A Homecoming Day to Remember
A crowd of more than 2,000 turned out on an afternoon filled with brilliant sunshine for Huntington High School's homecoming celebration last Saturday capping off an exciting week that included spirit days, a pep rally and parade through the heart of town, an upset victory by the football team and evening dance.
Huntington High School is steeped in so much tradition that sometimes it's hard to live up to it. But, this year's homecoming celebration will one day take its rightful place in the storied history of the school.
The festivities got rolling in earnest Friday afternoon with an end-of-day pep rally in the school gym. The chamber choir gave a stirring rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner before varsity teams entered to thunderous applause as their respective theme songs blared.
Some uniformed players danced, some were costumed and a few squads even performed short skits for the capacity crowd. Kevin Abt and Kristina Casale sang and there were well-received performances by the Highsteppers, the Ready Step team and Blue Devil marching band and color guard.
Saturday's parade was a little bit larger than those seen in recent years. There were colorful class floats, dozens of students walking and riding in the back of trucks, the marching band playing some favorite tunes, PTA members carrying banners, the step team and Highsteppers doing their thing along the way and a handful of athletic teams waving to parade watchers.
Joining Huntington High School Principal Carmela Leonardi in the parade were several teachers and class advisors, Southdown School Principal Michelle Marino, Superintendent James W. Polansky, Assistant Superintendents Kenneth A. Card, Jr., Joseph Giani and David H. Grackin, PTA Council President Bari Fehrs and other PTA officials.
It seemed as if there were more alumni than usual at the football game, too, and they were happy to see each other. The Huntington Booster Club was on the scene with its fabled trailer stocked with Blue Devil gear and goods and its food and refreshment concession stand did a brisk business.
"Everyone is commenting that this was the homecoming that demonstrated the most school spirit," Dr. Leonardi said. "I agree with that statement. From the high participation in spirit week, to the energy-filled pep rally, to the beautifully constructed floats and the gorgeous day for the parade, this was the most enjoyable of all homecomings. Of course, the fact that we were treated to a spectacular game was a real gift."
Students spent Friday night building class floats as DJ Anthony Troffa's music selections, hot pizza and cool refreshments kept the teenagers motivated until midnight. The ingenious floats all adhered to this year's homecoming theme: children's cartoons.
Saturday's early afternoon parade followed a route through the village and up New York Avenue to the Big H and the high school. Along the way, shoppers and shopkeepers stepped outside of stores and watched the show go by, often cheering for the students, who ate up it all up.
The half-time festivities naturally included crowning of the homecoming king and queen. Nominees for king included Dan Plant, Derrick Sherrod, Thomas Mulligan and Jack Cutrone. The nominees for queen were Kristina Casale, Samantha Palmer, Alanna Alongi and Kari Peer.
Dr. Leonardi placed the king's crown on Mr. Plant's head and Mr. Polansky crowned Ms. Casale queen as the crowd and fellow Royal Court members applauded.
The class float competition saw the freshman class make a serious run at first place, but the senior float was just too sensational as the Class of 2012 walked away with top honors after beating back the upstarts.
The Blue Devil marching band, decked out in its eye-catching blue-and-white uniforms, put on a fabulous half-time show, complete with a dizzying display by the band's color guard. An especially hip performance by the Huntington Highsteppers, the high school's competitive dance team made the huge crowd filling the stadium sit-up and take notice.
The Blue Devils came from behind to upset Islip in the football game, 35-32. Post-game activities saw alumni streaming into Huntington village to continue the daylong celebration. Hundreds of current high school students attended a four hour dance in the school gym Saturday night.
"It was a great day for Huntington," Mr. Polansky said.