Many local students are demonstrating a hunger to help feed those in need.
Dozens of schools across Long Island have conducted or are hosting food collection drives this holiday season to help provide meals for the region's less-fortunate families and individuals.
In Bohemia, Connetquot High School's Student Government Club was joined by more than two dozen teachers and other volunteers to serve a holiday meal to local residents affected by superstorm Sandy. There are about 20 district families that have been displaced as a result of damage to their homes and property, school officials said.
"I hope that we have helped those families adversely affected by the recent storms, and that they have brighter days ahead," said Tony Felicio Jr., president of the district's Connetquot Teachers Association.
In Bayport, James Wilson Young Middle School's Student Council collected hundreds of nonperishable food items during a weeklong drive to benefit Our Lady of the Snow Church in Blue Point. Meanwhile, Academy Street Elementary School created holiday food baskets for local families using the overwhelming donations for troops overseas through its Operation Shoebox program, school officials said.
In Greenlawn, Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School's fourth-graders helped restock the Harborfields Alliance for Community Outreach food pantry at Harborfields High School. The outreach provides needy residents with clothing, food and other daily essentials.
"This was a great turnout considering the food drive was only three days due to Hurricane Sandy," said honor society co-adviser Diane Locascio.
Taylor Swift webcast
Susan E. Wiley Elementary School students recently received a literacy lesson from country star Taylor Swift during a live nationwide webcast coordinated by book publishing company Scholastic.
During the half-hour webcast, Swift spoke about her love of reading, answered questions and sang her latest single, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together."
"Infusing technology into literacy, and using a positive role model such as Taylor, is not only engaging and relatable to the students, but gets them excited about reading," said Wiley principal Cynthia Florio.
Eighty-five students from East Islip High School learned about future career opportunities during a Catch-a-Career Breakfast that featured dozens of local business professionals.
Participants included Suffolk Legis. Tom Cilmi (R-Bay Shore) and James Bruno, funeral director at Bruno & O'Shea Funeral Homes in East Islip. Other participating businesses and municipalities included Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, Motorola Solutions and the Town of Islip.
"In this economy, it is of utmost importance to enter into college with a clear and direct plan so that college expenses are kept under control," said Bridget Lopiccolo, manager of East Islip's mentoring program.
Drill meet winners
Riverhead High School's Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps beat 12 tri-state area schools to win first place overall last month in a regional drill meet in Bethel, Conn. The meet consisted of armed and unarmed drill platoons, color guard and personnel inspection, among other things.
"The cadets were nervous, but motivated," said Peter McCarthy, the school's naval science instructor. "They performed up to their capabilities when the pressure was on."
In Stony Brook, W.S. Mount Elementary School held a Native American Day in which kindergartners donned self-made headdresses and necklaces and rotated between a series of work stations to create and design pinch pots, medallions and paper-woven place mats. They also pretended to hunt buffalo and sat in a mock teepee for traditional tales.
In Babylon, second-graders at Babylon Elementary School dressed as pilgrims and American Indians and performed holiday-themed songs such as "Thanksgiving Boogie" and "The 12 Days of Thanksgiving," followed by a feast in the school's cafeteria.
In Cold Spring Harbor, Goosehill Primary School first-graders learned to grind corn, wash berries and build fire pits to help them understand the everyday lives of American Indians long ago.