The halls were filled with excited new faces on Aug. 28 as East Islip High School welcomed the Class of 2016 to the school’s 2012-13 ninth-grade orientation.
Kicking off the presentation in the auditorium, Principal William Brennen welcomed the incoming freshmen and urged them to participate in extracurricular activities. “The key to success is to get involved,” he said, emphasizing the positive role of the school’s clubs. “Participating will help you acquire leadership skills, as well as a sense of pride, belonging and accomplishment.”
The principal also made the new freshmen aware that high school would be a major step up in accountability and seriousness, stressing the strictness of the school’s no-cellphone policy and noting that their eventual graduation would be predicated on completing required credits. “Everything in high school counts,” said Brennen. “You’re young adults now and we have high expectations for you.”
Brennen introduced the students to the school’s three administrators (Assistant Principal Nicholas Bilotti, Assistant Principal Michael Thorley and Athletic Director Stephen Restivo, who will now also serve double duty as an assistant principal) and five guidance counselors (Christopher Boehler, Jessica Pignataro, Perri Sachs, Jennifer Salvaggio and Nicole Vincenti). “These are the people to go to for help and assistance,” Brennen told the students.
After recommending that his newest students take time to examine their schedules, find their classrooms and inspect their lockers, Brennen ended the presentation on a positive note, introducing the featured speaker: East Islip alumnus, athlete and professional motivator Rohan Murphy. Sharing his experiences in overcoming disability, in which he rose above his seeming limitation of having no legs to become a champion wrestler, Murphy showed the students a video clip of his recent appearance on ABC’s “20/20.” In a strong effort to inspire the new freshmen, he told them, “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve your goals and dreams. Go home tonight and set a goal for yourself.”