Flag Flies for Robert ‘Red’ Murray

In its mission to take history out of the textbooks by honoring a local veteran each month of the school year, the Hampton Bays School District is paying tribute to veteran Robert “Red” Murray by flying an American flag in his honor throughout the month of February.

“The district is proud to honor Mr. Murray for his bravery and service to the United States,” said Superintendent of Schools Lars Clemensen.

Mr. Murray was honored at a ceremony held on Feb. 17 at Hampton Bays Elementary School. During the event, the high school jazz band performed the national anthem and high school student Jared Strecker read Mr. Murray’s biography. High school student Andres Saldarriaga also read his VFW Voice of Democracy Essay, “My Responsibility to America.” The event culminated with the raising of the American flag.

Mr. Murray was born in Port Washington, New York, in 1923 and graduated from Port Washington High School in 1942. In the summer of that year, he served as a letter carrier for the U.S. Post Office and delivered his own draft notice.

Mr. Murray’s basic training began at Camp Upton, New York (now Brookhaven Lab), continued at Camp Maxey in Texas and culminated at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma, where he was trained as a field artilleryman.

From Camp Gruber, Mr. Murray was transferred to Stowbridge, England and assigned to the 731st Field Artillery. He was then transferred to France, where he served as a jeep driver/courier for the Third Army of General Patton for about six months. During this time, he learned that he was a lucky guy. Mr. Murray loved prune pie; his mother would send him prunes and the unit cook would make him a prune pie. One day, a sergeant asked Mr. Murray for a ride. Mr. Murray agreed to give the sergeant a ride, but he had an errand to do first — he had to pick up his pie from the cook. The sergeant became impatient waiting for Mr. Murray and got a ride with another jeep driver. Unfortunately, that jeep was attacked; the driver was wounded and the sergeant was killed. If Mr. Murray hadn't gone to get the pie, his jeep would have been the one that was attacked. His luck continued in France where he was sent to pick up a lieutenant and bring him back to the unit. Both Mr. Murray and the lieutenant had to stay overnight. The next morning, they learned Mr. Murray’s unit had been bombed during the night. Mr. Murray is a lucky man indeed.

He was later attached to various units wherever he was needed, including the Battle of the Bulge —  the costliest battle to the U.S. Army with approximately 100,000 casualties.  Soldiers were in the Ardennes forest in Belgium and Luxembourg in December and January of 1944-45. Brutal winter conditions caused frostbite for many soldiers.  Mr. Murray was fortunate not to have severely suffered the results of frostbite. At the end of the Battle of the Bulge, Mr. Murray 's unit and other units in the battle received a letter of appreciation from General Patton. From the Battle of the Bulge, Mr. Murray was transferred to Germany and then to Austria. Mr. Murray's military awards include the World War II Victory Medal, the Bronze Star Medal; the Good Conduct Medal; the French Croix de Guerre medal; and the "Ruptured Duck" Medal.

After the war, Mr. Murray was discharged and he became employed by the U.S. Post Office again. He also applied to the Department of the Navy for a job. He got a call and started working at Sands Point and was soon married. His father-in-law had a business in New York City and Mr. Murray worked for a man named J.P. McGuire, who later had a heart attack. Mr. Murray took over Mr. McGuire's job. The office sold labels and tags for grocery stores and machines.

Mr. Murray first saw his wife in church but did not know her. They met at an office Christmas party. He took her shopping in Manhasset for Christmas gifts for her family.  He and Barbara married in 1950 and were married for 54 years when she passed away.  They have six children and 11 grandchildren.

Mr. Murray retired 25 years ago; his son had a restaurant in Water Mill, so he moved out east and now resides in Southampton. He belongs to the Knights of Columbus in Southampton and is an associate volunteer fireman after serving 26 years in the Port Washington Volunteer Fire Department, where he served as a captain. #engageHB

On a Coding Mission

Elementary school technology teacher Wendy Alberti recently opened second-, third- and fourth-graders’ eyes to the world of computer science through a coding lesson. During the session, the students learned to write code using code.org games, including Minecraft Hour of Code and Moana Wayfinding with Code. #engageHB

STEM Projects Bring Fairy Tales to Life

STEM Projects Bring Fairy Tales to Life
STEM Projects Bring Fairy Tales to Life 2

To challenge the minds of third- and fourth-graders, school librarian Marianne Pendlebury has created a new library program that intermingles fairy tales with STEM-related activities.

To kick off the initiative, Ms. Pendlebury recently read the students, “Three Billy Goats Gruff” and then instructed them to work in teams to design 9-inch long bridges that could hold three Billy goats (marshmallows) for 30 seconds. To construct their bridges, students could only use two plastic cups, 30 toothpicks and 15 gumdrops.

Going forward, Ms. Pendlebury plans to provide a STEM-related activity each month, based on a fairy tale she selects.

“These STEM activities challenge students and also opens them up to a variety of fairy tales that they may not have heard before,” said Ms. Pendlebury.


Celebrating 100 Days

100 Days
100 Days2
Elementary students celebrated 100 days of school on Feb. 13. Students marked the occasion by participating in a number of projects related to the number, 100. Second-graders in Ms. Brittany Morlock’s class for example, made projects using 100 items while first-graders in Ms. Pat Biscardi’s class worked in pairs to make creations using 100 Lego pieces. #engageHB

PTSA Magic Show Flyer


Geography Bee Champ Named

Geography Bee Champ Named
Middle school student Robert McNamera has won his school’s National Geographic Bee. Robert took first place after competing against eight of his fellow students on Jan. 25. He placed just ahead of runner-up Steven Sutton.

Robert now has the opportunity to qualify for the state geography bee by taking a regional online qualifying test. The results of that exam will be made available in early March.

The Hampton Bays School district extends its congratulations to Robert McNamera.

Winning Patriot Penn Essayists Recognized

Middle school winners of the annual Patriot Penn essay writing contest, Alisia Soto, Alexa Armas and Melissa Guzman, were recognized on Jan. 26 during a ceremony at VFW Post 5350 with certificates. The Hampton Bays School District extends its congratulations to the students. #engageHB

Hampton Bays Reads Together

To engage students in reading, the Hampton Bays Elementary School has kicked off a new monthlong reading experience, called Hampton Bays Reads Together.

Through the program, each day, all students will read aloud with their teachers a chapter from the same book: “8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel divided by 1 Dog = Chaos” by Vivian Vande Velde. Discussions about each day’s chapter will continue throughout the day and extend into special areas, including music and art. Principal Mark Meyer will also present to students a daily question regarding the text they are reading.

The goal of the new program is to enrich students by helping them to listen longer, build vocabulary, understand concepts and feel positive about books and learning. #engageHB

Flag Flies for Matthew Dwyer

Flag Flies for Matthew Dwyer

In its mission to take history out of the textbooks by honoring a local veteran each month of the school year, the Hampton Bays School District is paying tribute to Navy veteran Matthew Dwyer by flying an American flag in his honor throughout the month of January.

“The district is proud to honor Mr. Dwyer for his bravery and service to the United States,” said Superintendent of Schools Lars Clemensen.

Mr. Dwyer was honored at a ceremony held Jan. 27 at Hampton Bays Elementary School. During the event, middle school students sang, “Believe” by Shawn Mendes and high school VFW Patriot’s Pen essayists read their works and introduced Mr. Dwyer. Also, public officials, including Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming and Southampton Town Councilwoman Julie Lofstad spoke in Mr. Dwyer’s honor. The ceremony concluded with the raising of the American flag.

Mr. Dwyer was born in the Bronx and has resided in Hampton Bays since 1982. He graduated from Fairfield University in 1964 and Georgetown University Law Center in 1967 and was admitted to the New York and Washington, D.C. Bar.

In 1967, Mr. Dwyer enlisted in the Navy Reserve at Fort Schuyler in the Bronx and went to boot camp at Great Lakes Training Center in Illinois. Following boot camp, Mr. Dwyer was sent to active duty at the Brooklyn Naval Yard for two months before receiving a ship assignment aboard the USS Mauna Loa, an ammunition ship that was ported in Naples, Italy, on the Mediterranean Sea.  

Mr. Dwyer flew to Royal Air Force Mildenhall in England, and then on to Italy. Since Mr. Dwyer had a law degree, the captain of the ship assigned him to the ship's office. The captain then encouraged him to take the Navy-wide test for promotion to Petty Officer Third Class. Soon after, Mr. Dwyer passed the test and was promoted. Mr. Dwyer was responsible, for a time, for the painting and repairing parts of the ship to prepare for the chief of naval operations subsequent visit to the ship by landing on the ship's heliport. Mr. Dwyer also created a ship library and conducted a high school General Equivalency Diploma program onboard the ship.

While on the Mauna Loa, Mr. Dwyer sailed to Vietnam and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — the site of the United States prison on base. The captain reassigned him to Newport, Rhode Island, where his duties included coordination and training for the Navy’s Sixth Fleet on base. After completing his active duty obligation in December 1971, he continued service in the Navy Reserve by attending weekly meetings in the Bronx until his enlistment commitment ended in 1974. He did not reenlist because he was returning to a civilian job as an attorney with the U.S. Treasury Department.

In 1983, Mr. Dwyer opened his private practice law office in Hampton Bays and continues to maintain an active practice. He is also a member of the American Legion Hand-Aldrich Post 924 for over 35 years and was the post's judge advocate for 25 years. Mr. Dwyer has also been the president of the Irish-American Society of the Hamptons and the Hampton Bays Beautification Association; an officer of the Hampton Bays Lions Club; Trustee of the Hampton Bays American Legion; Treasurer of the St. Rosalie's Church Holy Name Society and the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

Mr. Dwyer has been married to his wife, Barbara, for 48 years and has two children, Brendan and Alana, and two grandchildren, Daniel and Matthew.

Animal Visit

Animal Visit
Kindergarteners learned more about the animals that live at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge during an in-school visit on Jan. 27. During the event, Tony Valderrama, an environmental educator with the refuge, introduced students to several animal species, including a corn snake, bearded dragon, chinchilla and an owl. Students learned about the animals’ habitats, prey and lifecycles.

Students Make Chromobabies as Part of Gene Lesson

To help middle school Living Environment students fully understand chromosomes as they relate to alleles, eighth-grade science teachers Toni Dossiano and Amanda Heenan created a lab using pool noodles. As part of the lab, students constructed “Chromobabies” by marking the “chromonoodles” with gene markers. “It was a great way to show students how genes are the markings on particular chromosomes that each code for a specific trait,” said Ms. Dossiano. #engageHB

School-Themed Escape Room Engages Students

To engage fifth-grade students in their studies and increase their understanding of math, science and social studies concepts, middle school teacher Scott Garofola recently turned his classroom into an escape room.

As part of the activity, students had to use teamwork and their problem-solving and critical thinking skills to “escape” from their classroom that was filled with clues. Clues included invisible ink letters, hollowed out books and interactive puzzles that were all linked to lessons the students have been working on. #engageHB

Celebrating Hampton Bays Veterans


Learn how the Hampton Bays School District pays tribute to area veterans through its monthly veterans' ceremonies in this short video. #engageHB


Dancing For a Cause

Dancing For a Cause
Elementary school students boogied and grooved on Jan. 19 during an hourlong dance-a-thon sponsored by the school’s community service club, K-Kids. The dance-a-thon raised $800 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through pledges the students procured prior to the event.

2017-2018 School Calendar Now Available


Snowman at Night

Snowman at Night
In working on their literary skills, first-graders in Ms. Kristy Loper’s class designed snowmen projects that depict snowmen and sentences about their favorite part of the story, “Snowmen at Night” by Caralyn Buehner. As part of the lesson, students also learned literary components in discussing the beginning, middle and end of the story. Pictured with their projects are (l-r) Anais Perez, Gustavo Tzitzimititla and Matheus Ribeiro.

Letter from the Superintendent re: Stranger Safety (English)


Letter from the Superintendent re: Stranger Safety (Spanish)


A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In marking Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, kindergartners in Ms. Lori Foster’s class wrote about the dreams they have to make the world a better place. Students wrote about helping others by becoming police officers, always being a friend and doing good deeds. The lesson culminated with the students making cutouts of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Alumni Inspire Middle Schoolers

Alumni Inspire Middle Schoolers
To inspire eighth-graders to start thinking about their futures, the middle school hosted its annual College Awareness Day on Jan. 4.

During the event, which was organized by guidance counselors Lorie O’Halloran and Jessica Sears, the middle school students gained insights and perspectives about college life from Hampton Bays High School graduates and children of school staff who are now enrolled in college. The college students answered questions about their experiences to date and discussed such topics as the typical college schedule, selection process and extracurricular activities offered.

The district expresses appreciation to the following college students who participated in the event: Angie Delgado (SUNY Oswego), Alexandra Peterson (SUNY Stony Brook), Christian Berglin (SUNY Maritime College), Noah Montague (SUNY Stony Brook), Vanessa Para Henao (Baruch College), Mary Kelly Hilton (SUNY Geneseo), Taylor Dunn (Marist College), David Ramirez (Farmingdale State College), Daniela Guttierez (SUNY Oneonta) and Laura Maila (James Madison University).

Successful Blood Drive

Blood Drive1
Blood Drive2
The high school Key Club held a blood drive in conjunction with NY Blood Services on Dec. 16. More than 50 students, staff and community members stepped up to donate.  #engageHB