Editor's note: All week long, Brittany Wait is profiling people around Farmingdale, from community leaders to residents she bumps into around town.
Glen Zakian, 46, of Jericho
Principal of Farmingdale Senior High School
How long have you been principal?
I’m just finishing up my fifth year at the high school. I used to be a teacher for 18 years before coming here. I taught out east at two Suffolk County schools; Longwood [High School] and Harborfields [High School]. I was also an assistant principal at Plainview-Old Bethpage High School for two years. The principal retired from here and then I applied for this job.
Why did you come to work in Farmingdale?
I love the district and community. It’s a small-town feeling for a big town. The size of the school alone dictates the intimacy that you get from being near the village and having that small-town feeling. I like the area. It’s neat to have a Main Street nearby. Where I live, there’s only Route 106 and 107 that get you from one place to another. It’s really a tribute to the people in the community that they can maintain that Main Street feeling, keeping some of those mom-and-pop shops.
What were some of your first impressions of the school?
The tight, close-knit [feeling] and support people offer you. It makes you feel welcomed and a part of the community.
What would you describe as unique about the high school?
Everything, seriously. They don’t hang their hat on any one thing. We have top students scoring high in our AP classes. We’re known for our high-quality athletic program. It’s very unique the way students do everything pretty well, but don’t take one thing too seriously. There is really something for everyone. We don’t send students to BOCES, we have everything in-house. There’s a section of the high school that’s like a Hess station with a two-car garage.
How many students attend the high school? Can you describe the school spirit you see?
We have about 2,000 students. We say, ‘Once a Daler, always a Daler.’ School spirit is unbelievable. People wear their hearts on their sleeves. Our high school was voted most school spirited [in a local weekly newspaper poll]. It’s called Daler pride and it’s something we live by. If people ask what a Daler is, students respond with “your worst nightmare.”
How would you define the character of your community?
There’s a deep-rooted pride in the school that goes way back. You can come here on a Friday night and there’s a football game with over 3,000 people attending, over 200 kids marching and 40 cheerleaders. We’re a real small microcosm of this community. If something happens, everyone rallies around us. The community is incredibly supportive of everything that we want to do here.