AFJROTC Banquet Celebrate Grads & Retiring Master Sargeant


Photo by Nicole Thomson

JROTC banquet was a night to celebrate departing seniors and saying farewell to Master Sargeant Picone.

One of our AFJROTC program’s many annual events is their award banquet that occurs every May. These banquets include a buffet, speeches, dancing, drill performances and awards. This year’s took place on Friday, May 6th at Holbrook Country Club. Anyone who went can tell you it was a party like no other. Even people’s moms were on the dance floor! There was a dance circle where people were doing the worm amongst other moves; this has been called one of the best banquets in AFJROTC history.

At this event, plans that seniors had for their future were announced by Major Francolini, one of our two instructors. Cadets of the class of 2022 worked extremely hard to keep our program running smoothly for the past four years. They are now going to graduate and although we are sad to see them go, we feel excited to see them taking the next steps to accomplish their dreams.

Here is a list of the departing seniors:

Danti Elcik is going to join the work force after high school.

Cole Tapler has plans to go to Binghamton University to major in Psychology.

Tyler Faust is going to go to Western Michigan University to major in Aviation flight science.

William Lombardi is going to be a member of the Air National Guard and then going to be a police officer.

Jizzelle Pagan is going to attend Suffolk community college for psychology.

Kevin Haskins-Smith is enlisting in the army.

Henry Mendez Jr. Is going to Suffolk community college to major in criminal justice, then becoming a Suffolk police, and becoming a member of SWAT.

Daniel Sorto who is going to the University of Texas for physics.

Daniel Feldman is joining the army for artillery.

Jill Dell ‘Orto is attending Manhattan college for aerospace science, engineering, and AFROTC.

Zakhierie Wilken is going to John and Wales University for computer engineering when he goes to college.

Kayleen D’Amico is going to Suffolk Community College for fire protection and life-safety studies.

The rest of the seniors did not wish to be included in this list.

Not only are our seniors leaving, but our other instructor, Master Sargeant Picone (known as ‘sarge’ by his students) is retiring this year after impacting the lives of hundreds of students in Patchogue-Medford high school.  When it was time for everyone to come up and share their favorite memories of him, a stunning amount of people went up to the microphone and gave exceptionally emotional testimonials. Not that that’s surprising for anyone who knows him. His past students went up to speak and so did his current ones. Even his family had something to say. People described him as a good listener, a supportive person to rant to when you need it, someone who will take the time out of their day to help you even when he doesn’t have to, and as someone who truly cares for others.

During his well-deserved retirement, Master Sargeant Picone plans on spending more time with his kids.