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Broadway, NASA and Major League Baseball. Journalism, science and education.
Each of the above areas, along with a number of other impressive professions, are proudly represented in the field of 15 honorees to be inducted into the Patchogue-Medford Hall of Fame later this month. The high school will host a dinner and induction ceremony on Friday, April 28, from 5-9 p.m.
Founded in 2015 after a massive fundraising effort, the Hall of Fame recognizes the district community’s alumni, teachers, administrators, volunteers, and business and civic leaders. It is the brainchild of Manny Felouzis and Harry Farides, both 1969 graduates, as well as former teachers at the high school.
The Class of 2023 is sixth group of inductees, and the first to be inducted since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The Hall of Fame now counts more than 80 members.
You can click here to purchase tickets to the event.
Here’s a look at this year’s inductees, with information supplied on the Patchogue-Medford Hall of Fame website.
Sylvia Porter – Journalist, Essayist and Economist
Attended Patchogue schools: Late 1910s and early 1920s
Born in Patchogue in 1913, Porter became a world-renowned economist and one of the most famous and widely-read journalists and authors in America during career that spanned more than 50 years.
Peter Poulos – Village of Patchogue Official
A U.S. Army veteran, Poulos served as superintendent of recreation for Patchogue Village, and then Brookhaven Town, from the 1940s through the 1970s.
Franklyn “Don” Rooney – Baseball Standout, Coach
A. U.S. National Guard veteran, Rooney during high school thrived in football, led the basketball team in scoring, and the varsity baseball team in hitting, home runs and RBIs. He played baseball professionally, in the San Francisco Giants’ farm system, before returning to Patchogue to raise a family of nine children and coach youth league baseball for decades.
Walter Costello – Basketball Standout
Playing for what was then Patchogue High School, Costello was Suffolk County’s leading scorer in basketball, averaging nearly 30 points per game. He played at Manhattan College before going on to serve in U.S. Army in Vietnam and then for 34 years as Suffolk County Police officer.
Judi Paparelli – Radio Personality
The late Judi Paparelli enjoyed a remarkable 50-year career as a nationally renowned media personality, innovator, public servant and inspirational mentor. Her radio career included hosting talk shows at stations in New Hampshire, Charleston, Atlanta and Boston, where she served as the traffic reporter and news and entertainment director.
Paul O’Neill – Musician, Trans-Siberian Orchestra
The late Paul O’Neill was a musician, composer, lyricist and producer who founded one of the most popular and successful musical acts of the 21 Century, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The 1975 Pat-Med graduate also managed and produced albums by such rock legends as Aerosmith, Humble Pie, AC/DC, Joan Jett, Ted Nugent, Def Leppard and the Scorpions. O’Neill died at 61 in 2017.
Michael Bamberger – Sports Journalist
A longtime journalist who spent more than three decades combined writing for The Philadelphia Enquirer and Sports Illustrated, Michael Bamberger is considered one of America’s most prolific golf writers. Bamberger has covered Tiger Woods since he played as an amateur. His golf books include “The Green Road Home,” “To the Linksland: A Golfing Adventure,” “The Second Life of Tiger Woods,” and “The Ball in the Air: A Golfing Adventure.”
Jeffrey Schaefer – Professional Baseball
Among the greatest players in the history of Patchogue-Medford baseball, 1978 Pat-Med graduate Jeffrey Schaefer, an infielder, played professional baseball for 14 seasons, including parts of five seasons in the Major Leagues with Oakland, Seattle and the Chicago White Sox. Once his playing days were over, he turned to cultivating talent in future generations the game of baseball, founding the Carolinas Baseball Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Tracy Todd Hunter – Art Curator
Pat-Med 1980 graduate Tracy Todd Hunter has been a consummate contributor to the communities of Patchogue-Medford and across Long Island and state as an arts administrator, diversity and inclusion facilitator, culture bearer, and advocate for artists of every discipline, according to his bio on the Hall of Fame site. Hunter is a writer, artist, photographer, jewelry maker, event planner and interior designer. He has served on the Greater Patchogue Cultural Heritage Committee, the Town of Brookhaven Black History Commission, the Brookhaven branch of the NAACP, the Plaza Cinema and Media Arts Center Advisory Board and the Suffolk County Sheriffs Community Advisory Board.
Franc D’Ambrosio – Broadway Actor
Franc D’Ambrosio earned the nickname “The Iron Man of The Mask” due to his run as the world’s longest-running phantom in the Broadway musical “Phantom of the Opera.” The 1980 Pat-Med graduate was the phantom in more than 2,100 performances of the mega-hit live show, from 1992 to 1999. He also appeared in the “Godfather III,” playing the opera-singing son of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino). Additionally, he was invited to study music at the home Luciano Pavarotti in Italy.
Angela D’Amico – Adviser and Educator
A lifelong resident of Patchogue-Medford and a teacher at Patchogue-Medford High School for the last 15 years, 1981 alum the uber-popular community fundraising event “Stick it to Cancer” floor hockey tournament, which has raised more than $40,000 to help families whose children have had to face the terrible ordeals of cancer.
Cindy Buckmaster – Research Scientist
Nationally renowned as a specialist in the fields of biomedical research and animal welfare, Cindy Buckmaster has devoted her career to dramatically transforming how animals are used and cared for during and following their participation in medical research, according to her bio on the Hall of Fame website. She serves as chair of Americans for Medical Progress, president of the Texas Society for Biomedical Research. and director for Public Outreach for the National Animal Interest Alliance. She has received a bevy a national awards and other honors for her service.
Libby Adelman – NASA Engineer
Libby Adelman is a systems engineer and manager at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center, where she works on the highly advanced Nancy Roman Space Telescope and the critical Landsat 9 program. A partnership program between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey, Landsat 9 continues the Landsat program’s critical role in monitoring, understanding and managing the land resources needed to sustain human life. The 1989 Patchouge-Medford graduate has worked at NASA since 2007, assigned work with the Hubble Space Telescope and its successors, the James Webb Telescope and the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope, among other important projects.
Timothy Trava – Soccer Standout
A star on the soccer field and basketball court for Patchogue-Medford, Timothy Trava went on in college to lead the NCAA in scoring, playing soccer at St. Joseph’s University, New York in Patchogue. Later, he coached the university’s soccer team for eight seasons before returning to Pat-Med to coach the boys varsity soccer team.
Christopher Creevey – High School Theatre Arts Volunteer
An seasoned expert in lighting design since his days of helping with school music productions at Patchogue-Medford High School, Creevey has designed and installed numerous shows at such local theatres as Gateway Playhouse in Bellport and the Smithtown Performing Arts Center. He’s also worked on shows at Harlem’s Apollo Theater, Bryant Park in Manhattan and the Global Citizens Concert in Central Park.
Top photo: Facebook