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Board Celebrates Kindness of Four Special Students

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The creativity and generosity of four recent Connolly Elementary School graduates was celebrated during the monthly Board of Education meeting on Sept. 25.

Last year, four fifth graders at Connolly decided that they wanted to do something to give back to the school, so they pitched an idea to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Maria Rianna to plant a tree that would allow kids to read a book, talk with friends or simply relax rather than running around on the playground during recess.

“I learned a lot during this process,” said current Robert M. Finley Middle School student Michael Renga. “We wanted to leave something that we could come back and visit when we are older, and we have kids. We want to know we made a difference.”

Renga, along with classmates Caroline DaSilva, Whitney Maltalevich and Isabella Santiago, did extensive research on types of trees, growth rates, pricing and other factors. Renga also added that he learned the meaning of “red tape.”

“No amount of red tape could stop Michael and his classmates,” Dr. Rianna said. “We are so proud of our students for taking the initiative to make a difference at their school. I can’t wait to see all of the great things they accomplish in the future.”

A Native American Study for Finley Students

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Finley seventh graders in Mr. Donald Ingegno’s social studies class began the school year with an exploration of Native Americans. 

The middle school historians focused on the Land Bridge Theory, which explains the vital land link the Native Americans used to come to North America from Asia. The class created their own land bridge using Play-doh to represent the land and blue ice cubes for glaciers. They also used labels to identify and show their understanding of the land’s geography. Through this activity, the students learned about the Bering Strait, nomads, glaciers and migration.

Transition to Middle School

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The 6th Graders learn about the world of Guidance and the Transition to the Middle School:

On September 16th & 19th, Robert M. Finley Middle School Guidance Counselors conducted 6th grade Guidance Workshops that covered topics such as an Introduction to Career Exploration through the Naviance Family Connection program and workshops on School Success and the Transition to the Middle School. It was a very rewarding day for all involved!

Leadership Program for Finley’s Youth and Government Students

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The 2019-2020 Finley Middle School Youth and Government program, led by Mrs. Jacklyn Burnett and Mrs. Tracy Roberts, received a full-day workshop by Drew Caldwell, director of youth development, Alliance of New York State YMCAs. Students worked with each other on future legislation and to understand their roles and responsibilities within the nationwide civic engagement and leadership program.

In November, Finley’s Youth and Government program will be attending a three-day experiential learning conference in which students participate directly in a simulation of New York State’s democratic process. Students act as senators and assembly members, writing, debating and voting on legislation that affects them. Students will also learn and model parliamentary procedures.

Special thanks to Mrs. Burnett and Mrs. Roberts for their hard work and dedication to the Youth and Government program, and to Mr. Caldwell, Assemblyman Charles Lavine and Superintendent Dr. Maria Rianna for working with the students in understanding their role in the community.

Finley Student Dances Her Way to Success

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Finley Middle School sixth grader Kalia Edwards participated in the Debbie Allen Dance Company Summer Intensive in California this summer. 

Kalia earned a spot in the program after auditioning last February, along with 100 other applicants. During the audition, she was selected and danced solo for Ms. Allen. As part of her acceptance into the program, Kalia was invited to take part in a semiprofessional, two-week program in Atlanta and the professional program in California for one month over the summer.

Kalia and her mother stayed at the University of Southern California with about 100 other dancers. They danced from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday in the genres of African, ballet, Dunham, flamenco, hip hop, jazz, musical theater, pointe and tap. Every class was taught by a professional in the dance industry.

Kalia has been dancing at Glen Dance Studio for more than 10 years. At age 8, she was the New York State gymnastic champion. In 2017, Kalia auditioned for the Long Island Nets professional basketball team and has been a paid professional dancer with them for two years. This year, not only did she make it – they nominated her the co-captain.

Landing School physical education teacher Karen Serani has been following Kalia’s success, noting that in addition to her academic and dancing accomplishments, Kalia was also one of the recipients of Landing School’s Exemplary Fitness Trophy last year. The Glen Cove community is so proud of Kalia and is excited to see all of her achievements in the future!