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Riverhead Fundraiser to Feature Harlem Wizards

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To raise funds for its RCFA Scholarship Fund, the Riverhead Central Faculty Association is holding a community event featuring the Harlem Wizards on Thursday, Nov. 8, at Riverhead High School, 700 Harrison Ave., Riverhead. Doors open at 6 p.m.; game begins at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for students and can be purchased at, Duffy’s Deli in Jamesport, Riverhead Safety Swim or through the district’s parent/teacher organizations. Courtside and reserved seats are only available online. Tickets at the door are $15.

Annual Transition Fair

Annual Transition Fair photo
The Riverhead Central School District will hold its seventh annual Transition Fair on Wednesday, Oct. 24, from 6-8:30 p.m., in the Riverhead High School cafeteria, 700 Harrison Ave., Riverhead.

The fair, which is designed for families with children who have developmental disabilities, will feature more than 30 agencies and organizations that can assist families in planning their child’s future through community-based services. Additionally, the fair will feature a presentation by attorney Regina Brandow and Brian McIlvain of SILO on Understanding the Eligibility and the Application Process for Adult Services while Protecting Family Assets Legally and Financially.

Translators will also be on hand to provide assistance. 

For more information, please contact Lisa Lindsay, transition coordinator, at 631-369-3517.


Saying something makes a difference

Saying something makes a difference photo
Riverhead Middle School seventh- and eighth-graders received some valuable lessons during the week of Oct. 1 when they participated in the Say Something program provided by the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office. 

Presented to students during their health classes, Say Something is an antibullying and violence prevention program that is based on the Sandy Hook Promise. It aims to raise awareness and teach students to recognize warning signals and speak up when necessary. It also serves to promote kindness and encourages students to always look out for each other. 

Not Just Any Dog

Not Just Any Dog photo
When Sonja Haasper walks down the halls of the science wing at Riverhead High School, the sounds of “awww” and “hi, puppy” echo throughout. The greetings are directed at Fred, a specially bred golden retriever.

Science teacher Haasper is currently training Fred for the nonprofit Canine Companions for Independence of Medford.  Once fully trained, Fred will be of service to someone with a disability, assisting with daily tasks.  

This is the fifth dog that Haasper has trained since 1999. In 2011, she began training the dogs within the walls of Riverhead High School. She found that the move provided a perfect training ground for the dogs she mentors and has been a tremendous benefit to students. 

Each day, as part of his socialization training, Fred stays by Haasper’s side, no more than two feet away, whether it’s peacefully sitting under her desk, walking down the halls or attending assemblies. While doing this, he brings smiles to many students who may be having a bad day. 

“He seems to seek out students who need a smile,” said Haasper, who said students know that if they are feeling bad, they can sit with Fred and pet him for a while during their lunch period. 

Training a service dog in school has also given Haasper the opportunity to teach students about the importance of service dogs and appropriate behavior around them, including greeting the handler before the dog.

“Many students hadn’t realized that a companion dog is different than a guide dog,” said Haasper. 

Haaper’s efforts have inspired others in the district to volunteer their time to train dogs. Barbara Salmiery, a nurse at Phillips Avenue School, has raised several guide dogs for the Guide Dog Foundation of Smithtown in the school. Although it didn’t make the cut as a guide dog, one of the dogs still serves in the school. Every week, Salmiery brings McAuley, a black Labrador, to school for an after-school enrichment reading program in which students can read to him.  

Seeing the benefits firsthand, ESL teacher Emilee Raynor has begun the process of acquiring a companion dog for her classroom at the Phillips Avenue School through Canine Companions for Independence. Once she has completed training later this year, she will be given a highly trained dog that will not only provide emotional support to her students, but can also assist with their reading skills by listening and turning the pages of a book. 

A Run to Honor the Fallen

A Run to Honor the Fallen photo
To pay tribute to one of their own, more than 20 Riverhead High School alumni have teamed up to run the Catholic Health Services fourth annual 5K race on Oct. 28 in the name of Tech Sgt. Dashan Briggs, a 2007 Riverhead High School graduate who passed away in March while serving in Iraq. 

The former Riverhead athletes announced their intentions during a press conference with Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. Bellone indicated that he will also be running the race in Briggs’ name, as well as Briggs’ fellow 106 Rescue Squadron members who also lost their lives in Iraq. 

“This is the least we can do to honor those lost,” said Bellone. 

Many of the Riverhead alumni who will be running were football or lacrosse teammates of Briggs. Among them are 2008 graduates Dean Tilton and John Andrejack, who remember Briggs fondly, as does their coach, Tony Lawrence. 

“He was a great role model on the field,” said Lawrence. “He brought something special to the team.”

Music teacher Named a SCMEA Conductor

Music teacher Named a SCMEA Conductor photo
The Riverhead Central School District is pleased to announce that Riverhead Middle School music teacher Regan Burns Carhuaricra has been named a guest conductor for the Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association West Division II All-County Festival in March. She will be conducting the seventh- and eighth-grade orchestra.

Ms. Carhuaricra obtained this esteemed position after undergoing an application process that included recommendations from the district’s music department.

“This is a tremendous honor,” said Ms. Carhuaricra. “Conducting the SCMEA orchestra has always been one of my goals in life.”

Ms. Carhuaricra began her music education career 12 years ago in the Riverhead district, where she teaches the seventh- and eighth-grade orchestra class as well as a seventh-grade general music course. In addition, she oversees the school’s annual Night of Strings concert. She is also a cellist and pianist and writes and arranges her own music. In the past, she has served as chair of the Long Island String Festival Association. 

The district extends its congratulations to Ms. Carhuaricra on this wonderful honor. 


Student-Musicians Chosen for All-State, All-County

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Ten Riverhead High School student-musicians have received prestigious recognition for their outstanding performances at the NYSSMA solo evaluation festival last spring. All 10 students have been named All-County performers, and four of them have been selected as performers or alternates for the NYSSMA All-State Festival. 

Those named to All-County are Laura Allen, Lydia Bilski, Olivia Bozuhoski, Sarah-Anne Fried, Ainsley Hipp, Giovanni Iona, Sarah Jordan, Lily Kutner, Madison Payne and Brady Wells. Fried, Jordan, Kutner and Wells have also been selected for All-State.

The Riverhead Central School District extends its congratulations to each of these students for their stellar musical achievements.

Breakout Lesson

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Sixth-grade students at Pulaski Street Elementary School in the Riverhead Central School District recently participated in a “breakout” lesson designed by their science teacher, Kristen Realander. They were required to use their problem-solving and collaboration skills, as well as their creativity and knowledge of lab safety and measurements, to gain access to lockboxes by solving a series of problems. Breakout lessons, said Realander, engage students and get them excited about learning.

Scar Writing

Scar Writing photo
Sixth-grade students at Pulaski Street School in the Riverhead Central School District have begun diligently penning personal narratives based on scars they incurred from past injuries. The writing project, which launched on Sept. 25, aims to inspire students to tell their own stories. 

“I have found that talking about scars engages students in their writing and helps them generate ideas for personal narratives,” said ENL teacher Marisa Deserio. 

Prior to starting the project, the students learned about techniques that they can use to draft a well-written narrative. They were taught about leads, endings, plots, themes and transitions. Throughout the writing process, they will be encouraged to keep a checklist of techniques they have mastered or still need to work on. 

Once the narratives are complete, the students will share them with their peers. 

Coast Guard Visit

Coast Guard Visit photo
Cadets from the Riverhead High School NJROTC visited the U.S. Coast Guard Station Shinnecock on Sept. 26. They took part in an embarkation that was underway on a Coast Guard 47-foot cutter and toured the Coast Guard station, where they learned about command and control, search and rescue operations, and navigation support systems. 

36 AP Scholars Named in Riverhead

36 AP Scholars Named in Riverhead photo
In recognition of their exceptional achievement on national Advanced Placement exams, 36 Riverhead High School seniors have earned the title of Advanced Placement Scholar. 

Twenty-six students were named AP Scholars, five students were recognized as AP Scholars with Distinction and six earned the recognition of AP Scholar with Honors. 

To earn a scholar recognition, students are required to score a 3 or higher on three or more AP exams; to be recognized as a Scholar with Honor, students must earn a 3.25 on all AP exams taken and grades of 3 or higher on four or more of those exams; and for a Scholar with Distinction award, students must receive an average score of 3.5 on all AP exams and grades of 4 or higher on five or more of these exams.

The Riverhead Central School District extends its congratulations to the following students: 

AP Scholars
Sean Allen, Stephanie Bak, Jason Cuestas, Nicholas Dejewski, Krista Farrell, Sarah Gustafson, Matthew Hubbard, Sydney Huber, Alice Jenks, Eric Lehman, Taylor McKnight, Emely Mendez, Alae Mohammad, Quint Nigro, Margaret O’Connell, Brynn O’Connor, Yash Patel, Sarah Rempe, Katherine Rodriguez, Taylor Roman, Trevor Sinni, Marina Tedesco, Brady Wells, Christina Yakaboski and Fermina Yat

AP Scholars with Honor
Olivia Bozuhoski, Julia Divan, Regan Montefusco, Brian Noone, Laryssa Olsen and Justin Wallace

AP Scholars with Distinction
David Bassemir, Eric Behr, Dominic Bossey, Joshua Caskie and Brittney Miller

Naval Academy Tour

Naval Academy Tour photo
Riverhead High School NJROTC cadets had the opportunity to tour the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, on Sept. 15. They explored the historic naval yard and enjoyed watching a football game between the Navy-Lehigh team and the Army.

Project Fitness Gets Students Moving

Project Fitness Gets Students Moving photo

As music blasted across the Pulaski Street Elementary School gymnasium on Sept. 25, students ran in different directions to accomplish a set of tasks before the timer ran out. The session was part of Project Fitness, a character education program at the school.

Project Fitness provides an opportunity for students to use team building and physical fitness skills to accomplish various goals, explained coach Michelle Santoro. The objectives are different for each of the 10 sessions held throughout the year, which take place during gym periods. 

As part of the Sept. 25 session, groups of students were required to work together to build structures using paper cups. The task also included calisthenics.

Stranger Incident – Oct. 2, 2018

Dear Riverhead School Community Families,

This morning, district administration was made aware of an incident in which two unfamiliar white males in their 30s in a white SUV were caught videotaping two young females in their driveway in the Manorville area. The incident has been reported to police. As police continue their investigation, please continue to reinforce with your children all necessary stranger safety protocols and to report any suspicious behavior immediately. 

Dr. Aurelia Henriquez

Safe Cyber Communication

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Riverhead High School ninth-graders learned more about cyberbullying, sexting and safe cyber communication on Sept. 25 through a program overseen by school librarian Kim McGurk. 

Now in its fourth year, the program addresses students with the message to always think before posting or texting, and to be aware of the privacy and tracking settings on their cellphones and other electronic devices. 

In addition to McGurk’s presentation, students heard from Riverhead police officer Byron Perez, who is also a school resource officer within the district. Perez, a 2003 graduate of Riverhead High School, introduced himself as someone students could speak with regarding any issues they may have. He also discussed cases he has worked on involving cyberbullying and its detrimental consequences. 

Superintendent's E-Newsletter - October 2018


Blue Waves are unstoppable at homecoming

Blue Waves are unstoppable at homecoming photo

Riverhead High School’s annual spirit week celebrations came to an exciting close on Sept. 29 as the Blue Waves celebrated homecoming with a parade of school colors down Main Street, followed by a thrilling football game against Deer Park.

Amid clear skies and a fall breeze, the parade kicked off at noon with the high school marching band leading the way. In procession were the NJROTC, a sea of cheerleaders and colorful Pixar film floats accompanied by students dressed in costume. This year, the freshmen featured a “Wall-E” float, the sophomores depicted a scene from “Inside Out,” the juniors based their design on “Monsters, Inc.” and the seniors replicated Andy’s room from “Toy Story.” 

Cheers of school spirit erupted as the football game got underway at 1:30 p.m. The Blue Waves set the stage for a homecoming victory by scoring three touchdowns in the first quarter. The game ended with a decisive win by the unstoppable Waves over Deer Park, 41-0. 

HCARE Students Take oath at BOE Meeting

HCARE Students Take oath at BOE Meeting photo
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Riverhead High School students who participated in the HCARE (Health Careers Academic Readiness and Excellence) program during the summer earned accolades from the Riverhead Central School District Board of Education at the board’s Sept. 25 meeting. 

During the recognition, each participant was presented with a certificate and a white lab coat before taking an oath administered by Erik Flynn, clinical lecturer at Stony Brook University. As part of the oath, the students promised to commit to their futures.  

The summer program, held in partnership with Stony Brook University, assists high schoolers in preparing for college and careers. Students participated in presentations with researchers, scientists and numerous professionals in the health care industry. They also learned about the college application process, time and stress management, team building, study habits, interview skills, community service and more. 

Celebrating School Spirit

Celebrating School Spirit photo
Riverhead High School students demonstrated school spirit during the week of Sept. 24 in preparation for their homecoming game that Saturday, Sept. 29. The week kicked off with a decades-themed day where seniors donned 1980s gear, juniors sported ’50s fashion, sophomores were clad in ’90s garb and freshmen showcased their ’70s duds. During the rest of the week, students wore red, white and blue to show off their patriotism and class colors to reveal their Riverhead pride.

Transforming a Library

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During the summer, the library at Pulaski Street Elementary School in the Riverhead Central School District underwent a physical transformation in an effort to meet the needs of 21st-century learners. 

The goal of the project, spearheaded by school media specialist Amelia Creedon, was to redesign the space in a way that would empower students to become consumers of information and products that activate innovation and creativity.

The redesigned library is now split into three main sections, with the circulation desk at the hub. One section now features four comfortable movable benches thanks to the Long Island Science Center, computer stations, a self-checkout station and seating areas with tables, while the back of the library houses a 3D printer along with other gadgets for makerspace learning. 

The entire space is designed for flexible use, with everything on wheels and a variety of seating options to facilitate smaller group work and enhanced social learning.

“The vision was to create a relevant learning space where students feel free to read, learn, design, create and engineer,” said Creedon. “Our custodians and technology team were instrumental in helping us achieve this. We are blessed to have such a great team.”

Creedon said she is continuing to make improvements at the library, including reorganizing its collections by genre and growing the makerspace area.

A New School Year

A New School Year photo

With smiles on their faces, enthusiastic students across the Riverhead Central School District were welcomed to school on Sept. 5.

Carrying backpacks and books, students made a seamless transition from summer vacation to classroom learning at each of the district’s schools. Within an hour of their arrival, they were already busy at their desks.  

To enhance educational experiences this school year, the district is working to roll out new programs and shape student progress monitoring systems, as well as create consistency and a set of best practices within each school and across the district.  

“I am looking forward to an amazing school year and bolstering our school district by seeking out new programs that maximize student growth,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Aurelia Henriquez.

Riverhead Superintendent’s Conference Day Carries Theme of Betterment

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The Riverhead Central School District officially kicked off the 2018-19 school year with an inspirational Superintendent’s Conference Day on Sept. 4, attended by administrators, teachers, support staff and board of education members. 

Numerous speakers took the podium for the daylong conference, which  featured the theme of improvement. Among them were Sam Schneider, deputy superintendent, and Christine Tona, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, who thanked those in attendance for their dedication to the district’s students. 

During her address, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Aurelia Henriquez referenced the Boy Scout motto, “leave it better than you found it,” as she kindled enthusiasm among attendees to strive for better. She stated that her intention is always to improve the district, and she challenged her colleagues to approach their work with the same mission. “We must always aim to improve others by first improving ourselves,” she said.

Dr. Henriquez also spoke of the strides that the district had made during the summer toward that end, including the creation of district goals that will tie directly into increased student achievement. That work will continue throughout the school year as principals establish action plans, organize data teams, assess student progress more closely and spend time reflecting on how to increase student achievement.  

She followed up her comments with the YouTube short film “Upward Climb” by Tom Paynee. The film’s story of perseverance and commitment, said Dr. Henriquez, serves as a reminder of the district’s goal of continuous improvement. 

In addition to this inspiring presentation, the district honored 10 staff members for providing 25 years of service to the Riverhead schools, and six staff members for providing 30 years. Additionally, more than 80 new staff members were presented. 

The conference culminated with employee recognitions, as Riverhead Middle School teacher Mindy Benze was named Teacher of the Year and Eddie Drayton, Cammie Holfelder, Daniel Hull, Joann Ramirez and Barbara Salmiery were named Staff Members of the Year. 

2019 High School Graduation Announcement

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August 2018

Dear Seniors, Parents and Community Members, 

As we enter the final weeks of summer, I hope that you are enjoying the break thus far and are spending quality time with family and friends. I know that the 2018-19 school year will prove to be an exciting time for the Class of 2019, filled with momentous milestones, celebrations and ceremonies for our seniors, including graduation. 

This year, we are pleased to announce that the Class of 2019’s graduation ceremony will be held on Wednesday, June 26 at 5:30 pm on the high school football field (weather permitting).

The graduation celebration will not only mark the start of a new journey for our seniors, but also for our school district. As you may know, the high school has typically held its graduation celebration on the first Saturday following the final day of school. 

After careful consideration, the decision to move the commencement date for the Class of 2019 was made based on several factors. If we followed the district’s past format, graduation would not be held until Saturday, June 29, leaving seniors with a large gap between completing the school year and graduation.  Furthermore, an evening graduation ceremony allows for potentially cooler weather conditions for an outdoor ceremony.  

Thank you for your understanding and for your continued support. I look forward to an incredible year for our seniors and the rest of the Riverhead High School community. #ThisIsRiverhead


Dr. Charles Regan
Principal, Riverhead High School