There has been plenty of holiday spirit coming from local classrooms in recent weeks.
Dozens of Long Island schools held gift collections this month that yielded a variety of toys and stuffed animals, clothing and other items for needy children -- both locally and internationally.
In Commack, high schoolers filled more than 350 shoeboxes with toys, clothing and school supplies as part of the Operation Christmas Child Program of North Carolina-based nonprofit Samaritan's Purse. The school's Bible Club and Girls Leaders Corps were instrumental in the collection.
"A lot of kids are thinking about what kind of gifts they want at this time of year, but we want them to experience what it's like to give rather than receive," said Bible Club adviser William Patterson. "It's a real blessing to see how much stuff comes in."
On the East End, Southampton Elementary School held a contest in which kids submitted original drawings to appear on holiday cards created by local company Printhampton, in conjunction with Stevenson's Toys and the Southampton Artists Association. Funds raised from card sales were used to purchase gifts for local underprivileged families.
"It was hard for the students to say goodbye to their bears, but they knew it was for a great cause," said the school's family and consumer science teacher, Stacy Miranda.
In Port Jefferson, Edna Louise Spear Elementary School third-graders created gift bags -- consisting of items such as puzzles and children's books -- for pediatric patients at nearby St. Charles Hospital.
In Hempstead, Franklin Elementary School students donated books, toys and school supplies to the nonprofit Operation Shoebox for needy children in Haiti, El Salvador and Nigeria.
Thirteen Suffolk County students were honored this fall at the South Bay Art Association's 24th Annual Nita Elder Scholarship Student Art Exhibit at the Bellport Community Center. Three students -- Kyle Labriola of Commack High School, Youn-Hee Chung of Northport High School and Maria Rubio of Brentwood High School -- won $1,000 scholarships.
Others winning awards were Dan Kim and Raissa Oliveira-Silva of Commack High School, Brandon Woelfel of Sayville High School, Mackenzie Sullivan and Rudolph Zurhost of Eastport-South Manor High School, Maya Cohen and Elfe Marschall of Bellport High School, and Mackenzie Bennett, Tim Foley and Laurie Handler of Northport High School.
Brookhaven National Laboratory and the Bayport-based nonprofit Women Sharing Art contributed to the prizes.
A total of 359 Long Island high schoolers were named all-state musicians this fall and invited to participate in various ensembles earlier this month at the New York State School Music Association's 76th annual winter conference in Rochester. Local invitees were:
Bayport:Mary Horan and Francis Williams of Bayport-Blue Point High School; Bellport: Rachel Celentano, Aidan Lundstrom and Elizabeth O'Connor of Bellport High School; Centereach: Anna Prigl and Rebeca Schaarschmidt of Centereach High School; East Setauket: Kathryn Barnitt, Emily Dana, Adam Goldberg, Corin Greene, Daniel Hsu, Daniel Krolikowski, Michelle Palladino, Abigail Serignese-Maier, Jonathan So and Madeleine Vaillancourt of Ward Melville High School; Farmingville: Brandon Young of Sachem High School East; Greenport: Shawn Peterson of Greenport High School; Hampton Bays: Brandon White of Hampton Bays Junior-Senior High School; Lake Ronkonkoma: Brianna Ambrosino, Jarred Fehrenback, Marissa Girgus, Laura Laureano, Danielle Mannino, Matthew Pedersen and William Rosati of Sachem High School North; Manorville: Christopher Leech and Taylor Smith of Eastport-South Manor Junior-Senior High School; Mastic Beach: Daniel Els, Anna Koenigsdorf, Scott McPhie, Joseph Mineo, Christine Pedersen, Anthony Perraglia and Kenya Sheppard of William Floyd High School; Mattituck: Lisa Beebe, James Finora and Jennifer Lengyel of Mattituck Junior-Senior High School; Medford: Olivia Andrunik, Matthew Boose and Megan Nugent of Patchogue-Medford High School; Middle Island: Lisa Condemi, Joseph Ippolito, Selma Jaber, Devin Lilly, Shelby Toro and Scott Zhang of Longwood High School; Miller Place: Elizabeth Mirandi, Alexandra Mongno and Amanda Rash of Miller Place High School; Mount Sinai: Aaron Codding, William Dwyer, Camille Jwo and Hannah Pawluk of Mount Sinai High School; Port Jefferson Station: Peter Bruschi and Corinne Costell of Comsewogue High School; Riverhead: Stephen Peppaceno of Riverhead High School; Rocky Point: Megan Viglione of Rocky Point High School; Selden: Sarah Dow and Robert Johnson Jr. of Newfield High School; Shoreham: Kimberly Giacalone and Stefan Ringer-Benigno of Shoreham-Wading River High School; Southold: Sydney Campbell and Susanna Kelley of Southold Junior-Senior High School; Stony Brook: Hayato Nakanishi of The Stony Brook School; Westhampton Beach: Liana Fitt, Yifeng Fu, Francesco Logozzo and Jacqueline Saccente of Westhampton Beach High School.