While there have been changes to every aspect of life at Huntington High School, the electrifying group of teenagers chosen to lead the Class of 2024 is making the best of it and remaining as optimistic as possible.
The freshmen class is led by Katherine Estrada (president), Zaida Correal (vice president), Jordana Paniccia (recording secretary), Reese Rinaldi (treasurer) and Joanna Lee (public relations coordinator).
“I feel so honored and pleased that my classmates chose me as president to lead them on to great events and a wonderful school year,” Ms. Estrada said. “Even with hard times right now, I want to make the best of it as class president and do as much as I can to make sure the freshman class doesn’t miss out on too many events.”
Ms. Estrada plans to once again participate in the Blue Devil marching band (she first joined it last year as an eighth grader) and try-out for the girls’ soccer team. She hopes to perform with the high school wind and jazz ensembles and to participated in the Suffolk County Music Educators Assn. (SCMEA) program. “I look forward to being the best I can be for myself,” she said.
Class faculty advisors include Shannon Rucky and Luigi Papasiderio. “We are so excited to be co-advisors for the Class of 2024,” Ms. Rucky said. “We both participated in student government in our respective high schools. We look forward to bringing enthusiasm and new ideas to make our class’ experiences memorable.”
The election for class officers drew 15 candidates. “It was an amazing race with great videos and campaign posters,” Mr. Papasiderio said. “We are so impressed with how the class officers have hit the ground running by setting up a fundraiser, making posters for the building, completing the class charter and learning how to fulfill their responsibilities.”
The candidates were so impressive that several were asked to join the leadership team as administrative assistants, including Brooke Parks, Olivia Polinsky, Kayleigh Bender and Genesis Acevedo.
Class members came together in December to pen holiday letters for patients at the Northport VA Medical Center. A Blue Devil mask sale is the next initiative.
“My first year of high school definitely has been an unexpected roller coaster,” Ms. Paniccia said. “But I would say joining the student government has impacted me in such a positive way. Working together as a team, we have become much closer. Serving as one of the leaders has been so amazing. I have made such good friendships with the team and working with them has been so easy and so much fun. I am so glad that there is more to come. The plans recently have been focused on fundraising for our class. Currently we are doing a mask sale and there are so many ideas bubbling up. I’m very grateful to be a part of this.”
The officers and advisors have been collaborating through the use of Google Meets. “We’ve had an exceptional turnout of participants,” Ms. Rucky said. “We appreciate all of the members who log in while balancing extracurricular activities and sports after school.”
The executive officers and administrative assistants are learning valuable lessons about leadership, planning and organizing.
“I am very excited to be a part of student government and serve my classmates as their treasurer,” Ms. Rinaldi. “My fellow officers and I have been working on a few different fundraising ideas for the year. Our current fundraiser is a mask sale. We are constantly thinking of new ideas to have fun and stay safe. Our main goal for the year is to try and make everything seem as normal as possible.”
It's easy to get the impression that Huntington’s Class of 2024 is going to eventually distinguish itself in every possible way.
“I am so glad that I joined student government and got elected as PR coordinator for the Class of 2024,” Ms. Lee said. “I’ve become closer friends with the people in student government, and I've also had fun designing the posters. To be honest, I wasn’t going to run at first, but then decided that it would be a good experience and I’m so glad that I pushed myself to run for a position. We’re selling masks right now as a fundraiser and we’re also thinking of more ways to help earn money. I’m so excited for everything that’s going to come and we’re going to try our hardest to make this year feel as normal as possible.”
The Class of 2024 is already on its way to claiming its rightful place in the history of Huntington High School.
“Starting off this first year in high school has been crazy, not for me, but everyone else,” Ms. Correal said. “I hear everyone in the higher grades saying how much fun past years have been with homecoming, winter activities, plays and other activities and I’ve been saying to myself ‘what else can I do since we have so many restrictions,’ so when I heard about student government I said to myself ‘now this is something I can do.’ So I ran for vice president and I was elected. I am so happy because this organization will help everyone have a great year and even under the circumstances, I have so many ideas to share and I hope I can help make all of them happen. This last year has been so crazy, but we can all make it better if we do our part. I’m so excited for the new year and I think everyone is, too. So happy holidays and happy new year!”