Tags Posts tagged with "Rocky Point High School"

Rocky Point High School

Rocky Point High School Commencement Day photos. Photos courtesy of Rocky Point school district.

Members of Rocky Point High School’s Class of 2024 began the next stage of their lives at the district’s annual commencement ceremony on Wednesday, June 26. As the students proudly walked onto the school’s football field, the sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance” greeted them. The ceremony began with a welcome from Principal James Moeller, who thanked administrators, board of education members, educators, parents and family members for their collective guidance and support along the students’ path to success.

Student Renee Ortiz sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” accompanied by the high school band conducted by Amy Schecher. This was followed by Exhortation Speaker Parker Matzen, who shared the history and lessons he learned along with his peers. Moeller then expressed his pride in the Class of 2024, applauding their achievements in school and in the community. He tied Dr. Seuss’ book, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go,” with the steps the students took to get to this point, sharing memories of serving as the middle school principal while they were there. He highlighted the inaugural Unified Basketball team as a true showing of Rocky Point community and pride, and spotlighted other athletic teams, academic accomplishments and achievements in the arts.

Superintendent of Schools Scott O’Brien spoke next, sharing the symbolism of Rocky Point’s mascot — the eagle. He noted that eagles are not just symbols of strength and freedom but also share valuable lessons about perseverance, growing stronger and more confident until they fly one day effortlessly across the sky. He stated that, just like Rocky Point’s esteemed mascot, the students have embodied resilience, strength and grace throughout their educational journey in Rocky Point.

Valedictorian Isabella Rooney and salutatorian Sofia Haviland each addressed their fellow classmates, sharing words of remembrance from their time spent in Rocky Point, as well as encouragement for their peers’ new journey ahead.

Board of Education President Jessica Ward then officially presented the candidates for graduation to all those in attendance.

By Rich Acritelli

As Rocky Point High School special education teachers Jessica Gentile and Kristina Muratore sought new ways to enhance their life skills classes, Rocky Perk was started on March 17, 2023.The program offers students an opportunity to shop for needed items to make different types of coffee, refreshments and snacks. Started by using donations from staff members, Rocky Perk has seen substantial growth over the last year.

Muratore has been pleased with the progress of her students as “over the last few years our 12:1:1 program [for students with intellectual disabilities] has evolved into this outstanding experience that our students, staff and community has enjoyed. It warms my heart that everyone is able to see the daily talents of our students.”

As part of the program, the students work in a hands-on classroom that has a stove, sink, refrigerator, washer and dryer to handle the rigors of Rocky Perk, which has strengthened independent living skills. The students have also created a menu for the cafe and will be expanding their repertoire with an exciting new vanilla raspberry spritzer, which will be offered to its customers sometime soon. 

Gentile glowingly identified the remarkable growth of her students as “they thrive on serving others through Rocky Perk and are independently functioning to ensure that different types of orders are properly fulfilled and delivered.”

But the life skills program does not end in the kitchen. Continuing to follow the best interests of her students, Gentile also spearheaded the implementation of the Unified Eagles basketball team led by the life skills students. The team is made up of players who have intellectual disabilities paired with mainstream student-athletes. Gentile credits the district’s athletic director, Jonathon Rufa, in being a driving force in establishing this new initiative. 

As the Unified Eagles, the team has played two games. Gentile firmly believes “there is a growth of confidence in her players, who have an iron sense of pride who have also forged unique friendships. I am grateful to be part of this amazing group.”

High school students Brett Condos, Sydney Woods, Sarah May and Ella Rau have assisted the Unified Eagles on the court. A talented athlete, Woods said, “I love guiding members of this team and watching them try their very best.” 

When asked about the future of this Eagles squad, it is the goal of Gentile to garner more school and public support to rally this wonderful group of players. When asked if she would again lead this team next year, Gentile said, “Heck yeah!”

Rocky Point varsity cheer team. Photo courtesy RPSD.

The Rocky Point varsity cheerleading team placed first in Small Division II at the Universal Cheer Association National High School Cheerleading Championships on Feb. 9-12 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. 

Throughout the weekend the team competed against over 90 teams. Competing three times with zero deductions in their routine. Rocky Point also won this award in 2020. 

Congratulations to the team members and coaches Samantha Ferrara and Jessica Fleischer, both winning a national championship in their first season. Coach Ferrara was a seventh grader on the Rocky Point varsity team when they won their third national title in 2014 under the tutelage of coach Anna Spallina. She is in an elite group of cheer coaches who have won a national championship as both a cheerleader and a coach.

Winning team members are Ariana Amato, Kaylee Gallino, Abby Rae Hughes, Samantha Morelli, Sophia Musraca, Caiden Palank, Alexis Polaski, Ella Reisinger, Reese Rogers, Alison Rubinetti, Callie Russell, Edie Sternkopf, Adrianna Tavolaro, Ella Velazquez, Avery Ward and Scarlett Ward. 

“This team continually displays tremendous effort and sets high standards for winning,” Rocky Point athletic director Jonathon Rufa said. “The girls began the year knowing that a national championship was possible for Rocky Point and they continued to gain confidence, power and focus throughout the season to achieve one of their championship goals.”

Rocky Point 2023-24 girls basketball team. Photo courtesy Rich Acritelli

By Rich Acritelli

Since 2001, there have been many fine girls basketball players that have suited up for the Rocky Point High School team. But there has been a playoff drought for the 23 years that has been broken through this year’s Lady Eagles squad. Longtime field hockey coach Katie Bittner, who coached the junior varsity basketball team in 2008-09, recently took over and the positive results have been extremely noticeable.

After defeating Smithtown West Feb. 2, the girls earned a playoff seed that saw Rocky Point ladies enthused about this major achievement. Bittner explained that this success originated from the “importance of playing defense, hustling and showing heart on a regular basis.” This formula has worked, as Bittner was pleased with her team’s ability to utilize its unyielding defensive strengths earlier in the season against Westhampton Beach. This opposition was averaging over 55 points a game at the time, but was limited to 43, and Rocky Point lost by only three points. This week, on Feb. 12, the Lady Eagles again played Westhampton Beach, which is one of the higher-ranking teams in the county, was leading at halftime 27-25 and lost a hotly-contested game 50-41.

The Rocky Point girls are led by the aggressive presence of McKenzie Moeller who is committed to play lacrosse at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She has been a dominant point scorer who drives to the net and is a rebounder. Moeller scored 24 points against Smithtown West and enjoys the camaraderie of this group. The “comic relief” is senior Sarah May who was the team’s most valuable player as a junior and is a shooting guard who will dive for loose balls. Julia Koprowski is a point guard whose goal is to play basketball next fall in college. Rhiannon Donovan is a senior power forward who has also been a special player. She has found it has been immensely “gratifying” to be a part of a close-knit team that has performed well.

An all-state field hockey player and a lacrosse standout, Kylie Lamoureux has solidified her spot as one of the toughest female athletes in the school and as a determined leader on the basketball team. Her presence is felt playing defense, forcing turnovers and being a fiery player against the opposition. This junior, who will play lax at the University of Maryland, is a two-year starter and a shooting guard. Her good friend junior Fiona Vu, who will be playing lacrosse at Brown University, is a major three-sport athlete who provides key minutes off the bench as a guard and forward. Coming off the bench is senior Nicole Spadafina who is hoping to either attend Indiana University or Tulane. This guard brings the ball up the court and has hit some outside shots. Many of these girls have played together since they were children at the local church league and truly enjoy playing ball together.

The future looks promising with eighth grader Giuliana Tocci gaining valuable experience that will mold her leadership role. Sophomore Kaleigh Moeller is part of the youth movement that has helped push the Eagles toward making the playoffs. She is a forward who comes off the bench where she has played a tenacious defense and has gained many rebounds. 

Athletic director Jonathon Rufa is elated with the drive of this team to succeed this year and make the playoffs. Rufa identified these ladies as being a “hardworking, talented and coachable group of athletes, who are willing to do the little things to win,” adding, “The future of Rocky Point girls basketball looks bright with first-year coach Katie Bittner leading the way.” 

Rich Acritelli is a social studies teacher at Rocky Point High School, an adjunct professor of American history at Suffolk County Community College and curator of Suffolk County World War II and Military History Museum.

Rocky Point forward Max Wignall shoots in a non-league matchup against Shoreham-Wading River. Photo by Bill Landon

With an injury-riddled starting lineup, the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats had their hands full in a road game against Rocky Point where the Eagles defense was able to hold the Wildcats at bay. The Eagles offense pressed for all 32 minutes to win the nonleague matchup 55-40, Monday night Dec. 11.

Rocky Point guard Casmere Morrow topped the scoring chart for the Eagles with 17 points and forward Max Wignall added 13.

Shoreham-Wading River senior Gordon Votruba led the way for the Wildcats netting 11 points.

The win lifts the Eagles to 2-0.

The loss drops the Wildcats to 1-4. They will desperately need their bench to get healthy and will have to be at full song to make a postseason bid.

Several Port Jeff runners participate in the Suffolk County cross-country championships held at Sunken Meadow State Park on Friday, Nov. 3. Photo by Bob O’Rourk

By Samantha Rutt

Each year, the Suffolk County cross-country championships are held at Sunken Meadow State Park, where the county’s best teams toe the line. Runners race a full 5 kilometers, or 3.1 miles, around the park, winding meandering trails and climbing daunting hills.

Parents, friends and spectators alike lined the course on a sunny, brisk November afternoon. With a chorus of voices cheering, signs flaunting and cowbells ringing — a cross-country staple — a spectacle emerged as the races unfolded.

For the third straight year, the Northport Lady Tigers emerged victorious at the Suffolk County championships on Friday afternoon, Nov. 3.

Led by freshman phenom Mia Wickard, the Tigers earned 57 points over Ward Melville’s 104. Northport’s commanding win earned the team a spot at the New York State meet start line next Saturday, Nov. 11.

The Suffolk County championship meet is the state qualifier, sending the winning team and the top-five finishers — not from the first-place team, but from each class — to the statewide championship.

“Not sure if I could be prouder of this group of kids,” said Northport head coach Gregg Cantwell. “The girls’ dedication and the depth of our team was key for us on Friday.”

Wickard, Northport’s top finisher, placed third in the Class A race at 19:24.51. Rounding out the scorers were seventh graders Fiona King and Jane Tucker with juniors Kayla Forsch and Maggie Taylor, each running a personal best time.

“Our top six girls [including Cate Coronato] ran their best times on the course — a few by a lot,” Cantwell emphasized of his team’s clutch performance. “We now have six all-county ranking girls, which is the most of any boys or girls team, and I am extremely happy about that.”

Joining Northport’s Lady Tigers next week, the Cougar boys of Commack High School bested their Class A rivals, collecting only 64 points and extending their postseason journey.

“Our goal every season is to try and win a league, division and county championship,” Commack coach Paul Sleavensky said. “This is the first time in program history that we were the Section XI [Suffolk County] champions,” adding, “I’m extremely proud of their performance at the state-qualifier meet.”

The Port Jefferson Royals won the boys Class C race, tallying 19 points over Mattituck’s 62. Junior Colin Veit paced the Royals, earning the individual title, as all five of the high school’s scorers placed within the top six, marking an impressive victory for the team.

“I’m very proud of our team,” said Port Jeff’s coach Andy Cosci. “We have a nice tradition here in Port Jeff, being a very successful program over the years.”

He added, “It’s not easy to win counties, and the team has worked very hard since August to accomplish that goal.”

Smithtown West’s Douglas Antaky and Rocky Point’s Trevor Green, individual champions of Class A and Class B, respectively, will make the trip to the New York State meet. Antaky, a senior, outran his opponents, completing the course in 16:09.53. Green, only a sophomore, earned his first county cross-country title, defeating his competition while running a 16:31.01.

“My goal going into this meet was to break 17 minutes and place in the top five,” Green said. “I definitely was not expecting to win with the great competition in Class B this year.”

For runners advancing into the postseason, this week will involve preparation for the meets ahead.

“The focus for the next week and beyond is going to be that our toughest races are ahead of us and that we have a chance to do something special,” Northport’s coach Cantwell said of his team.

The NYS cross-country championship meet will be held Saturday, Nov. 11, at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School in Verona.

Rocky Point High School seniors Sofia Haviland, left, and Renee Ortiz. Photo courtesy RPUFSD

Two Rocky Point High School seniors are among dozens of students from school districts throughout the Town of Brookhaven who were lauded for achieving a grade point average of 95 or higher.

Sofia Haviland and Renee Ortiz have earned academic excellence awards as part of the town’s 10th annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration. They were recognized at a ceremony Oct. 6 at Town Hall by Brookhaven’s Hispanic Advisory Board members, Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) and members of the Town Council.

Senior captains of the 2023 Rocky Point High School football team. From left, Ryan Meyers, Jeremy Graham and A.J. Aschettino. Photo courtesy Rich Acritelli

The 2023 Rocky Point High School football team hopes for a promising season behind their main senior players, even after an indifferent 0-3 start.

A.J. Aschettino, a team captain, is also one of the finest baseball prospects on Long Island, who will be playing for Northeastern University after graduating from Rocky Point in June 2024.

He will be leading the football team as a safety, running back and possibly even quarterback. Always a quiet team leader, Aschettino leads by example on and off the field.

Last year, Aschettino played well against Islip, scoring a touchdown and rushing for 120 yards on the ground. Against East Hampton, he had four tackles and an interception to help his team to victory.

As the league’s most valuable player for baseball last season, batting an impressive .522, Aschettino will also establish a solid example of hard work and discipline for the younger players on the roster. Longtime head coach Anthony DiLorenzo indicated that Aschettino has “great football knowledge, with speed and agility.”

Jeremy Graham is a senior captain who has played varsity football for the last three seasons. He will be active on the field, leading the team as quarterback while playing cornerback on defense.

Graham had shown flashes of brilliance last season. Against East Hampton, he scored three touchdowns, passed for 60 yards and ran for another 130 yards on the ground. On the defensive side, he had four tackles in last year’s matchup against Eastport-South Manor.

DiLorenzo believes Graham is a “gritty and gutsy” player who fights for every yard. Like Aschettino, he is an exceptional baseball player, having hit .400 in the playoffs last season. He will be on the Hudson Valley Vikings squad after he graduates.

Another excellent football player is senior captain Ryan Meyers. One of the hardest hitting linebackers in the county, Meyers will make his presence felt on the defensive end of the field as well. He will show his versatility in running the ball, where he wants to help the offense gain points against the opposition.

DiLorenzo marvels at Meyers’ physicality, describing the senior linebacker as having the ability “to run through a wall” to help his team win. Last year against Eastport-South Manor, he had five tackles and two sacks to showcase his defensive prowess. After he graduates from Rocky Point, Meyers will play lacrosse at Binghamton University.

DiLorenzo believes that these three senior athletes will help the team attain its goal of establishing “an uncommon effort, with positive energy and a unit that always has support and love for each other.”

Rocky Point’s Ryan Meyers goes the distance. Photo by Bill Landon

It was a high scoring game when the Hauppauge Eagles swooped in for a road game against the Rocky Point Eagles in the season opener, but Hauppauge exploded in the second quarter and never looked back, securing a 61-22 victory in the League III matchup Friday, Sept. 1. 

John Margolies led the way for Hauppauge with three touchdowns along with a pick six for another score. Teammate Christian Russo had 185 yards rushing on 12 carries for three touchdowns of his own.

Rocky Point quarterback Jeremy Graham scored on a short yardage run and threw a pair of touchdown passes.

Hauppauge retakes the field Friday night, Sept. 8, when they’ll host Amityville at 6 p.m. Rocky Point travels to East Hampton the following day with a 2 p.m. start.

– Photos by Bill Landon

Above, Sound Beach Fire Department Chief William Rosasco, left, and 2nd Assistant Chief James McLoughlin Jr. present a memorial wreath. Photo by Raymond Janis

Community members, first responders and veterans groups gathered on Memorial Day, May 29, with services paying tribute to the fallen.

The Sound Beach Fire Department hosted its annual memorial service, recognizing the departed members. James McLoughlin Jr., 2nd assistant chief of the department, shared the meaning of the service and the importance of recognizing first responders who have laid down their lives in the line of duty.

“The death of these fine men and women merits recognition and honor by our department,” he said. “While we are saddened by their deaths, we also testify to their many contributions in making their communities a better place to live, and we pay tribute to their memory.”

In Rocky Point, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6249 held a service honoring the departed members of the post and recognizing the sacrifices of American service members.

Members of Rocky Point VFW Post 6249 with Town of Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner and New York State Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio, above. Photo by Raymond Janis

Joe Cognitore, commander of Post 6249, delivered an address to the many in attendance. He expressed his gratitude for those who had paid the ultimate sacrifice, risking their own lives to protect the freedoms of others.

“As we stand together today, we are reminded of the true cost of freedom,” Cognitore said. “While we as a nation mourn the lives lost, we celebrate the lives and are forever grateful.”

He added, “In an attempt to pay back our debt as American citizens, we also must not only remember the fallen, but it is our responsibility to teach our youth that nothing comes without a cost and that sacrifices are meaningless without remembrance.”

Bea Ruberto, president of the Sound Beach Civic Association, during a Memorial Day service on Monday, May 29. Photo by Raymond Janis

Rounding off the ceremonies for the day, the Sound Beach Civic Association hosted a service at the Veterans Memorial Park, recognizing the hamlet’s fallen service members. Musical renditions were performed by members of the Rocky Point High School Music Department, with veterans of the U.S. armed services raising the flags of their chosen branches of service.

SBCA president Bea Ruberto reflected upon the motivations behind the annual service, calling the event a means to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. 

“Each year, we come together on this day and in this place to reflect upon their sacrifice and honor their memory,” she said.

At each of these events, memorial wreaths were placed as a symbolic tribute of thanks to the fallen.