Over 30 East Islip High School graduates, many of them current college freshmen, were in attendance at a recent alumni reception at their alma mater. Held in the school library, the event gave the alumni time to reconnect with classmates and the high school community, and provided the school’s current seniors with a chance to hear from last year’s graduates and learn about their experiences in college.
“The reception was organized to welcome back our grads from past years at a time when most college students are home for the holidays,” said advisor Lisa Neri. “In addition to giving our alumni a ‘welcome home,’ we wanted to provide a place for them to reconnect with fellow grads and to meet with seniors who were invited down from their ninth-period classes. We plan to hold it yearly – always on the day before Thanksgiving break.” Neri noted that many of the alumni wore their college sweatshirts and were eager to discuss their current schools with East Islip’s graduating class.
“This is the first time we have invited our alumni to come back to the high school in several years,” said Israel Malinowitzer, the high school’s director of careers and student services. “Graduates were able to speak with some of their high school teachers and let them know how they are doing in college. It was also an opportunity for our current juniors and seniors to ask them what life in college is all about. The message for this year’s seniors is to start thinking about college, to make sure they have completed their college applications, and to understand what they need to do in order to be ready for this college transition.”
“College has been a great experience,” said alumna Nicole Stringer, who is majoring in business administration at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue. “I’m loving every moment of it.”
Eric McMahon, a Spanish major at the State University of New York at New Paltz, echoed Stringer’s enthusiasm, saying “I love college!”
Chris Lau, another student at SUNY New Paltz, is majoring in secondary education with a concentration in mathematics. “It’s really fun,” he said. “At points it’s hard, but if you study, you will do well.”
Suffolk Community College student Erin Glynn’s reflections are practical ones. “I work at Dunkin Donuts to buy all the gas I need to get to the Selden campus every single day,” she explained. Glynn plans to transfer to St. Joseph’s College, where she will study education.
Majoring in chemical engineering with a minor in management and technology, Sarah Brady has learned the importance of good study habits while attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. “School is fun, but studying is very, very important.” Her motto is, “Study during the week, go to bed early, but don’t forget to have fun on the weekend!”
Karen Sanchez is likewise attuned to studying while enjoying life at Stony Brook University. “The studying is brutal, but overall SBU is so much fun.”
While up at Boston College, Chris Marchese is working on a double major in secondary education and history, with a potential minor in political science. Far from lacking in ambition, he aspires to the highest of offices. “I am on track to graduate in four years with my master’s in secondary education and a bachelor’s in history. I joined the College Republicans and am starting my ascent to the White House in 2040.”
Alumni Alex Baier, Andrew Ferremi, Edward Terwilliger and Ken Zhang were all participants in last year’s International Business Globalization Academy at East Islip High.
“Being CEO at the Career Academy and then going to college have both helped me to be able to find and access information for problem-solving, which I have found to be a much-needed skill,” said Baier, who was the first CEO of the Academy’s Mobile Revolution virtual company. He is now attending the State University of New York at Albany, where he is studying business. His sister Brianna Baier is currently a junior at East Islip High School. Excited to follow in her brother’s footsteps, she plans to apply to the Career Academy next year as a senior.
Zhang, who had served as the vice president of accounting, is studying computer engineering technology at the Rochester Institution of Technology. “I am learning about CH programming and circuits,” he said. “For my final projects, I respectively created a bar code scanner and a traffic light.”
Ferremi is majoring in sports management at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts. “It’s been a great experience,” he said. “I’ve met many prestigious people from the sports industry and learned a lot about the business of sports.” Ferremi is also a member of the university’s Investment Club, gaining knowledge about stocks and investing.
Terwilliger, who had been Mobile Revolution’s vice president of marketing, is a freshman at the University of Rhode Island. He is majoring in entrepreneurial management, with a minor in political science. “My experience in the Academy allowed me to harness critical skills such as public speaking and writing,” Terwilliger said. “These skills greatly enhance my collegiate and fraternal relations.”
Being a member of East Islip High School’s Environment Green Career Academy left a strong positive mark on Kerri Becvar and Alisa Cipolla. “I loved every minute of it,” said Cipolla, a physical therapy major at St. Thomas Aquinas in Rockland County. Cipolla is also playing softball for the college.
Two of the alumni who attended the reception are freshmen at the State University of New York at Potsdam, Nick Converso and Marisa Caliguri. The latter, a flute and piccolo player, is studying music education at the university’s Crane School of Music, while Converso is majoring in mathematics with a minor in biology.
Marist College in Poughkeepsie is another school boasting two ambitious East Islip alumni, Allison and Kristen O’Brien. The latter is an English writing major with a double minor in global studies and music, while her sister Allison is studying digital media, fashion and advertising, with a minor in design.
Dean Fatsis is another University of Rhode Island freshman, studying secondary education with a concentration in history. Like Terwilliger, he has fit right in as a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and credits his experience at East Islip. “I was provided all the necessary skills to achieve my collegiate scholastic goals,” he said. “The preparation that this high school gave me was essential for my success in my fraternity.”
Also in attendance at the reception were Alex Schilling, a forensic science major at the University of New Haven, and Maggie Ward, a nursing student at the University of Vermont.