Fifth Grade Student Soon-to-be Second Time Author


Christopher Ford may only be turning 11, but he is already an accomplished author with a big heart and a long list of goals.  “I want to be a whole lot of things,” he said. “First a football player … then eventually, president.”

After publishing his first children’s book at the end of third grade, “Mr. Mustache Goes to the Circus,” the now fifth-grader at Frank P. Long Intermediate School is developing his second book in the Mr. Mustache series. 

“It took me a few years to write,” he said.  “It’s about a young man named Mr. Mustache and he likes to explore … so when the circus came to town, he wanted to see it.” Mr. Mustache eventually joins the circus, but realizes he isn’t good at it, Ford stated as he held up his colorfully illustrated book. “Then he realized at the end that he just had to be himself, and that’s all that mattered.”

Ford's parents, Elisa and Jim Ford, were with their son from the beginning and encouraged him to bring his ideas of Mr. Mustache to life.  “He was writing on a big yellow pad and he had page after page … pictures, everything,” his mother said. “So that’s when I told my husband to start filing all of it online.” The father-and-son duo began researching publishers and were quickly picked up by Archway Publishing. Although Christopher drew the entire concept art himself, which was essentially a stick figure sporting an antenna, he decided to outsource the illustrator online.

The family is hoping to have his second book out by the end of this school year, so fans can read about Mr. Mustache’s growing family. “It’s about Mr. Mustache and how he is going to get a puppy … it’s going to be a schnauzer,” he disclosed. “He’s going to have a mustache, too.”
The books are available online only and in sparse stores across the U.S., but that doesn’t stop the soon-to-be middle school student from sharing it with his friends to read. 

On Feb. 28, Christopher will participate in the Parent University workshop at Kreamer Street Elementary School. Starting at 5:30 p.m., the young author will be signing copies of his book for families in attendance. Half of the proceeds for each book will go towards fighting illiteracy, a topic he finds concerning. “He donated books to the library and to his teachers,” said his mother.

The karate black belt and track-running, book-loving, football-playing Cub Scout and student tutor knows that being sincere is the first rule and will always hold the door open for a group of strangers. “You can teach manners and helping others,” she added, “But you can’t teach being genuine and you can’t teach integrity… you’re just born that way.”  “I think he’s a role model for other students,” said Regina Hunt, South Country School District Board of Education trustee. “He just wants to help other kids.”

Christopher thought long and hard when he came up with the concept for the Mr. Mustache franchise, by even including a “Where’s Waldo?” type of game within its pages. “He said, ‘I don’t want kids to be done when they’re finished reading it … I want them to want to read it again and again and again,’” explained his father.  “We have mustaches hidden on each page,” Christopher added. “We challenge you to find all of them.” 

“At Frank P. Long Intermediate School, he serves as an active member, contributing to the fabric of success within the school community,” said principal Stefanie Rucinski. “He is kind and caring to others and accepts everyone regardless of their differences. Chris is one of many who exemplifies excellence in the South Country Central School District.”

The young author’s success comes from the help of his parents and his own business-savvy mind. At 5 years old, he created his own branding trademark, CF Productions, which also holds the name of his personal website.  When asked for any insight, the 10-year-old mini-businessman said that anyone can write a book, and compared creating a literary work to a game of Othello — all one needs is a strategic plan. With a dozen book ideas, a published work and a sequel currently in production, Christopher is nothing but happy.

“Make sure you put your mind to it and put your ideas on paper first so you can work off of it,” he said. “It makes me feel like so proud of myself because it came from such a big dream to write a book.”

 (reprinted courtesy of Long Island Advance)


Lending Library Open for Business in Cluster A

Lending Library Open for Business in Cluster A
Lending Library Open for Business in Cluster A 2
Sharing their love of reading, Frank P. Long Intermediate School teachers Mary Pettit, Trish Gallina, Tony Giresi, Laura Heaton and Nick Paolillo worked together to create a "Lending Library" for 5th Grade students in Cluster A. Stocked with books donated from "The Book Fairies", a Long Island based non-profit organization, the library aims to foster literacy by inspiring and cultivating a love of reading among students. The library is maintained by the students themselves, who are free to both borrow and donate their own books to the collection. They ensure the success of the program by making sure it runs smoothly and offering new features to keep kids motivated. Book requests, book reviews and book raffles are among the features added since the program began.

Pictured above left to right are....
Bryelle Reid, Brian Suarez, Taylor Macioce, James Voher

New Parent Technology Workshops - Family Engagement Center

Click here to view the upcoming Parent Technology Workshops at Family Engagement Center.  

"Beyond Just Say No"

The Family Engagement Center is sponsoring Stony Brook Children’s Hospital’s, Adolescent Medicine Physician, Zachary Jacobs, DO in a conversation on how to really help your children control their impulses and understand the risks and consequences of their decisions on Monday, March 13, 2017, 6:30 to 7:30 pm.  Click on the links below for more information. 


BMS Cancer Research Fundraiser Sets New Record

Pictured 1st row: Angie Gomez, Madison Peters, Emily Zahralban.  2nd row:  Kaylee Thatcher, Annie Mezzatesta, Karli Monsell, Isabella Gascon, Grace Mezzatesta, Row 3:   Stuco Advisor Mr. DiPuma, Jack Armann, Cassidy Solina, Michaela Lyons, Mitchell Mordente, Isabella Banellis, Dr. Colson, Principal.
Pictured 1st row: Angie Gomez, Madison Peters, Emily Zahralban. 2nd row: Kaylee Thatcher, Annie Mezzatesta, Karli Monsell, Isabella Gascon, Grace Mezzatesta, Row 3: Stuco Advisor Mr. DiPuma, Jack Armann, Cassidy Solina, Michaela Lyons, Mitchell Mordente, Isabella Banellis, Dr. Colson, Principal.
The Bellport Middle School Student Council concluded its third consecutive “Penny Wars” for Cancer Research. The school engaged in a month long competition this January, in which the sixth, seventh and eighth grade students battled it out to see which grade could win the most points while raising money for cancer research.  Cassidy Solina, 8th grade Student Council Representative, said “We all know someone who has been affected by this terrible disease and remembering those people helped push us to beat the goal.” This year the council set the goal to beat the $3,010 record that was set last year.  The faculty and students set out to do exactly that.  The success of this fundraiser was supported by many of the staff members helping to cheerlead and coordinate the students' enthusiasm.  Other students took to collecting outside of local supermarkets to help increase their collection.  In the end, Bellport Middle School collected $3,800, which will go directly to Johns Hopkins University for Cancer Research.  
Bellport Middle School Student Council advisor, Mr. Di Puma, said that he is truly grateful for the collective efforts of the Bellport faculty, staff and students.  He stated that he is continually inspired by the charitable nature of the Middle School and the amazing feats that the faculty, students and staff continue to accomplish on a daily basis.    

Brookhaven Visiting Artist Program

Pictured are Artist Lorena Salcedo-Watson & Kindergarten Student Kaiya Griffin
Pictured are Artist Lorena Salcedo-Watson & Kindergarten Student Kaiya Griffin
During the week of January 9th , local artist Lorena Salcedo-Watson spent a week at Brookhaven Elementary School working with art teacher, Michelle Procida and her students.  As part of a program funded by the South Country Education Foundation, Ms. Salcedo-Watson collaborated with students in the art room, exploring line, shape, texture, and color in nature’s treasures. They created original works of art and afterwards completed a paper  reflecting on their experience. 

Ms. Salcedo-Watson also prepared a school wide collage with drawings contributed from students and staff.  The collage is on display in the Brookhaven Elementary School lobby.  Staff and students are grateful to both Ms. Salcedo-Watson and the South Country Education Foundation for their support in providing this wonderful opportunity.  

Bellport Middle School's "Seussical Jr."


The cast and crew of the Bellport Middle School’s musical recently put on an amazing and magical performance of “Seussical Jr.”   The story intertwines numerous books from one of the best known children’s author, Dr. Seuss.  Students worked very hard, meeting 4-5 days a week, 2-3 hours each day rehearsing, singing, dancing, and acting.  

In addition to the wonderful performances, special thanks goes out to the team behind the scenes, including Mr. Sean Austin our Producer, Set Designer and PR person, Ms. Nicolette Clock, Stage Manager and Assistant Producer, Mrs. Melinda Link our Props Designer, Mrs. Cynthia Pfister our Costume Designer, Ms. Oya Bangura our Choreographer, Mr. Joseph Skelly our Lighting Designer and Ms. Michelle Stiriz our Director and Vocal Instructor.  

“The entire cast and crew of Seussical Jr. formed a family bond and everlasting friendships through their experience during the play season, which lasts from September to January.  The team effort that takes place throughout our time together is incredible, and we are looking forward to our time together next year” said Mrs. Stiriz.  Congratulations to all staff, cast and crew of Seussical Jr. for another successful Bellport Middle School Musical season!



Board Honors Girls Volleyball League Champions


The High School Girls Volleyball Team was recently honored by the Board of Education for an outstanding season as undefeated, League Champions. Coach Larry Auth praised the team for their hard work, attributing their success to their steadfast dedication to both the sport and to each other, on and off court.

Pictured left to right are:   Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani, team members Juliann Posch, Courtney Kane, Jenna Monsell, Arielle Lane, Coach Larry Auth and BOE Vice President Allison Stines.


Pre-K & Kindergarten Registration Information - 2017-2018 School Year

Pre-K and Kindergarten Registration for students who will be entering the district in September of 2017 will be held at the Central Registration Office from March 1st to March 30th 2017.  Click here for information

Register Now for Upcoming Parent University Workshops 2/28/17

Come and learn new strategies that your child is experiencing in school to assist your child with homework at home. Most workshops will be conducted by SCCSD teachers and each workshop will last for fifty minutes.  Visit the Parent University Page for additional information. 


Evening of Excellence & 60th Anniversary Celebration


The District celebrated its 60th Anniversary and recognized the accomplishments of our students at an Evening of Excellence at the Bellport Middle School on Wednesday, January 18th.  Guests were treated to musical performances, artwork and speakers from each of our schools, culminating with refreshments prepared by our culinary students and a performance from our Robotics Club.  A special thank you to all of our students, faculty and staff members who truly made it an outstanding "Evening of Excellence". 



South Country Community Leadership Network Extreme Yard Spring Clean Up

We're looking for yards!  The South Country Community Leadership Network (SCCLN) is organizing the 3rd AnnualFREE Spring Front Yard Clean Up for a select number of homes deserving of a little TLC in the South Country Community.  Please click on the document below for details.  Information must be sent in by April 1, 2017:

Bellport Village Board Recognizes Girls Volleyball and Boys Cross Country

Board Recognizes Girls Volleyball and Boys Cross Country
Mayor Fell and the village board recognized the Bellport High School girls volleyball and boys cross country teams for an undefeated season in their league. Pictured is Coach Larry Auth with members of his undefeated volleyball team. (courtesy of Long Island Advance 12/22/16)

Christmas in a Shoebox

Bellport High School's Student Council packed over 100 shoeboxes for their annual "Christmas in a Shoebox" campaign. In its 12th year at the High School, the program provides shoeboxes filled with toys and goodies to children in need.

(pictured are Student Council Advisor Ellen Hoffman and the Student Council Executive Officers)

BHS Students Participate in Women in Science Engineering (WISE) Program


Getting girls involved in math and science is a key part of today’s education, locally and throughout the U.S.  Much of those efforts have to do with instilling a new mode of thinking among female students. Educators have come to realize that girls, aside from simply being enrolled in math and science classes, need to understand that they have the potential to succeed, just like their male counterparts.

A program introduced this year at the Bellport High School is looking to do just that.  Women in Science Engineering (WISE) is run by Stony Brook University for high school students across the island. It gives girls a more hands-on experience working in the math and science fields. Students enrolled in WISE are invited to the Stony Brook campus 20 times a year for three years. Stony Brook graduate students and faculty serve as mentors to the teenagers.

“It is important for [the students] to have mentors who look like them, so that they can say ‘it’s possible,” said Veronique Bailey, South Country School District’s STEM Director. “It’s not just guys. This is not what a scientist looks like. A scientist looks like you.”

There are currently 10 Bellport students participating in the 23-year-old program, which has invited eight schools to participate this year.  Rebekah Ofori, one of those students, said the opportunity to interact with “amazing and inspirational women in this field,” was a big factor in her deciding to enroll.  “I hope that this is an unforgettable experience that I will take with me throughout my life,” she said.

The girls were chosen based on strong math and science grades, since WISE focuses on applying knowledge students already have — rather than teaching concepts.  “We had dozens of girls that were qualified and interested, not to mention girls that maybe weren’t so strong in math and science,” said Bailey. The 10 girls were chosen on a first-come, first-served basis after invitations were sent to those with qualifying grades.

Bailey has worked in the South Country school district for two years. Her main goal is to provide as many opportunities as possible for all students looking to work hands on in what’s called the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and math.  The students in the WISE program are currently working on civil engineering projects, which include exploring ways to cleanse water and structure a building. Through projects like bridge building, the girls use both real materials and computers.  “I have been thinking about becoming an environmental engineer and I believe the WISE Program will be a great experience for me,” said Chiara Scharpf, another WISE participant.

The large interest in WISE shows Bailey that there is a need for even more opportunities for her students to explore STEM more deeply. For Bailey, STEM is more than just “science, technology, engineering, math … it’s really just about looking at problems in the real world and solving them, using what you know to figure out a problem,” she said.  “By the end of the program … I hope that the information I gained will be of tremendous help not only in school, but also my outside life,” said Megan Berja, another WISE participant.

“If we don’t have girls or women at the table, then our interests are not being heard,” Bailey added. “It’s really important that our young ladies or underrepresented minorities are at the table to share their needs and come up with solutions that support all groups.”

(by Michael White, reprinted courtesy of

Click here for more information from

Internet Safety Presentation at Bellport HS

Detective Rory Forrestal, an expert in the field of Internet and computer crimes, recently visited Bellport High School to talk to our freshmen and sophomore students about the dangers and consequences of social media. He informed the students about the laws regarding photos posted and shared, sexting, and cyberbullying. His message to students was to "think before you click" and to protect themselves. The Suffolk County Police Department will return in the spring for an informational presentation specifically targeted for parents and guardians.
Friday, February 24, 2017