Students and staff at Abbey Lane Elementary School in Levittown...

Students and staff at Abbey Lane Elementary School in Levittown collected nonperishable food items last month for local families in need for Thanksgiving. Credit: Levittown School District

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.

Students in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District collaborated to create 75 Thanksgiving baskets that contained a turkey, fixings and items prepared by pupils throughout the district. Leo Club members in the district's Wellington C. Mepham High School baked pies, while family and consumer sciences students in the district's Merrick Avenue Middle School made cornbread. 

"I cannot say enough about how hard the kids were working," Bellmore-Merrick deputy superintendent Mara Bollettieri said.

In Hicksville, Woodland Elementary School students filled 16 baskets with food items — ranging from pie crusts to boxes of stuffing — donated during the months of October and November. To amass a variety of items, students were asked to donate a different food each week and were rewarded with paper feathers to hang on cartoon turkeys in the school's hallway.

In Glen Head, North Shore High School students created 33 baskets for local families in need that contained everything necessary for a Thanksgiving dinner. The baskets also included a gift card to a grocery store and heartfelt messages written by students 

In Massapequa, students in Denise Baldinger's health classes at the high school collected enough food to fill six baskets for the pantry at nearby St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church. 

Students in Glen Cove School Districts' four elementary schools recently...

Students in Glen Cove School Districts' four elementary schools recently participated in a Family STREAM Night in which kids tackled tasks ranging from making rubber band robots to creating robotic drawing machines called Doodle-bots. STREAM stands for science, technology, reading, engineering, art and math. Credit: Glen Cove School District


Driving safety contest

Farmingdale High School's Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) Club was one of 10 finalists in a national video contest about teen driving safety sponsored by SADD and the National Road Safety Foundation.

The contest, titled "#DrivingSkills101 — Pass on Passengers," challenged students to create safe-driving campaigns about the risks to teen drivers of having too many passengers. Farmingdale's entry depicted a group of friends who narrowly escape an accident while going for pizza in a car resembling one from a video game they were playing.

For being a finalist, the club received a $250 prize.


Lending libraries

The Levittown School District recently held ribbon-cutting ceremonies to unveil lending libraries at its six elementary schools: Abbey Lane, Gardiners Avenue, East Broadway, Lee Road, Northside and Summit Lane.

The "libraries," which consist of decorated wooden boxes installed outside of the buildings, allow students to access books year-round or leave their own books for others. The goal is to encourage children to read outside of school.

"It is our hope that students will fall in love with an author or genre of book, or even connect to a character, which will instill a love for reading," said Michelle Kelly, the district's director of elementary education. 


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.

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