Though it had already hosted the series of lacrosse games during the regular season this past spring, Chaminade High School’s new Gold Star Stadium was officially christened on Saturday, Sept. 6, named in honor of the 56 alumni who had perished during combat.
The 56 gold star alumni of the school range from the classes of 1933 to 2000, whose service time runs from World War II to Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. Navy Cmdr. Matthew Bonner of the Class of 1989 helped to read the names of the fallen in a pre-game ceremony along with Brig. Gen. Kevin Kilea of the Class of 1983, whose older brother, William, is among the men on the list, participated in the coin-toss before the game, which the Flyers won 31-13 against their sister Marianist school, Uniondale-based Kellenberg Memorial.
Chaminade also holds its annual Gold Star Mass, also honoring the memory of those who gave the supreme sacrifice in service of their country. A plaque with the names of each of the men and their respective graduation years is located near a small picnic area near the entrance to the stadium.
Several dignitaries, including Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss, East Williston Deputy Mayor Bonnie Parente, State Assemblyman Edward Ra (a school alumnus), Nassau County Clerk Maureen O’Connell and Fourth Congressional District candidate Bruce Blakeman.
Fr. Garrett Long, S.M., one of the priests of the Marianist order which operates the school, recited a consecration, blessing the new stadium and grounds to the alumni and to the safety and well-being of all those who would attend games and events and athletes who would compete on the field in the future.
A Marine Honor Guard from Garden City presented the colors while ceremonial taps were played by a bugler in front of a capacity crowd as part of the school’s annual alumni weekend festivities.
The construction of the new 1,800-seat stadium and renovation of Ott Field—the actual field where home games are played—as well as a back field between the stadium and Jericho Turnpike is estimated to have cost $3 million. Construction of the stadium began in the fall of 2013 during the school year was completed in time for the spring.
In addition to the increased seating capacity, the stadium boasts a new press box, renovated and expanded restroom facilities, a TRX suspension training gym, storage facilities and a concession stand.