By Matthew Tepper
Although the Class of 2020 is nearing the end of a significant chapter during an unprecedented time, it’s important to recognize their accomplishments and experiences. Even though the school year was cut short due to the Coronavirus, there were many exciting events that occurred prior to online learning. After interviewing some of OBHS’s seniors, here’s what they had to say about their high school experience.
Karina Paone said that her favorite memories centered around her involvement in the athletic program. She shared that the athletic program allowed her to connect with peers outside of the classroom. Paone said, “I loved having home games so that we could compete with all of our family and friends backing us up. Oyster Bay has a really nice camaraderie.”
Giselle Grassi, a senior on the rowing team, concurred, saying that her athletic experience at Oyster Bay was most rewarding. Her favorite memory happened during her junior year after winning the New York State rowing championship. She discussed the endless amount of support she received from all of her teachers and friends in the months of preparation leading up to the race. Grassi said, “It was the most challenging time for me academically and athletically, but I could not have succeeded without the encouragement from my OBHS family.” Grassi also recognizes the hard work and dedication of her fellow senior athletes who have had their final moments of high school athletics taken away. “The loss is painful, but the OBHS Class of 2020 is stronger than the challenges we have come to face. Together we are a family and will always cherish our good times on and off the field.”
Greg Wulffen shared that his favorite high school experience was his participation in Wind Ensemble, Oyster Bay’s upper level band ensemble. Wulffen said, “I appreciate all of the opportunities we had to meet composers and perform music that the school commissioned; it made me look forward to the 40 minutes we had each day with Mr. Sisia.” Through the Oyster Bay music program, students have had the opportunity to speak to accomplished composers, including Omar Thomas, with whom students performed “Of Our New Day Begun” alongside the Long Island Wind Ensemble. In tenth grade, seniors from both the Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band performed at the world-renown Carnegie Hall in Manhattan, a life-changing moment for many student musicians.
Emily Wiesenfeld shared that Spirit Week was her favorite memory from her time at OBHS. Spirit Week is an annual tradition that involves a week of festivities, leading up to the homecoming pep rally, parade, and football game. Wiesenfeld recalled all the exciting planning and coordination with her friends and classmates, resulting in the senior class winning the first place prize. Wiesenfeld adds, “Going to school daily is something that I never thought I would say I miss. I miss seeing my friends and teachers every day and would give anything to have a normal senior year with the people I’ve known my whole life.”
Julianna Goldman’s favorite memory from OBHS was the Birthday Wishes bake sales held almost every Wednesday. Birthday Wishes Club brings birthday parties to children living in homeless shelters across Long Island. With the support of their regularly held fundraisers, members participate in wrapping presents, designing and creating arts and crafts projects, and making goodie bags. “It was always really great to go around the building after school and catch up with teachers I had in years prior while supporting our club in producing funds for a great cause!” Julianna exclaimed.
Even though seniors are closing this chapter of their lives and opening a new one as they plan to pursue college or employment in the fall, the students of the Class of 2020 will always hold on to the fond memories they made at Oyster Bay High School. Congratulations to the Class of 2020!