Current News

Facility dog brings smiles to middle school students

Students with Oric  thumbnail247185

On a daily basis, 2-year-old Oric, a yellow Lab/Golden Retriever mix, brings smiles and joy to the faces of Westhampton Beach Middle School students.

Oric, the school’s new facility dog, recently made his first appearance at the school with his handler, social worker Kathryn Swezey.

“Oric has already made an impact in the few days he has been at the middle school,” said Swezey. “The students all light up when they see him enter the hallways or their classrooms.”

Swezey broached the idea of bringing a facility dog into the school a year and a half ago. Once approved by administration, she began the official application process with Canine Companions for Independence. The nonprofit provides facility, companion and service dogs at no cost.

Before being matched with Swezey, Oric, who was bred for temperament, was raised by a volunteer puppy trainer for 16 months and then returned for six months of professional training at the Northeast Chapter of Canine Companions for Independence in Medford. While training, Oric learned 40 impressive commands. He is skilled at turning off lights, opening and closing doors and drawers, and, of course, making students smile.

Prior to taking Oric home and into the school, Swezey was required to complete two weeks of training and pass a final practical to become a certified handler. She is required to be recertified in another six months and then annually.

Swezey says Oric will assist in individual and group counseling, as well as working in the classroom to help deliver the school’s social emotional learning curriculum. He will also act as a social bridge for students who may have difficulties socializing and those who exhibit anxiety and school phobia.

“Oric will help deliver lessons on loyalty, friendship, responsibility, kindness, respect, mindfulness and so much more,” said Swezey. “The possibilities are limitless.”

When not at school, Swezey said, Oric spends his time going for long walks, playing with his sister Daisy, who is a pit bull mix, and just being a regular dog.

Date Added: 6/2/2023

Westhampton Beach broadcast students win first place

Westhampton Beach High School Broadcast Journalism class students thumbnail247184

The two Westhampton Beach High School Broadcast Journalism classes taught by Kirsten Mett and Dariah Luciano took home first place in the “best broadcast” category at the 2023 BASH Awards at Hofstra University on May 15. This is the first time that Westhampton Beach has won in this category.

The team not only took home a first-place prize for their broadcast, but also earned second place in Newsday’s “best local multimedia reporting” category and third place in both the ABC7 Gil Noble Community Award and “best feature package” categories.

Over 700 students and 41 schools from Long Island to Westchester attended the awards ceremony, which was hosted at Hofstra University and sponsored by Newsday and ABC7.

The Westhampton Beach School District extends its congratulations to the broadcast students on a job well done.

Date Added: 6/1/2023


Westhampton Beach students entering the military honored at ceremony

Students Honored at Ceremony thumbnail247021

High school seniors from the Hampton Bays, Southampton and Westhampton Beach school districts who have committed to entering the military upon graduation were honored at a fourth annual ceremony at Agawam Park in Southampton on May 25.

During the formal event, the seniors — who represent the 1% of graduates who commit to the military each year — were presented with proclamations and accolades. Their families were given blue star flags.

The ceremony included musical military tributes and several speakers who offered congratulations and well wishes.

The Westhampton Beach School District congratulates the following seniors who will be entering military service: Kevin Deshler (Marines), Maximus Haynia (West Point), Harry Ovanessian (Navy) and Samantha Schaumloffel (Naval Academy).

Date Added: 5/26/2023

Westhampton Beach Middle School thespians showcase talent

Westhampton Beach Middle School thespians performing on stage thumbnail246759

Westhampton Beach Middle School thespians recently presented an impressive performance of “Curtains!” by Craig Sodaro. The family-friendly, comedic production showcased the talents of middle school students in grades 6-8. In preparing for the production, students gained new skills, built confidence on stage and created lifelong memories with each other.

Date Added: 5/23/2023

Cookies for canines

Seventh Graders with Sheet of Cookies thumbnail246652

Westhampton Beach Middle School seventh grade family and consumer sciences classes recently baked pumpkin-flavored dog treats for their pets and for Bidawee’s adoption center. The treats will also be given to the school’s new facility dog, Oric.

Date Added: 5/22/2023