Lynch Ballet Presents The Nutcracker

nut pic 2015The renowned Lynch Ballet Company of Huntington presents its spectacular seventh annual professional production of Nutcracker with over 140 Lynch School of Ballet dancers, on December 19 and 20. Anthony Savoy from Dance Theatre of Harlem and Samuel Rodriguez from American Ballet Theatre Studio Company will share the role of Cavelier.

Due to the number of strong dancers within Lynch Ballet Company, the coveted role of Sugarplum Fairy will be shared by three very talented dancers, who have danced at some of the most prestigious summer intensives in the nation: Mia Koshansky who most recently attended Boston Ballet’s program and plans to major in dance at college, Alexandra Smith who has won American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Scholarship two years in a row, and Caroline Tonks, who most recently danced at Houston Ballet Summer Intensive and four summers at Pacific Northwest Ballet’s intensive before that. “All three aspire to continue dancing after High School, at either a pre-professional ballet school or a university dance program,” elaborates Karen Lynch, Artistic Director of Lynch School of Ballet.

Nutcracker, a timeless two-act classic, premiered in 1892 in St. Petersburg Russia and was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Tchaikovsky. Over one hundred years later, the Nutcracker remains a holiday favorite. The 2015 Lynch Ballet Company production promises to dazzle audiences young and old with its gifted dancers, professional sets, and gorgeous costumes by Madeline Hinkis, former costume mistress of American Ballet Theatre II. “A new, custom backdrop made by Grosh Scenic Designs in California, will be debuting in Act II, Kingdom of the Sweets,” Lynch announced, “This was made possible by the Backdrop Campaign which went on during the Graceful Gathering fundraisers of the past two years.”

Performances take place at Huntington High School on Saturday December 19 at 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM, and Sunday December 20 at 12:00 PM and 4:00 PM. Tickets are $30 for Adults and $20 for children, and for sale online at To order by phone, call 1-855-222-2TIX (1-855-222-2849), on Monday through Friday 8 AM-8 PM, Saturday 9 AM-5 PM, and Sunday 1 PM-5 PM Central Time. Tickets are also available at the door.

Lynch Ballet Company is also proud to support its local community for the sixth year in a row by donating 100 tickets to families most in need in the Huntington Union Free School District.

Lynch School of Ballet, under the direction of professional ballerina Karen Lynch encompasses a premier ballet academy of 150 students, an open dance program, and the not-for-profit Lynch Ballet Company. The program nurtures dancers in an environment ideal for artistic, technical and personal growth. Ms. Lynch is proud to have students who have placed in the country’s top ballet programs, including American Ballet Theatre, Pacific Northwest, Boston Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. Many of her senior dancers have been granted contracts with professional companies or have been accepted to prestigious dance universities. Two of her students have won National Training Scholarships from American Ballet Theatre, each for 2 years in a row.

For more information on Lynch Ballet Company or the Lynch School of Ballet, please call Karen Lynch at 631-470-9711 or visit their website at

Brenden Cusack Appointed Huntington High School Principal

admin_cusack_brenden_3Brenden Cusack Appointed Huntington High School Principal Faced with the retirement of longtime Huntington High School Principal Carmela Leonardi, Huntington School Board members have turned to a familiar face. Trustees voted unanimously to appoint current assistant principal Brenden Cusack as the building’s principal, effective July 1.

“I am excited and truly honored to be moving into this new leadership role at Huntington High School,” said Mr. Cusack following Monday night’s meeting of trustees. “Over the last three years, I have come to know our school as an amazing place, filled with opportunities for kids from all walks of life. It is a blessing to be a part of this learning community and I continue to be so proud of our wonderful kids, faculty and support staff as we continue to improve, change and grow together. We have been on the right track for some time and it is my goal for us to build upon our successes and keep moving on that upward trajectory.”

A 1995 graduate of SUNY New Paltz (BA in education), Mr. Cusack earned a Master of Science degree at CUNY-Queens College in 2002 in adolescent education/English 7-12. He obtained a professional diploma in school administration and supervision at CUNY-Queens College in 2005. He recently participated in school leadership training at Harvard College.

“Over the past several years, Mr. Cusack has become an integral part of a successful high school team,” Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “He has earned the respect of his students, staff and colleagues. He brings a wealth of administrative and teaching experience to the position. The achievement and well-being of his students have always been his foremost priorities. We are looking forward to his continuing to build on the success experienced by high school students and staff and to his leading the school for many years to come.”

Prior to coming to Huntington High School as assistant principal in July 2012, Mr. Cusack served as assistant principal at Hicksville High School for three years. Prior to that post, he was an administrative dean at Walt Whitman High School for four years. He also worked as an English teacher at Freeport High School for eight years, where he taught Advanced Placement literature and theatre arts, served as a class advisor for four years, chaired the Middle States Committee on Educational Programs and produced school plays.

Mr. Cusack has also been employed as an assistant principal of the Freeport School District’s summer school program and assistant principal and principal of the Western Suffolk BOCES regional summer school.

Over the past three years, Mr. Cusack has learned all the ins and outs of Huntington High School, its academic, co-curricular and athletic programs. He can often be found during after school and evening hours attending games, plays, concerts and induction ceremonies and meeting with students and parents.

“As principal, I intend to continue working with our faculty on fine tuning our best instructional practices and finding new ones that will help us reach all of our students each and every day,” Mr. Cusack said. “I am also looking forward to finding new and innovative ways to strengthen the relationships among us, improve our avenues of communication and to promote our sense of caring for one another at Huntington High School. Huntington High School is truly a gold mine of talent and energy. I am very fortunate to be the principal of this outstanding institution.”

Mr. Cusack will be entering his 20th year in education as he assumes the principal’s position of the oldest high school in New York State.

Spotlight on Huntington High School Senior Kaitlin Dayton

Kaitlin Dayton, HHS senior, graduates with the class of 2015.

Kaitlin Dayton, HHS senior, graduates with the class of 2015.

Kaitlin Dayton transferred to Woodhull Intermediate School as a sixth grader. She has never looked back. Six years later the teenager is in her final months before graduating with Huntington High School’s Class of 2015.

One of the most popular seniors in the high school, Ms. Dayton has enjoyed an exceedingly positive experience since coming to the district. She has played a key role in many different extracurricular activities and worked closely with a variety of faculty members across numerous academic departments.

“I transferred from St. Patrick’s School to Woodhull,” Ms. Dayton said. “To this day, I am convinced it has been the greatest decision I have ever made as I have had nothing but wonderful experiences during my time here. I was welcomed with open arms and amazing opportunities that I don’t believe I could have found anywhere else.”

Ms. Dayton is a happy young woman. She works hard to make a difference in her community and the world. President of Huntington High School’s National Honor Society chapter, the teenager is also involved in the English, Spanish and art honor societies.

“The most encouraging and influential teachers”

“As I have moved from Woodhull to Finley to the high school, I have been so lucky to have received only the most encouraging and influential teachers Huntington has to offer, so it would be impossible to name only a few of my favorites,” said Ms. Dayton when asked to choose the faculty members she is most fond of.

“Since arriving at the high school, my classes have become more focused, allowing me to explore my interests and possible career paths,” the teenager said. Ms. Dayton’s is currently enrolled in AP Calculus AB, AP Photography, Portfolio and Design, AP Environmental Science, AP Government, AP Micro Economics, AP Spanish and AP English Literature. It’s a challenging selection of classes, but the senior is more than capable of tackling such high level work.

“Some of the classes that have stood out the most to me are AP World History taught by Ms. [Camille] Tedeschi, AP Government taught by Mr. [Kenneth] Donovan, AP Spanish taught by Ms. [Mercy] Pena, and, of course, my art classes, drawing and painting with Ms. [Kristin] Singer and photography with Ms. [Pamela] Piffard,” Ms. Dayton said. The teenager has taken photography courses in each of the past four years and displayed talent in producing captivating images.

World History was a fascinating class for me,” Ms. Dayton recalled. “It was a two year course outlining major historical cultures and events from pre-history up to present day. Ms. Tedeschi made the class so interactive and compelling and I believe it was her teaching that sparked my interest in foreign affairs and cultures.”

Ms. Dayton’s current Spanish course “has only worked to further cement my interests and what began as my most challenging, and at times overwhelming, class has quickly become my favorite,” she said. “Some truly unique experiences I’ve gained from it include writing to pen pals who are students in Mexico and participating in social group after school; an opportunity to interact with the ESL students here in Huntington.”

The Huntington senior said her current classes have sparked an interest in studying political science and international affairs in college and perhaps even picking up a third language. “It is my dream to work for the United Nation’s humanitarian affairs office, but I am also considering careers in a non-profit or practicing law,” Ms. Dayton said.

The teenager has already been awarded “generous” scholarships by Providence College, Fordham University and Loyola Maryland and gained admission to the honors programs at Northeastern College and Boston College. “However, I am still waiting to hear back from a few more schools, including Northwestern, George Washington, Yale and Harvard,” Ms. Dayton said. “At this point in time I am still weighing my options, but I know that I’ll be happy wherever I end up.”

A member of the Blue Devil fencing team throughout high school, Ms. Dayton also plays on a soccer team on weekends. She likes to stay busy and excels at managing her time while maintaining the highest standards in all aspects of her life.

Ms. Dayton has been very involved in Huntington High School’s club program. She’s been an active member of Habitat for Humanity for four years and is the chapter vice president this year. “We have made numerous trips to Breezy Point, Queens since Hurricane Sandy and seeing the devastation and the part our club played in healing it is something that will stay with me all of my life,” she said. “This spring break will mark the club’s tenth and my second trip to New Orleans. It has been something I have been anticipating for months. Seeing the hopeful tears in a homeowner’s eyes makes accidentally hammering your thumb worth it every time.”

The senior is also set to play an integral role in this year’s Relay For Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Ms. Dayton is an event chair along with senior Alyssa Devoe and junior Jessica Straub.

Ms. Dayton has been a Relay participant since the first event was held during her freshman year. She was a member of the planning committee as a junior and is now helping to lead the event. Along with her co-chairs, the teenager is working hard to put all the pieces in place for a successful event.

“Together it is our job to plan, promote, organize, fundraise and execute one of the highest grossing high school events in the country,” said Ms. Dayton about Huntington’s 2015 Relay. “In the past three years that Huntington has hosted Relay for Life, we have raised almost half a million dollars and have been nationally distinguished. Of course, this could not have been accomplished without the support of the Huntington School District and community and it is our goal to make this year’s Relay the most successful one yet!”

Ms. Dayton and her fellow Relay organizers have been planning the event for many weeks. “Although our event isn’t until June, we need more people signing up and fundraising now if we want to make this Huntington’s biggest Relay yet,” she said. Mr. [Joseph] Cohen, our invaluable faculty advisor, puts so much time and effort into the event and working with him is one of my most enjoyable high school experiences.”

The senior intends to “relay” in honor of her fencing coach Alan Kuver, a Huntington teacher who lost a battle with esophageal cancer last July 1. “It has been a devastating year, with the tragic losses of both Mr. Kuver and well-loved school board member Mr. [Adam] Spector, but I know Huntington will rally together and fight back against a disease that has taken too many,” Ms. Dayton said. Information about this year’s Relay for Life can be found by visiting

In her free time, Ms. Dayton volunteers during the fall and spring seasons with a soccer program for men and women with Autism and Down syndrome. “The players range anywhere from nine to 50 years old, she said. “The program is always the highlight of my Saturday mornings.”

With less than five months left at Huntington High School, Ms. Dayton was willing to share some words of wisdom with those who will be following in her footsteps. “My advice to incoming freshmen is to take advantage of all the high school has to offer,” she said. “From art classes, to music, to sports, to volunteer clubs and academic extracurriculars; there’s a niche for everybody. The faculty here is so supportive. They truly want to see you succeed, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

Source: Public Information Office

Casino Night for Huntington Blue Devils Marching Band

Please click to enlarge photo.

Please click to enlarge photo.

Casino Night with Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, Slots and Texas Hold ‘Em (with additional buy in) will take place on Tuesday, March 24, 2015, from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m., at The Fox Hollow, 7725 Jericho Tpke., Woodbury, NY 11797.  There will be Grand Raffle Prizes, Complimentary Buffet Dinner, Carving Station, Wine and Beer.

Tickets $80 per person/ $150 per couple
Order tickets before January 24 and be entered into a raffle for $100 in gambling chips for this event. Contact: Mark Dara  631-208-6189 with any questions.


Huntington Blue Devils Marching Band Wins State Title to Cap Undefeated Season

marching_band_syracuse_3It almost seems like destiny. The Huntington High School Blue Devil marching band culminated an undefeated season by winning the New York State Field Band Conference championship and Governor’s Cup on Sunday at Syracuse’s Carrier Dome.

Huntington’s state crown capped off an undefeated fall season that saw the Blue Devils win titles at six regional invitational competitions. The band, which traces its roots to 1934 came into the 2014 campaign aiming for the state title and held nothing back along the way.

“This was a truly amazing season in every way,” said Jason Giachetti, who serves as the band’s co-director along with music faculty colleague Brian Stellato. “It was the perfect storm with a great band, a great staff and a great show.”

Huntington’s score of 88.70 easily outdistanced the rest of the 10-team field in the “Large School 3” division. Horseheads (86.40), West Seneca (85.70), Sachem (82.95), Rome Free Academy (80.55), Hilton (80.20), Walt Whitman (80.05), Greece (77.70), Suffern (74.40) and Auburn (73.90) trailed the Blue Devils.

“This is an outstanding finish to a perfect season for a wonderful group,” Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “It is incredibly well deserved. The band’s hard work, commitment and family-like approach are a true recipe for success and should serve as a model for all.”

This year’s field show Firebird was dedicated to Adam Spector and Gene Bennett, both longtime supporters of the Blue Devil marching band. Several hundred family members made the trek to Syracuse for the state finals. The championship performance can be viewed by visiting this link:

“This championship was well deserved,” Mr. Giachetti said. “It was the result of endless dedication, commitment and hard work. We are so unbelievably proud of our students.”

In addition to the co-directors, Huntington’s marching band staff includes Noel Borden, Jessica Castaneda, Alex Prince, Frank Battista, Jessica Torres, Joan Borden, Dan DeOliveira, Michael Alfieri, Michael Marchena and Samantha LoBue.

After a Saturday morning rehearsal at Huntington High School, the Blue Devils departed for Syracuse. The band had a Sunday morning rehearsal at Liverpool High School before heading to the Carrier Dome. Its performance kicked off at 2:38 p.m.

Huntington’s 2014 drum majors are Megan Boyce, Connor MacDonald and Kayla Eidle. Kyle Hansen is the field major. Izzy Harman, Leah Butz and Jackie Bacik are the color guard captains. Justin Edgar-McNerney is the drum captain. Marina Siegel and Jack Blakley comprise the front ensemble leadership. Savannah Richardson serves as the woodwind captain.

Bailey Wiffen is the flute section leader. Savanah Richardson and Kyle Hansen are the clarinet section leaders. Dylan DelGuidice is the alto sax section leader. Amy Schmelter is the brass captain. Bailey Riordan and Jason Moriera are the mellphone section leaders. Amy Schmelter and Nancy Fallon are the trumpet section leaders.

The Blue Devils have steadily climbed in the state championship standings over the past four years. After a runner-up performance last fall, there were high hopes for the current campaign. Through a mini-camp and full summer band camp, the musicians and color guard members kept their collective sights aimed high.

“This was an incredible journey for our seniors who traveled from last place, to fourth, third, second and now first,” Mr. Giachetti said. “They are the epitome of the tradition of excellence of which Huntington prides itself.”

Marching bands compete in divisions at the state championships based upon the size of the school. Each band receives a plaque with the highest scoring band in each division earning the Governor’s Cup.

Source: Public Information Office