Three lucky teachers on Long Island won't need any classroom supplies for a while.
They were among 1,000 teachers nationwide who were surprised this month with $1,000 worth of school supplies by Office Max and the nonprofit Adopt-A-Classroom. The annual "A Day Made Better" program is intended to provide economic relief for teachers who often spend their own money on supplies.
The principals of participating schools nominate teachers they believe "exemplify passion, dedication and innovation," Office Max officials said.
"I've been a teacher for 28 years, and I don't know a teacher that doesn't reach into his or her own pocket — and I don't think the public realizes it," said Gene Siller, a special-education teacher at Phillips Avenue Elementary School in Riverhead, one of the recipients.
Siller was surprised when principal Debra Rodgers and several Office Max representatives made a "grand entrance" into her classroom on Oct. 2 with an oversized gift box of items including a laminating machine and a video camera.
In Levittown, first-grade teacher Janine Collier received similar treatment at J. Fred Sparke Elementary. She said her box of supplies contained everything "from soup to nuts."
"I was truly amazed and shocked and appreciative of everything," said Collier, who was nominated by principal Penny Fisher. "I didn't have an inkling this would happen."
Louise Starr, a first-grade teacher at Park View Elementary School in Kings Park, was the third local recipient.
Scott Bersin is the new principal of Seaford High School, replacing Michael Ragon, who retired. Bersin was the school's assistant principal. He also has been a principal in Rye Brook, N.Y., and assistant principal at Great Neck North High School.
"It's all about encouraging students to do more and giving them the confidence to do what they believe they cannot, because the more they do, the more they learn," Bersin said.
Day of Peace
Dozens of local schools celebrated the importance of tolerance, harmony and unity last month through various activities held for the International Day of Peace.
In Lynbrook, Marion Street Elementary participated in Pinwheels for Peace, a global art installation in which students created colorful pinwheels decorated with personal wishes for world peace, then planted them on the front lawn and sang "Circle the Earth with Peace."
In Glenwood Landing, elementary students displayed homemade "flags of peace" on paths to the school, discussed peace and resolution of conflicts and read aloud from books such as George David Weiss' "What a Wonderful World."
Semifinalists for funds
Twenty-six high school seniors across Long Island were among 1,600 students named semifinalists last month for 2013 National Achievement Scholarships for black students, to be issued in the spring by the National Merit Scholarship Corp.
Winners will be selected based on academic achievements, teacher recommendations and SAT scores.
The 19 semifinalists in Nassau are: Nicholas Apping, Michael Butler, Jamell Dozier and Arielle Martinez of Baldwin High; Jordan Duprey of Chaminade High in Mineola; Andrew Eccles of Elmont Memorial High; Hunter Frederick of Freeport High; Sean Pierre and Laura Simeon of Great Neck North High; Kimberly Nicolas of Holy Trinity High in Hicksville; Nebiyou Getahun and Noah Kennedy White of Jericho High; Shana Mireku of Lawrence High; Isaiah Genece of Long Island Lutheran High in Glen Head; Woodlynn Daniel of Oceanside High; Alain Sherman of Roslyn High; Christine Paul of Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead; Justine Hamilton of South Side High in Rockville Centre; and Ayokunle Fagbemi of Valley Stream North High.