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Recognizing Staff and Student Accomplishments

Recognizing Staff and Student Accomplishments photo
Both staff and students alike were met with praise during the April 9 Bayport-Blue Point School District Board of Education meeting.

To begin the night’s recognitions, Blue Point Elementary School first grade teacher Tammy Santora was named as March’s Teacher of the Month and was met with praise from both the Board of Education and community attendees alike. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Timothy P. Hearney chose to not speak from a prepared statement, and instead spoke from the heart about how Mrs. Santora’s positive attitude, kind spirit and unique sense of style are key ingredients toward why she is so deserving of this award. Blue Point Elementary School Student Phoebe Brownie also addressed the attendees and shared her own heartfelt messages about why Mrs. Santora means so much to her. 

Additionally, Bayport-Blue Point High School 11th grade student Jillian Carson was congratulated for being selected as a National Gold Medal winner in the 2019 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for her original poem, “Lavender and Black Coffee.” Due to her success in this competition, Jillian will be honored alongside the other National Medal winners during a ceremony held at Carnegie Hall on June 6. 

Celebrating Citizenship Day

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Student volunteers from the Bayport-Blue Point High School Peers-to-Peers program, which is advised by David Johnson, recently came together to assist their community in various ways during the school’s annual Citizenship Day event. 

Throughout the course of the afternoon, upperclassmen worked alongside freshmen to make hundreds of sandwiches for the Bellport Boys & Girls Club, created dozens of toiletry baskets to be donated to benefit local veterans, planted gardens courtesy of donations from Bayport Flower Houses and cleaned up debris at Bayport Beach. 

Creating A Stress-Free Environment

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In recognition of Wellness Week, physical education classes at the Bayport-Blue Point High School were recently transformed into designated areas where students could engage in mindful activities and techniques. With assistance from community resident Dr. Gina Witt, students took part in a mindfulness session in the wrestling room where they cleared their mind for a number of moments and engaged in helpful techniques which assisted with relieving stress. Additionally, the Peer Education Program Students facilitated conversations with their peers in small groups about stress, what their triggers are, and strategies they put in place when feeling stressed, ultimately creating a safe space for their peers to discuss important topics amongst one another. 

The Power of Poetry

The Power of Poetry
The Power of Poetry
The district would like to congratulate Bayport-Blue Point High School 11th-grade student Jillian Carson for being selected as a National Gold Medal winner in the 2019 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for her original poem, “Lavender and Black Coffee.”

According to Jillian, “Lavender and Black Coffee” speaks to the themes of family and life in general. Her love for poetry began at a young age; she began to write original works as early as the fourth grade.

Due to her success in this competition, Jillian will be honored alongside the other National Medal winners during a ceremony held at Carnegie Hall on June 6. 

Outcooking the Competition

Outcooking the Competition
Outcooking the Competition
The district congratulates Bayport-Blue Point High School student Todd Fehr for being part of the winning team to place in the top three in the American Culinary Federation Long Island Chapter’s “Ready Set Cook” High School Competition. 

During the competition, six teams of three students were paired with a professional adviser and were required to prepare a dish consisting of a whole chicken, vegetable side and carbohydrate component. After consulting with their adviser and amongst each other, the teams had one hour to prepare their dishes before presenting their final product to the judges for scoring. Each team was scored on key factors such as sanitation, organization, creativity, flavor and texture of their meals. 

The competition consisted of teams of culinary students from all three Long Island-based BOCES, as they challenged each other for the chance to win scholarships to the Culinary Institute of New York at Monroe College. Due to the team’s successes, Todd has earned the top prize of a $28,000 scholarship toward Monroe College located in the Bronx. 

In more recent news, Todd showcased his culinary skills at the SkillsUSA Regionals competition, where he took home a fourth-place win. Due to his excellent performance at the regional level, he has secured a spot in the statewide competition, set to take place April 24-26 in Syracuse, New York.

Top of the Class

Top of the Class
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The Bayport-Blue Point School District is thrilled to announce that Bayport-Blue Point High School students Maria Grande and Emily Phua have been named valedictorian and salutatorian for the 2018-19 school year, respectively. The students were selected for this honor based on their impressive academic records, devotion to success and commitment to higher learning.

Maria plans to pursue a degree in biology and is in the process of finalizing which college she will be attending next fall. During her time at Bayport-Blue Point High School, she was a member of the National Honor Society, Peers to Peers Program, Peer Education Program, Tri-M Music Honor Society and Science Olympiad, to name a few. Additionally, she took part in the annual school theater productions, Students Against Destructive Decisions seminars and contributed to homecoming float building.  

Emily will be pursuing a degree in the Spanish language at American University this fall, with aspirations of becoming a translator/interpreter. While at Bayport-Blue Point High School, she served as a member of the National Honor Society, Peer Education Program, Tri-M Music Honor Society, Students Against Destructive Decisions, Interact Club and Habitat for Humanity. Additionally, she holds a variety of musical accomplishments, and was captain of the golf team. 


Exploring the Rainforest

Exploring the Rainforest

Fifth-grade students from Blue Point Elementary School were recently paid a visit by Eric Powers, a representative of the Your Connection to Nature program, for a highly informative presentation which shed light onto the beauty and wonders of the world’s rainforests.

During the presentation, Mr. Powers provided an in-depth look into the importance of rainforests, which included a close-up look into the lives of the forests’ daily inhabitants, including the toucan, macaw, exotic caterpillars and sloths. 

He not only highlighted the wildlife of the rainforest, but also the multiple layers which make up their homes, including the emergent, canopy, understory and forest floor. Additionally, the students were able to observe and interact with some real-life animals, such as “Lovey” the dove, “Gangsta” the therapy dog, a Vietnamese stick insect and the red-tailed boa constrictor.

Maintaining Physical Fitness

In an effort to maintain the most up-to-date fitness programs and practices, staff members of the Bayport-Blue Point physical education department recently received training from Orange Theory Fitness Center head trainer Alicia Harris. During their visit, Ms. Harris trained the staff members in a variety of methods and innovative ways of using both the TRX and Concept II Rowers, which could be incorporated into the district’s physical education curriculum. 

Celebrating Chinese Culture


As a supplement to their social studies curriculum, third-graders enrolled in Theresa Stevens’ and Kristen Rang’s class at Blue Point Elementary School have been learning about China.

According to Ms. Stevens, this unit has been full of traditional stories, games, and customs that helped bring Chinese culture to life for the students. Topics discussed included geographical location, native languages, history, foods and the countries’ many achievements.  

Additionally, two students, Dillon Bowen and William Graham, applied their engineering skills to design a highly impressive replica of the Great Wall of China, receiving assistance from their classmates in order to bring it to life. To end the unit on Chinese culture, the class learned about chopsticks and practiced using them while eating rice and fried noodles.

Lessons on Criminal Justice


Student-members of the Bayport-Blue Point High School’s Debate Club recently took a field trip to the Cohalan Court Complex located in Central Islip in an effort to generate interest in a possible mock trial team.

During their visit, the students took a two-hour tour which included a description of the court room as offered by New York State Court Officer Evelyn Portes, Outreach Coordinator Kaitlyn Pickford and the Honorable Gaetan B. Lozito, Acting County Court Judge.

Additionally, all in attendance went into the holding cells for defendants and witnessed how they are brought into the court house by the Suffolk Sheriff's Department. Judge Lozito also made mention of how each discussion between the prosecution and defense attorney over bail mirrors the debate style utilized in the high school’s club.  

The 10 Debate Club students in attendance were joined by advisers John Limperatos and Sean Meade during the trip, and thanked them for affording them the opportunity to take this highly important field trip. 

World Language Week

James Wilson Young Middle School staff and students recently hosted World Language Week, in which they participated in a number of fun and educational activities to celebrate the many cultures and customs throughout the world. 

Senora Julie D’Andraia joined forces with the cafeteria and food services staff to bring the students lunches with some foreign flair, including beef taco bowls as well as pasta and a few other great dishes. 

Each morning during advisory, Anne Hansen-Crowley’s ENL students announced a greeting, including the day, date and weather over the PA, speaking in their native tongues of the Spanish, Urdu, Chinese and Italian languages. 

Senor Vincent Rosa challenged the students with his daily trivia questions. Due to their successful responses, the winners were declared as Ashley Oelcher, Cian Love, Mikey Luce and Taylor DiBiase. A contest was also featured where students had to guess how many “gomitas” (jellybeans) were in the jar, and sixth-grade student Henry Bosse was able to guess the correct amount.

Additionally, special slides were displayed on the televisions in the school lobby that encouraged World Language learning, and students discussed why it is so important to be multilingual during advisory. 

The Dangers of Vaping

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As a means of sharing best practices toward maintaining healthy lifestyle choices and avoiding detrimental activities, the district recently hosted a highly engaging assembly, “The Dangers of Vaping,” which was presented by John Martin, senior public health educator, Suffolk County Department of Health Services.

During Mr. Martin’s presentation, students of all ages and their parents were given valuable information regarding the harmful facts surrounding the highly addictive activity. Contrary to popular belief, e-cigarettes do not run solely on vapor, and contain microparticles and various chemicals which can lead to many forms of lung complications. Additionally, Mr. Martin ensured the attendees while the use of e-cigarettes isn’t quite as harmful as traditional cigarette usage, the various flavors offered still contain nicotine, formaldehyde and carcinogenic properties. 

Prior to the conclusion of the assembly, Mr. Martin selected a handful of student volunteers to come forward and showcase how easy it is to be tricked into trying an e-cigarette for the first time in a mock scenario.  

Taking Care of Teddy

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In an effort to learn first-aid and safety tips, kindergarten students from Academy Street Elementary School were recently paid a visit from a representative of the Stony Brook Children’s Hospital for a Teddy Bear Clinic event. During the informative visit, the students paired up with their furry friends to learn the importance of wearing helmets and seatbelts while traveling, and were even able to apply bandages to their stuffed animals’ “injuries.”

Districtwide Accomplishments

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The recent Bayport-Blue Point Board of Education meeting recognized the accomplishments of both students and staff members alike.

To begin the evenings recognitions, Academy Street Elementary School special education teacher Jennifer Crispo was named the Teacher of the Month for the month of February. 

She was met with words of praise from Bayport-Blue Point School District Superintendent of Schools Dr. Timothy P. Hearney for her accomplishment and presented with a bouquet of flowers courtesy of the Board of Education. 

According to a statement prepared by her colleagues, “Ms. Crispo has a wonderful rapport with her students as she genuinely cares about meeting the needs of all her unique learners. She works hard to modify curriculum, craft creative lessons, and use a variety of strategies to help her students understand content.”

Additionally, Bayport-Blue Point High School varsity wrestling coach Dave Cruz, along with assistant varsity wrestling coach Richard Reilly congratulated James Wilson Young Middle School student Max Gallagher and Bayport-Blue Point High School student Joe Sparacio for being named All-State Wrestlers. 

“Exceptional achievements are within reach when we stand tall on a foundation of personal integrity, hard work and unwavering determination,” said coach Cruz. “Max Gallagher and Joe Sparacio exhibited all three aspects to achieve All-State honors this season.”

Promoting Kindness

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The Bayport-Blue Point High School recently celebrated Peer Education Program Day, as members of the school organization visited a number of English and social studies classes throughout the building to share various lessons focusing on the power of connection and healthy communication. While visiting the classrooms, the students spoke about forging friendships and promoted antibullying techniques. Additionally, they engaged in a series of fun icebreaker activities, such as passing along an “energy stick” while holding hands in a circle and using nonverbal communication to line up in a certain order within the classroom.

Animal Experts

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Without having to take a train into Manhattan, fourth-grade students from Sylvan Avenue Elementary School were able to showcase their robust research during the school’s very own “Museum of Natural History” event.

The students spent weeks researching an animal of their choosing with assistance from library media specialist Susan Henke Brinkman, with the goal in mind of creating a detailed diorama based on their creatures. The dioramas shed light onto the selected animals’ environments and physical characteristics, showcasing magnificent representations of sharks, leopards, dolphins and peacocks. 

As a fun twist to the activity, first-grade students attended the “museum,” and the upperclassmen shared three fun facts about the animals along with information surrounding their native habitat. 

Accepting the Phantom Challenge

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Bayport-Blue Point High School students were recently able to present tentative business ideas and products to district administration, board members and local business owners during the school’s fifth annual Phantom Challenge competition.

Throughout the course of the evening, the following students presented their innovative projects to the judges – Nikolai Dolan, Maddy Kirby, Jacob Lurie and Annie Zoller. 

The night’s top prize went to Jacob Lurie’s “MyRoomie App,” while Annie Zoller was declared runner-up with her “School Safety Stickers.” 

Jacob’s “MyRoomie App” is an application which helps pair college aged students with roommates that have similar study, social and emotional habits. Additionally, he created an algorithm that mathematically narrows down the likelihood that each student would be a perfect match. 

Annie’s “School Safety Stickers” were created in an effort to display important information on the outside of public buildings for first responders in the event of an emergency. The stickers can be customized to match the theme of the institution. 

Both Annie and Jacob received scholarship money from the Vinni Perri/Mike Marchan Scholarship Fund for their efforts, and Annie was kind enough to donate her proceeds to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida which served as the inspiration for her business.

Maddy Kirby’s “Desalination Water Bottle” and Nikolai Dolan’s “Solar Sails” were named second and third runners-up, respectively. 

The district congratulates all student participants for their fantastic projects.

Dining on Green Eggs and Ham

Dining on Green Eggs and Ham photo

In celebration of the birthday of renowned children’s author Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known by his pen name Dr. Seuss, students from Sylvan Avenue Elementary School recently took part in a collaborative literary activity in their classrooms.

Fourth-grade students enrolled in Ursula Camenzuli’s class met with their book buddies from Erin Miller’s first-grade class in an effort to teach the younger students about the popular literary works created by Dr. Seuss. The students highly enjoyed taking turns reading classics such as “The Cat in the Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham” and “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” to one another. 

Prior to the conclusion of the collaborative event, the students filled out a work sheet asking them to create a series of rhyming words to be incorporated into a fun paragraph, mimicking Dr. Seuss’ popular style of writing.

Bayport-Blue Point High School Named Reward School

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The district is thrilled to announce that the Bayport-Blue Point High School was recognized as a Reward School by the New York State Education Department.

In order to be recognized as a Reward School by the NYSED, a school must meet the standards of multiple criteria, including, but not limited to, a display of high achievement or high progress, impressive assessment scores and a stellar graduation rate.

“We are proud of this tremendous recognition and to once again be listed among other high achieving high schools in New York State,” said Bayport-Blue Point High School Principal Dr. Gaurav Passi. “Our students are held to high standards and they are nurtured and supported by our teachers and their families in reaching those expectations. As a result of the support they receive and the strong partnership that exists between the school and home, they consistently rise to perform at the highest of levels.”

“This is an honor that our entire community can celebrate,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Timothy P. Hearney. “This recognition is truly a culmination of hard work, support and dedication from our students, staff, parents and school community. I would like to give a special congratulations and thank you to the staff, parents and community of the high school for all they do for the students of BBP.”

Bayport-Blue Point High School is joined by 24 other Long Island high schools in this prestigious category.

An Evening of Accomplishments

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During the Feb. 26 Board of Education meeting, both staff members and students alike were met with praise for their recent accomplishments. 

To begin the night’s recognitions, the 32 Bayport-Blue Point High School Science Olympiad students who attended the regional tournament held on Jan. 26 at Ward Melville High School were presented with certificates courtesy of the Board of Education for their successful performance at the competition. The Science Olympiad A-team placed ninth, while the B-team placed 21st out of a total of 52 teams. According to co-advisers Steven Roach and Denise Kelly, 14 of the 15 A-team members and seven of 15 total B-team members earned at least one medal, while multiple teams went on to earn two medals during the competition.

Additionally, James Wilson Young Middle School health teacher Deborah Lena was named the Teacher of the Month for December, and was met with words of praise from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Timothy P. Hearney along with a token of appreciation from the Board of Education. 

According to a prepared statement from Mrs. Lena’s colleagues, “Her candor and sincerity when her students ask tough, embarrassing questions is why they go to her with serious concerns, share personal difficulties and have said to her years later that her words stayed with them at critical moments.”

A Healthy Body and Mind

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Students of all grade levels from Sylvan Avenue Elementary School were granted the opportunity to reduce their stress levels and practice mindful techniques during a recent yoga session held in the school’s gymnasium. With assistance from Marcus and Angela of the Medford-based Yoganomics studio, the students began with a simultaneous “Namaste” before engaging in popular yoga poses such as tabletop, sunrise/sunset and warrior. 

3D Printing Perfection

3D Printing Perfection photo

Fourth-and fifth-grade students enrolled in the Gifted and Talented Program at Academy Street Elementary School recently took part in a 3D-printing activity in which they created their own designs from scratch.

The young engineers first brainstormed amongst one another in order to create computer animated designs for characters using the online website, Tinkercad. The program is credited as being one of the most popular classroom tools for creating 3D simple designs from scratch, as students are able to quickly rearrange their tangram-style designs without hassle. 

Joining the students and program teacher Ellen Vlachos for the project was Bayport-Blue Point Public Library technology librarian Stephen Burg, who was on hand to teach the students about CAD and 3D printing. The students created animal-themed designs, such as a swan or the popular “Rocktopus,” which portrayed a rock-and-roll style octopus character.

In addition to their original creature designs, the fifth-grade students also designed logos to accompany their original 3D creations.  

Excellent Engineers

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Students from Academy Street Elementary School were recently treated to a special surprise held in the school’s cafeteria, as fourth-grade student Darby Kaler showcased her proficiency in engineering amongst her classmates and a number of staff members. 

Darby, who is a part of the FIRST Lego League team alongside a number of other district students, recently took part in a competition held at Huntington High School, competing against 190 other teams. Due to the successes of the “Brainstormers” team, they were able to secure a spot amongst the top 40 competitors, and will progress onto the next level of competition set to take place in March. 

During the presentation held in the school’s cafeteria, Darby, along with her parents/team coaches Eileen and Bob Kaler, showcased their bots to the attendees and presented background information that goes along with this year's space-oriented theme of "Into Orbit." 

Darby’s fourth-grade teacher Kimberly Rall was able to attend the team’s competition at Huntington High School, and reported that all involved did a phenomenal job presenting. 

Physical Fitness Fun

Physical Fitness Fun photo

As an extension of their class curriculum, students enrolled in the Flex physical education classes at Bayport-Blue Point High School recently took a field trip to the Inclusive Sports & Fitness Center located in Holbrook to engage in a series of physically engaging activities.

With their radiant positive attitudes on full display, the students participated in a vigorous 90-minute workout at the brand-new fitness center. Some of the activities they took part in included weight training, plyometrics, speed, agility, cardio fitness and group games. The students were led and trained by the ISF occupational therapists who also assist the school’s Flex physical education classes throughout the school year. 

“Each student was pushed to their limit and had a lot of fun,” said Bayport-Blue Point High School physical education teacher Tricia Livingston. 

According to their official website, ISF, Inc. is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide skilled therapeutic, fitness and habilitation services that maximize a child's capacity to play sports and recreational activities.

Cultural Exchange

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In celebration of their semiannual cultural exchange event, Bayport-Blue Point High School’s Peer Education Program members recently welcomed friends from Amityville High School’s Warrior Awareness Club for a series of fun and friendly activities.

Upon their arrival, Amityville students were welcomed to the district with the help of Bayport-Blue Point High School’s Chamber Ensemble, which provided a lovely medley of music. Once gathered in the cafeteria, the two groups enjoyed catching up with their cross-district friends and the bagel breakfast provided. 

Joining social worker Elizabeth Alagna and special education/mathematics teacher Joy Schuster upstairs, the large group of students engaged in a series of ice breaker activities, including an engaging “Rock, Paper, Scissors” tournament. Bayport-Blue Point Superintendent of Schools Dr. Timothy Hearney also helped to greet the special guests and encouraged all students to engage in conversations in an effort to learn more about each other.  

Each Amityville High School student was then paired up with a Bayport-Blue Point student and they attended classes together throughout the day, mirroring Bayport-Blue Point High School’s visit to Amityville High School earlier this school year. The purpose of the cultural exchange event is to build new friendships and create bonds between students from different school districts. 

Penguin Power

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After spending an entire unit studying the lives of penguins, first-grade students from Academy Street Elementary School invited their family members to the school to celebrate their annual “Black and White Day” event.

The students were excited to show their special guests what they had learned about the highly interesting birds, as they showcased the numerous art projects and activity sheets they completed while working on the unit. The students classified the many different species of penguin, and even wrote a fact sheet devoted to the penguin of their choosing, naming their habitats, predators and some additional fun facts. 

Additionally, the students created penguin shaped hats which were worn during the special day, and placed all of their penguin-related research in special folders titled “All About Penguins.”

Spreading Kindness

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In celebration of Random Acts of Kindness Week, Sylvan Avenue Elementary School recently took part in a series of themed days to commemorate kind acts noticed throughout the course of the school day. 

As a fun challenge from school psychologist Dr. Peggy Gasper, students were asked to see if they could complete 100 acts of kindness in honor of the 100th day of school to be displayed in the main hallway’s bulletin board. The school surely displayed their acts of kindness, as well as more than 150 Kind Act Hearts were reported to have been collected during the course of the week. 

Examples of themes celebrated that week included Sports Day; Peace, Love and Kindness Day; Be Super Kind Superhero Day; Kindness Warms the Heart for Valentine’s Day and Cozy Up to Kindness Pajama Day. 

Additionally, the school participated in a schoolwide “Drop Everything and Read A Book” activity in which every class read a book about kindness at the same time to show unity and how important kindness is to Sylvan.

Family Wellness Night

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As a means of promoting connections, the district launched its new community connections series with the district’s first Family Wellness Night. 

Joining dozens of district students along with her families within the Bayport-Blue Point High School cafeteria, the event was presented by district resident Dr. Gina Witt of osteopathic medicine. During the event, Dr. Witt displayed a highly informative PowerPoint presentation for the attendees, including stress-reducing information, breathing and meditation tactics. The students and their families enjoyed taking part in the abdominal breathing tactics suggested, as they were employed in an effort to promote courage, inner strength and balance to their daily lives. 

Dr. Witt also asked that the families take part in a daily activity in which they write down one thing that they are grateful for, and place these items in a jar to be opened at the end of the year. 

Prior to the conclusion of the event, attendees were provided with a helpful list of resources and web applications which could be utilized to assist in furthering mindful techniques and practices. 

The district would like to thank the Social-Emotional Task Force for making this event a possibility for all to enjoy. 

Hearts to Share


As a special Valentine’s Day activity, students from Melissa Zaleski’s kindergarten class recently met with their book buddies from Kimberly Rall’s fourth-grade class to take part in a Valentine’s Day math activity using conversation hearts. Utilizing the popular holiday-themed candy, the students applied their mathematical knowledge to add, subtract and count the pieces on their worksheets, ultimately arriving at conclusions as a team.

Bayport-Blue Point Eagle