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07/26/13 10:00am
07/26/2013 10:00 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Terry Contracting of Riverhead began work on the new girls softball field at McGann-Mercy High School a couple weeks ago. The team previously played at Stotzky Park.

Contractors are in the final stages of building a new softball field at McGann-Mercy High School, funded entirely by parent and alumni donations, said Bob Terry of Terry Contracting, a member of Mercy’s Class of 1977.

His company began working on the field about a month ago and plans to have it finished by September.

Mercy softball players had previously been bused to nearby Stotzky Park for practices and games, taking up a good portion of practice time, said Debbie Kneidl, the school’s director of advancement.

By practicing on campus, students will have an additional 45 minutes, she said. The new field will also save the private school the cost of transporting students.

The school, which has junior high, junior varsity and varsity teams, may still need to use Stotzky Park for practices when games are scheduled at the school, Ms. Kneidl said.

“It’s going to allow students to play on their home campus, which enhances overall school pride for the kids,” she said.

The project, which involved filling in 17,000 square feet of wetlands, is closely connected to the schools recently completed pond remediation project, which added 53,000 square feet of wetlands, according to project architect Shawn Leonard.

The additional wetland space made adding the field possible, he said.

Acquiring field space had been a problem for Mercy before to the pond remediation project, Mr. Terry said.

The school needed approval from both Riverhead Town and the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Ms. Kneidl said.

Project foreman Mike Jones said his team is working on leveling the area and adding drainage before either seeding grass or, if sufficient funds can be raised, laying down sod so students can use the space sooner.

Ms. Kneidl said the project would not have been possible without alumni and community support. Anyone who would like to get involved should contact her by calling 631-727-5900.

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07/24/13 2:30pm
07/24/2013 2:30 PM

FILE PHOTO | Riders from last year’s Bike for Life during a quick break in Rocky Point.

A priest, two teachers and a group of students pedal bikes down the road … No, this isn’t the start of an potentially offensive joke. Instead, this is exactly the sight to be seen across the North Fork this weekend on Main Road or Sound Avenue.

The 27th annual McGann-Mercy Bike for Life, in which students from the private high school cycle from Port Jefferson to Orient Point, will take place over four days beginning Thursday morning. This year, the riders include 15 current students and alumni, two teachers, three support staff, and of course, the school’s chaplain, Rev. Gerald Cestare.

The trip across the North Fork is about more than exercise. The Bike for Life also incorporates a spiritual aspect for the Catholic school students.

Each day of pedaling ends at a local church where students engage in activities and talks, giving the weekend more of a retreat feel. The discussions revolve around teaching students about living a wholesome life as they grow older, building up their school community, dealing with the pressures and worries of high school, cherishing their faith and sexuality.

Riders kick off the trip in Port Jefferson and will travel along 25A and Route 48 until they reach St. Patrick’s Church in Southold, where they will spend the night. On Friday they will continue to Orient Point Beach Park, where they will have a beach barbecue and then circle back to St. Agnes in Greenport for the night.

On Saturday they will ride to Sacred Heart Church in Cutchogue, and then on Sunday they will travel back from Sacred Heart to Port Jefferson for a closing Mass at Infant Jesus Church.

The event is sponsored by McGann-Mercy Campus Ministry.

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06/07/13 5:00pm
06/07/2013 5:00 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The 2013 class of McGann-Mercy High School at Thursday’s graduation.

The McGann-Mercy High School Class of 2013 celebrated its graduation Wednesday afternoon. The 84 graduates come from all across the East End and as far west as Patchogue and Port Jefferson.

The students received more than $11 million in scholarship offers and 99 percent of graduates will be pursuing post-secondary studies or serve in the military.

05/30/13 12:00pm
05/30/2013 12:00 PM
Flanders Flag in Hamlet

Shannon Merker, 17, is a life-long Flanders resident and McGann- Mercy High School junior.

A Flanders teenager who designed a flag for her hometown hamlet will see her creation flying high above Flanders Memorial Park later this month.

Shannon Merker, 17, a life-long Flanders resident and a McGann-Mercy High School junior has volunteered at the memorial park for eight years, and first proposed designing a flag for the Southampton Town hamlet six years ago.

Her design, a 3-by-5-foot blue and white flag featuring the landmark Big Duck and the reeds of the Peconic waterways, was adopted as the official flag of the hamlet by the Southampton Town Board on May 14.

The flag will be raised at the Flanders Road park for the first time June 11 at 10 a.m. in a ceremony to honor Shannon and the historic hamlet.

04/25/13 1:00pm

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | The first performance of “Into the Woods” is at 7:30 p.m. tonight.

The McGann-Mercy Theatre Company presents “Into the Woods,” based on the stories of the Brothers Grimm beginning tonight at 7:30 p.m.

There will be another performance Friday at the same time and a matinee at 2 p.m. Saturday followed by and an evening performance at 8 p.m.

The show is performed at the school auditorium at 1225 Ostrander Avenue in Riverhead.

Tickets are $10.

11/20/12 6:50pm
11/20/2012 6:50 PM

The Riverhead Town Board has added exactly $103,730 in spending to the 2013 town budget originally proposed by Supervisor Sean Walter, according to a resolution the board voted to approve.

The now-adopted budget adds back a personnel director that the supervisor had proposed to cut, but doesn’t add back a youth bureau director.

The additional spending in the final 2013 budget was taken from fund balance, and thus, will not change the ‘town wide” tax levy or tax rate numbers from the supervisor’s budget, which increased both numbers by 2.92 percent.

Spending increased from 2.6 percent to 2.8 percent over the 2012 budget with the added $103,730, which brought the final number to just over $53 million.

In a 3-2 vote, board members rejected a series of budget cuts and revenue increases that would have allowed the town to fund the youth bureau director position for half a year, beginning in July.

The so-called town wide budget refers to the three funds — general, highway, and street lighting — paid by all town residents. Overall, the town spends more than $89 million when water and sewer districts, ambulance, garbage collection and other special districts are included.

Along the way at Tuesday night’s meeting, Councilwoman Jodi Giglio became involved in heated discussions with both Anthony Coates, a political advisor to Mr. Walter who has announced his intentions to run for Town Board next year, and with Matt Hattorff, the president of the town employees union, over budget issues.

Check back at riverheadnewsreview.com for more detailed information on the final budget.

News-Review reporter Tim Gannon reported live from the the meeting.

Click below to see what transpired:

Riverhead Town Board agenda 11-20-2012

06/06/12 6:46pm
06/06/2012 6:46 PM

Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School held its 52nd graduation ceremony Wednesday evening as the Class of 2012  said goodbye to the Riverhead school.

The class includes 106 graduates , 85 of whom have received scholarships offers totaling more than $14 million, school officials said.

While two of the graduates will enter the Armed Forces, he remaining 104 plan to attend college.


02/09/12 2:00pm
02/09/2012 2:00 PM

COURTESY PHOTO | Students from McGann-Mercy High School build a house in El Salvador during their missionary trip last August.

When Theresa Spath, a senior at McGann-Mercy High School, went on a trip to El Salvador last year, she thought she was volunteering to help villagers in the area.

But in the end, she said, the people of El Salvador helped her just as much.

“You think that you’re going there to teach them, but they really teach you more about yourself,” Ms. Spath said. “You open up a lot. It’s definitely humbling.”

Theresa was one of 13 Mercy students to travel more than 2,000 miles to Santa Ana, El Salvador, last August as part of a missionary trip with the school arranged by the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging, a charity devoted to sponsoring children in developing countries.

The students will discuss their experience during a slide show presentation Thursday evening, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. in the school’s seminar room. It’s open to anyone who’s interested in learning more about the trip and the program. Next year’s trip will be open to McGann-Mercy alumni as well as students.

Last August, the Mercy students and their chaperones spent their six days in El Savador speaking with locals, taking in their customs and helping them with school aid and construction. The program started with a small trip nearly 20 years ago, and has since expanded to include more than a dozen students yearly, said teacher Michelle Nappi, who coordinates and makes the trip each year. She added that it’s an opportunity for students and teachers to meet the children they sponsor through monthly donations.

“On the East End, without exaggeration, there’s probably 400 kids sponsored from our area. We need to thank mostly senior citizens who are doing that.”

During last year’s trip, students helped build a house for a struggling Salvadoran family. Husband and wife Miguel and Jackie, with a 3-year-old son and another child on the way, had been living in a small shack made of garbage bags nailed to wood. With Miguel’s help, the students built them a house made of sheet metal and wood. They students also attended a quinceañera, a birthday party similar to a Sweet 16, celebrated in Latino communities on a girl’s 15th birthday, and spent time volunteering at a nearby school.

Catherine Dickhoff, a Mercy 10th-grader who had been on the trip before, said the day she met with her sponsor child was the best day of the trip.

“I have two sponsor children, one from my sister and one from me, and you really get to see how much they appreciate just $30 a month,” she said. “They love you so much, even the first time they meet you.”

Senior Emily Venesina added that language barrier between visiting students and Salvadoran children was not a problem.

“I can’t speak Spanish and [my sponsor child] only speaks Spanish, but you really didn’t need words to speak to each other. You could just look into each other’s faces and see how happy we were to be in each others presence,” she said. “There was a lot of crying that day, from me anyway,” she added.

Ms. Dickhoff, Ms. Venesina and Ms. Spath all said the trip also caused the students to grow closer.

“We really never even talked to each other, all of us, before the trip,” Ms. Spath said. “But then we went on the trip and developed a really close relationship. We became one big family.”

Ms. Venesina said she had no regrets about traveling so far from home and encouraged others to go on missionary trips.

“You don’t want to second guess it,” she said. “You think about going to El Salvador, and that’s not easy. Don’t think about it, just go.”

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