Many Long Island schools are helping families in need get through frigid temperatures by collecting and donating warm clothing.
In Dix Hills, 75 high school students in the Half Hollow Hills school district’s Key Clubs joined forces with the Kiwanis Club of Huntington to raise money and take local children in need shopping for new clothes at Target. First-graders in the district’s Sunquam Elementary School also decorated scarves that were donated for visitors of The Mercy INN in Wyandanch.
“Each year I am so proud to see the many student-led initiatives to give back to those less fortunate around the holidays,” Superintendent Patrick Harrigan said. “These special programs and the students who direct them highlight the core values we believe in.”
In the Harborfields school district in Greenlawn, National Junior Honor Society members at Oldfield Middle School held a schoolwide drive that filled more than 18 bags with coats, which were delivered to Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church in Centerport.
In Elwood, the middle school’s Student Council and Community Service Club coordinated a donation tree, with students and staff leaving new and gently used winter clothing, including gloves, hats and scarves.
The Student Council at the Copiague district’s Deauville Gardens West Elementary School set up a “mitten tree” in the cafeteria for winter clothing donations throughout the month of December.
Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School has launched a new after-school program of enrichment activities for students in grades 4-6 on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
The program, which kicked off in November and will continue through the end of the school year, includes courses in topics such as art, dance, math, robotics and French.
The school also has partnered with the United North Amityville Youth Organization to offer tae kwon do, character education and anti-bullying classes.
“We are pleased at how popular our new after-school program has quickly become,” Principal Robyn Santiago said. “The courses were created with student interests in mind, and both the children and instructors have shown great enthusiasm.”
Room search simulation
Law enforcement students at Eastern Suffolk BOCES’ Harry B. Ward Technical Center recently learned to safely conduct room searches to pursue assailants as part of a simulation exercise.
Potential hiding spots and obstructions were created by turning over tables, desks and folding mats, with lights shut off and doors to adjoining rooms closed. The teens then teamed up to act as officers equipped with flashlights, handcuffs and rubber guns to search the room.
“Proper police procedure saves lives,” Harry B. Ward law enforcement teacher Anthony Biancardi said. “While this was not an active-shooter room search, which is different, mastering correct technique can only help my students who plan to enter a branch of law enforcement after graduation.”
Compassion Without Borders
More than 370 student leaders and 280 teachers and administrators from 35 Suffolk County schools came together for the ninth annual Compassion Without Borders Student Leadership Conference, an event that strives to eliminate barriers, promote unity and cultivate generosity.
The number of participants was the most in the event’s history.
During the November conference, students split into groups for enrichment activities, including discussions on compassion in their schools and workshops on quilting and yoga.
“Regardless of school district borderlines and rivalries, Compassion Without Borders brings all Suffolk high schools together under the banner of leadership and unity,” said Ed Casswell, past president of the Suffolk County High School Principals Association, the event’s sponsor.
— Michael R. Ebert