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Class of 2023 Hailed at Senior Awards Dinner

Thu, 06/22/2023 - 09:45
Among the chief winners at East Hampton High School’s senior awards dinner on June 14 were Claire McGovern, Jack Dickinson, and Jocelyn Prieto.
Jack Graves

On the night of June 14 almost 100 East Hampton High School athletes, which is to say about half the class of 2023, were honored at a senior awards dinner in the school’s cafeteria, a ceremony that went swiftly in comparison to past years, yet left no athlete in attendance unacknowledged by the district’s athletic director, Kathy Masterson.

A major thrust of the Bonac Booster Club, the dinner’s sponsor, is “to connect youth coaches and team organizers, middle school coaches, and town Parks and Recreation staff with varsity coaches so that our sports programs can be built from the ground up,” the program said.

Jack Dickinson, a basketball and baseball player who is to play baseball at Niagara University come the fall, and Jocelyn Prieto, who played girls soccer and on the school’s first flag football team, received the Paul Yuska Award, given to the senior class’s top male and female athletes. Dickinson, moreover, received a Kendall Madison Foundation scholarship, a generous per annum stipend that requires in turn that its recipient mentor East Hampton youth.

Erin Bock Abran, a Kendall Madison Foundation board member who gave out the award, and who continues to be grateful to the foundation for having helped pay for her schooling, books, and housing at college 22 years ago, said that “this year’s pool of nominees was extremely impressive. . . . So many have shown themselves to be excellent role models for our youth.”

“This scholarship, which was established after Kendall Madison’s untimely death at the age of 21, in 1995, is a way to remember and honor the person he was on and off the field. He truly was one of Bonac’s finest, a person we should all aspire to be like.”

Abran herself was among the night’s honorees: Masterson announced at one point that she, Earl Hopson, Kim Valverde, and the 1953-54 boys basketball team are to be inducted into the high school’s Hall of Fame during homecoming weekend this fall.

In introductory remarks, Masterson said the senior class, which, because of the Covid pandemic forwent athletic competition in its freshman year, had not only distinguished itself athletically, but also academically, as well as in its readiness to volunteer for tasks benefiting the community.

“Sixteen of the class’s top 20 students are athletes, and two, Nicole Velez and Aryan Chugh, are the valedictorian and salutatorian,” Masterson said. “Sixty-four athletes have been recognized as New York State scholar-athletes, 30 are members of the National Honor Society, and 18 are top musicians. Max Astilean competed in the state tennis championships, Trevor Stachecki competed in the state golf championships, and Camryn Hatch participated in the state swimming championships. Jane Brierley was the state champion in the 100-meter breaststroke.”

“We had all but one team designated as a state scholar-athlete team; athletes in this class have received 60 postseason awards all told, ranging from all-league to academic all-American. Our field hockey team was the county runner-up, and four of our teams were league or conference champions — boys soccer, girls cross-country, boys basketball, and boys tennis.”

There were a dozen three-sport athletes honored that night, a list that includes J.P. Amaden, Baye Bogetti, Georgia Bunce, Anthony Castillo-Mendez, Cooper Ceva, Nick Cordone, Caroline DiSunno, Danny Lester, Richie Maio, Claire McGovern, Grace Merkert, and Chloe Swickard. Bogetti and Ceva, moreover, were four-sport athletes — volleyball, basketball, unified bowling, and unified basketball in Bogetti’s case, and cross-country, wrestling, lacrosse, and unified bowling in Ceva’s.

McGovern, who played girls soccer, basketball, and lacrosse, received five awards during the course of the ceremony — the Tim Bassett leadership award, the Dellacave award (with Dickinson), the East Hampton athletic director’s award (with Chugh), an Old Montauk Athletic Club scholarship (with Dickinson and Hatch), and a Gold Key award (with Amaden, Cordone, and DiSunno).

Finn Byrnes and Swickard were recipients of the Marine Corps award; Amaden and DiSunno received the New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association’s Suffolk Zone award; the principal’s scholar-athlete award went to Chugh and Skye Tanzmann, and Emma Terry won the Molly Cangiolosi scholarship.

Further, Bonac Booster Club scholarships were given to Will Darrell, Calum Anderson, Swickard, and Ava Arcoleo; inaugural Hoops 4 Hope’s Ubuntu scholarships were presented by Anthony Allison to Jameson Grant and Lester, and Amaden and Tanzmann were recipients of James P. McNally scholarships.

Colleen McNally Stonemetz said it was the 71st year in which a James P. McNally scholarship, a “citizenship” scholarship originally, had been awarded. She and her sisters, Patricia Daniels, Diane McNally, and Dorothy Field, had been so impressed with the nominees “that we broke our tie vote by deciding to give out two scholarships this year,” said Stonemetz, who successfully campaigned for James McNally’s posthumous induction into the high school’s Hall of Fame seven years ago,

“I would have been his niece,” she said during a conversation the next day. “He loved boxing, even more than football — Fran Kiernan set up a boxing ring in the gym for intramural bouts — but because he lived so far away from New York City he couldn’t participate in the Golden Gloves. . . . He had just graduated with the class of 1949 when he died when a G&T milk truck he was driving in Springs that July overturned and hit a tree. Nobody quite knew how it came to happen. If it had happened today, he might have survived. He died in the hospital. He was 18. The Star’s obituary said that his death ‘was a loss not just for the school, but for the community.’ ”

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