Long Island students are doing their part to spread the warmth this holiday season.
Dozens of clothing drives at local schools in recent weeks have brought in thousands of coats, gloves and other winter-related items for those in need.
In Center Moriches, the district's three schools set up drop-boxes for donations of new pajamas for local children in need. Scholastic Books paired a new book with each pajama set.
"This season, Center Moriches' learning community is, once again, dedicated to bringing a smile to others who are less fortunate as we give thanks for our many blessings," Superintendent Russell Stewart said.
In East Setauket, Minnesauke Elementary School's Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Committee headed a collection of 155 gently used coats for the Children's Community Head Start & Early Head Start, a program for income-eligible families in 13 Suffolk County school districts through the Community Program Centers of Long Island.
In Freeport, John W. Dodd Middle School's Future Corps Club collected more than 100 coats through a drive to benefit the Salvation Army's Freeport Citadel Corps. Club members delivered the coats to the citadel and were treated to lessons on the organization's history and mission of helping underprivileged individuals.
"The generosity of the human spirit is astounding," said Linda Salzer, the school's Future Corps adviser. "Our club members interested in community service now have a connection with a local program where they can volunteer."
Marine science program
The Ross School, a private school for students in pre-nursery through grade 12, is launching a marine science program for students to conduct independent research in the fields of marine biology, oceanography and environmental science.
The program is slated to begin next month and is part of the school's Innovation Lab @Ross, an advanced academic program for high school students.
One of the program's three full-tuition scholarships remains available for local students who have a passion for ocean studies. Interested students can apply at ross.org/apply.
Sixteen students from Ward Melville High School earned placements ranging from honorable mentions to superior rankings in write-off contests last month at the National High School Journalism Convention in Boston.
The contests challenged students to complete on-site tasks ranging from news writing to editing.
Ward Melville was the only school statewide to place in the contest, school officials said. The convention was sponsored by the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association.
Career and technical students from Eastern Suffolk BOCES' Brookhaven Technical Center recently raised nearly $1,200 through a flapjack fundraiser to benefit students planning to participate in the 2014 New York State Leadership Conference & Skills Competition in Syracuse.
The fundraiser took place at the Applebee's in Patchogue.
ESBOCES collected $10 from each patron it brought in for the breakfast of pancakes, eggs, sausage and a beverage. The students, who volunteered to greet, serve and clean up, were from the Center Moriches, East Hampton, Islip, Rocky Point, Sachem and Shoreham-Wading River school districts.
The Leadership Conference & Skills Competition, to be held in the spring, is hosted by SkillsUSA, a nonprofit organization that trains teens for careers and trades in a variety of technical and service occupations.
Nine Long Island high schools were among 123 semifinalists nationwide last month to be named "Signature Schools" by the GRAMMY Foundation based on their "outstanding commitment to music education," the organization said.
The semifinalist schools are Bay Shore, Bellport, Garden City, Herricks, Great Neck North and Great Neck South, Mineola, Plainview-Old Bethpage and Sayville.
Finalists will be announced in the spring and will receive a grant between $1,000 and $15,000 to benefit their music programs.
"Many of these schools face serious economic challenges, so it's truly inspiring to see this level of commitment to arts education and to the students who benefit from this type of curriculum," said Neil Portnow, president and chief executive of The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation.