The Huntington Booster Club threw a party last Friday night. The organization’s annual gala drew a crowd of 210 Blue Devil supporters, who saluted honorees Ron Wilson and Dr. Al Sforza.
The bash at the Huntington Crescent Club saw alumni stretching back to the 1940’s through recent years interacting with one another and joining in the fun. There were even some current high school seniors in attendance, including national track champions Kyree Johnson, Shane McGuire and Lawrence Leake, along with a handful of other Blue Devil athletes.
Huntington Booster Club student interns Ashley Wright and Grace Curran assisted during the evening as did a group of dedicated parent volunteers. The affair attracted many current and former Blue Devil coaches.
“To see so many people from so many different walks of life come together and offer their support for our mission to help the young people of this community is truly a beautiful thing,” Booster Club President Timothy Pillion said. “We are honored to be able to host this dinner and recognize two wonderful men who have made a difference in our town.”
Booster Club honorees
Ron Wilson and Dr. Alfred Sforza.
The two honorees were surrounded by their friends and family. They entertained the crowd with stories of their Huntington experiences. Dr. Sforza stressed the sense of community that permeated the town during his formative years and continues to the present day.
A lifelong resident of the town, Dr. Sforza attended Roosevelt Elementary School and Robert K. Toaz Junior High School before graduating with Huntington’s Class of 1957. He later went on to study at Fordham University before graduating from New York University and still later from NYU’s College of Dentistry in 1965. The community fixture has published four books on the history of Huntington.
Mr. Wilson captivated the crowd with tales of his days as a student-athlete and the trials and tribulations that he went through while growing up and how his teachers and coaches helped put him on a straight path. He thanked dozens of people in the crowd for playing a role in his success and said he’s now doing everything he can to help the teenagers he works with as a high school dean and Blue Devil coach.
Town Clerk Joanne Raia, former Superintendent of Highways William Naughton and State Supreme Court Justice W. Gerard Asher were among the large crowd filling the Crescent Club’s main banquet room.
Dozens of baskets stuffed with goods and gift certificates were raffled off. Following an extended cocktail hour, an extensive buffet dinner was enjoyed by the large crowd, which dined on an array of pastas, meats, fish and vegetable dishes and salads. The dessert table proved to be a popular destination following dinner. It was jammed with a wide assortment of appealing treats.
Huntington High School teacher, lacrosse coach and professional DJ Anthony Troffa volunteered his services for the evening and played an assortment of popular tunes, adding to the festive and dignified atmosphere.
“The Booster Club continues to work tirelessly in an effort to support and maximize opportunities for our students during their formative years in Huntington and to promote their development as physically active and well-rounded young people,” Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “Booster Club members genuinely understand the importance of providing adolescents with a comprehensive education that includes meaningful experiences both within and beyond the classroom.”
Coordinated by Julie LaBella, last Friday night’s event raised thousands of dollars that will ultimately be used to benefit Huntington’s student-athletes. Over the past decade, the Booster Club has donated nearly $500,000 to the athletic department, mainly through its grant program.
The dinner also drew nearly every one of the Booster Club’s annual honorees over the past decade. The group gathered together near the end of the evening for a commemorative photo.