Mineola schools tout role of clubs

Mineola schools tout role of clubs
Mineola Middle School is seen on Emory Road. (Photo by Jim Henderson via Wikimedia Commons)

By Samuel Glasser

Clubs and other extracurricular activities play a big part of school life in the Mineola school district, school officials and students said Thursday.

Clubs and other extracurricular activities let students explore their interests, develop leadership opportunities and enable them to become involved in community service projects, Edward Escobar, the district’s assistant superintendent of human resources, said. They also help students learn dedication and commitment.

Colleges also rank extracurricular activities high in their criteria for admission, Escobar said.

“When it comes to clubs and activities it all comes down to the three A’s: academics, athletics and activities,” Escobar said.

At Mineola High School, students can come up with an idea for a new club, a list of students who are interested and a faculty member willing to be an adviser before pitching the new club to the administration, Whittney Smith, the school principal, said.

This how the chess and fashion clubs took their place among the school’s 42 clubs, Smith said. Most recently, a club called “I Am That Girl” was formed.

The 19 clubs at the Middle School Play also play big part in school life there, middle school principal Andrew Casale said.

“It’s important for our kids,” Casale said. “They’re in class all day and need to have experiences that interest them and capture their attention.”

The Math Pioneers, an active and popular club with 35 students, meets every other week, Casale said.

The students compete in the monthly Math Olympiads against other schools state-wide as well as competing with each other. The activities, some students said, “proves that math is fun.”

The Treblemakers, a choral group with about 40 students who meet weekly, is one of the best-attended clubs, Casale said. They participate at the school concerts and perform at special events.

The 40-member Robotics Club fielded four teams for the Nassau County qualifying rounds for the FIRST Lego League, an international competition where the contestants have to develop a solution to a problem and compete with Lego-based robots of their own design.

As for community service,  students district-wide raised $5,000 in late 2016 to help rebuild homes and a school in Haiti that were badly damaged after a hurricane last fall, Escobar said.

Meadow Drive School students raised $700 towards the total to put their handprints on a 10-foot long banner that Garry Desire, a district instructional leader, took to Haiti on his trip to visit family there.

Also on Thursday, the Mineola school board board announced that the high school’s assistant principal, Larry Puccio, and five other staff members will retire at the end of the school year.

Superintendent Michael Nagler also said the district had retired some debt, reducing its interest expense. Administrators expect to lower the tax levy once the calculations are finalized, Nagler said.

The board also recognized Madison Levine, a second-grader in the district’s dual-language program at Meadow Drive School, who was selected as a finalist from Nassau County in the PTA Reflections contest.

Her essay was based on the theme “What is your story?” It explained how her family discovered that she had celiac disease at age 4.

Levine now advances to the regional level of the competition.


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