Thousands of Long Island students were introduced to the importance of voting — and even cast ballots of their own — as part of lessons held in conjunction with the U.S. presidential election.
In Amityville, high schoolers participated in a videoconference with field directors for Republican Andrew Garbarino and Democrat Jackie Gordon, who were vying to represent New York's 2nd Congressional District. Topics included the role of campaign volunteers and how students can get involved.
"There is more going on than just a presidential election," said Amityville social studies teacher Matthew Greiss, who advised students to know who represents them locally. "Whatever election is going on, I try to bring people in."
In Bellmore, Shore Road Elementary School students voted for their favorite book as part of the school's Pick a Reading Partner Week, which had a theme of "Read, White and Blue — Elect to Read." PARP is an initiative of the New York State PTA.
In Massapequa Park, second-graders at East Lake Elementary School filled out fictional voter-registration cards and cast ballots for their preferred cookie: chocolate chip or Oreos. Chocolate chip cookies won by one vote.
In Glen Head, elementary schoolers received "I Voted" stickers after casting ballots alongside life-size cutouts of presidential candidates Joe Biden and Donald Trump.
Red Ribbon Week
Many schools stressed the importance of avoiding drugs and alcohol as part of Red Ribbon Week, a national campaign held from Oct. 26 to 30.
In North Bellmore, Saw Mill Road Elementary School students showed their commitment to healthy choices by signing a banner featuring this year's theme: "Be Happy, Be Brave, Be Drug Free." Meanwhile, Newbridge Road Elementary School students signed drug-free pledges and learned how the decisions they make now can impact the rest of their lives.
In Seaford, middle schoolers learned about the consequences of drug use during physical education classes and signed virtual pledges to lead drug-free lives. They also participated in dress-up days, such as a pajama day that encouraged them to "follow their dreams."
In Merrick, Birch Elementary School students wrapped up the week by wearing Halloween costumes to "show their true character," school officials said.
Eighty-two students have been named Long Island Young Scholars of Mathematics by the Institute of Creative Problem Solving for Gifted and Talented Students at SUNY Old Westbury. The institute was founded in 1992 to enhance mathematical and creative-thinking skills for gifted students in grades five to 10.
Nassau County scholars and their school districts are: Shardul Singh, Bellmore-Merrick; Aaryan Rupesh, Miraj Shah and Diya Sheth, Bethpage; Sarah Chavez-Olaya and Jolsna Mathew, East Meadow; Vasantha Eswar and Kayla Xu, East Williston; Tiffany Zhang, Garden City; Darren Cheng and Maggie Wu, Great Neck; Ashish Jalwan, Namit Kapoor, Nikita Kumar and Justin Lui, Herricks; David Balzac, Hewlett-Woodmere; Arnav Chhatwal, Pearl Gupta, Jessica Kundra, Sruthi Nanugonda and Naresh Sivasankaran, Hicksville; Atharva Doke, Sophia Jin, Jack Li, Manfred Lim, Ruoxi Qian, Alexa Tan, Tianao Wang and Kevin Yu, Jericho; Jacklyn Biondo, Surya Das and Angelina Kireyeva, Levittown; Kathryn Kilpatrick, Locust Valley; Sohum Khatoria, Manhasset; Matthew Peitler, Mineola; Alan Aphraim, Atharva Bhagare and Alexander Krawczyk, New Hyde Park-Garden City Park; Harsham Dugar, Plainview-Old Bethpage; Leo Grigorenko and Theo Grigorenko, Port Washington; Matthew Lee, Roslyn; Sherwin Fernandes, Shyler Fernandes, Lily LeShack and Riya Lukose, Sewanhaka; and Om Arikkat, Kaylea Chen, Ethan Li, Chenxin Liu, Ria Mehta, Ishan Patel, Emily Su and Ryan Su, Syosset.
Jhanvi Gambhir, a Dix Hills resident who attends Friends Academy in Locust Valley, was also selected.