Tags Posts tagged with "inauguration"


Last Friday, April 8, Edward Bonahue was sworn in as the seventh president of Suffolk County Community College. 

During his inaugural address, Bonahue outlined his vision of higher education in Suffolk County and the direction he intends to steer the college throughout his tenure as president.

“It is a career-defining honor to stand with you today and to accept the deep privilege and tremendous responsibility of serving as the seventh president of Suffolk County Community College,” he said. “For this Long Island boy, the child of, and also brother to, lifelong Suffolk County educators, the opportunity to join with all of you in service to Suffolk County is a dream come true and a prayer answered.”

We honor and commend the work performed by generations of caring college employees, faculty and staff who could choose to do anything, who could choose to work anywhere, but who have chosen this work.”

— Edward Bonahue

A place in history

Bonahue detailed the history of SCCC since the time when it was founded in 1959 as just a small college of about 500 students. Back then, classrooms had to be borrowed from Sachem and Riverhead high schools. The president likened the population growth of Suffolk County with the development and advancement of the community college.

“Those first students came from a growing county with about 600,000 residents,” he said. “Today, Suffolk County is home to over 1.6 million residents, representing a far-more diverse population, and our annual college enrollment exceeds 20,000 students.” He continued by saying, “We honor and commend the work performed by generations of caring college employees, faculty and staff who could choose to do anything, who could choose to work anywhere, but who have chosen this work, to work here and to embrace this mission of fostering student development, promoting a culture of lifelong learning, and ultimately serving the community we live in.”

Reflecting upon the resiliency of the campus community during the COVID-19 pandemic, Bonahue said that the college found new and innovative ways to continue the educational process through virtual learning. In a time of profound uncertainty and despair, he said SCCC did not shrink away from its academic mission.

“Especially in the early days of the pandemic, many of us worked around the clock just to manage a virtual continuity of operations,” he said. “We all learned that our community college students were often those most likely to have been impacted by the pandemic.” Discussing ways students and staff responded, Bonahue added, “We worked with a sense of urgency, but also pragmatic flexibility, knowing that our students’ progress, sometimes even their well-being, rested on our ability to adapt to constantly shifting conditions.”

Meeting the community’s needs

We own that the work of education is complicated, but the college embraces this as a critical duty.”

— Edward Bonahue

During the address, Bonahue articulated the important role that SCCC plays within the Suffolk community. He said the institution’s mission is to provide quality, affordable higher education and to promote health and prosperity throughout the county.

“We know that we are a critical part of the formula for supporting our community and changing students’ lives,” Bonahue said. “Specifically, the essential mission of our college, the necessity of providing an affordable, inclusive education, of providing a pathway of opportunity, has never been more critical.” He added, “For all of Suffolk County, I have this simple message: Suffolk County Community College is Long Island’s own pathway to educational and economic success.”

Bonahue considers an educated populace necessary for community wellness. “We own that the work of education is complicated, but the college embraces this as a critical duty because we know that an educated population is an essential good for our society and our nation.”

The president suggests that democracy also requires an engaged citizenry. He said one of the priorities of the college is to keep its students informed and involved in the democratic process.

“One of our commitments to students is to foster a sense of citizenship and civic engagement,” he said. “We acknowledge that teaching about the rights of democracy, its many individual freedoms, the privilege of self-determination, must also be accompanied by teaching about the responsibilities of citizenship, including service to the community and the country, the rule of law, appreciation for the power of diversity, and the willingness to speak and act in defense of our freedoms.” He stressed, “This kind of general education for all students is critical because through it, students come to understand not only the rights and responsibilities of being an American, but also a sense of the world they live in.”

The students’ experience is the reality of the college.”— Edward Bonahue

Serving all students

Bonahue delivered his general vision for the college. He affirmed the college “will continue its commitment to serve all students, regardless of background or previous experience in higher education.” 

He said the college must continue to promote inclusion of all students, regardless of their circumstances: “We know that the future of the college means embracing the part-time student, the working student, the parenting student, as well as those who come to us straight out of high school.” 

Additionally, Bonahue embraced the nonconventional programs of study which complement the curriculum offered by the college. “We affirm that as a comprehensive community college, career training, workforce development and economic development are integral and fundamental parts of our mission,” he said, adding, “We are proud of our thousands of students who move annually through our arts and sciences programs, graduate from our honors programs and often transfer to highly selective universities. We are equally proud of our nurses, our welders, our bakers, programmers, our paramedics, our machinists and our accountants.”

During the speech, Bonahue advanced that student experience is the impetus behind his work: “The students’ experience is the reality of the college, and we will keep that truth at the center of how we carry out our mission of student success from day-to-day, from semester-to-semester and from year-to-year.”

The president touched upon the many financial challenges that students may face while pursuing a higher education. He acknowledged that there are still too many people left out of the education system due to the burden of cost. 

“Because the cost of education still too often puts it out of reach for deserving students, we affirm our commitment that a Suffolk education must remain an affordable education,” Bonahue said. “The work of our college foundation as a vehicle for supporting student scholarships and basic needs allows any of us and all of us to invest in our students.”

To access the full speech, click here.

By Kimberly Brown

Stony Brook University celebrated the inauguration of Maurie McInnis as the university’s sixth president on Saturday, Oct. 23, at the Island Federal Arena, Stony Brook. 

Standing before students, alumni, local officials and representatives from universities across the country as well as family and friends, McInnis was proudly given her title as president. 

Transporting the crowd back to 1962, when Stony Brook University was merely a handful of buildings that has sprouted out of a field where potatoes were farmed, McInnis said the 800 students who first began their journey at the university would know that big plans were in the works. 

“Out of these potato fields and muddy woods on Long Island, an educational powerhouse would soon emerge, and in less than a decade our university grew ten-fold to 8,000 students and ambitiously recruited the faculty and staff that would come to define this institution,” McInnis said.

Nobel Prize-winning physicist Chen Ning Yang came to Stony Brook in 1965 and became the university’s first director of the Institute of Theoretical Physics. To which McInnis said he must have sensed the university was making big moves and breaking new ground in areas of science.

“Looking around the arena today, I see that same bold spirit that attracted Yang and legions of other distinguished faculty,” she said. “Thank you for joining me as we celebrate the luminous and ambitious future of Stony Brook University.” 

McInnis thanked the crowd for trusting her to lead the institution.

Also touching on her own family’s heritage, which is rich in careers of education, she mentioned her great-grandparents and grandparents were both teachers. Her parents were also college professors and her husband is a first-generation college graduate.

“I have dedicated my life’s work to this enterprise and I am thrilled and honored to apply my knowledge, experience and energy to Stony Brook University,” she said. “What I have learned is that our institution yesterday, today and tomorrow is a university of dreaming big, of expanding the reach of discovery and creating knowledge for the benefit of society.”

In 1973, the university welcomed Rich Gelfond, who came from a disadvantaged household in Plainview.

Stepping foot onto the campus for the first time as a college student, Gelfond went full force in his academics by working on the school newspaper, designing his own curriculum, winning an election to be the first student on the university council as well as guest teaching at his own sports sociology class.

“He was delivering on his potential, and then some, because he had found a university that valued the promise of first-generation college students,” she said. “He had found a university that wanted to empower its students to be their best.”

McInnis said after college, Gelfond went on to be a successful investment banker, acquiring IMAX Corporation in 1994 where he remains CEO today. 

Touching on the topic of COVID-19, McInnis said she is proud of the way Stony Brook University has succeeded in the past year and a half by providing superior patient care and extending its reach across Long Island to care for new communities.

“The power of a public research university is that it has the ability and the duty to benefit the community around it, as well as foster the groundbreaking discoveries that can impact the world for generations to come,” she said.

As the university’s newest president, McInnis wants to ensure that Stony Brook is leading the way, serving the community and tackling the global challenges that face us in the coming century.

“I look forward to seeing all that we can achieve,” she said. “The moment is upon us. Seawolves, let’s answer this call to greatness.”

As chief executive for Stony Brook, McInnis also oversees Stony Brook Medicine, Long Island’s premier academic medical center, which encompasses five health sciences schools, four hospitals and 200 community-based health care settings. 

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President Joe Biden. Stock photo

By Rich Acritelli

President Joe Biden (D), Jan. 20: “This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope. Of renewal and resolve.  Through a crucible for the ages America has been tested anew and America has risen to the challenge.  Today, we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy. The will of the people has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded.” 

These were the words of the newly inaugurated 46th president of the United States that addressed citizens on his first day as the leader of this nation. Unlike previous years, the historic landscape of Washington, D.C., did not have the large crowds to pay tribute to the incoming and outgoing presidents due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a different ceremony in every imaginable way, that saw Biden surrounded by former presidents Barak Obama (D), George W. Bush (R) and Bill Clinton (D), along with military, government and Supreme Court figures.  

For the first time since 1869 when Andrew Johnson (National Union) refused to be present for the transfer of power to Ulysses S. Grant (R), there was no presence of the immediate past president, Donald Trump (R), who was on his way home to Florida. 

Biden mostly spoke to the people across America that saw him on the television, the Internet and on the radio. By looking at the numerous problems of this nation, the new president has continually stated that he expects to work across party lines to better unify our people. Although he has an enormous task in front of him, this is not an unusual situation, as other previous presidents dealt with similar situations during their terms.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

In 1801, Thomas Jefferson (D-R) was inaugurated after one of the most controversial elections in our history.  Through the support of Alexander Hamilton, who pushed Congress to accept Jefferson over Aaron Burr, outgoing President John Adams (Federalist) was forced out of office. Even as Jefferson was the president and Burr the vice president, Adams refused to stay for the inauguration, and he went home to Massachusetts. 

Jefferson spoke about the divisions in the country and claimed that we were “all Democratic-Republicans and all Federalists,” within the United States. This Founding Father entered the White House without a glaring endorsement from the voters and he presented the willingness to become a consensus builder amongst the different political parties. Jefferson expressed his concerns that our government had grown too strong under President George Washington (no affiliated party) and Adams, at the expense of the people. He wanted limitations on the size of the government and believed that the people should hold more power.  

James Madison and James Monroe

Directly after the War of 1812, and the term of President James Madison (D-R), the last of the Virginia dynasty to run the United States was James Monroe (D-R). This figure who was later known for an “era of good feelings,” spoke of the necessity of admitting new states to the union, the need to have a “wise partition of power” between the states and federal government and regulation of trade with foreign countries. Monroe was at the helm of leadership at a vastly different point that saw our people at a crossroads.  

He was the last resemblance of the Revolutionary War generation of leadership that pushed Monroe to balance the direction of his government through old and new ideas. While Monroe was a popular figure, he had to handle the negative tensions that were felt by the northern and southern states over the War of 1812. 

During this conflict, politicians from New England openly spoke out against the support of sending their soldiers to aid the southern and western states that were fighting the British. There was also talk by politicians from this region that if the government continued this war that secession was a possibility.  Monroe also had to contend with the growth of slavery within the new states and territories, and the tensions that expansion created for this government.

James Buchanan and Abraham Lincoln

In 1857, James Buchanan (D) ascended to the presidency as an experienced leader who served in the Pennsylvania State Assembly, in Congress, as a secretary of state and a minister to Russia. On paper, it looked as if Buchanan had enough credentials to steer the United States through the treacherous waters of the late 1850s. A strong politician before he entered the White House, Buchanan nevertheless is considered one of the worst presidents in American history.  

When he replaced the outgoing Franklin Pierce (D), Buchanan complained that the nation was consumed through constant debates over the slavery issue. This pro-states-rights president accepted the merits of the Kansas-Nebraska Act that promoted the use of popular sovereignty to decide the fate of slavery in the Upper Midwest. Buchanan’s timid demur did not quell the violence between pro-slavery and abolitionist forces which threatened the peace and stability of the union. 

Buchanan believed that the judicial branch was responsible in determining the future of slavery in America. He did not want to utilize authority of the executive branch to rule on this explosive problem.  The Dred Scott case played into the central ideas of Buchanan that the government was bound to follow the Supreme Court’s decisions. He supported the ruling against Scott that promoted the notion that a slave had no rights, was property and could be moved north of the Missouri Compromise without being set free. 

Abraham Lincoln (R) closely monitored the lack of actions by Buchanan and he publicly spoke out against the political use of compromises. When he debated Stephen Douglas for the Illinois Congressional Senate seat, he was recognized on the national level over his refusal to endorse the expansion of slavery, while the South saw him as a direct threat toward the future of slavery and would never accept his future rule.

 During the transitional period when Buchanan met with Lincoln, he expressed to the new leader, “If you are as happy to become president of the United States as I am to stop being president and go home, you are very happy.” With Buchanan in attendance, Lincoln recognized the start of secession and he told the South that he would not end slavery. Although Lincoln spoke out against the prospects of war, he stated that he would protect the citizens, their property and the laws of this nation. The inauguration of 1861 marked conflicting viewpoints of strength within the presidency. In one sense there was the weakest figure ever to lead in Buchanan, while his predecessor Lincoln, next to Washington, was one of the strongest presidents to ever guide the United States — especially through the horrors of the Civil War.

Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy

Nearly 100 years after Lincoln took his oath of office, the United States watched as a new generation of citizens became the leaders of this nation. President Dwight D. Eisenhower (R) was an incredibly trusted general during World War II and through his two presidential terms from 1952-1960. When our people looked at Eisenhower, they observed a grandfatherly figure. On the other hand, our citizens saw the popular John F. Kennedy (D) as a fellow war veteran who was still young, and had a family which resided in the White House.  

While this was not a negative period, Kennedy marked a far different approach toward the goals of this country.  With the Cold War expanding in Cuba and Vietnam, Kennedy expressed the strength of the United States to continually “pay any price” and to “oppose any foe.” He was also in the middle of the civil rights movement that had leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. who demanded the government creates the same freedoms for all American people. King expected Kennedy to finally establish an America that was prepared to fully end the terrible strains of segregation in the early 1960s.

Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan

When Ronald Reagan (R) defeated Jimmy Carter (D) in November of 1980, this country was in an apparent downward spiral. This was the third and final chance that Reagan had to win the presidency, and up until the victory of Biden, Reagan was the oldest leader in our history.  Americans had a “question of confidence” over the Vietnam War, the resignation of Richard M. Nixon (R), the frustrations of the oil crisis and our citizens watched in disbelief as radical Iranian students overran our embassy in Tehran and held Americans for 444 days. Reagan spoke about the necessity of whipping inflation and getting more people back to work to compete with the economic powers of Germany and Japan. 

The former California governor addressed the untrue notion that there were no more “heroes” left in the United States. He reassured this country that our “heroes” worked in the factories, farms and were the entrepreneurs that sought new opportunities and wealth.

As Carter listened, Reagan said the growth of the government and its immense spending and debt was a problem for our people. Both older and younger Americans responded to the words of this immensely popular politician who was known as the Great Communicator. 

While the Carter administration should have earned additional credit over the release of the hostages, the moment that Reagan was sworn in, our detained people were immediately freed and placed on a plane that flew to West Germany. Right away, Reagan made it known that America would not tolerate widespread disrespect toward our interests and people. The emergence of Reagan presented the willingness of our citizens to regain the same prosperity and respect that had transformed the United States into a superpower.

It is not difficult to understand that Biden, as he enters the Oval Office, has a challenging presidency ahead of him. Since the start of our republic, our presidents have had to deal with major problems that have tested the will and resolve of this proud nation.

Rocky Point students Chloe Fish, Sean Hamilton, Carolyn Settepani and Madelyn Zarzycki contributed to this article. 

Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci outlines his vision of a new direction for Huntington at his inauguration Jan. 2. Photo by Sara-Megan Walsh

Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R) has been officially sworn in as Huntington’s 80th supervisor, as of his first full day in office Jan. 2.

His oath of office was administered
moments after the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day by Town Clerk Jo-Ann Raia at his cousin’s Commack restaurant in front of his family and close friends on his grandfather’s Bible from Calabria, Italy.

Hundreds of Huntington residents and elected officials later watched Lupinacci retake the oath at the official Inauguration Ceremony Jan. 2 held at his high school alma mater, Walt Whitman High School in Huntington Station. Lupinacci took the oath of office, and oaths were administered to re-elected Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D), newcomer Councilman Ed Smyth (R) and Highway Superintendent Kevin Orelli (D).

This night has been a long time coming, a night when we return town government to the control of those with a clear vision of what defines our suburban lifestyles,” he said. “This is the night in which we begin putting into action our mandate to preserve the keys to what has made Huntington such a desirable community over the years to live, work and raise a family.”

Raia presented the new supervisor with the town’s chain of office, a 1-pound, 11-ounce ceremonial piece made of wampum and several medallions.

Chad Lupinacci takes the oath of office as Huntington’s newly elected town supervisor Jan. 2 Photo by Sara-Megan Walsh

In his inaugural address, Lupinacci outlined staff and policy changes he intends to make over the upcoming months, particularly plans to hire a new economic policy adviser to oversee business matters in the town.

“We want to make sure that we are always open for business and work hard to create all the jobs we can, while maintaining the jobs that are here,” Lupinacci said.

The Jan. 3 town board meeting will see the appointment of a new town attorney and set dates for 2018 town board meetings — increasing the number to two every month, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. In coming weeks, Lupinacci said he plans to further consider scheduling the meetings at different locations across the town, instead of Town Hall only.

The new supervisor’s top priorities include increasing the town’s use of social media and passing term limits for the town’s elected officials. Councilman Gene Cook (R) pulled his proposal to create a three-term limit on all town officials, including the town clerk and receiver of taxes, at the Dec. 13 town board meeting before it could be voted on.

The town recently received $1.7 million in state funds to construct a parking garage in Huntington village, which Lupinacci said he plans to push forward with in coming months.

These new town positions and policies are part of Lupinacci’s campaign promise of “a new direction” for Huntington, which he elaborated on Tuesday night.

“It does not mean tearing everything down and starting over. It does not mean undoing everything that the town government has done over the past 24 years,” he said, calling for a round of applause for former Supervisor Frank Petrone (D). “But a new direction does mean identifying those policies, programs and procedures that should remain and building on them, while identifying those that do need to be changed and changing them as quickly as possible.”

Former Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone (D) left a white elephant on Lupinacci’s desk as a token of good luck. Photo by Sara-Megan Walsh

One thing that will remain unchanged, Lupinacci announced Patricia DelCol has agreed to stay on as his deputy supervisor — an announcement met by a round of applause.

Cuthbertson, who served as a councilman for 20 years under Petrone, welcomed Lupinacci into the town after taking his oath of office.

“We take a new beginning today with Supervisor Lupinacci and the new administration,” Cuthbertson said. “I heard a lot about new beginnings in the campaign, and I can tell you that if new beginnings mean we continue to look at how we can continue to improve how we deliver town services and manage town government, I’m all for new beginnings. There’s always room for improvement at all levels of government.”

Particularly, Cuthbertson said he expects the new town board will have to tackle the issues of how to help local businesses stand up to competition against internet retailers and affordable housing for both millenials and seniors.

“When we make the tough decisions, we really do move our town forward and it has a lasting and positive impact.” Cuthbertson said. “It’s something I hope we will do in the coming four years.”

A small white elephant figurine was left sitting on Lupinacci’s desk by Petrone, as his way of wishing the new supervisor and his administration good luck.

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Watch out, Madison Avenue! People everywhere are gunning for your jobs.

Well, maybe people don’t want advertising and marketing jobs, but they do want to express themselves in ways guaranteed by the Constitution. How could the Founding Fathers have known that the war with words, on words and of words would require an ability of people on both sides to understand that each of them has a right to speak?

The Women’s March, the day after the inauguration, was a spectacle. People from around the nation, indeed the world, took considerable time to write, design and share signs about any and every issue important to them.

People are searching for the words to share their convictions.

One sign read, “Without Hermione, Harry would have died,” referring to the brilliant friend of Harry Potter whose smarts helped Harry survive despite numerous murderous attempts by Voldemort.

Another sign suggested, “So bad, even introverts are here.”

The president’s hair, a subject for television discussion well before the commander in chief left for the White House, made it onto several signs, with “We shall overcomb,” offering one of many toupee moments.

Whether the Trump administration recognizes or addresses it, we are a nation divided and, no, that’s not a statement about the size of the crowd at the inauguration. Who cares? If not a single person attended the inauguration, do you know what we would be calling Donald Trump? President.

I understand that and so do all those people writing signs, discussing the future direction of the country and arguing over the internet. I know Trump and his team seem disillusioned with the media. The president can’t stand the way he’s covered, but plenty of past presidents no doubt could relate to his discomfort.

Trump has tried to ostracize the media, going straight to the people with his creatively spelled Twitter messages.

One woman used Trump’s penchant for direct messages with a sign saying, “Tweet women with respect.”

Trump continues to make the argument about the number of people who voted for him. Can someone please tell him he won the election?

By walking side-by-side in marches, people aren’t sitting comfortably at home typing angry computer messages: They’re sharing their views and are traveling to see people “in real life.”

This is not — to borrow from Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” — “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” These are people sharing a message they hope others and, in particular, the administration, hears and understands.

Trump didn’t get to the White House propelled by the hopes of these sign makers. He won the votes of millions who believed in him.

He wants to make America great again. He and his voters have red hats to prove it. That’s great and maybe the sale of red hats will be sufficient to create more jobs, just as his office has increased the sale of poster boards, crayons, markers and block-lettering kits through these marches.

No doubt, Trump, his team and many other Americans will come up with great slogans and catchy one-liners to offset the marchers’ messages.

What will bring us together? Maybe there’ll be a moment similar to the one in the movie “Miracle,” which was about the improbable Olympics victory by the United States hockey team at Lake Placid in 1980. As these players bonded, they learned that they weren’t playing for their schools but, rather, were representing their country.

The Founding Fathers may have created a slogan that’s hard to top: We the People.

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The mood, to say the least, is unsettled. On the eve of the inauguration of the newly elected president of the United States, his approval rating is at a historic low in modern times. That said, there are two facts we know indisputably about President-elect Donald Trump. One is that he is not a politician. He does not say or do any of the politically correct things an incoming president typically says or does. He has engaged in a war of words with respected civil rights leader, John Lewis, to no particular benefit for himself. He has also responded forcefully to Meryl Streep, denigrated the CIA and largely gained the worried attention of many foreign leaders. He has done all this during the “honeymoon period,” when the incoming president traditionally tries to bind the wounds caused by pre-election campaigning and to unite the country behind him. In short, he has not stopped being himself.

But that is, after all, how he got elected. He is not traditional, he does not follow the rules. And that brings me to the second fact about Trump. He is our next president, the 45th to be exact. An outlier is what his supporters wanted, and that is how he is sweeping into the White House.

So much for polling and personal approval. And so much for rhetoric. Trump, once in office, will be judged on what he does, and so far he has scored some successes even before he enters 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. As the Disrupter in Chief, he seems to have persuaded some automotive companies to reconsider their plans for building new plants outside the country. And while the exact number is in dispute, he has managed to save some manufacturing jobs already. He has also secured an examination of the costs for building a new Air Force One.

Trump bills himself as a great deal maker. Certainly he has made a number of deals. Maybe the strategy when entering such a negotiation is to disrupt what has preceded the start of such talks. If that is true, he has surely succeeded in the foreign policy arena. Members of NATO are puzzled by his characterization of the post-World War II alliance as “obsolete.” For many believers, it is the foundation for long-awaited peace in Europe, especially between France and Germany. It also is thought to be a buffer between the United States and Russia. Maybe he is just rattling that cage to get members to pay a greater share of the costs of maintaining the alliance. He also questioned the value of the European Union, reserving some uncomplimentary words for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s immigration policies. She and other European leaders are facing serious challenges from populist parties who are strongly anti-immigration. If Trump’s goal is to keep Europeans off balance, he seems to have won this round.

By indicating that the One China policy was open to negotiation, Trump has unnerved the Chinese leaders to the point of their declaring that “Beijing will have no choice but to take off the gloves.” By warning U.S. automakers of possible 35 percent tariffs on automobiles made in Mexico, he has elicited warnings from our neighboring country. The Russians, however, were not unhappy. “Let’s wait until he assumes office before we give assessment to any initiatives,” said a Russian spokesman.

Sounds like good advice to me. This is a most unusual incoming president with a mighty different style. Still, he is not to be underestimated, in the words of President Obama. He is an American and also, perhaps to our advantage, a New Yorker — the first to inhabit the White House since FDR.

Let’s give Trump a chance. We can always get excited if necessary and resist.

A six-year-old James meets Hillary Clinton in 2008. Photo from Anne Shybunko-Moore

On Friday, Jan. 20, about 900,000 people are expected to be gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to witness Donald Trump being sworn in as the nation’s 45th president.

Among the crowd of thousands will be selected future leaders from schools across the country, including James Moore, a sophomore at Ward Melville High School, who will represent Long Island in a five-day program surrounding the historic event.

The Presidential Inauguration Leadership Summit, held between Jan. 18 and 22, gives students like James the opportunity to take part in a series of workshops, seminar discussions and presentations that coincide with the inauguration, listen to world-renowned speakers — some of this year’s honored guests include General Colin Powell, the youngest-ever Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai via video satellite, renowned filmmaker Spike Lee, former governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley (D) and Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson — and gain a perspective on local, national and global issues facing their generation.

Ward Melville High School student James Moore will attend the Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C. Jan. 20. Photo from Anne Shybunko-Moore

James was invited to participate in the exclusive experience as an alumnus of the Junior National Young Leaders Conference, which he was chosen to join by his elementary school teacher when he was entering seventh grade.

He served on the student council and Junior Honor Society while at Gelinas Junior High in East Setauket, received Triple C Award upon graduating sixth grade for demonstrating outstanding “Courage, Character, and Commitment throughout the school,” has volunteered at Island Harvest packaging food for the homeless and received the New York State Scholar-Athlete Team Award in 2015 as a varsity-level track runner who maintained a GPA of 90 percent or better during the season.

Additionally, James volunteers at Setauket Presbyterian Church by helping to teach Sunday school.

“Being part of history is a big part of why I wanted to go,” James said in an interview. “I’m looking forward to hearing the other side of politics, how people are seeing things from around the country, and just getting to be with people who are similar to me … it’s cool to be able to think and be part of this [moment] together.”

He said the 2016 presidential election was “surprising” and “interesting to watch.”

“I remember waking up after the election was over going ‘wow, that happened?’” he said. “[But] I’m not upset with it and I’m not going to go out and complain about it but it threw me off.”

While he said he’s excited about learning more about the political process, and hearing Yousafzai’s speak in particular, the 15-year-old from Setauket is no stranger to interacting with major politicians and voicing his thoughts on social, environmental and community issues in public forums.

In fact, as the son of two presidents of major defense and trade manufacturing companies on Long Island whose event guest lists frequently include Hillary and Bill Clinton, James has been politically engaged practically since birth.

“He’s met Bill and Hillary a few times, Congressman Steve Israel, Congressman Tim Bishop; he’s met these folks and he’s very confident and comfortable in speaking with people in leadership roles,” his mother, GSE Dynamics President Anne Shybunko-Moore, said. “James has grown up in a very aware environment … because of what I do, we’re always watching the news and talking about the issues.”

“I remember waking up after the election was over going ‘wow, that happened?’”

— James Moore

James even participated in Hillary Clinton’s campaign last February and is interested in an internship position at Assemblyman Steve Englebright’s (D-Setauket) office.

His mother said her son has a “sincere realness” that makes him a natural leader.

“He’s always been very thoughtful,” she said. “He’ll see a situation and be like ‘what can I do to help or change that?’ That’s just who he is.”

James’ father, Manufacturing Consortium of Long Island President Jamie Moore, said he hopes his son gets a “fire lit” and obtains an understanding of what he can do with his life from his experience in Washington.

“I see so many of these kids just kind of floating through, and playing Pokemon Go or whatever, and there are so many opportunities they could be doing to increase their knowledge, help out other people, help other communities and this is one of those things that will hopefully help open his eyes and give him some ideas,” he said. “We try to craft that by giving him enough experiences to get out there and try new things.”

While in D.C., James said he’ll be following his program itinerary by day and studying for his school midterms by night.