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Four Deer Park Grads Honored at Call to Serve

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At the Town of Babylon’s seventh annual Call to Serve event on June 10, town and state elected officials honored high school seniors joining the five branches of the U.S. military after graduation, including Deer Park High School Class of 2022 graduates Santos Barahona. Christian Cordero, Dominic Morano and Louis Muniz. Cordero was in attendance at the event, along with Associate Principal Dina Pannone.

The students were presented with honorary certificates, recognized by the military families in the Town of Babylon and met the veterans who reside in their town. Councilman DuWayne Gregory served as master of ceremonies; also speaking to the future servicemen and servicewomen were Supervisor Rich Schaffer and Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre.

“This was such a beautiful event,” Pannone said. “I was extremely proud and honored to have shared this night with Christian and his family.”

Date Added: 7/28/2022

Unified Basketball Team Finds Success in Inaugural Season

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To the delight of the entire school community, Deer Park High School’s Unified Basketball team completed its successful inaugural season this year.

Sponsored by the Special Olympics, Unified Basketball was founded as an inclusive sports program in 2008, combining unified athletes with intellectual disabilities and unified partners without intellectual disabilities to form competitive teams at the high school level. In Unified Sports, students with disabilities are given the chance to interact with their peers who do not have a disability in a “typical” school experience, creating new friendships and building confidence and important social skills. Section XI currently holds a spring Unified Basketball league for Western Suffolk County school districts, consisting for a nine-week season that includes three home and three away games.

“We have a mix of our general education students that work so nicely with our students with special needs,” said Coach Cory Black, a guidance counselor at the high school. “This seems to be trending across many schools, which is so exciting.  We tried to start this in 2020, but the world had different plans, so we are happy to have it going now.”

Deer Park’s proud and exuberant Unified Basketball team was recognized both at the high school’s spring sports awards night on June 9 and the district’s June 14 Board of Education meeting, where the roster was introduced and presented with certificates and trophies.

“The success of this team is apparent,” said Board of Education President Donna Marie Elliott. “When I say success, I don’t just mean the score on the scoreboard. I mean the confidence, determination, teamwork and pride on the faces of our athletes. A picture is worth a thousand words. If you were at a Unified game, your whole world was wonderful, because if you’d had a bad day, you needed to come to one of those games. It was what every athletic event should be.”

Date Added: 7/21/2022

Board of Ed Honors an Amazing Track Athlete

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Gianna Marquez, a recent graduate of Deer Park High School, was honored at the district’s June 14 Board of Education meeting for her exceptional track and field success during her senior year. Superintendent James Cummings congratulated Marquez and thanked her for the way she represented Deer Park as a community.  

In the 2021-2022 season, she placed first in the county and state qualifier meets, was Division 1 public school and Long Island Elite Meet champion, finished third overall in the federation and fifth overall in the state, and broke the school record in the 400-meter hurdles. Marquez will be continuing her running career at North Carolina Central University this fall.

Date Added: 7/6/2022

Deer Park Graduates Are Falcons Forever

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Deer Park High School graduates were encouraged to draw upon the lessons learned and the friendships made as a source of inspiration for the future at the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2022 on June 23.

In their crowning moment as Falcons, the 303 graduates walked onto the field in the maroon caps and gowns to cheers and applause from their proud families. After remarks from senior class advisers Sara DiCandia and Marissa Caruso, who reminded them to never forget where they came from, senior members of the chorus sang the Alma Mater.

Senior class President Yoki Lin recalled how much they have achieved since their first day of high school on Sept. 5, 2018. There were also some unexpected moments. “We’ve come across every challenge that life can throw at us and these hardships have only made us stronger,” she said.

Salutatorian Saima Hoque centered her speech around the quote, “Do I dare disturb the universe?” She encouraged her fellow graduates to indeed disturb the universe in their pursuit of their goals and dreams.

Valedictorian Nicholas Stamatakis spoke about the “mini role models” throughout his time in high school – teachers and friends who have imparted some kind of knowledge on him. He told everyone, as they move on from high school, to find people who have traits they want to emulate.

For the seniors, the path to graduation felt like a long journey but for their parents, the time flew by, noted Superintendent James Cummings. They’re both right, he said. To give a little perspective, he noted some changes that have taken place in the lifetime of the graduates. They were born around the time Michael Jordan retired from basketball and people could still rent movies from Blockbuster. The iPhone came out when they were 4 and popular social media site TikTok debuted when they were in middle school.

Mr. Cummings said that that graduating class features students who have been educated in Deer Park their entire lives, as well as those who have moved here later on from other towns, states and countries.

“For one brief moment in time, all of your journeys have taken you to the same place,” he said, encouraging them to continue their personal journeys by following their own passions and interests.

Principal Charles Cobb recognized five students who will be joining different branches of the military after graduation. He praised the entire class for the style, grace and unrelenting passion they have shown in enduring many challenges over the past few years.

Date Added: 6/24/2022


Deer Park High Schoolers Take a Walk at Their Old Primary Schools

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Continuing a beloved senior walk tradition begun in 2018, Deer Park High School students from the Class of 2022 visited their respective primary schools on June 21, speaking to second graders from John Quincy Adams Primary School and May Moore Primary School and reconnecting with their old teachers.

Date Added: 6/23/2022