A unique program is giving Southampton students the opportunity to perform on stage with local college musicians.

Twenty orchestra students at Southampton High School participated this fall in a pilot program that culminated in a performance last month alongside 40 string musicians at Suffolk County Community College. The program is intended to improve teens’ college transcripts because there is no Honors or Advanced Placement orchestra course, school officials said.

The effort is part of the college’s Excelsior Program, which allows high school students to take college courses, and earn college credits, at their school.

Southampton is the program’s first high school participating for music performance.

“Initially, I think the kids were a little intimidated, but they sounded wonderful,” said Nancy Caine, Southampton’s director of orchestras and coordinator of fine and performing arts. “We really looked at this as a way to give them an edge on college applications.”

Southampton’s music program is rare, Caine said, in that all students have been learning to play violin starting in kindergarten — the district’s approach for more than two decades. That means their performance levels when they are older “are not those of your average students,” she said.

The pieces performed were Stephanie Ann Boyd’s “Beyond the Gate,” Kirt Mosier’s “Overture to the Wind,” and Yukiko Nishimura’s “Petite Suite: ‘Beautiful Flowers.’ ” The Dec. 1 show was held at the college’s Ammerman Campus in Selden.

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The school plans to continue its participation in the Excelsior Program in the fall.

DEER PARK

Winning essay

Jasleen Kaur, an eighth-grader at Robert Frost Middle School, won the grand prize in the middle school division of Altice Connects’ Hispanic Heritage Month Essay Contest.

The competition challenged students to name a Latino, past or present, with whom they would choose spend a day and why. The contest received some 1,000 entries nationwide.

Kaur’s essay of about 500 words was on Sergio Agüero, an Argentine soccer player who is considered one of the sport’s best strikers. Kaur won a $1,500 cash scholarship.

Zoe Smidt, an eighth-grader at Longwood Junior High School in Middle Island, was a runner-up in that division.

LAKE RONKONKOMA

Hall of Honor

The Sachem Alumni Association is accepting nominations for the first induction class of the Sachem Hall of Honor, which seeks to recognize alumni who have achieved extraordinary success in their chosen field or provided exemplary service to the district.

Nominations will be accepted through Wednesday, with selections to be announced in February.

Nominees must have graduated at least 10 years ago and be nominated by district alumni through sachemalumni.org. Selections will be made by a committee of the association’s executive board members and community, district and student representatives.

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“It’s our goal to establish a connection between current students and extraordinary alumni to show real-world examples of success,” association president Chris Vaccaro said.

ISLANDWIDE

Inviting School Awards

Eight Long Island schools are among 33 educational institutions worldwide to receive 2016 Inviting School Awards from the International Alliance for Invitational Education for their “exceptional implementation of invitational education philosophies,” the organization said.

The local schools are Charles A. Mulligan Middle School in Central Islip, Commack High School, Emanuel Lutheran School in Patchogue, John W. Dodd Middle School in Freeport, Long Island Lutheran Day School in East Northport, Valley Stream Memorial Junior High School, Rocky Point Middle School and Woodland Middle School in East Meadow.

“This is one of the most prestigious one-of-a-kind awards that can be given to a school,” East Meadow superintendent Leon Campo said.