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A Year Filled with Accomplishments!


Over the course of the 2016-2017 school year, a number of exciting educational events took place while several students accomplished incredible educational and athletic feats. This video features a few of these achievements.

On the Air!

Kaylee Photo
LI News Radio recently interviewed Hampton Bays High School Science Research student Kaylee Cantena. During the interview, Cantena, who graduated in June, spoke about her four-year research project on genetically modified organisms.

Kaylee’s research was conducted as part of the Hampton Bays High School’s Science Research program under the direction of Dr. Stephanie Forsberg and with the assistance of her mentor, Patricia Stapleton, an assistant professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

To listen to the interview visit:

Flag Flies for Donald O’Flaherty

Flag Flies for Donald O’Flaherty 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 Mr. Donald O’Flaherty by flying an American flag in his honor throughout the month of June.

“The Hampton Bays School District is proud to honor Mr. O’Flaherty for his service to the United States,” said Superintendent of Schools Lars Clemensen.

The American flag was raised during a Flag Day ceremony held at the Hampton Bays Elementary School on June 14. During the event, second-graders read Mr. O’Flaherty’s biography and celebrated the American flag by singing several traditional, patriotic songs.

Mr. Donald “Don” O’Flaherty was born in New York City and attended high school at Power Memorial Academy in lower Manhattan. After his graduation in 1954, Mr. O’Flaherty worked various jobs until he received his draft notice. Instead of waiting to be formally drafted, he called the Armed Services Induction Center located at 39 Whitehall St. to ask if he could volunteer and report early. That choice resulted in him being assigned to the U.S. Navy instead of the U.S. Army.

Mr. O’Flaherty attended boot camp at the U.S. Naval Training Center Bainbridge, in Port Deposit, Maryland, where he received training as a Navy airman. After he completed training, he was assigned to Naval Air Station Memphis in Tennessee and was assigned to the Naval electronics officer school. His duties were to prepare coffee and iced tea for the Naval officers in training when they took their breaks from classes. The job was not too demanding and Mr. O’Flaherty found he had a lot of free time on his hands. He found work right in the officers’ break room: the walls, cups and windows were pretty dirty. To keep himself occupied, he cleaned the area despite the miserably hot weather. When the officers saw how clean everything was, they were impressed. So was Mr. O’Flaherty’s supervisor, a Naval chief. The chief spoke to the commanding officer about Mr. O’Flaherty’s work. The CO called Mr. O’Flaherty into his nice, air-conditioned office and asked him why he had cleaned the area. Mr. O’Flaherty said he was bored and needed something to do. The CO asked him if he could type, and said he could (thanks to his mother who encouraged him to take a typing class in high school); the CO assigned him to the office as a clerk typist, assisting the secretary in that nice, air-conditioned office. No more hot, miserable weather for Mr. O’Flaherty.

Mr. O’Flaherty also had a buddy from Brooklyn who had gone through training with him at Bainbridge. This friend drove the mail truck and delivered mail to the personnel office. He told Mr. O’Flaherty the personnel office was looking for five volunteers for a 30-day assignment to Naval Air Station Lakehurst in New Jersey. Mr. O’Flaherty thought it was a good idea to volunteer; his buddy didn’t think so, saying it would probably be kitchen duty for 30 days straight. Mr. O’Flaherty ignored his buddy and volunteered anyway.  A gruff Navy chief said the positions were filled; Mr. O’Flaherty asked if there were a waiting list or if one could be made. The Navy chief asked him his name, and when he said “O’Flaherty,” the Navy chief said a position had just opened. The chief was from New York and Irish – lucky for Mr. O’Flaherty.

When Mr. O’Flaherty finished his Naval service, he returned to New York City and got a job at Idlewild Airport, which is now John F. Kennedy International Airport. He attended the State University of New York - Farmingdale and studied art and design, earning an associate’s degree. At about the same time, he met his wife, Pat, at a dance at the Polish Hall in New Hyde Park. When they became engaged, Pat’s father said, “You gotta get a better job.” Mr. O’Flaherty took the New York City Police Department test and scored 43rd out of 1,000 and attended the police academy in 1961. His entire career was in Manhattan. He took the sergeant’s test and passed, but had to wait eight years before his promotion because of a hiring freeze.

Mr. O’Flaherty attended John Jay College of Criminal Justice, from which he earned his degree in criminal science. While still working for the NYPD, he joined the U.S. Coast Guard reserve. A Coast Guard chief took him on a tour of the U.S. Coast Guard Eagle, a coast guard training ship. He spent 20 years in the Coast Guard Reserve, retiring as a Chief Warrant Officer W0-3. He volunteered for Desert Storm, but was told the Coast Guard had enough port security officers.

While a member of the NYPD, Mr. O’Flaherty and Pat bought a house in Hampton Bays in 1984. They moved to Hampton Bays in the early 1990s. Pat and Mr. O’Flaherty had five children; unfortunately, their oldest daughter died when she was sixteen. They have five grandchildren.

Congratulations to the Class of 2017

Congratulations to the Class of 2017 Photo

The Hampton Bays Class of 2017 received their diplomas at a traditional commencement ceremony under a tent on the high school’s athletic field on June 24.

During the ceremony, which was filled with pride and excitement, several speakers stood to congratulate the students and offer advice for the future. Among those speakers were Superintendent of Schools Lars Clemensen and Class of 2017 valedictorian Erik Morastitla and salutatorian Nicholas Kolb, both of whom reflected on their years in the school district and wished their classmates well.

Author Captivates Hampton Bays Students

Author Captivates Hampton Bays Students Photo
On June 14, Hampton Bays Middle School sixth-graders met author Jerome Mark Antil, who has penned several young adult novels, including “The Pompey Hollow Book Club” and “The Book of Charlie.” During the assembly, Mr. Antil spoke to the students about growing up during WWII, what inspires him and the writing process. “The students were captivated by Mr. Antil’s stories,” said teacher Kathy Algieri.

A Planting We Will Go

A Planting We Will Go Photo
As part of a planting day initiative, Hampton Bays Elementary School students took turns planting vegetables in the Hampton Bays School District’s community garden on June 15. During the event, students not only watered and planted, but they also learned more about the seven-year-old garden, the food grown in its beds, seeds and about the district’s greenhouse. Pictured are kindergarteners in Mary Beth Motz’s class on planting day.

Athletes earn awards

Athletes earn awards photo
Hampton Bays High School senior athletes were recognized for their dedication to athletics and academics with scholarships and awards at Hampton Bays Booster Club’s annual awards dinner, held on June 7 at Giorgio’s.

The Hampton Bays School District extends its congratulations to the following award recipients:

Varsity Award & Scholarship Winners

Doc Fallot Memorial Scholarship Athletic Award 
Annalise Romagnoli and Jesse Haynes 

Hampton Bays Athletic Spirit Scholarship
Brianna Wilds and Antonio Kull 

Baymen Pride Award
Karla Solano and Joshua Aube

Scholar-Athlete Award
Chloe Haynes and Christopher Downs

John J. Pizzarelli All-Around Award
Kaylee Catena and Andrew Hafemeister

Leaders of the Game Award Winners
Nicole Akten, Kaheim Amos, Josh Aube, Kaylee Catena, Chris Downs, Sarah Fassino, John Ferguson, Ryan Hafemeister, Jesse Haynes, Emily Lowry, Tyler McKenzie, Kevin McNamara, Riley McNamera, Sean Noonan, Ivanna O’Campos, Tom O’Shea, Annalise Romagnoli, Felipe Salazar, Bankesha Samuel, Rachel Smith, Hailey Troyan, 
Cindy Tzitzimititla and Jessica Velez 

Choral Stars

Choral Stars Photo
Members of the Hampton Bays Middle School seventh- and eighth-grade chorus participated in the NYSSMA Majors competition, held on May 30. The singers, under the direction of Carolanne Mazur, earned a bronze medal for their performance.

Flag flies for David Griffin

Flag flies for David Griffin Photo

In 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 Vietnam veteran David Griffin by flying an American flag in his honor through the month of May.

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

Mr. Griffin was honored at a ceremony held May 26 at Hampton Bays Elementary School. During the event, select musicians from the Class of 2017 performed; high school student Ava Bianchi sang “The Star- Spangled Banner” and high school senior Dylan Durand, who will be entering the military upon graduation, introduced Mr. Griffin by reading his biography. Also, public officials, including Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman and Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming spoke in Mr. Griffin’s honor. The ceremony concluded with the raising of the American flag.

Mr. Griffin was born in 1942 at Southampton Hospital. He and his parents lived on his grandparents’ farm in Bridgehampton until his parents bought a house in North Sea in 1947. Mr. Griffin graduated from Southampton High School in 1961. After high school, he worked for Ernest Julke as a carpenter. He held a variety of jobs and in early 1963 he met his wife, Paulette, in Montauk. She was tending bar at Gurney’s and Mr. Griffin was driving a cement truck for Bistrian Cement Contractors in East Hampton. They married in 1963 and their first child, Linda, was born in 1964.

In 1965, Mr. Griffin received his draft notice for induction into the U.S. Army. He took a bus from Smithtown to Whitehall Street, the Armed Forces Induction Center, in lower Manhattan. Mr. Griffin was offered the choice of joining the Army or the Marine Corps and he chose the Marines. He went home for 30 days before reporting for duty. He was sent to Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina for in-processing. From there, he was sent to boot camp at Parris Island in Beaufort South Carolina. When he completed boot camp, he was trained as a sniper.

After graduation and another 30 days’ leave, Mr. Griffin returned to duty and boarded a troop ship to Vietnam. He was assigned to sniper duty and spent three days at a time in the jungle waiting to ambush enemy forces. Seven other Marines also went out three days at a time. In 1966, he was wounded and awarded his first Purple Heart. He returned to the U.S. and then deployed for his second tour of duty in Vietnam from 1967-1968. He was assigned to the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force at Khe Sanh. Mr. Griffin was wounded in June 1967 and was treated on the USS Repose, a hospital ship and awarded his second Purple Heart before returning to complete his tour of duty at Khe Sanh.  

After completing his second tour of duty, Mr. Griffin returned to the U.S. before enlisting for a third tour in Vietnam from 1968-1969. He fortunately was not wounded again. Upon completion of his third tour, Mr. Griffin returned to the U.S. and was honorably discharged.  

For his service, Mr. Griffin was awarded two Purple Hearts, the Vietnam Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

After his service, Mr. Griffin returned to North Sea and worked as a carpenter and was a member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters in Medford, New York. He and Paulette had a son, Michael, in 1972. They stayed married until 1982. Mr. Griffin continued to work as a carpenter and retired in the late 1980s or early 1990s. He now resides in Hampton Bays.

Student-Musicians Perform at NYSSMA

Student-Musicians Perform at NYSSMA Photo
Eleven Hampton Bays High School student-musicians recently performed at the annual New York State School Music Association Solo and Ensemble Festival.

During the festival, the students performed for NYSSMA adjudicators, who assessed them on their performance based on technique, precision and musicality.

The Hampton Bays School District extends its congratulations to the following student musicians: Ava Bianchi, Annabelle Dominguez, Lilly Griffin, Sarah OH, Gabrielle Caine, Tristan Halsey, Ali Pensa, Daniel Chekijian, Domenic Pensa III, Daniel Dimijian and Matthew Zbikowski.

Author Visit

Author Visit Pic 1
Hampton Bays Elementary School students enjoyed an animated presentation by author Darren Sardelli on May 26. During the assembly, Mr. Sardelli spoke to the students about poetry and then spent time conducting writing and illustration workshops with first-graders.   #engageHB

Physical Education Director of the Year

Physical Education Director of the Year Photo
The Hampton Bays School District is proud to announce that Director of Physical Education, Health and Athletics Drew Walker was recently named as Suffolk Zone’s Physical Education Director of the Year and will be recognized at a ceremony in November 2017.

Mr. Walker was selected, according to Suffolk Zone for his caring and commitment to his profession and students.

Of the honor, Mr. Walker said, “I am honored by the recognition and very grateful to be able to work with such a great physical education/health staff at Hampton Bays. They care about teaching the students skills, knowledge and strategies in the area of personal safety, health, wellness, motor movement, positive decision-making and in sport and lifetime activities.”

Mr. Walker also thanked the board of education, administration and community for their support in increasing athletic facilities and providing materials and supplies needed to offer maximum student involvement in the district’s physical education and health classes.  

Speaking about Mr. Walker, Superintendent of Schools Lars Clemensen said, “Hampton Bays is focused on the development of the whole child and, with Mr. Walker’s professionalism, passion for physical education and compassion for our students, our gymnasiums and fields are positive spaces for kids to learn, grow and challenge themselves. Under Mr. Walker’s leadership, the PE staff is focused on developing students who will have a lifelong commitment to their own health and wellness.”

Students Hatch Baby Chicks

Students Hatch Baby Chicks Photo

As part of a hands-on lesson, Hampton Bays Elementary first-graders learned about hatching chickens throughout the month of May.

For the lesson, the students placed 12 eggs in an incubator and kept them safe and warm for 21 days. Each day, the students learned about the chicks’ development inside the eggs and used flashlights to see shadows of the chicks inside the eggs.

After much anticipation, four of the eggs hatched and the students learned how to properly care for them by setting up a broader box complete with a heat lamp, food and water. The chicks will soon be delivered to the Suffolk County Farm in Yaphank where they will reside.

The lesson was made possible by the PTA, which purchased the necessary equipment.

Educator Named Elementary Teacher of the Year

Educator Named Elementary Teacher of the Year Photo
The Hampton Bays School District is pleased to announce that fourth-grade teacher Amy McNamera has been selected as a New York State VFW Elementary Teacher of the Year.

Ms. McNamera is one of three exceptional teachers from across the state to receive the recognition for her commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to students.

In her role as a teacher and grade-level coordinator in Hampton Bays, Ms. McNamera has been instrumental in the Hampton Bays School District’s monthly veterans’ recognition ceremonies. During the living classroom ceremonies, a local veteran is honored with students performing and reading the bio of the veteran being honored.

“I nominated Amy because of her leadership with our kids and veterans. She is a representation of a teacher-leader by bringing the textbook to life,” said Superintendent of Schools Lars Clemensen.

Ms. McNamera said she is honored to accept the award and she is proud to be a teacher. She has been teaching since 1996, first at Blessed Sacrament in Charleston, South Carolina, then in South Huntington and at Hampton Bays Elementary School since 1999.

The Hampton Bays School District extends its congratulations to Amy McNamera.

Students take the Fit Club Challenge

Students take the Fit Club Challenge Photo
On May 8, Hampton Bays Elementary and Middle School students competed in the 2017 NYSAHPERD-Suffolk Zone Fit Club Challenge at Lincoln Elementary School in Sayville.  

During the event, the 24 fourth- and fifth-graders, chaperoned by physical education teachers Tracey Carey, John Foster and Jeanne Polan, competed against students from 12 Suffolk County elementary schools. The students took on individual and team challenges including those related to muscular and cardiovascular strength and endurance activities, such as jump roping, tire flips, box jumps and sit-ups.

The goal of the Suffolk Zone Fit Club Challenge is to empower students with skills, tools, training and confidence to lead healthier lifestyles in a supportive, fun environment.