The importance of giving was an invaluable lesson imparted this month to kids across Long Island.
For the holiday season, local schools hosted everything from winter clothing collections to gift drives to help benefit everyone from soldiers overseas to children and firefighters.
In Sag Harbor, students and families provided gifts for 45 local children in need through a Mitten Line program, with donors picking paper mittens that bore gift ideas from a clothesline at Sag Harbor Elementary School. This year’s recipients were the most in the program’s 20-year history, school officials said.
“Part of the art of being human is being aware of your neighbors,” Sag Harbor Superintendent Katy Graves said.
Students and staff at Great Neck Road Elementary School in Copiague filled 20 boxes with books, movies, candy and other items for soldiers overseas. The school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions Club also created colorful holiday cards for members of the Copiague Fire Department.
In North Babylon, the high school’s Students for a Better World Club collaborated with Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk to rebuild a home that was damaged during superstorm Sandy for a war veteran. The project is expected to be completed by Christmas Day.
In Rocky Point, the middle school’s select chorus performed a number of songs from their winter concert repertoire for local senior citizens during a weekly meeting at a nearby Veterans of Foreign Wars hall.
Fashion merchandising students at Eastern Suffolk BOCES’ Bixhorn Technical Center put their talents into action this fall by creating the designs for window displays at two boutiques in downtown Sayville.
The project was designed to give the teens real-life work experience that can’t be duplicated in the classroom.
The ideas were approved by owners of the two boutiques, Therapy Life & Style and Ooh La La. Therapy Life’s window featured images and props of timepieces and travel trunks, while Ooh La La featured both hand-painted and artificial leaves pinned onto mannequins.
“They did a fantastic job and I am so proud of them,” said Joyce Simms, the Bixhorn center’s fashion merchandising teacher.
“Taste of the Town”
East Islip High School’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Career Academy hosted a “Taste of the Town” event that attracted some 500 community members — double that of last year’s debut — for a night of food, music and dancing.
A total of 35 local eateries brought a minimum of two trays of dishes to sample at the event, held Oct. 29.
The evening was planned by the academy’s students, who handled everything from soliciting businesses to distributing posters around the community.
Teens in the district’s three other career academies volunteered to help at the event.
Aidan McIlvaine, an eighth-grader at Paul J. Gelinas Junior High School, has become a published author with completion of his book, “The Elementals: The Beginning,” which is about a team of teens with special powers who work to defeat an evil reign of terror. The science fiction paperback was released by KidPub Press in October.
Aidan wrote the 128-page book over the course of a year with help from his friend Dylan Matthews, who provided inspiration for the storyline throughout the development process. Lou Petrucci, a sixth-grade teacher in the school district, also inspired Aidan by sharing his experiences as an author.
“Writing is an outlet for me — something that I enjoy to do in my free time,” said Aidan, who plans to write a sequel.