The Sachem Alumni Association is proud to announce the inaugural class of the Sachem Hall of Honor.
Inductees will be honored at a ceremony on Saturday, April 1 at 10 a.m. at Sachem High School North.
“Sachem alumni have long been leading examples of success and honor in various career disciplines and now we’re so proud to honor the best of the best,” said Chris R. Vaccaro, president and founder of the Sachem Alumni Association. “When current Sachem students see the Sachem Hall of Honor they will forever see real world examples of individuals who walked the same halls as them and have made a difference throughout the journey of their lives and careers.”
It is our hope that inductees will also join us on Friday, March 31 for mentor sessions that will take place with Sachem students.
The Hall of Honor seeks to recognize alumni who have achieved extraordinary success in their chosen field or have provided exemplary service to the school district. The goal of the Hall of Honor is to promote school and community pride. Hall of Honor members provide an excellent resource for career advisement and networking for current and future students.
All inductees were nominated through a formal nomination process that was open to Sachem alumni and staff over the winter. Final selections were made by a committee comprised of representatives from the alumni association board, school administration, school board, student body and community.
John Cassese, Class of 1960: Cassese is in a select group as he is one of the first Sachem alums to be hired as a teacher in the district when he came back to work at his alma mater in 1964. He graduated in 1960, just the second year Sachem had a graduating class. Cassese had a 30-plus year career as an educator in Sachem, spending time teaching physical education first at Gatelot Avenue Elementary and then working his way up through administration and holding positions at a number of buildings for many years.
Stephen Costello, Class of 1979: Costello is a best-selling author and a business executive. Last year his book “My Father Never Took Me To A Baseball Game” reached No. 1 on Amazon’s biography and baseball best-seller list and it has generated national acclaim. Costello spent more than 20 years as a sales executive at P.C. Richard and Son and within the last decade transitioned into the role of Executive Vice President of Steiner Sports, a billion dollar sports and entertainment collectible’s company of which he was entrusted with running the daily operations.
Alexander Nich Di Guardia, Class of 1965: Di Guardia graduated from Sachem in 1965, and two years later he died serving our country in the Vietnam War. Alexander was the first Sachem alum to die in a war. He was a specialist in the U.S. Army and died in the Binh Duong Province in South Vietnam in hostile enemy territory and made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. He is buried in the Long Island National Cemetery in Pinelawn.
Kirk Lloyd Douglas, Class of 1990: Not only do you have a chance to see Kirk Lloyd Douglas on national television every night, but you might even run into him at some local music hotspots that he frequents, as he is close to his roots (pun intended). Kirk is the lead guitar player for “The Roots,” which is the house band for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
Robert Greifeld, Class of 1975: Greifeld is one of the most powerful businessmen in the world. As the recent former CEO of NASDAQ, he oversaw nine straight quarters of top line growth. Upon retiring on January 1 as CEO, he assumed the role of chairman of the board of NASDAQ. Bob assumed leadership of Nasdaq in 2003, when the company’s primary business was operating one equity market in the U.S. He had the vision to reimagine Nasdaq as a financial technology company, and navigated the organization through a period of tremendous innovation and diversification.
Jerry Figgiani, Class of 1978: Figgiani is a world-renowned martial arts instructor, but his stardom goes far beyond the physical attributes of the craft. He is desired for his speaking, for his intellect related to the martial arts and is a writer, author, motivational speaker and teacher. Jerry is also the founder and president of Shorin Ryu Karatedo International. More importantly, his work with local youth through the Suffolk County Police Athletic League helps thousands of kids each year.
Dr. John Heymach, Class of 1985: Dr. Heymach is the David Bruton, Jr. Chair in Cancer Research in the Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology Division of Cancer Medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. This is often referred to as the No. 1 cancer center in the world. Dr. Heymach attended undergrad at Harvard University and received a degree in chemistry, then attended Stanford University Medical School for his MD and PhD.
Tim Latham, Class of 1984: Latham won his second Grammy Award for his work on “Hamilton”, a Broadway musical in the category of “Best Musical Theater Album”. Latham, a multi-gold and platinum award winning recording engineer won a Grammy for “Best Musical Theater Album” for the Broadway production “In the Heights” in 2008. Since graduating from Sachem, Latham has had a fruitful career in the music industry, mixing, engineering and producing work with a number of well-known artists, including the Black Eyed Peas, Kid Rock, Lou Reed, Erykah Badu, De La Soul, Tribe Called Quest, Britney Spears, among many others.
Steve Levy, Class of 1977: In 1985, Levy was elected to the Suffolk County Legislature at age 26, the beginning of a 15-year tenure as a member of that body. During this time, he served as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and as a Deputy Presiding Officer. He left the Suffolk Legislature after 2000 when he was elected a member of the New York State Assembly. In November 2003, Levy was elected as Suffolk County’s seventh County Executive, the highest-ranking government official in the county.
Lori Ann LaRocco, Class of 1989: LaRocco is the best-selling author of the “Opportunity Knocking”, “Dynasties of the Sea: The Ships and Entrepreneurs Who Ushered in the Era of Free Trade”, and “Thriving in the New Economy: Lessons from Today’s Top Business Minds”. LaRocco is also a Senior Talent Producer for CNBC, coordinating high profile political and business interviews and special multi-million dollar on-location shows for all shows on the network.
The Sachem Hall of Honor is completely supported and funded through the Sachem Alumni Association and the Hall of Honor will live in the central corridor of Sachem High School North.
There is also a Sachem Athletic Hall of Fame. While the Athletic Hall of Fame is meant to honor successful alumni, coaches and administrators for success in sports, the Hall of Honor is meant to honor alumni in various disciplines and backgrounds.