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The ‘write’ Stuff

The ‘write’ Stuff  photo
Hampton Bays High School student journalists were recognized with top honors and several Quill Awards at this year’s Press Day, held Jan. 28 at Adelphi University. 

Among the awardees was Dylynn von Bartheld, who earned an honorable mention as most outstanding reporter; Julia Heming, who was honored with a third-place award for best news article; Kiera Hughes, who placed third in the opinion category; and Schuyler Dorchak, who placed third for best feature. All of the winning pieces had been published in the school’s newspaper publication, The Tide. 

More than 20 schools from across Long Island participated in the event. In addition to the award presentations, students took part in discussions about “fake news” and other problems facing contemporary journalists.

The Hampton Bays School District extends its congratulations to these student journalists for their hard work. 


Chinese New Year celebration

Chinese New Year celebration photo
Stephanie Tam’s second-graders at Hampton Bays Elementary School celebrated Chinese New Year on Feb. 5. As part of the festivities, they learned about the holiday’s traditions, made colorful masks, learned to speak and write a few words in Chinese and received a traditional red envelope.  

The Ugly Truth

ugly truth image
On Thursday, March 7, Hampton Bays High School will host the South Fork’s first presentation of “The Ugly Truth” at 6:30 p.m. in its auditorium, 88 East Argonne Road, Hampton Bays.

The multiagency presentation will center on the opioid epidemic on Long Island and feature representatives from the Suffolk County Police Department, Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office and Suffolk County Office of Mental Health.  

During the event, experts will offer information related to the opioid epidemic and a complimentary Narcan training for all attendees over 18 years of age. The SCPD will also be available in the auditorium lobby before and after the event to collect unwanted medications in order to properly dispose of them. 

Flag Flies for George Hitchcock

Flag Flies for George Hitchcock 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. Army veteran George Hitchcock by flying an American flag in his honor throughout the month of January. 

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

Hitchcock was recognized on Jan. 25 with a ceremony at Hampton Bays Elementary School. During the tribute, middle school students read his biography and middle school student Marilyn Ramos recited her patriotic essay, “Why I Honor the American Flag.” The event culminated with the raising of the flag on the school’s flagpole. 

Born in Brooklyn on June 25, 1946, Hitchcock moved with his family to Rockville Centre six years later and graduated from South Side High School in 1964. He went on to study business administration at Stevens Business College in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, but decided business was not for him and looked into joining the military. Unfortunately, the Coast Guard and Air Force had long waiting lists for enlistment, and he was drafted by the U.S. Army in 1967.
In March 1967, Hitchcock arrived at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, for his basic training. He graduated in May and boarded a bus to Fort Knox, Kentucky, for advanced individual training in the MOS 11D20 for armor. There, the 20-year-old received his orders to ship out to Vietnam.
When he arrived in Vietnam in August 1967, Hitchcock was assigned to the 11th Armored Cavalry as a reconnaissance scout on an armored personnel carrier. The 11th Cavalry was constantly on the move in Vietnam. In January 1968, while the 11th Cavalry was on operations near the Cambodian border, the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops launched the Tet Offensive, attacking every major city and province in South Vietnam. As part of the United States’ response, the 11th Cavalry was ordered to support operations in Bien Hoa near the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon. 
On Feb. 3, 1968, Hitchcock’s armored personnel carrier took a direct hit from a rocket-propelled grenade and he was wounded. He suffered shrapnel wounds to his neck, arm, hip and legs and was medevaced to the 93rd Hospital in Bien Hoa for life-saving surgery. While recovering, the hospital was attacked by mortar fire and Hitchcock once again found himself in peril, as he could not be moved to a bunker because of all the tubes and wires attached to his body. He was flown to Japan for another month of hospitalization.
 In March 1968, Hitchcock was reassigned to the United States for re-evaluation at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and then sent home on convalescent leave. After recovering, he was assigned to the 6th Armored Cavalry at Fort Meade, Virginia. During this time, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and the 6th Cavalry was tasked with protecting the nation’s capital from rioting. Hitchcock felt he had left a war in Vietnam only to find himself in what felt like another war in the United States. Fortunately for him, his commanding officer, after reading his medical history, transferred him to the First Army Data Processing Center in Fort Meade, where he remained until his honorable discharge in March 1969.
Hitchcock was awarded the Purple Heart, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge, the 60 Day Vietnam Ribbon, the National Defense Medal and the New York State Conspicuous Service Citation for his meritorious service.
After his discharge, Hitchcock served as an officer with the Suffolk County Park Police, working in plain clothes and as a detective investigator. He also attended night school at Suffolk County Community College and earned a degree in criminal justice. He continued his education at the New York Institute of Technology until he had to stop to care for his father, who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
Hitchcock moved to Hampton Bays and met wife, Carol, at the Boardy Barn. The two have been happily married for 47 years and have two children, Sean and Beth, and two grandchildren, Trevor and Leah. Hitchcock enjoys his present hobby of “treasure hunting” with a metal detector on the sands of Suffolk County beaches and parks. He is a member of the Long Island Treasure Hunters Club, whose members try to return found items of value to their owners. In addition, he is an active member of the American Legion in Hampton Bays, a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5350, and a member of the Suffolk County Police Conference, the Disabled American Veterans and the 11th Armored Cavalry Association.

Dancing for a Reason

Dancing for a Reason photo
Hampton Bays Elementary School students twirled and bopped on Jan. 16 during an hourlong dance-a-thon sponsored by the school’s community service club, K-Kids. The event raised $800 for the Hampton Bays Kiwanis Club’s St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital fundraiser. Students raised the funds through pledges they procured from family and friends prior to the event. 

Funds Raised Through Volleyball Tournament

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Members of the Hampton Bays Middle School Student Council recently provided the Airborne Tri Team with a $140 donation. To raise the funds, the council members sponsored a volleyball tournament on Jan. 11 in which students could play alongside Airborne Tri Team members.  

A Breakfast Treat

A Breakfast Treat photo
Hampton Bays High School students enrolled in the district’s culinary arts program honed their skills by preparing and serving breakfast to local veterans on Jan. 9. 

The chefs-in-training cooked up eggs, bacon and other breakfast dishes for a group of 13 veterans who normally meet monthly at the Merry Maid. With the local restaurant closed for the season, however, the school welcomed the veterans for the delicious breakfast. 

The morning meal also provided student reporter Natalie Gomez with the opportunity to interview the veterans for a school newspaper article she is writing.  

The veterans greatly appreciated the hospitality of the school and took up a collection to donate to the school’s culinary program. 

Middle School Clubs Bridge Generations

Middle School Clubs Bridge Generations photo

Members of the Builders Club and Students Take Action Club at Hampton Bays Middle School learned more about the lives of local senior citizens as part of an intergenerational connections project on Jan. 9.

The members of the clubs, which are advised by Joan Moran, visited the Hampton Bays Senior Center to interview six residents, inquiring about their childhood, careers and families. The students will take this information to pen biographies on the interviewees, which will be read at the school’s Senior Awards presentation on Jan. 16.  

The seniors who participated in the project included Sunny Bates, Dave Griffin, Bob Murray, Ann Murphy, Mary Paimisano and Margret Riebel. 

Annual Alumni Panel

Annual Alumni Panel photo
Ten Hampton Bays High School alumni visited their alma mater on Jan. 4 to discuss college life with current juniors and seniors. As part of this annual alumni panel, the recent graduates spoke about the college application process, roommates, dorms, course selection and the transition from high school seniors to college freshmen. On the panel were alumni currently enrolled at Binghamton University, Coastal Carolina University, Harvard University, James Madison University, Loyola University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Stony Brook University, Syracuse University, University of Vermont and Wheaton College.

Reading Together

Reading Together photo
To foster a love of reading while bringing students together, Hampton Bays Elementary School hosted a weeklong “Reading Together” event. During the week of Jan. 7, teachers read the popular children’s book “Flat Stanley: His Original Adventure!” by Jeff Brown to their students and engaged them in activities related to the story.

11th Annual College Awareness Day

Hampton Bays Middle School hosted its 11th annual College Awareness Day on Jan. 2. Organized by guidance counselors Laurie O’Halloran and Jessica Sears, the event serves to motivate eighth-graders to start thinking about their future plans.

The eighth-graders gained insight and perspective into college life from Hampton Bays High School alumni who are currently enrolled in college. The alumni answered questions about their college experiences and discussed their typical schedules, as well as their school’s admissions process and extracurricular offerings. 

The district thanks the following alumni who participated in the event: Sydney Caldwell, University of Vermont; Jean Louise Catena, West Virginia University; Colette Levine, SUNY Buffalo; Meghan Long, James Madison University; Noah Montague, Stony Brook University; Caroline Oakland, Syracuse University; Alexa Peterson, Stony Brook University; and Mackenzie Tyler, Harvard University.

New ELA Programs Inspire Students


The Hampton Bays School District is proud to announce that it has initiated new English language arts programs in all of its schools this year. The programs aim to engage students in reading and assist them in meeting the Next Generation Standards.

Students at the elementary school are learning through the new Fountas & Pinell Literacy program, which uses interactive read alouds, book clubs and shared reading experiences to cultivate a greater love for reading. The middle school has adopted a new book club where each Friday, in class, students gather to discuss a book that they selected to read. At the high school, all students participated in a community read of “The Cage” by Ruth Minsky Sender. They enhanced their literary experience by participating in lessons and activities surrounding the reading, and even met the author. 

Learn more about the programs in these three short video clips. 



Coding with Botley

Coding with Botley
During the month of December, students in first through fourth grade at Hampton Bays Elementary School have been learning to code using Botley the Robot during their STEM lab period. Under the direction of STEM lab teacher Jonathan Della Speranza, the students used code to solve challenges and program Botley to navigate through a maze, catch a ball, score a goal and detect objects in his path.  

Teens Teaching Teens

Teens Teaching Teens
In its mission to teach students about the dangers of vaping, Hampton Bays High School has instituted a new Teens Teaching Teens program. 

The program, which is being conducted in partnership with the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, is designed to address the vaping epidemic by training students to conduct presentations to fellow students on the dangers of vaping.

On Dec. 12,  25 Hampton Bays High School students began training, working closely with two representatives from the department of health. They will continue to meet with them during the school year. Many of the program participants are also members of the school’s three-year-old Peer Education Program, which is co-advised by school psychologist Michelle DeBlasio and health teacher Jake Davidson.  

Hampton Bays to become AP Capstone school

Beginning in September 2019, Hampton Bays High School students will be afforded the opportunity to earn a prestigious AP Capstone diploma through the College Board’s rigorous AP Capstone Diploma program. 

The two-year program, which is only offered in about 1,800 schools across the country, consists of two college-level courses, AP Seminar and AP Research. The courses use an interdisciplinary approach to develop students’ critical thinking, research, collaboration, time management and presentation skills.    

“We are very proud to offer this program,” said Superintendent of Schools Lars Clemensen. “The AP Capstone Diploma signifies outstanding academic achievement and attainment of college-level academic and research skills.”

Students enrolled in the two-year program will be required to take AP Seminar first, where they will work on research papers, written arguments and presentations. In AP Research, students will design, execute and defend a yearlong, research-based project. Those who successfully complete both courses and score a 3 or higher on four additional AP exams will earn an AP Capstone diploma upon graduation. 

Since 2005, the Hampton Bays School District’s AP program has grown 150 percent. The district currently offers 15 AP courses for students to pursue. 

Teachers will be trained to instruct the new courses as part of the implementation process.

Native American Lesson

Native American Lesson photo
Hampton Bays Elementary School fourth-graders learned more about the life and history of Native Americans during a special presentation by Journeys into American Indian Territory on Dec. 11 at the Hampton Bays Fire Department. 

Through the interactive workshop, students explored a Native American museum featuring numerous artifacts, including clothing, dolls, pottery and a longhouse replica. Students also listened to traditional Native American stories, played Native American games and constructed clay pots.

Varsity Teams Earn Distinguished Award

Varsity Teams Earn Distinguished Award  photo
The New York State Public High School Athletic Association has recognized nine out of the 11 Hampton Bays High School fall varsity teams as Scholar-Athlete Teams.

To earn this distinction, each team met the criteria of holding a GPA above 90 percent during the fall season.  

The Hampton Bays School District extends its congratulations to the following athletic teams: girls gymnastics, girls tennis, girls soccer, girls cross-country, girls volleyball, football cheerleading, girls field hockey, boys golf and boys cross-country. 

Top Student-Athletes Recognized

Top Student-Athletes Recognized photo
Hampton Bays High School Baymen Christina Coulton and Patricio Pulla were honored by the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance on Nov. 28 as winners of the Suffolk Zone Student Leadership Award. The seniors were selected based on their excellence in physical education, leadership ability and service to the community. Coulton is a member of her school’s cross-country, winter track and spring track teams, and Pulla participates in cross-country and tennis.

Students win 100-word essay contest

Students win 100-word essay contest photo
The essays of 13 Hampton Bays Middle School students have been selected for inclusion in “Stranger Sagas – New York,” a collection of students’ creative writing published by the Young Writers organization.

The students’ winning essays were culled from a pool of 13,500 entries to the “Stranger Sagas” contest, which required entrants to write a 100-word essay based on a sentence starter. The essays were to carry a mysterious or suspenseful tone, in the vein of the Netflix original series “Stranger Things.”  

“I cannot tell you how proud and ecstatic I am for these students,” said teacher Laura Fitzgibbon, who offered the essay contest as an extra-credit assignment. “They worked hard on their pieces and had the courage to submit writing that would be judged.” 

In addition to having their pieces published, the students are in the running for a top award. 

The Hampton Bays School District extends its congratulations to the following writers: Zakaria Chami, Marco Cifuentes, Stephanya Derogatis, Matthew Drake, Shane Jamieson, Samantha Kraycar, Leonardo Valdespino Lopez, Christopher Martinez, Colby Peterson, Brian Pina, Juven Reyes, Emily Robinson and Aiden Zielinski Mendez.

Student String Quartet to Perform on News 12

quartet photo
A group of four local student-musicians has been selected to perform on a special News 12 holiday segment called “Sounds of the Season” on Dec. 19.  

The string quartet, made up of Southampton students Tessa Arnzen and Sofia Skoldberg, Hampton Bays student Kristina Georges and Eastport-South Manor student Ethan Young, earned the honor after participating in a News 12 contest. Only five groups of musicians were selected to perform. 

The foursome started playing together after meeting at summer camp and practice on a regular basis.