Leaders retire and leave a legacy

Mr. Ronald C. Vale (written by Denise)

After nearly 50 years as an educator and 13 years as aprincipal at Commack High School, Mr. Ronald C. Vale is retiring at the end of June.

Vale has always known he wanted to focus his career on education because he has always loved being around children. He first came to Commack in 1962 and became principal at the high school in 1993. What he loves most about his job is that there is constant change. “It makes my life very interesting,” said Vale.

He has taken part in innumerabl
e aspects of Commack High School. Vale is present at school events such as concerts, plays, and games. “He provides frequent encouragement in my dramatic pursuits,” said Senior Aaron. Vale continually makes himself available to all students, parents, and staff. He takes the time to hear their concerns and always keeps them in mind. His students are his main concern and priority. It has always been important to Vale that Commack students not only know of the opportunities that exist but take advantage of them. Mr. Vale will miss the times when he can help “students do better and move forward.” His commitment to always strive to improve the school has improved the quality of education that Commack students receive. “He’s a true educational leader. Our high school has come a long way from the time he has been at the helm,” said Science Chair Mr. Terrence McNamara. Being an educator has been a fulfilling experience for Vale. It has been his pleasure doing what he loves for over five decades.

Vale’s retirement plans include traveling and spending more time with his children and grandchildren. He will be moving to Florida to be an active grandparent. “I’m looking for the warmer weather at this point in my life,” said Vale.

“Mr. Vale has been a real asset to the school and everyone will miss him next year,” said Junior Elise.





Mr. Terrence McNamara (written by Shalini)

After nearly 38 years of dedicated education in the Commack community, Mr. Terrence McNamara, the Science Department Chairperson, will be retiring at the close of this school year.

Initially a chemical engineer, McNamara began his career in Commack High School South in September of 1969 as a general math teacher. Since then he has worked as a general science teacher, an AP physics teacher, International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge teacher and he has assumed the role of science department chairperson for the past 6 years. Additionally, McNamara has coached Varsity Wrestling for 32 years at Commack High School South, as well as Boys Tennis.

“Mr. McNamara is an inspirational educator; he is always trying to get his students to think on more than one level. He is as intelligent as he is witty,” said Senior Adam.

As an IB/AP teacher for quite a number of years at Commack High School, McNamara says “it was fun teaching the top of the educational pyramid”. His main advice to future students is to always “question authority” and continue to take difficult courses and become life-long learners. In terms of retirement plans, McNamara said, “I don’t know what I’ll do… Just all the things I’ve had on hold, things I usually had no time for.”

Teachers and students alike agree that McNamara will truly be missed and has contributed a great deal to the advancement of student learning and education.
“He’s the best chairman… a great advocate for the students and he has been great to work with,” said Research teacher Sharon Pavulaan.





Mr. John Maher (written by Shirou)

After years of working with the Commack School District, World Language Department Chairperson Mr. John Maher has announced his plan to retire after the 2006-2007 school year. Coming to teach in the high school in September of 1967, the end of the 2007 school year will mark the 40th year that Maher has been involved with the Commack School District. Maher used to teach Biology and English as well, but always remained in relation with the language department.

"It's just over the year you run into wonderful people: the kids, the administrators, the secretaries, the custodial help, it's more of an impression of wonderfulness, for lack of a better word…there's a wonderful atmosphere that pervades, not only through Commack High School, but the entire district…it's that attitude, that kind of commitment to each other, that makes Commack so different from other places," said Maher.


There has never been a day, when McNamara hasn’t enjoyed coming to work and in his words, “It has always been fun”.
“Mr. McNamara connects with students on a personal level… he is understanding, and we all wish him the best of luck in his retirement,” said Senior Tracey.