School Board Honors Valedictorian and Salutatorian

School Board Honors Valedictorian and Salutatorian
The Westhampton Beach Board of Education acknowledged the accomplishments of Class of 2019 valedictorian Chris Bender and salutatorian Frank Lapinski at its May 13 meeting. The two seniors earned the top spots in their class through their impressive commitment to academics. They have also been active members of their school community, participating in numerous extracurricular activities. 

Broadcast Journalists Win Big

Broadcast Journalists Win Big photo
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Students in Kirsten Mett’s broadcast journalism class at Westhampton Beach High School earned two first-place trophies for their “Hurricane Watch” broadcast news program at the third annual Broadcast Awards for Senior High, held May 3 at Stony Brook University. The awards highlight the achievements of high school broadcast programs across Long Island.

Earning first place in the Best Sports Package category were Jake Bennett, Alec Gilbride and Clarke Lewis. Emma Lagattolla, Morgan Laube and Paige Rignola took the same top honor for Best School News.

The Westhampton Beach School District congratulates the “Hurricane Watch” crew on a job well done.  

Celebrating Commitments

Celebrating Commitments photo
As a symbol of their commitment to the pursuit of higher education, the Westhampton Beach High School Class of 2019 wore apparel to show off their choice of college on May 1. The class will be heading to a number of premier schools this fall to begin their postsecondary studies, including Binghamton, Cornell, NYU, Pace and Yale. Principal Dr. Christopher Herr expressed his pride in the class, noting, “They worked incredibly hard to achieve at the highest levels [and] have made their mark on Westhampton Beach High School.”

Student Scientists Present Research

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Westhampton Beach High School Science Research students presented their research projects at the Long Island Science Congress competition, held April 10 at St. Anthony’s High School. The 16 students have been working on their extensive research under the direction of science teacher Dr. Dianna Gobler. Research topics included microplastic accumulation in sediments and shellfish, the elemental composition of paleontological samples and nicotine’s effect on the behavior of Caenorhabditis elegans, among others. Results of the competition will be available in May. 

Medical Marvels

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Westhampton Beach High School Science Research students Jack Halloran, Evan Lockwood, Jane Paulson, Casey Gallagher, Jade Hawkesworth and Matt Daleo recently participated in the Medical Marvels competition hosted by the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research at Northwell Health in Manhasset. As part of the competition, the students were challenged to find a solution to a major health issue in New York State: vaping in schools. The students, under the direction of teacher Dr. Dianna Gobler, designed a plan that included infrared technology and microchips in student identification cards to reduce incidents of vaping in high-use areas.    

VFW Teacher of the Year

VFW Teacher of the Year photo
For his unwavering patriotism and dedication to the goals of the VFW, Westhampton Beach High School social studies teacher Korey Williams has been named the VFW New York State Teacher of the Year. 

Williams earned the honor after receiving a nomination from local VFW Post 5350. He is known for supporting the post’s annual Patriot’s Pen and Voice of Democracy student essay contests and inviting post members to tell their stories to students every November. 

Williams, who has been teaching in the Westhampton Beach School District for the past 24 years, said he is extremely honored by the recognition.
“He is well-deserving of this designation,” said high school Principal Dr. Christopher Herr. 

In addition to teaching, Williams coaches the Westhampton Beach Middle School football team and the junior varsity boys tennis team. He is also a Navy veteran, a 20-year member of VFW Post 5350, a 24-year member of the Westhampton Beach Fire Department, and sits as president of the trustees at the Westhampton Beach Presbyterian Church.   

With the state recognition, Williams is now in the running to become the national VFW Teacher of the Year. 

Prudential Spirit winner

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Westhampton Beach High School junior Emily Arpino has received a Prudential Spirit of Community Award for recently spearheading a very successful breast cancer awareness and fundraising project.

A member of her school’s varsity cheerleading team, Arpino earned the recognition for making pink cheerleading bows, which she adorned with breast cancer ribbon decals and rhinestones, and selling them to cheer teams across Long Island. Her project raised $4,280 for the LI2Day Walk, which will take place on June 8. 

The Westhampton Beach junior said she came up with the idea after searching for pink cheer bows for her team to wear during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, last October. Unable to find any, she opted to make and sell her own and donate all the proceeds.

This is not the first community service project Arpino has been involved in. Through the student travel program Rustic Pathways, she has ventured to Costa Rica to assist with a sea turtle project and will be heading to Peru to work on a water restoration project in the Sacred Valley. 

Along with cheering, Arpino is a baton twirler and participates in her school’s music program.    

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program recognizes middle and high school students for outstanding service to others at the local, state and national level. More than 125,000 students have been honored since 1995. 

Fresh Focus Heads to Finals

Fresh Focus Heads to Finals photo
Westhampton Beach High School’s Virtual Enterprise team, Fresh Focus, has landed a spot in the final round of the 2019 VE Social Venture Challenge. They are set to compete on April 17 in New York City for a chance to win $10,000 to start a real business. 

As part of the contest, the students were required to create a business concept that has a social or environmental impact, submit an application and business proposal, and produce a one-minute pitch video. They were one of three teams to advance to the finals. 

For their business project, team members Joe Commisso, Elena DeVita, Frank Lapinski and Jack Meigel created a virtual business that sells stylish, reusable lunch bags made from recycled cork. The hot/cold bags are not only voguish, but also meet TSA requirements and can easily fit under an airplane seat. The students brainstormed the idea after noticing that there were little to no fashionable options for lunch bags. They plan to market their product to female millennials.