Mattituck Cutchogue School District

Mattituck students show what the weather will be like in 2040

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO Supesrvisor Scott Russell (far left) with the "Weather in 2040" poster contest winners (front row from left) sixth to eighth grade winners Caleb Foley, Dane Reda, Jillian Orr, Cassidy Mullin, Dorothy Condon and not pictured Gabrielle Wahlers. Back row third grade winners (from left) Leah Weir, Thomas McGunnigle and Michael Garrett with Optimum emcee Lou Brogno Wednesday afternoon at Mattituck High School.
Supervisor Scott Russell (far left) with the “Weather in 2040” poster contest winners. Front row from left, middle school winners Caleb Foley, Dane Reda, Jillian Orr, Cassidy Mullin, and Dorothy Condon. Back row from left, third grade winners Leah Weir, Thomas McGunnigle and Michael Garrett with Optimum Community representative Lou Brogno.

A group of students was honored at Mattituck High School Jan. 14 for their participation in a poster contest that demonstrated what they think the weather will be like in 25 years.

The Weather 2040 Poster Contest, sponsored by the Weather Channel and Optimum Community, asked students in grades 3 through 8 across the tri-state area to submit posters predicting the weather in the year 2040.

Some students are expecting it to be warmer. Others are estimating colder temperatures. There are also students who believe the weather will become destructive, with frequent severe storms.

At a press conference in the school auditorium, where the winners’ projects were on display, elementary and middle school students stared eagerly at a table adorned with an Optimum banner and covered in prizes. Some students were so excited they stumbled on the stage’s stairs while rushing to receive their awards.

Optimum representative Lou Brogno, high school principal Shawn Petretti and Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell congratulated the group of winners.

“You guys really do think about the future and the environment and the things that we do and how that will impact the future,” Mr. Petretti said.

In the elementary school category, Cutchogue East third-grader Thomas McGunnigle, a student of teacher Marianne Wachtel, won the grand prize and received a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 tablet computer.

His project, “The Weather When I’m 34,” discussed his predictions for each season in the future.

“I think the weather is going to be hotter in the summer,” Thomas wrote. “I think the weather in the fall is going to be more windy and people are going to start fires to keep warm.”

As for winter and spring, Thomas wrote: “I think the weather in the winter is going to be very windy and have more snow. I think the weather in the spring will be nicer, warmer and more people will play outside.”

At the bottom of his poster, Thomas added that he plans to use a hologram watch in 2040 to find out about the weather.

Other winners from Ms. Wachtel’s class were Michael Garrett (runner-up) and Leah Weir (honorable mention).

“I was like, ‘I need to call everybody!’” Michael said when asked how he felt about being named runner-up. “My dad’s dad watches The Weather Channel a lot. He said maybe there will be like something that cools down the storm so it’s not so big.”

Michael’s poster explained how a “weather monitoring satellite” would work.

“In 2040, we will have no extreme weather events because we will predict, analyze and control the weather,” he wrote.

Leah believed that she needed to research the past before thinking about what the future will be like in 25 years. First, she chose a date — Dec. 21 — and studied that day’s specific weather reports going back two decades. After noticing that temperatures rose over the years, she predicted that the weather in 2040 would be warmer.

A panel of judges evaluated each submission based on creativity, composition and conveyance of theme. Among all participants from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, there were one grand prize-winner, five runners-up and 20 honorable mentions in each category, grades 3 through 5 and grades 6 through 8.

Among middle school teacher Luanne Nappe’s seventh-grade students, Jillian Orr was a runner-up and Dane Reda received an honorable mention. Dorothy Condon, Cassidy Mullin, Gabrielle Wahlers and Caleb Foley from Ms. Nappe’s eighth-grade class also received honorable mentions.

Ms. Nappe said she’s very excited that Mattituck students won.

“I was shocked — absolutely shocked — because I thought there’d be bigger schools and those would be the winners,” she said. “The contest was similar to a project we do in class. When I saw it come across my desk, it was just something that rolled right in with my curriculum — it was perfect.”

Runners-up received an American Red Cross emergency crank radio; honorable mentions recipients took home Red Cross magnetic flashlights.
The remaining participants — 52 middle school students and 15 elementary students — were also called to the stage, where each received a certificate of participation and an Optimum drawstring bag filled with an assortment of gifts.

To view all the winning posters, visit

Jen Nuzzo contributed to this story.