School News

Sag Harbor Union Free School District

Hampton Bays

Virtual Symposium

COVID-19 will not prevent Hampton Bays High School science research students from presenting at the school’s seventh annual science research symposium. The school will host a virtual one Thursday, April 23, at 7 PM via the Hampton Bays School District’s Facebook page.

During the virtual symposium, seniors, under the direction of science research teacher Dr. Stephanie Forsberg, will present their findings on a wide variety of topics, including those related to diabetes, influenza, and risk factors associated with elbow injuries.

“These students have worked diligently on their research,” Dr. Forsberg said. “It is so important for them to showcase that work.”

Following the student presentations, viewers will have an opportunity to ask questions.

Presentations include Lily Candelaria’s bibliographic research of modifiable risk factors associated with elbow injury in professional baseball pitchers, Elisabeth Daniels’s link between diabetes, colon cancer, and other complications in humans, Skye McMorris’s study on the effect of light in the sensory regulation of settlement and metamorphosis, and Riley Stotzky’s study of the epidemiology of influenza in the United States.

The district will also host virtual research poster presentations by freshmen, sophomores, and juniors via the district’s Facebook page May 7 at 7 PM.

Music Induction

Hampton Bays High School announce 35 high school students have been named members of the school’s Tri-M Music Honor Society. The induction ceremony, originally scheduled for April 29, has been postponed due to school closures resulting from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

To earn the honor, students were required to submit applications and were selected based on academic and music performances, participation, community service, and leadership qualities.

The Hampton Bays School District congratulated newest members Dylan Abbott, Deykel Berrocal, Gabrielle Caine, Isabelle Caine, Nicholas Corredor, Samantha Coulton, Angelina Desiderio, Emily Duarte, Zoey Engeldrum, April Feliciano, Tristan Halsey, Jacob Helfand, Ian Hubbard, Ryan Hughes, Tara Lauther, Teresa Lauther, Alvaro Mijangos, Alexandra O’Connor, Andrew Oh, Sarah Oh, Valeria Ortiz, Joshua Pasca, Katelyn Pennacchia, Alison Pensa, Christian Pensa, Gabriela Ramos, Katerina Reich, Jose A. Reyes, Scott Robinson, Cristian Rodriguez, Jennifer Serna, Marin Smith, Anna Soto, Ella Stotzky, and Nikola Zastkova.

The district also acknowledged existing members continuing to serve, including co-presidents Gabrielle Caine and Sarah Oh, vice president Tristan Halsey, secretary Alison Pensa, treasurer Jacob Helfand, and historian Alexandra O’Connor.

Science Contest

High School sophomores Lily Simpson-Heavey and Kristina Georges have been awarded $1000 for having the winning video presentation as part of Northwell Health’s Spark Challenge.

The two science research students were challenged to create a package to accompany their poster submission after the original in-person presentation was canceled due to the COVID-19 crisis. Their project began on January 13, when they, along with their classmates, shadowed medical professionals at Peconic Bay Medical Center. Taking the information from that experience, they collaborated virtually to present an informative poster about lab technologists — the career they chose to highlight after the shadowing experience.

“The event was for students to shadow medical professionals and choose a career that was most influential to them,” said science research teacher Dr. Stephanie Forsberg. “This was quite forthcoming of our students, since a lab technologist is someone who could run COVID-19 swab/test samples using microbiology techniques — a crucial job in our current pandemic.”

Best Music Program
The Hampton Bays School District has been honored with a 2020 Best Communities for Music Education designation from the nonprofit National Association of Music Merchants Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. The district is one of 754 from across the nation to earn the award.

To receive the recognition, Hampton Bays demonstrated achievement in its efforts to provide music access and education to all students. The district was required to answer detailed questions about its program, including music class participation, instruction time, support, and funding.

“We are so very proud of our district’s music department,” Superintendent of Schools Lars Clemensen said. “I am constantly impressed by our students’ and teachers’ love and dedication to our music program. Kudos to all.”

Helping Health Workers

Knowing the need to help local essential health care workers as they fight COVID-19, Hampton Bays High School sophomore Lily Simpson-Heavey decided to act.

On April 6, she launched a GoFundMe campaign to fund the purchase of essential items for health care workers and their families.

“They are challenged more than anyone to work countless hours away from their families fighting for all of us against COVID-19,” she said.

All purchased items will be delivered to workers at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital. Just one day in, she raised $1330 toward her effort.

To donate, visit her GoFundMe page


Art Lesson Takes Shape

As remote learning continues due to COVID-19, students from Riley Avenue Elementary School have been fully engaged in their art classes. Those in kindergarten through fourth grade are working on a variety of creative interdisciplinary projects.

Among the lessons, kindergartners have created drawings inspired by the work of author Mo Willems, first-graders designed “Under the Sea” collages that highlight the elements of art and space, second-graders worked on contour line drawings, third-graders drew their bedrooms after taking a virtual field trip to the Van Gogh Museum, and fourth-graders created mixed media self portraits with a focus on proportion.

“It is so important for students to remain engaged in art,” art teacher Melissa Haupt said. “I am so proud of their creativeness, resolve, and love of art.”

Les Misérables

The cast of Riverhead High School’s “Les Misérables” play created a video of themselves singing “One More Day” from the production. Senior Lily Kutner put the video together.

“These kids are truly committed,” director Dena Tishim said. “I am always blown away by their resilience and passion.”

The live performance was postponed following the school’s closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To watch the video, visit

Health Care Worker Support

Members of the Riley Avenue Elementary School Student Council brought smiles to the faces of health care workers treating COVID-19 patients at Peconic Bay Medical Center by sending them posters with messages of gratitude. They also used the proceeds from their Halloween Candy Buyback fundraiser to send food to admissions and intensive care unit workers at the hospital on the evening of April 11.

Smiles To Seniors

To bring cheer to senior citizens who are homebound due to COVID-19, Pulaski Street Elementary School students have been busy drawing pictures with positive messages. Amelia Estevez Creedon, Pulaski’s library/school media specialist, has been emailing the images to the Riverhead Senior Center, where they are printed out and sent to community members, along with accompanying food deliveries as part of the center’s Meals on Wheels program.

Sag Harbor students say thank you to first responders.

Sag Harbor

Virtual Estuary Visit

Sag Harbor Elementary School science teacher Kryn Olson believes the best way to understand science is to observe it.

“In order to have science be what it should be, we are going to go outside into the field,” she recently said in a video greeting to her students, which was posted to the school’s remote learning page. Olson has filmed a series of videos onsite at the Barcelona Neck estuary in East Hampton to help her class experience their studies of ecosystems.

The videos dive into bivalves and univalves found in local waters, including the knob and channel whelks, slipper snails, blue-ribbed mussels, and Eastern scallops. Olson explained that scallops swim backward, which can be a little intimidating when coming face-to-face with one while snorkeling. Students also got a firsthand look at the quahog shell, which local Native American tribes once used as wampum.

On the beach, Olson pointed out red garnet, iron, and quartz in the sand, and the berms that become nesting areas for bank swallows in mid-summer.

The class also explored vernal ponds to learn how they develop, and the amphibians they nurture in their protected environment. With no fish to prey on them, they can be safe nurseries for insects, tadpoles, frogs, and newts, Olson said.

The teacher plans to film more outdoor explorations for the class and to take them into the field in the near-future for hands-on learning.

Health Care Heroes

In a heartwarming video posted to social media, Pierson Middle School students thanked health care professionals and everyone at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital for helping to save lives and stop the spread of the novel coronavirus to help “the world to a better place.” Students recorded their thank-you messages, made posters, and drafted letters to make sure these dedicated workers know that their personal sacrifice and tireless efforts are noticed by a grateful community.

Westhampton Beach

High Honors For Scientist

Two Westhampton Beach High School science research students earned a high honors designation in the New York State Science and Engineering Fair finals. Their project was one of only four in Suffolk County to earn the distinction.

Juniors Matthew Daleo and Evan Lockwood earned a spot in the finals after submitting a video presentation on their science project “Elemental Composition of Fossilized Ceratopsidae and Dromaeosauridae Teeth from the Lance Formation, Wyoming, USA.”

The finals were held virtually via Zoom.

The students have been working on their project for the past two years under the direction of their teacher, Dianna Gobler, after participating in the Westhampton Beach Middle School’s Palaeos program, where students travel west to work alongside field researchers to unearth dinosaur bones. The Palaeos program is run by middle school science teacher Rob Coleman.

Poster Contest

Westhampton Beach High School sophomores Maddie Donahue and Val Finke have been awarded a $500 gift card after earning an honorable mention for a video presentation they created as part of Northwell Health’s Spark Challenge.

The two science research students produced a video presentation of their poster submission after the original in-person presentation had been canceled due to COVID-19.

Their project began after they shadowed medical professionals at Southside Hospital. Using the information gained from that experience, they collaborated virtually to present an informative poster about cardiothoracic physician’s assistants — the career that they chose to highlight after the shadowing experience.


Best Community For Music Ed

The Southampton Union Free School District announced it has once again been recognized as one of the Best Communities for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation.

“We are honored to be recognized with this award,” Superintendent Nicholas Dyno said. “It affirms the hard work and dedication of our music teachers and student-musicians and the commitment of our community when it comes to music education.”

To earn the recognition, the district demonstrated outstanding achievement in its efforts to provide music access and education to all students. It was required to answer detailed questions about its program, including music class participation, instruction time, support, and funding.

Southampton was one of only 745 school districts from across the country to receive the recognition.


Thanking Locals

Mattituck-Cutchogue Union Free School District wanted to show its respect and thanks to local heroes with a video. Everyone featured in the video is either district alumni, a parent, a teacher, or a child or spouse of someone in the district.

This video highlights how much a small community is doing to help save lives during this novel coronavirus pandemic. It also serves as a way for the children of the district to see the great heroes and role models who live in their own community.

To view the video, visit


Excitement On The Ice

Third graders in the Tuckahoe Common School District conducted their annual collection for the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation.

Items donated included dog food, cat food, toys, sheets, and towels. The collection was done across the entire month of March.

Even though school closed halfway through the month, donations were still dropped off at teachers’ homes and received via Venmo. Regardless of the current situation, this was their biggest year yet.

Unfortunately, as a result of current self-isolation efforts, the third graders were not able to join their teachers in the delivery, but Mrs. Collins and Mrs. Fischette proudly dropped off the donations.

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