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Harborfields high school

Harborfields High School student Olivia Eusanio was recently selected as an All-Region player by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association. Photo courtesy HCSD

Harborfields High School student Olivia Eusanio was recently selected as an All-Region player by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association, recognizing her as one of only 171 players selected from over 500 spanning 20 states who were nominated this year.

NFHCA High School All-Region teams are made up of student-athletes that represent the highest level of field hockey players in their region. 

“This is the very first time Harborfields has had an All-Region selection,” coach Lauren Desiderio said. “We are very, very proud of Olivia and the accolades she has worked so hard to achieve this past season. She truly represents the best of Harborfields through her athleticism, academic achievement and sportsmanship.”

Three Harborfields High School students Jackson Ferrara (trombone, HS Instrumental Jazz), Peter Hoss (tenor saxophone, HS Instrumental Jazz) and Hartley Semmes (trumpet, HS Instrumental Jazz) are selected for SCMEA All-County Jazz ensembles. Photo courtesy HCSD

Three Harborfields High School students have been selected for SCMEA All-County Jazz ensembles: Jackson Ferrara (trombone, HS Instrumental Jazz), Peter Hoss (tenor saxophone, HS Instrumental Jazz) and Hartley Semmes (trumpet, HS Instrumental Jazz).

An extremely select band, the SCMEA All-County HS Instrumental Jazz group requires an audition for acceptance. Fewer than 20 students in grades 10-12 from across Suffolk are chosen to participate. 

“These young musicians are extremely dedicated to their pursuit of excellence in this area,” Harborfields High School Jazz Band director Dan Bilawsky said. “Their selection is a well-deserved reward for their high-level commitment and hard work.”

Shoreham-Wading River scores the insurance goal. Photo by Bill Landon

It was the quarterfinal round of field hockey playoffs when the Wildcats of Shoreham-Wading River (No.3 seed) hosted sixth-seeded Harborfields in a Class B matchup Tuesday night, and the Tornadoes would have their hands full at Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field.

Jocelyn Kavanaugh broke the ice for Shoreham-Wading River off an assist by Haylie Abrams at the 4:27 mark of the second quarter to put the Wildcats out front. Harborfields had several opportunities to even the score from penalty corner shots, but the Wildcats defense was able keep the Tornadoes at bay. 

Sophia Minnion would provide the insurance goal for the Wildcats off an assist by Ellie Arena to take a 2-0 advantage three minutes into the third quarter. The Tornadoes wouldn’t go quietly, with Wildcats goalie Maggie Andersen stopping nine in the box. Harborfields keeper Lily Viscusi had eight saves on the night.

The 2-0 win sends the Wildcats to Eastport-South Manor (No. 2 seed) Saturday, Oct. 28, for a 10 a.m. semifinal matchup.

 – Photos by Bill Landon

Port Jefferson had its hands full when the Royals hosted the Tornadoes of Harborfields Sept. 21 in a League III matchup where they found themselves down two goals at the halftime break. Harborfields’ junior Alexandra Fiumara found the right corner of the net off a rebound within four minutes followed by Lila Porzio at the 22-minute mark.

The Royals struggled to keep the ball upfield in the second half when Harborfields’ seniors Meaghan Fealy and Alanna Ratti both found the net to close out the game with a 4-0 victory.

Port Jeff goalie Rose Meliker-Hammock had 13 saves on the day and Harborfields’ keeper Keira Collins stopped 3.

The win lifted Harborfields to 5-2 on the season while the Royals fell to 1-5.

– Photos by Bill Landon

Five Harborfields High School students, pictured above, were recently named winners in the second annual national Junior Achievement Social Innovation Challenge. Photo courtesy HCSD

Five Harborfields High School students were recently named national winners in the second annual national Junior Achievement Social Innovation Challenge. The five students were all members of the Harborfields Business and Entrepreneurship Academy, which is facilitated by the school’s business department coordinator, Alison Matthews.

The challenge is a national competition in which high school students submit their innovative ideas for making an impact on their communities. The winning students were selected from more than 90 participating teams from across the country, and will have the opportunity to further develop their entrepreneurial concepts with the assistance of experts from challenge sponsor Chick-fil-A.

Nahrahel Louis won first place for “Clothing for a Cause,” a social enterprise that partners with organizations to create clothing for fundraising. Nahrahel’s company idea focused on collaboration with schools, businesses, nonprofits and other organizations to create custom apparel that reflects their unique brand and message, handling the entire process — from design to production and even shipping — to ensure a seamless and effortless experience for their partners.

Gabriella DiMartino, Nabeeha Ilyas, Elizabeth Kelly and Ivie Mergille won third place for “Purte.” Inspired by families living without adequate heating and cooling, and recognizing the need for affordable climate innovations, the Purte team designed a portable, solar-powered climate control device that cools and heats a room at the click of a button, using sunlight as a source of energy for a spinning center that rotates to conduct air.

The cast of 'Pippin'. Photo courtesy of The Community Playhouse of Northport

By Melissa Arnold

When a playwright starts working on a new script, they carefully describe the setting, time period, and each character. They may provide information about a character’s intended gender, age, physicality and singing voice. These traits are meant to serve as guides for directors as they select actors for the show.

All this might sound simple on paper, but in reality, it means that an otherwise talented actor may not be a good fit for certain roles. This is especially true for older adults, where opportunities for people in their age group are unfortunately few and far between. 

The Community Playhouse of Northport (CPN) works hard to create an atmosphere that’s welcoming to all kinds of actors, especially those with little to no experience. Each summer, they host a special “Bucket List Production” of a classic musical with a unique twist – all the lead actors are over 45, and all the ensemble members are over 30.

For people who have passed the age threshold for many theatrical roles, the accommodation is a dream come true.

The Bucket List shows began last summer, when a dedicated group of theater families formed the not-for-profit Community Playhouse of Northport. Their predecessor, the Northport Community Theater, was dissolved in 2021. 

“Many of us were friends before CPN formed — some of us were previous performers or had kids who knew each other from community theater,” said Amy Schombs, who handles publicity for the group. “We thought it might be fun to create an opportunity for those of us who’d like to be onstage but are often not in the right age group, or maybe they’ve never had any theater experience before.” 

This year’s Bucket List Production is Pippin, an energetic and surprising tale following the son of the historical King Charlemagne as he searches for fulfillment in young adulthood.

It’s also a show-within-a-show — the majority of the characters are part of a talented, sometimes zany group of performers who bring Pippin and Charlemagne’s story to life. This dynamic allows smaller ensemble roles to take center stage, which isn’t typical in a musical.

Schombs is also an ensemble performer for the show and admitted that getting onstage for the first time since high school was a big step out of her comfort zone.

“My mother took me to musicals all the time as a child and I grew up loving theater. I did some shows during high school and took a few acting classes in college, but that was it,” she recalled. “About 10 years ago, my then-teenage son decided to try out for his high school’s musical, and my whole family fell in love with theater.”

But it hasn’t been easy, she noted.

“At first it was really hard and intimidating, especially as someone who can’t read music and has no real experience. It’s been like speaking a foreign language at times,” Schombs said. “But it’s so much fun and I’m so glad I took a chance and decided to challenge myself.”

Scott Stevenson is in his early 70s, and thanks to Bucket List he’s making his theatrical debut as a comedic ensemble member.

“I’ve always enjoyed going to theater performances, and I’m comfortable onstage because I sing in a barbershop chorus based out of Five Towns College. I found myself going to shows and thinking, ‘You know, I bet I could do that,’” said Stevenson, who worked in the maritime industry prior to retirement. “My wife saw an advertisement for the Bucket List auditions in the paper and encouraged me to go for it.”

Stevenson showed up to audition and sang a few fast-paced bars of “I’m Gonna Live Till I Die” by Frank Sinatra. Not long after, he learned that he made the cast of Pippin. 

“I’ve been so impressed with everyone in the group, and they’ve been so welcoming to me as a newcomer,” he said. “It feels wonderful to try something new. To anyone out there who has ever had the dream of performing, I would encourage them to get out there and do it. Don’t let the chance pass you by.”

Seizing the opportunity comes up often for the Bucket List cast, the majority of whom have day jobs, families and other responsibilities. Executive director Suzie Lustig couldn’t be happier to have them.

“It had always been a hope of mine to bring this [Bucket List] idea to the Playhouse,” said Lustig, who is also the organization’s CEO. “There’s a lot of incredible talent on Long Island, and it’s very competitive. It gets harder as you get older — someone who’s a novice at an older age may not have a shot at participating in some shows elsewhere.”

The cast includes teachers on summer vacation, an IT professional, stay-at-home parents, a psychologist and many more.

“This cast is phenomenally committed — everyone is so enthusiastic and brings so much heart because they really want to be there, even after working all day and sacrificing their summer nights and weekends to make it happen,” Lustig said. “They come from all walks of life, but the cast has become great friends through this production.”

Schombs hopes that visitors will take a chance on the unconventional performance, and maybe even consider auditioning in the future. 

“I think there’s a bit of surprise for those who come to see us, because some people come in knowing we’re not experienced performers, but by the end we impress them with how hard we’ve worked and what we’ve been able to achieve,” she said. “Everyone should have items on their bucket list that push them and encourage them to try new things. I think the Playhouse provides an amazing way to do that.”

The Community Playhouse of Northport will present Pippin at 7:30 p.m. July 20 through July 22, with an additional 3 p.m. performance on July 22. Performances are held at the Harborfields High School Auditorium, 98 Taylor Ave, Greenlawn. Tickets are $15. To purchase or for more information about CPN and future Bucket List Productions, visit www.communityplayhousenorthport.org or call 631-683-8444.

For the Harborfields High School Class of 2023, the overcast skies on the morning of June 24 were not reflected in the brightness of the seniors’ spirits as they celebrated the school’s 64th commencement ceremony.

Superintendent Rory Manning was introduced by student Nahrahel Louis. After prompting a round of applause for the seniors, Manning asked them to put down their phones, be present in the moment and look at their families in the stands, before leading them in a relaxing mindfulness exercise and discussing the value of shared experiences.

“You, the amazing Class of 2023, continue to earn recognition for your academic prowess, your athletic feats, your musical talents and for doing the little things each day to be at your best,” Manning said. “We have all been through a lot, some more than others, but we all have shared experiences that make us a family. Enjoy this moment and be present.”

Salutatorian Alexa Best asked her classmates to recall an ordinary day attending school at Harborfields.

“On such a momentous occasion, it is easy to get caught up in this one large achievement and forget what brought us here,” Best said. “I want you to forget graduating for a moment, and instead pretend that you are all here celebrating that ordinary day you imagined. Imagine that one ordinary day is just as important as graduating from high school. My point is, we should give ourselves permission to appreciate the small moments in life. There is beauty in those ordinary days and memories. These are the moments that make graduating worth something. You’re not here celebrating the fact that you completed all your credits required by the New York State Education Department. You’re here celebrating the fact that you have woke up every day for the past four years to come to this school and see these people.”

Valedictorian Lindsay Sung pondered being ready for this major transition and lauded the power of connection.

“After today, I realize that we’re getting never back together, we’ll all be off in our adult lives doing our own adult things,” Sung said. “I think back to freshman year when I felt that high school was the scariest thing ever. But we survived, and high school doesn’t seem so scary anymore. While the transitions are scary in the moment, if we take it one day at a time, we’ll soon look back and suddenly it won’t be so frightening. In fact, it will seem as though time has slipped through our fingers before we even realize it, just like high school has. Even though we are on our own now, we are not alone. It is important to remember that we are moving forward together. We will forever and always be connected.”

Class President Alexandra Ebanks used her background in music as a keynote.

“Our commencement day is not just a milestone, but a musical piece of sorts, one that marks the end of a movement,” Ebanks said. “As our symphony’s movement draws to a close, we are reminded of the unity in our ensemble. This isn’t an end, but a transition to a new movement in our own song. May we continue to make music that rings true to our shared past, while creating harmonies for our future. Let us carry with us the lessons we have learned, humming the tunes of unity, resilience and love. From the first note to the last, we are one Harborfields Class of 2023.”

The day’s featured speaker, as chosen by the students, was history teacher Daniel Greening. Introduced by Student Government Vice President Elizabeth Kelly, Greening used the book “The Pioneers” as a springboard for advice.

“Life will be tough, but if you work hard and rely on people around you like the people you have in this community, you will be able to accomplish anything in this shining city upon a hill,” Greening said. “You are a special group of young people who have persevered over the past four extremely arduous years and have found yourself sitting here in front of friends, family and loved ones. Now it is your time to pioneer your own
journey. This great country has a history of providing opportunities for those who work hard, are resilient and take on any challenge in order to improve life for themselves and those around them. You are capable and strong young men and women who need to lead us into the next generation.”

Finally, Principal Marie Netto addressed her charges, using the Centennial Light, the world’s longest burning light bulb, as a metaphor.

“Even the smallest light can shine bright and make a difference, and that is exactly what I hope you all realize is within each of you,” Netto said. “In fact, your radiance is evident in this very moment as you sit in the campus of Harborfields High School as unique individuals alongside your classmates, supported by family, friends and faculty who share in celebrating your commencement. Just like a prism breaks light into a spectrum of colors, each of you has your own unique talents and abilities that can bring color and beauty to the world. My hope for you is that you will always embrace your individuality and let your light shine, for it is in being true to yourself that you will make the greatest impact.”

As a reminder, each graduate received a gift prism with their diplomas, before joyfully hurling their caps to the sky and walking out as new alumni. 


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The Harborfields High School girls track team competed in an indoor crossover meet at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood on Saturday, Jan. 9.

Harborfields Delilah Shapiro placed eighth in the 55-meter hurdle event with a 10.41, and teammates Marina Bak and Sophia Rose ran the 1500-meter race and placed 14th and 17th, respectively. Brianna Coakley finished fifth at 1000-meters with a time of 3:39.81.

It was all Kings Park in their homecoming game against Harborfields, where the Kingsmen dominated from the opening kickoff to blow out the Tornadoes, 34-7, Oct 9.

Senior quarterback Jonathan Borkowski teamed up with John Matthew for two touchdown throws a 14 yarder and a 26-yard pass and run play. Nico Laviano grounded out the yardage with a pair of touchdowns of his own a short yardage score and a 15-yard run. Kings Park’s James O’Melia punched in from short yardage in the win.  

Kings Park enters their bye-week and are back in action Oct. 23 with a road game against Comsewogue at 3 p.m. The Tornadoes retake the field with a home game against Eastport South Manor Oct. 15. Game time is 6:30 p.m.  

The Harborfields High School Class of 2021 were celebrated by family, friends, community members, faulty, staff and administrators at the school’s graduation ceremony on June 26. As the graduates processed on the field in the classic Harborfields green and white, joined by Principal Timothy Russo, Superintendent of Schools Rory Manning and members of the board of education, the crowd cheered enthusiastically.

“Much in the same way your family has cared for you, we have also,” Manning said. “The staff of Harborfields has been your second family for the last 13 years and we selfishly don’t want you to go, and why would we? You proved to the world that you were capable of the unimageable, and despite countless odds against you, you thrived.”

Principal Timothy Russo initiated a special tribute to Gabby Cava, a beloved member of the Class of 2021 who passed away in January 2020 from cancer. Gabby’s family was in attendance to accept the first diploma from Russo. 

Before continuing presenting diplomas to the graduates, Russo took some time to commend the Class of 2021 for their perseverance and ability to succeed in the face of huge challenges. 

“You are an incredible group who will be missed by many as you go onto achieve whatever greatness is coming your way,” he said. “Your enthusiasm, kindness and respect for Harborfields has led us through a challenging year, and I thank you for being the young men and women you are.”