Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Manhasset’s New Learning and Wellness Center and Broadcast Studio

Nitya Wanchoo, Business Editor

In May of 2019, the Manhasset school community voted to use capital funds to repurpose outdated areas of the middle school as new, social, state of the art spaces. Thanks to a generous gift of $250,000 from the New York state senators office, Manhasset was able to reconstruct these spaces to create opportunities and improve the welfare of the students. On Thursday, January 6, 2022, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for these exciting locations, the Manhasset Secondary School received a proclamation recognizing the Manhasset Secondary School’s wellness center and wellness team, and another recognizing the Broadcast Journalism studio.

It’s been three years since the proposition of a learning and wellness center was first introduced, and it has since been brought to fruition through the hard work of several teachers and administrators. As Board of Education President Pat Aitken mentioned, the vision of the board was to “create a mental health support team to work to help our students.” This goal was accomplished, and as she put it, the center is “welcoming and inspiring.” Dr. D’Anca’s, the counseling director, goal was for the middle school students to have immediate access to a support system. At any given moment, there is access to a guidance counselor, a social worker, or a certified staff member should a student need anything. It’s a relieving space for the transitioning secondary students where they can talk to someone from the middle school wellness team who can listen and provide valuable advice. 

To put it simply: the priority of this space is the mental wellness of the kids. Dr. D’Anca made the analogy that the center is similar to “one stop shopping” in that anything a child needs, whether it be a consultation or some time and space to relax, they can come into the center and get it. The priority here is to maintain the mental health of students and help them in learning how to take care of themselves emotionally. The 7th graders, specifically, will partake in small group transition lessons which are designed to help them grow and develop skills to help them meet challenges head on. It’s an alternative location for students to focus on themselves and no expenses have been spared in ensuring that it gives off that feel. It’s a colorful and inviting area with couches, a sensory room, novaboards, magnets, posters, books, games, activities, cubbies, quotes, white boards, and so much more with the intention of being a space for the students to make their own. The location is, without a doubt, an area where it’s made clear to students that it’s okay to feel and talk about anything that might be on their mind. 

The ceremony also celebrated the new Broadcast Newsroom studio. English department director Dr. Chowske brought up the idea for a broadcast program three years ago to Mr. Shapiro and Dr. Coleman during a discussion of what “true 21st century electives” would look like at Manhasset 

High School. Given the recent excellence accomplished by Dr. Coleman and the Manhasset Broadcasting Company, it seemed only fitting that they be rewarded with a space to create content. The new studio is a sophisticated facility with the latest in media technology. A few of the newest additions in equipment include a tricaster, teleprompter, sound board, headlights, and several other apparatuses which are used in official newsrooms

The Manhasset Broadcasting Company won the BASH award from Stonybrook University in 2021, and they’ve made it clear that they’re here to stay. The first episode was aired in February of 2021, and now, by January of 2022, 15 episodes have been released. Megan Amato, the president of the club, spoke during the ceremony and asserted that the most exciting part of such a program is the chance for students to be part of something bigger than themselves. She said that the program follows the motto to “make do and get better every time” because this program always pulls it together in time for the Friday episode and they maintain a constant mindset where a focus on consistently improving is crucial to their success. This new space goes hand in hand with the elective options of Broadcast I, Broadcast II, and Broadcast II, which go over the foundation for news reports and videos from in-depth writing all the way to filming more complex documentaries. 

Senator Anna Kaplan said it best: “We love you, we care for you, and each and every one of us want to see you succeed.” This space is definitely a projection of the commitment of the faculty at Manhasset to the students of Manhasset. These prime spaces are sure to thrive as students start to take advantage of these new central locations. There are ample opportunities for success in these spaces and Manhasset students are sure to put these innovative areas to good use in the future!