Students at Wyandanch High School received a welcome surprise this school year: completed new uniforms.
The high school last year began implementing a uniform dress policy for its students and distributed blazers, sweaters and polo shirts in the school colors of green, gold and black, all embroidered with the school insignia. The uniforms were made possible through a donation of more than $100,000 from real estate developer Jeffrey Gural.
Principal Paul Sibblies said that after just a couple of months of the uniform policy, students’ attitudes changed, with many proudly referring to their school as “Wyandanch Prep.” Lateness declined and student participation increased.
But the donation did not cover uniforms for the entire school and only 545 students out of a population of nearly 700 had some components of the uniform. Not wanting to put the cost of the uniforms on parents, Sibblies struggled to find additional funding. Then he heard from Kevin Gersh.
Gersh is the founder of Gersh Academy, a school for children on the autism spectrum, and West Hills Day Camp, both in Huntington. He read about the uniforms in Newsday and raised $22,000 for the school. He also found a new uniform supplier who could provide the uniforms for a deep discount from what the school was previously paying, from $167 per uniform to $114.
“These uniforms boost students’ self-esteem while providing them with respect for themselves and others,” Gersh said in a statement.
Now nearly all of the students have complete uniforms, with the remaining items expected to be delivered by this week.