The importance of giving was an invaluable lesson imparted this month to kids across Long Island.
For the holiday season, local schools hosted everything from winter clothing collections to gift drives to help benefit everyone from soldiers overseas to the area’s children in need.
In Levittown, special needs students at Wisdom Lane Middle School decorated a Christmas tree using the classic children’s board game “Candy Land” as their theme, as part of the 26th Annual Long Island Festival of Trees at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. The trees were offered for sale, with funds going to the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County.
“It gave our students an opportunity to come together and do something special for other people,” Principal John Avena said, adding that the tree placed second in the “most traditional tree” division.
At New Hyde Park Memorial High School, students in Life Skills classes wrote dozens of holiday cards for soldiers recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The activity was designed to teach teens the proper way to address an envelope.
In Freeport, J.W. Dodd Middle School’s Peer Mediation Club spearheaded a collection that brought in dozens of toys — including remote-controlled cars, puzzles and action figures — from students and staff to benefit North Shore-LIJ Health System.
Students at Sag Harbor Elementary School picked paper mittens bearing gift ideas for 45 local children in need — the most in the program’s 20-year history.
“Part of the art of being human is being aware of your neighbors,” Sag Harbor Superintendent Katy Graves said.
Floral Park Memorial High School students in Dustin Demmers’ ninth-grade Advanced English class placed 10th among 141 teams nationally in their grade this fall in the WordWright Challenge, a contest requiring analytical reading of prose and poetry. They were the top New York team in any grade level.
Four Floral Park students — Simrohn Iftekhar, Nasiba Khandaker, Alison Landing and Weiting Zhang — were ranked among the top 119 students in the nation within their grade level.
The meet was the first of four held during the school year and attracted more than 63,000 students.
North Shore Middle School students recently learned about the importance of helping others in the community with an “E3 Day,” which stands for “Everyone Matters, Everyone Cares, Everyone Learns.”
The day included activities such as raking 72 bags of leaves for senior citizens and a basketball shoot-out that raised $2,630 for the Nicholas Pedone Foundation, which aids kids fighting cancer. Other activities saw kids collect a dozen boxes of books during a read-a-thon drive and some 3,700 food items for a pantry in Sea Cliff.
“Our students felt great joy on the inside, learning what it means to give to others, to care for others, and to make a difference in the world,” North Shore Principal Marc Ferris said.
“The Halo Effect”
Lynbrook High School senior Raymond Mohler Jr. will be featured on Nickelodeon’s new documentary series, “The Halo Effect,” which premieres in January.
Each episode profiles a young activist making a positive change in his or her community and inspiring others to do the same.
A Nickelodeon crew filmed Mohler in November, with actress Sydney Park giving him a $10,000 check for the Little St. Nick Foundation, a nonprofit he founded that strives to make hospitals more kid-friendly by providing items such as toys, books and DVDs.