A Killer Gift for a Killer Bee

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Killer Bees movie Producer/Director Orson Cummings, Executive Producer Glenn Fuhrman, Jamari Gant, mother Lakisha Gant, Lillian Tyree Johnson, Bridgehampton School Foundation president Kat McCleland and Bridgehampton Killer Bees former coach Carl Johnson gathered to present Jamari with a brand new Alienware laptop computer so he could pursue his goal of video game programming on Friday, 6/29/18. Michael Heller photo

Jamari Gant’s college friends are always surprised when they find out he has appeared in a documentary film.

“They say, ‘Can I see it?’ They’ve been bugging me to watch it,” said Mr. Gant, a 2016 Bridgehampton School graduate who is a rising junior at the State University of New York at Fredonia, and the first in his family to go to college.

On Friday, it was Mr. Gant’s turn to be surprised.

A director and an executive producer of the “Killer Bees” documentary, which featured Mr. Gant and his teammates from the Bridgehampton varsity basketball team, returned to the “Hive” on Friday to present him with a computer. That’s all that Mr. Gant knew. What he didn’t know was the computer was an Alienware laptop, considered by many to be the top-of-the-line choice of programmers and developers. It replaces a different laptop that accidentally fell off of his bed one night when he fell asleep while he was up late working.

“I’m blown away,” he said. “I didn’t think I would ever get one of these in my life.”

Glenn Fuhrmann, the documentary’s executive producer, said Mr. Gant’s story arc in the film — a player who is the eldest of six children cared for by a single mother, a family that moved from house to house in the Hamptons, often unable to find an affordable place to live — inspired people to want to give. A local nonprofit organization, the Bridgehampton School Foundation, formed a subcommittee for those documentary-related donations to land, supporting programs and needs for current students and alumni like Mr. Gant.

“People often had the reaction that it’s a fascinating film to see, but rather than just see the film and go on with their lives, they said, ‘Is there anything we can do to support the community directly?’” Mr. Fuhrmann said.

Kat McCleland, a Bridgehampton school board member who is the president of the Bridgehampton School Foundation, which is separate from the school district, said the organization is very grateful for the donations.

“We have been underfunded in the past, and this will allow us to support some new programming, the goal of which is to make sure we are provided thing best environment for our students to be college and career ready,” Ms. McCleland said. “This is the perfect fit for what we want to do.”

She recalled a forum held at the school in December in which alumni visited to tell current high school students about their experiences in college.

“We heard from them about what we can do better, what they wished they knew,” Ms. McCleland said. “We were surprised. They were very open and honest. They said, ‘We need to be challenged more,’ because when you get to college there are no excuses anymore.”

Mr. Gant said that has been his experience at SUNY Fredonia, where he is majoring in computer science — hence, the need for a cutting-edge computer. Asked whether he felt prepared for college his freshman year, he said, “yes and no.”

“Nothing can prepare you until you go,” he said. “The teachers get attached to you here [at Bridgehampton]. In college, you have to work for it and be persistent to get them on your good side.”

Lakisha Gant said she was in shock over the gift presented to her son by Mr. Fuhrmann and documentary director Orson Cummings.

“I’m happy for him,” she said. “I bought him his first computer. He was a little hacker. Well, maybe not a hacker, but he was a tinkerer. He’s really good.”

Her son promised to keep the computer in pristine condition. He needs it to achieve his dream of designing video games, or find a backup job, like programming cars or other consumer goods.

“I’ve just been using the school computers, but they took off the software you need,” he said. “It is better to have your own.”

Mr. Gant said he was very excited, but had a hard time expressing it in the moment.

“You don’t understand,” he said. “I will show it when we’re done here.”

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