Over 200 alumni returned to their alma mater for an anniversary celebration on October 7 and 8, 2016 as Greater New York Academy, founded in 1920, marked her 96th year of service. The guests included students from the 1960’s up to recent graduates of the 2000’s, all thrilled to reunite with former classmates and teachers, with some traveling from the west coast and as far away as the Virgin Islands to meet at the Woodside campus. They joined the current faculty and student body, who were energized by their excitement.
A banner proclaiming God Has Been Faithful greeted the graduates as they gathered on Friday evening in the school chapel, some for the first time in over fifty years. Alumni added personal touches to prayer, scripture reading and musical selections by sharing memories of their Greater years. Pastor Wayne Jamel, class of 2006, Pastor James Clark, former school pastor, and Dr. Gaspar Colon, class of 67, presented inspirational messages as we reflected on how God has been ever present in our own lives, as well as faithfully blessing the thriving school. Several current students shared their testimonies of last spring’s mission trip to Belize, while an interview with Principal Lillian Mitchell showcased the impressive academic accomplishments of GNYA’s student body.
Vocal and instrumental soloists from the different decades presented beautiful musical selections, and two songs performed by a reassembled Delta Mu led by Elaine Myers, former music instructor, were a special treat. They were joined by the GNYA choir and orchestra, directed by Music teacher Daniel Rodriguez. The orchestra, now in its second year, is comprised of 28 students playing 11 different string, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments, and is a very popular addition to our curriculum. The day concluded with a pizza feed, and a humorous look back at the past from Norman Wendth, David Santos, and the comedy team of Mary Montague and Rick Marcellino.
Highlights of the weekend included a surprise video tribute to David Cadavero recognizing his longtime passion for Christian education, and the saxophone stylings of Edison Alvarez, class of 2012.
The most laughter erupted during the afternoon photo session, when Greater’s current students watched in amusement as the alumni joked, teased each other, and generally reverted to acting like teenagers the minute the cameras were turned on them.
Special thanks to Dwight DaSilva and his family team for the delicious meals; to the Alumni Team of Carrie Bobenhausen, Celes Elliott, Styves Romain and Walter Szoboszlai; to our principal for her encouragement, and to the alumni who gave their time and money in order to experience Greater days once again. Please keep us in your prayers, as you are in ours, until we see you again at our 100th reunion in 2019.
Written by: Helene Mattenson