A new club at North Shore High School in Glen Head is seeking students for a new mission: to help their peers become more responsible citizens.

The school launched a youth court club last month, the first of its kind in Nassau County, to recruit more students to participate in Nassau County's Youth Court.

The Youth Court program allows teens accused of minor, nonviolent offenses to be judged and punished by their peers instead of going through a traditional process. Cases usually are heard at Hempstead Village Court.

The club, which has about a dozen members, was created by North Shore senior Alexa Bennett, 17, the daughter of state Supreme Court Justice Stacy Bennett. "I thought if I could form a club, more kids could learn about the program," she said.

"After participating in many trials," she said, "I can see the impact it has on the lives of troubled teens by helping them see the consequences of their actions. Sometimes it's easier for them to understand a point of view of students their age."

To be referred to Youth Court, defendants must be 17 or younger and take responsibility for their offenses, which typically range from graffiti to petty larceny. About 60 student volunteers take on various roles, such as attorneys, bailiffs and jurors.

Punishments range from community service to oral and written apologies and fines.

"It's a great taste of real-world experience that students don't get in a classroom," said Donna Rice, the club's adviser.

The Youth Court is administered by the Nassau County district attorney's office.



New principal

Raymond A. Williams has been appointed principal of Hicksville High School. He replaced Brijinder Singh, who retired. Williams previously served as the principal of North Babylon High School.



New principal

Amy Pernick is the principal of Shaw Avenue Elementary School in Valley Stream Union Free School District 30. She replaced Johane Ligondé, who is now principal of J.W. Dodd Middle School in Freeport.

Pernick, who has worked at Shaw Avenue Elementary for 19 years, started as a substitute teacher and has been assistant principal the past five years.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to continue to work in a community so dear to my heart," Pernick said.



New principals

Anthony Ciuffo Jr. is the new principal of Forest Lake Elementary School, and Randee Bonagura is the new principal of Wantagh Elementary School. Ciuffo replaced Laurance Anderson, who held the position on an interim basis, and Bonagura replaced Donald Sternberg, who retired.

Ciuffo served the past two years as assistant principal of Wantagh Middle School. Before that, he was a physical education teacher and elementary supervisor at Wantagh Elementary. Bonagura previously was principal of Babylon Memorial Grade School.

"I am thrilled to continue my administrative career in the district that I have called home for my entire professional career," Ciuffo said. "It is my goal to build upon the sense of community that Forest Lake has enjoyed for many years."

Bonagura said: "I am looking forward to working closely with our teachers, students and parents to continue a tradition of academic excellence and supporting positive relationships with our community."



National ensembles

Thirty-four student musicians from Long Island are among a group of 300 teens nationwide selected to perform at the All National Honors Festival in Nashville, Tenn., on Oct. 27-30.

The event, sponsored by the National Association for Music Education, selected students in the following categories: concert band, jazz band, mixed choir and symphony orchestra.

The 16 Nassau County students who were chosen are Justin Bergson and Hyunkee Sung of Syosset High School, Erick Celedonio of Oceanside High School, Gregory DeAngelis, Brendan Hopkins and Matt Malanowski of Farmingdale High School, Alana DeGregorio of Wellington C. Mepham High School in North Bellmore, Timothy Diovanni of Massapequa High School, Jessica Drucker and Sam Huang of Great Neck South High School, Joshua Goldenberg of Roslyn High School, Paul Kim of The Wheatley School in Old Westbury, Claudia Kolanovic of Glen Cove High School, Lauren Lamonsoff of Sanford H. Calhoun High School in Merrick, Joslyn Thomas of Herricks High School, and Ethan Usoskin of Paul D. Schreiber High School in Port Washington.

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