National Anthems and New Athletes

    The Montauk School Board on Tuesday had several visitors make video presentations. At the start of the meeting board members watched a DVD of the fifth-and-sixth-grade chorus singing the national anthem at a Mets game at Citi Field on June 2.
    The students performed a sound check and then headed underground where the players usually run through a passageway to the field. After they performed on the field in front of the crowd, the students met Mr. Met, the team mascot, who climbed into the stands to congratulate them. Their performance was shown on a giant screen with the words “Montauk School” below them.
    Jack Perna, the district superintendent, thanked Steven Skoldberg, the music teacher, and Rick White, the computer resource teacher, and said, “What a proud moment.”
    Also making a presentation was Theresa Roden, the founder and executive director of i-tri, a self-esteem program for girls that has already started successfully in the Springs School. She was joined by Sharon McCobb, a fitness training coordinator.
    The program was created for girls who consider themselves nonathletes, and it helps them develop a strong fitness base. It ends with them participating in a local triathlon. In training, which is voluntary, it aims to build self-respect, personal empowerment, confidence, and a positive body image. It encourages a healthier lifestyle and fitness through better eating habits and yoga and other forms of exercise.
    For girls in grades six to eight, the program meets on school days during lunch hour or recess. On days off and during the summer the girls meet whenever they can get together. Several students who had been through the program were with the founder and said i-tri makes those taking part more like family than friends. One of them, Abby Roden, said it gives girls something to do in summer. “We live near all these beaches and we should be using them,” she said.
    The program is grant-funded except for the cost of transportation for training at such places as the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter.
    School board members said they liked the program but weren’t sure if it would work in Montauk, since there are about 45 girls in those grades and most of them take part in sports. They said they would discuss it further.
    The board heard Tuesday from Wendy Arias, Erin White, and Gianna Gregorio, fifth graders who reported on how much they got out of attending the Conference for Kids. They thanked the board for continuing to support the program.
    Seven teachers were approved for the summer school program at a fee of $60 per hour. They are Colin Ryan, Laura Schilling, Donna DiPaolo, Collette Clancy, Tracey Waleko, Sue Nicoletti, and Brad Dickinson.
    The board also learned that to rent an air-conditioning unit for one night at graduation, which is held in the gym, would cost the district $6,600. “I think we should sweat it out for the next two years and then we can use that money to buy permanent ones,” Mr. Perna said.
    Board members discussed holding the ceremony outdoors. But after factoring in the cost of a tent, amplification for the musical instruments, and the danger to girls wearing high heels, the idea was quickly scrapped.