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HFEE Announces 2024 Gala Honorees: Business Teacher Suzette Biagi and Jonathon Dawson Owner of Jonny D’s Pizza

The Huntington Foundation for Excellence in Education (HFEE) will hold its annual fundraising gala on March 21, 2024, at The Harbor Club at Prime, overlooking picturesque Huntington Harbor. It’s the perfect venue to honor two hometown heroes, Ms. Suzette Biagi, a beloved business education teacher at Huntington High School, and Mr. Jonathon Dawson, owner of the popular Jonny D’s Pizzeria.

Suzette Biagi“Ms. Biagi and Mr. Dawson share a love of helping people in the community and we are thrilled to honor them at our 2024 Reach for the Stars Gala,” said Ms. Jennifer Stevens, president of HFEE. “Both honorees give of their time and resources so readily and with joy – they embody the true meaning of generosity.”

In addition to her teaching job, Ms. Biagi is a volunteer EMT at Huntington Community First Aid Squad, a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate [CASA] for foster children and has been a foster parent. Ms. Biagi is the faculty advisor for many organizations at the high school as well, including the New York state recognized Mock Trial Team, the Grandfriends Club, and A World of Difference, an anti-bias and diversity appreciating peer training program.

“People may know Mr. Dawson for his hard work and ability to run a successful business, but they may be surprised to know that he’s been supporting Huntington schools for years. Ask any PTA member, and they’ll tell you how Jonny D’s is always willing to support our school fundraisers and events. He’s even been a guest speaker at Washington Primary School, discussing entrepreneurship and business skills. Over the years, he has donated food to many local organizations including the Family Service League, Halo Network and the Tri Community and Youth Agency (Tri-CYA). In our recent conversation, I was moved by his deep commitment to helping others. It’s time to finally spotlight his many contributions to the Huntington community,” continued Ms. Stevens.

HFEE is a non-profit focused on providing additional resources to the Huntington school district. The organization has donated more than $1.2 million in equipment and programs since 1993. Over the years, through teacher-generated grants, HFEE has helped provide innovative STEM programs, robotics programs, cutting-edge equipment, and so much more. Proceeds from the gala will fund the organization’s grant program.

Tickets for the HFEE Gala will be available for purchase in early February.

In depth profiles on each honoree will be posted in the coming weeks. In the meantime, friends, family, and colleagues of the honorees who are interested in sending Ms. Biagi and Mr. Dawson messages of congratulations, can do so through HFEE’s new fundraising campaign called “30 for $30.” A nod toward the organization’s 30+ years of supporting Huntington schools, donors can write a personalized note of congratulations up to 30 words long (or up to 130 characters) to the honorees for $30 (or more). These messages will be shared with the honorees in a hardcover memento book featuring photos from the event. Click here for more information.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of the gala or would like to donate a raffle prize or gift certificate, contact Tara Poli, VP of Development, at