When Bob Gannon, a Herricks High School Class of 1978 alumnus, moved to California some 20 years ago, it is doubtful he thought his school football jersey would make its way to homecoming 2015. 

What Maria Ammann, a Class of 1984 Herricks alumnus and Williston Park resident, explained next was a scene of happenstance.

She describes her son Nicholas, a seventh grader at Herricks Middle School, as “an old man trapped in a little kid’s body.” It is no surprise then that the 12-year-old loves anything vintage— Gannon’s white and blue jersey is no exception.

Gannon and her husband were high school best friends, explained Ammann—so when Gannon left Long Island, he gave her husband a memento of their youth; the football jersey would be a reminder of homecomings past.

“We aren’t big football people,” she said of her baseball-loving family, but since it was school spirit day, Nicholas wanted to wear the jersey. 

Ammann tells the story of Nicholas’ encounter at school.  While sporting the white-and-blue vintage jersey, his classmate Daniel Navy asked him, “Hey, where did you get that jersey?”

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Nicholas explained that it was his dad’s friend’s vintage jersey from the 1970s. 

Daniel thought Nicholas took the jersey from his locker, Ammann explained, with a chuckle.  Her son realized that both boys were wearing near-identical jerseys with the number 35.

Throughout the years, coincidentally, not much has changed.  Gannon’s jersey from some 30 years ago was a close match to Navy’s middle school football jersey from today.

Sitting on a hill, looking out over a field of running children and watchful adults, Ammann recalls spending her childhood on the very same grounds.  “It’s nostalgic for me,” she said, “This is a nice event to kick off the new school year.”

To add to the nostalgia, 13 alumni from the class of 1964 were highlighted during the pep rally earlier in the day.

But the next generation was also a focus. The Herricks homecoming game was preceded with a community barbecue, complete with interactive inflatables, food, a DJ and an impromptu soccer game -- but more notably, kids of all ages.

For first-year Herricks High School principal Samuel Thompson, Herricks homecoming experience was unlike any he witnessed at previous districts. With the inclusion of students districtwide, explained Thompson, it is an opportunity for the younger classes to understand their significance in the community.  

“They realize that they have a place, and they are all part of it,” Thompson said, adding, “They are all included in it at a very young age, and they are all accepting of it.”

Herricks social studies teacher and Class of 2005 alumnus Sarah Schubert echoed similar sentiments.  

“The events that we do in order to build community spirit and to build school pride are pretty fantastic,” she said of the homecoming week festivities.  Perhaps the greatest change throughout the years, Schubert notes, is changing the homecoming game from Saturday afternoon to Friday night.   

advertisement | advertise on newsday

“It really encourages all grade levels to come,” she said of the communitywide support. “It allows us to have a bond with kids before they get to the high school.”