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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

When Danielle Taylor decided to compete in a six-mile civilian military obstacle course last September, she knew two things: she did not want to do it alone and she wanted the challenge to have a purpose. She found a partner in Jeannine DelPozzo and a worthwhile cause in the Morgan Center.

 

Both Taylor and DelPozzo are entrepreneurs; Taylor, of Bish Bash Books in Oyster Bay and DelPozzo of DelPozzo Foods, in East Norwich. Each have a history of using their businesses to support local charities. Bish Bash Books used the iPad give back program to support at-risk children while DelPozzo Foods has supported Island Harvest in their efforts to combat hunger.

Our experience of 9/11 has changed; today it is seen as part of a journey and not an isolated event. On Wednesday, Sept. 10, President Barack Obama spoke to the nation saying the battle against terrorism is ongoing. 

 

That awareness that we had gone through the experience of the fall of the Twin Towers and had rebounded, but the danger is not over, and the battle is still to be won was repeated by Senator Carl Marcellino at the Day of Commemoration at the Oyster Bay 9/11 Memorial Garden on the Western Waterfront on Thursday evening.


Sports

Former football coach and NFL player Bill Curry recently brought a wealth of experience, knowledge and history to a wide audience of student-athletes and coaches at Hofstra University for a lesson on diversity, tolerance and respect in high school athletics.

 

Director of the NYS PHSAA Sportsmanship Committee and Manhasset High School Athletic Director Jim Amen Jr. established the summit and invited Curry as keynote speaker.

Amen Jr. and Section VIII Executive Director Nina Van Erk introduced Curry to a crowd representing more than 37 local high schools.

Hard work paid off for local athletes Christine Grippo of Locust Valley, Kelly Pickard of Oyster Bay, Bernadette Winnubst of Locust Valley, Steven Quigley of Bayville, Catherine Soler of Oyster Bay, Maria Elinger of Oyster Bay, and Armand D’Amato of Oyster Bay Cove, each of whom won awards in a field of some of the best triathletes from all of Long Island and beyond in the 27th annual Runner’s Edge - Town of Oyster Bay Triathlon, held in and around Oyster Bay’s Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park on Saturday morning, Aug. 23.

Grippo earned top honors in the women’s 30-34 age group with a time of 1 hour, 17 minutes, 36 seconds. Pickard (1:17:39) scored first among the women in the 35-39 age group. Winnubst scored in 1:38:48 to earn third place honors in the Masters Athena Weight Division. Quigley earned the second place award in the Masters Clydesdale Weight Division in 1:23:23. Soler (1:29:12) scored 5th among the women in the 20-24 age group. Ehlinger (1:39:23) was the 4th place award winner in the women’s 55-59 age group. D’Amato (1:42:44) earned top honors in the 70-74 age group.


Calendar

MSA Party - September 17

West Shore Rd. Update - September 18

Harbor Beach Cleanup - September 20


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