Wednesday, 03 July 2013 00:00
Sunday, June 23, was a perfect day in Oyster Bay. It was 85 degrees under bright blue skies. You couldn’t have asked for better conditions to celebrate the commencement of the Class of 2013. 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, Cindy Hom, Aubri Juhasz, Rebecca Layne, Claudia Mastrogiacomo and Halsey Quinn.
Oyster Bay High School Senior Class President, Marissa Venuto 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 Ms. Seanna Burke.
Oyster Bay High School Principal Dr. Dennis O’Hara, in his opening remarks, said, “This group of students has consistently exceeded Long Island, New York State and National averages on State assessments, Regents exams, ACT’s and SAT’s. They have achieved national prominence by being among not just the best schools of the nation, but among the best of the best, according to the Washington Post’s and Newsweek’s rankings of the nation’s best high schools.” 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.
If you do this, I can assure you that you will not only be very successful, but that you will enable your soul to evolve and you will lead a life that is as rewarding and as enriching as I have felt being with you for the last six years.”
Dr. O’Hara turned the podium over to Congressman Steve Israel. Mr. Israel 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 Salutatorian, Alessandra Puccio, who will be attending Georgetown University this fall. He offered her an internship in his Washington DC office. Puccio is planning on accepting the offer.
Dr. O’Hara then welcomed Puccio to the podium to deliver the address of welcome as Salutatorian of the Class of 2013.
Puccio will study English and Government with a minor in journalism at Georgetown University this fall.
While at OBHS, Alessandra excelled as a member of the Field Hockey Team, the Winter and Spring Track Teams. She was captain of each team in all three sports. Ally was recognized for her achievements by being chosen as a News 12 Scholar Athlete. Puccio was a member of the OBHS chapter of the National Honor Society, the Student Council, the Foreign Language Honor Society, the Science Honor Society, SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) and the Tri-M Honor Society. She also played the French horn in the OBHS Wind Ensemble.
Alessandra served as vice president of National Science Honor Society, Treasurer of the OBHS Senior Class and was editor in chief of the school newspaper, The Harbour Voice.
In her address, Puccio said, “Serendipity, a noun, is defined as finding something good without looking for it. Something, and I couldn’t tell you what or maybe who, threw the 129 of us together for a reason: to learn from each other. Form you all I have learned joyous celebration of success, growth in times of fault, and unconditional, inexplicable friendship. Wherever your path leads, travel it with care, with love, and the knowledge that you did something really great for “the school by the Bay.” Serendipitous beyond doubt is the only word to describe our thirteen years together. With best wishes and love always, Congratulations to the Class of 2013.”
The Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Phyllis Harrington offered advice to the Class of 2013. “I was also dealing with the reality of this being my last Oyster Bay graduation after having served this community for 15 years. With the help of many, there was much that I was able to accomplish over the course of that time. My greatest hope is that I have left ‘footprints’ along the way. As the graduating seniors of 2013 you will move on to greater and bigger challenges. Remember that one who walks in another’s tracks leaves no footprints. Don’t follow the path with the most footprints, rather make your own.”
Dr. O’Hara welcomed the Valedictorian, Dean Smiros, to the podium to deliver the farewell speech. Smiros finished first in his class to become the Valedictorian for the Oyster Bay High School graduating class of 2013. Dean plans on attending the University of Rochester in September where he will study Engineering.
While at Oyster Bay High School, Dean was a member of the OBHS chapter of the National Honor Society, the National Science Honor Society, the Tri-M Honor Society, the Cross Country Team, the Fencing Team, and played the Tenor Saxophone in the Symphonic Band, the Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band.
Dean served as the president of the OBHS chapter of the National Honor Society, President of National Science Honor Society, and Vice President of the Tri-M Honor Society.
Dean expressed the importance of having confidence in whatever you set out to do even if you have to talk yourself into it. He said, “One of my role models, Teddy Roosevelt said, ‘Believe you can and you’re halfway there.’ I have taken these words to heart and attribute my academic success to this philosophy. What will be the next major innovations that change our world? Neuro-prosthetics and exoskeletons? A cure to cancer? An end to world hunger? Whatever it may be, it is possible through having confidence that you can succeed. I challenge my classmates to find their dream, and make it a reality.”
The Oyster Bay Senior Ensemble combined with the Chamber Singers provided a musical interlude singing a song called “Unwritten.”
Board of Education President Ann Marie Longo took to the podium to offer her remarks, in which she said, “Embrace life’s challenges, grow with every new experience, live, learn, laugh, love and most of all, enjoy.”
OBHS Chapter of the National Honor Society member, Elizabeth Gurdus introduced this year’s choice for the National Honor Society Honorary Inductee, OBHS Music Teacher, Matthew Sisia.
Diplomas were handed out, caps were thrown in the air and it was off to parties and the rest of their lives as Oyster Bay High School alumni.