Many local students are demonstrating a hunger to help feed those in need.
Dozens of schools across Long Island have conducted or are hosting food collection drives this holiday season to help provide meals for the region's less-fortunate families and individuals.
Before Thanksgiving, student councils at the intermediate schools in Locust Valley and Bayville held food drives, gathering dozens of baskets of stuffing mix, cranberry sauce and potatoes, which were delivered to local families in need. The effort was also meant to serve as a lesson in community service.
"They really got the word out and worked hard to make this a success," said Monica Cagney, co-adviser of Locust Valley Intermediate School student council. "Due to the [Sandy] storm, we had less time for the collection and still had more food than ever before."
In Levittown, Northside Elementary School students and teachers donated hundreds of assorted food items and contributed monetary donations to purchase gift cards at local food stores. Meanwhile, Abbey Lane Elementary School students donated $150 worth of spare change to benefit the food pantry at the district's Wisdom Lane Middle School.
In Glen Cove, Connolly Elementary School's faculty and PTA reached out to local businesses to create gift baskets of food that supplied 13 families with a turkey and all the trimmings. Meanwhile, Deasy Elementary School organized 40 large shopping bags stuffed with food, which were delivered to local families in need.
In Lynbrook, the high school music students ran a fundraiser that resulted in 75 crates of fruit going to Island Harvest in Mineola. A portion of the proceeds will defray the cost of the department's annual trip to Walt Disney World in May.
Gotham Avenue Elementary School recently held "A Morning of Kazoo Music," a concert in which kids played the plastic wind instruments to tunes such as "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and "The Pink Panther" theme song.
Principal Marshall Zucker and music teacher Anthony Pino joined in on vibraphone and piano, respectively.
The event was part of the school's ongoing effort to promote musical enrichment. "It not only served as a musical assembly, but also as a way to come together and have a bit of enjoyment after some very difficult weeks," Zucker said.
Medical center drill
Long Beach High School's theater students recently put their acting chops to good use during an interdisciplinary drill for staff at Long Beach Medical Center, by posing as a group of teens who witnessed the accidental overdose of a friend at an unsupervised house party.
Long Beach police and fire officials were on hand to run through emergency protocols.
In other news, 50 Long Beach students recently saw history lessons brought to life during a visit to Philadelphia that included stops at the Liberty Bell and National Constitution Center.
Mineola High School's performing arts students received some professional stage training and advice last month during a visit from husband-and-wife team Shaun and Noemi Taylor-Corbett, members of the original Broadway cast of "In the Heights." Mineola students intend to perform the musical this spring.
During the 12-hour visit, the duo held a dance workshop, provided vocal coaching to the chorus and answered questions from the musical theater class.
"Every song you sing is a story," Noemi said. "If you're a singer, you're an actor as well."
In Elmont, Covert Avenue Elementary School held a history simulation in which first-graders dressed as pilgrims and pretended to sail down the school hallways in a cardboard boat designed to replicate the Mayflower. Upon reaching Plymouth Rock, they were greeted by kindergartners dressed as American Indians, and together they enjoyed a feast of turkey, sweet potatoes and stuffing.
In Lynbrook, West End Elementary School first-graders performed "Thanksgiving Treasure," a show in which they dressed as pilgrims and Indians and embarked on a mock treasure hunt for food, family and friends. As a finale, they held up posters depicting things for which they are grateful.
In Syosset, Village Elementary School kindergartners participated in a fall festival that included a series of work stations where they could play games and decorate pumpkins to look like turkeys.