Thousands of Long Island students kicked off the first days of school in style, thanks to the generosity of local residents.
Donations of new clothes, backpacks and school supplies helped children in need, with the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless making one of the largest efforts.
The Amityville-based nonprofit distributed about 2,500 backpacks and school supplies to children in need. Those efforts included a Back Pack Pirates Summer Festival, a one-day summer camp experience that provided back-to-school clothes, shoes and jackets to nearly 400 homeless children from local shelters and foster care programs.
“Many of the children have barely known anything other than clothes from strangers or hand-me-downs,” said Greta Guarton, the coalition’s executive director. “It’s important for them to feel excited, enthusiastic, and ready to learn and be treated at the same level as their peers.”
In Westbury, 1,000 backpacks filled with supplies were given to children and their parents at Martin Bunky Reid Park, courtesy of the Nassau County Police Benevolent, Detectives and Superior Officers associations. This was the third year that the police unions sponsored the giveaway.
In Hicksville, the Rotary Club of Hicksville South provided about 500 backpacks to local organizations, including the Roosevelt Civic Association, the Hicksville school district and the Hicksville Boys & Girls Club.
In Valley Stream, Green Acres Mall joined forces with Assemb. Brian Curran (R-Lynbrook) and Hempstead Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney to give away about 150 backpacks.
“All children deserve a fair shot at proper education, and being properly equipped can only help them,” Curran said.
Melanie Arfman has been appointed principal of Deasy Elementary School, replacing Ken Craft, who now is principal of Manor Oaks William R. Bowie School in New Hyde Park.
Arfman has spent 30 years in the Glen Cove school district and most recently was the K-12 social studies and English coordinator. She also spent 18 years as a social studies instructor.
“My educational philosophy is hinged upon the belief that each and every student is capable of achieving their very best and reaching high standards when they are treated as a valuable part of the learning community,” Arfman said. “I look forward to working with the talented staff and parents to bring this philosophy to fruition.”
New Holy Trinity principal
Kathleen Moran is the new principal of Holy Trinity Diocesan High School. She replaced Gene Fennell, who now is principal of St. Anne’s School in Garden City.
Moran, a graduate of Holy Trinity, has worked for the Diocese of Rockville Centre since 1977. She began her teaching career at St. John the Evangelist Elementary School in Center Moriches and began serving as a classroom teacher at Holy Trinity in 1989. Later, she became the school’s social studies chairwoman and assistant principal.
“I look forward to being the first graduate, the first Titan, to serve as principal,” Moran said. “The words ‘Once a Titan, always a Titan’ ring true for me.”
New Willow Road principal
Rosalie Ambrosio is the new principal of Willow Road Elementary School. She replaced Stephanie Capozzoli, who retired.
Ambrosio was an assistant principal for the past seven years at a school in Queens for kindergartners through eighth-graders. She also has served as a math teacher at the middle school and high school levels.
“I look forward to welcoming back the children and meeting all the members of the Willow Road community,” she said before the school year’s start.