Hewlett High School is home to some of the most hardworking, creative and genuine teachers one could come by. The passion that our teachers have to guide their students not just through their course, but life as well, is evident in the classroom.
In roughly the past month, the Hewlett-Woodmere school community lost two amazing teachers due to coronavirus complications. Although heartbroken, Hewlett-Woodmere district staff and students alike know that Anthony Cardinale and Ntina Paleos-Stemas will continue to inspire those they knew even after they are gone.
Cardinale was a technology teacher at Woodmere Middle School since 2004. After Cardinale contracted the virus during December break, the troubling news that he had died on Jan. 6 was announced by Superintendent Dr. Ralph Marino Jr.
Apart from teaching students the dos and don’ts of woodshop or how to fold a perfectly aerodynamic paper airplane, Cardinale was constantly on the front lines of every musical, field trip or fair day of any kind.
With his camera always handy, Cardinale captured the most exciting moments of his students at school events, whether it be during the National History Day showcase or Career Day; it was clear that the happiness of his students was what drove Cardinale.
“Cardinale was the first teacher I had that actually used what we learned and applied it to real life,” Hewlett High senior Gabrielle Ramdhany. “His class was honestly the reason I chose to pursue engineering. He showed his students that school is so much more than tests, quizzes and textbooks … he was truly just the sweetest.”
Cardinale’s booming voice, daily “hellos” and kindness will live on in the WMS hallways and all of the hearts of those he touched.
Stemas was an English as a New Language teacher at Hewlett High School. Stemas joined the Hewlett-Woodmere family in 1998 and taught in the Franklin Early Childhood Center, Ogden Elementary School and the middle school before permanently remaining in Hewlett High.
She was instrumental to the World Language Department as she was fluent in multiple languages and dedicated much of her time to advocating for our ENL families. Stemas adored travelling and frequently visited her homeland of Greece with her two teenage children and Hewlett High School colleagues.
Stemas was close-knit to the Hewlett High community, evident by her chaperoning the music and arts field trip to Canada in 2017 and Carnegie Hall the following year.
Stemas made it her mission, “To make everyone feel welcomed at Hewlett High School … if it wasn’t for her teaching [her students] English, we wouldn’t be here,” said former ENL student Gaby Mendoza, who graduated last year. ‘We would have given up and gone back to our countries. She gave everything to us, she was like a mother to many of us. As one of my friends said, ‘we won’t let her down, we have come this far in life and it’s thanks to her.’”
Stemas was a bright light and great source of motivation that will be greatly missed in Hewlett High.
With the loss of Cardinale and Stemas, the Hewlett-Woodmere community has welcomed students, parents and staff to use the counseling resources that the Pupil Personnel Service Team offers.