Long Island students have been making the holiday season a little extra appetizing for families in need.
Dozens of local schools hosted food collections in recent weeks to help fill the kitchens of less-fortunate families with everything from Thanksgiving turkeys to Christmas cookies.
In Huntington, third-graders in Flower Hill Primary School's student council organized a schoolwide drive that collected 368 food items for Island Harvest. The drive was promoted as a fun competition among the school's grade levels with an extra recess awarded to classes collecting the most food.
"We're proud to have helped so many families in our community have a wonderful Thanksgiving," said Jacqueline Plesent, a faculty adviser for Flower Hill's Student Council.
In Northport, the high school's student captains mobilized their peers to donate enough food to provide 83 complete meals to local families as part of the school's Feed 200 initiative. Each meal included items such as stuffing, gravy and potatoes, as well as a $20 gift card to purchase a turkey.
In Bayport, James Wilson Young Middle School's Student Council hosted a food drive that collected about 1,260 nonperishable items — ranging from canned fruits to juice boxes — for distribution to less-fortunate families through nearby Our Lady of the Snow Roman Catholic Church.
In Hampton Bays, the elementary school's K-Kids community service group collected enough food items to provide 15 local families with Thanksgiving trimmings, desserts and a gift card.
Brookhaven Elementary School hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony last month to unveil a new food pantry for local families in need. The pantry has been filled with nonperishable food items and paper goods donated by Island Harvest in collaboration with the school's PTA.
Food items will be boxed by the school's faculty, and PTA members based upon requests and less-fortunate families in the school community can call the main office to make an appointment for pickup.
"Students are at the heart of the community," Brookhaven principal Rebecca Raymond said. "It takes a village to raise a child. Having food available for those who need it binds families together and is one less worry."
Brian Doelger has been appointed superintendent and principal of the Shelter Island School District. He replaced Christine Finn, who is now superintendent of the Carle Place School District.
Doelger previously served as director of professional personnel for the Riverhead Central School District, principal of New Lane Elementary School in Selden, and assistant principal and interim principal at Saxton Middle School in Patchogue. He also has taught social studies in the Hicksville and Shelter Island school districts.
"I look forward to working with everyone to make sure our children receive the best education and are as happy as possible," Doelger said.
Solve for Tomorrow
Brentwood High School and Paul D. Schreiber High School in Port Washington are among 300 schools nationwide named state finalists in Samsung's Solve for Tomorrow Contest. They were selected from more than 2,000 entries.
Participants were asked to find creative solutions to real-word issues affecting their communities by using their skills in science, technology, engineering and math — also known as STEM. State finalists received a Samsung tablet and were invited to submit activity plans describing how they will improve their community using STEM.
One-hundred state winners of $15,000 prize packages will be announced later this month, while 20 national finalist winners of $50,000 prize packages will be announced in March. Five national winners of $100,000 grand-prize packages will be announced in April.