Long Island students are continuing to pitch in to help those affected by superstorm Sandy.
In East Islip, the middle school's family and consumer classes created "bags of love" that included travel-sized toiletries such as shampoo, toothpaste and deodorant, all donated by parents, teachers and community members. The goods went into about 300 drawstring bags made from washcloths, courtesy of the pupils' sewing skills.
"This way, people in need could not only get toiletries, but a washcloth too," said Dani Franzese, a family and consumer science teacher in East Islip.
In Glen Cove, Deasy Elementary School students baked pumpkin bread -- 50 loaves and seven large trays of it -- using 130 pumpkins left over from Halloween activities canceled due to the storm. Volunteers from St. Rocco's Church in Glen Cove assisted with the baking, and the bread was delivered to the Glen Cove Police Department, the Glen Cove Volunteer Fire Department, area shelters and warming centers. There was also a special delivery for Long Beach, one of the Island's hardest-hit communities.
In Ronkonkoma, Connetquot High School's Student Government worked with the Connetquot Teachers Association to collect and distribute seven pallets of food items donated at a home football game against Ward Melville High School.
"We all need to remember that as most of us begin to regain normalcy in our lives, so many in our community have been displaced or have suffered significant damage to their homes," said Tony Felicio Jr., the teachers association's president. "We need to remember that normalcy for those families remains weeks, perhaps months, away."
In Amityville, the high school's honors society helped serve food and distribute clothing to local residents at Northeast Elementary School and Edmund W. Miles Middle School, which both operated as family warming centers last month.
Kramer Lane Elementary School students recently learned the importance of doing good deeds during a visit from Carol McCloud, author of the 2006 children's book "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?"
McCloud advised children to carry around invisible buckets that they can "fill," metaphorically speaking, with their positive actions.
In other news, Kramer Lane students also pressed their own apple cider last month during a lesson on the history of apples, under the guidance of instructors from Nassau BOCES.
George McVey Elementary School pupils pledged to keep a healthy balance between mind and body last month during a 1-mile wellness walk around the school neighborhood. The event was attended by Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and New York Islanders mascot Sparky the Dragon, who helped energize the youngsters, school officials said.
McVey classes also recited drug-free pledges and created banners with anti-drug slogans. The activities were held in celebration of Red Ribbon Week, a national campaign for alcohol, drug and violence prevention.
Mixing it up
Jonas E. Salk Middle School students expanded their social circles during a "Mix It Up at Lunch Day" in which kids were assigned to tables according to their birth months and received interview sheets to help learn about their peers.
"This activity is designed to take students out of their comfort zones and have them meet other students," said Salk guidance chairwoman and "Mix It Up" adviser Maura O'Sullivan.
Sixth-graders Olivia Quitone and Ruby Hogan learned they have similar interests. "Olivia has a brother and participates in sports like me," Ruby said. "We'll probably hang out now."
In Glen Cove, Connolly Elementary School's Student Council coordinated a walkathon in which kids solicited pledges and marched around the school.
Meanwhile, Robert M. Finley Middle School's National Junior Honor Society held a bake sale and walked in the American Cancer Society's Make Strides to End Breast Cancer Walk at Jones Beach.
In Long Beach, the high school's girls varsity soccer team, wearing pink ribbons and pink socks, raised several hundred dollars from spectators during a home game against H. Frank Carey High School.
In Lynbrook, South Middle School students circled the outdoor track to raise money during gym classes in honor of English teacher Susan DeSena, who is battling breast cancer.