Good Turnout for College and Career Expo


Approximately 400 high school students packed the gymnasium at Bellport High School on Monday for the school’s annual spring college and career expo. Over 100 businesses and colleges were set up, ready to chat with students about potential post-graduation paths.

As the students made their rounds and explored life after high school, guidance counselor Jenna Restivo reflected on the annual event’s success. “We’ve had students find summer jobs and apply to colleges represented here,” she said. In the lobby, culinary students prepared and served hors d’oeuvres, a new addition this year. “Now, it encompasses all students,” Restivo said. “We used to use a small fund to get food from a deli, but realized we have students taking advanced culinary courses right here at the high school,” she said of the decision to have the students “cater” the event.

Both in-state and out-of-state private and public colleges were represented, and prospective students, many of them juniors, signed up for more information. All career paths were represented, from the U.S. Armed Forces to the South Country Ambulance to Long Island businesses like Splish Splash, wanting to recruit seasonal employees. Restivo noted the importance of having career professionals along with college reps to allow students to make connections between choosing a major and earning a degree and landing a job in the real world. “This allows the students to tie in their post-college plans with their pre-college prep,” she said.

Knowing that many students enroll in the Advanced Placement Government course, some government officials also talked with students. Terri Ann Malloy, a congressional aide for Lee Zeldin, discussed internship opportunities with students that are available in their Washington, D.C. and Patchogue offices. “We’re a very busy office,” she said, noting that congressional interns do more than grab coffee and make copies. “We try and involve them with casework so they get a good feel for the job,” she said.  Legis. Kate Browning’s chief of staff, Josh Slaughter, handed out applications for the 2017 Suffolk County Legislature Page Program. The internship is open to Suffolk County students 18 or older who have a high school diploma and want experience in leadership, policy and government. “The program really gives you a look at what it’s like to work in government,” Slaughter said, adding that he wished a program like that existed when he was that age and looking for experience.
Students walked around the gym with this advice in mind from Restivo: “I tell them to not be shy, to talk to each representative and ask as many questions as they can think of,” she said. 

Nick Felix and Gabrielle Consetti from Suffolk County National Bank set up a table with goodies and giveaways. Though in the process of merging with People’s United Bank, Consetti explained that they were happy to answer any questions students might have about what majors they might go for and their experiences working in a large bank. Felix was happy to offer general advice: “Do something you love,” he told one student grabbing candy. “If you do, it’s not really work.”  That advice was comforting for junior students Nicole Gomez, Kai Hatcher and Molly Honce. “This whole process is overwhelming,” Honce said, feeling the pressure. “But I talked to a lot of cool people today.” Gomez admitted that she has some research to do. “It feels like reality is hitting me,” she said. Hatcher agreed. “I don’t know what to do with my life,” she said, laughing nervously. The career fair, she said, helped her realize that there are tons of options out there. 

“Whether our students are leaving for college, the military or straight for a career, all have great opportunities,” Restivo added. “I hope today’s fair showed them that.”   (Reprinted, courtesy of Long Island Advance 3/9/2017)

BHS Student Council Stays Awake for Brighter Tomorrows

The Bellport High School Student Council held its 2nd Annual Stay-Awake-A-Thon on March 3rd and 4th in the High School Gym.  As part of the Community Charity Champions Competition for Cablevision (now Altice), the Student Council raised $3,000 for Brighter Tomorrows, a domestic violence shelter that services people in our District. 
As Regional Champions in last year’s competition, Bellport is not eligible to win again, but that didn’t stop the StuCo members from achieving their goal in both fundraising and staying up all night.  There was a great amount of support from the faculty and staff, as well as parent and other students to meet the challenge, all much appreciated!

Varsity Baseball Preps for the 2017 Season

Bellport varsity baseball players prepare themselves at All-Pro Sports Academy for the 2017 season.
Bellport varsity baseball players prepare themselves at All-Pro Sports Academy for the 2017 season.

This past Monday, the World Baseball Classic was underway, with Israel playing South Korea. Not only that, but school-wise, the tryouts for spring sports — lacrosse, tennis, track and baseball — began.

Bellport Varsity Baseball for the 2017 season, looks to once again do damage, as they have dedicated time and preparation since the beginning of January to accomplish the same goals they’ve accomplished in the last few years. In the 2015 season, Bellport managed to net a 10-8 record sweeping rivals like West Babylon and Huntington, enough for them to reach playoffs. Unfortunately, they would fall to Sachem East 2-0. Last year in the 2016 season, Bellport finished with a 10-10 record. After beginning in a slump with a record of 2-5, Bellport managed to win eight of their last 13 games to reach playoffs, but once again things would not go their way, as they fell to Connetquot 8-5. 

This year they’re looking forward to reaching the playoffs and even more, bringing home that banner by winning League IV. They will try to accomplish that with seniors Michael Sangiamo, Michael Francomano and Ian Hampson, who have all had varsity experience with last year. They will also have Adam Colon (six-year varsity player, committed to Citadel), Matthew Mulligan (committed to SUNY Purchase) and Joseph Greco (committed to Sacred Heart University). They have the addition of Ryan Kane, Rafael Vargas, William Romano, Trevor Virno, Kareem Holloway and the likes of Ryan Baumann and Anthony Jacabacci, who will both be entering their third year as varsity baseball players. Lastly, the roster will include sophomores Justin Maler and Andrew Veit. “Hopefully, we’ll maintain the success over the past couple of years, which is making playoffs and hopefully come out with a banner,” said Greco, who will be entering his fourth year of Bellport varsity baseball. “We just have to keep grinding and we’ll be in a good position to accomplish those goals.” 

“I’m looking forward to getting back to right where we were — we have unfinished business,” said Jacabacci. Bellport will dispute in League IV with schools like Centereach, Deer Park, Huntington, North Babylon and West Islip. Teams like Centereach (4-16 in 2016), Deer Park (6-14) and Huntington (3-16) will look forward to bouncing back this year and reaching playoffs. On the other hand, teams like North Babylon (13-7 in 2016) and West Islip (17-3) will look forward to reaching playoffs and doing more damage. West Islip won the Class AA Long Island Championship this past year. For the players, they all have the same mentality, to win League IV and bring the banner home. “We want to win a championship for the first time in 51 years,” said Baumann. “We are determined to put another banner up on the wall; the team chemistry definitely stands out. This is a group of guys that are all really close on and off the field and really want to go out and compete with each other,” said Mulligan, who enters his second year as a varsity player. The first game for Bellport will be at home on March 27 against North Babylon.

By Andres Rivas, reprinted courtesy of Long Island Advance 3/9/2017 


Students Celebrate Career and Tech Education Month

Bellport High School seniors Peter Mistretta, Chrissy Hobson and Adrian Trent show off their marketing skills for a virtual enterprise called “Portside Sweets” during a CTE Month presentation last week.
Bellport High School seniors Peter Mistretta, Chrissy Hobson and Adrian Trent show off their marketing skills for a virtual enterprise called “Portside Sweets” during a CTE Month presentation last week.

Last week, Bellport High School  students spun a  prize wheel during seventh-period lunch. As they came up for a chance to win silly prizes — a piece of candy or a free hug — several career and  technical education senior students were on  hand to  entice younger classmates to enroll in these classes by presenting examples of  work they had been doing all year.  It’s also a way for students to participate in a national public awareness campaign called Career and Technical Education Month. These programs, which at Bellport High School include culinary, business and technology, directly prepare students for high-wage, high-demand careers.

During the month of February, the value and achievements of CTE programs are celebrated throughout the country. “It’s perfect timing since the students are working on their schedules for next year,” explained culinary teacher Lisa Martin.  “Our program is growing every year.”  This year, 122 Bellport students enrolled in CTE classes, with an additional about 70 students participating  in after-school clubs.“The reason I come to school is for culinary class,” said senior Kiara Trent. Last year, she joined a group of culinary students at Walt Disney World’s Epcot for a program called Cook Around the World. Though most of us who have been to Disney look forward to “eating” around the world at Epcot, Trent and her classmates were  treated to  student tours, hands- on cooking demos and crash courses in hospitality during their trip. Trent was amazed at the inside look at how food is grown and prepared at one of the most renowned resorts in the world. France, Trent explained, was her favorite part of the tour because it tied into her core studies at home. “I’ve taken French since seventh grade,” she said. “And I love crêpes.” Fellow senior Chrissy Hobson has taken every culinary class offered to her at Bellport and is planning to enroll in the culinary arts program at Suffolk County Community College in Riverhead next fall. “They wouldn’t let me take it again,”she joked about her high school culinary classes.  The program, she explained, has given her the skills needed to cook  recipes at home, but also given her experience in event planning and catering. With the culinary club, Hobson has helped cater school events such as NYSSMA,  events for the Boys and Girls Club and even worked with the business department to cater some of their virtual enterprise meetings.  

The virtual enterprise is a project developed  by  students in the business program. Essentially, they create a business from the bottom up and cover everything from sales and marketing to human relations and customer service. Each project “expires” every five years, explained senior Adrian Jones. Last year was the fifth year, so his class was tasked with coming up with a brand-new idea.  And thus began Portside Sweets, a virtual bakery created entirely by students. According to Martin,  the students must consider the meaning behind each busi- ness decision, down to the name itself. “We chose ‘portside’ as an homage to our location in Bellport,” said senior Peter Mistretta.  Mistretta  and Jones showed off some marketing materials they helped create for the project, including creative business cards that could do well in the real world. “You learn everyday things that you’ll actually use,” said Jones, who plans to study software  engineering after high school. For Mistretta, who plans to study business management in college, the program has showed him how interconnected these disciplines can be. “It shows you how business affects everything  around you and how often these skills are used,” he said, noting that the three departments frequently work together. “I also like the competition aspect,” he added, explaining that projects such as the virtual enterprise have helped him learn how to go above and beyond — a trait future employers will look for.  

These seniors have all taken advantage of the CTE programs and are career-oriented as a result. They also explained how the program has helped them apply these skills to their after-school jobs as well. Martin sees the CTE classes as a way to learn essential life skills that are not always taught in core classes. “These are the skills they need to develop themselves before they go out into the world,” she said. For her culinary students, it’s also a way to be prepared for the future. “They have a head start on learning how to take care of themselves in college, so they aren’t eating junk and fast food all thetime.” Regardless of their future paths, Martin is proud to see CTE students embracing the classes and hopes they feel a sense of pride in their work. “It can be as simple as being able to fix something that breaks in the house,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s a way for students to showcase their talents and feel successful. Our goal is to have well-rounded students leaving Bellport High School.”

(By Tara Smith, reprinted courtesy of the Long Island Advance 2/23/17)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017