Schools: Supplies surprise for teachers

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Four Long Island teachers were surprised earlier this month with something they consider to be very valuable: school supplies.

They were among 1,000 teachers nationwide who each were presented with $1,000 worth of school supplies by OfficeMax in partnership with the nonprofit Adopt-A-Classroom on Oct. 4. The annual program, titled "A Day Made Better," is intended to provide economic relief and encourage national support for teachers.

In Riverhead, kindergarten teacher Kim Benkert was led to believe that the district's public information officer was photographing her dual-language students at Phillips Avenue Elementary School for a story when the surprise was revealed. Supplies included an Epson printer/scanner, a Kodak camera and items ranging from chalk to pencils. In addition, OfficeMax in Riverhead donated another $3,000 worth of supplies to the school.

"It's important to recognize how often teachers go into their own pockets for our kids," principal Debra Rodgers said. Benkert added: "I don't know a teacher that doesn't spend their own money. It's something you do for a successful classroom."

In Baldwin, fourth-grade teacher Jamie Cohen was told that a light needed repair in her classroom at Brookside Elementary School, prompting her class to relocate to the school's intermediate learning room before her surprise was revealed.

"We walked in to find flowers and OfficeMax staff with the supplies -- and we were all just shocked and mesmerized," said Cohen, who was nominated for the surprise by principal Ivy Sherman. "A lot of children try to bring in as many supplies as they can, but it gets costly."

Other surprised teachers were Christine Pearsall of Medford Elementary School and Maureen Madigan of Gardiners Avenue School in Levittown.

AMITYVILLE

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Athletic Hall of Fame

Amityville High School recently launched an Athletic Hall of Fame with an inaugural class of eight former coaches, seven former athletes and two longtime supporters of its athletic programs. The inductees -- who included former NBA player, and Copiague native, Shelton Jones -- were honored on the school's football field during Homecoming Weekend earlier this month, and their biographies appeared in a special journal.

HAUPPAUGE

New principals

The Hauppauge school district has named new principals at its elementary schools: Claudine DiMuzio at Pines, Kristen Reingold at Forest Brook and Jane Ruthkowski at Bretton Woods.

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DiMuzio had been principal of Jericho Elementary School in Centereach and replaced Michele Rothfeld, who is now Hauppauge's assistant superintendent for personnel and administration.

Reingold was vice principal at Hauppauge Middle School and replaced Chris Michael, the district's new director of English language arts.

Ruthkowski was principal of Briarcliff Elementary School in Shoreham and replaced Matthew Giordano, who retired.

COUNTYWIDE

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Can-tabs fundraising

William Floyd Elementary School in Shirley hosted a kickoff event earlier this month for Can Tabs for Kids, a fundraising project of collecting aluminum tabs from cans for recycling. Participants include Holy Angels Regional School in Patchogue, Our Lady of Mercy School in Riverhead, St. Jude's Parish Outreach in Mastic Beach, and the Half Hollow Hills, Patchogue-Medford and William Floyd school districts.

Tabs are given to Gershow Recycling in Medford, which pays 55 cents per pound and will match the final sums -- up to $5,000 per school -- to benefit Stony Brook University Medical Center's Sunrise Fund, which aids children with cancer.

ISLANDWIDE

Golden Apple Awards

Ten local educators were recently named winners of Golden Apples Awards from the March of Dimes' Long Island Chapter based on their efforts "to make a difference through a commitment to education," chapter officials said.

They will be honored at an awards dinner next month in Woodbury.

The awardees are: Patricia Kelly Collins, an integrated co-teacher at Lincoln Orens Middle School in Island Park; Arnold Dodge, chair of educational leadership and administration at Long Island University; Donna Gianfortone, a second-grade teacher at Chippewa Elementary School in Holtsville; Regina Giunta, principal of Western Suffolk BOCES' James Allen Jr./Sr. High School in Deer Park; Mary Hickey, an associate professor at New York University; Mary Meyers, a retired teacher from Massapequa School District; Joanne Pappas, a pre-k teacher at The Green Vale School in Old Brookville; Nicole Mazza, a third-grade teacher at Landing Elementary School in Glen Cove; Bob Spiotto, executive producer of Hofstra Entertainment; and Suzanne Viscovich, principal of Homestead School in Garden City.

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