Many schools held special events to teach fire safety awareness and techniques to students in October, which is National Fire Prevention Month.
In Deer Park, Assistant Fire Chief Phil Scarfi visited John Quincy Adams and May Moore elementary schools, demonstrating a fire alarm and discussing such topics as identifying a family meeting place outside the home in the event of a fire. Scarfi has been conducting fire safety workshops in the Deer Park schools for the past 34 years, district officials said.
"A fire in the home can be extremely frightening, and it's OK to be afraid," Scarfi said. "If we learn what to do . . . if there is a fire, we can keep . . . safe."
In Blue Point and Westhampton Beach elementary school students went through a "smoke house," a mobile unit that recreates a home environment and allows children to identify and correct household hazards that may lead to fire and burn injuries.
The units were equipped with nontoxic odorless smoke and heated doors to enable kids to practice choosing the right exits and crawling to escape.
In Copiague, Great Neck Road Elementary School welcomed a local firefighter dressed in full protective gear so children could see what a firefighter looks like during emergencies and not be afraid. Volunteers also demonstrated the correct way to stop, drop and roll if clothes catch fire.
In Garden City, Locust Primary School pupils learned about firefighting history by touring a 1923 pumper truck owned by the husband of kindergarten teacher Rose Huntington.
Paul McNeil has been named principal of Accompsett Middle School. He replaced John Nocero, who retired.
McNeil was an assistant principal at Centereach Middle School and Nesaquake Middle School in St. James. He began his career as a social studies teacher in the Smithtown Central School District.
"I am devoted to creating a safe and supportive learning environment where each student can grow socially, emotionally and intellectually," he said.
Cindy Stachowski is the new superintendent of Little Flower Union Free School District, which focuses on the education and behavior of learning-disabled and emotionally handicapped children in grades 4-12. She replaced George Grigg, who retired. She was superintendent of the Hopevale Union Free School District in Erie County.
Saving contest winners
Five Suffolk County students were top winners in Astoria Federal Savings' eighth "Teach Children to Save" essay contest on the subject "If I saved a lot today, in the future I could . . . "
The three first-place winners, Liliana Millea of Stony Brook, Cayla Rosenhagen of Selden and Daniela Diaz of Bay Shore, received $250 gift cards. Lilah Lindemann of Miller Place and Lisa Motti of Farmingville, second-place winners, received $100 gift cards. More than 550 pupils from nearly 150 schools in Nassau, Suffolk, Brooklyn, Queens and Westchester counties competed.
"This contest is a great, fun way for children in our communities to start thinking about saving money to reach their goals," said Brian Edwards, an executive vice president of Astoria Federal. "We think many of them have a very good grasp on what it will take to be successful . . . and trying to find ways to make a positive difference in the world."
'A Day Made Better'
Three Long Island teachers were among 1,000 winners nationwide this month in OfficeMax's "A Day Made Better" program, which supports teachers who spend their own money on classroom supplies.
Patricia Peyton of Summit Lane Elementary in Levittown, Jane Riccardi of Trinity Regional School in East Northport, and Traci Smith of Park View Elementary in Kings Park were surprised in their classrooms with $1,000 worth of school supplies from OfficeMax.
The program is coordinated with the nonprofit
AdoptAClassroom.org. Principals nominated teachers based on passion, innovation and dedication.
"Teachers and educators are part of the crucial infrastructure necessary to build a promising future for our children, and yet many teachers and schools face significant challenges to make ends meet in classrooms due to budget shortfalls," said Carolynn Brooks, vice president, chief diversity officer and president of OfficeMax Charitable Foundation.