Wantagh Students Interview ‘Hometown Hero’

Wantagh Students Interview ‘Hometown Hero’ Al Iaquinta

It’s not every day that students can interview a “Hometown Hero” that they are researching and reading about in class. With Google technology, seniors in Julie Magnuson’s Sports Literature class at Wantagh High School were able to speak with Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter and 2005 Wantagh High School graduate Al Iaquinta.  

Al Iaquinta is currently ranked number 14 in the UFC lightweight rankings. While enrolled at Wantagh High School, this talented athlete was a two-time All-County wrestler in 2004 and 2005 and captain of the Dual Meet Championship team in 2005. 

The sports literature class for seniors is a one-semester class with the goal of bolstering character and self-esteem while teaching life lessons through nonfiction and fictional athletic literature. Students have collectively read and discussed “Friday Night Lights” and researched the world’s best athletes during a Greatest of All Time unit. For their “Hometown Hero” unit, the students researched information on Iaquinta and devised questions to interview the athlete during the scheduled Google Meet, held on March 18. 

Iaquinta spoke about his training schedule, his quest to stay in shape year round and his current injuries. He also revealed how his experiences at Wantagh High School prepared him for his career as a top athlete, focusing on goals being the most important tool for success. He also encouraged students to take advantage of what the high school has to offer. 

“Setting goals transfers to everything in life,” Iaquinta said. “Wantagh High School was a great place to be, although I didn’t appreciate it at the time. There were resources there that I didn’t take advantage of. There is nothing like Wantagh High School.”     

Former coach Frank Muzio congratulated Iaquinta on his title and career. “People here in Wantagh are behind you because you are a great sportsman and great representative of the community.” 

Ms. Magnuson said the Google Meet was intended as an opportunity for students to receive inspiration, but that Iaquinta did much more. “You have shown us that if you dream big, you can achieve great things.”