Editor's Note: Newsday.com is catching up with former Long Island homecoming kings and queens to reflect on being named royalty and see what they're up to now. If you're a former Long Island high school homecoming king or queen and would like to participate, email rachel.weiss@newsday.com or josh.stewart@newsday.com.

Applications, public speeches and deadlines: In order to be named homecoming royalty at Hauppauge High School, Ryan Whitcomb was put through the ringer. In 2000, potential kings and queens had to fill out paperwork with information about themselves and give a speech in front of a committee after school.

Through this process, the faculty picked the nominees for Mr. and Ms. Hauppauge, and the students selected the winners.

"Hauppauge didn't mess around!" Whitcomb said with a laugh. But for him, making a speech was no sweat. Whitcomb was passionate about performing, taking on roles in school productions of “Anything Goes,” “Guys and Dolls” and “Oklahoma!”

On homecoming night, in the center of an illuminated football field, Whitcomb was crowned Mr. Hauppauge.

He believes that he and his queen, known then as Suzanne Carter, nabbed the royal titles because they mixed with many crowds throughout high school.

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"We were able to transcend the different cliques that the school had," he said. "I think that was one of the reasons why we were picked by fellow students; everyone knew we could relate to them."

After high school, Whitcomb initially majored in theater at Ithaca College, but was released from the program after the first year when his final performance didn't make the cut.

He completed his education there with a communications degree, but discovered his true passion years later while lifting weights at a local gym.

“There was a sign that had been there for eight months that said ‘nutritionist,’” Whitcomb said. “I had never seen the sign.”

That’s how Whitcomb became interested in nutrition. He went to sessions with the nutritionist related to the sign, got a feel for what the field is like, and went on to study the subject at Queens College.

Whitcomb is now a dietitian, and runs his own private practice called GUT RXN Nutrition in Jersey City, N.J.

Whitcomb called his time at Ithaca College "a real blessing in disguise."

"If I had to go back and give 18-year-old self a piece of advice, I'd say don't take things so seriously," he said. "Let things fall as they will. What you think is important today, probably won't be important in the future.”

He added, “Keep an open mind, and try to be more empathetic to people around you.”