Oysterponds students ‘reaching for the stars’

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Oysterponds Elementary School students Brendan Syron and Jennifer Luke at a robotics workshop. The program is part of the school’s new enrichment program, ‘Reach for the Stars!’

Oysterponds Elementary School launched its “Reach for the Stars!” program this month, with local professionals holding career workshops for students each Friday afternoon during January.

Teacher Sue Poveromo started organizing the program this summer and surveyed students at the beginning of the school year to find out what types of careers they’d like to learn more about.

“They will learn so much because they’re doing what they want,” she said. “I try to find the gift in every child and then bring that out.”

Using the students’ input, Ms. Poveromo lined up insiders from a broad array of industries, including movie making, photography, jewelry design, animal care and robotics.

The professionals are on hand every Friday, each working weekly with the same group of students. The students won’t just be observing, however. They will work on final projects aimed at helping the community.

For example, after the students in a movie making workshop with Charles Squire and Jessica Spence learn how to write scripts and edit videos, they will make public service announcements to promote animal shelters and raise awareness about the homeless.

Students in Daniel Goldfarb and Holly Mastrangelo’s photography class will learn how to use a green screen to change the background in their photos and make posters that also promote animal shelters.

Creations that emerge from the jewelry and food design workshops will be sold during fundraisers for local charity groups.

Students in an animal care workshop are meeting with Southold Town police officer Frank Mele and his K9 partner Hudzin; Maureen Cullinan and chickens she raises; and Thomas Bush from Cold Blooded Playthings, who’s bringing reptiles to the school. Students will use what they learn as part of their research on how animals help the environment.

Athletic fans are learning about the importance of exercise and different sport techniques in a soccer workshop withTom Stevenson, Alison Lyne and Karen Costello. Instructor Brittany Knote is teaching students how to build robots and plans to have the older students teach what they’ve learned to younger students.

Another round of enrichment workshops is scheduled for the spring, in which additional local professionals will be on hand to share their expertise with students.

Starting Friday, Greenport chef Noah Schwartz will also be in attendance at future workshops to talk about the restaurant business.

At the conclusion of the workshops, students will be asked to fill out an evaluation form to give Ms. Poveromo feedback on the program.

For more information, visit the school’s website at

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