by Dr. Richard Canfield, Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Canfield shared these remarks at the DeConto Stadium Committee Appreciation Celebration.
This morning, as I thought about this event, I wondered, “How do I begin to find words that can adequately express the depth of my appreciation for the gift of the stadium, and all that it represents to the Sandwich Public Schools and to this community?
So I turned to my heart, and more importantly, to my spiritual core. There, I found the words as I could see that the gift emanates from the love and spiritual commitment of Pat DeConto. It comes from her determination and ability to lead, and to inspire her family, and all who have responded to support this amazing endeavor.
This I believe. I believe that Jerry is with us, and that he shares his approval of what has been created. I believe that the pain of 9/11 will not define us or defeat us; rather it is our ability to come together in a spirit of family and community to create good out of an evil event.
The stadium is a living memorial to Jerry and to all our veterans who have served and continue to serve our nation.
The DeConto family reminds us of all that is good.
They respect life, and all of its challenges. They know that many of life’s lessons can be learned through the experiences we create for our youth, including the experiences derived through competitive sports. Athletics have, and continue to play a prominent role in the lives of the DeConto family. How appropriate it is, that the stadium serves as a place for people to gather to compete or to enjoy as spectators. May they always appreciate and respect the efforts of all the people who have contributed to create and sustain the stadium.
We know it is not just about the funding…that has always been a reality for those who pursued this dream, but it has required vision and persistence, or what the military refers to as grit. Most importantly it is the collective desire to provide The Captain Gerald F. DeConto Veterans Memorial Stadium as a gift of the heart.
Together with Dr. Ellin Booras, it is now our pleasure to present a gift on behalf of all of our students, to Pat DeConto. The gift a Sandwich blue and white vase with the seal of the Sandwich Public Schools embedded in its base. The vase was designed and crafted by local artisan Michael Magyar. Mr. Magyar worked with our students to create the lighted giant Blue Knight and the Squire. Etched on the vase is the following inscription: Captain Gerald F. DeConto, Veterans Memorial Stadium, Patricia L. DeConto, With Gratitude From Your Blue knights and Squires.
Dr. Booras, presented the vase with a dozen white roses to Pat DeConto. Since it was noted that this year’s senior class were in kindergarten when the stadium effort began, it is fitting to note that the Class of 2015 will be the first class graduating in the new stadium.
Read about the first game played at the DeConto Stadium here.