A Special Homecoming Day in Huntington

Mr. Blue Devil made an appearance at the football game. (Darin Reed photo.)

October 05, 2016

Homecoming Day is always a special time at Huntington High School and throughout the district. It blends generations together as folks of all ages take pride in their community. Last Saturday continued a tradition that stretches back to the Great Depression with a parade down Main Street and an afternoon football game that drew a crowd of more than 2,000.

Special event days were held throughout the week at the high school in the run-up to Saturday’s festivities. Thursday night’s dance, which featured a series of guest DJs attracted about 300 students. Friday afternoon’s pep rally was a high octane event as varsity teams were introduced to the student body and faculty to deafening applause. Athletes performed short skits and the Blue Devil marching band performed. There were also performances by the Highsteppers and Ready Step dance teams.

Despite threatening skies, Saturday’s late morning parade drew hundreds of participants, including students and parents from all eight schools in the district marching behind banners. The Blue Devil marching band performed along the parade route, drawing merchants and customers out of stores and onto sidewalks.

Each of the high school’s four classes built parade floats over a five hour period Friday night. As students dodged periods of rain, the work continued. They were nourished by periodic slices of pizza. The floats were a big hit on Saturday as the parade winded down Main Street and up New York Avenue.

Homecoming “simply spectacular”

“Our homecoming festivities were simply spectacular all around,” Principal Brenden Cusack said. “The attendance for the dance was the best I’ve seen yet and float night was well attended despite of the rain. The weather held out perfectly for the parade and the game and we came away with a win against a tough team. It was an outstanding weekend!”

Homecoming King and Queen Garrett Moya
and Leanne Daly. (Mike Connell photo)

Homecoming was organized by the student government, including its school-wide executive board and faculty advisors Anthony Troffa and Frederick Bisogno. Individual classes and their officers, members and advisors were also heavily involved in the event, especially the construction of floats.

This year’s Royal Court included king nominees Charlie Ehrman, Garrett Moya, Austin Reda and Ryan Stieve and queen nominees Allyson Arleo, Leanne Daly, Kelsey Miller and Miranda Nykolyn. The teenagers gathered on the Blue Devil Stadium running track and were introduced to the crowd. Mr. Moya and Ms. Daly were crowned as the king and queen.

The Class of 2017 won the float competition, amassing 217 points to outdistance the juniors (211), freshmen (170) and sophomores (153). The announcement over the stadium’s public address system produced the expected roar from the crowd.

“A truly memorable day”

“The rain held off on a truly memorable day,” Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “The hard work of each Huntington High School class was evident in the fabulous floats featured during a spirited parade. A varsity football victory in front of a huge Blue Devil crowd and outstanding performances from the Blue Devil marching band and Highsteppers capped an eventful and enjoyable week throughout the district. Thank you to high school student government for their tireless efforts.”

Alumni spanning many decades attended Saturday afternoon’s football game against Centereach. The group of graduates included more than a few from recent classes, including a good-sized contingent from the Class of 2016.

The huge turnout included many members of the district’s administrative and teaching corps along with all seven Huntington School Board trustees. Many marched while others attended the afternoon football game.

Mr. Blue Devil also made an appearance, surrounded by elementary school students. The Booster Club manned the Blue Devil Stadium field house, offering an assortment of food and beverage choices, including grilled sports fare.

Homecoming dance was “extra special”

“Homecoming week and weekend were awesome,” Mr. Troffa said. “This year’s dance was extra special thanks to the guest DJs that had the party rocking. Mr. Cusack, Assistant Principal Gamal Smith and security guard Fabrice ‘Ace’ Esther all added to the great energy of the night with their musical selections and skills. The kids had a blast. Everyone did a double take and loudly cheered when they realized that Mr. Cusack dropped the song ‘Hit the Quan’ for the dance floor.”

Friday’s night’s inclement weather didn’t dampen spirits. “Despite the forecast of rain, float night had a great turnout and all classes eagerly finished their floats. All of this year’s floats were fantastic. It could have gone either way between the juniors and seniors and the judging was close. I was very impressed with the freshman float. For a group of kids who were doing this for the first time, they really came up with a great design and finished product.”

All in all, organizers were pleased with how the week and weekend turned out. “Mr. Bisogno and myself couldn’t be prouder of the leadership and hard work the officers put forth this this year,” Mr. Troffa said.

The two faculty advisors are veterans at guiding student leaders through all the organizational details associated with such a big undertaking.

“Students rose to the occasion”

“This year’s homecoming was challenging due to the weather, especially Friday’s float night,” Mr. Bisogno said. “The students once again rose to the occasion and were not to be deterred by the inclement weather. Seniors faced a large challenge of building their float in a semi-covered location, but they never quit and their hard work paid off by capturing first place in the float competition. The dance was a great time with 300 students in attendance. It seemed like all of the kids had fun.”

Student government members are already working on plans for the Safe Halloween program for elementary school students at the end of the month. “The effort of this year’s crew has been unbelievable,” Mr. Bisogno said.

Blue Devil soccer players at Friday's pep rally.
Blue Devil Stadium was packed for the football game. (Darin Reed photo.)
Huntington's senior class won the float competition with its Yellow Submarine. (Mike Connell photo.)
There were many smiling faces on Homecoming Day. (Darin Reed photo.)