• Sayville Commencement 2011

    A Class with Compassion Graduates in 2011


    Massive gray clouds and overcast skies did not affect the sunny disposition of the Class of 2011 on June 25th, their Commencement Day. In an undulating ribbon of gold and purple, the procession of Graduates spanned the distance between the high school building and the football field, while Pomp and Circumstance (played by the High School Band under the direction of Mr. DeSalvo) struck the pace. Shouts and cheers from an excited crowd of relatives and friends elicited corresponding waves from many of the graduates as they marched across the clay-red track lanes and onto the green lawn to their seats in alphabetical order on the football field.


    Immediately following the Class of 2011 were members of the Alumni Walk, growing more popular each year, which boasted approximately 65 participants. Their furling banners depicted the class years from 1939 all the way to 2009. New to the ceremony this year was the inclusion of certain “Teachers Who Made a Difference” in the lives of the Class of 2011. Among the fifty-four faculty members who were nominated by the students for this honor, many were able to observe the Commencement ceremony by joining the Alumni under two white tents on the field.


    Once everyone had assembled, High School Principal Ron Hoffer opened with words of welcome and introduced the National Anthem harmoniously sung by select Senior members of the High School Jazz Choir James Harlin, Marra Kassman, Kenneth Murray, and Lyndsey Romard. They also closed with God Bless America, accompanied by the High school Band.


    A brief visit by Senator Chuck Schumer, who retold anecdotes about various milestones in his life as they related to the Class of 2011 at their crossroads, offered his congratulations to all the graduates, gave a special shout out “to the Boys Soccer Team for winning the New York State Championship,” as well as to the students who would be joining the military, and closed with the advice of “go for it!”




    ****************Sayville Superintendent of Schools Dr. Walter Schartner

    Introduced for the first time as the Superintendent of Sayville Schools —after 34 years in the district as a science teacher, coach, Assistant Principal for both secondary schools, and Middle School Principal—Dr. Walter Schartner acknowledged “our honored guests, the Class of 2011,” admitting “I am humbled to be part of this ceremony with you.”


    Dr. Schartner remembered the wide-eyed faces of the Fifth-graders he first met in 2004. During their elementary Moving-Up ceremonies, he had encouraged them to take advantage of the opportunities at the Middle School. In subsequent years, they became one of the three classes that helped the Middle School earn the designation of an Essential Elements School to Watch, National School of Excellence, in 2006. “I thank you for that.”


    Dr. Schartner also complimented the students for listening to his Moving Up advice given a second time in 2007 at the Middle School ceremonies: to take advantage of the opportunities at the High School “You did. Once again, you exceeded all our expectations.” 


    Over the past seven years, Dr. Schartner attended their “plays, concerts, art shows, different athletic contests at which you always excelled.  I’ve viewed your involvement in service to the community and each other. Your service and your academics are impressive. Your AP involvement has made us one of the top 88 schools in the country for increased AP. Through all of these activities, you have helped set a new standard for the classes after you to try to emulate. You have added to the excellence that we know as Sayville Public Schools.”


    Offering just a little more advice at this transition from the High School, Dr. Schartner cited the “Investors Business Daily” newspaper article that analyzed leaders—“successful men and women from all walks of life”—and enumerated their most common traits for the Graduates. Dr. Schartner focused on the last item: “one that I think most of you have already: Be honest and dependable, take responsibility, maintain your character and trustworthiness. For without that, [all the others] will not matter.”


    To put everyone’s collective futures in the proper perspective, Dr. Schartner shared some of the advice from All I Really Need To Know, I Learned In Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum, and once again emphasized the last: “When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together!”

    In closing his address, Dr. Schartner summarized; “So when you get out in the world, and see the expectations, problems, challenges, temptations, discouragements, opportunities, and you forget your advice from your teachers and administrators, just try to remember kindergarten, and the rest will take care of itself.”


     Asking the Class of 2011, to remember and thank all who have contributed to their successful participation in “the great tradition called Sayville High School,” Dr. Schartner assured everyone that this “tradition of excellence will remain our goal for as long as Sayville High School is the center of this community.” He also reminded them that “you have the power to be great in different things. You have the power to change the course of history with goodness, kindness, and intelligent decision-making. Remember Kindergarten. Hold hands and stick together. Have optimism. We are proud of each and every one of you. Good luck! May God bless you all and all you do in the future!”


    RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW***Salutatorian for the Class of 2011, Kathreen Mangaluz “a gifted student, an award-winning science competitor, an outstanding musician and a tremendous person.” Principal Ron Hoffer


    Salutatorian Kathreen Mangaluz spoke softly but with great confidence to her classmates. After expressing her sincerest gratitude to members of the school district as well as her family, friends—especially her fellow graduates—Kathreen admitted she was both honored and humbled to be addressing them.


    Recognizing the diverse ambitions of her classmates, Kathreen realized their common focus has been on their future goals to succeed. “Yet the important knowledge of who we are today is constantly being overlooked… Before we get lost in the possibilities of what will become of us in the future, it is important to just stop for a second—stop worrying about future deadlines, stop worrying about whether we will get that summer internship job, stop worrying about just how successful we can actually become—just stop. Stop for a second and think about how beautiful a day like today is, (Thank goodness it is not raining), appreciate how lucky we are to have such supportive parents (Thanks, Mom and Dad), such supportive siblings (Susie) , supportive friends, family, and teachers (Maria Brown and Mary Jane Stevens). Just stop for a second and appreciate the people we are at this moment: outstanding athletes, outstanding musicians, outstanding artists, outstanding academics, outstanding humanitarians, and outstanding friends.”


    Complimenting the class for their enormous talents, Kathreen shared her Grandfather’s encouragement: “Go out, follow your passion, always remain dedicated to what you love to do, never follow someone else’s path,” which she tempered with her sound Girl Scout advice:  “Unless you’re in the woods and you are lost, then you should definitely follow that path. Always be better prepared for the inevitability of getting lost, because it will happen—that’s how life works.”


    Continuing her analogy of being lost and found, Kathreen stressed another important point. “And here’s the most important part, if you’re really lost and confused, don’t be afraid to look for the path you’ve taken to reach the point where you are now. Look back and remember the way you came because sometimes, in order to move on forward, you have to look back. You can find your way back to this moment and recapture the confidence, spirit, and possibility that you have now.”


    Asking her classmates for one final time, to appreciate and trust that “your great intuition (which has brought you all here today) will help you avoid being eaten alive in the wilderness,” Kathreen wished them all “Congratulations and Best of Luck to the Class of 2011!”


    ************************** “Patricia Ann Kubelle Memorial Award Winner, All-State vocalist, and sensational member of the Theatre Arts Program,” James Harlin gave a great performance of “Feelin Good” by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse. Allowing this jazzy number to build smoothly to a finger-snapping rhythm, James kept his rendition simple, clean, yet powerful, as the lyrics appropriately rejoiced,  “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life” for members of the graduating class. James closed to thunderous applause.




    HOW TO SCORE A GOAL***** Valedictorian for the Class of 2011 Tracey Rosa “A young woman who achieved the highest honors in each academic discipline in our Highs school, a remarkable athlete, and an outstanding scholar and a true gem.” Principal Ron Hoffer


    Opening with words of thanks for all who supported their efforts, Valedictorian Tracey Rosa also congratulated her classmates “sitting here as a result of your own hard work and dedication” for achieving their goals.


    Offering her thoughts and encouragement about setting new goals, Tracey admitted deciding on goals is as varied as each individual. Among her classmates, some will have career-oriented goals, some will serve our country, while “others, like me, [will] strive to work in the medical field.”  Goals can be short-term or long-term, Tracey admitted. “No doubt there are hundreds of other goals that I did not mention, but what is important is that everyone has one, because having a goal is what motivates us to be our best. If we don’t have something that we are working towards, then we may forget why we are working at all, and we end up standing still.”


    In addition to the importance of acquiring a goal Tracey acknowledged that the real “challenge is in achieving it, and today marks a significant turning point in the way that we will do so. Until today, everything we have done has been the result of our own hard work, but to an equal extent it has been the result of the help we received from our parents, teachers, coaches and mentors.”


    Tracey agreed that she and her classmates were fortunate. Things will be different “without the involvement of our parents and teachers that we were used to in high school…. Whether you go off to college, enter the workforce, or nobly serve our country, we will have to rely on ourselves to search for opportunities and motivation…. the drive to succeed must come from ourselves.”  She recommended avoiding pitfalls “by working with drive and motivation in everything we do, so our goals remain attainable.”



    Contrary to the widely held “belief that we must achieve our goals completely on our own,” Tracey gave her classmates great advice. “Alone we can’t achieve anything…. Often times graduates are told that upon leaving high school, they are entering ‘the real world,’ where no one is going to be there to help them out, and they must be totally self-reliant. For many high school graduates, myself included, this paints a picture of complete independence, but also solitude. While it is true that we will have to be independent in creating our own success, many students have trouble seeing the difference between being independent, and being alone. We are not expected to achieve our goals all on our own, so don’t get discouraged if you need help along the way.”


    Tracey determined that ‘those who reach out for assistance when they hit an obstacle are the ones who succeed. Those who give up instead of using the resources around them are the ones who don’t.”



    “We are responsible,” Tracey emphasized, “for achieving our own goals, and part of that responsibility is knowing when and where to look for assistance so we never feel we need to give up on our goals.”


    In closing, Tracey commended her Class of 2011 for their talents, dreams, and ambitions, urged them to keep their goals, and to remember to ask for help. “I wish you all the best of luck in whatever you decide to do, and I know that years from now we will all be even prouder than we are today to say that we are members of Sayville High School’s Class of 2011!”




    *****************High School Principal Ron Hoffer welcomed the Alumni, and expressed great appreciation for their attendance, pride, and enthusiasm. He also encouraged them to join the Alumni Walk every year.



    ************* Board of Education President, Deborah VanEssendelft

    Before the Presentation of the Diplomas, BOE president, Deborah VanEssendelft gave her address and reflected on the often times “overwhelming’’ decisions which the class faces as a whole and the desire of many of them to “make a difference.”


    Assuring the class that they have already accomplished so much, Mrs. VanEssendelft explained. “Each action is a step in the progress of improving our world. Your class has had many outstanding achievements in academics, athletics, and the arts. But the most striking legacy of this class is your compassion and the ability you’ve shown to get things done to help others.”


    “You are our hope for the future,” The BOE President continued. “If your high school achievements are indicative of your adult journey, we have reason to be happy. You have shown caring and compassion for your peers during hard times and provided for those less fortunate than yourselves. You’ve shown respect and support for our troops overseas and awareness and responsibility for stewardship of our environment. I’ve witnessed a competence for organizing and motivating others, a willingness to do the hard work needed to get things done well beyond your years. All these things have improved our community and bode well for the future, and we are all very proud.”


    Among some of the things Mrs. VanEssendelft encouraged the graduates to do was keep learning and growing, trust in their abilities, get involved, follow their passions, learn from their mistakes, and stay calm under pressure. She reminded them that while “Ten percent of life is what happens and ninety percent of it is how you respond to it,” .that true character is defined in “how you handle the challenges defines your character….You need not be apprehensive about the future, because it will be in your capable hands. Congratulations Class of 2011!”



    THE GOLDEN BUBBLE*********Student Government President Maria Bonacore

    Once the Class of 2011 diplomas were awarded to the 280 graduates, Principal Hoffer introduced an additional speaker to the traditional Commencement line up. “… a dynamic leader, a superb athlete, and a tremendous human being, the President of the Class of 2011’s student Government Student Government President Miss “Mia” Bonacore.


    “Sayville is a bubble,” Maria Bonacore stated. While acknowledging the negative view of such a description, Mia maintained, “we have an unbelievable amount of accomplishments here in our bubble …. Sure, we are a small town when it comes to size, but what makes us so outstanding is how we take advantage of this size.”


    Equating the Sayville High School student population to a successful team, Mia’s analogy was powerfully supported by her firsthand experience as an outstanding multisport athlete, team captain, and school government leader.


    First, Mia admired her Sayville teammates who seized the opportunities, got involved, and made enormous contributions. “We, as teammates are so willing to maintain not only reputations, but also tradition. We honor our traditions, while we originate new ones. We don’t just participate; we excel. Whether it is academics, arts, music, athletics or community service, this team is talented and constantly striving to succeed.”


    Mia also recognized while “every team has a season…our season” is ‘just getting started. After today, the Class of 2011 will begin playoffs.”  She spoke confidently that her team players would serve as captains and role models for good works well beyond the Sayville High school community.


    “Students don’t just attend school, we are the school,” Mia declared, enumerating the year-round events at Sayville High School where high school memories were made. “Whether you were wearing a Golden Flashes uniform, a band jacket, working in the Sayville Library, painting the windows of shops on Main Street, or bundled up outside Stop N Shop, ringing bells for the Salvation Army, nobody rides the bench on this team.”


    Mia announced that the Class of 2011 is prepared to take the next step. “The jerseys we will forever wear are our pride.” Leaving their legacy at “Brook Street” and “all around Sayville,” Mia had faith her teammates would “utilize the leadership, knowledge, generosity, and our overall experience,” to make a difference. “Involvement is what this town is all about. Involvement is what makes this bubble, the best bubble on Long Island!”



    One Thousand Words**************** President of the Senior Class Timothy Cowan

     “A young man who has worked tirelessly on behalf of the Class of 2011, a remarkable role model, and a very special person in our High School. Principal Ron Hoffer


    “Hello. Hey! Hi… What’s up! How are you?” Timothy Cowan greeted his classmates and humorously precused as intentional any accidental stutters, fumbles, or mispronunciations during his speech.


    After a serious moment, acknowledging “all those going off to serve our country” with a round of applause, Tim opened his Response for the Class with the quote: “Some say ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,’ and the picture I see right now is no exception. From this moment on, my speech will be precisely one-thousand words, explaining exactly what I see.”


    Tim began by describing what he could actually could see from the podium: “some who are tired of sitting and listening to people speak… proud parents, excited students, some of whom are rapidly counting fingers attempting to disprove my one-thousand-word promise.” After, he added his insights about his classmates: “but what I see most is a group of passionate and powerful individuals. I see the strong, the brave, the intelligent, the outgoing, the persuasive, the fabulous, the beautiful and much more. I see a group of capable people who can accomplish anything they put their minds to. We are not the future of just our little town of Sayville, not of New York, not even of the United States, but WE are the future of the world… capable of achieving all of our dreams, and each one of us is the best at something… As I look out into the crowd, I don’t see a group of random faces; I see a network of supporting individuals, ready to fight, ready to succeed.”


    Reflecting on what their generation has experienced and “survived together,” from Pokeman to Facebook, Tim stated “We have become stronger as a nation due to terrorism, we have become a generation competent in technology, we have illustrated our ability to adapt in any situation, which will help us as we further grow. We have witnessed the election of the first black president; we have seen cloning, new medicine, new games, new everything and we will continue to see new advancements. We will live longer, and pretty soon we will travel in flying cars, or at least I like to think so. We came, we saw, we conquered, and we will continue to do so.”


    With a smile Tim added, “I can promise you that we were the best class of 2011 Sayville High School will ever see.…” When the chuckles subsided, Tim admitted, “To be honest, I think our class is the best they’ll ever see. We have certainly left quite an impression.”


    This included calling their own assemblies, dunk tanks, ice cream trucks, and winning homecoming.


    Recalling High School lessons learned—real, silly, and humbling—an how they will help in the future, Tim confessed certain lessons have made him “more outgoing, more willing to make a fool of myself…. on that note of making a fool of myself, I was requested to say this, ‘That’s amazing,’” which elicited cheers from his classmates. (Go to Sayville Public Library’s website to see Tim’s alter ego, Captain Amazing, in a video showcasing the new library.)


    Aware that his word count was limited, Tim remarked, “It is at this moment I realize exactly how hard it is to explain a picture in a thousand words,” but thanked everyone who ever gave him support (and with fifty-eight words) left, Tim congratulated his classmates, had confidence they would find success “I would not be surprised to find out many of you have become CEOs, doctors, lawyers, and millionaires or even billionaires depending on the inflationary rate, ” and ended his speech by pulling out a camera, requesting “everyone please say ‘cheese,” because this is the picture I will remember forever…” and snapped the shutter.

    "Members of the Class of 2011 won significant honors, both individually and collectively, and have been tremendous representatives of our school and community," stated High School Principal Ron Hoffer before he briefly enumerated the following statistics:

    • The graduates met and/or exceeded the academic standards: 92% of the students in the Class of 2011 will go on to further education; 95% will have earned a Regents Diploma this year.

    • At the 37th Annual Scholastic Awards program, 110 deserving students received 191 awards. These recipients wore gold- or purple- ribboned medallions at graduation.

    • So far, 131 students have received academic or community scholarships that value well over 2.5 million dollars.

    • Lionel Pomerantz, Tracey Rosa, and Bryan Thornlow were National Merit Scholarship Commended students.

    • Eric Abrahall, Christopher Bailey, Justin Bonamico, Christopher Capon, Timothy Carey, Gregory Fountain, Daniel Ryder, and Daniel Siegel were recognized for their anticipated military service.

    Our Fine Arts students had a tremendous year. Sayville had three winners—Rachel Crennan, Patrick O’Connor and Katie Svarzman—at the BAFFA Art Exhibition. Scott Davidson won an award at the Hecksher Museum Annual Long Island Best Young Artist Show that exhibited over 200 entries,

    Our Music Department was again a finalist in the Grammy Signature School Competition and was selected one of the Best Communities for Music Education in America by the NAMM Foundation and the National Association of Music Teachers. We had 107 music students receive NYSSMA All-County and three—Nicolas Calvano, James Harlin, and Katelyn Odierna—were NYSSMA All-State. Katelyn was also an All-Eastern Violinist and recipient of a $1,000 Scholarship from the New York State Council of Administrators of Music Education

    Our Research in Science and Engineering Program, under the direction of Ms. Maria Brown, had winning students: Neha Kinariwalla (Siemens Semifinalist), and Kathreen Mangaluz, Alyssa Mignone, and Tracey Rosa in multiple science competitions.

    Our Theatre Arts program, directed by Mr. Steven Hailey, had another productive year with the intense Inherit the Wind, the hilarious Barefoot in the Park, the musical Crazy for You, and seven excellent student-directed one-act plays.

    • In the arena of Interscholastic Athletics, for a THIRD consecutive year, all 26 varsity teams were given NYSPHSAA Scholar-Athlete Team Awards, also earning Sayville School District a third NYS School of Distinction for Academic & Athletic Excellence Plaque.

    In eight sports, our varsity individuals or teams won LEAGUE or DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIPS in Girls: Golf, Field Hockey, Soccer; Boys: Tennis, Soccer, Baseball, Football, Swimming-Diving: COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIPS in Girls Soccer, Boys Soccer, and Football.

    Additional congratulations to our Boys Soccer Team for becoming New York State Class A Champions!

    High School Service Organizations, Student Government, Key Club, Anchor Club, Tri-M, FBLA, Art Honor Society, Interact, SWEEP, S.A.D.D., History Club, and the National Honor Society have once again served our community by giving back not only to local communities, but also worldwide.