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. 

T

COURTNEY MURPHY

VALEDICTORIAN

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.”

T

DANIEL PARKS

SALUTATORIAN

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 9:16am

An early morning string of thunderstorm toppled trees and knocked out power for more than 300 customers in Southold Town Wednesday morning. Greenport Village also reported outages due to the storm.

According to a PSEG outage map, about 274 customers in Mattituck and a couple dozen more in Southold remained without power due to the storm as of 8:30 a.m. Greenport Village Mayor George Hubbard said a couple hundred homes lost power for about 50 minutes during the storm.

“Now everyone should have the power back on,” he said.

In nearby Riverhead and Flanders, more than 3,000 residents in total lost power.

The National Weather Service had issued a severe thunderstorm warning at 6:18 a.m. A weather station at East Moriches clocked wind gusts at 53 mph, said meteorologist Faye Barthold.

Southold police said no one was injured during the storm, though there were several calls for downed trees and wires. Highway Superintendent Vincent Orlando couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

06/28/15 5:40pm
06/28/2015 5:40 PM
Beloved history teacher Ron McEvoy made a spectacular entrance at Sunday's graduation.

Beloved history teacher Ron McEvoy made a spectacular entrance at Sunday’s graduation.

Greenport High School graduated its 134th class on Sunday where retired history teacher Ron McEvoy made a surprise visit.

In addition to encouraging speeches from students, faculty, and administrators, Mr. McEvoy gave a speech to the graduates and encouraged them to follow their dreams.

For a complete list of graduates and bios on the valedictorian and salutatorian, pick up a copy of the July 2 The Suffolk Times for the special graduation section.

Scroll through for more photos of the graduates.

Photos by Katharine Schroeder

The hat toss.

The hat toss.

A group of graduates pose before the ceremony.

A group of graduates pose before the ceremony.

Timmy Stevens and Brittany Doucett.

Timmy Stevens and Brittany Doucett.

Time for a graduation selfie.

Time for a graduation selfie.

Administrators and staff pose before the ceremony.

Administrators and staff pose before the ceremony.

Nick Droskoski and Cinthia Gaitan.

Nick Droskoski and Cinthia Gaitan.

Timmy Stevens with his niece Nylah Stevens.

Timmy Stevens with his niece Nylah Stevens.

Matt and John Drinkwater.

Matt and John Drinkwater.

A group of graduates pose before the ceremony.

A group of graduates pose before the ceremony.

Nicole and Jessica McDaniel.

Nicole and Jessica McDaniel.

A group of graduates pose before the ceremony.

A group of graduates pose before the ceremony.

A graduate reflects on a speech during the ceremony.

A graduate reflects on a speech during the ceremony.

Mr. McEvoy speaks to the students.

Mr. McEvoy speaks to the students.

Students react to Mr. McEvoy's speech.

Students react to Mr. McEvoy’s speech.

Valedictorian Connor Whittle listens to a speech during the ceremony.

Valedictorian Connor Whittle listens to a speech during the ceremony.

Commencement speaker Catherine Creedon.

Commencement speaker Catherine Creedon.

Commencement speaker Samantha Henry.

Commencement speaker Samantha Henry.

Commencement speaker Neville Reece.

Commencement speaker Neville Reece.

Commencement speaker Caitlin Grilli.

Commencement speaker Caitlin Grilli.

High School principal Gary Kalish speaks.

High School principal Gary Kalish speaks.

Time for diplomas.

Time for diplomas.

Salutatorian Christian Van Cleef.

Salutatorian Christian Van Cleef.

Valedictorian Connor Whittle.

Valedictorian Connor Whittle.

A hug after the ceremony.

A hug after the ceremony.

Valedictorian Connor Whittle with his brother Alex.

Valedictorian Connor Whittle with his brother Alex.

A hug for the new graduate.

A hug for the new graduate.

06/24/15 5:41pm
06/24/2015 5:41 PM

An independent audit of the Southold Town Justice Court’s finances, which started more than a year ago in the wake of a theft controversy at the court, is still ongoing, town officials said this week.

The audit — conducted by Albrecht, Viggiano, Zureck & Company at a cost of $36,000 — was approved by the Town Board in a March 2014 resolution.

(more…)

06/24/15 5:24pm
For those not from the area, Aquebogue can be tricky to spell. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

For those not from the area, Aquebogue can be tricky to spell. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

The small hamlet of Aquebogue is starting to gain national recognition — for being one of the top 10 most difficult U.S. cities to spell.

According to King Digital Entertainment, the company that conducted the survey, 56 percent of participants couldn’t correctly spell Aquebogue. On average, 64 percent of those who participated misspelled the entirety of the top-10 list.  (more…)

06/23/15 2:43pm
06/23/2015 2:43 PM
The view from Route 105 bridge at Indian Island golf course as the Peconic River leads into the Bay. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

The view from Route 105 bridge at Indian Island golf course as the Peconic River leads into the bay. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Legislation is awaiting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature that would permit all five East End towns to use up to 20 percent of its Community Preservation Fund dollars for water quality improvement projects. (more…)

06/22/15 3:22pm
06/22/2015 3:22 PM
Members of Greenport's class of 1945 (from left) Agnes Halinauseau Dunn, Edna Turner Quartochia, Henry Santacroce Sr., Mary Becker Smart, Sue Mortensen Tasker and Alyce Kruszeski Doroski attend their 70th high school class reunion. (Credit: Nicole Smith)

Members of Greenport’s Class of 1945 (from left) Agnes Malinauskas Dunn, Edna Turner Quartochia, Henry Santacroce Sr., Mary Becker Smart, Sue Mortensen Tasker and Alyce Kazeski Doroski attend their 70th high school class reunion on Friday. (Credit: Nicole Smith)

Nothing could keep the Greenport High School Class of 1945 from celebrating its graduation every five years; not even 2,500 miles, the distance one attendee, Mary Becker Smart, drove from Texas in order to make the event.

Seated around a table in the dining section of Michelangelo’s in Southold, six lifelong friends and some of their family members reminisced, sharing laughs about what everyone remembered — or didn’t remember — from high school 70 years ago.

Chatting with an ease only heard among longtime friends, Henry Santacroce Sr., Sue Mortensen Tasker, Edna Turner Quartochia, Agnes Malinauskas Dunn, Alyce Kruszeski Doroski and Ms. Smart discussed the legacy they left at Greenport during the reunion Friday afternoon.

“We were the first ones that started the Beachcomber,” Mr. Santacroce said, taking out a copy of the 1945 black and white paperback yearbook and passing it around the table.

In addition to the yearbook, the class created their own song and motto. They were very determined, the former classmates agreed.

“Our motto was ‘if we can’t find a path, we’ll make one,’ ” Ms. Dunn said.

Ms. Quartochia then began singing the class song as Mr. Santacroce, the organizer of this year’s reunion, asked others to join in, with no luck. The song, sung to the melody of the Doris Day tune “My Dreams are Getting Better All the Time,” celebrates the class finally graduating.

Ms. Tasker joked that leaving school was her favorite high school memory.

Members of the Greenport class of 1945 at their 40th reunion in 1985. (Credit: Courtesy)

Members of the Greenport Class of 1945 at their 40th reunion in 1985. (Credit: Courtesy)

Other fond memories included their rainy graduation day — when the teens solidified their bond and shouted, “forward — as well as their class trip to the Picadilly Hotel in New York City to see a Broadway play.

Ms. Tasker said the class was supposed to visit Washington D.C. for the trip, but couldn’t because the United States was fighting World War II at the time.

The war affected their lives in other ways than changing their trip destination. Many of the classmates said they chose careers following graduation that required them to move to D.C., either working as a “government girl” or enlisting in the service.

Although the six classmates left Greenport following graduation, all but one at the reunion eventually made their way back to the North Fork. But surprisingly, they don’t see each other that often.

“We live in a small town, but we only see each other when we bump into each other shopping,” Ms. Tasker said.

That’s why the group believes having reunions is so important.

“We wanted to check and see if everyone still has their brains, so every five years we check up,” Ms. Quartochia said with a laugh.

The Class of 1945 takes this very seriously. They boast about attending most, if not all, of the 14 reunions held. Those unable to attend this year — like Earl Breese — still made an effort to participate in the reunion.

“He usually came, but he’s with the veterans this weekend,” said Ms. Tasker, waiting for him to call in to chat.

While the group has “thinned down quite a bit” from their original 58 members, Mr. Santacroce said, the good times haven’t over the years.

“This is a milestone,” said Mr. Santacroce’s wife, Barbara. “When you think about it, 70 years, it’s a big deal.”

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