The Island Trees Board of Education bid farewell to the 2011-12 school year and to some of their most respected educators Wednesday evening.
Peter Gibbons, Director of Music and Fine Arts, Jean Ryan, Director of Reading and Assistant Principal at Stokes Elementary School, and Susan Kelly, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, are taking the next step of their lives into retirement.
"Each one of these individuals played an important role in our district and each of them will be missed," said J. Fred Sparke Principal Penny Fisher.
"On behalf of the Island Trees community and especially the principals and administrators, we want to thank you for lifting our vision, raising our performance, touching our hearts, inspiring us to dream, learn, do and become more. We are better for having known and worked with you," Fisher said.
Also honored at Wednesday's meeting were two dozen science enrichment students from Island Trees Memorial Middle School whose group projects earned them high rankings in various competitions.
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"The Smart Kids" Anthony Muscarello, Matthew Jorgensen, Brian Choi and Bryan Cordova, were honored for their first place slot in the eCYBERMISSION Competition for their project on a filter that prevents garbage and debris from passing into sewer drains.
Four middle school teams were named as semi-finalists in the Christopher Colombus Awards for their various creations. "The Alphas" Sarah Gonzalez, Kasey Friedenreich, Niha Chowdhury and Marie Chavez, designed an alarm that sets when a candle tips over. "Squirmy Wormies" Kayla Strong, Alina Stoita and Kim Weisdorfer, designed a compact garden at the district's middle school.
"Team Infinty" Collin Skelly, Vincent Simonetti, Louis Pisano and Eugene Goh presented a texting and driving program to high school students and "LI Bulldogs" Kamran Hussein, Andrew Stubenrauch, Frank Lisa and Anthony Giambona created a stove top burner that can shut off on a timer.
Earning a slot in the finals amongst just six other teams in Orlando, Florida were the "The Handy Cans" made up of Alesha Ali, Troy Veritzan, John Jeannetti and Michael Henken, who created a remote control garbage can for individuals who are physically challenged.
"Although they didn't win first place, they represented Island Trees with dignity, respect and character," Middle School Principal Roger Bloom said of "The Handy Cans." "We are proud of their accomplishments."
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Charles Murphy congratulated all participants.
"We really appreciate your hard work and how you represent our school," he said.
Board of Education Patricia Mahon concluded the meeting by thanking residents for a successful school year and wishing all a healthy and safe summer.