A performance on the nationally broadcast The Today Show, the key to Nassau County and a day declared in his honor. This was a day in the life of Levittown resident and American Idol finalist Kevin Covais who is back home from Hollywood.
At the rally outside the county's executive building on March 30, Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi presented Covais with the first-ever key to Nassau County and declared March 31 "Kevin Covais Day" in the county.
"Kevin, you wouldn't believe what this is going to do for you," Suozzi quipped, as he signed the proclamation. "We are so proud of you here in Nassau County. No matter what happens in your career going forward - and we know it will be a great career - you will always be a hero to your hometown and you'll always be our American Idol. No matter how popular he becomes he still remains just a regular guy from Levittown and that's what we like about him so much."
Suozzi noted how Covais overcame the obstacle of living with diabetes to achieve his dream. Now, Covais said he will work with the American Diabetes Association, trying to educate people about the disease. To jumpstart his effort, Suozzi presented Covais with a check for $1,000 to the ADA and encouraged people to do the same.
"Support Kevin by supporting a cause that he believes in," Suozzi said.
A noticeably overwhelmed Covais addressed the crowd, saying the rally brought "joy to his heart."
"I have to thank each and every one of you for taking the time out and giving me this opportunity," he added. "Your support has been amazing. I would have never made it this far without each and every one of you. You've really helped to jumpstart my career."
The next day, the 16-year-old returned to Island Trees High School, where he is a National Honor Society student, to a pep rally in his honor. The school community has been supporting Covais from the beginning, banding together to watch his performances in the high school auditorium.
Island Trees Music Director Peter Gibbons said there was a buzz around the school these past few weeks after each of Covais' performances.
"The kids, many his friends, chattered about how he performed, the choice of musical selection, Simon's comments, etc.," Gibbons said. "Most of the teachers are 'buzzing' in the faculty room as well. It has really been an exciting event that has united many people in the community."
According to Gibbons, many of the music students are inspired by Covais' success and have even approached him about auditioning for American Idol next year.
"Another great sign that Kevin has inspired our music students is that I've gotten calls from parents for recommendations for private music/voice teachers so their children can make even more progress in music," he added. "It has been a great happening in Island Trees and a great boost for music education."
Island Trees Superintendent James Parla later told the Levittown Tribune, ""Kevin, we're very proud of you. You handled yourself with poise and class. You represented Island Trees very well."
Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and Councilman Gary Hudes attended the pep rally and honored Kevin with a commemorative CD.
"Gary and I are so proud that our very own Levittown neighbor represented our town with such poise, composure and dignity," Murray said. "What's more, Kevin Covais evidenced a voice that stood out in its clarity and depth."
Murray also extended an open invitation for Covais to perform at any of the Town facilities in the summer or future.
Covais is the son of retired Nassau County Sheriff's Department Retired Captain John Covais and Patty Covais of Levittown.