Farewell, Dr. Piccuirro!

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Farewell, Dr. Piccuirro!

Dylan Moran and Rehat Singh

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Dr. Piccuirro has long been one of the most beloved teachers in all of the SWMHS staff. After over 40 years of teaching in the arts as an esteemed theater teacher, Dr. P will be making his way to retirement, something many students have been dreading. But Dr. P keeps a more cheerful attitude, merely describing his departure as follows:

“I’ve been teaching for 42 years – a tad bit longer than most,” Dr. P begins with a chuckle, “Leaving Sayreville War Memorial will certainly be bittersweet.”

When asked about his favorite productions, he reminiscences. Looking around his office space, covered head to toe with photo collages from previous productions, he smiles. “I guess the productions that I’m the most proud of are the adaptations that we’ve done here. Some of my favorites were the Punk Rock Macbeth, Star Wars Hamlet, and Sold My Soul for Rock & Roll. Doing those productions has brought me a lot of joy over the years. But of course, I love doing all my plays – it was just those who stuck out to me the most.”

His theatre students – lamenting the loss of a beloved member of faculty and the Sayreville family at large but wishing him the best of luck and gratitude – took strides to ‘return the favor’ to the beloved director in planning the Fall Play, which would go on to be Dr. Piccuirro’s final play as teacher advisor and director. In honor of their own ‘good doctor’, no choice had seemed more fitting then The Good Doctor – both an apropos reference to Piccuirro’s retirement, and a look back into his proud career, The Good Doctor having both been his very first show as a teacher, and very last with the program. In building up for the performance to perhaps the largest opening night turnout in the program’s history, Dr. Piccuirro regards the play with the same excitement he held 42 years prior, astounded by the passion the students were placing into the endeavor and remarking “ …I never lost that spark either.” After the show’s indisputably positive reception, the theatre society put forward a touching tribute to their teacher to a standing ovation from the crowd, bringing a fitting finale to a life dedicated to the school and the stage.

When asked about the future of the theater society at Sayreville War Memorial, Dr. P said, “I’ve been teaching here for a very long time. And I think it’s time at this point for me to give back the reins. It’s time for the newer generation to come and take control too, so they can accomplish even better things. With our theater society, I’m so very happy to keep it going for this long.”

In saying his goodbyes to the Bombers, Dr. Piccuirro describes his final bow as “Bittersweet. I still love my job and I’m so very grateful that Sayreville has let me take such a big part in the lives of many students. But I do believe that letting the younger generation take hold of the reins is really important too, so that they can accomplish even better things. We have a theatre society, and I’m so happy to be able to keep it going.” His outlook is hopeful for the future of the program in his absence. Elaborating further, Dr. Piccuirro asked us here at Echo Lites to relay his message to Sayreville’s actors, actresses, directors, singers, and talent of the future, a responsibility we gladly accepted: “My advice is, if you can get up in the morning and love your job, and you go to a home that you love, you have reached ultimate success. I would also add, enjoy every moment that you have in high school. When you look back, it’s gonna be some of the best years of your life.”

While it is extremely difficult to see one of your favorite teachers leave, many students are looking forward to having a new head at the theatre society – Mr. Craft. In addition, Dr. P has some pretty hefty plans for retirement.

“My plans include spending more time with my 6 grandchildren. I would also love to travel more and to go back to Europe and London. I even want to continue taking courses on philosophy.”

As anti-retirement a plan as that sounds, Dr. P has clearly proven that age is just a number. His spark has never faded, for both his career as well as the future for the high school. And while it is saddening to see one of our most impactful teachers leave, we must set the stage for a new generation, and let them take the lead.

Dr. Piccuirro, you will be missed!