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Xavier Palacios

School auditorim dedicated in honor of late advocate as family members, former colleagues pay him tribute

Meredith Spector hugs Jim Polansky at a memorial celebration in honor of Adam Spector that saw the Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School auditorium dedicated in his name. Photo by Rohma Abbas

The memory of the late Adam Spector will live on at the Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School.

On Monday night, friends and family of Spector, who lost a battle with cancer last year, gathered to dedicate the school’s auditorium to him and to tell stories about a man who endeared many at a venue for which he cared deeply.

There was hardly a dry eye among Spector’s colleagues.

“I think about Adam every single day,” said Jennifer Hebert, vice president of the Huntington board of education. “There’s not a day that goes by that he’s not in my heart.”

Huntington Superintendent Jim Polansky’s voice broke as he offered personal words about Spector.

He said when he first got to know Spector, the two had no idea they grew up in the same hometown. Polansky jokingly said he recently flipped through his high school yearbook to find Spector in it, “featured more prominently” than he was.

“Adam was always one to keep me on my toes with his questions and most importantly his enduring sense of humor,” Polansky said. “It was always apparent that he loved Huntington and that this school district had a very special place in his heart. He was one of the strongest people I ever met.”

Other school board trustees also offered touching words.

“He was my enzyme, my catalyst into being involved in the board of education,” Trustee Xavier Palacios said, his voice breaking. “His spirit will always live here. I’ll never forget what he taught me.”

Meredith Spector, Adam Spector’s wife, said renaming the auditorium was a fitting tribute to her husband, who always wanted to see the school reopened after it was shuttered several years ago following a rash of crime in the area. Spector made reopening Jack Abrams one of the main thrusts of his campaign for school board. She called the board’s decision to reopen the school as a STEM school “turning lemons into lemonade,” and something Spector was greatly honored to be a part of.

“It’s truly an honor and Adam would be so happy,” she said in an interview before the meeting. “He was so happy and proud to be part of the board of ed and such a great team. They turned what was a bad situation, the closing of Jack Abrams Intermediate, into something so wonderful, the STEM school.”

The new name of the auditorium, the Adam Spector Memorial Auditorium, is affixed in bold letters to a brick wall outside the auditorium. In a celebratory gesture, family members flanked by a group of people ripped the protective covering off the brand new sign.