Copiague turns on its new lights with ‘The Closer’ Mariano Rivera


Apparently, this opening was a job for the greatest closer of all time.

Copiague High School brought in Baseball Hall of Fame relief pitcher Mariano Rivera to speak at an event that unveiled the school gym’s new state-of-the-art lighting system.

Received by the crowd with thunderous applause, the Yankees great strode into the gym with his signature walk-in song “Enter Sandman” by Metallica blasting on the sound system. He spoke of the hardships he faced growing up in Panama and encouraged students to never give up on their dreams.

The gym was filled with students, teachers, administrators and members of the board of education at the Dec. 13 event. The new NBA-style lighting — donated by Renu Energy Solutions and PlanLED — is the only one of its kind in New York state, district officials said.

Rivera, Major League Baseball’s all-time leader in saves with 652, spent time signing autographs and speaking with students following the ceremony, including student-athletes from the baseball, basketball and volleyball teams.

A close-up with The Closer.

The 52-year-old retired in 2013 after 19 years and five World Series championships — all with the New York Yankees. In 2022, he opened the Mariano Rivera Honda dealership in Port Jefferson Station.

Earlier at the event, music teacher Tristan Hayes led the “The Star-Spangled Banner” on the trumpet and was followed by a performance by members of the Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School drum line. The high school step team and cheerleaders also performed during the festive event.

Photos courtesy of Copiague School District

Our Local Supporters