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HHS Class of 1972 Plans 40th Reunion

Has it really been 40 years since Huntington High School's Class of 1972 last graced the building's classrooms? It must be since this special group of folks is planning a festive reunion for next October. Organizers are spreading the word early about the get-together and have high hopes of attracting a huge turnout of classmates.

A reunion committee has been created and put its plans in motion. Key organizers include Dr. Andrew Gettinger, a medical doctor and professor at Dartmouth College and Dr. Jeff Lipman, a Huntington dentist.

The 40th anniversary reunion is currently set for Saturday October 13 from 7-11 p.m. at the Huntington Crescent Club in Huntington. There will be a cocktail party/buffet with hot and cold food stations. An assortment of beverages will be provided at no additional cost. There will be a cash bar available those who desire other types of refreshments. Based upon a crowd of 200, tickets will be priced at $95.

The organizing committee earlier surveyed 1972 class members and most of its preferences were incorporated into the plans for the reunion. The committee includes many classmates still residing on Long Island, including Dr. Lipman, Regina Bocard, Madeline Roberts Ganis, Sue Saffrey, Nancy Domino Silvestri, Ursula Power Radini, Debbie Hilliger Keller, Carole Sweetser Leavy and Carol Conforti Straub.

Class of 1972 members who want to pitch in and help the group organizing the reunion should contact Dr. Lipman at manlip@aol.com. Dr. Gettinger can be reached at andrew.gettinger@dartmouth.edu or (603) 650-7676.

"Deborah Miller Burke has been doing wonderful work sleuthing current names, e-mail, phone numbers and addresses and setting up a PayPal account for the group," Dr. Gettinger said in an e-mail to classmates. "Many of us have been wowed by Dave Katz's digital magic with 'then and now' pictures on the Facebook site - it might even be a reason to join Facebook! Gary Kostrewski has been active bringing back our music from the era. There are lots of opportunities to help out and the committee is both open and welcoming."

The organizing committee is asking Class of 1972 members to confirm whether or not they plan to attend the reunion. The committee is also exploring available overnight accommodations in the area. Class members are asked to contact Deborah Burke (antiquedress@comcast.net) as soon as possible to indicate if they will be attending the event and if they need accommodations.

Huntington's Class of 1972 was graduated during the school's 111th annual commencement on Sunday, June 25 at 3 p.m. The class was led by valedictorian John Pierson and salutatorians Lisa Iezzoni, Janet Rathke and Steven Wolinsky.

Principal Clifford Murray presented the speakers that day. Dr. John McDermott, a Queens College professor of philosophy offered commencement remarks. Superintendent William F. Keough, who was later held hostage in the American Embassy in Iran by revolutionary militants, presented the Class of 1972. Huntington School Board members William Carter and Manuel Darwin presented seniors with their diplomas.

Mr. Keough was an imposing man, standing 6'9. His career in education played out in Vermont, Massachusetts and New York. He became Huntington's superintendent in 1969 and served through 1972. He was replaced by Dr. Charles W. Rutiger.

After leaving Huntington, Mr. Keough eventually found his way to Iran in 1977, where he served as superintendent of the American School in Tehran. The school was closed after the Shah of Iran was deposed in January 1979 and an Islamic revolution rocked the country. Mr. Keough then became superintendent of the American International School in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Mr. Keough had returned to Tehran to pick up student records and was at the American Embassy on November 4, 1979 when Iranian "student" militants stormed the building and seized dozens of U.S. hostages, including Mr. Keough. He was held by the militants for 444 days until January 20, 1981, when 52 hostages were released. After being freed, he worked for the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC. Within a year of release, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, an incurable disease of the central nervous system better known as Lou Gehrig's disease. After a long fight, he succumbed to the affliction at home on November 27, 1985. He was 55 years old.

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