Mattituck High School principal Shawn Petretti can’t say with certainty how long the school’s song had been lost.
He also isn’t sure why it faded from memory. The former high school history teacher says he’s just happy it’s back.
“It sent chills down my spine to hear the song,” Mr. Petretti said, recalling how he felt after hearing the student chorus sing it for the first time in November.
Mr. Petretti said he’d done some research to see if the school had a song for the centennial class celebration this past June. The event drew alumni from graduating classes as far back as the 1940s, he said.
He came up empty-handed during his investigation. No one he talked to could remember there ever being a school song. Still, he kept looking, because most schools traditionally have a song.
Since the fall, students have been working on an art project to commemorate last year’s centennial celebration. There’s a long sheet of blank white paper covering a portion of one of the school’s halls where students will contribute their art, focusing on to a “100 years of tradition” theme.
To gain inspiration, a group of advanced art students met Nov. 21 in the high school library and pored over old school documents and yearbooks.
One of those students was senior Emma Leaden, who was thumbing through the 1934 yearbook, which also functioned at the time as the school newspaper.
As she turned the delicate, aged and yellowed pages, Emma came across a tiny 44-word entry titled “New School Song.” It was sandwiched among personal messages to the 11 graduating seniors and some inside jokes titled “Favorite Pastime/Will Become.”
“I was reading the yearbooks thoroughly — I didn’t want to skim through because I was looking for stuff to put into the mural,” she said. “It’s been fun to look back at the past and see how the school has changed.”
Given the yearbook date and “new” in the song’s title, Mr. Petretti believes it was created in 1934, the same year the current high school building was constructed on Main Road. The lyrics read:
Cheer for Mattituck High School,
Our dear Blue and Gold.
We’ll play the game
And win the fame
Loyal hearts will ever hold.
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Think of Alma Mater —
Defeat will never do.
In after days, when we’re away
We’ll dream of you.
The song was written by Coach Donald Wormley, who coached baseball and boys and girls basketball, Mr. Petretti said. Coach Wormley also taught math and science, he said, and was the school’s only male teacher.
As soon as Emma discovered the song, Mr. Petretti said he “immediately photocopied it and ran down to the chorus room” to find music teacher Jacob Fowle.
“I was looking for someone to share the enthusiasm with,” Mr. Petretti said. “I wanted to bring this back to life.”
With about three weeks until the high school’s winter concert, he asked Mr. Fowle if it was possible to have the student chorus perform the song.
Mr. Fowle said he enjoyed putting the song to music, using Notre Dame’s “Fighting Irish” song and the Disney movie “Monster University” for inspiration.
After students sang his rendition of the school song at the Dec. 18 winter concert, Emma said parents were very excited. Not only did they enjoy hearing it, she said, they enjoyed learning that the school had a fight song.
“I love the school song,” she said. “It embodies Mattituck because there’s effort and heart in it that represents the school and community.”
Click on the video below to watch students singing the school song at the winter concert.