Ten years after graduating, Patchogue-Medford’s Class of 2011 got together for a reunion at Lombardi’s on the Bay. The event brought out graduates and their dates for an evening of fun, eating, dancing and a lot of catching up.
A lot can happen in 10 years. For Kara Hirsch, that’s nearly an understatement. A year and a half after graduating from high school, Hirsch was diagnosed with cancer and her entire life was put on hold.
“College, all of that stuff, it was off the table,” she said.
Now she has been in remission for seven and a half years and is planning to get married, find a forever home and have a baby.
For some Pat-Med graduates, the past 10 years have seen professional dreams and goals realized through hard work and dedication.
Sal Palumbo achieved a lifelong goal to play professional baseball. He said the past 10 years have been all about “experience”—living and learning—and he hopes the next 10 years will be spent further building his life by starting a family and buying a home.
For Jennifer Nartowicz, hard work led to a new job and to an upcoming relocation she plans to make with her family.
“I started a career in the federal government,” she said.
In the coming weeks, Nartowicz plans on moving to Pennsylvania with her spouse and two daughters.
For other graduates, business ownership was a dream that came to fruition.
“I own my own hair salon. I just opened it a year ago,” said Krystina Kateridge, reflecting on her accomplishments over the past 10 years.
Kateridge’s hair salon, Shear Grace, is located in Bohemia and was listed as one of the reunion’s five sponsors. The other sponsors were The Chromo Conglomerate, King of Homes, Hair Artist Kels and GoodBear Coffee Co.
Walking into Lombardi’s with Kateridge was Brianca Donovan, who said her greatest accomplishment in the past decade has been her family: a husband and two children.
“I never expected to be married and have kids. I have two kids now,” she said.
Matt Gajewski, who was with Kateridge and Donovan, said the reunion offered him an opportunity to see faces he hasn’t seen in a decade.
“I’m just here to see everyone I haven’t seen in a while. There’s a lot of high school friends I lost touch with and it will be good to see them all,” he said.
For some, the 10-year reunion was a surreal moment in time.
“It feels like the time never even happened,” said Manny Morales, looking back on life a decade after graduating from high school.
Morales and Palumbo joked that they have the same sense of humor they had in high school, and that their personalities are mostly unchanged. For Morales, staying young 10 years after high school graduation is a matter of mindset.
“I remind myself every day to stay young,” he said.