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Farmingdale High School seniors Kiley Cacace and Madison Krug have been recognized in Columbia Scholastic Press's Gold Circle Awards.

Gold Circle awards celebrate individual achievement by student writers, editors, designers, and photographers. Kiley and Madison had artwork published in Farmingdale High School's student-run Labyrinth Art and Literary Magazine. Advisors Courtney Cozzetto and Laura Steffen selected these pieces for submittal to Columbia Scholastic Press. Over 4,000 entries were submitted. Both Dalers were recognized.

Kiley Cacace received a Certificate of Merit in the "Photo illustration" category for her digital artwork titled "Distortion."

Madison Krug took First Place in the category "Single Subject Feature Package, Single Page Design" for her artwork titled "Robbed."


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At the Farmingdale School District, it is a time-honored tradition to recognize community members who have made a significant, positive impact. This year was no different. Three new honorees of the Farmingdale community will soon grace Farmingdale High School’s Wall of Fame. The 2023 inductees include Melissa Firmes-Ray (Class of 1991), Kevin Bayen (Class of 1975), and Dr. Monica Lockwood (Class of 1980). On Wednesday, May 24, 2023, an intimate ceremony at Howitt Middle School was held in the courtyard. Family, friends, District Administrators, and Board of Education members joined the honorees. Watch the Wall of Fame ceremony HERE

“The Wall of Fame is not about being the most successful in your career,” said Farmingdale High School Assistant Principal and Chairperson of the Wall of Fame Committee, Carla Stillwell. “It’s about giving back to the community.”

Farmingdale High School journalists from the school’s newspaper, “The Paper Lion,” interviewed the honorees before the ceremony. Each spoke briefly to the crowd about what they learned and how these recipients inspired them.

Mrs. Melissa Firmes-Ray earned her Associate’s Degree from Farmingdale State College, a Bachelor’s Degree from St. Joseph’s College, and a Master’s in Social Work from Stony Brook University. Mrs. Firmes-Ray is the distinguished president and co-founder of KIDS NEED MORE, an organization dedicated to bringing programs and support to children and families coping with cancer, including Camp Adventure, where children with cancer and their siblings have the opportunity to attend a week-long sleep-away camp. Mrs. Firmes-Ray is an avid volunteer and has experience with many local and community boards, including Kiwanis, NYAPRS, COCA-I, and NAMI. The American Cancer Society has recognized her as Volunteer of the Year, earned the title of Town of Babylon Woman of Distinction, and her efforts have been documented by Newsday, ABC, and Channel 12 News. Mrs. Firmes-Ray builds healing communities for families coping with life’s most significant challenges. Based on her professional accomplishments and her community commitments, the Wall of Fame Committee views Mrs. Firmes-Ray as an excellent role model for students.

Mr. Kevin Bayen completed his Bachelor’s Degree at LIU Post and continued his graduate studies there and at Brooklyn College. Mr. Bayen’s music education career began in Hewlett-Woodmere Public Schools, where he served as a teacher and then as the high school band director. Mr. Bayen held multiple leadership positions within NYSSMA, including All-State Instrumental Jazz Chairperson, president of the Nassau Music Educators Association, and the president of the Nassau County Chapter of the New York State Council of Administrators of Music Education. Mr. Bayen was a Supervisor of Teachers for SUNY Fredonia and trained educators to be adjudicators for the NYSSMA Large Organization Festivals. Mr. Bayen’s service to public education and impact on students and educators has been heralded with Grammy recognition, NYSSMA’s Distinguished Service Award, and The Award of Excellence. On March 11, 2022, Mr. Bayen lost his courageous battle with cancer. He dedicated his life to music education and leadership and has left a profound mark on all those that knew him.

Dr. Monica Lockwood completed her B.S. at Niagara University, her M.S. at SUNY Buffalo, and her Medical Degree at St. George’s University School of Medicine. Dr. Lockwood works in Bridgeport, CT, and specializes in Internal Medicine. She is affiliated with St. Vincent’s Medical Center and works with several volunteer organizations to provide medical care in her community and communities in need worldwide. She is a volunteer physician at the Bridgeport Free Clinic, proudly serving patients without insurance and accessibility to medical treatment. Additionally, Dr. Lockwood is a dedicated member of many organizations, including Americares Global Response Team, Health Horizons International, and Health Education for Haiti. Dr. Lockwood’s dedication to underserved and in-need populations has led her to the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Poland following the Ukraine crisis. Due to her passion for tending to underserved communities, she received the Patch Adams Award from the Fairfield County Medical Association and the Geoffrey H. Bourne Award in recognition of outstanding integrity and motivation from St. George’s University School of Medicine.

Farmingdale’s Wall of Fame was established to honor distinguished Farmingdale High School alumni now serving as role models for the school community. Located in the high school lobby, the Wall of Fame is an homage to these community trailblazers and displays plaques for all honorees from years past. Candidates for the Wall of Fame must have graduated from Farmingdale at least ten years ago and have demonstrated success in their chosen professions following graduation.


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Ava Lanot, a junior from Farmingdale High School, was recognized with the Nassau County SHIELD Award from District Attorney Anne Donnelly. The SHIELD Award — which stands for Service, Honesty, Integrity, Excellence, Leadership, and Duty — honors high school juniors who demonstrate outstanding character, commitment to self-growth, and the spirit and initiative to bring about a positive change in their community.

The district congratulates Ava on this honor and for being an example for other Dalers.


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The Farmingdale School District Fine Arts Department recently welcomed hundreds of community residents to the annual district-wide art show! The popular event was on display in the commons at Farmingdale High School. Daler artwork from each school across the district was on display for all to see while student musicians performed for guests to enjoy.

The districtwide art show is an evening devoted to Farmingdale’s young artists, grades K-12. The artwork features drawings, paintings, ceramics, sculptures, photography, and graphic designs. A special thank you to all Farmingdale art teachers for making this possible!

Farmingdale has incredibly talented student artists. If you didn't get a chance to stop by the district art show, don't worry. Check out these amazing pieces! Keep up the great work, Dalers!


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And scene! The Broadway Education Alliance & Disney Theatricals has announced the 2023 roster of students nominated for the 13th annual Roger Rees Awards for Excellence in Student Performance. Farmingdale High School seniors Rebecca Kenjesky and Gabriella Stein were selected to advance to the next round. The young actors were nominated by teacher and director Jessica Mischke for their work earlier this year in the Farmingdale High School Playcrafters production of Pippin.

Only 56 students were chosen throughout New York State to move forward in the competition. Rebecca and Gabriella will receive coaching sessions with professionals, and based on that; the judges will select the Top 12 live at the Roger Rees Awards Showcase on Sunday, May 21st, in New York City. Daler A Cappella will also win the Harmony Helper Award at that same showcase!

The Roger Rees Awards for Excellence in Student Performance is the only student award in the New York metropolitan area that recognizes distinction in student performance and outstanding achievement in high school musical theatre programs. The program is funded through donations from industry professionals, foundations, licensing companies, and other individuals or companies committed to supporting performing arts programs in area schools.

By The Numbers