It Was Perfect Weather for Ducks At Sunrise Drive’s Moving Up
Celebrating Sunrise Drive's 2019 Moving Up Students
Outside, the rain plummeted. Inside, nothing could pummel the sunny disposition of the Sunrise Drive Moving-Up Class of 2019. With smiles on their faces, they paraded through their elementary school building for the last time to the applause and cheers from all the teachers and underclassmen lining the halls. The Honor Guard led the procession of students toward the Sunrise Drive stage and officially opened the celebration by leading the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
“Even when Mother Nature throws a curve ball,” the unflappable Principal Dr. James Foy remarked about that rainy, June 25th Tuesday morning, “it’s always sunny at Sunrise Drive.” Dr. Foy continued by inviting the Moving-Up Class to stand. “In the Spring of 2014, this very same cohort of students sang on this stage the Sunrise Drive School Song, written by our wonderful music teacher, Ms. Amy Baron. I am sure that many of you remember that cute little kindergarten charm that accompanied their voices. Our ceremony will begin today by singing our school song once more.”
After their lovely performance of Sunrise Drive, You are the One, Dr. Foy officially welcomed the students, parents, Sayville administrators, Board members, and guests to “our Fifth-Grade Moving-Up Ceremony. It is amazing how fast time flies. It is hard to believe that the Class of 2026 is almost half way through their educational journey here in our school district.”
Dr. Foy observed that this “amazing group of students” has had many experiences over the past six years. “Here at Sunrise Drive your teachers, the staff, and I feel privileged that we could be a part of those experiences. As you continue on your academic journey, next year you will all be attending a new school. I know that you may have some nervous feelings, but know that you are moving on to a place that will allow you to continue to grow and mature. At this point, I would like to invite Mr. Murray, the Middle School Principal to join me...”
Mr. Murray greeted the assembly and assured the students that they will adjust to their new school and enjoy many opportunities; he also reminded them that Locker Day will be in August.
During the course of the celebration Dr. Foy recognized both student acheivements and student character. Quoting Anne Frank who said “How wonderful is it that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world,” Dr. Foy shared that the Fifth graders are “an exemplary group, of young men and women” who have put those words to practice: They have” demonstrated such amazing community outreach and service and serve as role models to younger classes. Many of our Fifth graders provide daily supervision to the younger students in our building during arrival and dismissal. Our Student Council members collected and donated to: Matthews Giving Tree, The Diabetes Foundation, The Special Olympics, Team Valentina – Philadelphia Hospital, The David Roben Foundation and Inclusive Sports Fitness. The Fifth graders this year took a tour of ISF and presented them with decorated backpacks filled with sensory toys. They were also responsible for the fundraising of various charitable organizations that were selected by the students. Needless to say, these students did not wait a moment before starting to improve the world. Our school, community and world are a better place because of your efforts. ”
Dr. Foy called upon Mrs. Baron and the Fifth-graders for another sweetly sung musical interlude of We Won’t Stop Dreaming, followed by the presentation of certificates to the class by their teachers: Sharon Donnelly and Georgette Kilgen, Michele Kearney and Matthew Banaszak, and Eileen McCullough. Each teacher shared heartfelt comments about the students who were now moving on.
Upon the completion of the class certification, Dr. Foy congratulated the boys and girls but in addition, their parents. “It is your tireless love and devotion to your children which has helped to craft the fine group of young people we have on stage today. Their accomplishments are yours as well. Boys and Girls, I would like to invite you to stand and recognize your parents for all they have done to get you to this moment as well as all this things yet to come!”
Inviting Mrs. Baron and the Class to sing one last time, the students gave a rousing and lively performance of Have It All before Dr. Foy’s final words. “In the song you just sang it said, ‘May the best of your todays be the worst of your tomorrows and may the road less paved, be the road that you follow.’ I hope that this is true for each of you. I hope that everyday forward is better than the last and the road you take in life, takes you on a remarkable journey.” Dr. Foy closed, wishing them to “have a wonderful summer and good luck in Middle School and remember… once a Sunrise Duck, always a Sunrise Duck!”
To every dark cloud, there is a silver lining. With the original plans for an outdoor party revamped, the Sunrise Drive Moving-Up Class continued their enjoyable celebration at a PTA reception in the ample Multipurpose room.
Sunrise Drive Moving-Up Students on Parade
Awards and Recognition
During the awards portion of the program, Dr. Foy acknowledged the students who received awards for their math, music, language arts, and fine arts achievements and presented awards to the following students:
President’s Academic Fitness Award
- Gold students who maintained an outstanding academic record throughout 4th and 5th grades were: Grace Cullen, Emily Desiderio, Madison Hahn, Annabella Hart, Ava Helbock, James Regan, Ella Ryan, Braeden Skelly, Brody Tellier, Emily Totevski, Payton Yonick.
- Silver students with great academic growth or demonstrated exceptional commitment to learning but did not meet the requirements for a gold certificate were: Meghan Brady, Braylen Brodsky, Katherine Castagna, Olivia DeSimone, Jeevan Koshy, Natalie Lauro, Julia Lilienthal, Madeline McGinnis, Jenna Messina, Julianna Montalto, Sara Stewart, Meghan Vahle, Gabriella Vario.
To the students being recognized by state and local politicians, Dr. Foy presented the following:
- THE SUFFOLK COUNTY LEGISLATURE’S “CHARACTER EXCELLENCE AWARD” - Emily Desiderio for showing integrity, accountability, character, solid decision-making skills and a commitment to helping peers.
- THE THOMAS DINAPOLI, NY STATE COMPTROLLER “ACHIEVEMENT AWARD” - Grace Cullen and Emily Totevski for showing the potential for leadership through involvement in activities that improve the community and school.
- THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S TRIPLE-C AWARD - Ella Lagonigro and Julia Lilienthal for their Character, Courage and Commitment to learning, their community and classmates.
- THE STEVEN BELLONE, COUNTY EXECUTIVE PUBLIC-SERVICE AWARD - Natalie Lauro and Beatrice McKeon for demonstrating combined academic success with commitment to community.
- THE AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP AWARD - Juliana Balsamo, John Clampett, Davon Jackson, and Cassidy Von Eschen for participating in school and/or community service, showing a positive attitude toward classmates, school, and community, and promoting
- THE THREE R’s (Respect for self, Respect for others, and Respect for our school) AWARD - Braylen Brodsky, Julianna Montalto, Kayla Moran. This is a special award designed by our school and given to Sunrise Drive students who demonstrate the 3 R’s Respect for self, Respect for others, and Respect for our school.
- The David A. Roben Memorial Award - Ella Ryan as the first David A. Roben award winner here at Sunrise Drive. Before Dr. Foy called up the Roben family, SD Alumna Faith Roben with her mother, Mary Roben while he spoke about the award. “In the honor of Mr. Roben, his family created a legacy that will continue to ‘pay-it-forward’ for many years to come. This is an award that honors a great man in our community. David Roben was a father, a husband, and a friend to so many here in Sayville. The David A. Roben Foundation was designed to award scholarships to students in Sayville HS, Sayville MS, and Sunrise Drive. This award is meant for a student who treats their fellow classmates with respect, courtesy, and fairness. They show integrity and always have a positive attitude. And just like Mr. Roben, this year’s award winner is defined as honest, trustworthy, caring and ethical with a drive for excellence in all that she does.”
- My Character Shines at Sunrise Drive - This very special recognition was given to students who demonstrated exemplary character at Sunrise Drive. “Throughout the years,” Foy explained, “many students have received a My Character Shines at Sunrise Drive sticker and had a leaf placed on Mrs. Ports Tree. This is a character program that recognizes students for their leadership, good character, citizenship, and kindness to others. Students may have also received a Kindness Coin that they then used to Pay-it-Forward. I would ask that if you have ever received a coin or a leaf to please stand and be recognized for making a difference in our school and leading by example.” The entire Moving-Up Class stood to be recognized.