Huntington High School fencing team members were treated like celebrities during a recent visit to the Mill Neck School for the Deaf. The Blue Devils participated in a hands-on assembly program unlike any other.
The trip was coordinated by Huntington fencing coach Michelle O’Brien, who is a Mill Neck technology and media arts teacher. Fellow Blue Devil coach Valinda O’Garra and high school physical education teacher Jamie Fishlow, who helps condition the Huntington fencing team also participated in the initiative.
Blue Devil varsity fencers Adina Kirkland, Lydia Witt, Tea Khokhar, Lianna DeChiaro, Cordelia Blair, Sabrina Floro, Casey DiGiacomo, Dylan Bluemer, Gabriel Medina-Jaudes, Quinn Blackburn, Connor Grosso traveled to Mill Neck for the assembly and proved to be sensational ambassadors for Huntington.
The Blue Devils taught their Mill Neck counterparts all about the sport they love so much. Mr. Fishlow put everyone through a short fitness warm-up and work-out. Once the group was sweating and their heart rates were up, it was time to learn about fencing, including the equipment, rules and the basic techniques participants utilize.
“The high school age students were then outfitted with gear and had the opportunity to actually do some live fencing,” Mr. Fishlow said. “It was a great day and our students were awesome.”
The Huntington fencers and their Mill Neck counterparts wasted little time bonding with one another. Watching the two groups of students work together was like seeing poetry in motion. It took effort not to get a little bit choked up.
“They were incredible,” said Ms. O’Brien about her Blue Devil fencers. “There really aren’t words [to describe it.] I couldn’t have asked for a better demonstration of the sport to kids who’d never seen it before. Students of every age and staff have stopped at my classroom either to tell me something they loved from it or to ask me when the Blue Devils are coming back for more. Our broadcasting class is editing a video.”
Longtime Huntington fencing head coach Alan Kuver was a well-known ambassador of the sport and a strong proponent of his team reaching out into the community at large. Mr. Kuver lost his courageous battle with esophageal cancer on July 1, 2014, but his spirit lives on in the Blue Devil fencing program.
Huntington fencers worked a little bit of magic at Mill Neck School for the Deaf. “They were all amazing and so good with the kids,” Ms. O’Brien said. “There was a mix of K-12 Mill Neck students. Three special education kids tried it so that means Huntington Blue Devil fencing made them feel very comfortable. I’m so proud of both schools. Kuv would be, too.”