Catching up with Chris Barry
Chris Barry, a 1981 Huntington High School graduate, is making good use of the education he received here; he’s a teacher and chairman of the social studies department at Irvington High School in Westchester.
Mr. Barry, a former captain of the Blue Devil track and cross country teams, is also the head coach of Irvington’s track and cross country teams. At the state meet in Buffalo earlier this month, he had an opportunity to meet with current Huntington track coach Ron Wilson and inquired about his old mentor Mike Gribbin, who retired from the Blue Devil program last spring.
“Since graduating in 1981, I went on to major in government at Hamilton College, graduating with honors in 1985,” Mr. Barry said during a recent interview. “I ran track and cross country at Hamilton and ended up as cross country team captain. After working for awhile in New York City, I then got my Master’s in social studies from Wesleyan University in Connecticut.”
Mr. Barry, who now resides in Mamaroneck with his wife Alice and two daughters, aged five and eleven, has been teaching American history for the past 19 years, including the last nine as chairman of the department. Irvington High School is located on the Hudson River in a very scenic area of the state.
The Huntington alum is also a very successful coach, guiding Irvington to the Section I (Westchester/Rockland/Putnam/Dutchess Counties) Class C boy’s cross country championship and a fifth place finish in the state meet.
“The people who had the biggest impact on me at Huntington High School were Dan Marchi, the head track coach, Mike Gribbin, his assistant coach, Mr. Baer, Mr. Snyder and Mr. Cusamano,” Mr. Barry said. “Mr. Snyder was one of the nicest people you could meet, and he had some tough classes because of it, I think. Yet there was an intellectual depth to his classes that helped kindle my interest in government and history.”
Now firmly established in his own career, Mr. Barry utilizes something he learned at Huntington in his classes. “I still use one of Mr. Baer’s lessons in my own AP U.S. History classes; a simulation on late 19th century capitalism called ‘The Railroad Game.’”
Richard Baer, who is now retired after a long career as a Huntington teacher and department chairman, remembers that particular lesson well. “That lesson was a great standby in economics and involved the kids because of competition and how a monopoly could mess with competition,” Mr. Baer recalled last week.
“Other teachers I really liked were Mrs. Mongaluzzi and Mrs. Peacock in English, Mr. LaRochelle and Mr. Swain in math, and Mr. Melia in chemistry,” Mr. Barry said. “Also, Milo Misut in biology and animal behavior. He was funny.”
At Huntington, Mr. Barry ran personal best times of 54.5 seconds in the 400m and 2:02 in the 800m. The two events were his specialties. He still stays in contact with former Huntington teammates Scott Ernst and David Burns.