Alicia Brooks is a soft-spoken young woman, but when the Huntington High School Class of 2020 member lines up for a race, she is all business and an incredible competitor. The teenager has won county and state championships and captured All-American honors with the Blue Devil indoor and outdoor track and field teams.
Ms. Brooks plans to study history at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina. She is interested in pursuing a career at a social studies teacher.
Nassau Police Officer Luis A. Palermo, Jr. was a loving family man with a strong faith.
A member of Huntington’s National Honor Society as well as the Math Honor Society, Science Honor Society and English Honor Society, Ms. Brooks earned top grades and garnered the designation of Distinguished Senior after recording an academic average of 90 or better during every semester of high school.
Ms. Brooks hopes to compete in sprints, jumps and relays on North Carolina A&T’s NCAA Division I track and field team. But while she is a superb competitor, she bypassed many other colleges that recruited her and placed her academic goals above everything else.
Chosen as a Huntington High School Natural Helper, Ms. Brooks assisted classmates as they strived to work through challenging personal issues. In her free time she served as a dance teacher.
The Nassau Police Running Club presented a $500 scholarship to Ms. Brooks in honor of fallen Nassau Police Officer Luis A. Palermo, Jr. who passed away in September 2017 from a 9/11 related illness. He was 49 years old.
A 23-year Nassau Police veteran, Mr. Palermo raced to Ground Zero following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 to assist with search and rescue efforts. Like so many others involved in similar work, he was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 and passed away from acute lung disease in September 2017. Prior to his death, the Nassau Police Department promoted him to its elite Bureau of Special Operations.
Mr. Palermo and his wife, Deborah, sent all three of their children through the Huntington School District. Celine graduated with Huntington’s Class of 2017. Caitlyn just graduated this past June with the Class of 2020. Caleb will be entering seventh grade in the fall.
The Nassau Police Running Club hosts the Police Officer Memorial Run every year to honor its fallen officers. The proceeds from the run go to scholarships at a high school from where the respective fallen member graduated or a high school that the family selects. The Palermo family has selected to have the scholarship in Police Officer Palermo’s name presented to a student from Huntington High School.
A committee of Huntington High School faculty members selected Ms. Brooks for this year’s award. It was formally presented by Assistant Principal Dr. Lisette Lors during a virtual ceremony rather than the traditional evening event, which could not be held due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Officer Palermo placed a premium on hard work and there is little doubt that he would have had nothing but respect for Ms. Brooks, her work ethic and her magnificent accomplishments.