Buccaneer pride and tradition was celebrated on homecoming weekend as the district inducted individuals into the Islip High School Hall of Fame during a dinner and reception held on Sept. 20. The Hall of Fame honors distinguished members of the Islip community who have made notable contributions to society through their profession, community and institution.
During the ceremony, Assistant Principal Curtis Juengerkes announced honorees Dr. Scott Berlin, Peter Dalaker, Alan Mayer, Walter M. “Buck” Ramsey (posthumous), C. David Ruvola and the 2006-2007 high school baseball team.
Dr. Berlin, a 1980 graduate, is currently an obstetrician/gynecologist in private practice and was recognized by Castle Connelly as one of the “Top Doctors in the NY Metro Area.” He currently serves as chair of Peconic Bay Medical Center’s Obstetrics and Gynecology Unit, and was previously chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Southside Hospital and director of gynecology services at Lincoln Hospital. He is the founder and chief executive officer of Brolex, a company that manufactures safety scalpels used for cesarean sections, a device developed by Berlin.
Dalaker, a 1979 graduate and Islip wrestler, went on to wrestle in college at Southern Connecticut University and later coached the Islip High School wrestling team from 1983-1995 as well as the middle school’s baseball team. Dalaker served on the district’s Board of Education from 1996 to 2005, acting as Board president for six years of his tenure.
Mayer, a 1970 graduate, was named to the All-Suffolk County team in soccer, basketball and tennis. He and his brother Bill were the state tennis doubles champions.While attending James Madison University, he was the JMU Soccer Team Most Valuable Player all four years, setting numerous team records, and was the JMU tennis MVP for three years, being named Athlete of the Year twice. Mayer was inducted into the JMU Hall of Fame in 1988 and voted JMU’s Top Athlete of the Century in 2000. He played soccer professionally for 18 seasons, earning accolades – including 1978 NASL American Player of the Year and 1982 MISL Most Valuable Player – and two championship rings with the San Diego Sockers. Mayer was inducted into the Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.
Ramsey played baseball, soccer and ice hockey at the University of New Hampshire, and was inducted into the New Hampshire Sports Hall of Fame in 1948. He briefly played professional baseball for a short time before becoming athletic director at Babylon High School. He served as Islip’s director of health, physical education, recreation and athletics from 1941 to 1967, and continued to teach physical education and coach soccer, basketball, baseball, track and field, and organized intramurals until his 1976 retirement. His teams earned county championships in both soccer and baseball during his Islip tenure. In 1977, the high school’s gym was named in his honor. Ramsey passed away in 1985; in 1998, he was inducted posthumously into the Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame.
Ruvola, a 1975 graduate, joined the New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing in 1977, serving at Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach as a pararescue specialist, and was later hired by NYANG as a helicopter instructor pilot. In October 1991, Ruvola piloted an attempted helicopter rescue mission 250 miles out to sea during a nor’easter with hurricane force conditions, chronicled in the book and movie “The Perfect Storm.” In 2003, Ruvola served as commander of the USAF’s 101st Expeditionary Rescue Squadron based at Baghdad International Airport, supervising 80 personnel in combat search and rescue operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2004, he retired as a lieutenant colonel after 20 years of active duty service. He currently works as a civilian contract helicopter pilot for the 101st Rescue Squadron based in Westhampton Beach.
Helmed by coach Peter Blumenauer, the 2006-2007 varsity baseball team captured the state championship after a 20-10 overall season record. The Bucs also claimed the titles of Long Island and county champions, and received the New York State Scholar Team Award, and boasted numerous individual honors including All-County, All-League and All-Star. Blumenauer was named Suffolk County and New York State Sportswriter’s Association Coach of the Year.
“Each of you have made sacrifices and great contributions,” Juengerkes said. “Exceptional, outstanding and extraordinary is who is in this room. Each of you are part of Islip tradition, a tradition draped in a commitment to excellence and love for community.”
After each of the inductees were honored, they participated in an unveiling of the wall, which holds the Hall of Fame plaques and photos near the main entrance to the high school.