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Longwood's Best Buddies Chapter named 'Most Outstanding'

The Best Buddies Chapter at Longwood High School

The Best Buddies Chapter at Longwood High School in Middle Island has been designated as the "Outstanding Chapter" for 2018-19. Chapter vice president Olivia Chichester, center, holds the award alongside Best Buddies representatives. Credit: Longwood School District

The Best Buddies Chapter at Longwood High School in Middle Island has been named the nation's "Outstanding Chapter" for the 2018-19 school term.

The chapter received the designation during Best Buddies International's 30th annual leadership conference, which took place this summer in Indiana. The selection was based on the chapter's impact on inclusion and acceptance in the school community.

Longwood’s chapter, which was launched three years ago, fosters friendships between general and special education students by having them tackle activities such as crafting murals and attending the school's sporting events together. It has expanded to more than 100 members from just 80 at the chapter's inception.

"It makes everyone feel included," Longwood junior and chapter president Teasia Crenshaw said of the chapter's importance. "We're all the same and we go through the same type of problems."

To get selected, Longwood's chapter submitted photos and information about their numerous activities, which include unified basketball games and job skill training for special education members at the district's career center in Yaphank.

The chapter also educates elementary students about different disabilities during a series of Disability Awareness Days, and hosted a Best Buddies Prom last school year that attracted more than 500 attendees across Long Island.

"It's just a great way to make friendships," said Longwood senior and chapter vice president Olivia Chichester, who attended the conference and accepted the award on the chapter's behalf.


New principal

Candice Brodie is the new principal of Lindenhurst High School. She replaced Clinton Grant, who resigned.

Brodie previously served as supervisor of secondary social studies and an assistant principal for instruction at Baldwin High School. She also has taught in Brooklyn and in the North Shore School District.

"My goal for our students at Lindenhurst High School is for them to find what they love to do, where they find success and what motivates them," Brodie said.


New appointments

Jessica Schmettan has been appointed superintendent of the Port Jefferson School District, effective Nov. 1, while Eric Haruthunian is the new principal of Earl L. Vandermeulen High School. Schmettan will replace the retiring Paul Casciano, while Haruthunian replaced Christine Austen, who is the now the district's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

Schmettan previously was the district's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. She also has been an assistant superintendent for elementary curriculum and instruction in the Sachem Central School District, a literacy coordinator in the Three Village Central School District, and a special education teacher in the Roosevelt School District.           

Haruthunian previously was an assistant principal at Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School, a supervisor of discipline at Wantagh High School, and a math teacher in Freeport.

"As a parent, a taxpayer and an educator, I am deeply invested in our school community," Schmettan said. "I value our history and, even with the challenges ahead, I look forward to an incredible future."


9/11 events

Many local schools hosted special events earlier this month to commemorate 9/11.

In Amityville, social studies classes at Edmund W. Miles Middle School watched video clips from that fateful day, discussed their reactions, and wrote thank-you letters for care packages sent to troops overseas through the nonprofit Operation Gratitude.

In Sayville, middle schoolers showed their respect for those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks by participating in a moment of silence and planting American flags around the school’s flagpole.

In East Islip, students learned about the American flag and participated in a flag parade at Timber Point Elementary School.

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