“All That Drama” Introduction by Jennifer (Vanston) Marin – Class of 1990


By Jen Marin, Class of 1990

No, this column is not about Sayville scandal, gossip or who dated whom. It’s about our high school drama club, plays, musicals and memories.


I was at a BBQ recently and got to talking to June Billera Zegel (class of 1968) who’s a friend of my husband’s aunt Betsy Celander Zalaski (class of 1966). She told my daughter how I had acted in the plays, and that her son Jason Zegel (class of 1988) had directed me in a one-act play. She also told us an anecdote about her time in the Sayville plays. I hope she’ll share it here in the future; it was certainly surprising! And it got me thinking: why not have a section on Sayville Alumni about the plays? People could share their memories. I had photos, tickets, posters, and programs tucked away. I could share them on the site, and hopefully others would follow. I reached out to Hal Brown, site administrator, and here we are!


My first experience of the Sayville Players was even before high school. My mother used to take us to the local school plays and musicals. I loved them, and couldn’t wait to be in the plays. I graduated from St. Lawrence the Martyr in Sayville, and when given a choice between continuing on to a Catholic high school or going to Sayville public schools, it was a no-brainer for me. I have three older sisters who are also Sayville alumni (Becky, Eva; and Laura), while two of my sisters chose to attend St. Joseph’s Academy instead.


Being in the plays and musicals was the best part of high school for me. People tend to think of drama geeks as loud and obnoxious, as the kind of kids who get up in the cafeteria and make a spectacle of themselves. But in reality, some actors can be painfully shy and it’s a form of hiding and a chance to become someone else. Drama club allowed us to escape and have fun. I was lucky enough to be in all but one of the plays and musicals and it was a great experience.


I read that Mr. Steven Hailey, our Sayville drama teacher, retired in 2017 after 39 years (see page 6 of Mr. Hailey’s link). I hope he enjoys his retirement.


I didn’t continue with drama beyond high school, though I miss it. As one of six kids, I knew I needed to have a career that could support me. Being a starving artist didn’t seem like a smart option! I stayed local for college and graduate school, started my career as a children’s librarian and got married. My husband is a Sachem alum so we stayed where our roots were. Sadly for me, all five of my sisters have left Long Island. And as life can be cyclical, my daughter is now enjoying acting. She takes classes at Gateway Playhouse and had a part in her middle school musical. I hope she’ll have even happier memories than I have.


So take a look at the “All the Drama” section on the www.SayvilleAlumni.com page. If you’d like to send in your own memorabilia, scan and email it to Hal at halgbrown@sayvillealumni.com and be sure to include information like what play or musical it was, what year, and names of anyone who appears in the photos (if you can remember the names).

drama student posing - female