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Amityville’s Class of 2019 Shines Bright

Amityville’s Class of 2019 Shines Bright photo

As Amityville Memorial High School graduates made their way along the track, cheers erupted from the crowd. Proud family members, who filled the bleachers, enthusiastically welcomed the Class of 2019 to the football field where commencement exercises were held on June 27.

Acting Principal Edward Plaia announced that it was the first time graduation had been in the evening. It also marked the return of the ceremony to the outdoors after two years of inclement weather. This year the sun shined bright as speakers talked about the bright futures ahead for the graduates. 

“We are all extraordinarily proud of you,” said Mr. Plaia, who was their principal at Edmund W. Miles Middle School. “We are here to celebrate your achievements and your accomplishments over all your years of schooling.”

Mr. Plaia cited their “Warrior work ethic” which led them to success and will help them through the bigger challenges ahead. He noted that the graduates have been accepted into some of the top colleges on the planet.

Superintendent Dr. Mary T. Kelly told the graduates to thank all those who have helped them reach this level of achievement. As they move on, she asked graduates to cherish the memories, friendships and experiences from their time in Amityville and use it as a source of comfort.

Dr. Kelly discussed the Apollo 11 moon landing, and how it was the culmination of many years of hard work from people from all different backgrounds. She said the first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong, would never have imagined doing that when he graduated college, yet a little more than a decade later he made history.

“As I look out at you this evening,” Dr. Kelly told the graduates, “I am very optimistic, because I see the future, and I am confident that the world will be assured of many more giant leaps for mankind because you will lead the way.”

Valedictorian Raiphy Jerez, who will major in electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that most people can’t point to one big moment that has led to the their success. Instead, it is a series of little decisions that creates each person’s path.

Salutatorian Aleyna Kokoglu spoke about how she moved to Amityville from Turkey when she was 9, spoke little English, and learned to communicate through art. Nine years later, she is preparing to attend Stony Brook University with ambitions of becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon. 

The end of high school, she explained, isn’t the end of a journey but just another step along the way.

“It marks the beginning of a much more exciting chapter for all of us,” she said. “This is where our lives truly begin.”

Senior class adviser Margot Howard said her first introduction to the Class of 2019 was when they were in seventh grade, and she was a student teacher. Meeting them assured her that education was her right path, and soon after she began teaching in Amityville. She encouraged the graduates to seek a meaningful purpose in life.

“Go out into the world and do well,” she said, “but more importantly, go out into the world and do good.”

Senior class President Britney Colas reflected on the years the graduates spent together. Although they will head in different directions, she hopes Warrior pride will remain in the hearts forever and the friendships will remain intact.

“As I stand here today and look upon my fellow graduates, I see potential, potential for greatness,” she said, adding, “This is not a goodbye, this is simply a see you later.”

Under an arch of red and gray balloons, graduates received their diplomas from Mr. Plaia and were congratulated on stage by Dr. Kelly and board of education members.

High School Social Studies Teacher Earns Regional Honor

High School Social Studies Teacher Earns Regional Honor photo
Amityville Memorial High School social studies teacher Margot Howard was recognized by the Long Island Council for the Social Studies with the Robert P. Flinn Award. It is presented to a non-tenured social studies teacher on Long Island who has demonstrated strong knowledge of social studies content and current issues, is effective and inspiring, and has the ability to convey the importance and vitality of social studies to students. 

Ms. Howard has taught at the high school for four years, including global history and Advanced Placement human geography. Joining her at the awards ceremony were Assistant Principal Brian Suckle and Social Studies Chairwoman Dawn Mizrachi.

Memories Revisited for Amityville Seniors

Memories Revisited for Amityville Seniors photo

Shortly before 10:30 a.m. on June 6, yellow school buses pulled up in the driveway of Northwest Elementary School, but it wasn’t young children who stepped off. Instead, it was the 241 members of Amityville Memorial High School’s senior class.

The soon-to-be graduates visited all of their former schools during the senior walk, an annual tradition to celebrate the impending milestone. Led by Assistant Principal Brian Suckle and Dean of Students John Cardone, the Class of 2019 walked through the first, second and third grade hallways in order, as the elementary students lined the halls to cheer them on. Many made signs congratulating the seniors who were clad in their red caps and gowns. Pomp and Circumstance played over the speakers. 

The scene was repeated as the seniors moved on to Northeast Elementary School — where they began their educational careers in pre-K or kindergarten — then to Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School and Edmund W. Miles Middle School. Seniors exchanged hugs with former teachers, who beamed with pride in seeing past students all grown up, having achieved so much and ready to accomplish so much more.

Northeast kindergarten teacher Dyan Aversa said this year’s senior class included students she had during her first year teaching kindergarten in Amityville. Pre-K teacher Lisa Carey pulled her son, James Carey, out of the line of graduates to give him a big hug in front of a poster she hung up filled with pictures from his childhood.

Accomplishments Shine Among Senior Class

Accomplishments Shine Among Senior Class

The district honored seniors who have earned scholarships during an awards ceremony on May 23. Amityville Memorial High School’s annual Senior Awards Night celebrated achievements in academics, athletics, the arts and community involvement.

Following opening remarks and performance of the National Anthem, honorees and audience members viewed a video that spotlighted the top 25 members of the Class of 2019. 

The presentation of awards brought applause to the students who are recipients of scholarships, and pride among their family members. Each student accepted their awards and received congratulations from members of the administration and board of education. Many of the local scholarship sponsors were in attendance and personally acknowledged the students. 

Warriors Taking Their Talents to the Next Level

Warriors Taking Their Talents to the Next Level

After representing the Warriors for several years, a dozen athletes from Amityville Memorial High School are prepared to compete at the next level. The students, who have made commitments to play for college teams locally and in other states, were recognized at the annual Senior Athlete College Celebration Day on May 30 in the school library.

Joined by administrators, board of education trustees, coaches, teammates and family members, the athletes proudly adorned the attire of their new schools. Each student was invited to say a few words about his or her future plans and thank influential people. 

The recognized athletes were:
Nina Babington, St. John’s University, track and field
Joel Barrett, University of Bridgeport, track and field
Victoria Erwat, Binghamton University, volleyball
Rolman Guardado, Hofstra University, soccer
Shiyah Hamlet, SUNY Sullivan, basketball
Indya Hunter, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, track and field
Alton Kimbrough Jr., Bowie State University, track and field
D’andre King, Alfred State College, football
Patrick Meyerrose, St. Joseph’s College, soccer
Jada Miley, Morgan State University, dance
Carlos Ponce, Molloy College, soccer
Kalani Soloman-Shand, Nassau Community College, cross country

The ceremony was simulcast live on the Amityville Broadcast Network. As each senior came to the podium, student commentators said a few words about his or her athletic accomplishments in Amityville. 

“This is an exciting day to recognize the hard work and commitment of all of our athletes,” said Evan Farkas, the director of athletics, physical education and health. He thanked them for their contributions to their teams and also acknowledged all of the supporters of Amityville’s athletic programs. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019