Woodhull Students Graduate

On Thursday, June 16, 2022, parents, relatives and friends gathered at the Woodhull School on Surf Road to witness the first in person graduation since 2019 and the start of the global pandemic. The gymnasium, which also functions as an auditorium, was standing room only and the atmosphere inside exuberant as the audience awaited the beginning of the evening’s event.

Principal Philip Tamberino welcomed everyone and said that the students and staff had been working diligently to make sure that everyone enjoyed the program. First on the agenda were the Pledge of Allegiance and then the National Anthem, which was sung by graduating sixth-grader Olivia Asaro-Apsley. Tamberino then introduced the Spring Concert, which also had been on hiatus since 2019. The concert performed by the students of Woodhull Elementary School Concert Band, Vocalists and Ukulele Ensemble was under the direction of Ms. KaraAnn Leone.

Olivia Asaro-Apsley sings “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

The musical program was eclectic and entertaining and every one of the school’s children from Pre-K to Grade 6 performed. The Woodhull Concert Band featured students playing the flute, saxophone, clarinet and trumpet and accompanied by a vocal chorus of Pre-K through Grade 2 students. Kai Sitone performed a solo saxophone rendition of “Hunters’ Chorus” by the classical composer Carl Maria von Weber and Liam Greider followed with a clarinet solo of “Chester,” a patriotic anthem composed by William Billings and sung during the American Revolutionary War. The audience was then treated to music by George Gershwin as Olivia Asaro-Apsley sang “Someone to Watch Over Me.” The Grade 3 Ukulele Ensemble did three numbers ending with a unique rendition of Ben E. King’s immortal “Stand by Me. The musical program came to an end with the Woodhull Concert Band performing four pieces that ranged from the traditional “Rolling Along” to a jazzy blues piece “Cool It” by Randy Navarre. Leone was presented with a bouquet of flowers in appreciation.

It was then on to the moving on and moving up part of the evening and the presentation of diplomas and awards. The first graders: Kailah Chenault, Thea Eddey, Amelia Holland, Chase Martin, Fallyn Moran and Nolan Smith all received the diplomas they did not get due to the pandemic. Moving up to Grade 1 were Riley Cole, Dylan Lippman, Myla Scalise and Soleil Straut who received their kindergarten diplomas The pre-K diplomas were awarded to Allegra Amaya- Thomason, Kai Chenault and Lily Gianakos who all move up to kindergarten. Leaving Woodhull School and moving on to middle school off-island are Olivia Asro-Apsley and Angelo LaRosa. The final group to be recognized are former Woodhull students who all have graduated from mainland high schools and are headed off to college in the fall: Casey Cole will attend Eckert College, Caitrin Crawson will attend James Madison University, Toby Heslin will attend University of Hawaii and Brook Lambie will attend University of Georgia.

Principal Tamberino commended Olivia and Angelo as school leaders who as sixth-graders set the tone for the school, were considerate of their classmates and always helped the younger students. Quoting FDR, he told them that smooth sea never made a skilled sailor. He encouraged them to always keep going, to persevere and always listen to yourself. Olivia and Angelo each addressed the audience and thanked them in their farewell speech.

A total of 13 awards and scholarships were presented including a scholarship of four years free tuition. This is awarded to a non-resident student and is picked via lottery. The lucky winner was Amelia Holland. The final presentation was the induction of Olivia Asaro-Apsely into the National Elementary Honor Society.

Special thanks and recognition were given to Dawn Lippert, Donna Clock and Nurse Janet among others who have served the school or retired and a bouquet of thanks was presented to retiring Superintendent Loretta Ferraro.

The evening’s program ended with a beautiful slide show of the students produced by Mrs. Donovan. It included a special photo and thanks to John Jay McCollum who worked at the school for many years and kept Woodhull running.