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A Special Routine

  • Lining up in Song

    with Hands Over Hearts

    In a gesture symbolizing respect and compassion, Sayville athletes demonstrate a special kind of kindness.

     “Too often we hear in the news about student athletes behaving badly, so it is quite a breath of fresh air to witness something truly heartwarming here at Sayville High School upon leaving the building each day,” remarked Sayville Speech Teacher Angela O’Hoppe. “It is a feel-good story that leaves me smiling every time I think about it.”

    Since the beginning of the school year, a student with special needs has been participating in an afterschool physical activity. Along with his aide, he has been walking the track surrounding the football field before going home. “Jacob, for the entire football season, has interacted with members of the football team before, during, and after his walk around the track.” Ms. O’Hoppe continued. “Each day, Jacob instructs the boys to ‘line up!’ Immediately the squad stands shoulder-to-shoulder, with their hands on their hearts, and sings the National Anthem with Jacob. When the song is over they burst into applause and Jacob turns beet red with delight. This ritual that takes place every Monday through Thursday at our school is a shining example of our mission.”

    And Ms. O’Hoppe should know. As an adviser for the Sayville Flashes Leadership Club, it has been her goal to encourage students at the high school to be confident and kind by extending compassion to others when no one is looking. “I told the boys they make me very proud to work and live here.”