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‘Be Strong and Lead Together’

Bellmore Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Famularo applied his musical talents to write and produce an inspiring graduation song, “Be Strong and Lead Together,” dedicated to the entire Class of 2020. Originally written for the Bellmore School District’s own Bellmore Shining Stars and adapted from Steven Curtis Chapman’s “More to This Life,” the music encourages Class of 2020 graduates to be strong and to lead together during these challenging times.

Dr. Famularo said he was originally inspired to write the piece for students in his own district who are dealing with the disappointment of canceled graduation celebrations and end of year activities. When Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order canceled school for the remainder of the year, he knew he wanted to write the song not only for his district, but also dedicate it to all of the graduates of the Class of 2020 affected by graduation ceremony cancellations brought on by the pandemic. This inclusivity is seen in the YouTube video,, in which Dr. Famularo included clips of every Nassau County high school to create a musical tribute to every student graduating this year.

Dr. Famularo wrote the lyrics and plays the guitar, but it is his cousin AnnMarie Lupo who shines with her beautiful vocals. He said this graduation song is just one of the songs he has written over the years for family weddings and a tribute to his 90-year-old mother.

“The song contains many of the lessons that we have tried to instill in our students, such as focusing on your own leadership and act on what we have control over.” Dr. Famularo said. “The song encourages students that their future is bright with many opportunities ahead of them, even though nothing seems very normal at this time.”

Those who are familiar with the Bellmore School District’s character development program will recognize the references to the adopted leadership principles and core values, such as “carrying your own weather” and “leading each day like a star.” Dr. Famularo further explained that leadership and the principles and core values the district has been teaching for years are more important today than they have ever seen.

The Bellmore Schools community is regularly graced with Dr. Famularo’s musical talents. He is regularly seen toting his guitar to classrooms districtwide to play beloved songs steeped in tradition for students. He also performs each winter at the district’s PTA’s Founders Day celebration and during other important district events as a member of the Belltones, a band comprised of the district’s music teachers and Dr. Famularo. During the school closure, Dr. Famularo has taken to social media to sing Happy Birthday to district students every week, teaching the children and showcasing a new instrument each week as he plays them (see 10 episodes to date on twitter @doctorfamularo –

Dr. Famularo said the feedback he has received from fellow superintendents has been wonderful and he hopes the music resonates in the hearts of the Long Island educational community and provides unity and optimism for the future.

Photo courtesy of the Bellmore School District

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