One of the first lessons learned by students this school year was the importance of cancer awareness.
Schools across Long Island participated in an array of charitable activities — ranging from sports-themed fundraisers to pink pumpkin sales — in recognition of Childhood Cancer and Breast Cancer awareness months in September and October.
In West Islip, the high school's Vocal Motion group performed at a kickoff event for the West Islip Breast Cancer Coalition's Pink Flags of October Celebration, which saw hundreds of pink flags displayed in honor of individuals impacted by the disease in front of Good Samaritan Hospital.
"It was a beautiful day that showed love and devotion to those who have been affected by breast cancer," said Eric Albinder, West Islip's art and music education director.
In Nesconset, Great Hollow Middle School raised $2,400 through a Coaches vs. Cancer fundraiser to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island. The eighth annual event raised money through the sales of T-shirts and wristbands for entry to field hockey, football and soccer games.
In Sayville, a group of 150 high schoolers and two faculty teams raised $300 through a dodgeball tournament to benefit the American Cancer Society. The tournament was coordinated by the school's junior class and refereed by class advisers Lynn Ann Perlin and Sue Hart.
In Bohemia, Connetquot High School's girls volleyball team raised roughly $5,000 through a charity game to benefit the Dezy Strong Foundation.
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The Sachem Central School District has two new principals: Thomas Desmond at Wenonah Elementary School, and Andrew Larson at Hiawatha Elementary. Desmond replaced the retiring Christine DiPaola, while Larson replaced Kathleen O'Farrell.
Desmond previously was an assistant principal at the district's Samoset Middle School and Sachem High School East. Larson previously was an assistant principal at Sachem East and Sachem High School North.
"I look forward to collaborating with all stakeholders to enhance the academic and socio-emotional programs offered to our students," Desmond said.
"It is a tremendous honor to be a new member of the Hiawatha community," Larson said.
Many local schools educated students on fire safety in recognition of National Fire Prevention Month in October.
In Bayport, kindergartners at Sylvan Avenue Elementary learned the importance of changing a smoke detectors' batteries every six months and how to "stop, drop and roll" during a visit to the Bayport Fire Department. They also split into groups for activities such as operating a fire hose.
In Smithtown, kindergartners at Mount Pleasant Elementary toured the inside of a firetruck and were encouraged not to hide or be afraid of firemen if they enter their home during a visit to the Smithtown Fire Department.
In Westhampton Beach, elementary schoolers watched a fire safety video featuring Timon and Pumbaa from Disney's "The Lion King."
Seventy-seven Long Island schools were among 562 statewide named 2018-19 Recognition Schools by the New York State Education Department for their high achievement, student growth and graduation rate during the 2017-18 school year.
The Garden City School District had four schools earn the designation, which was the most on Long Island, while the Bellmore-Merrick, Commack and Great Neck districts had three designated schools. Ten school districts — East Islip, East Meadow, Half Hollow Hills, Hewlett-Woodmere, Island Trees, Levittown, Roslyn, Sachem, Shoreham-Wading River and Smithtown — had two designated schools, while 43 school districts had one designated school.
The Academy Charter School in Hempstead was also among this year's designated schools.