PHOTO: Caps fly in the air at the 2017 MAST graduation ceremony
SANDY HOOK – Seventy-four students graduated from the Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST) Monday, on a ceremony on Pershing Field, Fort Hancock, which included the presentation of appointments to two military academies and six ROTC scholarships. Ninety-six percent of the class has been accepted to more than two dozen different colleges or universities, and ten percent of the class received ROTC scholarships.
Almost fifty percent of the graduating class finished the year on either the National or Spanish Honors societies or both.
Clement V. Sommers, president of the Monmouth County Vocational School District, and Anthony Schaible, assistant Superintendent of Schools for the District, welcomed parents and guests to the ceremony after Senior Class president Ryan Elmiger presented greetings from the graduating class.
PHOTO: Olivia Monteleone singing. The Color Guard is presenting
Seniors Olivia Monteleone and Emma Risley both gave musical renditions during the ceremony and Senior Class Officers Danielle Kaden, Jillian Kasun and Noah Weiss led the graduates in the traditional changing of tassels.
PHOTO: Mick Zimmerman, Monmouth Beach, received an appointment to the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, with Peter Engelman, Blue & Gold Officer for the Academy the presenter.
Sean Hallman of Interlaken received an appointment to the US Military Academy at West Point from Joanne Ouellet and Edward Pierce, USMA Field Force representatives.
In presenting Navy ROTC scholarships to Jillian Kasun of Middletown, Noah Weiss of Freehold and Michael Barreca of Oceanport, Naval LT Gregory Williams pointed out it is the first time he has ever heard of a high school receiving so many scholarships and military appointments in a class of any size. He further commented that each of the Navy ROTC scholarship recipients is a descendant of a parent or grandparent who also served in the military.
PHOTO: Joseph Casamassima receives the Marine Option scholarship
Major Stuart Loy presented an Army ROTC scholarship to Dan Carton of Middletown; LT Col. Deborah Danyluk presented an Air Force ROTC scholarship to Ryan Elmiger of Lincroft, and Marine CAPT Joseph McGinnis, presented a Marine Option scholarship to the University of Notre Dame to Joseph Casamassima of Millstone.
The MAST Color Guard presented colors for the ceremony and Elmiger, who is class president, presented greetings from the graduates, with Ally Bytell also presenting opening remarks.
Freeholder Director Lillian Burry and Freeholder Tom Arnone were both present for the ceremony. Burry, a long time staunch supporter of MAST and an advocate and leader in negotiations with the National Park Service for the County to rehabilitate and use one of the army buildings on Fort Hancock for a gym and offices for the school, received a standing ovation from the crowd.
Earl Moore is principal of MAST, one of the five career academies in the Monmouth County district. The district accepts students for the four year high school without discrimination of the basis of race, creed, color, orientation, religion, disability or socioeconomic status. Students are required to be active members of the Naval ROTC program during their high school years, though there is no recruitment nor requirement for military service after graduation.