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Student generosity in the spirit of Thanksgiving

In East Meadow, fourth-graders at Parkway Elementary School

In East Meadow, fourth-graders at Parkway Elementary School brought in canned goods and nonperishable food items for Island Harvest as part of the school's second annual Turkey Trot fundraiser. Credit: East Meadow School District

Some schools gathered treats for troops; others chose to feed the needy. For all, the common thread was generosity.

Across Long Island, students collected everything from leftover Halloween candy to Thanksgiving fixings in recent weeks in an effort to benefit less-fortunate families and soldiers overseas.

In Bellmore, students in Wellington C. Mepham High School’s new Leo Club — sponsored by the Bellmore Lions Club — collected more than eight shopping carts full of food donations by stationing themselves outside a local King Kullen. The food went to Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District’s new “Community Cupboard” pantry, district officials said.

“I am so proud of the Leos,” Mepham science teacher and club adviser Josephine Parlagreco said. “They are compassionate, enthusiastic and inspiring.”

In Glen Cove, children at Gribbin Elementary School collected 372 pounds of food — as well as 18 turkeys — for nearby Church of Saint Rocco. Meanwhile, Robert M. Finley Middle School’s National Junior Honor Society and Student Council collected enough food at a local Stop & Shop to create holiday food baskets for 40 families.

In Elmont, Covert Avenue Elementary School’s Student Council collected 60 pounds of candy — including non-chocolate candy for the Kuwait-based brigade of Maj. Everett Roberts, who is the husband of teacher Pam Roberts. Chocolate treats were sent to the Nassau County Veterans Service Agency.

“They felt honored to be able to help the soldiers have a small piece of home while serving overseas,” said Jessica Baumgartner, Covert Avenue’s Student Council adviser.

In Oceanside, high school students collected an impressive 10,000 pounds of food for baskets delivered to 225 families through a 30th annual Turkey Shoot.


4 schools get new principals

The New Hyde Park-Garden City Park school district has four new principals this school year: Amy Sullivan at Garden City Park School, Beth Torreano at Hillside Grade School, Ken Craft at Manor Oaks School, and Kim LaRegina at New Hyde Park Shore Road School.

Sullivan, who previously was principal of the West Hempstead district’s Kindergarten Center, replaced Jim Svendsen, who became curriculum and instruction director of the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park system. Ken Craft, who earlier was principal of Deasy Elementary School in Glen Cove, replaced Diane Weiss, who retired.

LaRegina, who replaced Peggy Marenghi, previously was assistant principal of Polk Street Elementary School in Franklin Square. Torreano, previously assistant principal of Howard B. Mattlin Middle School in Plainview, replaced Karen Olynk, who retired.


‘Schools of Opportunity’ distinction

South Side High School and East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School have been named Schools of Opportunity Gold and Silver Award recipients, respectively, by the National Education Policy Center. South Side was one of eight national winners, while East Rockaway was one of 12 national winners.

Schools were evaluated on efforts to close opportunity gaps by creating healthy school cultures, enriching curriculums, and using assessments aimed at responding to student needs.

“This recognition is like winning the Super Bowl for educators,” East Rockaway High School Principal Joe Spero said.


Four honored as ‘Schools of Character’

Four Nassau County schools — Jonas E. Salk Middle School in Levittown, Turtle Hook Middle School in Uniondale, Uniondale High School and Valley Stream South High School — are among 68 nationwide named 2016 National Schools of Character by, formerly known as the Character Education Partnership.

The schools were selected for being “exemplary models of character development following an in-depth and rigorous evaluation,” the website said. They were honored at the 23rd National Forum on Character Education in Washington, D.C.


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