skip to main content

A Way with Words

Hampton Bays School District students displayed their talents at the 2019 New England School Scrabble Championship, held in Ridgefield, Connecticut, on April 6-7. 

Competing were 10th grader Holly Anderson, seventh graders John Hilbert and Matt Papajohn, eighth grader Christian Pensa, and fifth graders James Maroulas and Sonny Scelfo. They were joined by homeschooled student Taylor Tureski. 

Together, Papajohn and Pensa outplayed their opponents, finishing second in the intermediate division. They will next compete at the 2019 North American School Scrabble Championship in Philadelphia on April 27-28. 

Additionally, Maroulas and Scelfo earned second place in the novice division and took home the high play novice division award with 41 points.  

The district extends its congratulations to the team for a job well-done. 


Middle School Awarded ‘Slow Food’ Grant

Hampton Bays Middle School’s community garden program has been awarded a $1,000 grant from Slow Foods East End and the Josh Levine Foundation.

“This is such good news,” said teacher Joan Moran, who oversees the community garden with fellow teacher John Foster. 

The grant funding will allow the school to make repairs to the garden and the greenhouse, which are located on middle school grounds. The money has not yet been earmarked for these items. 

“We are beginning to clean out the garden for the planting season and are assessing our needs,” Moran said. 

Now in its ninth year, the community garden features 21 beds that are utilized by the middle school and elementary school classes, as well as community members. The garden’s produce is used in the schools and also donated to area food pantries.    

Click here to watch a video


Hampton Bays Inducts 22 Into National Junior Honor Society

Hampton Bays Inducts 22 Into National Junior Honor Society photo
During a candlelighting ceremony on March 28, 22 eighth-grade students at Hampton Bays Middle School were inducted into the National Junior Honor Society, one of the oldest and most prestigious national organizations for students. 

To be eligible for membership, the students were required to have a cumulative average of 92 or better and meet the standards of leadership, service, citizenship and character.  

“We are very proud to recognize these outstanding members of our student body,” said chapter adviser Jessica Sears. “National Junior Honor Society members are chosen for, and then expected to continue, their exemplary contributions to the school and community.” 

The Hampton Bays School District extends its congratulations to the following inductees: Elijah Amos, Deykel Berrocal, Isabelle Caine, Sophia Corredor, Christian Cruz, Lauren Emiddio, Zoey Engeldrum, April Feliciano, Zachary Himelfarb, Kenneth Lainez, William Mendel, Max Mielenhausen, Jamison Moore, Aidan O'Brien, Lillian Patek, Christian Pensa, Amy Prado, Brianna Quiros, Sofia Solano Cruz, Liam Sutton, Haley Weissbard and Dante Zangrillo.


Science Students Present Work at Plum Island

Science Students Present Work at Plum Island photo
Two Hampton Bays High School science research students had the unique opportunity to present their research at Plum Island’s first STEM Student Forum on March 27. 

Riley Stotzky, a junior, and senior Ava Bianchi were among a selection of students from across Long Island who exhibited their work to leading researchers at Plum Island. Stotzky explored influenza for her project, while Bianchi analyzed alpha-gal syndrome.  

“This was a great event,” said science research teacher Dr. Stephanie Forsberg. “Our students represented Hampton Bays well and helped highlight our research program with the top epidemiologists and scientists in the nation.” 

Animal House

Animal House
Hampton Bays Elementary School kindergartners learned more about the animals that live at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge with an in-school visit on March 28. During the event, Tony Valderrama, an environmental educator with the refuge, introduced students to several animal species, including a corn snake, a bearded dragon, a chinchilla and an owl, and taught them about their habitats, prey and life cycles. 

Inspirational Author Visit

Hampton Bays Elementary School students listened intently as acclaimed author and illustrator Patricia Polacco addressed them during a special assembly on March 17. 

“You are all gifts,” Polacco told the students as she spoke about her family heritage and showed them her “keeping quilt,” the subject of one of her 115 books. She also read from a selection of her books and provided an opportunity for students to ask questions. The students were eager to ask about her life, her children and how she became an author.  

Prior to Polacco’s visit, students took part in an author study where they learned more about the prolific author and her writing style. They also wrote their own pieces to share with her. 

Polacco ended the session by telling students to “go out and change the world,” and gave them each an opportunity to touch a meteor fragment that had landed on her family’s farm. 

Hampton Bays Names 2019 Valedictorian and Salutatorian

val sal photo

Many years of an impressive and outstanding commitment to academics have paid off for Hampton Bays High School seniors and best friends Christina Coulton and Ava Bianchi, who have been named the Class of 2019 valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.

Coulton has had numerous academic accomplishments throughout her high school career, including earning AP Scholar recognition and the Suffolk Zone Leadership Award. She is also a member of her school’s National Honor Society, Key Club, jazz band and Leo’s Club and serves as president of the Interact Club. On the athletic front, she is a member of the lacrosse and winter and spring track teams, as well as captain of the cross-country team. 

Although still finalizing her college selection, Coulton intends to study engineering this fall. 

Bianchi is also a dedicated scholar and an active participant in school activities. She has shone academically as an AP Scholar and a member of the National Honor Society, and she is a member of the varsity cheerleading team, earning an Academic All-County award for the sport. She is also on the mock trial team and serves as a majorette in the school’s band. In addition, she participates in the school’s annual play and in community theater productions on Long Island.      

While she too has not decided on which college to attend, Bianchi plans to earn a degree in musical theater with a minor in Spanish, and possibly double-major in communications.  

Both students are active in their school’s science research program. 


County Essay Winner

County Essay Winner photo
Hampton Bays Middle School is pleased to announce that seventh-grader Emily Barnes placed first at the county level of the National VFW Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest. She was honored at a ceremony on Feb. 26 at the Tordik-Diedrich-Duffield VFW Post 4927 in Centereach.  

Barnes received multiple proclamations during the event for her 400-word essay that was themed, “What Makes America Great.” 

Eighth-grader Elijah Amos and seventh-grader Marilyn Ramos were recognized earlier this year for being named local contest winners.

The annual VFW essay contest aims to encourage young minds to examine America’s history. More than 132,000 students across the United States pen essays for the contest each year.   

Flag flies for George Luce

Flag flies for George Luce photo

In continuing its mission to take history out of the textbooks by honoring a local veteran each month of the school year, the Hampton Bays School District is paying tribute to U.S. Navy veteran George Luce by flying an American flag in his honor throughout the month of March.

“The district is proud to honor Mr. Luce for his bravery and service to the United States,” said Superintendent of Schools Lars Clemensen. 

Luce was recognized on March 15 with a ceremony at Hampton Bays Elementary School, during which middle school students read his biography. The event culminated with the raising of the flag on the school’s flagpole. 

Born in Port Jefferson in 1936, Luce began his education in New York City and completed junior high school in Maracaibo, Venezuela, where his stepfather was on foreign assignment for a U.S. oil company. He returned to the U.S. and graduated from Trinity-Pawling School, a college preparatory school in Pawling, New York, before heading to attend Northwestern University.

A short time later, Luce returned to Long Island and worked for his father in the hardware business in Riverhead. In December 1957, he enlisted in the Army Reserve, and in spring 1958, he received orders to report to Camp Drum in upstate New York. Luce did not think that was a good idea, so he did the seemingly impossible — he walked to a Navy recruiter and convinced him that be belonged in the Navy, not the Army. The transfer was granted. 

A chief petty officer convinced Luce that his best assignment options were in Navy aviation, not sea duty. Luce agreed and was off to Bainbridge, Maryland, for basic training. He was the last class out of Bainbridge; subsequent enlistees attended basic at the Great Lakes training facility. His first assignment was at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland. Luce had hopes to become a Navy cook. After several months, he was shipped out to Norman, Oklahoma, for a five-week introduction to naval aviation. This was followed up with a 22-week assignment in Memphis, Tennessee, where he completed all course requirements and passed the review board with a military occupational specialty in aviation electronics.

He never did get to be a Navy cook. After passing the board, he was transferred to VP-48, a seaplane squadron in San Diego, California, with aviation electronics responsibilities. He spent six months in California and was reassigned to Iwakuni, Japan, for another six months. Luce liked Japan.

After Japan, Luce returned to San Diego and eventually transferred to Whidbey Island in Seattle, Washington. By this time, his original enlistment was up, and he agreed to an enlistment extension if the Navy agreed to send him back to Japan. The Navy delivered, and Luce was back in Japan for two years as a radio operator on seaplanes. Their assignment was to use the slow, lumbering seaplanes to track shipping in and out of Shanghai in Communist China. Luce remembers the Navy telling him they could be shot down by Chinese MiGs because the jets were too fast and the seaplanes too slow. During one mission, the pilot asked the navigator if he knew their location, which the navigator did not. The pilot said, “Look out the window and you can see Shanghai.” Realizing they were now in Chinese air space, they flew out of there very quickly. 

Luce also remembers flying through a monsoon en route to the Philippines in 1960 and making petty officer second class, or an E-5.  

Luce separated from service in July 1963. Of all his decorations, the one he is most proud of is his Aircrew Badge. He returned to Riverhead and used his GI Bill benefits to complete his undergraduate studies at LIU Riverhead, earning a Bachelor of Science in business. He met his wife, Naudain, to whom he was married for 23 years. Naudain was a substitute teacher in Hampton Bays for many years, and a scholarship is awarded to outstanding students every year in her memory.

Luce worked in his father’s hardware business for a while, served as a teacher for Nassau BOCES and worked on the maintenance crew for the Hampton Bays School District. He has four children – George Jr., Larry, Elizabeth and Amanda – and six grandchildren: Lee Ann, George, Robert, Olivia, Matthew and Phillip. Matthew and Phillip both attend the Hampton Bays schools.


A Lucky Day for Kindergartners

A Lucky Day for Kindergartners

Hampton Bays Elementary School kindergartners were on a mission on March 15 to catch a little green guy with lots of gold. The students each worked to use their mechanical skills and imaginations to construct colorful and elaborate leprechaun traps that were set in their classrooms. The traps all included gold “bait” and mechanisms to catch the little bearded man, who left green glitter throughout many of the students classrooms, taunting the children to catch him.


Ready for school

Ready for school photo
To help prepare parents and future students for school, the Hampton Bays School District held a Child Find program at the Hampton Bays Public Library on March 8. The free program screened children not yet enrolled in kindergarten for educational, language and motor skills. 

Speech pathologists provided the language and motor skill screenings during the program, while school district representatives and librarians offered information on school readiness and library services.  

Special Olympics - Volunteers Requested

special olympics logo
On Sunday June 9th, 2019, Hampton Bays Public Schools will host the Special Olympics. The daylong event will be held at Hampton Bays High School from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. If you are interested in volunteering, please sign up through this link. If you have any volunteer questions please e-mail John Foster- THANK YOU for lending a helping hand to a great event!

Celebrating 100 Days!

To celebrate their 100th day of school on Feb. 13, Hampton Bays Elementary School students took part in several projects related to the milestone number. They counted 100 blocks and other items, painted murals and added 100 items to them, and made “100th Day of School” hats.