School News

East End

Chancellor’s Award

Ten Suffolk County Community College students have been awarded the State University of New York’s highest honor — The Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.

Students are recognized for their integration of academic excellence with other aspects of their lives, including leadership, campus involvement, community service, creative or performing arts, athletics, and/or career achievement.

“Of the more than 415,000 students in the SUNY system, only 213 received the award statewide,” said Suffolk County Community College Interim President Louis Petrizzo. “We are extremely proud to have 10 of these exceptional students at Suffolk, and we celebrate their extraordinary achievements.”

Reynaldo Dallas, a hotel and resort management major who lives in Hampton Bays, has a 3.8 grade point average and earned Dean’s List recognition every semester the past two years. Dallas serves as president of the Hotel, Tourism and Event Management Club, is an intern for Hyatt Place in Riverhead, and a volunteer for the Hampton Bays Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

Katarzyna Fialek-Yevtushenko, an accounting major and also a Hampton Bays resident, has a 4.0 GPA and earned Dean’s List recognition every semester the last two years. She serves as president of the STEM Club, treasurer of both Alpha Beta Gamma and Alpha Sigma Lambda, and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa.

Sayra Alonzo Moreno, a liberal arts psychology major and Riverhead resident, has a 3.7 GPA and earned Dean’s List recognition every semester the last two years. Alonzo Moreno serves as president of Phi Theta Kappa and a peer mentor, and is a Get There From Here Scholar.

SUNY Old Westbury senior Priscila Ortega also received the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.

Ortega, a resident of Amagansett, is a self-described activist. Her campus and community advocacy includes representing the undocumented community, co-founding the Undocumented Student Alliance, and raising awareness of the plight of the immigrant community. As a politics, economics, and law major, and public policy minor, Ortega has maintained academic excellence over her four years and is looking to further her education in the field of immigration law. She is a member of the Honors College, Student Government Association, and Omicron Delta Kappa Student Leadership Honor Society.

“These student nominees are some of the most exceptional individuals across the State University of New York system,” SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson said in a letter to students. “They excel academically and go to great lengths to give back to their campus and its community through their service . . . their success is a source of great pride for us all.”


Youth And Government

Southampton Town Councilman Tommy John Schiavoni and the Director of the Southampton Youth Bureau, Nancy Lynott, have been working with a group of students proposing bills for the Youth and Government Conference, which enables students to experience life as state representatives. It was originally due to begin March 13 in Albany, and despite the setback of the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of five students were finally given the opportunity to present their legislation during a four-day online conference that began May 6.

James Daniels and Andrew Mastrole, from Westhampton Beach High School; Aidan Wisniewski Campo and Ricardo Sobrevinas, from Southampton High School; and Aiden Genender of Pierson High School began researching topics in January that could form the basis for legislation.

On May 9, the students participated in roughly four hours of debate at the Assembly and Senate level for the bills that have been selected to advance to that stage. The students were part of numerous meetings throughout the past couple of months, researching and making sure their legislation would be strong enough to make it there. Legislation topics included income tax increases, and amending education and criminal procedure law. After the debate, students waited for election results.

“As a former high school teacher, it has been wonderful to see youth engaged in government,” Schiavoni said.

For more information on this program, contact the town council office at 631-287-5745.

Summa Cum Laude

Southampton High School announced 22 Class of 2020 seniors will be graduating summa cum laude in June. These students earned this distinction by maintaining an overall GPA of 95 or above during their high school journeys.

“We are pleased to present these students to the community,” said Principal Brian Zahn. “They have etched themselves in the history of the school. They worked hard throughout their high school careers and are very deserving of this honor.”

In addition to maintaining a high GPA, the students have each displayed a commitment to their school and community and will be attending college after graduation.

Students include Lukas Baumilas, Margaret Carter, Nicholas Castillo Marin, Wilson Cobb, Jomel De Leon Dela Cruz, Isabella Ellams, Artemios Gavalas, Dylan Halsey, Lauren Heaney, Taylor Hemby-Ginsberg, Grace Kearns,Kevin Le Nguyen, Caraline Oakley, Brynne Rozzi, Sankavi Sampath, Vimarsha Sital, Juliana Stein, Caroline Wetter, Remi Wesnofske, Parker West, John Whitall, and Jack Zaloga.


Student Registration

Student registration for residents of the Tuckahoe Common School District is currently happening for the upcoming 2020-21 school year.

To be eligible for pre-kindergarten, a child must have a birthdate between December 1, 2015, and November 30, 2016. A blood lead level is requested for all pre-K students as per state guidelines. This is a routine blood test that may have already been done, so check with your child’s pediatrician.

To be eligible for kindergarten, a child must have a birthdate between December 1, 2014, and November 30, 2015.

To register, visit, click on district, and scroll down to registration packet, available in English and Spanish. Print and complete the registration forms and email them to [email protected] or [email protected] or mail to Tuckahoe Common School District, 468 Magee Street, Southampton, NY, 11968. Attention to Main Office-Registration. Call 631-283-3550 ext. 301 with any questions.

Distance Learning Challenge

Tuckahoe fourth graders competed in a distance learning challenge to design and construct a robot from recycled materials. Fourth grader Karine Mejia had a notable design.

Full STEAM Ahead

As a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) lesson in remote learning, Tuckahoe fifth graders took on an independent study of the basic building blocks of life, the humble cell. Students were asked to choose a plant or animal cell to model and label.


Riverhead Middle School teacher Crystal Crespo inspired her students to compose a song while distance learning. Independent/Courtesy Riverhead Central School District


Riverhead Middle School students are continuing to enhance their musical skills through distance learning techniques. Recently, the young musicians were tasked with teaching someone in their household how to play “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” on their instrument and film it.

The lesson gave the students an opportunity to show their family members just how much discipline is needed to learn an instrument. It also served as a bonding experience.

“My goal was to have students be reflective of their own playing and critically think about what they are doing when they play their instrument,” said music teacher Regan Burns. “After all, becoming the teacher brings on a new level of learning.”

Music Challenge

Seventh grade Riverhead Middle School band students have been busy strengthening their music skills through a 100-point music challenge.

As part of the distance learning activity, music teacher Crystal Crespo asked students to compose a song using the app GarageBand and upload it to Google Classroom. The song could be of any genre and had to include multiple layers of music.

“I encouraged students to not be afraid to experiment, express themselves, and be creative through the song-building process,” Crespo said. “A lot of my students have excelled using GarageBand.”


Spreading Joy And Cheer

Social distancing did not deter a group of Mattituck-Cutchogue students from staying connected with relatives and members of the community. As part of a pen pal project, seventh and 10th-grade high school students have been writing letters and emails to their grandparents and to residents of Peconic Landing, a retirement community in Greenport.

Mattituck-Cutchogue High School educators Lori Rosato and Jean Mahoney coordinated with Peconic Landing Lifestyle Coordinator Chrissy Viola to distribute letters from 16 students who wrote to 12 residents. Both generations are benefitting from the project, as students are offering words of caring and encouragement and asking their new pen pals to share their wisdom and life experiences.

Special education teacher and ninth grade advisor Kimberly Santoro, along with ninth grade class president Jenna Sledjeski, also created a plan to spread some virtual cheer.

Using social media, Sledjeski reached out to her classmates and asked them to create virtual messages of hope. A collection of messages, pictures, and videos created by the freshman class were delivered to the Peconic Landing residents who needed them the most as a way of cheering them on through their COVID-19 battles.

Westhampton Beach

Virtual Baking

Many smiles and yummy desserts were brought into the homes of Westhampton Beach students and staff as Westhampton Beach Middle School hosted its first Thursday Night Live virtual lesson with family and consumer science teacher Kathleen Ciancio on May 7.

During the Zoom session, 103 attendees followed along with Ciancio to bake banana bread or muffins with chocolate chips. The lesson tied into the school’s seventh grade nutrition unit.

To ensure that all participants had what they needed to bake the dessert, the school offered the ingredients during its regular lunch pickups as part of its COVID-19 lunch program.

“It was a hit,” Principal Charisse Miller said. “I am so proud of my staff and the students.”

The school plans to continue offering a variety of learning opportunities through the Thursday Night Live program. Students and families also participated in “Secrets of the Stones: Our Local History” on May 15.

Sag Harbor

Don’t Stop Believin’

In a fun uplifting video posted to social media, Sag Harbor Union Free School District faculty and staff told students they are missed and encouraged them to stay strong.

The short film, set to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin,’” opened with a message from high school Principal Jeff Nichols and ended with well-wishes from Rachel Emmerson, Pierson’s new English teacher and video director. In related news, the Pierson varsity golf team’s video also thanked the community for their ongoing support.

The videos can be found on the district’s website,

East Hampton

Middle School Chorus

On May 12, the East Hampton Middle School Chorus, under the direction of Melanie Freyre, took part in a live, online songwriting workshop with renowned choral composer Jim Papoulis. The students collaborated with the composer, sharing ideas about lyrics, tempo, dynamics, and form to create a new song just for them. They will be working with professionally produced practice tracks and making recordings of their voice parts. Then, Papoulis will mix them together to create a final recording, which will be released to the community.

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