Declan Lavelle Has His Day
By Robin Jovanovich
Every month of the Rye High School year, the Rye City Lions Club shines a light on a scholar/athlete through its Athlete of the Month award. And every June for over 20 years, the Club announces the Athlete of the Year at its annual dinner at The Osborn.
Sadly, the dinner couldn’t be held this year due to the restrictions on large gatherings because of the pandemic, but that didn’t stop the Lions from holding an intimate celebration earlier this month outside on the Apawamis Club terrace.
Lions Club President Brian Jackson welcomed guests and led them in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Lions Prayer, before turning the podium over to Rye City Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Byrne, and then Susan Dullea, the new Athletic Director.
After lunch, Tommy Maloney, Lion and Coach Dino Garr’s invaluable assistant coach, introduced the legendary Garnet coach. “It’s an oxymoron to introduce someone who needs no introduction,” Maloney said smiling, “but it’s my privilege because he is my friend.”
Coach Garr not only coached Declan Lavelle, a three-sport wunderkind, all-around wonderful student and individual, and the 2020 Athlete of the Year, but also coached his father Miles, who was sitting next to his son. Garr spoke humorously about Miles, and affectionately and eloquently about Declan, whom he said was the finest scholar/athlete he’d ever coached.
The speeches at recognition ceremonies can often go on too long, but not in the case of Declan Lavelle. Mayor Josh Cohn thanked Declan for making the City a better place through his excellence and extraordinary leadership on the football and baseball fields and ice hockey rink. When State Assemblyman and veteran hockey player Steve Otis presented a proclamation to Declan, he gave a “barnburning” speech.
In addition to being part of the Section 1 Hockey Championship team, Declan was named the Journal News/lohud Westchester/Putnam Player of the Year. This fall, he’s headed to Fordham University to play baseball. When he’s on the mound, all of Rye will be rooting for him.