Long Island's youngest residents are lending a helping hand in superstorm Sandy's aftermath.
Many local schools have coordinated outreach efforts in recent weeks to collect everything from nonperishable food to cleaning supplies for those affected.
In Shoreham, Miller Avenue and Wading River elementary schools joined forces for "Kids Helping Kids," a collection drive that stockpiled bottled water, diapers and toiletries. The district's bus drivers donated their time to take the goods to the neighboring William Floyd school district in Mastic Beach, which was among the Island's hard-hit South Shore areas.
"This is a powerful way to help children learn that we are all one community," Miller Avenue principal Louis Parrinello said. "The students were excited to be a part of this. They made a real difference in a community that is just down the road from our own district."
In Medford, student-athletes at Patchogue-Medford High School collected donations of food and toiletries from shoppers exiting local Stop & Shops and Giunta's Meat Farms. The donations consisted of 10 truckloads of food and nearly $1,000 -- all of which benefited the Lighthouse Mission in Bellport.
In North Babylon, the Students for a Better World and Renaissance clubs coordinated a post-storm buffet Nov. 14 in the high school cafeteria for community members.
In Center Moriches, middle and high schoolers combined efforts to prepare 375 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for those affected by the storm.
"We hope our efforts helped those that needed it most, and that the students gained a new respect for how fortunate or unfortunate many families were," said Center Moriches' Class of 2016 adviser Jessica Tucker, who coordinated the idea with co-worker Andrea Cavaliere.
Stewart Manor Elementary School recently combined physical fitness and math learning through a Prediction Marathon, with 150 students trying to predict how long it would take to run nearly 1 mile through the school's neighborhood -- and then testing the predictions.
The children who participated sought pledges from family and friends to benefit the American Cancer Society. During the event other students in kindergarten through third grade waved pink pom-poms alongside the route.
"We are working on building students' cardiovascular endurance, as well as teaching them how to choose and maintain an appropriate pace when they are running," physical education teacher Pete Kaczenski said.
Sea Cliff Elementary School kindergartners have experienced the thrill of becoming first-time authors.
During a publishing party the children wrote or illustrated an original story on their personal experiences, families or weekend activities.
"The more detailed their designs and illustrations are at this young age directly correlates with how detailed their writing skills will be in later grades," kindergarten teacher Michelle Callahan said.
In other news, Sea Cliff recently hosted a weeklong visit from the National Circus Project that culminated with a student show of plate-spinning and devil stick manipulation.
$5G for YES
The districtwide physical education initiative encourages kids to collect pledges from family and friends and then participate in an in-school marathon course.
In other news, Massapequa High School will host a public viewing of three panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday in recognition of World AIDS Day.
Many Long Island schools recently honored residents who have served or are serving in the military through events held in recognition of Veterans Day.
In Hampton Bays, elementary and middle school students held a flag ceremony to honor Anthony Galgano, a World War II veteran who moved to the area in 2006. Fifth-graders Julia Strobel and Christopher Barros recited the Pledge of Allegiance, sixth-grader Ella Marcus sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" and seventh-graders Collette Levine and Grayson Cherubino read Galgano's biography.
In Stony Brook, 50 fifth-graders from New Lane Memorial Elementary School in Selden performed a musical celebration for some 300 residents at the Long Island State Veterans Home to thank them for their contributions and sacrifices.
In Long Beach, middle school students teamed up with the Kiwanis Club to create a "Field of Honor" of commemorative flags that will remain on display through Dec. 7.