A Fond, But Not Too Fair, Farewell
By Tom Gould
On Thursday, June 8, close to four hundred student athletes, parents, coaches and administrators gathered at the Crest Hollow Country Club for the Annual Athletic Awards Banquet. Thanks to the planning and innovation of Athletic Director Kevin Trentowski and Athletic Department Secretary Ms. Elaine Ranaldo, the evening was a great success. Many people were heard to say afterward that it was the best one yet.
A highlight of the evening was the introduction of a new award; the Honorary Varsity Award.
Mr. Trentowski presented the award saying, “The Honorary Varsity Award is a new award that will be given to someone who, while not a member of the Athletic Department, contributes greatly to its success. As we know, the athletes that receive a varsity award continually show commitment, dedication, hard work, and other qualities that help make their team successful. This award recognizes those same qualities that are shown by other members of the school community that help the athletic department achieve its success.
Our first recipient is Tom Gould. Tom is an asset to the athletic program all year long. From Homecoming, to being the voice at football games, providing pictures for our “Athletes of the Month”, writing articles for the OBserver, the local newspapers, providing information, and more, Tom is reliable and a true professional. None of the public recognition of our athletes can take place without his help. There are many times that I call or e-mail him to request something and I usually have what I need within 15 minutes. While there are many helping hands that make our athletic program run smoothly within the department, this honorary Varsity Award recognizes Tom Gould as someone who is greatly appreciated by the department.
Please join me in recognizing and applauding our Inaugural Varsity Award Recipient: Tom Gould.”
I was very moved and honored to receive this award for something I have so loved doing. It was a bittersweet moment because a month ago, I was told that my job was in jeopardy due to a Civil Service law. Two weeks ago I was told that next week is to be my last week working for the Oyster Bay-East Norwich School District.
There is an old saying, “don’t be sad because it is over, be happy that it happened.”
I look back at twenty-eight years of loving to come to work every day. I realize how rare that is to say and I am grateful to have filled these years with joy and love.
The students in the OBEN schools are simply the best and I have made countless life-long friends. The teachers are as good as it gets. It has been a real pleasure working side by side with each and every one of them.
I couldn’t have asked for a better community to serve. As, Mr. Trentowski mentioned, I have been the voice of the football games. The past decade saw many lean years for the OBHS football team. And yet, at every home game, as I looked out from the announcer’s booth I saw the stands filled with community members out in support of the Baymen.
Without many touchdowns to cheer for, the crowd found other reasons to cheer. Whether it was for a first down or for the acrobatics of the cheerleading squad or for the marvelous playing of the Oyster Bay High School Pep Band under the direction of Mr. Matt Sisia, the community filled the field with spirit. The OBEN fans sat shoulder to shoulder with the cheering section for the opposing team. I was always proud and impressed by the level of hospitality and comradery shown by the OBEN community. Sportsmanship is a hallmark of OBEN sports and never was it more present than at a home football game.
With a theater and entertainment background, I was always thrilled to be a part of the Fine and Performing Arts Department. Doing the sound for the concerts and school plays will remain amongst my fondest memories and great joys of my life. The level of professionalism and highest quality of performance by OBEN students inspired by truly gifted and dedicated music and art teachers is absolutely remarkable.
I am particularly proud to have been able to give our talented students the opportunity to express themselves artistically in the twenty-five years of Talent Shows I have hosted at Oyster Bay High School. We have seen singers, dancers, rappers, rock bands, magicians and even comedians grace the big stage of the OBHS Performing Arts Center (the PAC). It was a thrill to see members of the staff share the stage with the students. The Stephen Walker staff band performing popular songs with re-written lyrics by Mr. Walker to promote positive educational themes will always be a stand-out memory.
I loved watching the show grow in the last few years to include the International Night Celebration. Thanks to Ms. Lilliana Policano, Ms. Sara Cuniglio, and Ms. Jacklin Luciano, the student performers got to experience performing side by side with professional entertainers.
Another high point in my OBEN career came eleven years ago when I created the OBserver, the District’s first ever on-line newsletter. It has been exciting to watch it steadily grow to where it is now the second most visited site on the District website behind the calendar. It has been a wonderful experience being able to write stories about the tremendous OBEN educational program. It fills me with a great deal of respect for the teaching staff here in Oyster Bay. I was never at a loss for good news about the imaginative, innovate ways the teachers make learning fun and relevant for all students.
And talk about results. There have been so many students who have distinguished themselves. I have reported on County and State Champion Athletes, All-State Musicians, National Merit Scholarship Winner, Intel Finalist, record setters, students scouted early by colleges, and so many more.
I watched and reported as Dr. Dennis O’Hara launched the College Awareness Program. I was pleased to see the hallways at Oyster Bay High School which had been filled with students wearing t-shirts representing their favorite bands changing to halls filled with students wearing t-shirts from their favorite colleges. Amazing.
When I first started working for the OBEN Schools, I was hired as a “Computer Lab Manager.” At that time there were just sixteen computers and one server in Room 207 at the high school. I remember the week I started being told by my boss, E. Lee Boyer, that he had just bought a new hard drive for the server. We were both impressed thinking we would have all the space we would ever need because the new hard drive was one hundred megabytes.
“The Harbour Voice” school newspaper class meet in that room and I enjoyed helping to put together the newspaper. The editor that year was senior Kim Gohrig. Kim graduated and went on to get married and became Kim Coschignano and now has children of her own.
This year I was happy to take an active role in helping to put together the yearbook by supplying many photographs. This year’s editor of the yearbook was Kim’s daughter, senior Rosalie Coschignano. I guess the cycle is complete.
Thanks for the memories, Oyster Bay.