On the 100th anniversary of its founding — the exact day, in fact — the Riverhead Woman’s Club celebrated with a luncheon Thursday afternoon as members and guests gathered in the Sea Star Ballroom of the Hyatt Place Inn in downtown Riverhead.
One hundred years earlier, on Oct. 11, 1912, 19 women gathered in Mrs. Otis Pike’s home just down the street on Ostrander Avenue to organize their club.
It is one of the oldest service clubs in Riverhead and its stated purpose was “to work together along varied lines for the good of the community.”
Legislator Ed Romaine presented the members a proclamation and said, “Let’s look back at the impact this organization has had on the community: establishing the Riverhead Free Library, college scholarships and funding the first school nurse.”
The club has supported other charitable organizations over the years including the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the Suffolk County Historical Society and Hallockville among others. Members helped the soldiers at Camp Upton during World War II and put in 100,000 hours of volunteer time during the war.
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Riverhead High School graduate Justin Cobis, a 2002 scholarship recipient, attended St. John’s College to get his undergraduate and graduate degrees in social studies and education. He spoke at the luncheon and said “my teachers at Riverhead High School inspired me to get interested in education. I enjoyed being in school and took the next step to be an educator.”
In the summer of ‘06 he lined up a teaching job in Queens, but after perusing the Riverhead News-Review, he saw a help wanted notice for a social studies teacher at RHS and he jumped at the chance to teach in his hometown. He has been a ninth grade social studies teacher for six years and also coaches track and field. He said that it is challenging “to spend 10 months trying to teach 10,000 years of history.” This year the school has added a history of Long Island with two months dedicated to Riverhead history.
Mr. Cobis is married to RHS guidance counselor Anatasia Cobis and they have a 5 month-old son, Jackson. He told the 250 members and guests, “It has come full circle for me. The most important thing you have done is to invest in young people.”
As lunch was served, club historian Shirley Simon recited a condensed history of the club’s milestones and past presidents dressed in each decade-appropriate attire walked around the ballroom for a “Decades on Parade.”