staff took time to reflect and remember the events of 9/11 through age-appropriate activities.

With the school gathered together during a morning meeting, Superintendent of Schools Loretta Ferraro read Maira Kalman’s book “Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey” aloud to the students in honor of Patriot Day. The book recounts the story of an old fireboat that came to aid New York City on one of its darkest days – Sept. 11, 2001 – and helped to battle the roaring flames at Ground Zero. 

Woodhull Students Welcomed Back

Woodhull Students Welcomed Back photo

Woodhull Elementary School students were eager to return to class on Sept. 5 for the first day of school.

The students arrived with broad smiles as they happily entered the building under sunny skies. From the school’s youngest members, who are part of the district’s full-day pre-K program, to the eldest sixth-graders, the start of the year was a smooth one and is sure to be filled with many exciting educational experiences. 

End-of-Year Celebrations

Memorable End-of-Year Celebrations photo

In honor of the end of the year, Woodhull Elementary School students celebrated their collective achievements during a musical concert and special graduation ceremony for the school’s pre-K and sixth-grade students.

During the event, the concert band performed the national anthem before being joined by the third-graders, who played ukulele with them on Haydn’s Surprise Symphony. The pre-K through second-grade students sang folk songs with third-grade students on the ukulele and were then joined by grades 4-6 singing with Mr. Tamberino on ukulele for a beautiful performance of “What a Wonderful World.” A stunning duet of “Beauty and the Beast” was performed by third-graders Ariel Vizcarrondo and Kingston Johnson, followed by sixth-graders Patryk Warzecha and Giovanni Giua performing a duet version of “Promenade” from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, on alto saxophone and trumpet, respectively. Ariel then returned to perform an excerpt from Beethoven’s Fur Elise for piano, and Patryk performed a solo version of Ray Charles’ “Hallelujah, I Love Her So” on the saxophone. The band and ukulele ensemble returned to perform “The Best Day Ever” from “SpongeBob SquarePants” before being joined by the rest of the students and closing the concert with the song “We Know the Way” from the movie “Moana.”

After thunderous applause, the pre-K and sixth-grade graduates then participated in commencement exercises led by Superintendent of Schools Loretta Ferraro and Board of Education President Jay Lippert. The students were celebrated for their achievements to date. Twelfth-grade resident student graduates were then honored before the sixth-graders gave their traditional farewell address, in which they each reflected on their years at Woodhull and their personal meaning. The audience then viewed the traditional slideshow of all the graduates, created with care by sixth-grade teacher Ms. Donovan.

Teddy Bear Clinic

Teddy Bear Clinic photo

On Friday June 8, Woodhull Health Services Director Janet LaViolette presented her latest "Teddy Bear Clinic," transforming the Woodhull gymnasium into a magical play clinic where students could learn about real health and hygiene practices, procedures, and related material. A quintessentially Fire Island event, Nurse Janet brings together staff with parents and community members in bringing a fun and memorable experience to students.

This year's clinic featured a handwashing station, a doll hospital, a boo-boo clinic, an "operation" room, yoga with the principal, a medical tech lab, a get well card making factory, a health newsstand, a healthy heart workshop, a body system puzzle, a music therapy drum circle, and storybook reading from the tooth fairy. There was also a craft center and a dress-up area which included lab coats, hospital scrubs, and bouffant caps, but also colorful wigs, hats, and glasses. An assortment of colorful fresh fruit and vegetables were also available at the aptly named "Rainbow Café"

The Teddy Bear Clinic started with Nurse Janet's thoughtful desire to educate students about the medical equipment and procedures they were likely to encounter on a typical visit to a doctor's office, to help alleviate any fears or anxieties, and continues this mission through today.

Art on Display at Woodhull

Art on Display at Woodhull photo

Student art adorned the walls of the Woodhull Elementary School gymnasium for the annual Student Art Show, curated by Woodhull art teacher Bianca Diadone and featuring works from all students throughout the school year.

Students lead parents and teachers on a tour of the display as they proudly showed off their paintings, drawings, sculptures and mixed media works. Over 100 works were displayed in all, including set pieces made by the Art Club for the winter musical, 3D printed objects designed by intermediate students and a collaborative piece made by all students in the school, including a large mandala and an oversized poster celebrating the value of mindfulness.

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