Many students across Long Island were well-equipped to start the academic year, thanks in part to donations of school supplies from residents, businesses and organizations.
One of the biggest efforts came from the Family Service League, which provided more than 3,000 children with new backpacks filled with supplies through its Bethpage Backpack Program. The Huntington-based nonprofit’s action was made possible by donors across the Island, including a $40,000 grant from Bethpage Federal Credit Union.
“When students arrive at school with their backpacks, they’ll have the tools and confidence needed to help them succeed,” said Karen Boorshtein, the league’s president and CEO.
Another large collection was spearheaded by the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless, which gathered more than 1,200 backpacks through its “SOS: Supply Our Students” drive. Donation boxes were hosted by the group’s community partners, such as businesses and libraries.
In addition, 415 children received new clothing along with their backpacks at the coalition’s Backpack Pirates Summer Festival, held in collaboration with the Hauppauge-based nonprofit Holiday Magic.
In the South Huntington school district, about 100 backpacks filled with supplies were given to children in need. Items were provided by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington, Unity Church of Healing Light in Huntington Station and Gathering of Light Interspiritual Fellowship in Melville.
“This amazing gift is truly appreciated,” said Nicholas Ciappetta, president of South Huntington’s school board.
In Mastic Beach, the William Floyd Alumni Association donated school supply packets to nearly 600 kindergartners in the district. The United Way of Long Island and East End Bus Lines also provided 50 boxes of supplies.
Bruce Hoffman is the new principal of Lincoln Orens Middle School in the Island Park school district. He replaced Vincent Randazzo, who now is the district’s assistant superintendent.
Hoffman most recently served 11 years as assistant principal at Lindenhurst Middle School, where he is credited with initiating the school’s science research program.
“It is truly an honor to become a part of the Island Park community,” Hoffman said. “I look forward to working with the students, staff, parents and community to continue the great happenings at Lincoln Orens.”
Alan Groveman is interim superintendent of the Garden City school district. He replaced Robert Feirsen, who retired as the system’s schools chief.
In 2013, Groveman retired as superintendent of Connetquot schools. He subsequently served as interim assistant superintendent in the Lindenhurst, Sachem and Valley Stream 13 school systems.
He teaches graduate-level business and finance at St. John’s University and is a former president of the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association.
“It is my intent to work with all segments of the Garden City community to continue and enhance the high quality of the programs and services provided to the students and their families,” Groveman said.
Chris Rogutsky Bleecker is the new principal of Nassau BOCES’ Long Island High School for the Arts in Syosset. She replaced Jack Lenson, who retired.
Bleecker previously was part of the team that spearheaded the Early College Initiative at the City University of New York. Through that effort, she was instrumental in the founding of the College Academy of the Arts, a public high school in Manhattan.
She also worked at The Waldorf School of Garden City, where she was director of admissions, middle school coordinator and high school curriculum strategist.
“Arts are essential for education,” Bleecker said, adding that LIHSA provides “a nurturing environment that exposes students to experiences and opportunities they could never have anywhere else.”