Long Island students learned the importance of giving in recent weeks, as dozens of local schools held holiday gift collections to benefit children in need, both locally and abroad.
In Elwood, the high school’s World Language Honor Society filled 72 shoe boxes with school supplies and gifts such as stuffed animals and coloring books as part of Operation Christmas Child, a project of the humanitarian aid organization Samaritan’s Purse. Last year, the honor society collected 50 boxes during its first year participating in the project.
“It’s growing,” Nicole Gendjoian, the honor society’s co-adviser, said of the group’s collection efforts compared with last year. “It’s also humbling for our students and makes them truly appreciate what they have.”
In Commack, John Mandracchia-Sawmill Intermediate School’s Student Council held a “Pajama Jammie Jam” that collected 102 pairs of pajamas and 140 books for children in need through the nonprofit Pajama Program. The effort also raised $175 for the nonprofit, which can provide one child with pajamas and a book for every $10 donation.
In Huntington, the high school’s Key Club collected hundreds of hats, gloves and socks through a “Warm Hands, Warm Hearts” drive to benefit the Family Service League. The club also held a toy drive and took local underprivileged children shopping at Target.
In Ronkonkoma, students attending the middle school’s winter dance this month were asked to bring an unwrapped toy for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program.
LightSail Launch Challenge
Forest Brook Elementary School placed third nationwide this fall in the 2017 LightSail Launch Challenge, a competition that tracked the number of minutes students read using the online platform in October. More than 600 schools participated.
Forest Brook students read a total of 133,874 minutes, with fifth-grader Katie Cimato being the nation’s top reader with 5,718 minutes. For placing third, Forest Brook won $1,000 worth of premium e-book titles from LightSail Education to add to its existing library of e-books.
Seventeen Suffolk County students were among 1,936 semifinalists named nationwide last month in the 2018 Coca-Cola Scholars Program, based on their leadership skills, academic achievements and community service.
Semifinalists will be reviewed next month, with 250 being named regional finalists and 150 ultimately becoming Coca-Cola Scholars receiving $20,000 scholarships.
Semifinalists and their school districts are: Julia Vella, Babylon; Alexis Glogower, Commack; Kelly Cheung, Copiague; Alex Epstein, Aditi Patil, Alix Rosenberg and Christopher Strasser, Half Hollow Hills; Emma Candelaria, Hampton Bays; Keiffer Acoba and Elizabeth Gillin, Kings Park; Christopher Beck, Longwood; Lauren Schaefer, Riverhead; Sarah Adamo, Smithtown; Katie Latko, South Huntington; and Daria DelMonico and Eric Donohue, West Babylon.
Brendan Sperling of Our Savior New American School in Centereach also was a semifinalist.
A team of nine Long Island students, named “Tell Me Y,” placed first last month in the 2017 Adelphi Apprentice Challenge, which asked teens to assemble a strategic marketing plan within one hour to present to a panel of judges.
This year’s competition — which included more than 230 students from 27 high schools, divided into 24 mixed teams — challenged teams to inspire 18-year-olds nationwide to vote regularly.
Winning team members and their high schools were: Erick Edouard, Akshay Ramhit and Mohammed Rahmon, Elmont; Ryan Adell and Jordan Bookspan, Kings Park; Isaac Babaev and Steven Moshel, North Shore Hebrew Academy, Great Neck; and Teresa Eustace and Jessenia Nauas, St. Agnes Academic High School in College Point, Queens.