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Southold BOE shines light on students’ accomplishments

‘Tis the season not just for holiday preparations and gifts, but for celebrating the accomplishments of students at Southold High School.

At the board of education’s monthly meeting Wednesday, Southold School Superintendent David Gamberg expressed expressed gratitude for the district’s talented students.

Southold’s Athletic Director Michael Brostowski recognized two of the district’s varsity teams, boys varsity soccer and boys varsity cross country, both of whom won county championships; both are also scholar athlete teams, earning grades of over 90 across the board. The boys varsity soccer team atheletes were the Suffolk County Class C Champions in 2014; the varsity boys cross country team won the Suffolk County Class D Champions title in 2012 and 2014. Brostowski also recognized the teams’ “extremely talented and passionate athletic directors”, Southold’s varsity boys soccer coach Andrew Sadowski and boys varsity cross country coach Karl Himmelmann.

Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski turned out and presented each of the boys on both teams with citations from Suffolk County, shaking their hands and congratulating them not only for their accomplishments on the field, but in the classroom with their high grades.

Next, Southold High School student Juliane Van Gorden, a talented artist whose work was on display in the district auditorium, as well as art teacher Daniel Gosnell, spoke to the BOE.

Gosnell explained how he’d started the year with drawing foundation classes, teaching students how to draw features, pencil portraits, watercolors, and soon, will venture into acrylics and oil painting. Explaining how he motivates his students, Gosnell said, “It’s like the Energizer Bunny method. You give them a lot of information and energy and then just stand back and watch and help. I’m very proud of them.”

Juliane, who is planning to study art in college and is considering Pratt, FIT, Parsons: The New School and SCAD in Georgia, said she’s been taking classes in New York City on the weekends. At first, coming from a small town to the “big city”, she said at first, “I was expecting to be at the bottom.” But, instead, she said, “A lot of kids were impressed and my professor was excited to review my portfolio. Mr. Gosnell, from a small school, with only a few electives, including art, taught me more than the bigger schools that offer a surplus number of these classes.”

Gamberg said the story touched him; art has a special place in his heart, he said. As a young man he attend the High School of Art and Design in New York. “I had to take the subway from Queens with a portfolio to take a drawing test.” He added, “The point you make about having a special rapport in a small district with a teacher is very valuable. If you take advantage of what you have, which other students should, you’ll see the tremendous opportunities you have. Even though we may not have lots and lots of classes, the classes you do have,” he said, are first rate.

Gosnell, he said, was his first hire as superintendent, and “the right choice.” He added, “It’s just so heartwarming for me to be here tonight and be the superintendent of a district with so much going on. There’s a lot happening in the world today that’s not so positive but all you have to do is look around here and listen to the accolades of teachers about our students and you can’t help but smile.”

Board of education member Judi Fouchet said she loves the December meeting each year. “We’ve gotten into such a groove, and all the good things are happening. It’s a happy time. All the wonderful things that are happening in the school just seem to be in the forefront.”

Van Gorden, she said, “brought me to tears. She really gets the whole concept of the size of the high school we are, the pros and cons, and how to make it work. To hear her say what she said about feeling more prepared than students with more electives says to me that we are doing something right, by holding on to these things in our district, our school, and our community. It’s a good time to be in Southold.”

BOE presidnet Paulette Ofrias added that the elementary school students had made ornaments to adorn the trees in the Southold business district. “It shows how the business district works with our school, and how we appreciate one another,” she said, thanking Krupski for taking the time to come and congratulate each athlete personally.

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