Fire Island School Graduates Prepare for Middle School and Beyond

By Anika LanserAs commencement ceremonies occur around the country for college students, graduate students, high schoolers, and kindergartners alike, another happens close to our hearts, the bay, and the Atlantic at Fire Island’s very own Woodhull Elementary School. On Tuesday, June 20, sixth-graders at Woodhull School were given quite the sendoff. Music Teacher Philip Tamberino mused, “Every year graduation brings together people from the community and people who have gone to the school, people who are graduating 12th-grade, but also people in between. It’s really a big community event. To see all those people in a room together is just such a great feeling.”The ceremony began with a musical concert featuring the concert band, vocalists, and the ukulele ensemble. Students from all grades participated in songs ranging from “Batman Theme” to “Gonna Fly Now.” The concert was accompanied by a slideshow of the graduating students. Tamberino noted, “Watching our slideshow at the end of the year, which looks back not only on our sixth-grade and Pre-K graduates but also our 12th-grade graduates, we see that all the work we do here is just one leg of a larger journey, but we are always proud to see the young men and women our graduates become after they move on.”The sixth-graders weren’t the only students to receive diplomas, however. The Pre-Kindergarten class was also recognized for their achievements. The graduating Pre-K class included Lydon Cole, Ember LaPenna, Lorelai LaPenna, and Elena Wendt. Graduating high school seniors who had once attended Woodhull were also recognized at the ceremony. Dylan Burke, Scott Lyudmer, and Christopher Posillico all were lauded for their graduation from high school. The graduates plan to attend SUNY Binghamton, SUNY Buffalo, and SUNY Purchase, respectively.Despite other recognitions, the focus remained largely on the sixth-grade class. The graduates included Thomas Brennan, Joseph Coleman, Aidan Oveido-Torres, and Jason Philie. Both Brennan and Coleman will attend Bay Shore Middle School, while Oveido-Torres will attend Saints Cyril and Methodius School, and Jason Philie will attend Kellenberg Memorial High School.Several scholarships and awards were given to the sixth-grade graduates, both at the commencement ceremony and at the Awards Luncheon held on Monday, June 19. One such award is PTA Douglass Wyckoff Memorial Scholarship, named in honor of Douglass Wyckoff, a beloved kindergarten instructor at Woodhull. The award was presented by Patricia Meade-Brennan. The scholarship went to Thomas Brennan (grade 6), Joseph Coleman (grade 6), Aidan Oveido-Torres (grade 6), and Jason Phile (grade 6).The Conrad and Miriam Wirostek Scholarship was awarded to Scott Lyudmer (grade 12), Aidan Oveido-Torres (grade 6), Lucas Bejarano (grade 5), and John Brennan (grade 4). The Barbara DeWolf Achievement Award went to Jason Philie (grade 6). The President’s Award for Educational Excellence went to Thomas Brennan (grade 6) and Jason Philie (grade 6). The President’s Award for Educational Achievement was given to Aidan Oveido-Torres (grade 6). The Suffolk County Public Service Award was granted to Joseph Coleman (grade 6). The SCMEA Senior Scholarship was given to Scott Lyudmer (grade 12). The SCOPE Scholarship went to Chris Posillico (grade 12), Scott Lyudmer (grade 12), and Dylan Burke (grade 12). The Woodhull Scholarship was given to Dylan Burke (grade 12). The NYSSMA Award was bestowed to Giovanni Giua, Art Award to Thomas Brennan, Spanish Award to Joeseph Coleman, and two Physical Education Awards went to Aidan Oviedo-Torres and Jason Phiie.The ceremony concluded with a speech written collaboratively by the sixth-grade class. Tamberino mulled, “The sixth-grade traditionally writes a speech together reflecting on their time here, and it always makes us proud to see how thoughtful and articulate they have become.” Woodhull School is certainly not the typical elementary school. However, Tamberino puts it best, “This is what years of individualized attention – in the best way possible – can bring about, and from the staff end of things, it is a joy to be able to get to know each student so well. We do our best to prepare them not just academically but to make the important decisions that will define their life as they become more independent people.” See our Facebook page for a complete picture slideshow of the evening festivities: