Students at the Bridgehampton School take pride in donning their beloved black and gold colors, but for six years Nina Hemby, a recent graduate of the school, also wore Pierson’s red and black as she competed athletically through shared sports programs in Sag Harbor. Many Bridgehampton students have also worn East Hampton’s maroon and grey, competing alongside the Bonackers in sports like track and football.
Now, thanks to Hemby and Bridgehampton School Athletic Director Mary Anne Jules, students who have not just participated, but achieved on shared sports teams — winning division, county or state titles — will be honored in the Bridgehampton Killer Bees gym, also known as the Beehive, just as Bridgehampton teams have for decades.
At Hemby’s request, the district has purchased banners celebrating the achievement of shared sports teams dating back to 1995. The banners are gold with black lettering, which will distinguish them from the Bridgehampton Killer Bees banners, which are black with gold lettering.
The banners were unveiled during a Bridgehampton School Board meeting on Wednesday, October 28. At the meeting, Nina’s mother Nicki, school board president, read a letter from her daughter, who now plays field hockey at Long Island University’s CW Post, a Division II school, where she is a freshman.
Hemby’s field hockey career began on the Pierson squad, which, last fall won its division, as well as the Suffolk County Class C title and the Long Island Class C Championship. The girls lost in the state tournament in overtime.
“The shared sports program had been such a huge part of my high school life and I am grateful that the three schools are able to think outside the box and offer the students these amazing opportunities,”said Hemby.
“The shared sports program at first can be a difficult one,” she added. “For many of us it means stepping outside the comfort zone of your own district, a lot of long bus rides, late nights, late homework, pre-judgment from peers and coaching staff and the hardest piece to overcome is wearing another schools colors. But what you gain are wonderful relationships, self-confidence, the ability to break preconceived notions and make unforgettable memories.”
Bridgehampton has long been known for its storied basketball program. The Bridgehampton Killer Bees boys basketball team has won eight small school state titles. Hemby hopes that as the school begins to display banners honoring other successful athletic teams featuring Bridgehampton players, students and the community alike will realize that Bridgehampton sports is about more than just basketball.
“High school sports enables the entire school to come together, whether playing or observing, to cheer for their school,” said Hemby.
“When I left for states, the support from my fellow students, the school staff as well as the community as a whole was overwhelming. I am proud you chose to memorialize that moment with a banner.”
After the meeting, Hemby’s mother said she was also proud of the school’s decision as it highlights the positive relationship that exists between the Sag Harbor School District and Bridgehampton School. In addition to field hockey, Nina also played on the girls basketball team at Pierson and on the softball team.
“I just think it is very important to know how far the shared sports program has come and that Nina was not just the Bridgehampton kid, she was Nina, teammate,” said Hemby. “It was overwhelming to travel with the other parents to state playoffs and not be treated as an outsider, but as one of the Pierson family.”