Left to Tell: One Woman’s Traumatic Journey

By Ghessell Horam
STAFF WRITER

left-to-tell

Quote from author Immaculee Ilibagiza. Photo via Google Images.

To start, I would like to give my utmost condolences and thanks to Immaculée Ilibagiza for not only facing such atrocities but then going on to tell of it. It must have been a terribly difficult thing to go through what she did and then to recount the details of her life during the Rwandan holocaust.

 Left to Tell by Immaculée Ilibagiza, which was published in 2006 as a 214-page memoir, takes place during the Rwandan holocaust. The holocaust takes place between two ethnic groups the Hutus and the Tutsis. The Tutsis were once in power and over the years the Hutus sought vengeance. The Hutus finally rose up from up being “oppressed” and attacked the Tutsis. This was where the holocaust began. Ilibagiza’s book is a memoir of her life during the Rwandan Holocaust.This memoir tells not only of her time during this mass genocide but of her journey with God and how her faith became stronger than ever before. In the beginning of the book, Ilibagiza tells of how wonderful her childhood was growing up in the beautiful country of a Rwanda. I enjoy the fact that she tells of her background before getting into the intricacies of the story. I found it interesting to learn of her life and how it was before the holocaust. Ilibagiza makes a point to let her readers know of her early infatuation with God and how she loved everything to do with Him. For example, when she was 10 years old, Immaculée and a friend of hers at the time wanted to be nuns so they could dedicate their lives to God. As they grew older those dreams faded. Immaculée had three brothers only one of whom remained alive after the holocaust; her mother and father also perished.

It is unlikely that Ilibagiza would have survived without the kindness of her pastor and the will of the Lord. Pastor Murinzi was Hutu, making him well equipped to help Ilibagiza and the other women he hid. He hid the women in a small bathroom behind a wardrobe that was just the right size to conceal the door of the hidden bathroom.

This book is not for the faint of heart. The grief and sorrow conveyed in the words of these pages are real. The deaths and atrocities committed against these people are real. This memoir is not to tell of the horrible things done to people, but it is to tell of Ilibagiza’s path with God and how she found healing and forgiveness through Him. This story is a tale of how God can help you overcome any obstacle you feel you cannot face.

Elementary Winter Concert Leaves Family Members in Awe

By Angelica Oommen
NEWS EDITOR

concert salgado

Mr. Salgado leading the Symphonic Band. Photo via Facebook

The elementary winter concert was a major success due to the hard work and effort of students and teachers. On February 23, family members and faculty poured into the sanctuary to enjoy the sweet medleys of the students.

The night started off with a performance by the Concert Band, led by Mr. Boris Salgado. These middle school students performed three songs: “Summit March,” “At Daybreak” and “The Great Locomotive Chase,” which imitated the sounds of a train.

This year, the third grade students were invited to play their recorders at this year’s concert. Under the direction of Mrs. Nicole Kelly, the ensemble included the songs, “The Old Chuckwagon” and “Pineapples Are Juicy.”

Following this was a beautiful performance by Soul Strings, a beautiful symphony of string instruments. Led by Mrs. Eve Troiano, they played the songs: “Twinkle Twinkle,” “Carnival” and “Come Thou Fount,” with soloists Caleigh Mahoney and Madison Castro.

After a period of offertory, led by student Victoria Skyer, the Symphonic Band, led by Mr. Boris Salgado, took their places to perform. They played the songs: “Merrily We Roll Along,” “Au Claire de la Lune,” “Go Tell Aunt Rhody,” “High Adventure,” “Evening At The Symphony” and “Barnyard Bagatelle.”

Last but not least was a performance by Rejoice!, led by Mrs. Nicole Kelly. The beautiful blend of harmonies and melodies wowed the whole room. They sang the following songs: “Do-Re-Mi,” “ This Ol’ Man,” and “This Little Light of Mine,” with soloists Julia Giarratano and Jasmine Caridad.

Students, faculty, family members and friends are all looking forward to the next concert in the Spring. Many are anticipating what the students will bring to the table next.

Students, Teachers, and Parents Alike Gather for See You at the Pole

By Mary Maselli
MANAGING EDITOR

Photo by Mary Maselli

Photo by Mary Maselli

Each year students around America gather around their school’s flagpole to pray together.

This year’s See You at the Pole was much anticipated, and the great turnout proved that.

Many teachers, parents, and students came together on Wednesday, September 23rd early in the morning in an act of fellowship and prayer.

Immediately following the morning activities, all were invited inside for a pancake breakfast prepared by Mr. John Contes and hosted by Mrs. Carolyn Sanicola. All were able to unwind and prepare for the day while enjoying delicious food.

Smithtown Christian is a very fortunate place, because prayer is highly encouraged on campus.

See You at the Pole is an optional event, run by students, in many schools across America, but SCS makes a special point to include thanks in its prayer time.

Students, parents, and teachers are all encouraged to pray for the school and nation all year round, however See You at the Pole remains a highly anticipated event year after year.

Each year students around America gather around their school’s flagpole to pray together.

This year’s See You at the Pole was much anticipated, and the great turnout proved that.

Many teachers, parents, and students came together on Wednesday, September 23rd early in the morning in an act of fellowship and prayer.

Immediately following the morning activities, all were invited inside for a pancake breakfast prepared by Mr. John Contes and hosted by Mrs. Carolyn Sanicola. All were able to unwind and prepare for the day while enjoying delicious food.

Smithtown Christian is a very fortunate place, because prayer is highly encouraged on campus.

See You at the Pole is an optional event, run by students, in many schools across America, but SCS makes a special point to include thanks in its prayer time.

Students, parents, and teachers are all encouraged to pray for the school and nation all year round, however See You at the Pole remains a highly anticipated event year after year.

Commencement Ceremony Warms the Hearts of Many

By Mary Maselli
MANAGING EDITOR

Photo Courtesy of Snow Xia

Photo Courtesy of Snow Xia

The sanctuary of Smithtown Christian School was brimming with proud friends and family, on June 20, 2015 at 10 am.

The Commencement Ceremony for this year’s graduating class began with the traditional procession of students, along to “Pomp and Circumstance.”

As a body, the room recited the pledges to the American flag, Christian flag, and the Bible. Seniors Kevin Erdvig, Giordano D’Ulisse, and Christi Clinton led the pledges.

The Promise Singers, vocal ensemble, performed together a final time singing “God Bless America” with excellence.

Each senior class at SCS has two elected chaplains. This year’s chaplains are Benjamin Damon and Rebecca Giancana. Giancana shared from Psalm 16:6, declaring that Christian education has not been a hindrance, rather “we have the best advantage.” Damon, then, said a prayer over the ceremony and the graduating class.

Reverend Ruben Cruzate, father of graduate Jonathan Cruzate, performed the invocation. He shared his hopes for this class, and delivered powerful words of encouragement.

Photo by Mrs. Marisa D'Ulisse

Photo by Mrs. Marisa D’Ulisse

Reverend Gary Zarlengo, Senior Pastor at Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle then shared a formal greeting. Smithtown Christian School is a ministry of Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle.

He shared from Proverbs 4:18, encouraging “When you look up… he will always make sure the lights go on. Always look up.”

Salutatorian Leah deNyse thanked all those who have significantly impacted her life in the Salutatorian Address.

She challenged her classmates, “It is not your job to know; it is your job to do.” She used Romans 8:37’s “We are more than conquerors…” to encourage the class to succeed.

After the Salutatorian Address, SCS Superintendent, Reverend Roger Erdvig, gave the recognitions and introduction.

Then, Rev. Patrick McCarty delivered a message. Rev. McCarty is not only a pastor, but he is also the father of Joshua McCarty, a member of the graduating class. He shared from James 14 and Joshua 1:9.

His final words of encouragement were, “do not focus on a life that has you at the center of it.” God should be the center of all things.

After Rev. McCarty’s words, Mr. Buttacy (SCS Secondary Principal) declared the presentation of the Class of 2015.

Rev. Roger Erdvig and Mr. Lawrence “Larry” Anderson presented the diplomas to each senior, as families and friends looked on with pride.

Photo Via Facebook (Courtesy of Mrs. Debbie Paprocky)

Photo Via Facebook (Courtesy of Mrs. Debbie Paprocky)

Once every graduate had received his or her diploma, Benjamin Damon delivered the Valedictorian Address.

Damon’s address began with the traditional phrase, “Today is the first day of the rest of our lives.”

In his speech, Damon touched on the importance of the influences in his life. He spoke about how his family had influenced him and how SCS had influenced him individually.

He shared John 17:3 with the class, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

Ending on a lighter note, Damon asked his class if they could take a final ‘selfie’ together, as he whipped out a selfie stick from behind the podium.

With that, he said, “life begins now; make the most of it.”

Following the Valedictorian Address, Rebecca Giancana led the cap and ring ceremony, signifying the completion of the first level of education and promotion in status.

As the morning came to a close, the Promise Singers performed “Irish Blessing.” Mr. Mark Drzymala, father of graduate Matthew Drzymala, declared the benediction.

The sanctuary erupted into applause as the new high school graduates filed out to “Joyful, Joyful.” It was a memorable occasion for all.

Congratulations to SCS’ Class of 2015! God bless, and good luck.

Class of 2015

Austin Annunziato

Chelsea Bauman

Charles Bellini

Craig Buchanan

Anna Casmass

Vincent Ciaravino

Christi Clinton

Cody Collins

Jonathan Costanza

Jonathan Cruzate

Benjamin Damon

Leah deNyse

Matthew Drzymala

Giordano D’Ulisse

Kevin Erdvig

Lindsey Eugene

Christine Ferguson

Jiovani Fleurimond

George Flores

Rebecca Giancana

Ariel Gordon

Serena Huang

Joshua Hughes

Alina Iaconis

Andrea Jeon

Jane Kim

Wendy Kim

Yeonji Kim

Paul Martin

Connor McCabe

Joshua McCarty

Jonathan Mee

Elizabeth Morea

Julia Muller

Alisha Munoz

Nick Nunez

Christina Ogé

Shannon Paprocky

Victoria Paveglio

Rachel Russo

Jordan Sanchez

Dan Sardesai

Faith Schneider

Grace Tomasini

Vanessa Vetere

Hannah Visser

Tim Voisich

Halle Wias

Thomas Wicks

Snow Xia

Class of 2015 Receives Recognition at Baccalaureate Ceremony

By Mary Maselli
MANAGING EDITOR

As the Class of 2015 proceeded down the aisle, donned in their blue and white gowns, their friends and family looked on with pride and admiration.

The 2015 Baccalaureate Ceremony was held in the conference rooms, packed with friends, family, faculty and staff, all to support this year’s graduating class.

The evening began at 7:30 pm, on June 19, with a welcome by SCS principal, Mr. Anthony Buttacy, and an opening prayer by Academic Dean, Dr. Lynn Swaner. After the prayer, senior Faith Schneider performed “Thank You Jesus” beautifully.

Mrs. Marisa D'Ulisse speaking encouraging words to the senior class. Photo by Mrs. Eve Whitehorn

Mrs. Marisa D’Ulisse speaking encouraging words to the senior class. Photo by Mrs. Eve Whitehorn

Senior Seo-hyeon “Jane” Kim gave a heartwarming speech about her time at SCS. She touched on some of the aspects of SCS that made her high school experience truly unique: chapel every Thursday, Link Mentoring, and the care from each teacher. She awarded special thanks to her host family, the Erdvigs, and to all of the other people in her life she considered family: Mrs. Eve Whitehorn, Mrs. Ellen Gennaro, Mrs. Lisa Eichenlaub, and the Iaconis family. Jane met all of these people through her time at SCS, and her life has changed for the better because of them.

She advises her fellow classmates, “Never forget the importance of your family.”

After Jane’s words began the presenting of awards.

The first presenter was Dr. Lynn Swaner. She presented the Congressional Merit Award, on behalf of Congressman Lee Zeldin. This award was presented to Salutatorian Leah deNyse and Valedictorian Benjamin Damon.

SCS Alumna Grace Heaphy presented her Grace Music School Scholarship to Faith Schneider for her excellence in music. Grace Music School is in Northport, NY.

Mrs. Linda Reuter presented the next award on behalf of the P.T.O. This award is based on enthusiasm and a spirit of servant-hood. Jonathan Cruzate and Rebecca Giancana were the recipients of this award.

The SCS Chairman’s Award was presented, by Mr. Lawrence “Larry” Anderson, to Yeonji Kim for her academic excellence.

Mr. John Long presented an award in the amount of $1,000 to Christi Clinton for her efforts in the field of missions, and her plans to continue missions’ work in the future.

Mr. Joel Maus, SCS Dean of Student Life, then presented the Fenimore Family Honor Scholarship Award. This is an award in the amount of $500 per recipient for displaying honor in all activities and toward all people. This year’s recipients were Rachel Russo and Paul Martin.

Mrs. Eve Troiano, member of the SCS music department, presented Giordano D’Ulisse with the NYSCME award, in the amount of $100 for musical excellence. Jordan Sanchez received the SCMEA award in the amount of $100, also for musical excellence.

Guidance Director, Mrs. Elizabeth Anderson, presented two students the NYS Board of Regents Award(s). The first recipient was Benjamin Damon, with an award in the amount of $1,500. The second recipient was Giordano D’Ulisse, with an award in the amount of $500.

The following students received the President’s Award for Educational Excellence:

Anna Casmass

Christi Clinton

Jonathan Cruzate

Benjamin Damon

Leah deNyse

Matthew Drzymala

Giordano D’Ulisse

Kevin Erdvig

Rebecca Giancana

Serena Huang

Jane Kim

Wendy Kim

Yeonji Kim

Elizabeth Morea

Christina Ogé

Victoria Paveglio

Jordan Sanchez

The following students received the President’s Award for Educational Achievement:

Andrea Jeon

Paul Martin

Joshua McCarty

Jon Mee

Shannon Paprocky

The President’s Awards were awarded on behalf of President Obama, through a letter from him.

Next, Mrs. Carolyn Sanicola presented Excellence in Achievement awards to Jon Mee and Joshua McCarty. Mee is pursuing business with a focus in sports, and McCarty is studying next fall in Pennsylvania.

The next point in the evening was bestowing each honor society member with his or her appropriate cord(s) for commencement.

National Honor Society:

Presented by Mrs. Carolyn Sanicola

Anna Casmass

Christi Clinton

Jonathan Cruzate

Benjamin Damon

Leah deNyse

Matthew Drzymala

Giordano D’Ulisse

Kevin Erdvig

Rebecca Giancana

Serena Huang

Andrea Jeon

Jane Kim

Wendy Kim

Yeonji Kim

Christina Ogé

Jordan Sanchez

Arista (Math and Science):

Presented by Mrs. Karen McDonough

Christi Clinton

Jonathan Cruzate

Benjamin Damon

Leah deNyse

Giordano D’Ulisse

Rebecca Giancana

Andrea Jeon

Jane Kim

Wendy Kim

Yeonji Kim

Josh McCarty

Jordan Sanchez

National Spanish Honor Society:

Presented by Ms. Franshuas Rodriguez

Christi Clinton

Jonathan Cruzate

Benjamin Damon

Leah deNyse

Giordano D’Ulisse

Kevin Erdvig

George Flores

Rebecca Giancana

Christina Ogé

Victoria Paveglio

Faith Schneider

Grace Tomasini

Halle Wias

Tri-M (Music) Honor Society:

Presented by Mrs. Robin McCourt

Heartstrings (Orchestra)

Rebecca Giancana

Andrea Jeon

Wendy Kim

Shannon Paprocky

Jordan Sanchez

Joyful Noise (Concert Band)

Anna Casmass

Giordano D’Ulisse

Kevin Erdvig

Faith Schneider

Promise Singers (Vocal Ensemble)

Jonathan Costanza

Lindsey Eugene

Jiovani Fleurimond

Jane Kim

Yeonji Kim

Christina Ogé

Victoria Paveglio

Grace Tomasini

National Art Honor Society:

Presented by Mrs. Marisa D’Ulisse

Chelsea Bauman

Charles Bellini

Craig Buchanan

Christi Clinton

Jonathan Cruzate

Benjamin Damon

Giordano D’Ulisse

Leah deNyse

Kevin Erdvig

Rebecca Giancana

Serena Huang

Joshua Hughes

Alina Iaconis

Jane Kim

Wendy Kim

Yeonji Kim

Paul Martin

Elizabeth Morea

Alisha Munoz

Christina Ogé

Shannon Paprocky

Julia Muller

Victoria Paveglio

Jordan Sanchez

Grace Tomasini

Snow Xia

National English Honor Society:

Presented by Mr. Michael Troche

Chelsea Bauman

Anna Casmass

Christi Clinton

Jonathan Cruzate

Benjamin Damon

Leah deNyse

Matthew Drzymala

Kevin Erdvig

Rebecca Giancana

Wendy Kim

Yeonji Kim

2015 was the inaugural year for the Scholarship of Distinction, presented by Mrs. Karen McDonough. The Scholarship of Distinction is a $500 scholarship awarded to one student from each of the six honor societies.

Arista: Jordan Sanchez

National Honor Society: Jonathan Cruzate

Tri-M: Anna Casmass

National Art Honor Society: Elizabeth Morea

National Spanish Honor Society: Leah deNyse

National English Honor Society: Christi Clinton

Mr. Patricio Nieto took the stage next to announce the athletic awards.

Athlete of the Year was Charles Bellini, for his hard work and dedication on the boys varsity soccer and basketball teams.

Rebecca Giancana was awarded this year’s Female Scholar Athlete of the Year Award for her leadership on the girls varsity soccer team. Rebecca will be playing for Summit University in the fall.

The Male Scholar Athlete of the Year Award was presented to Benjamin Damon for his leadership and dedication on the varsity baseball team, in assisting them achieve back-to-back Class D State Championships. Benjamin will be attending Liberty University in the fall.

After the awards, senior Jonathan Cruzate shared a few words about his experience at SCS. He placed a special emphasis on the importance of Christian education, claiming, “I met God here.” He shared scripture along with personal anecdotes of his time at SCS.

“SCS fostered my desire for knowledge,” Cruzate said. He encourages his classmates to feed into that desire for knowledge as they venture into this new chapter in their lives.

Reverend Paul Russo, father of senior Rachel Russo, delivered a special message to the class of 2015. He read a letter, from him to his daughter, retelling his memories of their life. He then applied it to each senior, praying it would be a blessing to them. In his prayer over the class, he prayed that they may never lose their love for the Father, just as He has never lost His love for them.

Reverend Lawrence “Larry” Falco closed out the evening with his own words of encouragement for the class. He reflected on their times together, and he sent them off with the promise from God, “I will be with you!”

The SCS family wishes the best for the class of 2015, and is looking forward to cheering them at the Commencement Ceremony, on June 20, 2015 at 10 am.

5th Graders Advance in a Beautiful Graduation Ceremony

By Rebecca Canosa
STAFF WRITER

The joyous graduation morning began with a processional led by Mrs. Nicole Kelly, followed by the pledges and National Anthem.

Photo by Rebecca Canosa

Photo by Rebecca Canosa

Dr. Heather Lee, the SCS Elementary Principal, welcomed family and friends of the graduating fifth grade class as the ceremony began.

Photo by Rebecca Canosa

Photo by Rebecca Canosa

Pastor Anthony Vecchione, graduate Justin Cozzeti’s grandfather, led the invocation of morning and transitioned into a beautiful musical presentation by the fifth grade Soul Strings Ensemble of “Abide With Me” by Henry Francis Lyte.

Dr. Lee then presented the Presidential Awards to Joshua Sagarino, Robert Reuter, Naomi Giancana and Joanna Guo.

The fifth grade Vocal Ensemble then performed “Forever” by Kari Jobe.

Pastor Doug Jansson gave a humorous, yet wise graduation address that left the graduation class with a hopeful outlook on the future.

The presentation of the graduates and their diplomas was led by Dr. Lee., Mr. Lawrence “Larry” Anderson, and Mr. Joel Maus.

The ceremony ended with a slide show showing all of the fifth grade memories throughout the 2015 school year.

Dr. DiBlanda, father of graduate Joshua DiBlanda, said, “I thought it was extremely well organized. It honored the children in a major way, and Pastor Doug Jansson was a perfect speaker for them. He encouraged them, and it honored God by honoring the kids and showed them how special they are.”

Congratulations to the class of 2022

Dawsen Atlas

Elijah Bailey

Jessica Berner

Summer Bloom

Nigel Burnes

Sofia Cantarero

Brandon Ciarafello

Thomas Clinton

Jeffry Correa

Justin Cozzetti

Joshua DiBlanda

David Fils

Naomi Giancana

Joanna Guo
Anna Hendricks

Cade Jansson

Quiorie Johnson

Rachel Law
Kayla Lozada

Brendan Maloy

Emylicia Mejia

Samuel Nicolosi

Kayla O’Brien

Shane Oommen

Kathryn Pellegrino

Caleb Ramos

Robert Reuter

Joshua Sagarino

McKenzie Skrastins

Giacomo Spinelli

Joseph Spreckles

Thomas Swift

Liann Wilson

Class Makes Magical Memories on the Senior Trip

By Frank Fernandez
STAFF WRITER

Photo by Mrs. Marisa D'Ulisse

Photo by Mrs. Marisa D’Ulisse

Seniors pile onto the plane, eager and excited for the trip they have been waiting for the entire year. They know where they are headed, off to Disney World, the happiest place on Earth. On May 18th, the senior class of 2015 went on a trip to remember.

The trip was organized by Mrs. Carolyn Sanicola. It is through her tireless efforts to pull the event together that the trip is able to happen each and every year.

The seniors spent five days visiting each of the different parks of Disney World, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot and Animal Kingdom, enjoying all the rides each park had to offer.

“My favorite ride was Hollywood Tower of Terror where all of us rode it together, including Mrs. Sanicola,” said senior Christine Ferguson.

The forty-one seniors broke up into smaller groups, each led by a chaperone. The smaller groups of students allowed everyone to spend time with different people and make friends with people who they may not have as great of friends with before.

“I had a blast at Disney with the people in Mrs. Morales’ group,” said senior Joshua McCarty.

The trip was a massive success for the seniors, and they made memories that will last a lifetime.

Each class waits for this trip in anticipation, and next year’s trip will be no different, like all of the classes that have come before it.