07/01/15 5:59am
07/01/2015 5:59 AM

We finish up our series on our area’s top students with McGann-Mercy High School’s valedictorian and salutatorian: Elison Louis and Magdalena Duda. Check out more about these outstanding achievers below:

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Elison Louis

Valedictorian

GPA: 100.36

College plans: SUNY/Stony Brook

Major: biochemistry

Fond memories: Elison, a Mastic resident, said his favorite moments from high school were just sitting at the lunch table chatting with fellow classmates.

“I made some really good friends,” he said.

High honors: Elison was named to the Principal’s List all four years of high school. He earned the New York State Department of Education Scholarship for Academic Excellence and the Congressional Merit Award. He also won the Stony Brook University Valedictorian Scholarship.

Advanced Placement scholar: Elison took several AP courses over the past two years. During his junior year, he took AP U.S. history and literature. This year, he took the exams for calculus, biology and U.S. government. He said he was least confident about the government exam going into the test, but now feels like he did “really well.”

After school: Elison played on the junior varsity tennis and basketball teams and was a member of the high school band. He was also a part of the campus ministry and the school’s Ethics and Leadership Club.

Hard worker: In addition to his extracurricular activities and junior varsity sports, Elison took a part-time job during his junior and senior years as a way to make some extra money.

Future plans: Elison is aiming to pursue a pre-med track in college. He said the decision was mostly a practical one.

“I just feel like that’d be a good option,” he said. “I didn’t want to go into college not knowing what I’d be doing.”

Parting words: “Do your homework.”

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Magdalena Duda

Salutatorian

GPA: 99.826

College plans: Pennsylvania State University

Major: biology and forensics

High achiever: Magdalena, who is from Riverhead, was on the Principal’s List all four years of high school. She also won the New York Department of Education Scholarship for Academic Excellence and a Congressional Merit Award for Academic Excellence and Outstanding Citizenship.

Founding member: Magdalena was treasurer of the National Honor Society and served as vice president and co-founder of the French National Honor Society her senior year.

Accomplished athlete: Magdalena won All League honors for varsity tennis and ran with the spring track and field team. She’s also been an All Star in cheerleading, something she’s participated in since she was 8 years old.

Future goals: Magdalena was inspired by a forensics elective class in high school to pursue a career in the field in college. She hopes to work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation someday.

Parting Words: “Literally, take every opportunity you can. Take the class. You think you’re just taking it for fun, but you might find something you really love.”

06/04/15 1:38pm
06/04/2015 1:38 PM
The McGann-Mercy Class of 2015 at Wednesday's graduation ceremony. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The McGann-Mercy Class of 2015 at Wednesday’s graduation ceremony. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The Class of 2015 at Bishop McGann-Mercy High School celebrated and said goodbye Wednesday evening during the graduation liturgy and commencement ceremony.

Valedictorian Elison Louis of Mastic and salutatorian Magdalena Duda of Riverhead addressed the student body and the school’s chaplain, Reverend Gerald Cestare, presided over the ceremony. Principal Carl Semmler and assistant principal Lisa Navarra presented academic honors and the diplomas were conferred by Bishop William Murphy.

The Class of 2015 featured students from as far east as Montauk and Greenport and as far west as Patchogue and Port Jefferson. The students received more than $12.4 million in scholarship offers; 100 percent of graduates will be pursuing post secondary studies or serving in the military, the school said.

See more photos below:

 

Meghan Bossone (left) and Adafih Blackburn (right) pose for a photo with Bishop William Murphy. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Meghan Bossone (left) and Adafih Blackburn (right) pose for a photo with Bishop William Murphy. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Bishop William Murphy gets friendly with Alyson Touhey of Pennsylvania and her 10-month-old son Killian before the graduation ceremony. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Bishop William Murphy gets friendly with Alyson Touhey of Pennsylvania and her 10-month-old son Killian before the graduation ceremony. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Valedictorian Elison Louis greets Bishop William Murphy. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Valedictorian Elison Louis greets Bishop William Murphy. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Bereket Watts of Southold flashes a warm smile for Bishop William Murphy. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Bereket Watts of Southold flashes a warm smile for Bishop William Murphy. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Jessica Marmelstein of Coram helps classmate City Le of MIller Place with her tassel. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Jessica Marmelstein of Coram helps classmate City Le of MIller Place with her tassel. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

English teacher Monique Hernandez helps Taylor Konkel of Flanders button up her gown. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

English teacher Monique Hernandez helps Taylor Konkel of Flanders button up her gown. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

01/30/15 4:15pm
01/30/2015 4:15 PM
Students and faculty were evacuated on Friday at McGann-Mercy. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Students and faculty were evacuated on Friday at McGann-Mercy. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Two weeks after local authorities responded to four threats in two days made to local schools, Riverhead police were called to yet another bomb scare at Bishop McGann-Mercy High School — and another bomb report that turned out to be false. (more…)

01/15/15 1:15pm
01/15/2015 1:15 PM
McGann-Mercy students were brought into the auditorium at Riverhead High School following a threat made against the school. (Credit; Barbaraellen Knoch)

McGann-Mercy students were brought into the auditorium at Riverhead High School following a threat made against the school. (Credit: Barbaraellen Knoch)

(UPDATE 1:30 p.m.): Bishop-McGann Mercy High School was cleared of any threat after an automated message called into the Riverhead school this morning warned of “some kind of device,” according to Riverhead police Lt. David Lessard.

Faculty staff and K-9 units from the New York State Police searched the building, Lt. Lessard said. Students who were evacuated were told to leave their backpacks outside on the high school football field and a police dog searched the bags. No threats were found, Lt. Lessard said.

As Mercy students were transported to Riverhead High School via Riverhead buses to await pickup, another threat was called into Riverhead, describing a bomb somewhere toward the front, outside the high school building.

Lt. Lessard said he wasn’t sure yet if that message was a similar automated message. Police are conducting an IT investigation to try to trace the IP address and determine if it was called from an online app, he said. An automated message sent by the school to Riverhead parents just before 1:30 p.m. said that the building was cleared and there was no threat. After-school activities for the high school were canceled, the message said.

Similar threats were called into the Southampton School District. Lt. Lessard said investigators are in contact with Southampton Village Police are unsure yet if the calls are related.

It was the second straight day a threat was called into Mercy High School.

1st Update: A threat was called into Riverhead High School just minutes after Bishop McGann-Mercy students were being transported there to await pickup following a threat at that school, Riverhead police at the scene confirmed at around 11:30 a.m.

A Riverhead offical said students were given an early dismissal at 12:30 p.m. The middle school students were expected to be dismissed at normal time.

“I’m worried and upset,” said Dawn Reiter, the mother of a Mercy sophomore, as she waited outside Riverhead High School. “If it’s a phone call, I don’t understand why they can’t trace it. I want them to close until they figure this out.”

Riverhead senior Sean O’Brien said students were scared to go back into the school as he came back from an off-campus lunch.

“This is crazy,” he said.

A third East End school district was in lockdown as well. The Southampton School District received a threat to its high school, according a message from Scott Farina, the superintendent of schools.

“The threat was not specific in date or time, but indicated would come from the outside,” the message said. “As a precautionary measure, the district’s three buildings are currently in lockout status.”

Southampton Village Police were on scene investigating and the school was still in lockdown as of 1 p.m., according to Amy Pierson, a spokeswoman for the school.

There were currently no threats to East End districts in Mattituck, Southold and Greenport.

Original Story: Students at Bishop McGann-Mercy High School were quickly evacuated out of the school this morning for the second straight day after threats were made against the Riverhead school, according to school officials.  (more…)