Huntington High School's Class of 2019 is outstanding.  (Darin Reed photo)

Present a Scholarship Award to a Huntington Senior

Huntington High School's Class of 2019 is outstanding. (Darin Reed photo)

April 17, 2019

Huntington High School’s Class of 2019 is shaping up to be one of the most distinguished ever. The exceptional group of more than 300 remarkable teenagers has been impressive across every academic area as well as in the arts, athletics and even charitable endeavors.

Huntington has been graduating high school students since 1862. The current class includes members headed to the military academies at West Point and Annapolis as well to the Coast Guard Academy, the Ivy League and many other top tier colleges and universities. Some students plan to study in vocational schools. All have big ideas and ambitious goals for their future.

Huntington High School’s senior academic awards night will be held on Wednesday, June 5 at 7 p.m. Dozens of students will be recognized with awards and scholarships totaling thousands of dollars. Some of the scholarships will be presented in memory of a loved by family members, while others will honor former teachers who have made a difference in the lives of their students. Many local businesses and organizations will also be presenting scholarships to worthy graduating Huntington seniors.

Interested in presenting a scholarship this June? It’s certainly not too late to make the arrangements. There are a variety of ways this can be done:

  • You can develop the criteria for the award and create a scholarship application that those interested in seeking it can complete and submit. The guidance department can collect the applications and give them to you for review and you can choose the scholarship recipient and present the award on June 5.
  • You can develop the criteria for the award and create a scholarship application for seniors, which they can submit and a faculty committee can choose the recipient. You can present the award on June 5.
  • You can develop the criteria for the award and a faculty committee can choose a worthy recipient. You can drop off a check in an amount of your choosing and a faculty member can present the award on June 5.
  • You can create a long-term scholarship award through the school district and donate the funds to capitalize it. The district will invest the funds and maintain the account in a separate ledger. All interest will accrue to the fund. An award or awards can be presented annually in any manner you see fit.

Contact Superintendent James W. Polansky if you are interested in discussing the possible creation of a new scholarship award at [email protected].

Huntington High School History

Since 48 leading citizens came together in 1793 and pledged the funds needed to erect a school building devoted to providing the young people of the community with a classical high school education, Huntington has been on the cutting edge of classroom instruction and has been sending its graduates to the top colleges in the country and into every career field imaginable.

The Huntington Academy was a two-story structure with a belfry. It was built on a hill across the street from the Old First Church. The site is now occupied by Town Hall.

A private institution, the Huntington Academy charged nominal tuition on a quarterly basis. It was outside the common-school system and was not under Regents supervision. “It was intended to, and generally did, furnish the means for a more liberal education than was provided by the surrounding common schools,” wrote town historian Charles R. Street more than a century ago. “Many of the best educators of the period taught generation after generation of Huntington youths within its walls. It prepared for college the sons of those who were ambitious to give their sons a liberal education.”

The New York State Legislature passed a law on April 13, 1857 authorizing creation of the Union School District of Huntington. The community gathered at a “special meeting” on September 7, 1857 and approved formation of the Union School District. It is said to have been the first district organized in the state for providing public education beyond eighth grade.

The first annual meeting of the district was held on January 4, 1858 at 6 p.m. at the Huntington Academy. In a close vote, the community elected Smith Woodhull, George A. Scudder, Brewster Conklin, William A. Conant, James P. Jones and Henry G. Scudder to serve as the first board of education. Mr. Woodhull was chosen as board president. George H. Shepard was the first district clerk.

“The members of the board are business men, some of our best financiers, men who are honest and capable, who will faithfully discharge the duties imposed on them, and by no neglect of theirs or want of prudence will a dollar of the people’s money be squandered,” said an article in the January 8, 1858 edition of The Long-Islander.

Huntington Academy was demolished in April 1858 and the Union School was erected over that same summer. It offered the young people of the community an educational program through twelfth grade. The building opened in November 1858 with Algernon S. Higgins as its first principal. He also taught most subjects. Enrollment totaled 220. The first class numbering six seniors was graduated in 1862.

In November 1858, the Board of Education approved the “rules and regulations of the Union School.” The school year was to begin the first Monday in September and “shall consist of forty-four weeks – five days for a week. There shall be a vacation from Christmas to New Years [sic], inclusive. The Spring Term will be followed by one week’s vacation and the Summer Term by six week’s [vacation]. The Holidays shall be Fourth of July and Thursday and Friday of Thanksgiving week.”

Trustees decreed the Union School be organized as per the following: “There shall be one high school, one grammar school, one intermediate school and such primary schools as the number and locality of the primary pupils may require.”

With the near unanimous support of the Board of Education, the Union School began offering free education in 1864. The Union School formally changed its name to Huntington High School in 1897.