Tag Archive | "pierson high school"

Seventh Inning Rally For Lady Whalers Win

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Down two runs, with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, it looked like the Pierson-Bridgehampton Lady Whalers were facing their third loss of the season last Friday, April 15. The Ladies rallied to a 7-6 victory against the Hampton Bays Lady Baymen, sparked by Kasey Gilbride’s first homer of the season.
Hampton Bays was up two runs by the bottom of the second. Kasey Gilbride had a single, but stretched it out to steal both second then third. Samantha Duchemin’s single brought in Gilbride for the Whalers’ first run of the afternoon. A single by Emma Romeo brought in Duchemin, tying up the game. Sariah Cafiero’s single scored Romeo, giving the Lady Whalers a 3-2 lead.
With two runs scored by Hampton Bays in the top of the fourth, Pierson first baseman Samantha James singled. Rebecca Speckenbach’s double advanced James who then scored off a pop fly by Duchemin , tying the score, 4-4.
In the top of the fifth, a Lady Baymen drive was fielded by Pierson and thrown to third, where the ball bounced off the runner’s helmet as she dove to the bag. As the umpire called safe, the runner recovered, jumped up, ran towards home, scoring the fifth run for Hampton Bays.
The Lady Whalers stranded two on base in the fifth and sixth, allowing a run in both innings, to bring them into the seventh down 6-4.
The bottom of the seventh started with a home run by Gilbride, her first of the season. With two outs, needing two runs to win, eighth grader Duchemin came to bat. Duchemin singled and advanced to second on an error. She was replaced by pinch runner India Hemby. Romeo doubled, bringing in a racing Hemby, who slid into home just before the ball arrived, tying the score. A Cafiero base hit scored Romeo, giving the Lady Whalers the win, 7-6.
The Lady Whalers, holding on to their number two spot in League VIII traveled to Mt. Sinai on Monday for a non-league game. They faced the Suffolk County League VI Leader, who, with an 8-2-0 overall record and a 7-1-0 league record stunned the Whalers, 10-0. Pierson’s overall record, 5-3-0 reflects just one league loss.
The Lady Whalers will be traveling to Center Moriches on Tuesday, April 26. They will be playing Bayport-Blue Point at home on Wednesday, April 27 at 4:30.

Pierson Baseball Sweeps Southold but Falls to the Porters

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By E.J. Yennie

The Pierson Whalers (5-2-0) won their second straight series, sweeping Southold to put them in second place in the league behind Port Jefferson (6-1-0). After pounding the Settlers in Southold, 8-3 on Tuesday, April 12, the Whalers did it again on Thursday at home, winning 9-3. Friday, they traveled back to Southold, winning 8-3 again. In a surprise upset, Pierson lost to Greenport on Monday, 3-2, giving the Porters their first win of the season.

Pre-game on Thursday, senior Frank Romeo declared, “If we stay focused and play the way we can, we should be able to beat any team we play.”
The Whalers did just that, staying focused throughout the game,
hammering base hit after base hit. After the Settlers scored one run in the first, the Whalers quickly got down to business. Hits by Tyler Gilbride and Sean Hartnett were followed by a Jake Weingartner sacrifice pop, scoring Gilbride, tying the game. Gavin Kudlak’s drive to centerfield scored Hartnett. Frank Romeo popped a ball to left field, which was dropped, bringing in Kudlak. By the end of the first, Pierson was up 3-1.

Southold scored two times in the top of the fifth, tying the score. In the bottom of the inning, Kudlak was walked, followed by Frank Romeo, who was hit by a pitch. Forrest Loesch singled, scoring Kudlak. A base hit by Colman Vila loaded the bases. Gilbride’s hit scored Romeo for Pierson’s second run of the inning.

In the bottom of the sixth, with bases loaded, Southold brought in a new pitcher, Lucas Hokansor to replace their starter, Anthony Fedele. A double by Whaler Hunter Leyser scored Emet Evjen and Loesch. Next at bat, Gilbride doubled, scoring Mike Heller and Leyser. At the top of the seventh, the Whalers retired the inning with three plays to first base, for a 9-3 win.
The Whalers had their second league loss on Monday, a surprise upset to the Greenport Porters, 3-2. The Porters fielding their first team in 20 years, were 0-3-0 in league play and 0-5-0 overall before Monday’s victory over the Whalers.

Pierson’s only two runs came in the second inning, with Aaron Schiavoni scoring off a base hit by Sean Romeo. Romeo scored off a sacrifice fly by Weingartner.

Romeo reported, “We played clean; we just didn’t get the hits.”

Pierson traveled to Greenport on Wednesday, to face the Porters for the second game of the series. Hunter Leyser scored the only run for Pierson, who lost 2-1 in nine innings. With the score 1-1 tied after seven, the game went into extra inning.

A Porter double endsed the game in the eighth, 2-1.

“Pierson just couldn’t get the hits” said Romeo.

Pierson’s two league losses to Greenport dropped Pierson to third place in the standings behind Southold and McGann-Mercy. The Whalers will finish the series with Greenport at home on Saturday at 2 p.m.

The team travels to Riverhead next to play a series against first ranked Mercy, who bested Greenport 12-2, on Tuesday, April 26 and again on Wednesday, April 27, at home at 4:30 p.m.

According to assistant coach Benito Vila, “The team is doing great on defense. If they keep doing the little things without pushing too far, they will be successful.”

Coming Face to Face With IB

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By Claire Walla

Over the summer, administrators at the Sag Harbor School District began discussing the possibility of implementing a new program, called the International Baccalaureate (IB).

Founded in Switzerland in 1968, IB was created as a global education initiative meant to bring writing, critical thinking and worldly perspectives to the forefront of elementary and high school education.

Currently, over 3,000 schools use the program worldwide, including six here on Long Island.

“For me, IB embodies the best current practices in education,” said Pierson Middle/High School Principal Jeff Nichols, noting its emphasis is project-based assessments rather than multiple-choice tests.

But as a program that seems to encourage more questions than answers, many are still wondering what it’s really all about.

Robin Caltri, an independent consultant who promotes what he sees as the benefits of IB, came to Pierson two weeks ago to talk with parents and staff about the program. For Calitri, former principal of South Side High School in Rockville Centre, the value of IB is that it surpasses traditional ways of measuring intelligence.

“A gifted kid is one who reads well, thinks logically, does what the teacher wants and can do well on an exam,” Calitri said. “Others of us don’t have the gift of that intelligence. It takes us other ways to show what we know.”

IB draws from the teaching methods of Howard Gardner, a widely influential educator who proposed a method of education based on multiple intelligences: visual, spatial, kinesthetic, musical, logical, etc. And in an IB classroom, as many of these perspectives are drawn upon as possible. This may require teachers to assign more group assignments, skits and art projects, or even take more field trips.

“Students should not passively take notes and then regurgitate [that information] on a test,” Calitri added.

There may also be some change in content. But, while IB offers its own list of courses, it won’t exactly require teachers to reinvent the wheel.

For example, New York State requires eleventh graders to take U.S. history. In order to meet the state standards as well as IB requirements, diploma students would take an IB course called “History in America.” While it covers the United States, Calitri said this IB course also challenges students to think beyond their own borders, to consider a wider scope of American history that includes Mexico, Canada and Latin America.

“There may be some teachers who will have to redo their curriculum, and sometimes that’s a difficult thing for some teachers,” Calitri added. “They will have to broaden the scope of what they teach because a lecture course just doesn’t work.”

Representing the Teachers Association of Sag Harbor (TASH), Pierson math teacher Jim Kinnier addressed IB at last Monday’s education forum by reading from a statement drafted by TASH, essentially stating that teachers are open to exploring new ways of enhancing the curriculum.

“There’s some thought that teachers here are not open to improvement, and that’s absolutely not true,” he said later.

As for how IB would affect his classes, Kinnier was “intrigued” by learning about new ways to improve students’ abilities to think; but, he added, “I can’t make a decision myself as to whether or not IB is good until I go to the training.” Kinnier will be attending a seminar later this month in Houston, Texas.

Pierson history teacher Frank Atkinson-Barnes, who has already been through the three-day training program, said he still favors AP.

“I really like my AP World class,” he said. “I just wish we could tweak it a bit.”

Atkinson-Barnes did admit that there are some things IB does well.

“It’s not always a matter of apples and oranges,” he added.

The two-year IB format, for example, would allow teachers to teach more in-depth writing and research methods, which currently “I just don’t have time to do.”

However, he believes AP courses, which tend to survey a wider range of information, often better serve high school students. In his opinion, the school should keep AP classes, but spice them up with IB principles.

“Whether or not we go to IB, these [IB training] days weren’t wasted,” he said.

Even though the number of IB diploma and certificate students should roughly equate to the number of students currently taking AP courses, the idea — should the diploma program be a success — is for IB principles to trickle into many Pierson classes, and for the school to eventually grow the amount of IB participation.

And while many parents are enthusiastic for this change, some are still on the fence.

“You’re talking about changing the whole curriculum. This is going to be something that’s going to affect everyone in this school,” said Laura Matthers, whose twin daughters are currently freshmen at Pierson.

The school is considering implementing the program in fall 2012, so Matthers’ daughters will be among the first Pierson students eligible to receive IB diplomas. But, she added that as a parent of two children with different passions, she is concerned that IB might affect one child differently than the other.

For her daughter who is more artistically inclined, Matthers said IB pedagogy might suit her needs well. She welcomes the opportunity to enrich standard-level courses with more activities and to emphasize different ways of learning.

On the other hand, her other daughter is on-track to take Advanced Placement (AP) scholar courses, a track she worries might get bumpy should IB get in the way.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions,” she said, including whether or not IB credits will transfer over to university, or even whether IB would make it more difficult for her daughter to qualify for a merit-based scholarship. (Administrators have said that many schools do recognize and give credit for IB coursework.)

According to Nichols, should IB get introduced to the curriculum, AP options would not diminish, in fact AP courses might even be taught alongside IB. He also reiterated IB’s claim that any student who has completed IB coursework will do well on an AP exam in that same subject — the reverse is apparently not true.

Though it’s a hot topic at Pierson, elementary school parents have IB on their radars as well.

As her fifth-grade daughter nears her transition from Sag Harbor Elementary School to Pierson Middle School, Joan Dudley said she actually started considering moving back to Westchester County and sending her daughter to a private school in the city. She wondered whether a move to the private sector might give her children the more challenging curriculum she feels they need.

She’s since reconsidered.

“The thought of IB coming has made me stop thinking about other options,” she said.

Dudley is excited for the prospect of introducing IB to the curriculum not just for the opportunity students will have to receive an IB diploma, but for the work ethic that goes hand in hand with the program’s ideals.

“Whether they’re [teaching for] the diploma, the certificate, AP or regular courses, teachers will be teaching at a higher level,” she said.

Julie Hatfield, another fifth-grade parent at Sag Harbor Elementary School, also attributes her success to IB. Hatfield was accepted into the University of Pennsylvania as a Benjamin Franklin Scholar, and ultimately earned her masters degree in architecture from Harvard.

One of only two students who participated in the IB program in its inaugural year at South Side High School, Hatfield praises IB for bringing the idea of critical questioning to the forefront of her education.

“I don’t even think I knew that was an option before,” she said.

Hatfield is sometimes frustrated by her daughter’s assignments — like “mad-minute math,” meant to test her ability to recall information quickly — and hopes the district will continue to explore IB, which hinges on more critical thinking.

“I have noticed that there are some teachers who are comfortable differentiating between students’ abilities, and some who aren’t,” she said. “And the ones who are, do more project-based learning. They are the ones my children are most engaged by, and I think IB is an extension of that.”

Nothing is set in stone, but the district will continue to consider the IB program for fall 2012. Principal Jeff Nichols will give a presentation on IB at the next board of education meeting on Monday, February 7.

Make Way for the Music Man

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Rae Keakulina LaBourne and Denis Hartnett during rehearsals at Pierson auditorium.

By Annette Hinkle

“We got trouble, right here in River City!”

Well, not trouble exactly, and not quite River City. What we actually have is the “Music Man” in Sag Harbor presented by the students of Pierson Middle School all this weekend.

Getting a group of 55 sixth through eighth graders up to speed on a musical written more than 40 years before most of them were born can be a challenge. But director Paula Brannon and producer Melissa Luppi have been down this road before — many times.

“I don’t worry anymore because they always pull it off,” said Luppi during rehearsals on Tuesday as she calmly watched the students give it their all. And part of encouraging them to do that involves making sure they understand the lines they are saying (and singing) on stage.

“If you want them to get excited about it they have to know what it means, and like in many shows, you have to step back and clarify,” says Luppi. “For example, the Wells Fargo wagon is unknown to them, and the concept of ordering something — like a double boiler, which they’d also never heard of — and then having to wait for it to show up.”

Despite the dated references, these students are obviously thoroughly enjoying the play.

“I love the idea of dressing up and being someone else up on stage,” says eighth grader Rae Keakulina LaBourne, who plays the female lead, Marion (the librarian). “At first when I was reading my character’s lines, I thought she was very stuck up. But then she shows she does have a personality. In the song ‘My White Knight’ she talks about wanting someone who’s not so simple. She lets the audience peer into her thoughts.”

Playing Marion’s love interest, Harold Hill, is seventh grader Denis Hartnett who, like many of the young actors, comes to the show with lots of experience in Stages productions.

“I like the relationship between our characters,” says Hartnett of his co-star. “In the beginning she hates me because she thinks I’m a fraud — and I am a fraud. I like how it grows, and we go from hating to loving each other.”

Added into the mix is sixth grader Myles Stokowski (he’s the grandson of conductor Leopold Stokowski) who plays Winthrop, the little brother of Marion. Fans of the movie version of the musical might remember young Ron Howard in that role. And given his lineage, perhaps it’s no surprise that the music is this young actor’s favorite part of the show.

“I like musicals because I love to sing,” says Stokowski. “I don’t take singing lessons, but I’d like to.”

In addition to honing their acting skills, all three students have come to appreciate new friendships formed as a result of being in the play, and are now more comfortable on stage together.

“At first I had no idea who Denis was and I thought ‘I have to hug him and put my head on his shoulder? I don’t know you, this is awkward,’” recalls LaBourne. “We’d say our lines standing about five feet apart and facing opposite directions.”

“But now, we have bonded by going over our lines and talking about the play,” says LaBourne. “And Myles, he’s just the cutest thing ever.”

“Music Man” by Pierson Middle School will be performed Thursday through Saturday, February 3 through 5 at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. in the school auditorium. Tickets are $7 in the main office, or email agalanty@sagharborschools.org to reserve.

Lady Whalers Return to Winning Ways

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By Jake Sisson

The Pierson/Bridgehampton Lady Whalers returned to their winning ways against Ross (1-5, 1-5) after suffering their first Suffolk County League VIII defeat against Southold (6-6, 4-3). The loss against Southold dropped the Lady Whalers into a tie atop the League VIII standings with Stony Brook (7-4, 6-1) but the win against Ross meant they kept pace ahead of the team’s matchup against Stony Brook on February 8.

The Lady Whaler defense was the real star of the show against Ross as the team tried to reset after having its six game winning streak snapped against Southold. Ross was held to a mere 17 points across the game’s first three quarters en route to giving up just 28 total points. By halftime, the score was 24-11 and the Lady Whalers were not looking back.

The offense was again led by senior guard Sarah Barrett, who added to her already impressive season totals by scoring 18 points. Fellow senior Amanda Busiello continued a strong week by contributing 11 points while another senior, Samantha James, put home 10 points to power Pierson/Bridgehampton to a 26-point victory.

By outscoring Ross 8-5 in the first quarter, 16-6 in the second quarter, 18-6 in the third quarter and 12-11 in the fourth quarter, the Lady Whalers made sure they nearly repeated their performance of January 25 where they bested Ross by 29.

The team could not repeat their performance against Southold, however, as the Lady Whalers stuttered to their first League VIII loss and their first defeat in 2011. Despite a season high from Amanda Busiello, the Lady Whalers could not generate enough fourth quarter offense to hold off a determined Southold comeback.

Things were looking good for Pierson/Bridgehampton as they entered the fourth quarter ahead 34-27. Thanks to a strong third period, in which the Lady Whalers outscored Southold by seven points, all that remained was to limit Southold’s scoring chances and hold on for the win.

It was not to be, as Southold took the lead with two minutes left in the game and held on to win 40-38. Pierson/Bridgehampton could only muster four points in the final eight minutes to leave a bitter taste in the team’s mouth and end a six-game winning run.

The loss was not for lack of effort, however, as Busiello had the best offensive game of her season, picking up 17 points for a team- and game-high. Not far behind was Sarah Barrett, who again scored in double digits, with 11 points. Also getting on the score sheet were Samantha James with six points and Emily Hinz with four points.

After the quick return to form, Pierson/Bridgehampton faces Mercy in a game they need to win to keep their spot at the top of League VIII. From there, Pierson faces Stony Brook in a game that could decide the future league champion. In the two teams’ last meeting, the Lady Whalers ran out 35-33 winners and needed a layup inside the final 30 seconds to finally shake a tenacious Stony Brook side. Pierson/ Bridgehampton will look to some of the momentum gained against Ross to dispatch Stony Brook, and the take home the League VIII title, more quickly this time around.

Question Arise Over IB Program

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By Claire Walla

Don’t know much about IB?

That was the premise of last week’s International Baccalaureate (IB) information session, held Wednesday, January 19 in the Pierson Middle/High School auditorium.

IB, which is already used widely in Europe, is gaining popularity in the United States where it is replacing or being offered alongside AP programs and is seen by many administrators as offering students a wider world view.

According to Sag Harbor School District Superintendent Dr. John Gratto, administrators had decided over the summer to closely examine the IB program and how it might fit in to the academic curriculum at Pierson. While Dr. Gratto told those at last week’s meeting this is something that is “still in the exploratory phase,” he said administrators are working with potential plans to implement IB beginning in fall 2012.

A group of about 50 parents, teachers and administrators gathered to learn about the program from Robin Calitri, former principal of South Side High School in Rockville Centre, which has the longest history of IB on Long Island. Calitri also held an information session for parents the following day.

Calitri touted IB for challenging both teachers and students to think outside the box.

“IB values global or international mindedness,” he said, adding that while IB students are given assessment tests throughout their time in the program, one of the capstones for IB diploma students is a 4,000-word essay, which forces students to use critical thinking skills rather than fact-based recall methods to test their knowledge.

Ok, but how does it all work?

For the Sag Harbor School District, which is considering introducing an IB diploma program for eleventh and twelfth graders, participating students will take a total of six IB courses, revolving around what’s known as “the hexagon.”

Students will choose study topics that stem from six main subject areas — language, individuals and societies, mathematics and computer science, the arts, environmental sciences and second language. In addition, these courses are bolstered by the program’s three core requirements: Creativity Action Service (CAS), which encourages learning outside the classroom; the 4,000-word extended essay; and a vaguely titled course called Theory of Knowledge (TOK).

Some parents at the meeting expressed concern over the cost of a program that will potentially affect a select few.

Calitri was very frank: “[IB] can cost taxpayers anywhere from $30,000 to $200,000 a year,” he said.

While the Sag Harbor School District should not expect to see costs reach anywhere near the six-figure range — these estimates apply to schools implementing IB at all levels of education, from elementary school up — IB does have a price tag.

In addition to the $7,000 application fee and the fees associated with joining the worldwide IB network, it costs about $1,500 to $2,000 for Pierson to send each teacher to IB teachers training conferences. (This year the district set aside all of its professional development funds for this purpose.)

Parent Tom Gleason shared his doubts about the program. “I worry about the percent of students who will actually be in IB courses,” he said, adding that the school has already invested money in an AP curriculum. “To me, I’d rather put money into raising all students to a higher level.”

According to Pierson Principal Jeff Nichols, IB would function similar to the way AP already does. He estimated there are typically eight to 14 students who take more than five AP courses at Pierson during the course of their studies, a work load similar to that required of those pursuing an IB diploma. And just as certain students already take individual AP courses, those same students would be able to take single IB courses for certificate credit.

At eight to 14, the number of potential diploma students represents roughly 20 to 30 percent. But, Nichols added, “Just like we did with AP, we’ll grow that number.”

Pierson math teacher Jim Kinnier asked about the more practical implications for teachers, questions concerning the content matter of an IB class versus an AP class, as well as the instruction time necessary for IB students. Standard level IB classes require 150 hours of instruction, while higher-level classes require 240.

To the former, Calitri was vague. He said it’s up to the teacher and the school to choose the specific content of the course.

“The [administrators] will design the program for the school based on the strengths of its faculty,” he explained.

And to the latter, he said 40-minute class periods, like those at Pierson, are standard.

“Schools just have to figure out a way to get 150 hours of instruction,” he added, which can be difficult if schools lose teaching time to snow days or teachers conferences, or if individual students miss class periods. In these instances at Rockville Centre, Calitri continued, sometimes teachers scheduled additional instruction for after-school hours.

School board member Chris Tice asked Calitri how sophomores who currently take AP classes but would not be able to partake in the IB program until their junior year factor into the equation.

Calitri spoke well of AP classes, saying “Sometimes AP is used as a set-up for students on-track to do IB.”

In a later interview, Dr. Gratto mentioned that AP would most likely still be an option for students, should plans for the IB program come to fruition.

Whalers’ Defeat Bees, Claim First Win

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By Benito Vila & Jacob Sisson

It’d be easy to describe any basketball game in the Bridgehampton gym as a back and forth affair; the court, known as “the Hive”, is smaller that the one in the Sag Harbor Elementary school.
Oftentimes the close confines are all the Killer Bees need to sting a visiting opponent.
That was not the case Tuesday, the Pierson Whalers holding back their hosts and taking home a 63-50 victory.

The outcome puts the Whalers in the win column for the first time this season, following a loss to Port Jefferson on Thursday, January 13 and three earlier league losses to Greenport, Stony Brook, Port Jefferson and Southold.

The Killer Bees, meanwhile, at 1-5 in League VIII play, have a tough course ahead of them, Southold coming in Friday and Greenport next.

Their playoff hopes rest on their Class D designation, which only takes into account Bridgehampton’s record against Ross, Shelter Island and Greenport.
Pierson has Shelter Island in tomorrow at 6:15 p.m. and Ross in Tuesday. The Whalers need wins in those games, and against the top teams in the coming weeks, to earn any post-season consideration.

The difference in Tuesday’s match-up proved to be a 20-3 run by the Whalers at the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth. Tight team play by Pierson was highlighted by a four-point play by senior guard Tyler Gilbride, who was fouled hitting a three-pointer and put in his free throw.

Seamus Doyle led the Whalers with 19 points. Sam Miller and Jake Weingarter each added 10, with Gilbride knocking in 9. Canaan Campbell led the Killer Bees with 22.

Earlier in the week the Whalers’ faced off against the Port Jefferson Royals (3-3, 2-1) and came away losing 69-45. While the Whalers had been starting to put the pieces together, the trip to Port Jefferson was the third in a set of three straight games against Suffolk County League Eight’s elite. Having already dropped games against League VIII leading Greenport and joint second placed Stony Brook, Port Jefferson stood as a key test of Pierson’s possible playoff credentials.

The feeling in the Whalers camp ahead of the three key matchups was to survive the tests and play as good basketball as possible. A good game against the Royals would set Pierson up well for a run of games against the league’s mid-table teams and give the Whalers some momentum needed for wins. While the scoreline may not have showed it, Pierson got some excellent contributions from their bench players who will be important as the season progresses.

The Whalers didn’t get out to the start they were hoping for in the first quarter, as it took more than two minutes for senior forward Seamus Doyle to record the team’s first points. Doyle hit a well-placed three-pointer off of an assist from fellow senior forward Jake Weingartner.

The three-pointer could not stem the Port Jefferson tide, however, as the Royals poured 16 points onto the Whalers before James Sloane answered with the first of his seven points on the night. Only Dylan Hmielenski could muster another lay in before the first quarter ended with Port Jefferson up 24-7.

The second quarter was worse for the Whalers offensively, as they could only grab five points, three coming from Weingartner while Tyler Gilbride recorded his only basket of the night. Still, Pierson ratcheted up the defense and held Port Jefferson to 11 points, entering halftime down 35-12.
Foul trouble for many of the team’s better rebounders, including Weingartner, Doyle and Skyler Loesch hindered the Whalers’ ability to dominate the glass, and allowed Port Jefferson too many second chance points. As a result, Pierson had to turn to some of its unsung bench players for scoring production.

In the third quarter, this task fell to Sloane, guard Jackson Marienfeld and the continued help from Weingartner. Pierson managed 13 points from the quarter and, with only eight minutes left, the Whalers were looking at a 54-25 deficit.

Despite victory being out of reach, Pierson forward Michael Heller stepped in and had a fine quarter, trying to reignite his team. Just over a minute into the period, Heller hit his first jumper off of a Skyler Loesch assist to open up a floodgate of sorts. In just eight minutes of play, Heller scored eight points – two shots from the field and four made free throws – and had two rebounds, to power the Whalers to a 20-point quarter.

Despite the scoring surge, Pierson could not bring back the Royals, who went on to win 69-45. Despite the loss, Pierson’s bench players picked up some key confidence as they move on to face Bridgehampton on Tuesday and bottom of the league Shelter Island on Friday. With lessons learned from the league’s three toughest teams in hand, the Whalers are still in a position to make a run at the playoffs.

Alexa Lantiere

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By Claire Walla

Last semester, if you couldn’t find Pierson High School Senior Alexa Lantiere, chances are she was in Dr. Schumacher’s science lab studying sea sponges. An atypical way for most Pierson students to spend their free time, Lantiere was figuring out the chemical make-up of a rare sponge for a paper she wrote called “Isolation and Structural Assignment of a Biologically Active Sesterterponoid From the Marine Sponge Collospongia.” This semester, her hard work has paid off. Lantiere is a semi-finalist for this year’s National Intel Science Talent Search.

The senior, who plans to study pre-med next year at university, spoke about her project from inside the lab where it all began.

How did you choose your topic for the Intel contest?

We started [this project] when we were told about the sponge from the curator at Atlantis [Marine World]. Usually there are different species of sponge throughout the aquarium, but they don’t grow all over the place because animals inhibit their growth. This one — it’s called Collospongia, that’s the genus — was the opposite. It was becoming a menace.

So, using methanol, you were able to extract all the compounds from the dry sponge, and then the idea was to study those compounds after you got them free from the sponge?

Yeah. We had to keep simplifying them and purifying [the substance] so we could get just one compound. First we [purified the substance] two times with flash chromatography. Then, once we got down to [a level] that we thought was starting to get pretty pure, we separated it out and did the trituration, which formed crystals. Those crystals were an indication of the pure compound.

Are you impressed with yourself for knowing all this terminology?

Yeah, I guess it’s cool.

What was the most exciting part about doing the research and the experimentation for you?

I think the most exciting part was definitely when we got the crystals because we got the compound and we were pretty sure it was pure. We were able to send it to [the University of] Mississippi and that’s when we knew we definitely had a project.

It must have been kind of nerve-racking before that point. Science requires a lot of experimentation and you never know if it’s going to work out. Did you feel at any point, like, “I hope this works?”

Yeah. We were getting close to the deadline and we had to work a lot. I was working extra [class] periods in September and October, and the project was due in November. So, we were pretty much rushing a lot of the time.

Did it ever seem way too laborious?

No. I was excited. I was always happy to work on it. I mean, some of the machines are boring. Doing the same thing over and over is not very fun. But, it was definitely worth it and I had a great time doing it.

What are the implications of your findings?

After we got the compound, we tested it for antimicrobial activity and it was positive for that, so that has implications to become a medicine or an antibiotic, depending on how it works out. But, we’re not really going to get into that. A university or someone else will have to take that part on. The compound also had anti-fouling properties.

What does that mean?

An example is, like on boats they put heavy metals to make sure nothing grows on the boat. It’s the kind of thing that inhibits anything from growing on [a given surface]. We think that’s also why the sponge didn’t have anything growing on it, because it had this compound that was so astringent.

Where does your passion for science come from? Are your parents science-y?

No. I don’t have any history of scientists in my family. A lot of people I’ve met, especially [those] going into pre-med, either know someone who’s a doctor or their parents are doctors. So, I think it’s nice that I can do it without any other kind of inspiration — just myself.

Do you think your parents understand all the research and experimentation you did for this project?


Not really. My Dad was telling me what he told someone the project was about, and it was… not very right.

What did he say?

He said that we got an enzyme from the sponge and that we tested it on rats. We never had rats! We never had mice!

Did you promptly correct him?

Yeah. So now, hopefully, he won’t make anything else up.

Pierson at Top of League VIII Hoops

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Heller_LWhalers-Mercy Basketball '11_4362

By Jacob Sisson

Down 3 entering the fourth quarter, the Pierson/Bridgehampton Lady Whalers (2-6, 2-0) turned to a player they have been relying on all year: Sarah Barrett. The senior guard did not disappoint, scoring all of The Lady Whaler’s seven points in the fourth quarter to lead the team to a 43-41 victory over the Mercy Monarchs (2-4, 1-1). None of her points were as clutch as the two free throws she hit with 15 seconds remaining that gave the Lady Whalers their final advantage.

Barrett’s final push capped a season high 23-point night. The guard added four steals on a night where ball control was fleeting and turnovers were common. As a team, the Lady Whalers collected 14 steals, with senior forwards Samantha James and Kaci Koehne as well as senior guard Amanda Busiello adding three steals each.

James herself had an outstanding night, adding a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

“We started out like a house on fire,” said Pierson/Bridgehampton coach Dennis Case. “Mercy stayed with us all game. Our biggest problem all year has been consistency. We made a lot of errors in the game, many of them unforced.”
The Lady Whalers were aided that for each period of sloppy play they endured, Mercy seemed to respond in turn. Much of the credit has to go to the Lady Whaler defense, which constantly applied pressure and harassed Mercy’s ball handlers.

“Down the stretch, we played great defense.” That defense was the real key to Pierson/Bridgehampton’s victory, as they held the visitors to only two points in the fourth quarter. “We needed to overplay [Mercy forward] Amy Boden so she couldn’t power up to the basket. Kaci Koehne shut her down.”

Koehne and fellow forward Samantha James each added two blocked shots to the defensive effort. None were more important than the latter’s swat with 4 seconds left that ended a threatening Mercy possession, allowing the Lady Whalers to run out the clock for the win.

The game was a tense, back-and-forth affair, with no team able to assert their hold on possession. Person/Bridgehampton held a slim 26-23 lead at halftime thanks in large part to the work of James, who scored 10 of her 12 points and had 10 of her 13 rebounds in the first half. Also lending well to the cause was sophomore guard Emily Hinz, who had six points and three assists in the first 16 minutes.

Mercy roared back in the third quarter, outpacing the Lady Whalers 16-10, and entering the fourth quarter up 39-36.

As if “clutch” was her middle name, Barrett sprung into action. Barrett’s intensity helped inspire the defense to clamp down and take the wind out of Mercy’s sails. After a Mercy free throw, Barrett hit a three-pointer to draw the Lady Whalers within one. A jumper from the foul line halfway through the fourth quarter gave the Lady Whalers their first lead in the fourth. Another free throw drew Mercy level with just under four minutes remaining.

The score would stand at 41-41 for what felt like an eternity as both teams struggled to score. Mercy was trying to assemble their offense when the quick hands of Hinz knocked the ball into the path of Barrett. Without a second thought, Barrett took off to the basket. While her layup didn’t fall, she was fouled and went to the line for two free throws.

Barrett’s first free throw fell much to the delight of Pierson/Bridgehampton supporters.

“After Sarah made the first free throw, I called a timeout to set up our defense. If she had missed, we would have to play solid defense and not foul. After she iced the second shot, we knew we would have to put pressure on their guards to protect against the three-pointer.”

Mercy managed to get the ball inside as the seconds ticked away, Mercy had one last look at the basket until James arrived to remove the threat. While Barrett’s free throws put the Lady Whalers ahead, James sealed the deal.

As the final buzzer sounded, Case pumped his fist with delight. Case had pointed out earlier in the season that Mercy would be one of Suffolk County league VIII’s main title contenders and this game would be key to their championship hopes.

The win wasn’t just about the performances of one individual. The victory came down to hard work and determination of the entire Lady Whalers squad.

“The key to the win was total teamwork and focus in the final minute of play,” said Case.

Extend Lead in League

For the second game in a row, senior guard Sarah Barrett hit a game winning shot with less than 30 seconds to go Tuesday night, extending the Lady Whalers’ lead at the top of Suffolk County league VIII standings. Barrett’s heroics with 30 seconds to go put the Lady Whalers (3-6, 3-0) up 35-33 against the Stony Brook Bears (2-3, 1-1) in what was a matchup of the league’s top two teams. It was a defensive struggle, as both teams found offense hard to come by. Neither team scored in the double digits until the third quarter when each team had 10 points. Despite the low scoring game, Barrett once again led the team with 15 points while Samantha James had 12.

Looking for a Few Good Boys

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BW Boys State
By Kathryn G. Menu

The New York chapter of the American Legion sponsored summer leadership and citizenship program, Boys State, has boasted at least one Sag Harbor resident at its annual retreat since its founding in 1935.

Until last year, that is.

“We didn’t get anyone that wanted to go,” said Martin Knab, commander of the Sag Harbor American Legion Chelberg & Battle Post this week.

With the help of local Boys State alumni, Knab hopes to change that this year by getting the word out that attending Boys State can open up a world of opportunities for successful candidates.
In addition to spending a week with students from across New York at the State University of New York at Morrisville in June, students are given a crash course in local government, and the program can boost college applications and open up scholarship opportunities, said Knab.

It also allows candidates to be part of an over 70-year-old tradition nationwide that has drawn the likes of former President Bill Clinton, astronaut Neil Armstrong, journalist Tom Brokaw and basketball great Michael Jordan.

Boys State was founded in 1935, and is considered one of the most selective programs in government instruction in the United States. Candidates are selected by their local American Legion Post, and are sent as delegates to state-sponsored conferences where they learn about how local and state governments operate, as well lessons in citizenship and state law.

Delegates from each Boys State across the country are chosen to attend Boys Nation, which takes place in Washington, D.C., and educates students specifically about the functions of the federal government.

Christopher Dent was already interested in government when the American Legion in Sag Harbor selected him for Boys State in 2000. Shortly after the program, Dent said he made the decision to study Political Science at McGill University rather than Engineering.

“Boys State was a memorable experience,” said Dent. “At the core of the program was a mock government, independently established by high school students. While this ‘government’ we created was far from perfect, it taught us about the complexity of working with such a large group of people, and, importantly, the compromises that must be made.”

In addition to morning assemblies featuring government officials, and the creation of the mock city, county and state governments, other activities include presentations on law enforcement, as well as recreational activities like band and chorus and athletics.

Boys State candidates are “chaperoned” by members of the United States Marine Corps who drill them daily, enforce regular physical exercise and military habits such as how to keep one’s bunk clean.

“While this was an intimidating prospect for a 16-year-old kid, it turned out to be one of the best aspects of the program,” said Dent. “The Marines assigned to us were tough, but they were genuinely nice guys, who, while we were teaching ourselves about government, taught us the basics of adult life — getting up early, exercising every day, keeping our spaces neat and self confidence. That might sound pretty basic for teenagers on the verge of heading out on their own, but they were good life lessons taught at just the right time.”

After graduation, Dent worked for The Scientific Association Dedicated to Excellence in Analytical Methods (AOAC) where he was the administrative lead on several government contracts through the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency.

He currently lives in Scotland, fulfilling the dream of his wife to live abroad, and is an independent consultant for AOAC while seeking full time employment in Edinburgh’s government and financial sectors.

For Nicholas McErlean, 21, traveling to Boys State with classmate William Yeni in 2006 was something he will never forget, in particular the 6 a.m. drills, occasionally in the rain.
The rigors of daily drills aside, it was the one-on-one conversations with members of the Marine Corps about their own experiences in combat that stayed with McErlean.
“At the time, I was very interested in pursuing a military career,” said McErlean, who is finishing up his criminal justice degree at Suffolk Community College. “So sitting down and having this conversation meant a lot to me. It was a humbling experience, hearing about serving overseas, watching friends killed in action.”

While the week revolved heavily around these activities, McErlean said it was also the chance to taste the experience of college-life, living in a dorm, meeting new people.
“It really prepared me for college,” said McErlean. “And I made a lot of good friends I am still in touch with.”

As the parent of a Boys State candidate, Dent’s mother, Elizabeth, said the experience was a feather in her son’s cap, but being chosen by the Legion was also an honor, culminating in the opportunity to read The Gettysburg Address after the Sag Harbor Village Memorial Day parade.

For McErlean, reading the address in front of Sag Harbor’s veterans was a privilege, and one he shares with Dent and each Boys State candidate the Legion selects.

This year, Knab hopes to restore that village tradition by attracting new candidates to Boys State and ensuring Sag Harbor continues to have representation at the annual conference, which will be held this year from June 26 to July1.

Interested Pierson High School juniors should contact their guidance counselors, and send a letter of interest to the Post at Chelberg & Battle Post 388, PO Box 541 Sag Harbor, NY 11963.