Miller Place Students Finalists in Ayn Rand Essay Contest

Miller Place School District is thrilled to announce the success of two students—James McCarthy and Kylie Mistretta—who were named finalists in the 2018 Ayn Rand Essay Contest. Finalist James and Semi-finalist Kylie each submitted essays through their English Honors Class. Mr. Zeltman, English Honors teacher at MPHS, was overjoyed to discover that Kylie and James were both selected as finalists.

“Every day our students surprise us with their incredible talent. James and Kylie are two truly talented scholars,” said Dr. Marianne Cartisano, superintendent of the Miller Place School District. “They truly represent what the District strives to emulate day in and day out, working tirelessly to prove their ability not only to themselves but to their peers and community.”

Aside from his passion for writing, Jake enjoys learning about history and has plans to continue onto higher education after high school, majoring in journalism. Outside of school, James can be found fencing.

Kylie has always had a passion for reading as well as writing. She enjoys reading adventure stories the most. Kylie entered a poetry contest in this year’s English class, and recently found out that she is being published in Creative Communications Magazine. Aside from her schoolwork, she is in the Miller Place High School Service Club and enjoys archery as a hobby. Kylie has been on the Varsity Soccer Team for two years and is also involved with the Stony Brook Travel Team.

For over 30 years, the Ayn Rand Institute has held essay contests for students all over the world. The contest is in honor of writer and philosopher Ayn Rand, who defected from Russia during the Communist Era. The 2018 Ayn Rand Essay Contest received over a thousand student entries world-wide.

For more information about the Miller Place School District, please visit the District’s website at

NCRMS Students Buzz About Geography

The Miller Place School District is celebrating the success of three notable students—Christopher Barton, Michael Drago and Sofia Wyllie—from North Country Road Middle School (NCRMS) who recently competed for the National Geographic GeoBee competition. The academic competition, held annually, is designed to promote geographic knowledge among young people in the United States.

North Country Road’s winners—Christopher Barton, 1st place; Michael Drago, 2nd place; and Sofia Wylli, 3rd place—were ranked as the building’s highest scorers for this year’s competition. The National Geographic GeoBee includes three levels of competition: school, state and national. The school’s champion—Christopher—then takes a proctored online qualifying exam for the state level and the top 100 ranked students in each state are chosen to represent their school. State champions then travel to national Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., to compete in the national championship.

The contest aims to encourage teachers to include geography in their classrooms, inspire and reward students’ curiosity about the world, and increase public awareness about geography. Students compete for a chance to win college scholarships and the glory of being the National Geographic GeoBee Champion.

For more information about the Miller Place School District, please visit the District’s website

MPHS Hosts its 2nd Annual STEAM Night

Miller Place School District (MPSD) recently held its second annual STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) Night. Hosted by North Country Road Middle School, more than 130 students participated in a multitude of engaging and stimulating events. Students collaborated with many of their peers as they harnessed their creativity and knowledge to design their own original inventions and experiments.

“STEAM night allows students to be innovators, while increasing skill and knowledgeability,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marianne F. Cartisano. “The District’s STEAM initiatives provide an increasingly diverse education and encourages our students to utilize their imagination in a hands-on way. During events like STEAM night, students have the opportunity to gauge their interest and capability in subjects that are constantly evolving in society today.”

Students in grades six through eight participated in interactive workshops that explored several elements of STEAM including fundamental game and coding concepts for video game coding, food science experiments, mobile planetariums that explored star lifecycles and blackholes, and Rube Goldberg Machines. These engaging activities allowed students to explore their interests and hobbies in a unique educational environment.

STEAM night was held at the Expo Center, put on by teachers of North Country Road Middle School, TESLA Science Center, LI Science Center, Microsoft, Brookhaven National Lab, Stony Brook Innovation Lab and Stony Brook Grads and Educational Outreach. There were two, 45-minute sessions, allowing each student to choose from two activities. The maximum number of participants for each activity ranged from 10 to 30. Students and parents from North Country Road Middle School were invited to participate.

For more information about the Miller Place School District, please visit the District’s website at

Panthers Prepare for AP Exams

While high school students throughout the nation are reviewing notes and practice exams to prepare for upcoming Advanced Placement exams, students at Miller Place High School (MPHS) are taking a unique approach. Students currently enrolled in the District’s AP Biology course recently explored Stony Brook University’s Biotechnology Teaching Lab to interact with professional scientists and explore modern technology that utilizes biological systems.

The aspiring biologists explored extensive research in genetic engineering, including the CRISPR technique. While completing labs, students learned how to use the unique equipment involved in biotechnology education like centrifuges, chillettes, micropipettes, and vortex shakers to complete their lab. Kalliopi Gasparis, AP Biology student at MPHS, said she “felt like a professional scientist” during her day at Stony Brook University.

Students worked with two different restriction enzymes and learned how these enzymes cleave or cut DNA, how to use and prepare a gel using gel electrophoresis and how to change the genotype of Escherichia coli (E.coli) by transformation. Following the labs, students ventured through the student union to have lunch for an inside look at the university.

Advanced Placement is an academic program that provides high school students with college-level rigor while still in high school. Students are eligible to earn college credit or advanced standing by achieving a score of 3 (out of 5) or higher on AP course exams. The Miller Place School District aims to set its students up for a successful future and secondary education by offering several opportunities to study subjects in greater depth and offer experiences that broaden their horizons, thus providing them with new insights into their own skills and interests.

Miller Place Musicians Take their Talents Abroad

Last summer, three of Miller Place High School’s musicians—Larry Davis, William Dunlop and Zoe Bussewitz—took their talents overseas on a two-week European concert tour with the Nassau and Suffolk Chapter of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra. These three musicians were among 70 students from Nassau and Suffolk selected to perform in this ensemble that performed throughout Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Vienna, and Budapest.

Larry Davis, who plays the French horn, is a member of the MPHS Symphonic Band and Jazz Band. Throughout Larry’s musical career, he has participated in the Suffolk County Music Educators Association (SCMEA) and is an active member of the Nassau/Suffolk Jazz Ensemble. Larry is considering pursuing a minor in music when he reaches college.

William Dunlop, a member of the MPHS Symphonic and Jazz Band and Zoe Bussewitz, member of the MPHS Orchestra, are also notable participants of SCMEA. Aside from their musical endeavors in school, William is a member of the Suffolk County Boy Scouts and Zoe is a member of the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County. Zoe is also involved in the drama club, student government and the MPHS Gay-Straight Alliance group.

Exploring New Languages

North Country Road Middle School’s sixth grade students ventured on a journey around the world to explore course offerings with members of the Miller Place High School Foreign Language National Honor Society (FLNHS).

As part of the District’s efforts to create a deeper understanding of and appreciation for humanity and culture, at the end of sixth grade students are required to select one of three languages—Spanish, French or Italian—to pursue throughout the seventh grade. In an effort to prepare the young students as they begin their course selections, members of the FLNHS led in-depth presentations, detailing various aspects of what each language course offers, such as the study of basic vocabulary and the food and other traditions of the culture. Miller Place’s sixth graders gained valuable knowledge about what each language option entails, providing them with a solid foundation to begin their cultural education and confidence as they finalize their schedules for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Digging Up the Past

Miller Place students in fourth grade at Laddie A. Decker Sound Beach School explored Native American culture after transforming the elementary school into a temporary Native American museum. Each class in the fourth grade attended an Eastern Woodlands full-day workshop program which included a museum presentation, traditional stories and games, crafts, singing and dancing, and much more. Students were given the opportunity to help lead the group with the speaker in the demonstration and storytelling portions of the day. Students even got up close and personal with replica Native American artifacts.

The event was designed to be an interactive way to educate students on American origins and the value of understanding diverse cultures. LADSBS’s students enjoyed switching up their daily routine to learn about Native American history in a nontraditional classroom setting.

For more information about the Miller Place School District, please visit the District’s website:

Novels to Multimedia “Glogs”

North Country Road Middle School’s seventh graders in the Miller Place School District recently took historical fiction novels to the next level by creating “glogs,” or multimedia presentations aimed at enticing fellow students to check out the book they read. Students utilized a user-friendly visual platform, Glogster, to generate their presentations using combinations of text, images, and video, with audio creating an interactive canvas. After reading a historical fiction novel of their choice, students tapped into their creativity by organizing images, text boxes, and personal voice recordings to produce an appealing book trailer for others to enjoy. Students then uploaded their presentations to the Glogster site and anxiously waited to see how many views their glogs generated from fellow students, friends, and family.

For more information about the Miller Place School District, please visit the District’s website at www.millerplace.k12.ny.usand ‘like’ our Facebook page: @MillerPlaceSchoolDistrict.

Miller Place Students Talk Business

Miller Place School District is proud to acknowledge eleven students from Miller Place High School who recently placed in the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) District 1S competition at Hofstra University. The Panthers ranked in both written and performance events including job interviews, public speaking, accounting, business communication, word processing, advertising,introduction to business, business calculations, and sports marketing.

“We are excited to recognize these nine dedicated students who worked tirelessly to conduct themselves with high academic and professional standards,” said Dr. Marianne Cartisano, Superintendent of Miller Place School District. “The valiant effort our students put in to excel in this program is admirable and we are incredibly proud of how they continue to represent the District as our entrepreneurs and business professionals of tomorrow.”

FBLA inspires and prepares students to become community-minded business leaders in a global society through relevant career preparation and leadership experiences. FBLA is the largest career student business organization in the world and assists more than 230,000 students prepare for careers in business. FBLA competitions recognize and reward student excellence in a broad range of business and career-related areas.

For more information about the Miller Place School District, please visit the District’s website at To read more about the great things happening in Miller Place schools, and ‘like’ our Facebook page: @MillerPlaceSchoolDistrict.

Winners for Performance:

LoriBeth Sussman 2nd Place in Job Interview

Joseph Bisiani 4th Place in Public Speaking II

Winners for Written Events:

Nicholas Follo 1st Place in Accounting I

Justyn Baldeo 1st Place in Business Communication

Sarah Cuccinello 1st Place in Word Processing

Cadence Masino 1st Place in Word Processing

Alexis Franzoni 2nd Place in Advertising

Jodi Cui 2nd Place in Introduction to Business

Lori Beth Sussman 3rd Place in Business Calculations

Jodie Cui 3rd Place in Business Calculations

Colin Brennan 3rd Place in Sports Marketing

Miller Place’s Hometown Heroes

Jesse Pallas, fourth grader at LADSBS, and Emma Casey, eighth grader at Rocky Point Middle School and the daughter of Miller Place staff member, were recently recognized by Miller Place School District’s Superintendent, Dr. Marianne Cartisano, for their ongoing efforts to go above and beyond to help others in the local community.  

Emma, founder of Emma’s Holiday Hugs—an organization that collects new unwrapped items like books, stuffed animals with tags, puzzles, coloring books, and crayons for children at St. Charles Hospital—was inspired to “do good” in the community during the holiday season. After visiting Jesse in the hospital who was courageously battling Leukemia, Emma was touched by the realization that some children who spend holidays in the hospital don’t always have the opportunity to celebrate with gifts. Emma was determined to make a difference. Founded in 2010, Emma’s Holiday Hugs has since grown exponentially by partnering with local businesses and taking over her parent’s garage with containers filled to the brim with gifts for the local hospital. Her organization that began as a holiday initiative has since become an ongoing effort that continues throughout the year to bring toys to St. Charles Hospital on a need-be basis. Since then, Jesse has also taken the initiative to become a toy ambassador to spread smiles and share toys with others going through a similar experience as he did.

In November of this year, Emma presented Dr. Cartisano with a detailed proposal to implement her enterprise across the Rocky Point-Miller Place border and into the Miller Place School District.

“After hearing Emma express how we have the ability to turn a difficult situation and childhood illness struggles into something so great, I could not say yes fast enough,” said Dr. Cartisano.

The District worked with Emma to place several toy boxes in the District Administration building to collect supplies during the holiday season. Together, MPSD was able to fill 3 boxes of toys for Emma to share with the children’s clinic at St. Charles Hospital.

“I’ve selected Emma and Jesse as my hometown heroes because I am inspired by the rippling acts of kindness stemming from the Casey family to the Pallas family—making all of our families and friends in the community that much greater,” said Dr. Marianne Cartisano. “It’s truly a remarkable feeling to be a part of a community that strives to instill good character among our children and always lends a helping hand to others in the community.”

On behalf of MPSD and the Board of Education, Emma and Jesse were each presented with awards of recognition for their outstanding volunteer efforts and citizenship. Both individuals have stepped up to the plate to make their mark in the world by making others happy. 

For more information about the Miller Place School District, please visit the District’s website at