While the start of the 2020-21 school year has centered around COVID-19, Long Island students have also focused on another important illness: cancer.
Many schools have participated in cancer awareness activities and fundraisers in recognition of Childhood Cancer and Breast Cancer awareness months in September and October.
In North Merrick, students in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District's Meadowbrook Alternative Program and PREP Academy decorated a fence with pink ribbons to raise breast cancer awareness at the Brookside School.
"In addition to the fence ribbons, we [sold] ribbons as a fundraiser throughout Brookside," said the program's counselor and Key Club adviser Catrina Christensen.
In North Bellmore, students and staff in the district's five buildings wore gold and yellow for pediatric cancer awareness as part of the district's "Going Gold Day" on Sept. 25. Some of the schools' PTAs also sold gold shoelaces to benefit the nonprofit Solving Kids' Cancer.
In Farmingdale, the high school hosted a fundraiser, "Make ‘Cents' out of Breast Cancer; Together we can Make 'Change,'" in which students donated spare change to see which grade could raise the most for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
In Floral Park, Sewanhaka High School's Students and Teachers Against Cancer Club organized a Think Pink Day in which students and staff dressed in pink for breast cancer awareness on Oct. 22.
HICKSVILLE AND LEVITTOWN
Patterns for Patients
Four seniors from Division Avenue High School — Tarangini Arunachalam, Mahek Mody, Rhythm Osan and Vicky Zhang — along with Hicksville High School junior Jason Jiang have started a nonprofit organization that sends care packages to pediatric hospitals.
The nonprofit, Patterns for Patients, raises money for the care packages by selling homemade bracelets and accepting donations. The packages include items ranging from stickers to toys.
"Over quarantine, my friends and I decided to take up learning how to make friendship bracelets to pass time," said Arunachalam. "Soon enough, we had dozens of bracelets with no real purpose for them."
Many schools taught the importance of fire safety last month in recognition of National Fire Prevention Month.
In Long Beach, West Elementary School students participated in a Zoom workshop with members of the Long Beach Fire Department. Firefighter Sam Pinto led a virtual tour of the fire house, even showing how firefighters slide down the fire pole to quickly respond to emergencies.
In Manhasset, Munsey Park Elementary School classes were visited by Assistant Principal Brian Nolan, a 24-year member of the Locust Valley Volunteer Fire Department. Nolan advised kids to check the batteries in their home's smoke detectors and practice exit drills with family.
In Valley Stream, kindergartners at Clear Stream and Shaw Avenue elementary schools received a close-up look at fire gear and learned how to "stop, drop and roll" during a visit from the Valley Stream Fire Department.
Six Long Island students were among 193 artists worldwide to have their original flag designs flown around The Rink at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan as part of the Rockefeller Center Flag Project, which received more than 1,200 entries based on the theme "Show Your Love for New York." Winners had their designs transformed into 8-by-5-foot flags that were flown during August.
Student winners were Elias Sherman of Lynbrook High School and Becca Hochman, Zahra Khan, Ella Schacter, Stasya Selizhuk and Ella Woods from West Hollow Middle School in Melville. Claire Jung, a 2020 graduate of New Hyde Park Memorial High School, also won.