By Anika Lanser
The Woodhull School Graduation on June 20 began with a concert featuring the students performing in a number of configurations including the concert band, ukulele ensemble and choir. The concert began with a few moving words from music teacher Philip Tamberino, who congratulated his students on their musical and academic achievements. Through a giant grin Tamberino said, “I’m so proud of everybody. The students have done so much this year and in music as well.”
Accompanied and conducted by Tamberino, students performed several pieces with some standout soloists. Among them ukulele soloists Kingston Johnson and Jaxson Adams, who both improvised their solo pieces; a duet performed by Kingston Johnson and Ariel Vizcarrondo; a duet by Giovanni Giua on trumpet and Patryk Warzecha on alto saxophone; and Ariel Vizcarrondo performing on the piano. Tamberino, bursting with pride as Vizcarrondo left the stage, reminded the audience she only had been taking piano lessons for two months. Warzecha then returned to the stage to perform “Hallelujah I Love Her So” on his alto saxophone. The concert closed with “We Know the Way” from “Moana,” featuring the concert band, the third-graders on percussion and vocals, and the Pre-K to second-grade choir.
With the concert portion of the evening completed, the festivities then turned to celebrating the graduating Pre-kindergarten and high school students, and of course the sixth-graders. District Superintendent Loretta Ferraro opened the graduation by speaking about the four sixth-grade graduates. She remarked, “The number four is associated with a strong foundation…There are four periods within a century and we are sending off four graduates at the centennial of our school.” She spoke about the preparation the sixth-graders have received ahead of continuing their middle school education across the bay. “I can say with a degree of certainty that these boys will go on to experience success. But we have also taught them how to be a person of character and to find happiness within.” In closing, Ferraro reminded the graduates to “be a champion of peace.”
The ceremony then moved to the awarding of the Pre-kindgergarten diplomas. Each graduate approached the stage in a cap and gown, making Woodhull’s graduation officially the most adorable. Congratulations to all the Pre-K graduates: Arianna LaRosa, Jason Longo, Alyssa Picinich, Kaylee Picinich, Harrison Ruddy, Milana Scalise, Lilian Straut, and Daniel Vega. The sixth-grade graduates, Lucas Bejarano, Edoardo Giua, Giovanni Giua, and Patryk Warzecha, crossed the stage next to receive their diplomas.
Ferraro then congratulated high school seniors Liam Bainbridge and Tyler Crawson on their accomplishments. Bainbridge heads next to Suffolk County Community College while Crawson will attend SUNY Maritime College.
Following the diplomas was the announcement of award-winners, which began with the Conrad & Muriel Wirostek Memorial Award. The award recognizes students who demonstrate a strong work ethic and above average effort in all parts of education. The award went to Joshua Perez in fourth-grade, Jerzi Swason in fifth-grade, Giovanni Giua in sixthgrade, and Tyler Crawson in 12th-grade.
The Barbara DeWolf Achievement Award was given to Lucas Bejarano. The Woodhull Scholarship, an award of $1,000, is named in honor of late principal Richard Woodhull and his mother Mina Woodhull who founded the school district. This year the award was given to Tyler Crawson.
The Fire Island PTA Douglass Wyckoff Memorial Scholarship is awarded in recognition of community service and achievements throughout the year. All of the graduating sixth-graders were recognized for this accomplishment and all received Kenny necklaces. (Kenny Goodman necklaces that is!)
The Fire Island Association Tuition Scholarship is a full-tuition scholarship for non-residents. With this year being the scholarship’s first, after being created in the middle of the school year, two scholarships were awarded instead of one to compensate. These scholarships went to Catherine Philippe and Anna Zuleta.
Lastly there was special recognition of Debbie Gerken for her work on the Student Elder Project and the Centennial Exhibit, on display throughout graduation. Dawn Lippert and Carol Kushner also were praised for their assistance to Gerken throughout the year.
The evening concluded with a farewell speech given by the sixth-grade class and a slideshow of the graduating students. The young men looked back on all that Woodhull School has given them and thanked the teachers who helped them along the way. “We are ready for middle school and excited for our future,” they remarked.