Members of Hampton Bays Middle School’s Organization of Willing Leaders...

Members of Hampton Bays Middle School’s Organization of Willing Leaders (OWL) Club and Tri-M Music Honor Society recently volunteered their time to pack food donations for district families in need as part of a partnership with the nonprofit Heart of the Hamptons.  Credit: Hampton Bays School District

Long Island students are making the holidays more plentiful for families in need.

Dozens of food drives have been held at local schools in recent weeks to collect nonperishable items. One such effort challenged children at Sag Harbor Elementary School to perform chores at home for money or redeem empty cans as part of a “Cake in a Pan” project. The funds were used to purchase baking ingredients that were packaged in 34 disposable pans for the Sag Harbor Community Food Pantry.

“My goal is to increase opportunities for students to demonstrate altruism and to provide those opportunities for students to perform an act of service to benefit others,” Sag Harbor school counselor Michelle Grant said.

In Sayville, the high school hosted an “Empty Bowls” fundraiser in which community members bought hand-crafted ceramic bowls created by the school’s Art Club for $10. The $600 raised benefited the Greater Sayville Food Pantry.

In Baldwin, Meadow Elementary School’s student council organized a toiletry and food drive that filled five shopping carts, plus dozens of bags and boxes, for the food pantry at nearby Church of St. Christopher.

In Hicksville, the district’s nine schools participated in a drive that collected enough food and gift cards to feed more than 100 local families.

“This food drive was truly a team effort ... and a reminder to be thankful and grateful for the very special giving community we have,” said Hicksville’s guidance supervisor, Efthymia Rafaelides.


Nation’s Report Card

Baldwin School District Superintendent Shari Camhi has been appointed to the National Assessment Governing Board.

The board, established by Congress in 1988, oversees and sets policies for the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which is known as “The Nation’s Report Card.” It is also responsible for deciding which subjects are assessed.

“Shari has demonstrated forward-thinking leadership on a national and local scale, including how out-of-school opportunities and workforce preparation can advance academic success and prepare students for bright futures,” said the board’s executive director, Lesley Muldoon.



Cold Spring Harbor Jr./Sr. High School recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil a new STEAM Wing. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math.

The wing includes a three-room suite featuring a family and consumer science room, an art suite and a technology classroom for robotics and engineering projects. The adjoining suites provide opportunities for “cross collaboration and multipurpose versatility,” school officials said.

“I’m confident our students will take advantage of every opportunity available in our STEAM wing to develop the skills needed to become tomorrow’s innovators and leaders,” said Superintendent Jill Gierasch.


Coca-Cola Scholars

Twenty Long Island students are among 1,514 semifinalists nationwide in the 2024 Coca-Cola Scholars Program for their leadership skills, academic achievements and community service. A total of 150 will be named scholars this spring and receive $20,000 scholarships.

Semifinalists and their school districts: Joseph Darcourt, Bellmore-Merrick; Jaida Ciampi, Glen Cove; Niyanth Ponnusamy, Half Hollow Hills; Zahel Nasari, Hicksville; Natasha Kulviwat, Jericho; Ryan Guzman, Kings Park; Eva Zheberlyaeva, Longwood; Ashley Edgar, Sachem; Yusef Lateef, Sewanhaka; Brynn Johnsen, South Country; Amy Estrada, Southold; Alex Chen, Syosset; Dori Chau, Valley Stream Central; James Tullo, Wantagh; and Kenneth Miller, West

Other semifinalists: Jacqueline Bodycomb, Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead; Suryielle Faradi and Carim Jalloh, St. Mary’s in Manhasset; Ewan Hargraves, St. Anthony’s in Huntington Station; and Lealand Stewart, a homeschooled student from Brookhaven.

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