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 email@example.com.
Diane Scollo, née Knappe, was crowned homecoming queen on the North Babylon High School football field in 1984. Cheering on from the sidelines as she accepted her tiara and bouquet was her boyfriend at the time, Joe.
“He was one of my big supporters,” said Scollo. “He was more excited than I was!”
Scollo doesn’t remember too much about homecoming. “I don’t even know if we won the football game that day,” she said. Her memories of North Babylon High School center on her diverse group of friends -- all hailing from different cliques -- and her days cheerleading and playing softball. Plus Joe, of course, whom she'd met at a New Year’s Eve party. They started dating when they were both juniors.
Scollo reached some valuable milestones in the years following her graduation in 1985. In 1990, she married her high school sweetheart. They bought a house in North Babylon.
“It’s such a tight-knit community,” said Joe Scollo.
In 1991, however, Diane Scollo took a leap. Her brother was hoping to become an NYPD officer, and his preparation for the exam piqued her interest.
“It really wasn’t on my radar much,” Scollo said. “I started going to classes with my younger brother, and he is the one who signed me up for the test.”
She passed and was called on the first try, and said her brother had to wait two more years.
“So I have to thank him the first of every month when I get my pension check,” she said with a laugh.
Scollo worked in Brownsville, a community in Brooklyn. She commuted there from North Babylon every day. Her husband worked as a director at a nursing home from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, and her shift was 4 p.m. to midnight.
"But it worked," Scollo said. "We didn't need anybody to raise the kids; we wanted to do it ourselves."
Scollo said a normal day for her involved lots of patrolling and answering the radio with her partner. And of course, she remembers exactly where she was during the 9/11 attacks: She got the news while in the waiting room at her dentist's office.
She left right away, only stopping at home to collect what she needed for work. Then she hopped on the Southern State Parkway.
"It was bumper-to-bumper," she said. "People were driving on the shoulder, on the grass, going toward the city. I remember thinking, 'Why the hell are people going toward the city if it's being attacked?' "
Once she got there, Scollo said she didn't leave Manhattan for two days. That night, she and her fellow officers were in charge of guarding the seaport area. They also walked up and down the city streets.
"It was something out of a movie," she remembered.
"The first couple days were horrible but the people -- it was just odd because everybody just came together," she added. "Everybody was doing things for each other. Strangers would pass you and would be willing to help out and thank you; everybody was looking out for each other."
Scollo retired in 2011, and now resides in Harrisburg, North Carolina, with her husband. The Scollos have a daughter, Casey, and three sons, Joseph, Jack and Kyle.
When looking back on her career, Scollo is proud and a little nostalgic.
"That had to be one of the best times of my life," she said.
If the former cop could give a piece of advice to her homecoming queen self, it'd be simple. “The biggest thing [is] don’t be so quick to get older,” Scollo said. “We always rush things when we’re younger and in the blink of an eye, it’s gone. Enjoy the moment.”