The Evolution of Huntingtown High


An Architect’s Vision: Delmar Architects, the architectural firm responsible for Huntingtown High’s sleek design, presents this visual to demonstrate what they envisioned as the final result of their project, our school, Huntingtown High. Image from Delmar Architects.

Every weekday, you walk through the crammed halls of high school. You sit in rigid, blue plastic chairs, and are surrounded by brick walls painted in every color from green to grey. You will spend four years of your life here. But do you really know Huntingtown High School?

Huntingtown was opened in 2004. That makes it 17 years old, as old as most seniors! Having lived a long life, this 206,000-square-foot building was not always what it is now. It was built in the span of two years, costing over $37 million.

Our school’s first principal was not Mr. Weber. Rather, it was Mr. Robert Dredger. Both principals shared a passion for education, but some of the main differences between the two is that Mr. Weber is taller, and funnier according to Mrs. Sammons, our very own AP Psychology teacher. Mr. Dredger was “to the point,” whereas Mr. Weber is known for being more sarcastic and spirited with the staff at Huntingtown. When Mr. Dredger retired as Huntingtown’s principal, Mr. Weber explains that he saw a possibility open to him. “You worry about who they’re bringing in to be your boss. So, I thought, I’ll be the boss,” Mr. Weber recalls cheerfully.

Before Mr. Weber became our principal, Huntingtown was an entirely different school. Take Flex Lunch for instance. Today, we can spend half our lunch eating and chatting with friends, and another half an hour doing something more productive, like doing test retakes, or tutoring. Sadly, the class of 2004 did not have this choice.

Controversy                                                                                                                                           An excerpt of Huntingtown’s newspaper in 2008. It discusses a hot topic: whether or not Huntingtown should adopt a one-hour lunch. We all know how that turned out! (Photo by Jennifer Izaguirre.)

They had a shorter, less hectic, lunch. Students were given only 45 minutes to eat and had to stay in the cafeteria. This meant that club meetings weren’t held during lunch. They were an after-school activity and much less involved than they are today. At the time, National Honor Society, the club that strives to serve our community by performing street clean-ups, doing food drives, making dog toys, etc., was one of the most popular clubs. Can you imagine staying at Huntingtown for an extra hour just to get club announcements?

Student Matt Deacon rocking a mohawk in 2005. Even hairstyles looked different in Huntingtown’s early years! (Photo by the 2005 Huntingtown yearbook staff.)

You might be surprised to learn that some of your current teachers graduated from Huntingtown themselves. For instance, Mrs. Trainer, Huntingtown’s Yearbook teacher, was a freshman at Huntingtown in 2004.

Back in the Day
Our beloved Mrs. Trainer (left) poses with a classmate in 2005 at a St. Patrick’s Day Celebration in Huntingtown High. Mrs. Trainer graduated from Huntingtown and was taught by some current teachers, such as Mrs. Sammons. (Photo contribution from Mrs. Sammons.)

She remembers those days fondly, and recalls that some of her colleagues used to be her teachers! For instance, Mrs. Trainer was taught by Mrs. Plakkot. If you’ve taken AP Biology, then you know how challenging Mrs. Plakkot’s class can be. With meticulous labs about bacterial transformation, and challenging content, AP Biology is no easy task. Well, turns out that even as an Honors Biology teacher back in the day, Mrs. Plakkot’s class was still very demanding. “She had high expectations for her students, but she was very nice, even when I didn’t understand,” explains Mrs. Trainer from her time in Honors Biology. Some things do stay the same!

Challenging Biology
Mrs. Plakkot, our AP Biology teacher and sponsor of STEM club, poses for a photo in 2005. Back in the day, Mrs. Plakkot was known for her challenging classes, a reputation she holds to this day! (Photo by Jostens photography.)

But what changed? Well, according to Mrs. Trainer, student life is not what it used to be. “Flex Lunch has made the biggest difference,” she exclaimed. Depending on their schedule, students used to either eat during 4th, 5th, or 6th period. This meant that they either ate pretty early in the morning or late into the afternoon. Eating during 6th period meant you ate at one o’clock, but eating during 5th period was “perfect” because that was the closest time to noon. So, not only were students given less time to enjoy their meals, some couldn’t eat with their friends!

Mrs. Trainer also explains that in 2004, the cell phone policy was stricter than it has ever been since. “We weren’t allowed to have cell phones at all. Not even at lunch. Not even after you finish your work.” If a phone was visible, it was confiscated, and a parent would have to come pick it up after school. This is a striking contrast to Huntingtown in 2021. I interviewed Mrs. Trainer during lunch and as she spoke, I counted at least six phones sitting on desks, two glowing screens reflecting on eyeglasses, and three silky black screens in the hands of giggling girls.

Funky Tech                                                                                                                                              Sophomore Daniel Supanick gets to work on a chunky computer in 2005, the staple of technology in the early 2000s. Thankfully, each Huntingtown student now has their own Chromebook! (Photo by the 2005 Huntingtown yearbook staff.)

It took Mrs. Trainer a while to get used to teaching at her old school. She explains, “It was shell shock.” Even as an adult, it took her a while to call her former teachers by their first names. She still felt attached to the old image she had conjured of them: sitting as authority figures at their desks or lecturing a class in front of the blankness of a whiteboard. To her, they were still Mr. and Mrs.. Years later, however, she says, “They are my colleagues, my friends.” Huntingtown has become her home in a different way. Mrs. Trainer is even continuing her legacy, being involved in activities that she participated in as a student. Notably, she was a tennis player, and that fueled her love for the sport so much that she became the tennis coach at Huntingtown. From the first SMAC championship to the tennis championships in recent years, Mrs. Trainer was part of every single one.

If you attended Huntingtown before the pandemic began, you know that this school is very united, and spirit week is when we get to show this the most. There’s class color day, when every student wears the colors assigned to their grade. Some even go as far as to use face paint to show their school spirit. There’s also twin day, when you can wear a matching outfit or costume with your best friend. Yearbook students even roam around with their cell phones, ready to snap a picture for the Yearbook’s latest edition. Overall, the week is filled with laughter and well, spirit! Unfortunately, we weren’t always this way. In the first year that Huntingtown opened, seniors from Calvert and Northern High could choose to either remain at their current school or transfer to the newly-opened Huntingtown High. Needless to say, most seniors chose to stay at their own school, and Huntingtown’s senior class was the smallest in its history. Worst of all, the students who did transfer were divided. Those who had attended Calvert High only socialized with people who had also transferred from Calvert, and the same thing happened with former Northern students. The two groups barely intermixed, still feeling loyal to their former school and friends. In turn, this meant that Spirit Week was a disaster. Not only did students lack Huntingtown attire to show their Cane pride, they also rooted for Huntingtown’s athletic rivals: Calvert and Northern whenever there was a game. Mrs. Sammons, the varsity cheerleading coach at the time, explains that it was “frustrating” to see the disunity.

Go Canes!
Mrs. Sammons smiles next to the varsity cheerleading team of 2004-2005. Members of the team came from Calvert and Northern High, so as their coach, Mrs. Sammons sought to unite them under one new identity: being Canes. Currently, Mrs. Sammons teaches AP Psychology at Huntingtown High, and is proud to have been a Cane from the beginning. (Photo contribution from Mrs. Sammons.)

Thankfully, teachers didn’t give up. They continued to work to create a sense of community at Huntingtown. Notably, Mr. Anderson, the current theater teacher, worked to build our theater program from the ground up. Huntingtown might not have had a good Spirit Week in 2004, but Mr. Anderson ensured that it would have an amazing play. In the spring, students performed Footloose, a musical about a teenage boy who lives in a town where dancing is outlawed. Now, thanks to Mr. Anderson’s work and the collaboration of generations of student thespians, our Eye of the Storm Productions thrives, even amidst a pandemic.  

In Character
Student Teryn Samakow performing in the 2005 musical as a confused, yet comical woman. (Photo by the 2005 Huntingtown yearbook staff.)
The Birth of Theater
Mr. Anderson smiles for the camera in 2005, the school year in which our Eye of the Storm Productions was born, largely due to his efforts. (Photo by Jostens photography.)
















Musical Talent
Danielle Vincent serenades the audience at the 2005 Talent Show, playing and singing “Till My Dying Day.” ( Photo by the 2005 Huntingtown yearbook staff.)
Future Gymnast
Former student Christina Barton performed a straddle jump at Huntingtown’s talent show in 2005. She wowed the audience with her flexibility and poise in the air. (Photo by the 2005 Huntingtown yearbook staff.)

Another event that served to unite our school was the famous talent show of 2005. In it, both students and teachers performed on the auditorium stage. The crowd burst into fits of contagious laughter as students performed stand-up comedy. They sat with their mouths agape as they were astounded by gymnastic tricks and feats. Finally, they cheered as the winner, freshman Kurt Muilenburg, was crowned.

Talent Show King
In 2005, freshman Kurt Muilenburg won Huntingtown’s talent show with his charisma and comical stand-up routine. (Photo by the 2005 Huntingtown yearbook staff.)


Similarly, the year’s prom was a hit.

Just Dance!                                                                                                                                              Trevon Jenifer wearing a dashing suit as he dances at Huntingtown’s prom in 2005. After-school events like this one served to unite our school. (Photo contribution from Mrs. Sammons.)

Back in the day, Huntingtown’s dances had a cheesy, romantic feel, sporting themes such as Under the Stars, and A Night to Remember. Whereas, more recent proms have had more specific and concrete concepts. Recall the Carnival prom, which served sweet and gooey carnival snacks.

Huntingtown has come a long way from where it began. Now, students proudly call themselves ‘Canes. As a school, we have also adapted to difficult circumstances. Teachers are more than ever incorporating technology into the classroom, using apps such as Pear Deck to engage with students digitally, while maintaining social distancing norms. Even journalism has grown. Former school newspapers were printed in black and white, bearing fewer images, but just as much heart and soul as The Forecast.

Extra! Extra!                                                                                                                  The 2008 edition of Huntingtown’s newspaper. Titled “Hurricane Nation”, the paper is a striking contrast to the digital Forecast newspaper of today. The newspaper was printed in black and white, containing student-written articles about iPods, prom, etc. (Photo by Jennifer Izaguirre.)