Commack School Districts have been dealing with a number of challenges in 2012 while reaching new heights of success. The 2012-13 school budgeting process brought challenges of a tight budget with stafffing cuts, soothed by news of Commack High School's academic accolades in the fall.
Here's a snapshot of the biggest school-related news in 2012:
* Commack Schools Respond To Recent Student Deaths: Commack school officials have responded to two recent students deaths at after more than 2,500 signatures on an online petition demanded action be taken.
* Commack Ranked 18th Among NY High Schools: The U.S. News & World Report rankings placed Commack High School as among the top 100 high schools in the United States.
* Commack Residents Remember 9/11: Hundreds of Commack residents gathered on Tuesday night to remember those killed in the Sept. 11 attacks and make sure their lives are never forgotten. The highlight of this year's ceremony was the unveiling of a permanent 9-11 memorial featuring a piece of World Trade Center steel, that is engraved with the names of six Commack residents and alumni killed in the attacks.
* : Commack school administrators have announced they will take a pay freeze to help bridge a $4.7 million budget gap for the 2012-13 school year, and are looking at others to do the same.
* Marion Carll Farm Heirs File Lawsuit Against Commack School District: The heirs to the Marion Carll Farm are seeking to regain possession of the historic property donated to the Commack School District more than 40 years ago, and school officials may willingly hand over the deed.
* : Four Commack residents have filed a legal motion to have their voices heard in court on the Marion Carll Farm lawsuit, and have called the district's defense of the suit "a sham." But school officials don't want the taxpayers involved.
* New Principal to Lead Burr Intermediate School: Commack students and their parents might be surprised to find out that Burr Intermediate School will have a new principal next year. Commack School District officials announced that Rhonda Pratt has been hired to take over for current Burr Intermediate principal Charles Heppeler, Jr. at the end of the current school year.
* Energy Efficiency Project Gets Underway at Commack Schools: Commack School District is kicking off its first steps of its Energy Efficiency Project as they begin the 2012-13 school year. Richard Schramm, Commack's plant facilities administrator, said the district has started the official construction phase of its $18M Energy Efficiency project with Johnson Controls.
* Commack School Officials Learn a Lesson from Sandy: Commack school officials have had approximately three weeks to reflect on Hurricane Sandy, and they've made a few notes on how the district's response could be improved.
* Commack 9/11 Memorial Damaged by Hurricane Sandy: Commack School District's newest memorial was one of the few objects damaged by the strong winds of Hurricane Sandy.
* Commack Schools Cut Mid-Winter Recess: Commack students had unexpected days off from school due to Hurricane Sandy, students will wind up making up part of that time this winter, according to school officials.