Ana Luna-Mancia with Ilene Messina

Ana Luna-Mancia Wins Cohen Vocational Scholarship

Cohen Scholarship recipient Ana Luna-Mancia with Ilene Messina.

August 25, 2017

Joel Cohen’s classmates have articulately testified to the spectacular spirit he displayed throughout his teenage years and well into adulthood. Huntington High School held a prominent position on the list of the most important things in his life. He was universally regarded as one of its proudest and most accomplished graduates.

The well-known local business owner was so wildly successful that following his death, the Cohen family endowed a generous scholarship to perpetuate his memory at his alma mater.

This year the fund presented a $1,000 award to Class of 2017 member Ana Luna-Mancia. The teenager is headed to Adelphi University in the fall.

Ana Luna-Mancia
Huntington Class of 2017 member Ana Luna-Mancia.

One of the most determined and hardest working members of the most recent graduating class, Ms. Luna-Mancia demonstrates a level of persistence that few can come close to matching. She enjoyed one of the most well-rounded high school experiences of any teenager anywhere, playing sports, participating in after school clubs, volunteering in the community and compiling a stellar academic record that resulted in her being named a Distinguished Senior.

Joel Cohen a proud Blue Devil

Joel Cohen was born in Huntington and was as thoroughly a Blue Devil as any one person can possibly be. A 1939 Huntington graduate, he was an exceptional student and an essential member of several athletic teams, including the powerful football squad led by storied head coach William Class. He later served a long and fruitful stretch as president of the Huntington High School Alumni Association.

A large old-fashioned, non-mechanical megaphone that Mr. Cohen used to drive classmates into near delirium during athletic events is in the collection of Huntington’s School Heritage Museum. It symbolizes a bygone era in Blue Devil sports history.

The famed owner of a local business products company, Mr. Cohen was deeply involved in the community and many of its organizations. He organized the Town of Huntington’s celebration of America’s bicentennial in 1976. It was in this spirit of service to others that the Cohen family created the Joel H. and Selma D. Cohen Vocational Scholarship. The first award was presented in 1993 following Mr. Cohen’s untimely death.

Huntington High School teacher aide Ilene Messina presented the scholarship to Ms. Luna during the senior academic awards ceremony in the school auditorium. She spoke eloquently about the teenager’s accomplishments and her future plans and potential.

Mr. Cohen’s contributions to Huntington are forever recognized in Heckscher Park, where a Japanese cherry tree was planted in his honor. The tree is accompanied by an engraved plaque celebrating the generous gentleman who will always be remembered as one of the most colorful characters in local history.

Joel H. and Selma D. Cohen Vocational Scholarship Recipients

  • 2017 Anna Luna-Mancia
  • 2016 Samuel Weitzner
  • 2015 Mary Sheehan
  • 2014 Nicholas Tonks
  • 2013 Raynisha Witherspoon
  • 2012 Gabriella Cuadra
  • 2011 Meleika Amos
  • 2010 Elizabeth Mohr
  • 2009 Haquan Caleb
  • 2008 Eva Valerio, Brian Venturino