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Upper School Celebrates Major Milestone With 100th Commencement Exercises

Iona Preparatory Upper School celebrated its 100th Commencement Exercises on May 23 at Iona College, marking a major milestone in the history of the all-boys Pre-K-12 Catholic school located in New Rochelle. Raymond Bartoszek, a graduate of both Iona Preparatory Lower and Upper Schools, and who became the youngest limited partner of the New York Yankees in 2011, was the keynote speaker and winner of the Alumni Award.

NY Yankees Limited Partner and Alumnus Raymond Bartoszek delivers poignant keynote as Alumni Award Winner

The Class of 2019 consisted of 158 graduates. In all, the class has earned more than $19 million in academic scholarships to top colleges and universities. Most notably, 72 percent of all graduates earned at least one merit scholarship, with an average award of $60,000.

Matthew Hono, 18, of White Plains, was named valedictorian, finishing his secondary career with a 99.6 percent GPA. He will attend Stony Brook University in the fall. John Curanaj, 18, of New Rochelle, finished a close second with a 99.4 percent GPA and was named salutatorian. He will go on to study at Northeastern University.

“An Iona Prep education is one of the best investments you can make for your son’s success,” said Brother Thomas R. Leto, Ed.D., President of Iona Preparatory School. “May God continue to bless our graduates as they take their next steps into the world, always setting an example as moral and ethical leaders who strive for spiritual, intellectual and physical excellence.”

During the ceremonies, Bartoszek, a 1978 graduate of the Lower School and 1982 alumnus of the Upper School—and who was actually taught by Brother Leto as an elementary student – said he remembered sitting in the very same seats as this year’s graduates, thinking – “Now what?”

“I was terrified. But what I didn't realize then, was that the school had given me all the skills I needed to succeed,” he said. “Most importantly, it ingrained in me an attitude – an approach to life – that has brought me more than I ever could have imagined.”

Bartoszek, who in 2011 became the youngest Limited Partner of the New York Yankees, is an American businessman and father of six, who currently resides in Greenwich, Conn., and Big Sky, Montana.

From 1996-2011 he was a professional oil trader at both Texaco Inc. and Glencore Ltd. In 2004, he became the president of Glencore Ltd. and was one of the directors of the firm, which had a successful IPO in 2011. In 2011, Bartoszek co-founded RLB Holdings with his wife, Lydia, and is the managing general partner of the firm. He continues to hold an ownership interest in Yankees Global Enterprises, including a stake in the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network (YES Network).

“I’ve been incredibly lucky,” Bartoszek told the graduates of his success in business and life. “And I owe all of it to a simple lesson that I learned right here. You no doubt are familiar with different versions of it. Some might say Carpe Diem, or seize the day. Others might use the Nike slogan, ‘Just do it.’ But my preference is the Latin expression ‘acta non verba,” which means ‘deeds, not words.’ And it’s true – this world is run by ‘the doers.’ The men and women who put aside fear or doubt and just get the job done. This was an important lesson that I learned right here at Iona Prep.”

To view a stream of the ceremonies, please click here. To learn more about Iona Prep, please visit And for the Christopher Pope Photography graduation gallery, please click the link below.

Source: Christopher Pope Photography