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A Spectacular Day In Oyster Bay

Sunday, June 29 was a perfect day in Oyster Bay: at 85 degrees under bright blue skies, you couldn’t have asked for better conditions to celebrate the commencement of the Class of 2014.

At the stroke of noon, Matthew Sisia raised his baton and the Oyster Bay High School combined Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble struck the familiar chords of Edward Elgar’s venerable classic, “Pomp and Circumstance.”

The crowd was soon surrounded by a sea of purple and white robes as the graduates marched out the doors of the high school led by the Honorary Marshals from the Class of 2014, Cassidy Archdeacon, Jared Hirsh, Devon Losee, and Rachel Wesley.

Oyster Bay High School Senior Class President Mark Stutzmann led the hundreds of family, friends, and on lookers assembled on the front lawn of the high school in the Pledge of Allegiance.  The OBHS Chamber Singers sang a beautiful version of the “Star Spangled Banner” under the direction of Seanna Burke.

Oyster Bay High School Principal Dr. Dennis O’Hara, in his opening remarks, said, “This group of graduates, like those before them have achieved above state and national averages academically. In fact, the top five students in the Class of 2014 would have been either the valedictorian or salutatorian of any class as far back as I could find data. I am proud to say that every soon-to-be graduate of the Class of 2014 is fully accounted for in terms of college, career plans or military service.”  

Dr. O’Hara concluded his address by charging the grads to “follow your passions, keep your intentions pure, and endeavor to make a difference, one person at a time.”

Dr. O’Hara turned the podium over to Congressman Steve Israel, who shared with the graduates his pride in Long Island whose engineers built the space craft that landed men on the moon.  He recognized the Oyster Bay High School Valedictorian Cindy Hom, who will be attending Georgetown University this fall. He offered her an internship in his Washington, DC office.  

Dr. O’Hara then welcomed Rebecca Layne to the podium to deliver the address of welcome as salutatorian of the Class of 2014.

Layne will be attending Stanford University this fall, where she will study applied math.

While at OBHS, Layne excelled as a member of the soccer and lacrosse teams. Layne was recognized for her achievements by being chosen as a News 12 Scholar Athlete.

Layne was a member of the OBHS chapter of the National Honor Society, the French Honor Society, the Science Honor Society, and the Tri-M Honor Society. She also played the French horn in the OBHS Wind Ensemble and performed at Carnegie Hall in March 2014.

Layne served as President of National Honor Society and Vice President of French Honor Society.  This summer Rebecca will continue her studies of Epigenetics at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories.

In her address, Layne said, “I’m proud to stand here today, but I’m even prouder to have been a part of all this. Our achievements were possible because we have supported each other along the way. We shaped each other into diligent students, daring leaders, fierce competitors, and, mostly, kind, caring, and accepting human beings.

“Our time together went by too quickly.  But, in the end, time is a gift. Continue to use every moment wisely, and cherish it for it cannot be replaced. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors. In your next four years, keep exploring, thriving, and working towards wherever your passions lie. Believe in yourself, for, among us, I see creative innovators, compassionate individuals, and leaders of tomorrow.  Engage yourself in your community. Never avoid a challenge for fear of failure. And dare to make a difference.”

Dr. Laura Seinfeld offered advice to the Class of 2014 in her first graduation address as Superintendent of Schools. As has been the tone of Dr. Seinfeld’s first year as superintendent, she involved and engaged the students as she reviewed this past year with dates highlighted by the birthdays of graduating seniors.  

“This has been a most rewarding school year, mostly because of this group of young adults, who are life-long learners, do not settle for the status quo, choose kind, make safe decisions, work hard toward their dreams, and demonstrate the importance of collaboration and relationships with others.  My heartiest congratulations to the Class of 2014.”

Dr. O’Hara welcomed the valedictorian, Cindy Hom, to the podium to deliver the farewell speech. She plans on attending Georgetown University in September, where she will study math, chemistry and possibly physics.

While at Oyster Bay High School, Cindy was a member of the OBHS chapter of the National Honor Society, the National Science Honor Society, the Business Honor Society, the Art Honor Society, and was the Publicity Officer for the Foreign Language Honor Society.

Hom is working toward the Gold Award in Girl Scouts. Her project is helping seniors with technology. She also works as a volunteer assistant teacher every Sunday for the Chinese School at OBHS.

Hom said, “Throughout the years we have laughed with our lifelong friends, formed close relationships with our teachers, and created joyous memories. High school is a great time in our life, but there will be plenty more to come. Life will not be easy. While mistakes will be made, and tears will be shed, as we continue on with the next phase of our lives, I am confident that we will all succeed, for we share a common trait: we were raised in a community that fosters compassion and selflessness.

“I feel privileged to have met some incredible people in Oyster Bay.  Maya Angelou put it best when she said, ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’  Through my eyes, all of you will be remembered as kind, genuine, and extraordinary.  I wish you the best with your future endeavors and I hope you know that you are important and can have an impact on the world. Reflect on your past, be honest with yourself, assess who you are in the present, and become the person you want to be.”

The Oyster Bay Senior Ensemble combined with the Chamber Singers provided a musical interlude singing a song called “Home,” made popular by American Idol winner Phillip Phillips.

Board of Education Vice-President Robin Dando took to the podium to offer her remarks, in which she said, “Today marks a milestone on your journey of life. Ahead lies the world, a blank canvas, waiting for you to make your mark. Whether you go to college, the military, or the workforce, continue to learn and challenge yourselves. If you make mistakes, learn from them, if you find yourselves on a path that doesn’t look so good, change it. And always remember to be kind. What we do and say does affect others.”

A special performance was inserted into the program as senior members of the Wind Ensemble and Chamber Singers came together to perform the Beatles song “In My Life.”  The beautiful arrangement was written and conducted by graduating senior Steven Matthews and featured a wonderful piano solo by Hannah Kulis of the Class of 2014.

OBHS Chapter of the National Honor Society member Matthew Trieber introduced this year’s choice for the National Honor Society Honorary Inductee, OBHS French Teacher, Timothy McCarthy.

Diplomas were handed out, caps were thrown in the air, then off to parties and the rest of their lives as Oyster Bay High School Alumni.

News

On Saturday, July 5, Building J on the Western Waterfront was opened to the public for a free concert of classical music played by talented youth in the Oyster Bay Music Festival. The acoustics in the large metal shed were lively as the backdrop of the Ida May, a wooden oyster dredge under construction, lent artisanal flavor to the rich stew of mostly sea-related musical selections. People sat on stacks and benches of freshly milled wood or stood in the cavernous space. They soaked in beautiful solos, duets and trios that combined voice, piano, flute, cello and violin. Frank M Flower & Sons provided fresh oysters that engaged the palate, and representatives from Steinway & Sons gave a quick overview of how their pianos are made, relating several aspects of their meticulous process to the construction of the Ida May.

Last week was one of Oyster Bay’s biggest, most anticipated summer events, the Italian American Society’s St. Rocco’s Festival. Returning to its usually spot in Fireman’s Field on Shore Avenue, the festival was filled with amusement rides, live music, and great food and company.

“We come every year to St. Rocco’s with friends,” said Laura Regan of East Norwich. “The rides and awesome food make it a lot of fun.”


Sports

Oakcliff’s intensive training program provided a high level of competition last weekend at the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship in Oyster Bay.

This year, the teams selected for the event were highly ranked through the United States, and several of the competitors are past and current Oakcliff trainees, including Elizabeth Shaw, Kathryn Shiber, Madeline Gill, and Danielle Gallo.

A total of 11 members of St. Dominic Track Team (grades 1-8) recently medaled at the Nassau-Suffolk CYO Championship Finals at Mitchel Field. In the finals, the athletes competed against the finalists from all three regions, representing more than 2,500 athletes from 23 other parishes.

In addition to the student athletes’ success, the track coaches were honored as well. St. Dominic CYO Track coaches Phil Schade (grades 1-3), Julie and Mike Keffer (grades 4-6) and Rich Cameron (grades 7-8) were selected by peer coaches in their region for the NSCYO Team Sportsmanship Award. The Saint Dominic CYO track program, in its second year, has already proven to be a force to be reckoned with and the young runners are among the best on Long Island.


Calendar

OB Band Concerts

Wednesday, July 23

Music Under The Stars

Friday, July 25

Annual Chicken BBQ

Saturday, July 26



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com