Hamptons Teen: Westhampton and Southampton Varsity Sprinters headed to compete in State championship
Hamptons Teens: Congratulations to the following students who will be going to the Winter Track State championship in Ithaca, NY on March 7TH… The girls 4×400 Girls relay track team is #1 in Section XI and will be heading to Ithaca to compete for the Gold Medal in the New York State Track and Field 2015 Championship. These girls qualified at the Millrose Trials and will be competing at the Armory on Saturday, February 14th. They will be competing with some of the BEST sprinters from all around the country. Hamptons Mouthpiece will be there covering that race!

Lauren Lorefice a 12th grader @ Westhampton and part of the 4×400 relay team took 2nd in the Girls 300 Meter Dash 40.97. When I spoke with Lauren’s mom after the race they were very excited but not sure if she would compete in the 300 at the State Finals. The 300 is a hard race and she might choose to just focus on the 400 relay. Whatever decision Lauren decides, we congratulate her, a great way to end her High School Winter track season.

Keira Kelly an 11th grader @ Westhampton will be competing in the Girls High Jump..she jumped an impressive 5-04.00 Good luck Keira!

NYS-Qualifier-Championships-921aJoseph Strassfield a 12th grader @ Southampton High School is the only boy from the Hamptons competing at the State Finals…He finished 2nd in the Boys 55 Dash @ 6.60sec

1) 3667 Lauren Lorefice 12 2) 3578 Nora Murphy 11
3) 3570 Jennifer Jordan 10 4) 3564 Grace Gilbakian 11

Congratulations to all of the student athletes that competed in the Section XI State Qualifier, an amazing accomplishment…
Shout out to my daughter Allura Leggard and East Hamptons Boys Varsity Winter Track Team: Erik Engstrom, Thomas Paradiso and Will Ellis

photo credit:  Ricci  Paradiso
photo credit:
Ricci Paradiso

You can see more images from the Suffolk County State Qualifier HERE…

Hamptons Teen: Celebrating PS I Love you week 2015
Teens across the country are celebrating P.S. I Love you week in celebration of Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.
PS I LOVE YOUP.S. I Love You Day is every second Friday of February in which I ask everyone to wear purple to show that they are standing up against bullying. This year it is going to be Friday, February 13, 2015. P.S. I Love You Day is a day to remind every individual that they are loved, needed in this world, and absolutely amazing. Also, it is a day to help end depression, end bullying, and ultimately end suicide. Wearing Purple will not only show that you’re standing up against bullying, but you will see everyone around you wearing purple, and know that you are never alone♥

10361255_984817938214560_4842888736067361404_nFebruary is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month… on February 10th 2015: RETREAT TEEN Organizer Helen Atkinson-Barnes and one of the Teen leaders Allura Leggard who is 15 and a Sophomore at Pierson HS started off the “PS I LOVE YOU WEEK CELEBRATION with a presentation to the Middle-schoolers in grades 6-8 at Pierson MS/HS in Sag Harbor NY.

10968449_10205722017074717_5160310601434988295_nAllura spoke about relationship abuse to the little things we can do to connect with others. She incorporates emojis into this presentation and demonstrates how they can be a part of your everyday life to connect with others. The united color for Teen Dating Awareness Month is Orange,but on Friday, February 13th the color is PURPLE in celebration on “P.S. I LOVE YOU DAY”
#‎Orange4Love‬‪#‎TeenDVmonth‬ “Do not let someone isolate you from family and friends! Watch out for mood swings or possessiveness! Know the signs of teen dating violence and abuse. You deserve to be loved!”

Yes Allura is my daughter, but she is also very passionate about and kind of abuse towards anyone. I might be a little bias, but I think she did a fantastic job, she was engaging and the kids really seemed to be paying attention. Well done Allura Leggard, looking forward to you speaking at more schools across Long Island on Relationship Abuse.

Originally Published in 2012…PARENT PARANOIA (The Rules)
As your child leaves for college here are the rules to share with them. It is slanted more towards girls because it was written with our daughter in mind…

1.    Always carry your own money. If you can’t afford to go, stay home.
2.    Take more money than you think you need, there will ALWAYS be emergencies, be prepared!
3.    Never trust your friends more than your own instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, it is NOT right.
4.    Never be afraid to LEAD!
5.    Never let someone bring a drink to you without you seeing the bartender pour the drink. If you didn’t see it, assume the drink has been tainted. Take your drink to the bathroom with you. DANGER Will Robinson, 20,000 VOLTS!
6.    If you leave your drink, NEVER return to drink it. Buy a new one.
7.    You can accept a drink if someone offers to pay, BUT the purchase of a drink does not BUY your companionship FOREVER. Never feel compelled to stay in the company of a stranger or a friend because they brought you a drink!
8.    Offer to pay the bill and then PAY IT.
9.    Anyone who seeks to control your movement, choice of friends, contact with family or freedom of speech is NO GOOD for you and MUST be avoided.
10.You don’t have to wear LESS to be noticed. We tend to be more attracted to mystery, so cover it up!
11.Sex is NOT a bargaining tool.
12.Listen to your inner voice, it is your intuition and it will help guide you. TRUST yourself.
13.Admit when you are wrong then move on.
14.Speak up, tell YOUR truth and be prepared for people to NOT believe you. It’s OK. People lie. Truth is truth and facts are facts but sometimes they are not the same, know the difference.
15.Pay Your Own Bills. Pay your bills On Time. Never borrow money (except from Mom or Dad reluctantly). Money IS the root of all evil but boy can it be useful!
16.Always believe in the goodness of man but be prepared to deal with the Creeps, they are out there waiting to spoil your good time. Don’t let them.
17.Walk away from danger (see moths and fire!). Police sirens and flashing lights to the right, time to turn and exit stage left!
18.Life is good, enjoy it, but never at the expense of others.
19.Laugh a lot. Keep it simple. Is it really that serious? Think about the worse thing that happened to you five years ago, guess what, you’re still here. You WILL survive!
20.Have Faith and Believe in God as you perceive Him to be. He will never fail you. USA, LLC

Half Hollow High School Students visit Sylvester Manor…..Last Week I was invited by Juanita Simpson a teacher at Half Hollow Hills HS in Dix Hills, NY to tour the Sylvester Manor Educational Farm in Shelter Island with her students from the African-American Student Organization Club and One World Youth Organization club. In all the years that I have lived in Sag Harbor, I was completely unaware of this Plantation that is filled with such history of the first black people who were brought to Shelter Island as slaves to work on the Sylvester Plantation.  Ms. Simpson, 2 additional chaperones and 40 students predominately African-American were the largest group of African-Americans to ever visit the Sylvester Manor which occupies nearly 83.5 acres of land. The property  is massive and breathtakingly beautiful.DSC_5848

The Story that is told on the Sylvester Manor website reads as follows: The Sylvester’s were slaveholders from 1653 until 1820, near the end of slavery in New York in 1827. The first three enslaved people probably arrived with Grizzell Sylvester from Newport upon her marriage to Nathaniel sometime in July of 1653. Others probably came from West Africa through Barbados, where the Sylvester’s had two sugar plantations. Highly skilled workers, Africans and African-Americans were indispensable on the farm working as blacksmiths, coopers, horse and livestock trainers, dairymaids and domestics.

Slavery in New England operated differently from that in the South or in the West Indies, where four-season crops, such as sugar, required hundreds of enslaved people. Numbers in New England were fewer — 24 people, including 13 children, comprised Nathaniel and Grizzell’s African work force — and tasks and workload varied from season to season. They worked with Manhansetts and members of other Native tribes, who, as their traditional way of life began to vanish, turned to laboring for rum and trade goods. Nathaniel and Grizzell were the largest slaveholders in New England in their day.

It was fascinating to tour the home in which slaves actually lived, and more remarkable is that the family has kept much of the home in its original form. The wallpaper is original, (can you believe that) the living quarters where the slaves lived has not been touched and much of the original limited furnishings were still there.


It brought tears to my eyes when I visualized how torturest this must have been for them. The day I visited it was a beautiful 70 degree day and only 8-10 were allowed upstairs in the slave quarters at a time, there were no windows opened and it was sweltering, imagine 30-35 people living in that space. In the summer it was brutal and in the winter it was freezing.DSC_5863

I was enthralled with this history, but more-so with how insanely cruel the slaves were treated, many of the slaves were subjected to such harsh treatment, like those that could not sleep in the main house slept where they worked all-throughout the year…Winter-Fall-Spring & Summer, it was heart-breaking to hear the stories. As we left the 3rd floor we were told about the staircases, I could not help but notice the differences between both steps, one felt like I was climbing a hill and we were holding on for dear life walking down those steps the other seemed as if I were gliding down the steps without needing to hold on to the railing.DSC_5878DSC_5877

The students of Half Hollow Hills were equally pained to hear the cruel treatment of kids their own age many many years ago, simply because of the color of their skin. The students took nothing for granted on this day they were like a sponge absorbing the information. What a wonderful opportunity Ms. Simpson shared with her students. These students were some of the most well-behaved  teenagers I have ever been around.DSC_5879DSC_5851DSC_5880

This was my first time meeting all of them and they were so talkative, inspiring, engaging and so inquisitive.  I had a wonderful time with all of them. Many people usually pre-judge African American teenagers unfairly and when they are faced with kids that are so respectfully it almost surprises them. I am not surprised, they were amazing to be around for the day, after all this is not a mandatory club they participate in, this is a club that they chose to be part of. These my friends are our leaders of the future, in this group you might just be looking at a future President of the United States of America, there is no doubt in my mind.

After touring the house we walked to what is believed to be the burial ground for many of the slaves that died. There are no tombstones to let us know who they are, a fence has been built to symbolize the resting place for them.The students walked hand-and-hand to the grave site, I can visualize how they would have walked together in unity to bury one of their own. Again it touched me to see how positive the students were and how willing they were to oblige and hold hands without the mumbling beneath their voice on why they needed to do this. These young people were in the moment, silent, respectful and thirsty to hear the history.

Walking to the burial ground
Walking to the burial ground

After hearing a brief history of the burial ground some of the student performed for their fellow students as a tribute to the day and to their ancestors. One recited a beautiful poem, others performed a step-dance and a modern dance that just took my breath away.

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Moira Doyle,Juanita Simpson, Georgette Grier-Key

I cannot wait to take my daughters and their friends on this tour, I only caught the second part, so I am very anxious to see the full tour. Thank you Moira Doyle, Sara Gordon, Georgette Grier-Key (Executive Director from Eastville Community) and Juanita Simpson for inviting me. The students stopped by Conca D’Oro in Sag Harbor to pick up pizza and for an evening picnic at Long Beach reminiscing on the days activities. The Day had come to an end and it was time to board their school bus for a long drive home, but I am sure this will be a day that they all will remember for the rest of their lives. Thank You Half Hollow Students for allowing me to spend the day with all of you.DSC_5901

            Hamptons SUPER DAD….Last week I had an experience that I have to share with you, when I became Super Dad. I was on a line with 1000 teenagers. Literally. Let me explain how I arrived at that nightmare. On Friday, my youngest daughter, Allura and her two friends, Ana and Gabby were going to a concert in NYC. Something called HYPERGLOW. Say what???? I didn’t know what a Hyperglow was but Allura was excited beyond belief. Somehow, she had hoodwinked me into actually buying her ticket sometime ago. My more than frequent senior moment did not allow me to remember when I had actually bought the ticket but I knew I could use this generosity to my advantage sometime in the near future.


I am usually in the city during the week and Allura knows this. She was getting driven in by  her friend Gabby’s mom, Lorraine and somehow she assumed that they were running late. I got a call from Allura around 5pm and in her best TEENAGER FRANTIC ‘The World Is Ending’ voice pleads with me. “Dad, can you go to the concert and wait on the line for me, we’re running late.” Say whatttt????

So I replied in my best, ‘I’m not going to let her know I am rolling on the floor in laughter and disbelief’ voice say…. HECK NO!!!!! I’m not waiting on anybody’s line. ‘Aw Dad, Come on, PLEASEEEEEES!!!!” I stand my ground to the onslaught of pleads and empty promises. “No, I’m not going to wait on that line.’ Now before you cheer or call me a hero or a beast, I have to tell you it was a cold night. And I don’t wait on lines for anything anyway. Not Jet, Met or Knick’s tickets. I hear you snickering back there. Why would I wait on line for those tickets anyway, right? But I digress.

After the concert Vanessa and I were staying in the city anyway and during the time the girls were going to be occupied, Vanessa, Lorraine and I were going to have dinner and meet up with friends for some drinks. I decided to go to the city early and scout out where the concert was being held. Hyperglow, I found out, was this MAJOR concert that the kids like to attend because it showcases up and coming DJ’s. a major party ensues. OK, I have gone to a few of these in my life and I had already given Allura the Dad talk about what not to do and how to look for all the exits in case something happens, to avoid dangers, blah, blah, blah….. What can I say? She’s 14 and has to get her experiences in early before all the crap begins. I did my part.1560385_546797988769409_992134305_n

I drove up to 48th St. between 11th and 12th Avenue and saw the beginnings of a major line, snaking from the North-West corner of 48th St. around and up 11th Avenue. Oh, Oh. Allura may have been right that she and her friends were going to be in trouble. The line was forming fast. As I drove down 48th St., Lo and Behold I saw a parking spot. There is NEVER parking spots at this time of night. Now let me tell you; it was about 6:15 and parking begins at 7 but I kind of knew I was safe to park there without too much fear of a ticket or tow. Now if there was no parking, I could have gotten away scott free…..but nooooooo. There it was, ample room to park. As I got out of the car I glanced up to the sky and asked God…REALLY??????? This spot just had to be there, right? I knew the dye was cast. I was going to do it. I was going to be a KING SIZED SUCKER. I was going to try to wait on line.

I went up to one of the bouncers who really didn’t want to talk to me and asked him if I could wait on the line. Almost dismissively he looked at me giving me an ‘are you CRAZY’ look and said. The line isn’t here, as I looked at more than 100 insanely dressed and overly loud teenagers. ‘The OVERFLOW line is down the block.’ Oh, Oh. Did he say OVERFLOW?????? What the heck does that mean? Then I found out. Up 48th St., past the UPS entrance, there was some barricades set up and there were about a 100 more kids waiting on-line. Oh GREAT! As I made my way back to that line, I saw that it wasn’t that bad. It was close to the entrance to the concert and if I got on line, Allura and her friends would get in fairly quickly.

I asked another bouncer/security if I could hold a place in line, half of me hoping that he would say no. He said I could, so I took my place in line. There was a lot of security, all big men and no-nonsense. Some of the biggest humans I have ever seen. That made me happy. Security was pretty well-organized and well prepared for crowd control. It was 6:30 now.

The kids in front of me turned to look at me with that, ‘ are you kidding me look.’ I quickly told them ‘I’m not going in there, I’m holding a place for my daughter.’ I somehow felt the need to justify my being there to a teenage boy, who was taller than me, with acne on his face! I know I could take him in a tussle, if it lasted less than a minute, I knew I could. I don’t know why that thought crossed my mind but I felt defensive. My daughter was going to be around guys like this ALL NIGHT. I felt protective. The kid laughed and was really good-natured and said ‘ok, dude.’ DUDE! He went back to talking to his friends. The line started to form very quickly behind me. I had not called Allura to tell her I was on-line, just in case I wanted to bail out. Better to keep her in the dark. It was getting colder and I was not a happy camper. 6:45. Why am I on line with a bunch of POPULAR girls next to me. Every kid that walks by they know and it is an immediate eruption…“DUDE, you’re here, what’s up??? yadda, yadda, yadda.” Oh Boy!!! I called Allura to let her know I was on line for her and she screamed! ‘You’re the best, Dad’ was the nature of her  immediate response and I knew it to be true. As I basked in the glow of her love, the wind whipped up and I started to feel like I had made a bad decision.

The smartest thing I did was bring my Playstation Vita with me. I was able to play tennis and baseball to help me keep my sanity and my mind off the cold, cold wind. The girls next to me were talkative (well duh!) and I saw them past a inquisitive glance my way as if to ask, ‘what the heck are you doing here?’ I kept on playing. The funniest thing I overheard (and I heard some very funny things) was how teenagers use curse words. I started thinking… that curse has never been used in the form of a verb before but after considering it, I could see the usage. Teenagers curse every chance they get. It must be a status symbol or something, maybe a contest, who can curse the best, the most and without taking a breath! Too funny. I saw hook ups, cuddling but mostly I saw kids having fun. I didn’t see anyone drinking or smoking weed but I know it was abundant. I overheard the deals being made for distribution and how to get home safely. I heard girls critiquing what other girls were wearing or not wearing as they had on the skimpiest shorts I have ever seen in my life. And it was COLD!!!!! Ah, youth, you got to love them.

Finally, the girls that were right behind me couldn’t bear not to ask me why I was there. When they asked if I was holding the place for someone and I said my daughter….. DA, DA, DA DAHHH! I became an INSTANT celebrity. I transformed from grumpy, sketchy questionable grandpa to SUPER DAD!

“REALLY, you’re here in line for your daughter??? You are the SH-T!!!!”, I was told. I didn’t even mind that I was being referred to as a curse because it was a term of endearment. “My Dad would never do this” (maybe because he is sane). “Your daughter is the luckiest girl in the world” (I think I’m liking this now). “I want you to be my Dad” (don’t push your luck and be careful what you ask for, just ask Allura). The kids were really animated now and asked me where I was from. When I told them Sag Harbor, they really got excited because they were from Hampton Bays. We were neighbors and now they knew the depth of my ‘SACRIFICE.’ When I told them I work in the city and my sacrifice wasn’t so great, they looked at me like I was crazy for going to the city almost every day. Never-the-less, I was a full blown hero now. When I called Allura at 7pm for an update where she was at, she let me know that they were out of the Midtown Tunnel and coming up 12th Avenue and about 40th St. I knew my ordeal was about to come to an end but then the Hampton Bays girls asked whether Allura played any sports and when I told them she ran track and played field hockey, the girls screamed. These girls were on the field hockey team and maybe knew Allura. I asked them to talk to Allura on the phone and they commenced to tell her what a cool Dad I was. Street Cred! Laughing, they handed me back the phone and I could hear my daughter laughing hysterically. A miserable night had suddenly become a classic.

I saw my chance. I became Super Dad and I started talking to the girls and guys about the Do’s and Don’ts of hanging out at a concert (full parent mode but without the lecture overtone). They appeared to listen as I told them how to do things in moderation and safely. One girl said her father told her to never take anything synthetic. I told her that was a good start! They were all good sports to listen but I knew my presence had almost reached it’s expiration date. Quickly, I did what any self respecting Super Hero would do before he changed back into his secret identity, I took a selfie with the kids.kurt selfie

Allura really had a great time at Hyperglow and came back to us safely. I hope all the kids got home safely too. Especially the Hampton Bays girls. They were really great and fun to be around. It made me remember what I sometimes forget. This is the time of our kid’s lives and they must do the things they do. Fun is a key element to their growth and development, so is excess. In order for us to see the fun they should have it is important to step outside of what we normally would do and walk in their shoes. Maybe even, stand in line.