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Long Island students observe 9/11 with moment of silence, service day

Students from Loretta Park Elementary School help unload

Students from Loretta Park Elementary School help unload "Stuff-A-Bus" school supplies from a bus at the Brentwood campus on Wednesday. Credit: James Carbone

Tens of thousands of Long Island students observed a moment of silence Wednesday to mark the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

A new state law encourages New York schools to observe the remembrance, although many Long Island students have been doing this for years, said Roberta Gerold, superintendent of schools in the Middle Country Central School District.

Almost all of today's schoolchildren, including many high school seniors, were not alive when the attacks happened, she said. But they still understand the importance of the day and its impact on the country, she added.

“We continue to value those who served our country,” Gerold said.

Some schools on Long Island were also the recipients on Wednesday of assistance as part of the National Day of Service created to mark the anniversary of the terror attacks.

The United Way of Long Island organized a “Stuff-A-Bus” program in which donated school supplies were delivered to 8,000 students in underprivileged school districts.

The pencils, markers, notebooks, rulers and backpacks were brought to schools in Amityville, Brentwood, Central Islip, Copiague, Freeport, Hempstead, Huntington, North Hempstead, the South Country School District and Wyandanch.

During August, 50 companies operated volunteer Stuff-A-Bus collection campaigns at their worksites. The program has delivered more than 935,000 school supplies to 40,000 children since it started in 2008.

“This is an incredibly important program that directly impacts young students’ success in the classroom. It provides a confidence boost and motivation to learn for children whose families may not be able to afford new notebooks, or other needed school supplies,” said Theresa A. Regnante, president and CEO of United Way of Long Island.

John Corrado, president of Suffolk Transportation Service, Inc., which helps run the program and provides the buses, said, “Each year, Stuff-A-Bus continues to grow in its reach. When the program was founded we knew the need was there, but never could I have imagined the true impact on the children.”

At the  Loretta Park Elementary School in Brentwood on Wednesday, a school bus pulled up packed with boxes of supplies, and students lined up to help unload them.

Bob McCarthy, the school’s principal, said the program has been “wonderful. It’s really been well received by the community, the kids.”

Every September the school has a welcome back orientation program at which the supplies are handed out to families in need, he said.

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