• Friends Program


    OBEN Board of Education Hears About Communication and Meets Some Exceptional Students


    The Oyster Bay East Norwich Board of Education held its monthly Work Session meeting on Tuesday, June 6 at 7:30 pm in the OBHS Library. 


    Vernon Teacher Caitlin Dillon and SEPTA President Colleen Kelly were invited to the podium to speak about the After School Friends program.


    Ms. Kelly said, “Ms. Dillon and I would like to present the certificates for the After School Friends program.  In our program, students with special needs are paired up with one or two mentors and an adult facilitator.  The purpose of the program is to help the students with special needs develop and improve their social skills.


    Examples include learning to play games and activities they encounter at recess and making conversation with others. 


    Each mentor receives didactic and hands-on training in which they learn about autism and down syndrome, how to effectively mentor others and how they can be a friend to someone with special needs. 


    The program offers tremendous benefits for both the individuals with special needs and their mentors. 


    We are always amazed by the ways in which our mentors help our students with special needs learn and grow.  This group of mentors would come to my room in the morning to say hello to their friends and go personally out of their way to see us in the hallway. 


    Our peers worked with augmentative systems and token economies to help student adjust to all different situations and environments.  We were extremely impressed with their eagerness to learn to be a better mentor. 


    There is a quote we love that fits along with this group of peer mentors perfectly; ‘Don't walk in front of me — I may not follow; don't walk behind — I may not lead; walk beside me and just be my friend.’ 


    We hope each and every one of the mentors we are about to name understands the impact they’ve had on our students.


    With that we would like to call the peers up to receive their certificates.  Cole Aasheim, Jenna Cody, Sophia Dean, Anthony Fuschetto, Jonathan Goldshmitt, Cameron Ingebrigsten, Faith Lingen, Ian Lubin, Parker Meyer, Jake Nola, Marianna Panariello, Georgia Pappalardo, Mathhew Piechucki, Colin Rainey, and Luke Woodstock.


    Ms. Kelly continued with a presentation of SEPTA recognitions for the SEPTA Extra Mile and SEPTA Student of Distinction saying, “The purpose of the “extra mile” award is to recognize students who, despite various obstacles, have exhibited outstanding academic and personal growth throughout their years here at James H. Vernon.  These student has exemplified the phrase “going the extra mile” and have impressed faculty and peers alike with her resilience, persistence and growth. 




    Our first recipient is Mia Gagliardi.  It is described by her 6th grade teachers that she is an extremely hard worker (attends extra help almost daily, always follows up when she misses class for a band lesson, or services).  She also always thinks of others often by offering to help classmates catch up on work or organize their locker.  Most importantly, she is willing to stick her neck out and try.  She’s not afraid to answer the tough questions in class, or contribute to a discussion.  She's an example to be followed by classmates, and demonstrates true perseverance.  I would to call up Mia Gagliardi to receive the Extra Mile award.  


    The second recipient to receive the Extra Mile award is Fergus O’Neill.  Fergus walks in each morning with the biggest smile on his face that lights up the classroom.  He’s always willing to help out a friend or teacher and always makes an effort to make someone smile.  Despite obstacles Fergus always worked hard and never gave up.  Fergus has left an everlasting impression in my heart that will always remind me of his perseverance and his tenacity to learn.  With saying all that I would like to call up Fergus O’Neill to receive the Extra mile award. 


    Extra Mile


    At this time, I would like to recognize other students who have gone the extra mile.  These young people have consistently shown a willingness to reach out to their fellow classmates both as friends and mentors.  Their ability to connect with others in a kind and caring way truly demonstrates going the “extra Mile”.  These important relationships that are forged cannot be understated- they can be life-changing.  Cole Aishem, Jenna Cody and Riley Ford have displayed this incredible gift each and every day. 


    Extra Mile


    So, for making other students lives a little richer and full, these incredible students deserve to be recognized.  Our students of distinction are Cole Asheim, Jenna Cody, and Riley Ford.”  


    James H. Vernon School Principal Dr. Valerie Vacchio and Vernon Teacher John Youngs presented the National Current Events League Award to Jaiya Chetram.  This award is given to the student who shows aptitude for current events and an understanding for the world around him or her.  During the course of the school year, the students study current events and participate in four current event challenges with other schools around the country.  This year, Jaiya was the sixth grade high scorer.


    Current Events Champ


    Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Dr. Lisa Mulhall and Dr. Seinfeld updated the Board and community on communication with families.


    The Board approved the hiring of a new Music Teacher, Ms. Brenda Murphy, who will assume the position at the Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School vacated by Meagan Finnerty, who will be teaching at Oyster Bay High School full time starting in September.


    The next Board of Education meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 20 at 7:30 pm in the OBHS Library.  All are welcome.







    Dr. Mulhall’s Communications Presentation