West Islip High School’s Michael D’Agostino says senior year is “really stressful.”
You have to make the most of your opportunities -- especially if you want to be homecoming king at and queen at West Islip, because there’s no simple popularity vote for the crown and tiara.
Instead, the school hosts a competition every fall to determine who will reign as homecoming royalty. Staged as a pageant -- complete with talent and question-and-answer rounds — Mr. and Miss West Islip is an ongoing tradition packed with spirit and fun.
The titles went to D’Agostino and Shannon Sullivan on Wednesday. They have been best friends since 10th grade, and both are members of West Islip's show choir, Vocal Motion.
D’Agostino struggled choosing between three songs for the talent competition before settling on "God Help the Outcasts” from the Disney film “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” When he finally made a decision, he was all in. D’Agostino admitted that he practiced his ballad anywhere he could, even in the shower.
“I’m a perfectionist so I like to just get everything done and good,” he said.
Sullivan’s voice teacher helped pick her song, “Skinny Love,” performed by indie folk band Bon Iver in 2007 and covered by singer-songwriter Birdy in 2011.
“It feels amazing,” said Sullivan, just moments after stepping offstage. “I still can’t believe I won, It’s just so unreal. I’m so thrilled and happy. And it’s my best friend that I won with, so I’m so excited.”
D’Agostino volunteers at Inclusive Sports and Fitness. Based in Bayport, the program’s focus is to get children with disabilities active in sports. Sullivan wants to pursue a career in nursing, and was inspired by her cousin’s fiancee to look into the West Islip-based Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center for volunteer opportunities.
Sullivan’s parents, Jim and Suzanne Sullivan, were thrilled to see the pair take home the titles.
“They’re really good kids, really good friends, and the fact that they both won, you couldn’t cap it off better,” Jim said. “It’s our last child going through the West Islip school system and to see those two win it and get something that they really deserve is just the cherry on the top at the end of their high school career.”
D’Agostino’s parents felt sentimental as well, remembering the days when their oldest son was just a baby.
“It felt like just yesterday, he wouldn’t fall asleep unless he was sleeping on my chest,” Ken said.
“Now he’s taller than you,” Cathy added.
Sullivan and D’Agostino will be riding atop a Mercedes-Benz convertible this Saturday at the West Islip homecoming parade.