Have You Heard?
SIA graduates will often come back to campus for a variety of reasons, below we have shared some of the comments they have made during or after a visit:
- "... a tiger paw imprinted on my soul."
- “Alumni, this our call to action!"
- "….even modest amounts each year can mount up over time."
- "SIA is a wonderful school where I knew that I was surrounded by adults who cared for me."
- Alumni Address to the SIA Class of 2015
- "Staten Island Academy is an institution of the highest quality and standard."
- "The SIA community is greatly blessed, as are we the Alumni!"
- An excerpt from the Alumni commencement speech to the Class of 2017
If you cut me in half, you may find a tiger paw imprinted on my soul. Having have been a Lifer at SIA, I had such a unique experience during my 13 years on campus. Some of my favorite memories from my youth go back to SIA, whether they be at school, camp or "pool club". In addition to the exceptional guidance and education I received, the relationships that were fostered on that campus are ones that are forever treasured. From administration to teachers to fellow classmates, we were family and family still. Upon moving back to the area recently, I was approached by my fellow "96er" Julio Gambuto, to join the Board of Trustees at SIA. To say I was honored would be an understatement. As a Trustee, I see it is my responsibility to re-connect with my fellow alumni to help forge this amazing institution forward so that future generations may benefit as we did. The next time you are in the area stop by for a visit, take that walk down memory lane and reacquaint with the spirit of what is SIA. It is that tiger spirit that spans generations and connects us all to one another.
-Bobby Kleinau '96
"SIA is a wonderful school where I knew that I was surrounded by adults who cared for me. I was afforded the opportunity to try different things: singing, soccer, tennis, travel, acting, and top-level academics, just to name a few, all on the beautiful Todt Hill campus. SIA gave me a lot, and it holds a special place in my heart."
-Timothy Thompson ’94
In just 4 minutes I hope to teach the class of 2015 just 2 more lessons before they take their leave of these hallowed halls.
1. First Lesson: You, our graduates, didn’t build the Staten Island Academy that you came to and it’s your responsibility to build the next Staten Island Academy.
Personal Story: When I first came to Staten Island Academy 50 years ago, I attended my 6th grade classes in the old Stettinius Mansion that used to be just behind where we are today on the footprint of Crowe Hall. I didn’t build that building, my parents didn’t build it. It was built by others, but it was there for me and for my parents when we needed it. The following year I attended classes in the old Wall Street building in St. George. I didn’t build it—my parents didn’t build it. But it was there when we needed it. Both of those buildings are gone now. And at some point in the future—perhaps another 50 years?--the school buildings you sat in here may no longer be here. It is your moral responsibility to build the next Staten Island Academy, so that in the future when students and their parents need this place, SIA will still be here for them—as it was for you in your time of need.
2. Now if you’ve been trained well here, if you have learned critical thinking, you will question my assertion. You’ll ask further: “Why is it our responsibility?”
Personal Story: For those of you who carefully perused your commencement program, you saw that my daughter Emma has a somewhat strange middle name: Aubin. It is not a familiar first name. It is not a family name associated with my family or my wife’s family. That’s because I named my first child after Robert and Elizabeth Aubin—two of my teachers at Staten Island Academy when I was here so long ago. They had both passed away many years before Emma was born. But I felt --and still feel-- that I have a debt to them that I will never be able to re-pay.
Your families and loved ones helped bring you here today and deserve much credit. But right now, Class of 2015, I want you to look at the faculty of Staten Island Academy—to those people at the very heart of this institution—to those people to whom you owe a debt that you will never be able to repay and so you will try to do so in your own meagre way by supporting the school in the future with your time, your money, and your talents. God bless the members of the faculty of Staten Island Academy—past and present. Because they have given you the ticket to your future—the ticket to the rest of your life. And it’s a first-class seat!
- Daniel L. Master, Jr. ’71
Staten Island Academy is an institution of the highest quality and standard. A collective learning community of dedicated individuals who seek to educate the entire person, and do so by engaging the student as a co-architect and partner in individual growth. As a student who attended this amazing place for middle and upper school, I was left with a fuller sense of myself and the world at large. A veritable "United Nations," the academy helped me, a sheltered south shore Staten Islander, interact with a multiplicity of races, ethnicities, and religions. The academy is a vast mosaic of culture, a quilt of eccentric differences, and a microcosm of the world. The miserable stereotype of a "Rich," school could not be further from the truth and maligns the conscious decisions made by middle class parents like mine to sacrifice for their children, as well as, the concerted effort taken by the academy’s generous financial aid department. The faculty and staff are dedicated on a level that could not be matched or found in any other island school. These are educators who have a passion for learning and love for their students. They get in early and leave late- 7pm. Truly dedicated they look to better every facet of the student. Most of all they teach students to be life-long learners, trailblazers, and advocates for themselves. These non-tangible qualities have served me well in College and in the work place. I have achieved the dean's list and numerous leadership positions at Lafayette College as a freshman. I owe an unpayable debt to the faculty of Staten Island Academy. I am also proud to say that many of them are among my closest friends and mentors. The academy's programs are also second to none. Integrating experience and technology into the classroom to help foster a broader understanding of material. We were never asked to memorize, but rather to synthesize. I was taught to question authority and look behind the veil of habitudes. This ability to critically think has served me exceptionally in college and I believe, will continue to help in the demanding 21st century work place. Staten Island Academy is the brick and mortar manifestation of educating the total person. The faculty, students, staff, and parents are united in a singular goal, a unique mission- transforming the minds of young people to create a better world. There could be no nobler a deed. As countless books are being written about the failure of the American education system, Staten Island Academy stands as a small bastion of effective education. The Academy is a conscience investment in your child for a lifetime. The invaluable experience and life-long tools are immeasurable. I truly wish all children could attend Staten Island Academy.
- Joe Bronzo '14
“This past year we began looking at middle schools for my daughter. I was looking for a school that is academically rigorous, but not a pressure-cooker where intellectual curiosity gives way to a relentless focus on achievement. Above all I was attracted to schools where I met quirky teachers who had off-beat interests and who thrived on helping their students find and pursue their own quirky passions. It took me a while to realize that what I was really looking for was a place like SIA. And in case you’re wondering what I have in mind by teachers with quirky interests, of my teachers who are still here Mr. Wollney’s making fur hats and leather bags out of road kill probably takes first prize. That freedom to be different that thrives in an environment like SIA’s where the teachers and students really know and trust each other, that liberty from the adolescent dungeon of “being cool,” is an incredibly precious thing”.
Adriaan Lanni ’90