A Trip with Habitat for Humanity

By Ariel Richard
GUEST WRITER

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Photo via Facebook

Tommy Sullivan, a Vietnam army veteran, and his wife, Sharon, were terribly affected by Hurricane Sandy in late October 2012. Their home in Rocky Point was left in ruins and sustained a substantial amount of damage. The roof was destroyed, which caused large amounts of water to leak through. They were told that they could no longer live in their home and that there was no hope. Although several other families would have given up, Tommy and Sharon Sullivan remained faithful and had hope that they would soon return to their home.

Fortunately, Habitat for Humanity for Suffolk County rounded up more 300 volunteers to assist with renovating their home. A group of sophomores here at SCS were amongst the many other workers.

“What’s wonderful about the Habitat for Humanity Program is that the owner pitches in and helps…,” said Tommy. His wife added, “We believe in volunteering!”

The Sullivans were truly blessed by all the help they received – which was mostly from strangers!

On Friday, February 26th, they were officially given the keys to their renovated home. They held a dedication ceremony to thank all of the volunteers as well as several other army veterans.

Sharon Sullivan shared, “It takes many hands to build a house, but it takes a heart to build a home – and that is exactly what we have here.”

In preparation for the dedication, our sophomores made a “Welcome Home” basket for the Sullivan’s, as well as an emergency kit. These baskets contained plush blankets, movies, popcorn, chocolate, batteries, a flashlight, and so much more! Our goal was to welcome them back to their home with the biggest smiles on their faces. After two long years, they were finally able to return.

We were placed here on earth not only to worship the Lord, but also to bless those around us. Many of the volunteers probably were not Christians; however, they had seeds planted in their hearts. The Sullivan’s continuously thanked God for the blessings that they’ve received – and that unwavering faith is how we can show others what it means to be a Christian.

 

Elementary Concert Is A Booming Success

By Angelica Oommen
STAFF WRITER

The Symphonic Band under the direction of Mr. Boris Salgado. Photo by Angelica Oommen

The Symphonic Band under the direction of Mr. Boris Salgado. Photo by Angelica Oommen

Through much hard work by both the students and teachers, the elementary concert was a major success.

June 2nd was an exciting day for family members and SCS students alike.

The night started off with a performance by the Tambourine Ministry lead by Mrs. Nicole Kelly. The students performed a routine to accompany the song, “God’s Not Dead.”

Next was a performance by the Middle School Concert Band, led by Mr. Boris Salgado. The songs were performed with a beautiful mix of brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. They performed three songs throughout the evening: “Spania!,” “Brookpark,” and “Clash and Roar.”

Following the performance by the Concert Band was a beautiful performance by Soul Strings, the elementary orchestra, lead by Mrs. Eve Troiano. With accompanist Mrs. Kelly, the orchestra played the songs, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” “Reuben and Rachel,” “Abide With Me,” and “Arkansas Traveler.”

Senior Jordan Sanchez on piano, accompanied by 6th grader Jesse Pomé, performed a beautiful piece during the offertory, “Concerto in G Major.” The audience was moved by Sanchez’s proficient playing, and especially by Jesse, who played the viola with much adroitness.

Following the offertory, the elementary Symphonic Band took the stage and gave an energetic performance. Led by Mr. Salgado, they played the songs, “Hey Ho! Nobody’s Home,” “Skip to My Lou,” “Bells,” and “Achievement.”

Last but not least was a performance by the chorus, Rejoice!, under the direction of Mrs. Kelly. The students were accompanied by SCS alumna, Miss Grace Heaphy. She currently runs her own music school in Fort Solanga, known as Grace Music School.

The students ended the year with a great finish. Students, teachers, and families alike are all looking forward to the next concert with much anticipation.

SCS Recognizes Lieutenant Colonel Maxx Godsey at Thursday’s Chapel

By Caroline Painter
STAFF WRITER

SCS was honored to hear Lieutenant Colonel Maxx Godsey speak about his spiritual life and his time in the Marine Corps at chapel on January 15th.

He informed the students about all of the different branches of the military as well as his favorite Bible verses that relate to his time in the Marines. He specifically mentioned Ephesians 6:10-18, which encourages believers to put on the full armor God so they can stand firm in faith in all situations. He brings up this verse, because he similarly needs to put on physical armor along with his spiritual armor when going to work every day.

“I joined the military at the age of 20, because I realized I needed more direction and purpose in my life; I enlisted in 1991. I chose the Marine Corps, because I wanted to be a part of what I thought was the most disciplined and challenging of the services,” said Godsey.

Lieutenant Godsey has served for 23 consecutive years in the military since joining in 1991. He has served on bases in Spain, California, Virginia, Japan, Iowa, and Afghanistan, sometimes with his family. He is still serving on active duty, and intends to serve until at least 2016, but he may also retire in the summer of 2016.

When asked how his service has affected his spiritual walk Mr. Godsey exclaimed, “I became a Christian as a young officer in 1998, but God had been leading me to Him throughout my earlier time in the Marine Corps, and so my spiritual walk has been only positively affected by my service.”

His faith has grown in wonderful and mysterious ways according to the Will of the Lord. God has used his experiences in the Marines to draw Godsey closer to Him in so many ways. His faith has prepared him to serve God in a tough world with confidence. Godsey is able to handle hardships physically, mentally, and most importantly spiritually strong.

While being deployed for five months in Afghanistan in 2014, he did not return home at all during that time. He was able to communicate with his family and friends, however. In the Marines, five months is not considered a long period of time. His wife’s name is Laura, and he has four daughters. Elise and Ingrid are students at SCS, and his other two daughters, Moriah (7) and Anneka (5) are homeschooled.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my career! It has given me a profession, an education, travel, and adventure, and has made it possible to support my family,” said Godsey, in conclusion.

SCS thanks Lieutenant Colonel Godsey for his inspiring and touching words in chapel as well as his service in the military and service to God.

Senior Kevin Erdvig is Awarded the Honor of Playing Trumpet in the All-County Band

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Photo by Jocelyn Chatman

By Jocelyn Chatman
STAFF WRITER

Twelfth grader Kevin Erdvig recently had the honor of performing with the All County Band. Erdvig, 17, started playing the trumpet at the age of seven. His father, Pastor Roger Erdvig, taught him the basics of the instrument. They would perform duets together in front of the family and enjoyed practicing together.

He began on his track to All-County band by participating in NYSSMA in the seventh grade. Completing the highest level and receiving high scores in NYSSMA earned him an invitation to play All County band. He was selected along with the best musicians in Suffolk County. The band performed ‘Hands Across the Seat’ composed by Sousa, Othello, and many more advanced pieces.

“I was surprised at first, but I was grateful for the opportunity to participate one last time before I graduate.“ said Erdvig.

When Erdvig graduates, he hopes to attend the University of Valley Forge in Pennsylvania. He has received a music and academic scholarship. He hopes to carry on the family tradition of attending this university. He does not desire to study music in college but will participate in the band at Valley Forge. He wants to pursue a career in digital media.

“It was an exciting and humbling experience. I would like to thank my father, my music instructor Mr. Salgado, and private instructor Doug Mendocha for instilling the desire to learn and excell. “

Music Department Welcomes the Holiday Season at Its Winter Concert

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Mr. Boris Salgado directs Joyful Noise

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Mrs. Robin McCourt directs the Promise Singers

By Frank Fernandez
NEWS EDITOR

Through the efforts of students, teachers and musicians alike, the Secondary Christmas Concert was a huge success. Parents, teachers and family all gathered on December 2 at 7:30 P.M. in the Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle Sanctuary for the performances.

The concert started out with the Middle School Promise Singers lead by Mrs. Robin McCourt with a performance from Timothy Competello, Jaden Kealey, and Ayton Henreiques in the song “A Cold in My Nose” with a resounding chorus of sneezes, coughs and sniffles. After this song was “Who Would Send a Baby,” a beautiful song about Jesus being sent to redeem the world.

Next up was a performance by Joyful Noise, the high school band, lead by Mr. Boris Salgado. With the combination of flutes and saxophones, horns and trumpets, trombones and percussions, the band played a beautiful set of four different songs: “Sleigh Ride,” “Greensleeves,” “O’ Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Christmas on the Town Square” a medley of Good King Wencelas, Angels We Have Heard on High, and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. After that was the Tri M Vocal Ensemble. Tri M is a musical honor society used to recognized musical ability as well as service and academic achievement. The honor students preformed a special rendition of “Silent Night.”

During the intermission, four musicians from Heart Strings played while audience members viewed artwork in the Narthex. These musicians were Tim Smith, junior violinist, Peter Hahm, junior cellist, Daniel Hwang, junior violinist and David Hwang, sophomore violinist. Playing on the balcony in the Narthex, they serenaded the audience members as they viewed art from the students on display. Together they played “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” “My Favorite Things” and “A Sweet Petite Winter Suite.”

Following the intermission, the Promise Singers took the stage. Led by Mrs. McCourt, they sung four songs together. The first two, “A Merry Christmas Madrigal” and “Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel” were accompanied by Anna Casmass on the flute and the second two, “Candy Cane Lane” and “A Gentle Alleluia” by Peter Hahm on cello. “A Gentle Alleluia” was a blend of orchestration and vocalization with the singers performing in the part of a string section in an orchestra. After these songs, the Middle School Promise Singers joined them on stage and together they performed two more songs while accompanied by Jordan Sanchez on Violin and Andrea Jeon on piano. These songs were “Jingle Bell Dash” and “The Little Drummer Boy.”

Last but certainly not least were the Heart Strings, the high school orchestra led by Mrs. Eve Troiano. They played a very soothing mix of songs starting with the “Sweet Petite Winter Suite,” a combination of four movements each named after a seasonal food: Candy Canes, Hot Chocolate, Peppermint Bark, and Gingerbread Man. The next songs were “Christmas Time is Here,” “My Favorite Things,” and “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” The Heart Strings were joined by former student Chris Olynik on bass. Currently a music major at Queens College, Chris graduated last year and was excited to join the orchestra again.

The night concluded with Francois Saint Cyr reading the true meaning of Christmas for all, Luke 2: 8-14. The night was a huge success and everybody is looking forward expectantly toward the next one.

International Students Gather For a New Year at SCS

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Photo by Rebecca Canosa

By Frank Fernandez
NEWS EDITOR

Every year Smithtown Christian School takes in students from all around the world. This year, SCS is hosting students from South Korea and China. There are a total of the 20 international students; fourteen are from South Korea and six are from China.

Mrs. Ellen Gennaro is the ESL teacher for Smithtown Christian. She has been doing this job for the past eight years. Mrs. Gennaro was offered the position when former ESL teacher Pastor Salvatore Greco retired. As the head of the International Student department, she has two main jobs: teach English to the students and manage the incoming students by evaluating applications, supplying information, and finding and connecting willing host families for the students.

Senior Yeonji Kim, a student from South Korea, has been attending Smithtown Christian for eight years, since the fourth grade. She remembers her first year here as the most difficult.

“I couldn’t understand anyone, and I did badly in class,” says Yeonji. “I didn’t have much of the English language learned yet, so homework and essays were especially difficult. American schools are so much different than schools in Korea, so it was hard to get used to the change.” In South Korea, schools are mostly focused on listening, memorizing, and tests instead of asking questions and class participation in American schools. “Everyone here is so nice and so full of love. I’m so glad that I came here.”

“Having [international students] is a big benefit to the school,” says Mrs. Gennaro. “Everyone should get to know them and make friends. They bring a little piece of their country with them, and it’s nice to see the diffusion of cultures.”

SCS Welcomes Two New Secondary Teachers

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Photo by Jocelyn Chatman

By Grace Rotolo
FEATURES EDITOR

Smithtown Christian is very fortunate to gain two new teachers this school year.

One of them is an SCS alumnus, Mr. Michael Troche, who graduated in 2008. When he attended SCS he hated it, but he eventually grew to love it. Mr. Troche, 24, is a new English and Bible teacher who loves his time working here.

“The people here are like family and are all very welcoming and genuine,” he said.

He was a student teacher two years ago for Mrs. Katie Landry, and he also student taught ninth-grade English at William Floyd. He has a good relationship with his students, because he is closer in age with them. He said he can connect better, and he can relate more to the generation and how everything works. Also, students can feel more comfortable coming to him than someone older because they know he will understand better.

His best experience so far was when he was teaching a class in eighth-grade Bible. “Yesterday was pretty fun,” he said. “I had flipped tables in Bible class to demonstrate Jesus’ anger in the temple with the money changers and tax collectors.”

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Photo by Jocelyn Chatman

Mr. Joseph Poma, 29, is also a new teacher this year. He has been teaching high school and AP level math for six years, and he started when he was 21. Teaching at SCS is a little different for him than teaching at his previous schools. At the other school he taught at he had very close relationships with his students, and it was difficult for him to leave. However, he knew it was time for change.

He is starting to build relationships with his students, and they are slowly growing stronger each day. He loves the staff and says that everyone is easy to get along with and treats him very well. Each class that he teaches is enjoyable, and he loves his students although he is not too keen on his classroom location in G301, on the third floor where the math classrooms are located. He claims there are too many steps.

Mr. Poma is not only a new teacher, but he also was a first-year volleyball coach.

“Coaching volleyball was the best part of my day,” he said. “It’s what I looked forward to during my day, and I loved getting to know my students outside of the classroom. It was very exciting and fun for me.”

The JV girls volleyball team won four matches. He is encouraged about next year.

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Mr. Troche teaches eighth-grade Bible. Photo by Rebecca Canosa

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Mr. Poma teaches Algebra 2. Photo by Rebecca Canosa