History Club's Annual Veterans Day Breakfast Enhanced by the Military Wall of Honor
November 10, 2021
For years, Sayville School District has been endeavoring to create a Military Wall of Honor. Last year, the project took a step closer toward its goal with an invitation to the community, posted on the website and disseminated through the mail, requesting names and information of former Sayville students who served in the U.S. Military. Since then, over 675 responses poured in and the ongoing appeal continues to gather more names and information.
It seemed fitting to coordinate the opening ceremony of the Military Wall of Honor with the High School History Club’s Annual Veterans Day Breakfast, a long custom of mingling service men and women in an informal setting with students as they dialog about their military experiences. These listening-and-learning opportunities have proven to be enlightening to generations of History Club members.
On Wednesday, November 10, 2021, when the Sayville History Club—under the direction of Advisor Mrs. Susan Hart—hosted its Annual Veterans Day Breakfast, Principal Ron Hoffer officially opened the Military Wall of Honor with a special ceremony to recognize our veterans who have served and sacrificed to provide this nation with our unique veil of freedom:
“I want to seize this opportunity to welcome all of our Veterans…our Wall of Honor committee members, our History Club Advisor, Mrs. Susan Hart, as well as our History Club students, our Board of Education trustees—Dr. Bertsch is here—our Central Office Administrators…our High School Faculty and Staff, and the family and friends of the late Major General Dennis Fagan.
“As you may have already seen, we’re pleased to share a new enhancement to our High School this morning. That is our Wall of Honor. Our Wall of Honor affords us an opportunity to recognize hundreds—literally hundreds—of men and women who have attended Sayville Public Schools and have served our great country in fulfilling the noblest of professions in our United States Military.
“I’d like to bring your attention to the plaque, which has been permanently affixed to our Wall of Honor. The plaque reads: Dedicated to Major General Dennis Fagan who served in the National Guard for 29 years and who served the students of Sayville High School as a technology teacher and yearbook advisor 33 years.”
Principal Hoffer presented Dennis Fagan’s wife, Jane, and children Jen, Tim, Kerry, Kelly and Kelly’s husband Dave, a replica of the plaque. On a personal note, Mr. Hoffer shared an anecdote about his grandfather who served in WWII and earned a Silver Star. In closing, he thanked all who pulled together to make the Military Wall of Honor possible. He acknowledged key individuals whose diligence deserved special recognition. Sayville High School ‘s main office assistant Mrs. Jean Trunz for whom the entire oversight was a “labor of love,” to Sayville faculty Bryan Coon for the Branches Medallions, Deb Urso for the art designs, and Central Office John Belmonte for construction and donations, along with Will Seus for the technological support. History Club Advisor Susan Hart was indispensable in culling the talent from among her History Club students: ”Will Kretz who spent hundreds of hours organizing all the research,” along Meredith Albertelli, Sophia Sanchez, and Gene Weng who assisted him.
Principal Hoffer continued, “And lastly and most importantly, I want to recognize the service of our distinguish guests…thank you for your service on behalf of myself and my family…You are in large part why we have the freedoms today in this great country… Happy Veterans Day! ”
After the Wall of Honor installation, guests viewed the artwork planned for a mural at the VFW Post 433 and returned to the Senior Lounge for breakfast. The 2021 Veterans Day Breakfast ended with musical tributes performed by the High School Chorale and the High School Band in the auditorium.