Unwinding With Therapy Dogs

Middle Country Central School District’s New Lane Elementary School students recently had the opportunity to learn about and benefit from the Love on a Leash therapy dog program during a visit to the school by several of the organization’s therapy dogs and their owners.  

“We know that school can be stressful for some students, they can get overwhelmed due to various factors, so we wanted to provide a healthy outlet for our students to release their stress and wind down,” said Phyllis L. Saltz, Principal of New Lane Elementary School. “Our students find comfort and a way to de-stress around these specially trained dogs. The sessions also provide an opportunity for our students to learn new social skills while interacting with the therapy pets.”

Love on a Leash is a not-for-profit organization that provides a platform to encourage volunteers to engage in a meaningful and productive therapy dog program. The organization’s mission is “to bring comfort, happiness, and healing to more people nationwide by increasing public awareness of pet therapy.”  The organization provides its volunteers with an accessible certification process that qualifies them to provide pet therapy in their community as part of a qualified therapy team.

Middle Country Central School District Honors the late Dr. Karen J. Lessler During Dedication Ceremony

Middle Country Central School District students, family, board members, administrators, faculty, staff, and community members recently gathered at the Dr. Karen J. Lessler District Conference Center located in Centereach High School to honor the late Dr. Karen J. Lessler during a solemn and heartfelt dedication ceremony. 

“We are grateful to be able to dedicate the District’s conference center in honor of Dr. Lessler,” said Dr. Roberta Gerold, Superintendent of Middle Country Central School District. “Her passion for her community, students, education, and family was limitless.  It’s reassuring to know that visitors who pass by or visit this conference center will have a moment to remember Dr. Lessler and reflect on her legacy as a great educator, mother, wife, and friend. I especially want the members of the Lessler family who are with us this evening to know that Karen’s impact on this district and community will be felt for generations to come.”

Dr. Lessler served on the Middle Country Central School District Board of Education for over twenty years. She held the position of president of the Board for eighteen years. During her tenure on the Board, Dr. Lessler received numerous awards and recognition, including the Person of the Year Award in 2006, Volunteer of the Year in 2008, Teacher of the Year by the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 2006 and 2015, the Education Award at the 28th Annual Women’s Recognition, the Town of Brookhaven and the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association Distinguished Service Award in 2015. Dr. Lessler was also invited to interview and nominated by the Senate and Assembly Education Committee for an at-large Board of Regent position in 2015 and served as the Long Island spokesperson for St. Jude’s Children’s Research hospital for 10 years. The Middle Country Central School District dedicated the District Conference Center to Dr. Lessler in recognition of her over twenty years of devotion and service to the district. 

“It was heartwarming to see everyone who gathered to honor Dr. Lessler. She was a leader and a friend who served our students and community for over 20 years with compassion, intelligence, vision, and heart,” said Board President Dawn Sharrock. “Thank you to Legislator Nick Caracappa, Ron Edelson of ZE Creative Communications, and Danny Haffel of Johnson Controls Inc. for their generous donations that allowed the memorial plaque in Dr. Lessler’s honor to be created.”

Plaque dedicated to Dr. Karen J. Lessler
Matthew Lessler, Dr. Lessler’s son, Madeline and Ellie Lessler, Karen’s granddaughters, cutting the ribbon during the ribbon-cutting ceremony
 Dr. Roberta A. Gerold, Superintendent of Schools, speaking at the District Conference dedication
Dr. Lessler’s family: John Lessler, stepson, Michele Gerardi, Dr. Lessler’s sister, Marlene and Arthur Lopizzo, Dr. Lessler’s sister in law and Karen’s brother, George Lessler, Dr. Lessler’s husband, Kelly Lessler, daughter in law, Matthew Lessler, son, Michael Lopizzo (kneeling), nephew, Madeline Lessler, granddaughter, Ellie Lessler, granddaughter
Kevin J. LaValle, Councilman, Town of Brookhaven District #3, who was recently elected and sworn in as the Town of Brookhaven Town Clerk; Legislator Nick Caracappa, Suffolk County District #4
 Central High School’s String Quartet performing entry music

Newfield High School Varsity Basketball Student Reaches 1,000 Point Milestone

On Friday, January 27th, Newfield High School student Raiyah Reid became only the third female in Newfield High School Varsity Girls Basketball history to reach the 1,000-point milestone.  Raiyah is currently a junior at Newfield High School and has been a part of the Newfield High School Varsity Girls’ Basketball program since the eighth grade.

“To score 1,000 points in your varsity basketball career is truly unique. You simply don’t see many players–female or male–achieving this laudatory milestone on varsity public school basketball teams,”  said Joseph Mercado, Director of Physical Education, Health, and Athletics. “We are incredibly proud of Raiyah.  The fact that she is the third female to achieve this momentous accomplishment speaks volumes about the Newfield High School basketball program and our coaches. Congratulations to Raiyah Reid!”