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Long Beach students raise funds for S.C. storm victims

Long Beach High School students load a box

Long Beach High School students load a box truck with supplies they collected for a school community in South Carolina impacted by Hurricane Joaquin. Credit: Long Beach School District

Long Beach teenagers with memories of superstorm Sandy are paying it forward by raising money for a school community in South Carolina affected by Hurricane Joaquin.

A group of 15 students at the district’s NIKE Work Based Learning Center had raised $1,350 as of last month by soliciting donations from local businesses to benefit students and faculty at River Bluff High School in Lexington, South Carolina.

The connection between Long Beach and South Carolina was the work of the NIKE center’s teacher-in-charge Howard Fuchs, who has a friend among those hit by flooding in October. The center, which opened in September, is geared toward preparing high schoolers with real-world experiences by extending classrooms to include the whole community.

“People there are experiencing what people here experienced during Sandy,” Fuchs said. “Instead of buying Christmas gifts for their kids, they’re replacing necessities at home.”

To kick off the fundraising, Long Beach students created brochures that they used in asking businesses to make donations through a webpage they set up for the cause. Donations ranged from direct online payments to store gift certificates.

Other items included enough water and toiletries to fill a box truck, which the teens loaded. It was driven to South Carolina by volunteer workers from the City of Long Beach, Fuchs said.

The Long Beach students recently spoke to their South Carolina counterparts via FaceTime to share stories and give them hope for the future.

“We know it is desperately needed during this difficult time,” Long Beach junior Reef Ossandon said of giving hope.


Water walk

Woodland Middle School seventh-graders recently donated more than $800 to the nonprofit Water for South Sudan through a fundraiser in which they paid $1 each to walk a mile around school grounds while carrying a gallon of water.

The effort was inspired by the students’ reading of Linda Sue Park’s 2010 best-selling short novel “A Long Walk to Water,” based on a true story about an 11-year-old boy named Salva who safely led 150 boys to Kenya during the South Sudanese civil war.

The students’ actions also funded 350 jugs of water for the nonprofit Island Harvest.


Broadcast club

Wisdom Lane Middle School students are learning the skills to pull together a monthly television broadcast through a new club, named Wisdom Lane 360. The 60-member group creates segments about events in the school community and posts them on the district’s website.

Club tasks include researching songs and animations for use in potential segments, editing footage using Premier software, and acting as anchors.

“At first, the teachers would film and write the information for the broadcast, but students are quickly acquiring the skills needed to create a successful segment each month — maybe each week in the future,” said Chris Leahy, a club adviser.


Signature Schools

Sixteen Long Island high schools are among 119 schools nationwide selected as 2016 GRAMMY Signature School semifinalists by the GRAMMY Foundation for making an “outstanding commitment to music education,” the organization said.

The high schools are Comsewogue in Port Jefferson Station, East Meadow, Freeport, Garden City, Great Neck North, Great Neck South, Herricks, Hewlett, Huntington, Long Beach, Miller Place, Paul D. Schreiber in Port Washington, Plainedge, Valley Stream Central, W. Tresper Clarke in Westbury and Walt Whitman in South Huntington.

Schools were judged on an extensive survey they submitted about their music programs. Finalists will be announced in March and receive a grant ranging from $1,000 to $6,000.

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