Superintendent’s Spotlight: Peter Tully


Superintendent’s Spotlight: Peter Tully

March 17, 2023

There’s rarely a time of year that’s not busy when you’re a high school junior excelling in AP courses, running track and playing lacrosse? When you’re also an accomplished bagpiper in an award-winning pipe and drum corp., the time of year right around St. Paddy’s Day is even busier!

WVHS student athlete Peter Tully is a second-generation bagpiper with family roots that run deep in Irish soil.

“Both my parents and my grandparents are all from Ireland,” said Peter. “It’s always been part of our heritage. My dad learned about 20 years ago, and then he taught me how to play about six years ago.”

Peter took to the instrument quickly, and now performs with the Orange County Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) Division 1 Pipes and Drums, based in Monroe. As he has been gearing up for this year’s run of St. Paddy’s festivities, Peter hasn’t slowed down in the college courses he’s taking this year. As he put it, he’s “trying to plan out [his] future.”

He is currently enrolled in AP History, AP Language, and College Trigonometry through SUNY Orange. He’s also been enjoying Human Body Systems, a course affiliated with St. Cloud State University, and a follow up to Principles of Biomedical Engineering, which he took last year.

“It focuses on science, doctors, and the roles people play in health care, and I find that pretty interesting,” said Peter. “I might look into a career in a field like that. My uncle actually has a dentist office [in town], so I’ve even been thinking about dentistry too.”

With a year to go to plan things out, Peter said he also scheduled himself for AP Chemistry in his senior year.

“So, maybe even something in chemical engineering or a similar area,” he added.

When he’s not busy with course work or bagpiping, Peter is an avid lacrosse player and track and field runner. He said his primary sport is lacrosse, and he is a member of the varsity Wildcats team. This year was his first year running winter track, so he could avoid any conflicts during the spring lacrosse season.

“Lacrosse has been my main sport since I started back in fourth grade,” said Peter, adding that he began playing in the Town of Warwick rec league. “Then, when I was in seventh grade, that was actually the first year for modified lacrosse, so I was on the first WVMS modified lacrosse team.”

During his freshman and sophomore years, he played on the JV team, and was called up to varsity for the postseason, giving him a good look at the varsity competition during sectionals. This will be his first full season on the field with the varsity team.

“And hopefully next year,” he said with a smile.

Does Peter plan on continuing with athletics and bagpiping in college? Interestingly, there are a number of colleges that offer bagpipe bands and teams here in the state, nationwide and around the world. Peter has been looking at bagpiping opportunities at Manhattan College, Iona University, and with West Point’s US Corps of Cadets Pipes & Drums. Some colleges, like Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University School of Music even offer scholarships for bagpipers and drummers?

“I’m pretty sure Manhattan College does too, and I’ve been thinking a lot about going there and playing for them,” said Peter. “I actually ran into them at a couple of parades and talked to a couple of those guys. It would be a great experience to play in college.”

Peter has played bagpipes for just about any occasion you can think of, including weddings and birthday parties, funerals, civic events, and of course plenty of parades. He shared that one of the most exciting things about playing the bagpipes with a band as well-known and successful as the Orange County AOH, is the size of the audiences! Still, he said playing for his family will always be his favorite.

“It’s crazy sometimes, you’re marching and trying to stay in step and play, and you look around and there are just thousands of people cheering,” Peter said. “I always play at my grandparents’ birthdays. I played for them a lot. My grandpa was born in Belfast, so he’s really into it.”

With the St. Patrick’s Day weekend about to kick off, Peter is excited and ready to represent his Irish heritage at the many gigs he and the AOH band have lined up.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


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