Teacher, administrator, mentor, friend and founder of Huntington UFSD’s School Heritage Museum, Jack Abrams wore many hats over the years, always contributing in one way or the other to the rich traditions and history cherished across the district.
After 25 years as curator of Huntington’s School Heritage Museum, Mr. Abrams retired in June 2012. Beloved by current and former students alike, his 57 year record of service to the community was recognized when the Huntington School Board voted to rename Huntington Intermediate School in his honor, effective July 1, 2008.
Mr. Abrams passed away in June 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then a group of friends in Huntington UFSD has been working to honor the distinguished educator who gave so much to the children of the community.
Born during the Great Depression, Mr. Abrams attended Andrew Jackson High School in St. Albans, Queens. After serving in the U.S. Army Special Service and Signal Corps in Korea and graduating from New Paltz Teacher’s College with a B.S. in Education, he began his career at the Newbridge Road School in North Bellmore before joining the Huntington school family in 1955. Along the way he added advanced degrees from Hofstra and Columbia universities.
The first of many assignments saw Mr. Abrams work as a sixth grade teacher at Woodbury Avenue Grammar School. As the years unfolded, his Huntington career included stints as elementary science coordinator and principal of Nathan Hale, Woodbury Avenue, Washington, Village Green, Toaz/Finley’s sixth grade school and Woodhull.
In 1975 Mr. Abrams initiated the unique sixth grade outdoor education program that annually sees hundreds of students trekking to Camp Greenkill for four days and three nights of hands-on educational activities. He even spent a year teaching fifth grade in Great Britain with the Fulbright teacher exchange program. Another year was spent as a third grade teacher in Northport while on a sabbatical from Huntington.
Mr. Abrams served the last six years of his career as principal of Jefferson Elementary School before officially retiring in 1987. He immediately went about establishing the district’s School Heritage Museum, which today is filled with more than 1,500 items highlighting over 360 years of history.
Former Huntington School Board member Linda Guido and teachers Keith Meyers and Allison Von Vange are collaborating on an effort to install a memorial plaque in the auditorium lobby at Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School.
“We want to be sure that as staff retire and students graduate, that anyone walking into that school will know who Jack Abrams was,” Mr. Meyers said. “The plaque will list Jack’s positions in the district for the 57 years he worked here. Next to the plaque will be text in a frame that tells his story.”
A memorial service is being organized for Saturday, October 30 at 10 a.m. at the amphitheater in the Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School courtyard. The ceremony will be open to the public
Mr. Abrams’ daughters will be coming to Huntington from Nevada and Idaho, respectively to attend the October memorial service. It will be followed by a brief service at the Northport Rural Cemetery, where his ashes will be interred alongside his wife, Eileen.
Those interested in assisting the effort to install “Jack’s plaque” can reach out to Mr. Meyers at either 631.673.5867 or email@example.com or Mrs. Guido at 631.479.2412. The Huntington Foundation for Excellence in Education is helping to facilitate the effort to recognize and honor Mr. Abrams.
“Jack’s dedication to the district for 57 years still moves many people, as we have already received much support,” Mr. Meyers said. “Jack was a unique man with a love for this school district, preserving its history, making connections with people and finding a way to make everyone in his presence feel special.”