Community Columns

Wading River News: A teacher sends thanks to community

The graduating class of 2014 at Shoreham-Wading River was the last for longtime teacher Kevin Mann. (Credit: Bill Landon, file)
The graduating class of 2014 at Shoreham-Wading River was the last for longtime teacher Kevin Mann. (Credit: Bill Landon, file)

Kevin Mann, former faculty leader of the Global Awareness Club and prominent member of the Hope Children’s Fund, who recently retired, sent a message to the parents and students of Shoreham-Wading River High School to express his thanks to the community for a “40-year relationship that started in 1974 and ended with the commencement of the Class of 2014. The parents of SWR trusted me to grow their most precious possessions — their children. For over five decades I hope I held up my part of that most prized relationship. The youth of SWRHS allowed me to watch and help them grow from ‘puppies,’ to people, to active citizens. As I meet many of the youth, now not so young, two things stand out: 1. They are happy, which is the most important thing in life. 2. They are proud of their education. It is my sincere hope that in another 40 years another veteran can make the same observation.”

Speaking from the voice of experience, contacting beloved faculty every so often on the road of life proves to be an enriching experience for both parties.

It was also an enriching experience to hear Elizabeth Fayette play violin recently at a Miller Place wedding. Elizabeth, a Wading River resident, had been commissioned to perform at John McNeil and Timothy Gorman’s ceremony.

Speaking with Elizabeth revealed a lot about her level of proficiency on the instrument. She started playing when she was 2. Her parents have been the owners of the North Shore Suzuki School for the past seven years and hers is a family of musicians. She now lives in New York, where she’s starting her last year at Juilliard in the artist diploma program. She’s also starting a job as a fellow of The Academy, a program of The Juilliard School, Carnegie Hall and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education.

She said, “I am very conscious that being a musician is a gift in many ways. It is a gift to have a career that can occupy an entire life. … I feel that this is a really exciting time in my life. I get to play interesting music, with interesting people, in interesting places.”

During the next year, she will perform in Copenhagen, Denmark; Germany; and Austria.

With these words I must bid adieu, so be well until we meet here again in two weeks.

Liz Taggart_BwContact Wading River columnist Elizabeth Taggart at [email protected] or 929-5933.