Many local schools helped to feed the needy last month with creative collections of everything from cans to candy.
In East Islip, the middle school's National Junior Honor Society and student government asked movie-night attendees to bring a nonperishable food item -- ultimately totaling 192 items -- to enter a screening of the film "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian." Meanwhile, Timber Point Elementary School's Student Council raised $500 for Long Island Cares in Hauppauge by creating and selling Rainbow Loom bracelets for $1 a piece.
"The sale not only taught the children how much work it is to follow through with a community project, but also how rewarding it can be to do something for other people," said Timber Point's Student Council Advisor Patrice Mercurio.
In Huntington Station, Maplewood Intermediate School third-graders used donations of $5 or more from each child's family to buy items for community food baskets at a local Best Yet Market. Teams of up to five students were accompanied by parent volunteers and used math skills to select sale items and stay within budget.
In North Babylon, William E. Deluca Jr. Elementary School students collected 3,500 food items and stocked them in the Town of Babylon's pantry through a program called "Human Food Chain."
"We're a bucket filling school that encourages our students to perform kind deeds," said William E. Deluca Principal Norann McManus. "Today, we filled a lot of buckets."
In Syosset, South Woods Middle School raised $4,300 for the Interfaith Nutrition Network in Hempstead with a walkathon that attracted 750 students. Meanwhile, Village Elementary School filled 16 large bags with Halloween candy as part of "Operation Sweet Tooth" to benefit organizations like MercyFirst in Syosset and Angela's House in Hauppauge.
Veterans essay contest
Julianna Knice and Kristen Alo, seventh-graders at Robert Frost Middle School, were first and second-place winners, respectively, last month in a townwide essay contest held in conjunction with the Town of Babylon's 2013 Veterans Awareness Week. They were selected by a panel of local veterans and honored during a ceremony at Babylon Town Hall.
"I believe a 'thank you' is not enough, but it is at least something," Knice said of veterans in her essay. "The way they leave their loved ones to protect all of us -- people that they don't even know -- is amazing."
Historical essay winner
Chris Giuliano, a senior at Hauppauge High School, recently beat out 60 students to win the 2013 Mildred E. Smith Historical Essay Competition sponsored by the Smithtown Historical Society. The competition challenged local students to respond to the question: "If you could go back in history in the Town of Smithtown, when would you visit and why?"
In his essay, Giuliano chose to visit Smithtown during the American Revolution. He was issued a $1,000 college scholarship at a society awards dinner.
Local law enforcement
Earl L. Vandermeulen High School students recently received insight into the workings of local law enforcement during a visit from Suffolk County Police Officer Keith Murphy. During the visit, Murphy discussed topics such as the proper etiquette when being pulled over by a police officer and code enforcement in the Village of Port Jefferson.
"Providing students with an informal opportunity to speak with our school police liaison allows them to learn more about their rights as young adults," said Vandermeulen law teacher Philip Giannusa.
Dozens of schools throughout Long Island showed appreciation last month to those who serve, or have served, to protect our country with activities held in honor of Veterans Day.
In Copiague, Susan E. Wiley Elementary School hosted veterans from Dominican Village, a retirement community in Amityville, for a slideshow highlighting their service and a student presentation of original essays and poems of appreciation. Meanwhile, Great Neck Road Elementary School invited members of a local charter of Veterans of Foreign Wars to attend a breakfast celebration.
In Deer Park, the high school was visited by U.S. Navy veteran John Rago of Brookhaven, a sonar technician aboard the USS Francis Scott Key nuclear submarine during the 1970s. Rago shared the details of life aboard a submarine and the bonds he formed with fellow servicemen while underwater.
In East Islip, Ruth C. Kinney Elementary School hosted a Parade of Heroes in which visiting vets were escorted through school halls by representatives of local Cub Scout Pack 38.