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Kudos for Springs Students and Staff

Thu, 06/22/2023 - 10:38
From left, Barbara Dayton, the school board president, presented certificates to Valentina Arango, Ella Menu, and Alessa Picco for their winning speeches.
Debra Winter

From academics and activities to years of employment and volunteer service, the Springs School Board celebrated the accomplishments of numerous students, teachers, and helpful community members during its meeting last week.

The winners of the annual speech contest were Ella Menu in first place, with a piece titled “Stop the Stigma”; Alessa Picco in second place for “Their Silent Suffering,” and Valentina Arango in third place for “Fly Free.”

Ella and Alessa, and Ginger Griffin, were announced as the eighth-grade co-valedictorians, and Molly Stillman as the salutatorian. These students stood out “for their hard work and effort,” Debra Winter, the superintendent, said at the June 13 meeting.

Meghan Payne, the current secretary of the Springs PTA, announced that the group had received a state-level PTA organization’s Good Apple Membership Growth Award for exceeding 50-percent growth in membership numbers this year.

The school board accepted retirement letters from three longtime faculty members: Lisa Dragone, Lucy Yardley, and Eileen Goldman, all of whom Ms. Winter said she “will miss terribly.”

Ms. Dragone, a classroom and special-education teacher who worked at Springs for 31 years, has been credited with “helping raise learning standards,” Ms. Winter said. Ms. Yardley, who was hired as a computer teacher and soon after switched to teaching special education, made many positive contributions during her 32 years at the school. Ms. Goldman, who held several key roles over 23 years, was a “gentle giant” at the school, Ms. Winter said.

The board also honored a colleague, Tim Frazier, a retired Southampton Intermediate School principal and current executive director of the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center, who served four three-year terms on the school board. His last comes to an end on June 30. Mr. Frazier also received an Outstanding School Board Service Award from the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association during the meeting. “I’m sure the community really appreciates everything you’ve done,” said Bob Vecchio, the bi-county association’s executive director.

Barbara Dayton, president of the school board, thanked Julie Bistrian, an account clerk and purchasing agent at Springs for 13 years and its district clerk for the last eight, for distinguished service. Ms. Bistrian is leaving Springs for a similar clerical role in the East Hampton School District.

“She will leave very, very, very big shoes to fill at Springs. She has been a phenomenal district clerk,” Ms. Dayton said.

Brittany Ballington, a parent, told Ms. Bistrian, “I really appreciate your help orienting me and helping me figure out how do I have my voice heard.”

A dark-chocolate cake with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream and small salted caramel drops was served at the end of the meeting.



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