07/21/15 6:44pm
07/21/2015 6:44 PM

The Oysterponds School District’s annual summer report will be presented Aug. 4 at Poquatuck Hall in Orient.

Oysterponds school board members will be on hand to have an informal discussion about the pre-K through sixth-grade district and its future plans.

The meeting starts at 5 p.m. and is open to the public.

For more information, call the school at (631) 323-2410.

Mattituck farmer Douglas Cooper in May, 2015, shortly before he was elected to an eighth term on the Mattituck-Cutchogue Board of Education. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Mattituck farmer Douglas Cooper in May, 2015, shortly before he was elected to an eighth term on the Mattituck-Cutchogue Board of Education. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo, file)

Douglas Cooper said the number of cashbox thefts at his Mattituck farm stand had grown significantly in the summer of 1995.

“It got to the point where it wasn’t once a week,” he told The Suffolk Times in an article published on Aug. 3 of that year. “It was every day.”  (more…)

07/10/2015 6:00 AM
From left, Doug Cooper, Jeff Smith, Laura Jens-Smith and Jerry Diffley. Ms. Jens-Smith was elected president at Thursday's Mattituck school board meeting. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

From left, Doug Cooper, Jeff Smith, Laura Jens-Smith and Jerry Diffley. Ms. Jens-Smith was elected president at Thursday’s Mattituck school board meeting. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

The Mattituck school board has elected Laura Jens-Smith as its new president and long-time president Jerry Diffley is leaving after serving on the board for 16 years.


07/03/2015 4:00 PM
Ian Husak with the Vietnamese flag on a fishing boat in Ha Long Bay. (Credit: Ian Husak courtesy photos)

Ian Husak with the Vietnamese flag on a fishing boat in Ha Long Bay. (Credit: Ian Husak courtesy photos)

When Ian Husak first arrived in Vietnam, he didn’t have the benefit of international data on his phone. There was no GPS in his pocket to direct the Mattituck High School graduate from Ho Chi Minh City to Mui Ne, a journey of more than 130 miles on a motorcycle across foreign terrain.

“I had no map,” he recalled. “I spent the whole day wondering, ‘Am I going the right way?’ ” (more…)

07/01/2015 12:00 PM

Next in our series is Mattituck’s top students. Read more about Courtney Murphy and Christian Van Cleef, the Class of 2015’s Valedictorian and Salutatorian, below. 





GPA: 101.2450 (weighted), 99.0980 (unweighted)

College plans: Villanova University

Major: business

Team player: Courtney played varsity soccer, varsity basketball, travel soccer and summer league soccer and basketball. She earned several honors including All League Soccer, Academic All County Soccer, All League Basketball and Academic All County Basketball. She also won several sports awards, including For the Love of the Game Booster Club Award, New York State Public High School Athletic Association Scholar Athlete Award and Suffolk Zone Award.

All business: Courtney earned third- and fifth-place awards in the Distributive Education Club of America’s regional competition. She was named an Advanced Placement Scholar With Distinction and Student of the Month for history and foreign language. She won a New York State Scholarship for Academic Excellence first-place award and is a Rube Goldberg contest winner. She also landed on the High Honor Roll every quarter since seventh grade.

Giving back: Courtney participated in several community groups, including serving as president of the Leo Club, and she volunteered for Maureen’s Haven, the Mattituck Lions Club Strawberry Festival, Relay for Life and Letters to Soldiers. She was also a tutor for Spanish, algebra and trigonometry.

Parting words: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my high school career and my experiences at Mattituck have surely helped shape me as a person. So many great memories have been created here and I’m thankful for having grown up in such a wonderful community.”




GPA: 99.09 (weighted), 97.69 (unweighted)

College plans: Brandeis University

Major: international relations/philosophy

Helping hands: Daniel volunteered for San Simeon by the Sound and the China Conservation and Research Center. He also helped with a fundraising effort at North Fork Reform Synagogue in Cutchogue.

Team player: As a varsity soccer player, Daniel earned several honors, including this year’s state championships and the Scholar Athlete Award. He also played with Mattituck Alliance and the Brookhaven Summer Soccer League.

A little bit of everything: Daniel was president of the World Language Club and participated in several groups: the Leo Club, student council, executive student council, Math League, National Honor Society and DECA.

Internships: During high school, Daniel held internships at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, Good News Planet and Copal Partners-London (Copal Amba).

Parting words: “I’m glad I at least had the foresight to learn out of passion rather than out of necessity, but whether that’ll be valuable to me or not depends on what’s yet to come. I’ve learned to be less rigid as a person and to take greater and more frequent risks. I believe that you learn more from what you do poorly in high school than what you do well. I hope that I learn no lesson in vain.”

07/01/15 5:59am

We finish up our series on our area’s top students with McGann-Mercy High School’s valedictorian and salutatorian: Elison Louis and Magdalena Duda. Check out more about these outstanding achievers below:


Elison Louis


GPA: 100.36

College plans: SUNY/Stony Brook

Major: biochemistry

Fond memories: Elison, a Mastic resident, said his favorite moments from high school were just sitting at the lunch table chatting with fellow classmates.

“I made some really good friends,” he said.

High honors: Elison was named to the Principal’s List all four years of high school. He earned the New York State Department of Education Scholarship for Academic Excellence and the Congressional Merit Award. He also won the Stony Brook University Valedictorian Scholarship.

Advanced Placement scholar: Elison took several AP courses over the past two years. During his junior year, he took AP U.S. history and literature. This year, he took the exams for calculus, biology and U.S. government. He said he was least confident about the government exam going into the test, but now feels like he did “really well.”

After school: Elison played on the junior varsity tennis and basketball teams and was a member of the high school band. He was also a part of the campus ministry and the school’s Ethics and Leadership Club.

Hard worker: In addition to his extracurricular activities and junior varsity sports, Elison took a part-time job during his junior and senior years as a way to make some extra money.

Future plans: Elison is aiming to pursue a pre-med track in college. He said the decision was mostly a practical one.

“I just feel like that’d be a good option,” he said. “I didn’t want to go into college not knowing what I’d be doing.”

Parting words: “Do your homework.”


Magdalena Duda


GPA: 99.826

College plans: Pennsylvania State University

Major: biology and forensics

High achiever: Magdalena, who is from Riverhead, was on the Principal’s List all four years of high school. She also won the New York Department of Education Scholarship for Academic Excellence and a Congressional Merit Award for Academic Excellence and Outstanding Citizenship.

Founding member: Magdalena was treasurer of the National Honor Society and served as vice president and co-founder of the French National Honor Society her senior year.

Accomplished athlete: Magdalena won All League honors for varsity tennis and ran with the spring track and field team. She’s also been an All Star in cheerleading, something she’s participated in since she was 8 years old.

Future goals: Magdalena was inspired by a forensics elective class in high school to pursue a career in the field in college. She hopes to work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation someday.

Parting Words: “Literally, take every opportunity you can. Take the class. You think you’re just taking it for fun, but you might find something you really love.”