Sewanhaka High School's World Languages Honor Society collected gifts for...

Sewanhaka High School's World Languages Honor Society collected gifts for children in need through Operation Christmas Child. Credit: Sewanhaka Central High School District

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 Floral Park, Sewanhaka High School’s World Languages Honor Society filled 65 shoe boxes with school supplies and gifts such as board games and paint sets as part of Operation Christmas Child, a project of the humanitarian aid organization Samaritan’s Purse. This was the 14th year the school’s honor society participated in the project.

“It’s a wonderful endeavor,” said Carmen Graci, the honor society’s adviser. “It also helps students realize some kids are very poor and don’t have many presents.”

In Valley Stream, Memorial Junior High School’s BRAVE Club assembled more than 50 care packages for children at Winthrop-University Hospital. Each package, which contains stickers, crayons and a coloring book, will be placed on patients’ lunch trays as a holiday surprise.

In Garden City, families districtwide donated hundreds of toys to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program. Several dozen elementary students accompanied district officials to meet Santa while dropping off the gifts at Roosevelt Field mall.

In Carle Place, the middle school’s Builders Club filled more than 30 baskets with toys, food and household items for distribution through the Interfaith Nutrition Network.


Family Code Night

The Glen Cove school district hosted a first-ever Family Code Night last month that attracted more than 100 families to Robert M. Finley Middle School.

The inaugural event, which was part of the Board of Education’s educational workshop series, consisted of eight 15-minute stations led by students.

At one station, they showed how to create video games using the platform Bloxels, while at another, pupils built structures with blocks called Keva Planks.

“It was a phenomenal night and great to see such a good turnout,” said Michael Israel, the district’s assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and technology.


Scholar semifinalists

Twenty-three Nassau 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: James Caracciolo, Bellmore-Merrick; Shermeen Khan and Aashini Shah, East Meadow; Andrew Schwarzman, East Rockaway; Vani Kumar and John Li, East Williston; Amy Shteyman, Great Neck; Fatima Lopez, Hempstead; Joy Kim, Levittown; Allison Kunstler, Lynbrook; Terrance Cameron, Kate Devereaux and Lena Gluck, Oyster Bay-East Norwich; Jevon Robinson, Roosevelt; Rex Asabor, Corry Brinken, Ashley Dann and Logan Ward, Sewanhaka; Matthew Almonte and Chinonyelum Okoli, Valley Stream Central; Brian Alfaro, West Hempstead; and Genesis Flores and Carlos Ventura, Westbury.


Apprentice Challenge

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.

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