Two Long Island high schools were recognized recently for their commitment to fundraising and volunteerism.
Long Island Lutheran High School in Brookville and Northport High School were named grand-prize winners for Nassau and Suffolk counties, respectively, in Charity Champions, an annual program that encourages local high schools to raise funds for a charity of their choice.
Long Island Lutheran's efforts consisted of 600 students, as well as faculty and staff, helping to pack more than 300,000 food packets -- ranging from rice to soy -- over a three-day span in April. A majority of the food went to local organizations such as Island Harvest in Mineola, with a portion being shipped to a school in Haiti.
"This year, our students raised over $6,000 for the event by hosting a Souper Bowl lunch and benefit concert, selling T-shirts, and having a movie night," said Maureen Bonavita, the school's development and communications associate.
She noted that local sponsors and organizations pushed the total amount to more than $80,000. "These funds were then used to purchase food and supplies to create meal packets," she said.
Northport was recognized for hosting a soup-kitchen-style event called "Empty Bowls 2014," in which students created 500 ceramic bowls that were given to people who made a donation to attend a special dinner featuring musical entertainment.
The event raised more than $4,750 for the Ecumenical Lay Council Pantry in Northport.
Each high school was presented with $5,000 for its charity.
The program is sponsored by Optimum's "Power to Learn" initiative. Optimum is owned by Cablevision, which owns Newsday.
Pennies for Patients
Stewart School raised $27,515 in three weeks for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through a Pennies for Patients program, with students donating money they collected from spare change, household chores and even lemonade stands.
The amount raised was the program's highest this year on Long Island and sixth in the nation, school officials said.
A team of three fifth-graders from Locust Valley Intermediate School was one of eight national winners in the 22nd Annual ExploraVision competition, which challenged students to imagine technology that could exist in 20 years.
Roarke Creedon, Shawn Kapoor and Matthew Klein proposed making aircraft flights safer with an anti-icing innovation that involves nano-imprinting a lotus-leaf pattern onto a plane's exterior to help repel water.
The three each received a $10,000 savings bond and an all-expenses-paid trip to a gala awards weekend in Washington, D.C. To reach the national level, the team was one of six regional winners in their division.
The contest was coordinated by Toshiba and the National Science Teachers Association.
Hunger essay winners
Five Nassau County students were named first-place winners of $100 savings bonds last month in the 26th Annual World Food Day Essay Contest coordinated by Stop World Hunger Inc. in Amityville.
Participants were asked to respond to the question: "How can we inspire people to stop world hunger?" More than 2,000 essays came from 57 schools throughout Nassau, Suffolk, Queens and Brooklyn.
Winners were Grace Lavin of Our Lady of Victory School in Floral Park for grades 1-3, Sarah Van Riper of Our Lady of Victory School for grades 4-6, Nick Gaviria and Nick LaGrega of Sewanhaka High School in Floral Park for grades 7-8, and Esteban Ortiz of Garden City High School for grades 9-12.
Storm resilience ideas
Six teams from Long Island schools were winners in the second annual Long Island STEM Hub Celebration at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City.
The event challenged students to explain to a panel of industry and education reviewers how they would make Long Island structures and communities more resilient to future storms and climate change. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.
Teams winning gold awards came from Baldwin High School, Howard B. Mattlin Middle School in Plainview, Silas Wood Sixth Grade Center in Huntington Station, and Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School in Huntington Station. Teams winning silver awards came from Huntington High School and Henry L. Stimson Middle School in Huntington Station.
The event, which attracted more than 250 people, was coordinated by the Long Island STEM Hub, one of 10 organizations statewide designed to develop a system that will produce STEM-ready students.