Huntington High School’s Relay For Life organizing committee is ramping up its planning for this year’s event, which is slated for Saturday, June 9 at 6 p.m. and culminating on Sunday, June 10 at 6 a.m.
Since Huntington’s first Relay For Life in June 2012, the school community has raised more than $800,000 for the American Cancer Society. Organizers have set an ambitious goal of raising $110,000 this year. Students have been forming teams and registering them on the event website. Fundraising is already underway with the Huntington Highsteppers competitive dance team taking an early lead.
“Relay For Life is one of the culminating events that I truly look forward to each year” Principal Brenden Cusack said. “Having had a number of family members succumb to cancer and others who are survivors, it is an event that I really appreciate on a personal level. To me, Relay is something that brings the community together for a common cause in a particularly beautiful way.”
The Huntington event’s mission is simple; to create a world with more birthdays and one less dreaded disease that still claims far too many lives. The general event chairs include junior Noah Morris and seniors Jamie Spector and Maggie Giles. They are working alongside Huntington High School science teacher Joseph Cohen and American Cancer Society staff partner Morgan Wright. Huntington’s National Honor Society chapter helps coordinate the huge undertaking.
“For our committee members, it’s never too early to begin fundraising for Relay,” Ms. Giles said. “Though our event occurs early June, there is so much that our members do behind the scenes to ensure it’s special for our first-time participants and our reoccurring teams. And believe it or not, we start the process in October, collecting a dedicated group to lead different committees for the event. Each of us put in so much to ensure that we do better than the year before.”
The organizing committee meets every Tuesday to brainstorm ideas and advance the team building process for Huntington students.
The 2018 Relay For Life committee consists of 35 hardworking individuals. Six subcommittees have been established. Senior Casey Moskowitz heads the vital fundraising panel. As chair, she works with her committee members to create small events throughout the year to increase awareness of the main event in June. One such event is the annual student/teacher “sliming.”
This is senior Rachel Moss’ second year serving as the Luminaria Committee chair. She’s striving to get younger students excited about Relay. For several years, Huntington UFSD’s primary schools have been involved in the initiative, designing luminaria bags that line the track the day of the event. Event organizers hope this continues and grows.
One of the most memorable experiences of the event is the survivorship dinner honoring those in the community who continue to fight their battle against cancer. This year, the Survivorship Committee is led by senior Alliy McKenzie, who is working to insure that survivors have a night to remember with local restaurants making dinner donations.
Junior Isabella Cahill is serving as the Entertainment Committee chair. She’s working on organizing events from sunset to sunrise on June 9-10 for participating teams to participate in. Whether it’s sunrise yoga, knockerball or Flo’s Inflatables, there will always be something going on. The Entertainment Committee is also organizing a set of live performances by district musicians.
Juniors Katie Burton and Meagan-Elise Malone are co-chairs of the Raffle and Sponsorship Committee. Along with their committee members, the duo is building bridges to local sponsors and Huntington vendors along with lining up items to raffle off as prizes on the day of the event. “This committee is essential to our overall fundraising efforts, connecting the Huntington Relay For Life to local businesses and raising awareness throughout the community,” Ms. Giles said.
Junior Jenna Yabroudy is this year’s Team Development Committee chair, helping new participants take those first steps necessary to join. Each of the individual teams is led by a captain and a team chaperone, one of which is required for every 15 members a team has at the event.
Organizing committee members also include Lauren White, Katharine Kitzen, Christina Aureliano, Riva Bergman, Meg Byrnes, Bella Annunziata, Mia Redick, Matthew Baker, Natalie Furman, Faith Youngquist, Zach McGinniss, Abby Semelsberger, Caroline Hartough, Lena Annunziata, Isabella McGinniss, Francine Nastasi, Casey Smith, Lauren Berg, John Riley, Maddie Kye, Lindsay Saginaw, Madison Lange, Giavanna Devoe, Emma Farrell and Katie Stock.
Visit to learn more about Huntington’s Relay For Life or to establish a team or join one that already exists.
Those participants who raise $100 by May will receive a free t-shirt and be eligible to stay overnight. Don’t know how to fundraise? Ask one of the committee members Look out for the first team captains meeting coming at the end of February. Relay For Life Spirt Week will begin February 26 at the event kickoff and continue through the K-Factor talent show on Friday, March 2. All Huntington High School students are encouraged to participate in the “spirit of the week,” celebrating life and more birthdays!