Bellport Middle School students collected 3,397 food items in a...

Bellport Middle School students collected 3,397 food items in a four-week drive to benefit the Lighthouse Mission food pantry. Credit: South Country School District

Some schools gathered treats for troops; others chose to feed the needy. For all, the common thread was generosity.

Across Long Island, students collected everything from leftover Halloween candy to Thanksgiving fixings in recent weeks in efforts to benefit less-fortunate families and soldiers overseas.

In East Northport, members of Elwood Middle School’s Student Council collected more than 150 pounds of candy from relatives, friends and neighbors for agencies including Helping Hand Rescue Mission in Huntington Station and California-based Operation Gratitude, which mails care packages to troops.

“The students included thank-you notes to thank these brave men and women for their service,” said Martine Pirolo, Elwood’s Student Council adviser.

In Rocky Point, the high school’s baseball teams donated food items, homemade goodies and fast-food gift cards valued at about $600 for Maureen’s Haven, a Riverhead-based nonprofit that serves the homeless. Meanwhile, the middle school’s Community Service Club baked more than 90 pumpkin bread loaves for holiday baskets at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church.

In Stony Brook, about 700 children from five local districts brought nonperishable food items for Long Island Cares as part of a free concert at the Staller Center in support of children’s hunger awareness. The performer was Tom Chapin, brother of the late singer-songwriter Harry Chapin.

“The students felt proud that they were involved in helping feed hungry children and families right here on Long Island,” said Pamela Trapanotto, a third-grade teacher at Bretton Woods Elementary School in Hauppauge, which bused some students to the performance.

In Smithtown, Accompsett Middle School’s National Junior Honor Society collected 36 boxes of food and the Community Service Club gathered six boxes of food for a local pantry.


Outdoor learning space unveiled

South Country Elementary School had a ribbon-cutting ceremony last month to unveil an outdoor learning space in the school’s courtyard. The space, which includes a gazebo, was made possible from a donation by the Ryan Family Foundation.

The ceremony was attended by dozens of students, staff and district administrators, including Superintendent Joe Bond.

“I can’t wait to see students out here writing poetry, conducting science experiments, and working on art projects,” Principal Johnna Grasso said.


Chromebook initiative

Cold Spring Harbor Junior/Senior High School has launched a 1:1 Chromebook initiative that will see all students in grades 7-12 with their own devices by fall 2018. It was made possible by a $100,904 donation from the Cold Spring Harbor Educational Foundation to fund Chromebooks, cases and carts.

The program began this fall with seventh-graders using Chromebook carts in the classroom. Those students will start taking home Chromebooks this month, with the carts becoming available to eighth-graders.

“Our students will be better prepared to achieve success in a world where they will be expected to function in global, technology-based and collaborative work environments,” Superintendent Rob Fenter said.


Kicks for Cancer raises $35G

The Hauppauge school district raised more than $35,000 this fall through the 9th Annual Kicks for Cancer event in honor of Courtney Tomkin, a student who died of brain cancer in 2008. It was the largest amount raised since the event’s launch.

The fundraiser — which collected money from donations, raffles and clothing sales — coincided with boys and girls varsity soccer games against Deer Park and Bellport high schools, respectively. The district’s event has raised $235,000 over the years for charities such as the American Cancer Society and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“Despite the less-than-perfect weather conditions this year, we had a tremendous turnout,” said Jesseca Kulesa, Hauppauge’s girls varsity soccer coach.

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