Thomas Cutinella, the Shoreham-Wading River student and varsity athlete who died after a football-related injury last fall, has left his mark on the Shoreham-Wading River school district.
Now his name is part of the high school itself.
In a unanimous vote by the SWR school board at its meeting Tuesday night, the high school athletics field was renamed the “Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field.”
“It is, and always will be, the Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field,” said school board member Sean Beran.
Mr. Beran said the field will remain a symbol for everything Thomas stood for and believed in.
“Every time a student athlete steps onto that field, they will be reminded what it means to be a Wildcat,” he said.
The field — which is being upgraded as part of the recently approved school bond — will be marked to accommodate lacrosse, football, soccer, field hockey and other sports.
“We have everything covered,” Mr. Beran said.
After the vote, Mr. Beran presented Thomas’ parents with a plaque that will be placed on the field, as well as a lithograph of the design featuring Thomas’ name painted into the field around its center.
Those in attendance, including SWR athletes, students and parents, stood and applauded as Mr. Beran and Thomas’ mother, Kelli, embraced.
“Thomas would be proud that the field is being named for him,” said Frank Cutinella, Thomas’ father. “It’s important that everyone remember him, but to do it quickly and efficiently.”
Thomas’ No. 54 was retired during the season, which ended with the team’s first Long Island Championship. A flag commemorating his No. 54 now flies on the flagpole at the field.
Mr. Beran said he hopes to have the field finished in time for the start of next school year’s athletic season. Other board members promised to remain vigilant to make sure the renovated field is built by the fall sports season.
The Shoreham-Wading River baseball field is also named after a student, Kevin Williams. A 1995 SWR graduate, Williams was a standout baseball player who died on Sept. 11 in Tower Two of the World Trade Center. The field was renamed to honor Williams in 2002.
WITH JOE WERKMEISTER