Friends, family, colleagues and students filled the Belden Auditorium at Oneonta High School this afternoon where a service was held celebrating the life of William “Bud” Pirone, a beloved teacher, OHS principal and coach, who passed away on Jan. 13 at age 80. Retired Methodist minister Dick Breuninger gave the sermon, remarking, “If Dick saw paradise as a walk in the woods on a golden afternoon, the best way to honor his memory would be to go for a walk on a lovely day. If it’s too cold to walk, sit down with a good book.” Pirone’s son and daughter, Michael Pirone and Kim Pirone Baskin, seen at left, remarked on memories of their father. “My father had a reputation as a harsh grader, and once told me he gave himself a B+ as a father and husband,” said Michael. “But I gave him an A+.” (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
NEXT YEAR, JOE HUGHES
JOINS HIS MENTOR
By JENNIFER HILL
ONEONTA – Two OHS athletic directors – the current one, Joe Hughes, and a legendary one, Tony Drago – presented the annual Tony Drago Tournament trophy Saturday, Dec. 1, to the Lady Yellowjackets.They realized they were marking two milestones. One, it will be Joe Hughes’ last: He is retiring in June. Two, Tony Drago was marking his namesake tournament’s 60th anniversary.
“It’s bittersweet,” said Hughes. “There was no better way to go out than with the OHS girls’ win. Presenting the trophy with Tony to them was an honor.
“I’ve been blessed to have had such a good job and worked with such good people,” he said. “Coaches, students, directors, and of course, Tony.”
Hughes and Drago, who retired as OHS athletic director in 1984, share more than just that title.
Their families have been close since at least the late 1930s, when Drago and Hughes’ dad, Bill, attended OHS together. Tony was best man at Bill’s wedding, and a second father to Joe. “Joe is my son,” Drago declared. “He’s a good kid.”
As for Joe Hughes, “I followed in Drago’s footsteps.”
Some 135 OHS Alumni, top, pose on the Oneonta Country Club’s putting green before this morning’s start of the annual Alumni Golf Tournament, which begins the annual weekend of reunion celebrations. Players have a chance to win loads of prizes including a 2019 Chevy Cruze if they get a hole-in-one! At right, as the sun comes out, Jim Sandoli, ’63, lines up a shot as son Jim Jr., ’02, and Phil Meagley, ’63, look on. Awards will be given out around 2:30 p.m. The Alumni Banquet is this evening at the Asa C. Allison Building. Annual Wall of Fame inductions are Saturday morning at the high school, followed by the homecoming game in the afternoon. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Leroy Williams, Jr. embraces one of his teachers, Kelly Tavarone, as the Oneonta High School Class of 2018 exits the auditorium following the 149th annual Commencement at the high school’s Belden Auditorium at this afternoon. The graduates, lauded by Principal Tom Brindley, right, for their caring and compassionate nature, had an unheard of number fights during the school year: zero. “This is a group that cares about each other, looks out for each other and cheer each other on,” Brindley remarked. “(They) are a friendly smile on a bad day. What you do does not compare to who you are.” It was also announced that Brindley is being promoted to assistant superintendent, a new position. “I consider it a privilege to graduate with you.” he said. Brindley’s successor will be his assistant principal, Anne Wolstenholme. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com
The OHS Class of ’18 celebrated its Senior Prom last night in the Foothills Atrium, where they danced and enjoyed food and photo booths. Above, Nate Southwick and his date Kirsten Lester sway on the dance floor among their classmates to one of the evening’s slow songs. Later, students headed to the OHS Cafeteria where they played games of chance to win a wide selection of prizes and money. At right, Christian Holoquist and Danielle Basdekis, left, as they deal cards to Jada Fisher and Christina Mattocks. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Oneonta High School sent 118 of it’s students off into to a larger world this morning during the 148th Commencement Ceremonies in the Charles Belden Auditorium this morning. Above: Hannah Reynolds is embraced by her father Jamie Reynolds, President of the School Board, after she accepts her diploma from Superintendent Joseph Yelich, left, and Principal Thomas Brindley. At right, Ruby French flashes a triumphant smile with her high school diploma in hand as she and the rest of her class parade out during the recessional. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Thanks to an anonymous donation, the OHS Class of 2017 were able to enjoy their senior prom in the Atrium of Foothills, where they enjoyed dinner, dancing, daiquiris and a candy bar before heading to the after-prom party in the High School cafeteria for a chance to win prizes at casino games and raffles. Above, the dance floor was hopping throughout the night to tunes spun by DJ Hectic. At right, Nick Giacomelli and Maria Farrell enjoy a slow dance together as the evening winds to a close.(Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, APRIL 7
MUSICAL – 7 p.m. Bring the family out for this presentation of Disney’s “High School Musical.” Bring school supplies to donate and half the proceeds of the show go to the Family Service Association “Back to School” drive. Oneonta High School Auditorium, 31 Center Street, Oneonta. Info, www.oneontacsd.org
ART EXHIBIT RECEPTION – 5-8 p.m. Exhibits “Within The Happy Crowd,” by Kate Shannon and “Icelandic Images,” by Bret Delanoy opens at the Community Arts Network of Oneonta. Includes music by Wendy Slicer. Wilber Mansion, 11 Ford Ave., Oneonta. Info, www.canoneonta.org/calendar/