One of the first lessons learned by students this school year was the importance of cancer awareness.
Schools across Long Island participated in an array of charitable activities — ranging from sports-themed fundraisers to letter-writing campaigns — in recognition of Childhood Cancer and Breast Cancer awareness months in September and October.
In North Bellmore, staff in the district's five elementary schools donated $5 to wear gold shoelaces as part of the Lace Up for Kids campaign to benefit the nonprofit Solving Kids' Cancer. Students also wore gold-colored clothing to show support for those affected by pediatric cancer on Sept. 27.
"It's great when the community can come together and show unity for a worthwhile cause," said Jeff Rosof, principal of the district's Saw Mill Road Elementary School.
In Amityville, the high school's girls varsity soccer team hosted a Kicks for Cancer game that included the sale of baked goods prepared by the players, while the girls volleyball team sold baked goods and T-shirts during a "Dig Pink" game to benefit the nonprofit Pink S.H.O.E.S. The teams collectively raised nearly $1,000.
In Malverne, Davison Avenue Intermediate School students raised nearly $250 for pediatric cancer through a lemonade stand at the school's back-to-school barbecue to benefit Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation.
In Levittown, fifth-graders in Richard Schwartz's class at Abbey Lane Elementary School penned and decorated heartfelt letters for breast cancer survivors.
Peter Dalton has been named principal of Nassau BOCES' Gerald R. Claps Career and Technical Education Center, which was recently acquired by Nassau BOCES. The center is located at the Levittown Memorial Education Center.
Dalton is also principal of Nassau BOCES' Joseph M. Barry Career & Technical Education Center in Westbury, a position he has held since 2016.
"The essence of career and technical education is providing a skill set for students to work with so that they can be successful in college and careers," Dalton said. "The goal is to have students become even more successful in their educational experiences."
Many local schools educated students on fire safety in recognition of National Fire Prevention Month in October.
In Valley Stream, children from Clear Stream Avenue and Shaw Avenue elementary schools learned about the importance of smoke detectors, explored the inside of firetrucks, and learned how to "stop, drop and roll" during a visit to the Valley Stream Fire Department.
In East Meadow, third- and fourth-graders at Parkway Elementary School walked through a trailer that was designed to simulate a smoke-filled room and practiced exiting safely through the window during a visit from firefighters in the Wantagh Fire Department.
In Massapequa, kids at Lockhart Elementary School watched a teacher dress up in firefighting gear so they'd realize there's a person who wants to help them underneath the equipment.
Seventy-seven Long Island schools were among 562 statewide named 2018-19 Recognition Schools by the New York State Education Department for their high achievement, student growth and graduation rate during the 2017-18 school year.
The Garden City School District had four schools earn the designation, which was the most on Long Island, while the Bellmore-Merrick, Commack and Great Neck districts had three designated schools. Ten school districts — East Islip, East Meadow, Half Hollow Hills, Hewlett-Woodmere, Island Trees, Levittown, Roslyn, Sachem, Shoreham-Wading River and Smithtown — had two designated schools, while 43 school districts had one designated school.
The Academy Charter School in Hempstead was also among this year's designated schools.