Suffolk: Superstorm relief efforts
Long Island's youngest residents are lending a helping hand in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy.
Many local schools have coordinated outreach efforts in recent weeks to collect everything from nonperishable food to cleaning supplies for those affected.
In Shoreham, Miller Avenue and Wading River elementary schools joined forces for "Kids Helping Kids," a collection drive that stockpiled bottled water, diapers and toiletries. The district's bus drivers donated their time to take the goods to the neighboring William Floyd school district in Mastic Beach, which was among the Island's hard-hit South Shore areas.
"This is a powerful way to help children learn that we are all one community," Miller Avenue principal Louis Parrinello said. "The students were excited to be a part of this. They made a real difference in a community that is just down the road from our own district."
In Medford, student-athletes at Patchogue-Medford High School collected donations of food and toiletries from shoppers exiting local Stop & Shops and Giunta's Meat Farms. The donations consisted of 10 truckloads of food and nearly $1,000 -- all of which benefited the Lighthouse Mission in Bellport.
In North Babylon, the Students for a Better World and Renaissance clubs coordinated a post-superstorm buffet Nov. 14 in the high school cafeteria for community members.
In Center Moriches, middle and high schoolers combined efforts to prepare 375 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for those affected by the storm.
"We hope our efforts helped those that needed it most, and that the students gained a new respect for how fortunate, or unfortunate, many families were," said Center Moriches' Class of 2016 adviser Jessica Tucker, who coordinated the idea with co-worker Andrea Cavaliere.
Fairy tale trial
Fifth-graders at Sylvan Avenue Elementary School recently gave the legal system a fairy tale twist.
In a mock trial, with the school's gym transformed into a courtroom, Goldilocks was charged with trespassing, criminal mischief and petty larceny for disrupting the three bears' house. Students played all roles in the case, from Goldilocks to judge and jurors.
Meanwhile, the school's Peer Leaders visited elderly residents last month at Petite Fleur Nursing Home in Sayville in honor of Make a Difference Day. Activities ranged from kids reading aloud their favorite books to the students interviewing residents about their childhoods.
The event attracted about 300 community members and raised money through ticket sales, gift card raffles and sales of key chains, bracelets and necklaces.
A total of $3,000 will go to Susan G. Komen for breast cancer awareness efforts, with the remainder earmarked for pom-pom purchases, school officials said.
"Everyone seemed to have a blast as they exercised to support a great cause," cheerleader coach Mary Kate Miedema said.
The fundraiser was part of the Hampton Bays Booster Club's Baymen Care Challenge.
Lunch with first lady
Seven students from Huntington High School received presidential treatment last month during a luncheon with first lady Michelle Obama at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury.
The luncheon was held Oct. 17, the day after the presidential debate at Hofstra University between President Barack and Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Former Suffolk County Legis. Jon Cooper, who invited the teens, was among the event's hosts.
"I asked them afterwards how they enjoyed it on a scale of one to 10," Cooper said of the students. "One said it was an '11.' Another said it was a '100.' "
Many Long Island schools honored local residents who have served or currently serve in the armed forces through events held earlier this month in recognition of Veterans Day.
In Hampton Bays, elementary school students participated in a flag ceremony to honor Anthony Galgano, a World War II veteran who moved to the area in 2006. Fifth-graders Julia Strobel and Christopher Barros recited the Pledge of Allegiance, sixth-grader Ella Marcus sang "The Star-Spangled Banner," and seventh-graders Collette Levine and Grayson Cherubino read Galgano's biography.
In Stony Brook, 50 fifth-graders from New Lane Memorial Elementary School in Selden performed a musical celebration for some 300 residents at the Long Island State Veterans Home to thank them for their contributions and sacrifices.
In Long Beach, middle school students teamed up with the Kiwanis Club to create a "Field of Honor" of commemorative flags that will remain on display through Dec. 7.