The generosity of students and staff in local schools is making the holiday season extra special — and extra tasty — for those in need across Long Island.

Dozens of school food drives gave students a chance to combat hunger by filling kitchens of less-fortunate families with everything from Thanksgiving turkeys to Christmas cookies.

In Bellport, students and staff at Bellport Middle School collected more than 2,400 food items — breaking the school’s previous record of 1,628 items — through a holiday food drive to benefit the nearby Lighthouse Mission. Student Council President Carly Diolosa led the way by organizing a student team to solicit donations outside of Cirillo’s Market IGA.

“The continuous help and support is a reminder of what makes our community a very special place to learn, work and live,” said Sal DiPuma, the school’s Student Council adviser.

In Shirley, John S. Hobart Elementary School’s Student Council collected 930 food items by hitting the streets to ask neighbors to donate for the St. Jude Outreach Food Pantry. Meanwhile, William Floyd Elementary School raised $575 for a food drive at Colonial Youth & Family Services through the sale of paper turkeys that were hung throughout the building.

In Bayport, James Wilson Young Middle School collected 3,240 nonperishable items for the pantry at Our Lady of the Snow Church and a soup kitchen in Patchogue. The effort was part of a contest among homerooms to see which could collect the most to win a bagel breakfast.

In Rocky Point, the second-grade service club at Frank J. Carasiti Elementary School collected hundreds of nonperishable food items for local pantries through a weeklong drive.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

“It makes me feel good, because I know the donations are going to help families who don’t have enough food,” second-grader Kyle Contri said.


Grand-prize winner

Daniella Lyn Bolettieri, a third-grader at Ridge Elementary School, is one of 10 grand-prize winners nationwide in PETE’s Bathroom Bin Challenge.

The recycling contest invited kids to submit a 150-word essay and poster on why recycling bathroom products is important and how they inspire their family to recycle more.

For winning, she received a bicycle, a helmet and a National Parks pass. The contest was coordinated by Scholastic Inc. and Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.’s “Care to Recycle” program.


Concert documentary

Sayville High School senior Sean McNally was selected to make a documentary of the National Association for Music Education’s All-National Honor Ensembles Festival, held in Nashville on Oct. 28.

The honor makes him the first student asked to make such a documentary, school officials said. The festival included 673 students from across the country.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

The invitation was the result of a high-quality video that McNally created last school year showcasing the school’s orchestra and chorale performing a tune by singer-songwriter RaeLynn, a contestant on season two of NBC’s “The Voice.”


All-State musicians

A total of 329 Long Island student-musicians were among more than 900 statewide selected by the New York State School Music Association to perform at the association’s 2015 Winter Conference, held this month in Rochester.

The performances included eight All-State groups: wind ensemble, symphonic band, instrumental and vocal jazz ensembles, string orchestra and symphony orchestra, and women’s chorus and mixed chorus.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

All-State selection is divided into 15 zones, which represent geographic areas within the state and take into account the student population in those zones. They were chosen from more than 6,500 sophomores and juniors statewide who were evaluated by NYSSMA judges last spring.