Wall of Fame inductees honored for integrity, compassion and community service

Wall of Fame inductees honored for integrity, compassion and community service photo

A ceremony was held to celebrate the newest inductees into the school’s Wall of Fame on Oct. 5. The three honorees – Honor Gracey Kopcienski, David Okst and Heather West-Serignese were recognized for their extraordinary achievements in the local community.

The intimate ceremony, held in the school’s library, was followed by a tour of the building led by the school’s Student Organization. Introduced by Principal Christine Austen, who thanked them for their generosity and spirit and reiterated the importance of giving back to community, each honoree was lauded by a member of the Student Organization. They were presented with plaques to take home, enjoyed lunch and an unveiling of the plaques on the Wall of Fame.

Honor Gracey Kopcienski, Class of 1950, who died in 2016, was honored posthumously. Her son Matthew (Class of 1989), daughter Elizabeth Schwartz (Class of 1972), and son-in-law Joseph Schwartz (Class of 1971) represented her – her husband was in St. Maarten helping with hurricane relief efforts. Elizabeth Schwartz spoke of her mother and father as people who understood the struggles of others and were the kind of people who always did something to help. She hoped her mother’s plaque on the wall would be inspiration to the students who walked past to also become the kind of people who do something to help others.

David Okst, Class of 1985, who enjoyed a successful high school and college career as a scholar-athlete, is a coach for the Port Jefferson boys varsity cross country and winter and spring track teams. He was introduced by senior Reid Biondo and recognized for his extensive kindness, compassion, community service and altruism.

Heather West-Serignese, Class of 1999, now a resident of Nashville, TN, was recognized for public service, school/community service. She was nominated by her business partner Emily Ciancarelli for her local contributions as well as her exceptional life accomplishments. In addition to being an accomplished chef and working in many cities around the country, she started the non-profit organ East End Play Dates, which now has multiple chapters, to support mothers and their children.