Relay For Life an Unforgettable Experience
Last weekend's Relay For Life was a special moment in the history of Huntington High School. It brought hundreds of current high school students and recent alumni together with people of all ages in a wonderful display of what a community is capable of accomplishing when it joins forces.
The Relay saw 60 teams with nearly 600 members setting up shop in Tent City on the grass soccer field adjoining Blue Devil Stadium. Many hundreds more were on the scene, too, walking the track through the night and joining in the event that a student organizing committee spent nearly a year planning.
Huntington senior Chris Napolitano was the most prolific fundraiser of any participant. The teenager personally raised more than $15,000. He served as captain of Team BNAP, which raised over $22,000, placing it atop all 60 teams that entered Huntington's Relay For Life. Team BNAP was named for Mr. Napolitano's mother, Barbara Napolitano, who lost her heroic struggle with cancer earlier this spring.
"I thought the event went really well," Mr. Napolitano said. "It surpassed all of my expectations. I am very proud of Team BNAP and all of the participants. Relay 2012 was an experience I will never forget. Team BNAP has already agreed to participate next year. We put a lot of hard work into our fundraising efforts. I couldn't be happier."
Senior Justin LoScalzo, one of the student organizers who served as the Relay's logistics chairman and who is the Class of 2012 salutatorian, spoke at Saturday night's opening ceremonies and was a key player throughout the night.
A Tremendous Success
"It has been a privilege getting to work on the committee planning Relay For Life," Mr. LoScalzo said. "The event was a tremendous success. We almost doubled the goal we had set originally for fundraising. Relay For Life is an event that I will never forget. The money raised will go to help an amazing cause, will help numerous people and will hopefully lead to the end of a terrible disease."
Brielle Blatt, who was co-chair of activities/entertainment along with fellow senior Samantha Palmer, was seen dancing Saturday night with friends on a large stage Town of Huntington workers brought to Blue Devil Stadium for the event.
The entertainment schedule was packed and included something for everyone's respective taste. Ms. Blatt said her "favorite part of the event" was the 11 p.m. Zumba session.
"My aunt, Debby Snider came and taught Zumba, a dance fitness class," Ms. Blatt said. "During the dance party, I turned around and saw well over 200 people dancing the same moves and it made me so happy to be a part of Relay for Life. Several people said Zumba was one of the many highlights of the night."
Many Alums Participated
2011 grad Danni Cerezo was among the Huntington High School alumni returning to their alma mater for the big event. Several alumni teams were created for recent graduates, most of whom participated in the Relay held last year at Northport High School.
"Relay was a really wonderful experience," Ms. Cerezo said about last weekend. "I was so impressed with the planning committee. They did a phenomenal job! It was incredible how the community really came together for such a great event and was able to raise so much money. I was really excited to be a part of an alumni team and experience Relay again with so many wonderful people. I am so proud of Huntington and what we accomplished and I cannot wait for next year, which I am sure will be even more successful."
Cristina Badalamenti, another 2011 grad, also participated on one of the alumni teams. "I thought it was a really nice event," the teenager said. Mr. [Joseph] Cohen and the committee members did a great job putting it all together. It was definitely a great night to kick off the summer in Huntington."
Senior Lauren Boyce not only participated, she helped out at the site, too. "Relay For Life was an unforgettable experience," she said. "I never realized how many people are affected by cancer. It was definitely an eye opener. Seeing and hearing about how the people stricken have suffered made me realize that the issues I have are nothing. If they can make it through chemo and surgery and all of the pain, I can make it through any obstacle put in my path. It helped me realize what an amazing community Huntington is.I was amazed at how willing people were to help and donate to the cause. It was better than I could have ever imagined and I can't wait until next year."
Senior Michael Lambui is happy he participated in last weekend's event. "Really For Life was one of the greatest nights of my life," he said. "It's so amazing that our students and staff can come together and raise such a large sum of money that will help so many people. The sense of community at Huntington is mind blowing! All participants did a spectacular job."
Organizers were very appreciative for the response the initiative received from both their classmates and the community in general. "A huge thank you to everyone participated," Mr. LoScalzo said. "I look forward to many more Relays at Huntington High School."