Pride. Huntington High School students have always possessed it in abundance. It was evident even a century ago and probably decades earlier, too.
“Do you know that you are attending the oldest free public high school in New York State?” stated the editorial written by assistant editor Claire W. Conklin in the March 1920 edition of The Mirror, the school’s monthly journal. “Do you know that since 1858 Huntington High School has developed and grown until now every one of its two hundred and seventy-five members are proud to own that they are gaining a well-rounded education under its roof?”
Of course, the school of which Ms. Conklin spoke was not the current high school located on Oakwood Road, but the building on Main Street that is now used as Huntington Town Hall.
“We should consider ourselves thrice blessed to be able to secure our knowledge through such an up-to-date and well equipped institution,” the editorial stated. “We pride ourselves on our splendid corps of instructors which do their best, though sometimes their cause is hopeless, to place in our slow brains some knowledge and ideals which at some later time if not now will perhaps bear fruit.”
Huntington High School was widely regarded as one of the best, if not the absolute finest such institution on Long Island and possibly in the entire state.
“In 1910, in place of the old white wooden building which had formerly sheltered the students, a new modern building was completed, equipped with large, comfortable, study and recitation rooms and [a] spacious auditorium,” stated the editorial. “There are only a very few high schools on Long Island of our size which may boast a gymnasium such as we have. Our basket ball (Note: It was spelled as two words in that era.) games and school parties besides other athletic work, are held in the gym. When our teams play rival schools at basket ball, at a majority of the games we go to an improvised gym, public hall or movie theatre. Are we not lucky in that, too?”
Huntington’s Class of 1920 totaled 35 graduates, including Ms. Conklin. “There are a number of organizations which have sprung up as the school has grown which have tended greatly toward making our school a better one,” the teenager wrote in the March 1920 editorial. “Our Athletic Association is a very helpful society with a splendid quartet of officers. This organization furnishes equipment for the teams and also a great deal of the social life of the school through its four annual parties. Every person who calls himself a student in HHS should belong to this, not only by paying your enforced thirty-five cents yearly, but by putting all your efforts in this society so that it can accomplish the desired results.”
Ms. Conklin went on to urge students to participate in the life of the school and its organizations. She lamented the loss of Omicron Kappa, “which was a snappy little Greek letter society for the girls of the school,” she wrote.
The 1920 senior capped off her rousing editorial with an inspirational pitch.
“Have you ever heard a graduate of this high school say that they were ashamed of the fact that they spent four years here?,” asked Ms. Conklin’s editorial. “No! They are all proud of the fact that they are able to say they were graduated from dear old Huntington High and expect us to keep up the standard of the school and make it better each day that we’re in it.”
Reflect on that last paragraph and reread it a few times. It could be written today by a Huntington High School student. The sentiments expressed in it really haven’t changed, have they?