Hampton Bays Elementary School celebrated the 96th birthday of their beloved teacher’s aide Sarah Cunlifee with a surprise cupcake party on Jan. 31.
Cunlifee was all smiles as she was greeted by cheerful students bearing colorful signs and offering birthday wishes.
Cunlifee has worked at the school for the past 17 years and said her longevity has everything to do with being able to work with children every day.
“I am so happy to be here with the kids,” she said. “Everyone here has been so good to me. I am just so lucky.”
Working with children has been a large part of Cunlifee’s life. She began her career at the age of 16 by assisting the nuns at Sacred Hearts Church in Southampton, the town where she grew up. Later in life, she became the director of religious education at St. Rosalie’s Church in Hampton Bays, a position she served in for 35 years. She fondly remembers teaching communion and confirmation classes to Lars Clemensen, Hampton Bays’ superintendent of schools.
After retiring from her director’s position, Cunlifee said she needed to get back to work. “I was climbing the walls,” she said. She applied to Hampton Bays Elementary School and has been working five days a week since. She assists in classrooms and in the cafeteria during lunch.
Cunlifee still resides in Hampton Bays, where she raised her three children, Jackie, Joseph and Theresa.
Date Added: 2/1/2023