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Nassau BOCES Twilight students celebrate learning during WinterFest

The Nassau BOCES Twilight High School at East Rockaway High School held a celebration of learning this winter. The festive educational event, dubbed WinterFest, was a multifaceted affair that spanned the academic spectrum from classic literature and history to science and math.

“We developed the concept of WinterFest to help get the students engaged in learning in a more interactive way,” says Helene Yzaguirre, Coordinator of the program for the East Rockaway UFSD. “We wanted students to feel good about all they’ve accomplished so far and review the work they’ve covered.”

WinterFest provided a showcase for students to demonstrate what they are learning. The event featured dramatic performances, including the death scene from Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” and a short play about the trial of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. The students hosted a number of interactive games, such as a literary terms matching game, a board game based on Connell’s short story “The Most Dangerous Game,” and a mathematical version of “Jeopardy” that tested contestants’ algebraic knowledge. There was also a geometrical competition in which teams raced to create 3D geometrical shapes out of toothpicks and marshmallows, a demonstration on teenage auto safety, and the screening of a disaster film that offered a thrilling look at the science behind earthquakes.

“We’re delighted that the students in East Rockaway are responding so well to the Twilight Program. This year we’ve tried to strengthen the partnership between the day school and the Twilight program, since these students attend both,” says Kellie Cook McLaurin, Assistant Principal, Nassau BOCES Twilight Program.

“It was nice to see everyone come together for this. I like working in smaller groups,” says eleventh-grader Katherine DelValle, who also attends Nassau BOCES Barry Tech each morning to study Culinary Arts. “This program is very different then day school. There are fewer kids in the class, so there’s more individual attention. I’m never afraid to ask a question.”

Nassau BOCES Twilight Program at East Rockaway High School offers viable in-district educational options for students who thrive in a small classroom setting and need to focus on credit recovery. The program that meets in the early afternoon, gives students the tools and support they need to return to their regular high school schedule, or to complete their high school requirements independently. Teachers work to prepare students for college and careers.

“The teachers really care about us in this program,” says eleventh-grader Colin Murphy. “The smaller class size lets us get to know our teachers better and we get whatever help we need.”