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Samantha Liberti, Sachem North Alum and Dance Coach, Dies at 23

Remembered as sweet, funny and super-talented, Arrowettes coach will be laid to rest this weekend.

Samantha Liberti, a 2007 graduate, died suddenly on Monday, a week away from her college commencement. 

Liberti, 23, was the coach of the North JV Arrowettes dance team. She died from what is believed to be a brain hemorrhage. 

"To anyone who knew Sam, whether it was for a short period of time or over several years, loved her," said Tracey Maczkiewicz, who has coached several Sachem middle school Arrowette teams over the years. 

Liberti served as Maczkiewicz's assistant coach at Samoset last year before taking over the North JV squad this year. 

"She was everything; beautiful, sweet, funny, and super-talented," said Maczkiewicz, who was also Liberti's dance team coach at St. Joseph's College. 

Katie Prusinski, the head coach of the Arrowettes varsity team, said of Liberti's death: "They say there are experiences in life that have no words. This is one of those experiences for the Arrowette program. We have suffered a traumatic loss and it will take a long time to move forward."

Prusinski, called Liberti, whom she coached on the varsity team, an "amazing young woman" and a "true leader." 

"Sammy is everything you wish a member of your team could be," said Prusinski, who led the Arrowettes to a national this year. "Talented, hard working, committed, sincere and sweet as can be. She has forever impacted my life as a coach and as a person. I will miss her beyond words and so will her Arrowette family."

David Maczkiewicz, Tracey's younger brother, grew up dancing with Liberti all the way from Ronkonkoma's Roseland School of Dance in 1995 to graduating together from Sachem North in 2007. They were among "the 7 of 07," as seven varsity Arrowettes graduated that year. 

Maczkiewicz, now the assistant varsity coach at North, said there were no words to describe Liberti, whose biggest dream was to become a dolphin trainer. 

"She was everything a perfect person should be and was always told so by so many people. She was so dedicated to everything and everyone and had the biggest heart," David Maczkiewicz said. "She was a role model to so many."

Heather Dougherty met Liberti when they were both on the Sagamore Middle School dance team. After ninth grade, when the high school split, Dougherty went to East, Liberti to North.

"Sam was an incredible person and dancer," Dougherty said. "The Arrowette community will remember her amazing talent, infectious laugh and the way she made everyone feel part of a team. A family." 

Janet Hishmeh's daughter Jenna was on the Samoset team under Liberti last year. 

"Jenna would like to say that Sam was there for them - bringing them all together and choreographing the pom routine last year," Hishmeh said in an email. "She loved SKITTLES. She had a huge bubbly personality...always a smile on her face. She was a very talented dancer and always gave the girls good advice. Jenna looked forward to seeing Sam when she tried out for JV in 2013. Samantha will be truly missed by all the Sachem Arrowettes."

Liberti was set to walk across the stage at the Nassau Coliseum next Tuesday as a newly minted graduate of St. Joseph's College. She was majoring in elementary education. The college will observe a moment of silence in Liberti's memory at the ceremony. 

“The College community was shocked and deeply saddened to hear the news of Samantha’s sudden passing and extends its prayerful sympathy and support to her family and friends,” St. Joseph’s President S. Elizabeth A. Hill said. 

As Liberti's family and friends grieve her death, she is being remembered as a great dancer, but an even better person. 

"To those who knew her through dance will always remember her hip hop and acrobatic moves, as those were some of her strongest styles, Tracey Maczkiewicz said. "But to the Sachem community who knew her, she will be known as a beautiful, hard-working girl who could light up a whole room with her smile and personality."

A wake for Liberti will be held Friday from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at on Ronkonkoma Avenue. The funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Joseph Church in Ronkonkoma. 

Please share your remembrances of Liberti in our comments section below. 

Update: Sachem Superintendent Jim Nolan released this statement Friday night: "The Liberti family is certainly in my thoughts and prayers. Samantha was a beautiful, talented and genuinely wonderful young lady.  It seems like yesterday that she was a student at Sachem North and I was blessed to be her principal at that time.  She has recently been giving her time and talents as a coach for our Arrowettes and the girls truly loved and respected Sam.  It sadens me greatly, as both a dad and a superintendent, to hear of Samantha's passing.  She brought joy to all those who were fortunate to know her and spend time with her.  We will all certainly miss Samantha Liberti, but she has left us with many wonderful memories. The Libertis are wonderful people and my heart breaks for them, but I'm sure they know that we all have a very special angel looking down on us and watching over us at Sachem."

Michele Favaro May 25, 2012 at 04:46 PM
My heart goes out to the family. What a very sad day.
janine May 25, 2012 at 04:57 PM
I just read this heart wrenching story. My prayers go out to all family and friends. As I did not know this beautiful young lady, after reading story all the kind words about her made me realize how much she is loved and how much she will be missed. Embrace your children. Prayers being said.
gail trocchio May 25, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Even though I did not know this beautiful young woman, I was very saddened to hear of the loss. My heart and prayers go out to her family and all who loved her.
Tracy B. May 25, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Sami was a true inspiration to the girls on the Samoset Arrowettes team. My daughter Cassie was looking forward to working with her again and it is hard for us to believe that this beautiful light will shine no more. Rest in Peace.
Sachem North JV Arrowettes May 25, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Sam had a great impact on our team, the Sachem North JV Arrowettes this year. She was an amazing coach, rolemodel and even better friend. Without her we would never be able to pursue our dreams of winning LI hip hop champs. She made something that seemed impossible, possible. Sam gave us the confidence that we all lacked and has helped us not only as dancers but people. We all became one big family. We love so much Sam. Forever and always in our hearts. Rest in paradise. Love, your Sachem North JV Arrowettes
Ryan Bonner (Editor) May 25, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Pulling in a few comments from our Facebook page: Jason Auerbach: I honestly can't believe this to be true, I just saw and talked to you Sunday after not seeing each other after how many years. You will always be in my prayers Sam, hope you watch over all of us :-( Jen Reese Conti: Samantha you were the first Liberti family member who I had the pleasure to be guidance counselor for. Your smile and sweet ways will always stick out in my mind, meeting you as a little girl when your Mom was a tuperware consultant and knowing you Melissa and Nick as little ones it was so nice to get to know you as my student. I can't believe it. Heaven truly has another Angel to look down upon us, just taken from us way too soon. ♥ Angela Laudadio: What a shame, so young, and so talented. May she rest in peace.
Taylor McGrath May 25, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Sam was my coach this year of the JV Arrowettes team, as well as my assistant coach last year. I can truly say that she was simply an amazing person. She encouraged our team in ways we couldn't even imagine. She turned the JV team around when she helped us bring home the title of LI hip hop champs. We couldn't have asked for a better coach. Sam was the main reason why this season of arrowettes has been so special. We truly had a bond with her, like nobody else could imagine. It still hasn't clicked in my head. She was an amazing dancer, and truly loved it. She was loved by so many. Rest in paradise Sam<3 I don't think anybody will ever forget you.
Susan Bagarella May 26, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Sam was an amazing coach and person. She took this team to a whole new level. Now people were stopping when these girls danced and said "wow!". That was the impact she ensued. As a parent, I saw how much she went above and beyond for my daughter and the girls. At the wake and funeral, you saw how much she loved them through all of her pictures and momentos and in turn, how much they loved her. She will never be gone because each jv arrowette now has a guardian angel! Rest in paradise my friend. Sue Bagarella
Patti Ries May 31, 2012 at 10:07 PM
I did not know Sam but it is always tragic when a young person dies. My condolences to the family and the Sachem community.
Mr. Boyle June 01, 2012 at 01:04 AM
What a tragic loss for the Liberti family and for the Sachem family. The world is a poorer place. My deepest sympathy goes out to her family and her friends.

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