A song about recycling has made grand-prize winners of Locust Valley first-graders.
Ten students from Portledge School won the K-3 grade group category last month in "Rock the Statue Green: A Transatlantic Art Contest," which was sponsored by the French Embassy and attracted more than 4,000 student participants worldwide. The school was awarded a $500 prize.
This year's topic, "The Statue of Liberty and the Environment," required pupils to create a work of art about the environment or the statue in celebration of its 125th birthday.
Portledge's submission featured the children singing a reworked version of the song "It's Not Easy Being Green."
"I asked the children what rhymes with 'green,' and they said 'mean,' and we went from there," said Portledge music teacher Maureen Husing. "It's important for them to be aware of the world around us, because we all share the same planet, and there are things they can do as kids to help."
The roughly three-minute song features the students singing about -- and acting out -- the importance of picking up candy wrappers, shutting off lights when exiting a room, and putting the plastic bottle in the right bin, among other things.
The first-graders were Finlay Austin, William Barnett, James Bodian, Noah Capps, Jack Fentress, Ava Leone, Olivia Leone, Logan Mott, Tucker Ort and Lindsey Weis.
"I am amazed that the first-grade students wrote the lyrics for the song, which is evidence of the rigors at Portledge," Alan D. Cohen, the school's Lower School division head, said in a statement.
Woodland Middle School received a $2,000 grant last month from Cablevision for the school's role in encouraging students to go online and sign the cyberbullying pledge of the company's Power to Learn Program. The school was among 10 from the tri-state area honored for their efforts; those schools collectively tallied a total of 29,015 pledges.
"Students today are coming of age in a technological world and need to be taught that cyberbullying can have serious, lasting repercussions," said Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray, who attended the check presentation ceremony. Cablevision owns Newsday.
Help for Africa
A ninth-grade class from Mineola High School recently teamed up with third-graders at nearby Jackson Elementary School to raise money for the U.S.-Africa Children's Fellowship, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit dedicated to enhancing and expanding child education.
As part of the project, the class visited the youngsters to talk about the importance of education and then asked them to design jars to collect money from household chores. The funds will be used to improve conditions at schools in Zimbabwe, as well as purchase and ship various school supplies. The schools have raised about $2,000 so far.
MLK Day events
Dozens of Nassau County schools educated students on the importance of tolerance last month through various programs held in conjunction with national holiday in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
In Garden City, more than 2,200 student athletes from the county's public and parochial schools participated in the 21st annual Friendship Games sponsored by the Lakeview Youth Federation in West Hempstead and the Malverne Union Free School District. The event included track and field events held in honor of King and other famous humanitarians.
In Hempstead, Marshall School students performed songs and skits about King.
Science Open House
More than 550 high schoolers from Long Island and New York City participated last month in the 2012 Science Open House at Stony Brook University's Garcia Center. The event was designed to introduce teens to the latest technologies, research and career options in nanotechnology, polymers and materials science, through hands-on demonstrations and laboratory tours.
The event's presenters included representatives from Brookhaven National Laboratory, the National Science Foundation and the New York City medical examiner's office.
"The Science Open House demonstrates the wonders of science to high school students and the positive effects it has in shaping society," said Miriam Rafailovich, a distinguished professor of materials science at Stony Brook University.