Fellow teachers, students, and friends of history teacher Ty Vignone celebrated his life on Saturday morning, in the auditorium. The event allowed North teachers and former students to give tributes to his life through speeches and songs.
Volunteers handed out programs full of pictures of Vignone and students’ memories of his life; North jazz musicians played as the crowd ushered in. History department chair Jonathan Bassett opened the event, welcoming history teacher Ned Rossiter on stage to give the first tribute.
“Ty Vignone was a man with such energy that I thought if I got too close, I’d get an electric shock,” said Rossiter. He went on to describe Vignone’s effect on the school and community and the many world-wide travel opportunities for students and teachers that he organized.
Alumnus Andy Golden ‘93 spoke next; he described the Prague trip, which Vignone created and organized, as one of the most memorable times in his life. “With Ty’s leadership, we came closer together,” he said.
As a teacher, “Ty was able to connect and help us all achieve,” added Golden. He explained that in Vignone’s 51 years teaching at North, he brought excitement to his classes and created “passionate discussion” among students.
A slideshow to commemorate Vignone also displayed photos of his life and travels.
Special educator Walter Lyons spoke about how Vignone loved and surrounded himself with people following slideshow. “To talk about Ty is to talk about people,” he said.
Vignone had conversations and formed relationships with nearly anyone, said history teacher Greg Drake who recounted a story of when Vignone was invited to dinner with the parents of their bus driver during their travels in Berlin.
“This man knew everyone under the sun,” added history teacher Albert Cho.
Senior Alejandra Lagos performed “Lean On Me,” and to close the event, alumna Sarah Dillan, ‘02, sang “Amazing Grace” in Vignone’s memory. “The singing was amazing; Alejandra was incredible,” said Physical Education teacher Lauren Baugher. “It was just a perfect celebration for such an incredible human being,” she later added.
Baugher, who was part of the event’s planning committee said, “to be able to do justice to someone who was such an influence in the school community was really challenging because he was such an instrumental part of Newton North High School.”
Lyons explained that through his many travels and friendships Vignone brought people together.
“Because of Ty we have more family. Because of Ty we are more than we were,” said Lyons.