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DAN'S PAPERS, September 25, 2009 Page 45


By Susan Galardi


The Face, and the Feeling, of the “Best” School

Photo by Susan M. Galardi

The 400 children, between the ages of five and 11, stood in a big messy group, backpacks hanging from their shoulders, hoodies and sweaters draped over their thin frames like woolen horse blankets over the bony backs of new foals. They all clamored to their feet in a noisy rumble for the Pledge of Allegiance, with hands on heart – fingertips, actually, since much of the hand was covered by oversized sweater or sweatshirt cuffs. The principle began the oration: “I pledge allegiance…” and the chorus of little, lazy voices joined in, “to the flag…” After that came “America the Beautiful,” accompanied not by the grey haired little old lady music teacher plunking away at the upright, but by a man with a long grey pony tail and kind face, playing a gorgeous Guild semi-solid electric guitar. Then came the morning announcements, information on a seal that was rescued by the Riverhead Foundation and released at Havens Beach, with the students watching. The kids had held fundraisers to raise money for the seal, which they named “Shadow.” The animal was fitted with a GPS and released. The principle showed a map that tracked the seal’s actual route from the Long Island Sound to Cape Cod to Greenland, and now on its way back. Parents, grandparents, caregivers and teachers sit and stand along the back of the gym. All gave the presentation their full attention. The presentation ended with “walk off” music – the Beatles’ “All Together Now.” This is ‘morning program’ at our son’s school. A happy assembly that leaves everyone in a good mood, including parents, some beaming, some with eyes welled with tears. I sat with my group for the morning, which included our son’s grandmother, who went to elementary school in a small town near

South Boston. Another was a mom of a new student in our son’s class who went to an American school in Saudi Arabia decades ago. One was my partner, who went to P.S. 6 in the city around the same time. My elementary experience was a small parochial school in Pittsburgh. All of our experiences were very different – Boston, Manhattan, Saudi Arabia, Pittsburgh. Private school, public school, Catholic school. Yet, talking to everyone, I heard the same comment, “This reminds me of the school I went to when I was a child.” How could an experience in a Boston public school in the 1940s be like a mid-west Catholic school experience in the 1960s or a middle east private school in the same decade? Obviously something about this school reminded us all of an earlier time in life – or perhaps, the romanticized memory of that time.

I can only speak for myself, and for me, that memory was a reality. There was a feeling on that morning that I think we all shared, a happy, secure feeling. The school day starts with all the students sitting in a circle around their teachers, in a casual, familiar way, catching up from the day before. Talking is permitted until the program starts, as is visiting other class areas – a perfect segue between home and classroom. And it’s completely different from St. Paul’s Cathedral Grade School, where the day started as in most schools, with kids being checked in by their teachers in their separate classrooms, sitting at their separate desks, in silence. So what’s so similar? I believe it was the excitement to learn, and the knowing that I was in a safe place with people I cared about (my friends) and who cared about me – the teachers. There’s currently a heated debate concerning the dedicated teachers in Sag Harbor. They haven’t agreed to terms of a new contract, and therefore, they don’t have a current contract. There is great friction with the Board of Education. But the reality is that the teachers set the tone for the classroom and the school. They’re the face of the school with children and parents, and they are ultimately held accountable for the child’s experience. It’s obvious that the experience is extremely positive, and Sag Harbor school has great ratings for academic performance. I need to familiarize myself more with the specific issues of the contract negotiations, but from what I see every day and from the reputation of the school, things need to go in the teachers’ favor. That’s just my feeling. But as anyone who’s been to this school knows, the feeling is everything.

Kid’s Calendar FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 KIDS KNEAD CHALLAH – 5:30 p.m. Challah breadmaking, songs, Kiddush juice-making, and grand children’s raffle. Free, no affiliation necessary. Chabad of Southampton, 214 Hill St. 631-287-2249.

Buckwheat and Butterscotch the mini horses; Pal and Patriot the white pigeons and SO MANY others! Learn about the mission of Amaryllis. Every Sunday 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. 93 Merchants Path off Sagg rd behind Wolffer Vineyard, Sagaponack. Cost is just $5. 631-537-7335.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 CMEE, NEW ACTIVITIES AND PLAY AREAS – Check out the new lego table and the new improvements to the general store. There is a new sand table and a new art area in the permanent gallery. $7 for non-members, members are free. 376 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton. 631-537-8250. HAMPTONS BASEBALL CAMP - Hamptons Baseball Camp is for children of all experience levels, ages four through 13, who want to play baseball in a safe, fun, positive and organized learning environment. Emphasis is placed on effort over talent, team concepts and core fundamentals. Also included are tips on diet, fitness and “intangibles.” Come for the day or for the season. Located at SYS Youth Services in Southampton. 631-907-2566. SEIGNING FOR TROPICAL FISH - Seining for Tropical Fish. 9 a.m. Crystal Possehl, Lindsey Rohrbach, Jim Ash are the leaders. Would you believe that tropical sea creatures such as Blue Tang fish, Spot-fin Butterfly fish, Seahorses, and Pipe Fish can be found in the waters of our bays? Well, believe it. At the end of the summer the Gulf Stream eddies up into our waters bringing a myriad of tropical sea life to our shallow bays. Use our seining nets to bring in these tropical visitors to share with you. 377 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike. 631-537-9735.

ONGOING JACKSON POLLOCK FAMILY DRIP PAINTING WORKSHOP – Tour & Explore the Pollock Krasner House & Studio, followed by a drip-painting workshop. 10 -11:30 a.m. For Thurs. or Fri. workshop contact Karyn Mannix at 631-329-2811 or For Sat. workshop contact Joyce Raimondo at 917-502-0790 or Reservations required. SHABBAT SHABOOM – Fridays. Singing, story telling and celebration. All ages. 5 p.m. Havens Beach, Bay St., Sag Harbor. 631-725-0904. KIDS KARAOKE – Mondays. 5 to 7 p.m. Regulars Music Café, 1271 North Sea Road, Southampton. 631-287-2900. SOUTHAMPTON YOUTH SERVICES – Kids’ programs daily in sports, dance and more. 631-287-1511. HAMPTON LIBRARY STORYTIME – Saturdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Children ages 4 to 7. Stories and music making. Registration required. Hampton Library, Bridgehampton. HAMPTON LIBRARY RHYME TIME – Thursdays. 10 a.m. 6 months to 3. Stories, rhymes and songs. Registration required. PETTING FARM AT AMARYLLIS SANCTUARY – Sundays. 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Pony rides available on most days. 93 Merchants Path, off Sagg Rd. (behind Wolffer), Sagaponack. 631-537-7335. ART AT THE GOLDEN EAGLE – 14 Gingerbread La. East Hampton. 631-324-0603. CMEE – Children’s Museum of the East End. Interactive exhibitions, arts and science based programs and workshops, special events. 376 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton. 631-537-8250. . $7/free for members. SOUTHAMPTON TOWN WORKSHOPS – Call to reg-

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 PETTING FARM AT AMARYLLIS SANCTUARY –Love animals? Especially rescued animals? Visit with Octaveous and Sir Lancelot the pot belly piggies; Jellybean, Peter and Honey bunnies; Skipper, Commodore and Poseidon duckies; Romeo rooster; Henny, Momma and Frankie chickens; Binky the mini burro, Augustus McCrae the mini mule;

ister for classes 631-728-8585. GOAT ON A BOAT – Puppet shows, programs for young children. Rte. 114 and East Union Street, Sag Harbor. 631725-4193. LIL COWPOKES PONY CLUB – Every Sat. from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. for ages 3 and up. Learn about animals and how to ride a pony. Amaryllis Farm Equine Rescue, 93 Merchants Path, Southampton. 631-537-7335. MOMMY AND ME – Mondays 10 a.m. for pre-school children and their parents/caregivers. Montauk Library, Montauk Highway. 631-324-4947. MUSIC TOGETHER BY THE DUNES – A music and movement program for children 0 to 5-years-old and their caregivers. Mon. and Tues. mornings at the Dance Centre of the Hamptons, Westhampton Beach. Thurs. mornings at the Southampton Cultural Center. Fri. mornings at Southampton Town Recreation Center on Majors Path in Southampton. 631-764-4180. YOUTH ADVISORY COMMITTEE – Sponsored by the Town of Southampton Youth Bureau to give kids a voice in town government. 631-702-2425. JOHN JERMAIN LIBRARY STORYTIME – Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. John Jermain Library, Main St., Sag Harbor. 631-725-0049. Send all events for the kids’ calendar to by Friday at noon.

For totally complete, up-to-the-minute listings, go to click on: Calendar

Dan's Papers Sept. 25, 2009  
Dan's Papers Sept. 25, 2009  

Dan's Papers, the 51-year-old bible of the Hamptons, is owned by Manhattan Media, a multi-media publishing company based in New York City,...