Spectacular Homecoming Day festivities played out under a brilliant blue sky at Huntington High School as the community came together in a remarkable display of unity last Saturday.
The festivities 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 more than 1,500.
Enthusiasm filled Huntington for Homecoming Day 2019. (Darin Reed photo.)
Special event spirit days were held throughout the week, including a bonfire and festival that attracted more than 2,000 folks of all ages to the high school for music, food, dancing, games and a sensational bonfire that reached high into the night sky.
Friday afternoon’s pep rally at Blue Devil Stadium was a high energy affair as varsity teams were introduced to the student body and faculty to hearty 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 and the chamber choir along with United Amigos club members.
Saturday’s late morning parade drew more than 1,000 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.
“Saturday was a fitting end to an outstanding weeklong Homecoming celebration that overflowed with Huntington pride,” Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “Nothing but blue skies for a district parade that featured spirited participation from all Huntington schools. Those skies remained for a huge Blue Devil win on the gridiron. So many ear-to-ear smiles from morning until evening.”
Each of the high school’s four classes built parade floats over a five hour period Friday night. The students were nourished by periodic slices of hot pizza. The floats were a big hit on Saturday as the parade winded down Main Street and up New York Avenue. Even Washington Primary School got into the act, constructing its own float for the very first time in honor of its 65th anniversary.
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 building of floats.
Jamison and Toscano crowned king and queen
Jack Jamison and Isabella Toscano were named Homecoming Day king and queen, respectively. The teenagers appeared with fellow royal court nominees on the Blue Devil Stadium track and were formally crowned by Principal Brenden Cusack and Mr. Polansky before the adoring crowd.
“Today was the perfect culmination of a perfect Homecoming Week,” Mr. Cusack said. “The weather was stunningly beautiful, the parade was outstanding and the football team put on a knockout performance. Huntington has so much to be proud of and Homecoming Week was a shining example of that spirit and pride. I am so grateful that the whole community and our kids enjoyed the festivities and I am more proud than ever to serve them as their principal.”
The Class of 2020 won the float competition, outdistancing the other three classes in the building. The Class of 2023 captured the first ever Spirit Week contest, accumulating the most points over five days.
“The floats were awesome,” junior class President Isaiah James said. “The junior class especially came together and the football team was great. They crushed it. It was a great time.”
Class of 1948’s Paul Johnson introduced
Alumni spanning more than 70 years attended Saturday afternoon’s football game against Copiague. The group of graduates included Paul Johnson, a member of Huntington High School’s Class of 1948. When the 90 year old was introduced to the crowd in the second half he stood and was given the ovation he so richly has earned, including applause by the football players and coaches from the sideline. It was an awesome sight.
“Homecoming was a huge success,” junior Jordan Forte said. “The first ever bonfire kicked off a great start to homecoming weekend. The football team played really well and got the stands so excited. The whole weekend couldn’t have gone any better.”
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.
“I feel like it was a great weekend,” senior Abby Maichin said. “From the bonfire to the football game everything was so successful and brought the entire community together. I wouldn’t trade my last homecoming for anything.”
“It was truly a week to remember”
Even Mr. Blue Devil 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.
“This was the best-last homecoming I could’ve asked for,” senior Madelyn Reed said. “All of the events were exciting, fun and inventive. The bonfire was an amazing addition to Huntington’s homecoming events, and I think it will be a wonderful tradition that will continue for years to come.”
Homecoming 2019 will go down in the history books as perhaps Huntington’s best ever. “It was truly a week to remember for a special community,” Mr. Polansky said. “Many thanks go out to the high school administration, staff, student government and other participating groups for their efforts throughout. Additional thanks to participants and attendees from across the district and to the district PTA units for their support.”