Homecoming Day is always a special time at Huntington High School and throughout the district. It brings together generations spread across many decades 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 about 2,000.
Special event days were held throughout the week at the district in the run-up to Saturday’s festivities. Thursday night’s high school dance proved to be a fun time for everyone. Friday afternoon’s pep rally in Louis D. Giani Gymnasium was a high octane affair as varsity teams were introduced to the student body and faculty to deafening applause. Athletes performed short skits and the Blue Devil marching band and color guard put on an awesome display. There were also performances by the Highsteppers and Ready Step dance teams.
Huntington head coach Steve Muller and quarterback John Paul Paci IV confer on the next play.
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 was organized by the student government, including its school-wide executive board and faculty advisors Danielle Raguzin and David Moriarty. Individual classes and their officers, members and advisors were also heavily involved in the event, especially the construction of floats.
Named as this year’s Homecoming Day King and Queen were Danny Arias and Ashlyn Case. The teenagers appeared on the Blue Devil Stadium track and were formally crowned by Principal Brenden Cusack and Superintendent James W. Polansky before the adoring crowd.
The Class of 2020 won the float competition, amassing 271 points to outdistance the other four classes. The announcement over the stadium’s public address system produced the expected roar from fans.
“Today was a great day for the Huntington community,” Mr. Cusack said. “The weather turned the corner just in time for the parade and every aspect of Homecoming was picture perfect. The football team had a decisive win, the crowd was awesome and the halftime festivities were outstanding. I’m so grateful for all of the effort that went into this weekend to make it a fantastic time for everyone.”
Alumni spanning more than 70 years attended Saturday afternoon’s football game against Smithtown East. The group of graduates included more than a few from recent classes.
The huge turnout included many members of the district’s administrative and teaching corps along with Huntington School Board trustees. Many marched in the parade while others attended the afternoon football game.
Mr. Blue Devil also made an appearance. The Booster Club manned the Blue Devil Stadium field house and an adjacent trailer filled with Huntington apparel. Club members offered an assortment of food and beverage choices, including grilled sports fare.
“It was just a glorious day in Huntington,” Mr. Polansky said. “Any threats of inclement weather disappeared in the early morning hours, which contributed to strong representation from all district schools in the Homecoming parade. This was followed by an exciting game on the gridiron, ending in a 32-20 Blue Devil victory over the Smithtown East Bulls. Not to be overlooked were the outstanding halftime performances by the Blue Devil Marching Band and Highsteppers, as well as the crowning of Homecoming king Danny Arias and queen Ashlyn Case. Thank you to all in Huntington for contributing to a terrific celebration!”