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Nassau notebook: Schools raise funds for Haiti relief

From dressing down to skipping snacks, students across Long Island have pitched in to collect monetary donations for the relief effort to aid victims of the Haiti earthquake.

In Seaford, Maria Regina School raised $2,000 by encouraging students to wear jeans instead of their usual uniforms in exchange for a donation of $1 to Catholic Relief Services, an international humanitarian agency.

"No matter how small a donation it is, it's something that will impact people," said Edward Escobar, Mineola High School principal. "It's important for kids to know they can make a difference."

He said the Student Services Center, Student Government and Red Cross Club teamed up to host a pancake breakfast last weekend for $3 a person. The district advertised the event on its Web site and sent invitations home to parents. The students raised $12,000.

In Miller Place, North Country Road Middle School students are donating $5 each to wear red and blue for Haiti's flag and to benefit the nonprofit Doctors Without Borders.

West Babylon Junior High students are forgoing snacks and depositing the unused money in jugs set up in the cafeteria to benefit the nonprofit organizations Friends of the Orphans. "One student put in a $10 bill as soon as the collection jugs went out," said guidance counselor Lorraine Zemba.

Students and staff at Jack Abrams Intermediate School in Huntington Station are participating in a Hats for Haiti initiative, paying $1 each to wear a hat to school - an act that is typically against school policy.



Insight into Tourette'sRushmore Avenue School fourth-graders recently learned about Tourette's syndrome and how it affects children during a visit from the Long Island Tourette's Association.

The program included lectures on vocal and motor tics and a discussion of celebrities who suffer from the syndrome. A workshop challenged kids to write the Pledge of Allegiance while being continuously interrupted and distracted - similar to the effects of Tourette's.

"Tourette's is a syndrome that is becoming more and more prevalent in schools, but many students know very little about it," said fourth-grade teacher Kathleen Marconi.



Playground dedication

Parkway Elementary School recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new playground that was made possible by $19,000 collected through fundraising efforts coordinated by the school's PTA. A new park bench is expected to be donated by Girl Scout Troop No. 1563 in the near future.

Those in attendance included PTA co-presidents Samantha Euler and Amy Perticare, principal Louis Panzica and Superintendent Louis DeAngelo, who took a ceremonial first slide down that piece of equipment.



Live TV productionLocust Valley High School students recently experienced a live video shoot when TV production classes filmed a performance by the school's 55-student symphonic band.

The teens used a range of professional camera equipment, including a jib crane, and followed instructions issued over headsets by a student director. A technical director selected shots to use from a panel of screens in the next room.

"Filming a live concert that they cannot stop because they missed the angle - that's knowledge they can't gain otherwise," said TV production teacher Robert Zahn.



Long-distance animal loveWaverly Park School students are raising funds to help establish the first-ever no-kill animal shelter in the Galápagos Islands that will neuter stray animals and treat them for various injuries and disease. The students came up with the idea after studying the ecosystem of the islands.

The kids have raised $200 this winter by completing household chores - a total matched by principal Lucille McAssey and teachers Susan Lindner and Jackie Miller - and plan to raise additional funds by recycling plastic bottles. Funds benefit the Amigo Fiel Animal Hospital.



DECA competitionNearly 300 students from Nassau County schools were named winners earlier this month in the Distributive Education Clubs of America regional competition at Nassau Community College. They will advance to the state level in Rochester on March 10-12. Local winners were:

Farmingdale: Saniya Khan, Rebecca Lombardi, Adam Makkawi, Robert Sutherland and Samantha Turetsky of Farmingdale High School; Levittown: Harry Brar, Anthony Galli, Don Hunker, Errol Kuppelian, Ameer Muhammed, Nicole Murad, Brandon Oliveri, Andrew Reicherter, Gabe Rodriguez and Josh Sherman of Division Avenue High School; Massapequa: Jennifer DeLetto, Justin Goldberg, Nick LaTorre, Josef Pevsner, Andrew Prafder and Paul Schianno of Massapequa High School; Merrick: Christopher Behnke, Jake Behrman, Phillipa Boyes, Kimberly Brower, Kurt Brown, Erin Cardinal, Meghan Flood, Brittany Ledgin, Marissa Levy, Ashley McGetrick, Michaela Murphy, Devon Ott, Nicole Pernice, Amanda Phillips, Catherine Ruvolo, Kevin Ryan, Samantha Sachs, Adam Samuels, Carolyn Scanlon, Andrew Schreiber, James Sciolto, Christopher Serenita, Leah Sobel, Michelle Strauss, Laura Tejo and Corey Werbelow of Sanford H. Calhoun High School; Westbury: Alan Alex, Haley Carey, Erin Dunleavy, Alex Evangelatos, Jed Fantastico, Samantha Difilippi, Jamie Gelberg, Shaina Himelstein, Michael Itzla, Rachel Karcher, Alexandra Leonardo, Norman Mathews, Alexis Mello, Vanessa Moreno, Jennifer Neidle, Thomas Randazzo, Tiffany Rose, Kelly Schneider, Arjan Singh, Carra So and Apeksha Tayal of W. Tresper Clarke High School.

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