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June 23, & 24
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June 14, 2021
June 14, 2021
Pride photo collage

Just a sticker-sized swatch of the rainbow motif can make a world of difference to some students.
Rainbows brightened Lakeland High School last week for the inaugural Pride Week, a student-run celebration of the LGBTQ community that seeks to increase visibility and acceptance.
The rainbow colors were painted in crosswalks outside of the school, displayed in paper decorations hanging from the ceiling and on posters in the hallways. They were on T-shirts and face masks, bracelets and bandanas and on heart-shaped stickers, too.
“To see rainbows in the school is life-changing for some students who aren’t accepted at home,” said Mark Barbagiovanni, an adviser to Spectrum, the school’s gay-straight alliance. “We’re celebrating these students who have never had the chance to be celebrated at this school. We hope this is a cultural shift for some students to come out, to be who they are and to feel supported and not scared.”
The week featured a daily activity and was organized by Spectrum, whose other adviser is Jessica Marrone, and SADD, or Students Against Destructive Decisions. The Pride Outside party was held on Thursday in the cafeteria courtyard, complete with music, a station to make kindness rocks and a table offering tattoos, glitter spray and bedazzling jewels. There were also informational booklets on Pride resources in the area.
“It’s a good way to induce more acceptance in the school,” said senior Kieran Reid, a member of Spectrum. “It’s fun. It’s a place where I can be myself at school. It’s great.”
Ninth grader and Spectrum club member Alex Torres said: “It makes me feel really accepted. It’s a week of saying that love is equality and love is love. People should be accepted no matter who they are, regardless of race, gender and who they like.”
Students created posters on 14 LGBTQ trailblazers including James Baldwin, Harvey Milk, Audre Lorde and Edie Windsor that were hanging outside the library.
Earlier in the week, there was a Pride photo booth set up where students could take a selfie in front of a colorful backdrop, swag like stickers and candy, and Pride kits for teachers that included a rainbow mask and information on transgender youth.
Senior Abigail Vesperman, a member of SADD who helped organize the week, was pleased to see students and faculty members participating in the week’s events.
“It’s really great to see people opening up about their own life and sexuality because they feel more supported than ever,” Abigail said. “I have friends in the community and I feel like they really felt more supported this week.”
Mr. Barbagiovanni was thrilled with the week.
“It’s a dream come true for me and for the students because nobody ever thought they would have this kind of celebration,” he said. “The students are all smiles this week. It’s been amazing.”
June 11, 2021
Panas Players is proud to virtually present THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL
Join Spongebob, Patrick, Sandy and all of their friends
The show will stream on Friday June 18th and Saturday June 19th at 7:30PM. 
To purchase follow the link below!

WP Players 2021

June 08, 2021

versión en español

Lakeland Families,    Community 6_8

Late last evening, we received official revised NYSDOH direction that masks are no longer required to be worn outside while on school grounds. This includes outdoor sports. Therefore, effective today, Tuesday, June 8, masks will no longer be required for students and staff when outdoors. Students and staff may voluntarily wear masks outdoors if they choose to. 

Please note that masks are still required on school buses and while indoors on school grounds for all students and staff. 

Have a good day.
Brendan Lyons, Ed. D.

June 04, 2021
Panas Students Offer Multicultural Tour

One of the country slides created by Italian and Spanish Honor Society students for their Multicultural Project.

In the best of times, the much-loved Multicultural Night organized by Walter Panas High School and Van Cortlandtville Elementary School takes place with throngs of elementary school children and their families coming to enjoy what the members of the high school Italian and Spanish Honor Society have to teach about the countries of the world.

Though these haven’t been the best of times, the language students have made the very best of the situation.

Under the guidance of Italian and Spanish Honor Society advisors Diana Palumbo and Fatima Elmouchtari, students created an interactive digital multicultural project that takes visitors on a virtual trip all over the world, exploring culture, food, language and more. More than 20 countries are represented with videos of fashion and music, recipes, language tips, and suggestions for best tourist destinations.

“It worked out tremendously well,” said junior Nicolette Frattellone.

Beginning in December, almost 100 Panas juniors and seniors participated and decided to take the project a step further by adding a section on Walter Panas High School to showcase the culture of the school, building on the motto, “One School, One Family.”

“We gave details about the school clubs, sports, and what we, as Panas students, represent. Kids even went into the community and wrote restaurant reviews,” said Nicolette.

“The Panas section shows how much we reach out into the community as a student body,” added Brianna Janowski, also a junior.

The students researched languages spoken around the school, including parents and grandparents, and identified 26 languages. Who knew that we had Malagalam and Twi speakers in the wider Panas community?

A group of students who gathered to talk about the project recently agreed that they missed the socializing that the traditional, in-person event offered, but they felt the digital version had its benefits.

“In some ways it was better this way,” said senior William Salerno. “It was an opportunity to be creative and do more than you could on a poster board. It lent itself to being more immersive and gave us an opportunity to take the subject in depth.”

Kirthana Sane agreed. “We can share it for years to come and it will always be there,” she said. “The project was a really good way for us to get out of our comfort zones and also to raise awareness about my culture,” she added. Together with Priya Modi and Amal Shibu, Kirthana researched North India and really did get out of her comfort zone; she and Priya performed a traditional dance in traditional dresses for the project, recording it on video.

Some other teachers and clubs joined in on the project adding to its depth. Under the guidance of Spanish teacher and UN Club advisor Bozena Sidorowicz , students created an Eating Around the World tour, for visitors to enjoy recipes from a wide range of cultures, from Italy to India and Peru to Poland.

Art teacher Staycee Vasquez designed a project around the multicultural exercise, asking students to create self-portraits that reflect their heritage. This can be seen in the project as the DNA Portrait Video.

Students didn’t necessarily research countries of their heritage. Junior Emmett Fetherston chose Trinidad and Tobago “because his parents love Calypso music,” he said. William covered Turkey, where he has friends, and included a video interview with one who lives in Istanbul

Others, like Brianna Jankowski, chose to research countries relevant to them. She researched Poland because she has a grandmother who was born there. “I was definitely able to learn a lot about my heritage that I didn’t know before.” Nicolette and Brianna Ocasio, grade 11, who both have Italian heritage, also discovered much about the country of their ancestors.

The multicultural project helps students achieve the hours of study needed to get inducted into their respective language honor societies, and it is clearly something they can all be proud of.

Heads collectively nodded as Priya observed: “In light of the COVID situation we did a really good job!” 


June 04, 2021

Lincoln Titus seeds

Second grade students at Lakeland’s Lincoln-Titus Elementary School were so caught up in their Seed Study presentation this week that the end took them by surprise: “It’s over already?” one girl in Joanna Brinn’s class exclaimed as “Miss Emily” Groth from the PNW BOCES Center for Environmental Education wrapped up the 45-minute session.  


While the students learned about seed structure and how seeds are distributed, it was also a lesson in vocabulary: embryonic, dispersal … cotyledon! They mapped out a diagram of a seed, learning the importance of clear labeling in science.


Students agreed with Miss Emily that “seeds can’t grow legs” and brainstormed ways that they get dispersed. Several students already knew about wind, water and animal dispersal but the idea of lizards helping disperse seeds was new to everyone, as was the concept of “popping” plants, like touch-me-nots.


The lesson, conducted via Zoom, was part of the BOCES Science 21 unit on Living Things: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems, and the students concluded that animals and plants work together and need each other.


“They do great programs,” Ms. Brinn said of BOCES Center for Environmental Education. Although usually conducted in person, the students were fully engaged in the Zoom presentation. Layla Nevins loved the exploding seeds, and Christian Pichardo said “I liked it, and I learned a lot of new things.” Maximilian Chiriboga agreed: “I learned the coolest facts,” he said.

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