Hot fun in the summertime


Students in the Oysterponds summer school program learned about Benjamin Franklin this summer and then went out to fly kites of their own at Poquatuck Park in Orient last week. Leo Fleissig, 8, of Greenport sprints across the grass with the kite he made as Irene Papamichael, 8, of East Marion tries to get hers in the air.

Oysterponds School had its largest summer program class ever this year, with 65 students attending, according to program director Dick Leslie.

Mr. Leslie and his wife, Ellie, became involved in the summer program 10 years ago when money was tight and they volunteered their time to keep the school library open and offer a small summer program.

This year’s four-week program, created and operated by three certified Oysterponds teachers — Donna Dunne, JoAnn Simicick and Jenny Schoenstein — attracted most of its students from Orient and East Marion, but also had six students from Greenport and four from Southold, Mr. Leslie said.

They experienced archeology, geography and history and use a book from the “39 Clues” series to concentrate on the exploits of Benjamin Franklin, Mr. Leslie said. Ten local volunteers also participated in leading the summer reading program, during which students wrote a total of 320 book reports.

The children also took a trip to the Oysterponds Historical Society and the Cole Brothers Circus when it played in Greenport in July.

The program held closing ceremonies last Friday. Winners of geography quizzes were awarded globes and atlases and those who wrote book reports received dictionaries and thesauruses.

Parents paid $250 for one child and $175 for each additional child. Those tuition fees cover 50 percent of the program’s cost. The school district picks up another 25 percent and the Oysterponds School Foundation, which the Leslies established, covers the remaining 25 percent. Scholarships were available for students in need and four such scholarship were awarded, Mr. Leslie said.