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Mineola students raise funds for Guatemalan school

In Mineola, students at Hampton Street Elementary School are hoping that a little spare change goes a long way.

A group of 45 third-graders is raising funds this school year to build a vocational school in Guatemala by collecting coins in donation containers they decorated with Central American-themed drawings ranging from quetzal birds to soccer balls.

To kick off the program, roughly 50 freshmen from Mineola High School visited Hampton Street last month to read aloud two children's books - "Guatemala ABCs: A Book About the People and Places of Guatemala" by Marcie Aboff and "My School in the Rain Forest" by Margriet Ruurs - and lead the youngsters in a series of cultural-themed activities.

"The minute you tell students they can help, they want to," said high school English teacher Maureen Connelly, who noted the fundraising idea was inspired by the efforts of Stephanie Fabrico, a 2001 graduate of Mineola High School who now volunteers in the Peace Corps.

Kickoff activities included everything from coloring books about Guatemala to price comparisons between products sold in Guatemala and other countries, Connelly said.

One activity required kids to draw a picture of what they believed a Guatemalan classroom to look like and then view a photo of an actual classroom.

"It's a lot worse than what they expect," said freshman Jon Lusardi of school conditions.

Freshman Rute Morais said, "This helps kids see they have more than other countries."

JERICHO

Murder mysteryJericho High School's forensic science students recently became amateur sleuths during a mock murder mystery in which they used their investigative skills to solve a fictional crime.

The program consisted of three crime scenes set up in the school. Groups of four students collected clues - ranging from shoe prints to a lipstick-stained cigarette butt - and to recreate the scene measured the location of evidence using a "triangulation method," which requires that objects be measured from two fixed points.

"Back in the lab, they . . . came up with a possible series of events that led to the crime," said teacher Angela Cancemi.

LYNBROOK

Gatorade brigadeLynbrook High School's Facing History and Ourselves Club and its football team joined forces to collect more than 650 packages of baby wipes and 125 pouches of powdered Gatorade for U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Club adviser Laura Devine came up with the idea following a conversation with her brother Patrick, who is currently on his first tour-of-duty there with the 101st Airborne Division. The items - collected from fans at Lynbrook's home football games - are useful to soldiers since they are living at a remote base with no running water, Devine said.

MASSAPEQUA

Window displaysMassapequa High School's fashion marketing students teamed up earlier this month to design and decorate a window display at Westfield-Sunrise shopping mall in Massapequa.

The displays - which consisted of various pink apparel, balloons and other items - were intended to give the roughly 20 students an opportunity to put their fashion skills to use while also promoting the LI2Day Breast Cancer Walk, a nonprofit that raises awareness and funds for breast cancer assistance. Apparel was provided by JC Penney and Lane Bryant.

COUNTYWIDE

Veterans DayDozens of schools throughout Long Island celebrated Veterans Day earlier this month with programs and activities designed to honor those who have served our country.

At Long Beach Middle School, students honored nearly 50 veterans from five wars - spanning World War II to the war in Iraq - by decorating halls with U.S. flags and hosting an in-school parade. Veterans split up to share personal stories with students in classrooms that honored different wars with slide shows, photos and other items.

In Massapequa, the high school and Alfred G. Berner middle school together planted 400 U.S. flags on their front lawns to pay tribute to veterans and active-duty soldiers alike. Flags were sponsored by community members and teachers for $25 each with proceeds benefiting the Massapequa Kiwanis Club.

In Bethpage, Charles Campagne Elementary School students were taught the proper way to "hold a flag, dispose of a flag, and how to form a color guard," school officials said.

ISLANDWIDE

GRAMMY semifinalistsTwelve LI schools are among 129 nationwide to be named 2011 GRAMMY Signature School semifinalists by the GRAMMY Foundation for "supporting music education as an integral part of its curriculum." Forty schools will win grants ranging from $500 to $5,000 based on recordings of their student ensembles. Semifinalists are:

Bay Shore: Bay Shore High School; Commack: Commack High School; East Meadow: East Meadow High School; East Setauket: Ward Melville High School; Great Neck: John L. Miller-Great Neck North High School and William A. Shine Great Neck South High School; Hewlett: George W. Hewlett High School; Huntington Station: Walt Whitman High School; Middle Island: Longwood High School; Northport: Northport High School; Sayville: Sayville High School; Westbury: W. Tresper Clarke High School.

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