Tag Archive | "Pierson"

The Beasts from the East, Pierson Robotics Team Starts Work on New Competitive Robot

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The Harpoon, the Pierson Robotics Team robot, competes in last year's FIRST Robotics Competition Long Island Regional Event at Stony Brook University.

The Harpoon, the Pierson Robotics Team robot, competes in last year’s FIRST Robotics Competition Long Island Regional Event at Stony Brook University.

By Tessa Raebeck

They design, build and program robots, fundraise for their team and build alliances for intense competition — and they do it all on free periods, during lunch and after school.

Having just received the regulations for this year’s game, the 30 students on the Pierson Robotics Team are now hard at work preparing a unique robot model for battle.

The Pierson Whalers robotics team, whose members call themselves “The Beasts from the East,” is more than an after school club; students spend hours researching and designing, building in the lab and trucking up and down Main Street in search of sponsors. They maintain active Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages and a team website and share accounts in robot chat rooms or informative forums.

“Those who are really involved are there all the time, after school, at lunch, all the time,” said Abi Gianis, a junior at Pierson who joined the team as a sophomore. “We work in our free periods as well, at least we try to.”

When the schools were closed early Tuesday afternoon due to inclement weather, team leaders Lucas Pickering and Alex Cohen were hard at work in the Pierson Middle/High School basement.

The team meets throughout the school year, but they are now in fierce preparation for April, when their finished robot will compete in the three-day Long Island Regional competition at Hofstra University. Now in its 15th year, the Long Island Regional has grown from eight teams to near 50.

The international competition, or the “Superbowl of Smarts,” has grown to over 2,000 teams, with 40 regional events from Israel to Brazil.

Established in 1995, the Pierson Robotics team won the second Long Island Regional Competition in 2000 and was a finalist in 2001, 2002 and 2004. Out of thousands of teams competing in US FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), the Beasts from the East are proud to note their team number is 28, representing their veteran status

In addition to points gained in direct competition, teams are judged on excellence in design, demonstrated team spirit, professionalism and maturity, and ability to overcome obstacles. Pierson received Judges Awards in 1998 and 2000.

“Winning means building partnerships that last,” the Beasts from the East say on their team website.

FRC released the rules and framework of the competition January 4, and the students have been hard at work designing and constructing their model ever since. They have six weeks to prepare their robot, meaning the deadline is less than a month away — and this is crunch time.

FRC challenges competing teams to solve a common problem under the same rules and using the same standard “kit of parts” to build a robot that weighs around 130 pounds.

“They’re working on prototypes now and they’re starting to build it,” said Gayle Pickering, who mentors the team along with her husband Rick, Robotics Coordinator Clint Schulman and Robotics Assistant Rob Coe. Four students from East Hampton High School are also on the team and shop teacher Trevor Gregory works with the Sag Harbor mentors.

This year’s game, Aerial Assist, requires two alliances of three robots each. The three-team alliances compete against each other in a game sort of like robot basketball. The robot must be able to lift up and throw a ball that is two feet in diameter. Last year’s Pierson robot, named the “Harpoon” but also called “Mission Impossible,” shot Frisbees across a court.

The Harpoon, the Pierson Robotic Team's entry into last year's FIRST Robotics Competition.

The Harpoon, the Pierson Robotic Team’s entry into last year’s FIRST Robotics Competition.

Since the game requires an alliance this year, the Pierson team must market itself to teams from other school districts and scout out potential partners.

“We’re challenged,” said Gianis, “to make a robot that can not only pick up a ball with a two foot diameter, but also cooperate with other robots that we have never interacted with before and help assist them.”

Looking for more female engineers, Shulman encouraged Gianis and friend Clara Oppenheimer to join the team last year. Now the two are being trained to program the robot next year when the senior programmers graduate.

“It’s a game for nerds,” Pickering said, “but anybody can participate.”

Pierson Teachers Host Community Forum on Proposed Auditorium Renovations

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By Tessa Raebeck

Exposed wires, breaking seats and a sound system that routinely fails during performances are just some of the things the performing arts faculty at Pierson Middle/High School hope will be fixed by the Sag Harbor School District’s proposed capital projects bond — if it passes November 13.

At a community forum Tuesday on the proposed renovation of the Pierson auditorium, teachers told stories of the dangers and inefficiencies of the current space, which was part of the original Pierson construction in 1907 and was converted from a gym to an auditorium in the 1980s.

“The foundational criteria for everything that we were doing was health and safety,” explained Peter Solow, an art teacher who serves on the Educational Facilities Planning Committee, the group of community members which formulated the bond propositions.

The auditorium renovations are included in Proposition 1, which holds the bulk of the proposed improvements. The proposal aims to create safer egress from the theater, increase seating capacity, improve the theatrical lighting and sound systems, and add support facilities and supplemental air conditioning.

“It will make it more efficient on a daily basis, but it will also make it safer,” said Solow. “If we had to evacuate this place very quickly, it could be problematic.”

The teachers estimate that about 60 high school students and 90 middle school students are involved in performing arts at Pierson in some capacity each year, while all students use the auditorium during assemblies.

The auditorium currently has no designated handicapped seating area and no room for the pit orchestra, which ends up using about 50 audience seats during performances. During a play last spring, an audience member sat in a chair that promptly broke, resulting in a fall. In addition to new seats, the bond would increase the seating capacity so the entire student body of the high school could fit in the auditorium at once. The school currently puts on multiple presentations of the same assembly, often at additional cost.

The bond also provides for storage space for instruments and equipment.

“No matter what condition things are in, obviously we are going to do our best and put on the performances,” said Paula Brannon, director of Pierson musicals. “I see things backstage that are safety hazards that are beyond the control of custodial staff or administrators to fix anymore.”

Brannon said sets and costumes which could be recycled for use in future performances are often thrown out because there is nowhere to store them.

“At the end of every show we have a decision,” she said. “Do we throw this away or do we try and save that? And if we save that, we’re now to the point where we have to throw something else away in its place. It will just continue the costs.”

“If you do go backstage right now — and a child does go backstage — there’s tools, there’s glass, there’s wood, there’s screws, there’s nails, there’s all kinds of things — and no lights,” added music teacher Eric Reynolds. “.It’s very dangerous to have a shared space without any kind of room to store some of that material.”

Reynolds said there is not an empty spot to be found in the existing space and instruments and other materials are often lost due to lack of organization.

“One of us is always scrambling to find an instructional space,” he said of the music teachers. “Right now our students really don’t have any rooms to practice in.”

Currently, makeshift dressing rooms are housed in classrooms and bathrooms, making it awkward to navigate the school during production week. Brannon said that during performances, students must “run the entire width of the school” to get to the stage.

“They deserve their own space,” said Reynolds, who added that when audience members use the bathroom during intermission, “you walk in there and the entire cast of boys from the musical is in the bathroom.”

Members of the faculty also spoke of “many incidents” of sound and lighting systems failing during performances. Because the sound system is “antiquated,” Brannon said the school must rent sound equipment every year, using $8,000 of the funds allotted for musicals.

“We love to be self-sufficient, we try really, really hard, but there’s just a lot that we can’t overcome,” said Brannon.

Reynolds said the school started renting outside equipment because on opening night of “Chicago” three years ago, the entire sound system — including all the mics — “totally failed.”

“So, three years later, we hire professional sound guys at a large cost. It would be great not to have to do that,” he said.

Pierson’s audiovisual coordinator Austin Remson recalls, “assemblies where five minutes before the show was going to start, there was a short that blew all the circuits. Unfortunately, that happens very often where this stuff is old, it’s very old.”

When searching for a new light board five years ago, Remson had trouble locating one that worked with the outdated system.

“The only board we could get is a used board from 1995 because our system is what we call DMX and the world is now AMX,” he said. “So that took a great deal of effort to try to find something when the old board completely broke and that [newer] board now has about five channels on it that don’t work.”

“How many Band-Aids are we going to put on?” he asked. “How much money are we going to keep throwing at the problem that is recurring?”

Remson said on a regular basis, an entire row of lights will go out, with replacements costing some $45 a bulb.

“It’s amazing how many crises happen on almost a daily basis that have to be remedied very quickly,” continued Remson, adding that sometimes when he climbs up to change the bulbs, he finds wiring harnesses that have “completely melted.”

“This is really dangerous,” he said. “It’s a little scary.”

The bond would create a controlled climate in the auditorium, which was quite cold on Tuesday. Remson said he asked the custodians to turn the air conditioning off during a particularly cold assembly last week and they replied they were afraid to because they didn’t think it would come back on.

The primary concern expressed by the faculty Tuesday was not for a warmer room or nicer seats, but for the students.

“Students that had their moment to shine and they’re half lit or students who are not able to be lit because we don’t have the capability,” said Remson. “Our students are fantastic and they really deserve a space that’s inspiring and safe.”

The Pierson performing arts department will host another community forum on the proposed improvements on Tuesday, November 5 at 5:30 p.m. in the auditorium.

Pierson Golf Team Bounces Back with Two Wins

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Pierson’s Jack Bori shot a career-best 1-under par 35 at Noyac on Tuesday during the Whalers’ 8-1 win over Center Moriches.  Michael Heller photo

After dropping consecutive matches to perennial rivals East Hampton and Southampton, the Pierson-Bridgehampton golf team bounced back with consecutive wins over Westhampton Beach and Center Moriches this week to improve its overall record to 5-3.

Jack Bori shot a 40 to win in the number one spot and set the pace against Westhampton during his team’s 8-1 win. Ben Kushner (42), Charles Canavan (46), Pat Rice (48) and Theo Gray (53) also picked up wins in the top six for the Whalers, who outscored Westhampton 226-258.

Against Center Moriches on Tuesday, Bori shot a career-best one-under par 35 at the Noyac Golf Club to lead the Whalers over Center Moriches in a 7.5-1.5 win. Jack Brown (45), Matt Burke (46) and Addison Cook (48) also picked up points while Canavan halved his match in the three spot after shooting a 47.

The overall team score was in favor of the Whalers, 219-232.

Pierson will host the Ross School today, October 10, at 3:30 p.m. at Noyac and will close out the regular season against unbeaten Southampton on October 15, also at Noyac at 3:30 p.m.

Sag Harbor School District Likely to End McGann-Mercy Busing on BOCES Route

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On May 21, voters in Bridgehampton will decide whether or not to extend the district’s transportation policy to provide busing to students attending schools within 25 miles of the school district. In essence, this would allow transportation of students to Bishop McGann-Mercy High School in Riverhead, the only Catholic high school on the East End.

Under state law, school districts are only required to provide transportation to non-public schools within 15 miles of the district. In order to change that policy, residents — not administration or school boards — must weigh in via a referendum vote on the issue.

And in 2010, the voters of the Sag Harbor School District did just that.

In 1976, Sag Harbor residents authorized an expansion of the school’s transportation policy, allowing students to be transported within a 30-mile radius of the Pierson campus. In 2010, with no students then attending non-public schools between 15 and 30 miles of the district, then superintendent Dr. John Gratto suggested the board roll back its transportation policy to the state mandated 15-mile limit. This was done in an effort to save taxpayers as much as $25,000 annually should students once again begin attending private schools within the 15 to 30 mile radius.

Voters agreed.

However, according to current school district administrator John O’Keefe, during the 2011-2012 school year Dr. Gratto agreed to provide students wanting to attend McGann-Mercy with transportation to the school on a bus the district was already sending west to Eastern Suffolk BOCES.

O’Keefe noted the decision did not cost district taxpayers any money as the BOCES bus is provided through the district’s own busing system and is not contracted through a private busing service, which can often charge per student.

Three students from the Sag Harbor School District have been using this bus to get to McGann-Mercy.

O’Keefe said this week that after referring the matter to school district attorney, Tom Volz, it appears as of next year the district will no longer provide this transportation option in order to conform with its existing policy.

If the school district decides to pursue providing busing to non-public schools beyond the 15-mile limitation, O’Keefe said it would have to be approved by district residents in a referendum vote.

“This is not set in stone yet,” said O’Keefe, noting Volz was still researching the case law on allowing students — at no cost to the district — to use the BOCES bus to attend a non-public school. “But we do not think we will be able to allow it for next year.”

Pierson Win Sets Up Showdown for Class C Title

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Ian Barrett goes up for two of his 16 points against Greenport on Tuesday.

By Gavin Menu; photography by Michael Heller

By Gavin Menu

Here we go again, Whalers fans.

The Pierson boys basketball team will play rival Stony Brook for the second consecutive year with the Suffolk County Class C Championship on the line after the Whalers knocked off visiting Greenport, 63-41, in an outbracket game on Tuesday night.

Although Stony Brook is the top-seeded Class C team in the county, it will be the Whalers defending their crown tonight, February 14, at Westhampton Beach High School at 6:30 p.m. The Whalers won the title last year on a last second three-pointer by then-sophomore Forrest Loesch, who gave Pierson a 34-32 victory and its first county title in 18 years.

Stony Brook this season has steamrolled the League VIII competition and took an undefeated record into Pierson’s home gym for the regular season finale on February 7. Stony Brook rested three of its regular starters and the Whalers won, 57-45, to spoil the Bears’ perfect season. In the teams’ other meeting this year, Stony Brook won a nail biter, 51-50, back on January 15.

“Hopefully this time we will be up four with a minute left,” Pierson head coach Dan White said on Tuesday when asked whether he could handle another miraculous finish with so much on the line. “I can’t do that again.”

The Bears boast a powerful front line that could pose rebounding problems for the Whalers, who lack any significant height and struggled at times Tuesday night to secure defensive rebounds against Greenport.

Stony Brook got out to a fast start against Pierson in the teams’ first meeting this year and barely held on after a frantic charge by Pierson led by Forrest Loesch and his 23 points fell just short.  Pierson outscored the Bears, 36,27, in the fourth quarter but could not overcome a slow start in which they fell behind by 10 points in the first quarter.

Pierson on Tuesday was looking to avenge a loss to the Porters late last month and came out determined with 19 first-quarter points, 12 of which came from the hot hand of senior Jake Bennett, who finished the game with 18 points while also holding Greenport star Gavin Dibble to just five points in the second half and 11 overall. Bennett also had six rebounds, five assists and two steals in one of his best overall games of the season.

“Jake Bennett with another tremendous job tonight,” White said. “He not only held Dibble back from scoring, but he didn’t even allow him to get the ball a lot of the time, so they could not set up their offense.”

Ian Barrett had 16 points for the Whalers in his best game of the season since coming back from injury and senior forward Patrick Sloane chipped in with 14 points and eight rebounds as he, Bennett, Joey Butts, Aiden Kirrane and Liam Doyle played the last home game of their Pierson careers.

Senior Jackson Marienfeld had to sit out the game after receiving two technical fouls in the regular-season finale against Stony Brook, but he will be back in the line-up for tonight’s rematch with the Bears.

Loesch, who led the team in scoring this season, scored just seven points against Greenport. Butts had six assists in the game but also struggled shooting and finished with just three points, although he received nothing but praise from his head coach after the game had ended.

“I cannot find a better defender on the ball and he’s smart out there,” White said when asked about Butts, who was an All-League selection as a junior last year. “I love that kid and I’ll stick with him no matter what.”

Timmy Stevens led Greenport with 17 points and helped spark a second-half comeback when he and Dibble connected on back-to-back three-pointers to cut the Pierson lead to 34-29 early in the third quarter.

At that point, Sloane and sophomore Robbie Evjen began pounding the defensive glass, grabbing rebounds and forcing turnovers that led to easy baskets on the offensive end. Pierson quickly grew a four-point lead to 15 with an 11-0 run in the third quarter that essentially put the game out of reach.

“I thought we did a much better job in the half court offense, and allowing 41 points is always solid,” White said. “We’re back on track.”

Whalers Soccer Earns Tough Draw for Playoffs

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By Gavin Menu

This might be a déjà vu the Whalers would rather soon forget.

The Pierson-Bridgehampton boys soccer team closed out the regular season Tuesday with a 1-0 home loss to undefeated Port Jefferson and will now play the defending New York State champion Royals for a second straight time in the opening round of the Suffolk County Class C playoffs on Halloween afternoon on Port Jeff’s home turf.

Talk about a scary stretch of back-to-back games.

“It’s a form of punishment for all the evil things we have done,” Whalers head coach Peter Solow joked before Tuesday’s game.

Solow quickly turned more serious, though, and said the Whalers will need to play a near perfect game to upset the Royals (11-0), the regular season League VIII champions who are widely regarded as the best team in the county regardless of classification. The Royals are stacked from top to bottom, Solow said, with All-State talent in seniors Vincent Antonelli and Blake Bohlen leading a potent line-up that returned in its entirety from last year.

“We have no control of who they are or what they do on the field,” Solow said. “But we can control how we play, and no matter who we’re playing now, we have to play extremely well in order to win.”

The Whalers did play well for much of the game on Tuesday and had several scoring chances early in the first half. But Port Jeff’s methodical attack eventually paid off with a goal off a corner by Gerard Racanelli with 24 minutes left in the game.

Solow had been hoping that Pierson would finish the regular season as the third seed in a four-team playoff bracket, but instead the Whalers, who finished with a 6-5-1 record in league play, lost, 3-0, at Greenport on Saturday to lose grip on the third playoff position. Greenport will play at second-seeded Southold in Wednesday’s other semifinal game.

“We didn’t play smart and we were outplayed,” Solow said when asked about the game against Greenport. “We had four or five incredible opportunities early, but we didn’t put the ball on goal.”

Pierson’s seniors, who include stalwarts Christian Bautista, Jackson Marienfeld and Giordan Zeas as well as Christian Figueroa, Alex Gurvich, Aditya Nugraha and Omar Reyes, played their final game at Mashashimuet Park on Tuesday and will have at least one more chance to leave a lasting legacy on Whalers soccer.

“We want to go out and play the best game we can,” Solow said bluntly. “We want their last game to be something they’re proud of.”

Wednesday’s game at Port Jefferson is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.

 

Girls Season Comes to an End

 

The Pierson-Bridgehampton girls soccer team suffered a disappointing end to its season with three straight losses that knocked the Lady Whalers from playoff contention.

After a 4-2 win over Ross on October 15, the Lady Whalers needed two wins in their last three games to gain a playoff spot, but fell, 4-2, to Stony Brook on October 19 to set up must-win situations in their final two games. Those victories proved, elusive, however, as Pierson lost, 6-1, to Port Jefferson on October 19 before closing out the year with a 1-0 loss to Smithtown Christian on Monday.

Pierson, which finished with an overall record of 4-8-2, played well during stretches of the season behind a senior class that included co-captains Sophie Gianis and goalie Julia Schiavoni. In addition to Gianis and Schiavoni, Sarah Arbia, Lindsay Cox, Vanessa Cruz, Elizabeth Grigonis and Sara Hartman all played their last game this week for the Lady Whalers.

 

Pierson Field Hockey Will Wait on Post Season Call

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By Gavin Menu

The postseason fate of the Pierson-Bridgehampton field hockey team this week was in the hands of Section XI, Suffolk County’s governing body of athletics, after the Whalers failed to finish in the top six of the Division III standings following two losses to top-ranked teams to end the regular season.

The Lady Whalers had a narrow hold on sixth place following a 3-0 loss to undefeated, division-leader Miller Place at home on Saturday, but a 2-1 loss to Rocky Point on the road Tuesday night dropped Pierson into seventh place with an 8-4 record behind Comsewogue, which picked up a big 1-0 win over third place Shoreham-Wading River on Tuesday.

Miller Place, Rocky Point, Shoreham, Southampton, Riverhead and Comsewogue will automatically qualify for the playoffs, either in Class A, B or C, because of their top-six finish. Rankings in the division are determined by power points, and Pierson’s total of 109.990 fell just short. The power rankings take into account things like strength of schedule, quality wins against higher ranked teams as well as unexpected losses against lower ranked teams.

Head coach Shannon Judge on Wednesday said she would petition the Section XI Seeding Committee for a playoff exemption and an opportunity to play rival Southampton for the Suffolk County Class C Championship on Tuesday, November 6 at Ward Melville High School. She said the ruling would come down tomorrow, October 26. If the Whalers are denied, Southampton would automatically become county champion.

“Because of the power ratings, petitions don’t usually go through,” Judge said on Wednesday. “But we beat Riverhead, we beat Southampton once and we beat Rocky Point once. We actually have a better record than Southampton.”

The Lady Whalers this season also beat the county’s only other Class C schools in Port Jefferson and Babylon, which both finished out of the top six in their divisions. Those wins coupled with Pierson’s split with Southampton, which finished 7-7 in division play, gives the Lady Whalers a 4-1 record against fellow Class C schools this year.

If the season does indeed come to an end, the Whalers would lose only one senior, Rachel Saidman to graduation. A strong junior class including Kasey Gilbride, Katherine Matthers, Emme Luck, India Hemby, Kirra McGowin and Emma Romeo would all return. Gilbride, in particular, has had a standout season and finished the regular season with the second highest individual scoring total on Long Island with 27 points on 20 goals and seven assists.

“I’m optimistic about the future,” Judge said, hoping that future includes a championship game against Southampton next month.

REVISED: Lady Whalers Dominate Under Homecoming Lights

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By Gavin Menu; Photography by Michael Heller

By Gavin Menu

Pierson High School celebrated homecoming on Saturday with the first night field hockey game in school history, although it was Bridgehampton student India Hemby who was named “Da Playa” of the game following Pierson-Bridgehampton’s dominant 5-0 win over Port Jefferson.

Hemby was awarded the team’s self-made and somewhat tattered player-of-the-game hat after she scored two goals to lead the Lady Whalers to victory. Standing in the glow of the portable lights, with “Da Playa” hat firmly positioned on her head, Hemby joked, “I don’t even go to school here!”

“It’s not my homecoming but playing under the lights in front of all these people was great motivation for us,” Hemby continued, having turned more serious. “It was really fun out here for us.”

The Sag Harbor Booster Foundation raised funds for this year’s homecoming events. According to club member Robert Evjen, the weekend cost roughly $5,000 to put on. The Sag Harbor Booster Foundation, in conjunction with the Sag Harbor Fire Department, Village Police and Mashashimuet Park Board, hosted the inaugural night game under lights in front of a crowd of well over 100 people.

“We felt that having a game outdoors, in the evening, under the lights, was a way to enrich the lives of not only our student athletes, but also transfer that school spirit into community spirit,” said Evjen, who pointed out that the cost of the lights alone was $2,000.

Evjen said the booster club raises funds through community events such as last winter’s Quiz Show and Spirit Night, both of which will occur again this year. Membership is also available for $25 per year, or $150 for a lifetime membership.

“We are fortunate that we have great community support and lots of parents have become members,” Evjen said.

As for the game, the Lady Whalers responded immediately to the electric atmosphere with a first-half goal by Hemby and a dominant second half in which they scored four times. Kasey Gilbride, Claire Kunzeman and Ana Sherwood, a super talented eighth-grader, also scored for the Lady Whalers, while junior goalie Emma Romeo turned in her fifth shutout of the young season.

“It was awesome and a great honor to be the first team to play under lights,” Gilbride said. “We have to thank the Booster Club for everything they did, and the entire community for coming out to support us.”

With the win the Lady Whalers moved to 4-1 in Division III play and 6-1 overall. They have now defeated every other Class C team in Suffolk County. Port Jefferson, which fell to 0-6, Southampton and Babylon have all lost to the young, but energetic Lady Whalers this season.

“I’m excited about that, and now we have to build on it,” head coach Shannon Judge said after Saturday night’s game. “We play Southampton again on October 11, so we’ll really see where we stand then.”

The Lady Whalers played at Miller Place last night after press time and will host Rocky Point today, October 4, at 4 p.m. at Mashashimuet Park.

School Superintendent Gratto Announces Retirement; Wilcoxen Resigns From School Board

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Dr. John Gratto, the Superintendent of the Sag Harbor Union Free School District since 2008, has announced his intention to retire at the end of the summer. His last day on the job will be August 17.

He described his retirement as a quality of life decision, since many members of his family have moved to the South recently.

Dr. Gratto will join the faculty of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University — known most commonly as Virginia Tech — and teach education and leadership there. His son is currently a student at that school.

“I really like it here and I leave with a heavy heart,” he said. “But it’s a quality of life move in that I can be closer to my family and I’ve been an adjunct professor at the University of Albany and Stony Brook University for many years and I enjoy teaching and feel like it’s significant work to help teachers become principals and principals become superintendents.

The announcement came hours after he had taken his oath of office for next year as a part of the Sag Harbor Board of Education’s annual organizational meeting on Monday evening. The Board now has to appoint an interim superintendent who will serve until a permanent replacement can be found.

Sag Harbor Board of Education member Walter Wilcoxen also resigned on Monday, just months after he won reelection to his third term on the board.

Wilcoxen has not yet responded to multiple requests for comment on his resignation.

Wilcoxen’s resignation appeared to be sudden. At the end of the board’s private executive session Monday, Wilcoxen was seen standing and speaking to his fellow board members. He then walked out of the Pierson Middle/High School library — where meetings are held — and asked to speak with District Clerk Mary Adamczyk. He did not return to the meeting.

At the end of the meeting, Adamczyk was asked to read a handwritten note from Wilcoxen. She removed a single sheet of paper from a folder on her desk that read, “As of the time you receive this memo, I hereby decline to take my seat on the Sag Harbor school board.”

It was signed: “With my regrets, Walter Wilcoxen.”


School Superintendent Dr. John Gratto, second from right above, at Monday evening’s Sag Harbor School Board meeting.

Whalers Take Long Island Championship

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Click HERE to see video of the boys’ victory.

By Mike Pintauro


In a remarkable day of baseball at the Dowling Sports Complex in Shirley, the Pierson/Bridgehampton Whalers (18-2) snuck past the Rockaway Rocks (13-4) to take the Long Island Class C Finals, 1-0, on a fatal slip from the Rocks’ catcher. Monday afternoon was unpredictable, with a forecast of rain threatening to postpone or perhaps delay the matchup. But, with a little luck, the sky remained dotted with pockets of sunshine. And as unpredictable as the weather, the game left the fans stunned by the duel that was about to go down.

It was a pitcher’s duel to say the least. At the end of the fifth inning there were only three hits in the entire game, all of them by the Rockaway Rocks. Regardless, the Whalers had a lot of men on base throughout the game, fighting off the pitcher to force several walks.

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In the bottom of the sixth inning it appeared the Whalers would take the lead, when Pierson sophomore Forrest Loesch tagged home on a sacrifice fly by Pierson senior Sean Hartnett. Amidst the cheers and screams of the Pierson crowd, the umpires ruled Loesch out, finding that he had left the baseline on his sprint to the plate.

The Whalers, however, would not lose their fighting spirit, and after a tight inning, Pierson Junior Colman Vila came to the plate with the chance to win the game he was pitching.

It was the bottom of the 7th inning; there were two outs, with pinch runner Jack Fitzpatrick (Pierson Freshman) on third. Vila was dialed in. The pitch was low, almost in the dirt, and Vila gave a good swing. The hit that every Pierson fan hoped to see and hear, did not come; but what happened next was a brilliant piece of baseball regulation.

The Rockaway catcher missed the pitch, and with a strike three swing by Vila, he was given the opportunity to run out the passed ball. As a result, Fitzpatrick had the go ahead to steal home, and with an amazing burst of speed he beat out the passed ball to score the only run in the game.

With the Pierson fans on their feet, the Whalers bench stormed the field to congratulate Vila and Fitzpatrick on a game-winning play that could not have been written.

The victory gives the Class C Long Island Championship to the Whalers. Their next game, for the New York State regional championship, will be Wednesday, June 6. The location and time are yet to be determined. If the Whalers win that game, they will travel to Binghampton for the state C championship.