A Roslyn High School senior was named one of New York's top two volunteers for 2015, and a Bay Shore student secured a spot as a distinguished finalist.
David Jaslow, 17, earned the top designation from the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, which honors youngsters for outstanding acts of volunteerism. The distinction carries a $1,000 award.
Jaslow was selected for his efforts as co-founder of the nonprofit Go With Courage Inc., which has raised more than $300,000 over the past four years for cancer research and relatives of those with the disease. Fundraisers have ranged from holiday shopping events to casino nights.
"I knew I needed to take action to prevent other families from suffering these same tragedies," said Jaslow, who has seen multiple family members battle cancer.
The state's other top volunteer was Jake Gallin, 12, of New Rochelle. He and Jaslow will be honored with the top two volunteers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C.
Eric Ramsay, a Bay Shore High School senior, was among eight finalists named statewide. He raised more than $40,000 through an annual tennis event to benefit children with leukemia at Winthrop-University Hospital Cancer Center for Kids in Mineola.
The national program is coordinated by Prudential Financial and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
LOCUST VALLEY: Art challenge winners
Locust Valley Intermediate School and Bayville Intermediate School have taken first and second place, respectively, in the grades 5-8 category of a "Water Is Life" National Art Challenge.
The contest was coordinated by the Wyland Foundation, a nonprofit that strives to protect waterways and sea life worldwide.
The Locust Valley students' piece was a mural made out of nonrecyclable bottle caps — part of the school's "Go Green to Save the Blue" campaign, which focused on "going green" to improve oceans. Bayville students made a mural depicting ocean life.
For winning, Locust Valley Intermediate received a painting by Robert Wyland. Both schools received art supplies.
SYOSSET: Opera partnership
Syosset High School's chamber chorus and orchestra appeared with members of the International Vocal Arts Institute last month in a special performance of "The Tragedy of Carmen," an adaptation of Georges Bizet's famous opera.
Members of the institute performed solos, and Syosset students made up the opera's chorus and orchestra. The conductor was Paul Nadler, who has led the Metropolitan Opera Company in more than 60 performances since 1989.
"This is perhaps our most advanced and significant joint endeavor," said Michael Salzman, the high school's fine arts and performing arts director.
The institute, run through the Metropolitan Opera House, aims to discover and develop opera talent.
VALLEY STREAM: People's Choice winners
The Parents as Reading Partners program in Valley Stream School District 24 is one of 10 winners nationwide of a People's Choice Award in the Follett Challenge, a contest that rewards educators who align their curricula to teach 21st century skills. Each winner was awarded $8,000.
Parents as Reading Partners is a state PTA program that asks parents to read with children for at least 15 minutes daily. Valley Stream's version groups kids into teams and includes activities, such as original stage plays, to increase interest.
Entrants submitted five-minute videos describing their programs. Winners were chosen based on the most votes received during an online voting period.
COPIAGUE: High school gets new principal
Joseph Agosta has been appointed principal of Walter G. O'Connell Copiague High School for the 2015-16 school year. He will replace Jeanette Altruda, who will become the district's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
Agosta now is principal of Great Neck Road Elementary School in Copiague, where he earlier spent nine years teaching second-, fourth- and fifth-graders starting in 1997.
He also served two years as an assistant principal in the South Huntington school district.
ELWOOD: Hall of history
James H. Boyd Intermediate School is giving students a firsthand look at America's past through the school's "hall of history" that consists of replicas of Revolutionary War artifacts — from coins to clothing. The collection, called the Long Island Spy Kit, is being rented by the school from the Three Village Historical Society in East Setauket.
The spy kit was developed after Stony Brook University purchased two letters written by George Washington that depict his close direction of Long Island's Culper Spy Ring, which proved instrumental in winning the war, the society said.
"This gallery will remain on display for the remainder of the unit, for students to experience the excitement of American history," said Boyd fourth-grade teacher Nancy Agostini.
SMITHTOWN: Postal practice
Branch Brook Elementary School students learned about the art of letter writing and the postal process by drafting and mailing letters to peers in other classrooms. The three-week effort was part of Wee Deliver, a U.S. Postal Service program that promotes reading and writing through letter-writing campaigns in elementary schools.
The school's wings, hallways and classrooms were designated different ZIP codes, street names and addresses as part of the project. Fifth-graders were tasked with picking up the mail twice a day at a main mailbox in the school lobby for sorting and delivery to each classroom.
In addition to boosting their literacy skills, students learned how to correctly address an envelope and include postage, which was drawn on envelopes or represented with stickers.