April 2019

“Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.”
Babe Ruth

April was a busy month at SFP!

We acknowledged the great academic work of our students with the History Scholars Society, Science National Honor Society, and Foreign Language Honor Society induction ceremonies. The SFP Art Department and the Alvernian Drama Society presented The Little Mermaid on April 12th and 13th. It was an outstanding production.  All of the students, Mrs. Mejia, Mrs. Buccino, and the entire Art Department are to be congratulated. As the seniors close in on the college selection process, they were given permission to wear their college sweatshirt for the remainder of the year. Our seniors continue to be valued at the many colleges they have applied to; in many cases, they received generous scholarship offers. At the start of April, Brother James, our Franciscan Mission Coordinator, encouraged us for the remainder of the school year to focus on one of our Franciscan values, Care for Creation. Faculty members have been encouraged to incorporate the value in daily prayer, instruction, and actions.

Moving into the last two months of the school year, I encourage all students to continue to work hard,   submit quality work, and finish strong!

From the Desk of Mr. Mendolia, Assistant Principal:

Summer School

This year, St. Francis Prep will once again follow a Summer School schedule that provides students an opportunity for a lengthy break from school. Classes this year for non-senior courses that need to be made up will be held from July 8 through August 2. This four-week session will allow students over 4 full weeks of vacation before returning to classes in early September. Regents exams for those who need Regents credit and for those who are pursuing an Advanced Regents Diploma will take place on August 13-14. Students may register for Summer School classes and Regents exams on June 28 from 9:00 AM -12:00 Noon in the auditorium. The cost for each summer course is $485 and each summer exam is $35. 

Seniors who fail senior level courses will again be required to make up credit during the month of June following graduation. Registration for seniors taking summer classes will take place on Thursday, May 23, at 8:30 AM in the auditorium.


The Graduation Liturgy for the Class of 2019 will take at 9:00 AM on Friday, May 31. This year’s graduation ceremony will again be held at St. John’s University (Carnesecca Arena) at 1:30 PM, with a rehearsal in the SFP auditorium on May 23 at 10:00 AM. Each graduate will receive 5 tickets for the ceremony and will not need one for his/her entry. Students may request additional tickets (maximum of 5) no later than May 16. All requests must be made via email to Mr. Mendolia at cmendolia@sfponline.org.

From the Desk of Brother Lawrence Boyle, Registrar:


Graduating seniors who successfully complete all academic requirements and financial obligations are entitled to receive their diplomas. Diplomas will be mailed by the Registrar’s Office in early July. A notice will be placed on the School’s Web-Site on the day mailing commences.  Any senior who is moving must provide the Registrar’s Office with the new address to insure correct delivery.

You receive the only copy that is printed. As a legal document, it should be kept in a secure place.


Students who decide to leave St. Francis during the Summer should notify the Registrar’s Office when that decision is made. Parents must complete a Withdrawal Card to facilitate the release of student’s academic and medical records to the new school.

  • All financial obligations must be met before records are released.
  • All students must return the iPad and charger given them along with their passwords.
  • The iPad must be in working order.   

 National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA)

The NCEA 2019 Convention and Exposition was held in Chicago on April 23-25. Attendees from SFP included Ms. Ruotolo, Mr. Sempowich, Dr. Sullivan, Father Ralph, and Mr. McLaughlin. It was a great opportunity to affirm our vocation as educators in a Catholic school, participate in enriching liturgies, and learn from engaging speakers. The sessions focused on faith formation, academic excellence, assessments, leadership, campus ministry, digital discipleship, and diversity. Mr. McLaughlin teamed with two professors from St. John’s University, Dr. Mary Jane Krebbs and Steven Neier, to present a session on Professional Learning Communities (PLCs).

Principal and Head Science Teacher Visit from Kenya 

On March 29, Mr. Victor Kebaki, Principal, and Mr. Jacob Kihara, Science Department Chair, from Saint Francis Secondary School in Lare, Kenya, arrived at JFK for their school visit and whirlwind tour of the New York area.  Highlights included a tour of NYC led by Bro. Leonard; marching in the Bayside Saint Patrick's Day parade; Welcome Assembly featuring student performers from the Irish and West African Clubs, Step Team, String Orchestra; tours of Camp Alvernia, Saint Anthony's High School, and Saint Francis College; backstage tour of The Lion King; and participation in the Faculty Dodge Ball Tournament.

Kebaki and Kihara presented to hundreds of our students, teaching them about our twin school in Lare, life in Kenya, and key phrases in Kiswahili.  Mr. Kebaki and Mr. Kihara thanked the school community for the continued financial support through our Lenten collections.

$20,000 Raised for Saint Francis Secondary School

This Lent the student body was challenged to make weekly sacrifices as part of their Lenten journey and donate to the Friday envelopes to help their brothers and sisters in Kenya.  Past Lenten projects have raised money for a new water tower, science equipment, bicycles, new kitchen facilities, a school vehicle, and desks and chairs.  This year the goal was to raise $10,000 for basketball courts and to enhance the athletic offerings of the school.   After six weeks of collections, the students raised $6,300, the SFP Brothers' community donated $1,000, and alumnus John Pereria, '62, donated another $2,700 to meet the goal.

Another major gift of $10,000 was donated by the Mamos Family.  Each year, the Mamos family has provided substantial support for Saint Francis Secondary School.  At a special dinner hosted by the Brothers, Mr. Kebaki and Mr. Kihara were able to meet and thank Dr. and Mr. Mamos for their several years of support.  After hearing about the needs of the school community, the Mamos family decided to donate $5,000 to build cement pathways between the classroom buildings throughout the campus and another $5,000 to provide financial assistance to students.

Foreign Language

April 15th, 2019, Mrs. Ruggieri-Marletta's Italian III Honors' students visited Ellis Island to learn about the immigration experience by exploring the museum’s exhibits and its history. Students were able to tour the museum and view artifacts, photographs, prints, videos, interactive displays, oral histories, and temporary exhibits.

On April 16th, 2019, the Foreign Language Department inducted students who have shown academic achievement in their study of a second language. Students inducted are recognized for achieving high academic standing by maintaining a 97% average in the 3 years of the language studied. In addition, students are commended by their teachers for their sincere interest and enthusiasm for language learning, appreciation of other cultures, open-mindedness and acceptance of cultural differences, respecting the rights and dignity of all people, and putting forth their best in language study. 

The following students’ work was published in Il Giornalino, an Italian Journal comprised of writings from students in Italian classes throughout the greater New York area.

  • Fiorella Albines
  • Tiziana Argento
  • Ivan Begonja
  • Marissa Brandl
  • Stefania Cangialosi
  • Lorian Chester
  • Chiara Cingquemani
  • Liliana DiMaria
  • Ambrogio DiPasquale
  • John Paul DiVanna
  • Sydney Idahosa
  • Grace Lugo
  • Zoe Mitchell
  • Giulia Palazzolo
  • Daniella Restivo
  • Gabriella Santos

 You may access students’ writings at the following website: Il Giornalino


On April 10, 2019, the Saint Francis Prep Advanced Painting class ventured to the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx. The daffodils, crab apple trees, and azaleas were in full bloom. The class set up their portable easels, acrylic paints, and hand-stretched canvases and painted for the entire day. The students had the opportunity to create paintings in an astounding outdoor atmosphere. Each student worked on two paintings; they walked around the Botanical Gardens, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. After painting, they enjoyed lunch in the café and headed back to Prep to finish up their paintings after school. The students had an incredible experience and created beautiful masterpieces! New York Botanical Gardens is a National Historic Landmark. NYBG encompasses 50 specialty gardens. Highlights include the award-winning Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, considered among the world’s most sustainable rose gardens; the Native Plant Garden, celebrating the diversity of northeastern North American plants; and 30,000 distinguished trees, many more than 200 years old. NYBG is larger and more diverse than any other garden in the world! What an extraordinary day!

The Art of the Ukrainian Easter egg, the Pysanka, in Advanced Drawing and Painting.

Some of our seniors who are in their second year of Advanced Drawing and Painting had the opportunity to learn various advanced and uncommon painting techniques during the Spring Semester.   We started off the semester creating watercolor-like pigments simply by boiling natural items, such as beets, red cabbage, onion peels, and turmeric.  Having them paint with materials that are 100% man-made was an eye-opening experience.  You can use so little to make so much!  

Now toward the end of the semester, these seniors have come full circle by using similar pigments in the dyeing process of a Ukrainian Easter egg, or the pysanka. Pysanky is the ancient Eastern European art of egg decorating, of which the Ukrainian version is considered the most famous.  The name comes from the verb to write, as people use a stylus (called a kistka) to write with wax on the egg shell. Pysanky uses a wax-resist process. Whatever color the artist would like to have preserved on the egg will be covered in wax; then we submerge it into the dyes (we always start with the lightest color and end traditionally with black) to coat anything exposed.  This process is repeated until nearly the whole egg is covered with wax or the final layer is dyed black.

The seniors who took part in this workshop were Zhamia Nunez-Simon, Jessica Lee, Gina Licalzi, Charlize Ruiz, Matthew Stabiner, Vanessa Wang, Emma Klagsbrun, and Cristina Barretta.  They learned about the historical, religious, and symbolical contexts of the pysanka, attempted to blow out the egg to hollow it, learned how to use the kistka tools with the wax, and implemented the dyeing process and the final wax melting to reveal their work.  This traditional art style takes time and precision.  It’s wonderful to see students embrace new cultures, traditions, and techniques.  And in the end, their first-time pysanky came out phenomenally well!

Model UN

The Model United Nations Team attended a conference held at Columbia University.  The conference was attended by 8 other high schools with over 150 delegates. Our delegation of 13 did a wonderful job resolving issues. We recognize all our members who participated and especially those who were recognized with awards.

  • Athena Kalavanos 108 - The Verbal Communication award
  • Olivia Frantangelo 207 - Honorable Mention
  • Nicholas Cordero 303 - Best Delegate
  • Vincent Smedile 415 - Best Delegate
  • Henrik Israelian 307 - Best Delegate
  • Brendan Carroll 102 - Honorable Mention

This will be our last conference for the year.   We look forward to the 2019-2020 season.


SFP Advanced Science Students Go Flying 

Recently, Ms. May’s AP Physics students joined with Mrs. Jiménez’s Advanced Physical Science Honors 9th-graders to go “flying” at IFLY Westchester Indoor Skydiving Center.  Students were able to calculate their expected terminal velocities and compare them to those recorded as they were flying in the wind tunnel.  In addition to experiencing some of Newton’s laws first hand, students learned about the engineering principles that guide the design and operation of the flight chambers.  It was an exciting day for everyone and a great opportunity for students to see the physics from their curriculum explain a real-life experience – not just one that they simulate in the laboratory.  It was so much fun that our Terrier snuck on the trip and got in on the action!  


Come one, come all!

On Friday, May 3rd, and Friday, May 10th, Prep's Music Department will be presenting our annual Spring Concerts!  These performances represent the culmination of the year's work!

May 3rd will feature all three orchestras, both percussion ensembles, and our Concert Chorus.

May 10th will feature all three bands, Chamber Choir, and Prep Chorus.   We will also welcome special guests from Sacred Heart Catholic Academy in Cambria Heights, St. Gregory the Great Catholic Academy in Bellerose, St. Luke School in Whitestone, and Sacred Heart Catholic Academy in Bayside.

Both nights begin at 7:45 PM with doors opening at 7:15 PM.  General admission tickets are $5 and are available in advance in the Music office, or at the door.

Then, on May 22nd, join us at Citi Field, and the Mets take on the Nationals.   Our Chamber Choir, under the direction of Mr. David Kobayashi, will sing the National Anthem.

The District Attorney’s Office Presentation

On April 4th, John Kosinski and Robert Hanophy from the Queens District Attorney’s office led a presentation for the senior class on DWI. Family members of victims were also present to tell their own stories. It was a very powerful presentation for the seniors about the severe consequences of drinking and driving.

Girls Softball

On Thursday, April 25th, 2019 the Varsity Girls Softball team cooked and served an Easter Thursday dinner at Presentation Soup Kitchen.  We served pasta, meatballs, mixed vegetables, salad, rolls, fruit, and dessert.

Junior Varsity and Varsity Softball participated in the 5th annual Autism Awareness Tournament.  Twenty-six school teams donated money and gift baskets (for auction) for this worthy cause.  The tournament collected over $7,000.00.


Excerpt from the Queens Courier:

 Emma Estrada didn’t expect to win her third consecutive National Championship Gold medal at the February 2019 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships held in Michigan.

“We kind of just went into the competition wanting to skate our best,” said Estrada. “When we found out we won, it was unreal for a while.” 

Estrada, a 17-year-old senior at St. Francis Prep in Fresh Meadows, won her third consecutive gold medal with her teammates on The Skyliners Synchronized Skating Team, established in 2001 by a group of parents who wanted to create the most competitive synchronized skating club in the tri-state area.

Full story: Queens Courier

Winner of the first annual Faculty Easter Egg Hunt! 

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦