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Suffolk Notebook: Students raise money for Haiti

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.

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.

"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 Friends of the Orphans. "One student put in a $10 bill as soon as the collection jugs went out," said guidance counselor Lorraine Zemba.

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.

COPIAGUE

College planning

Copiague public schools gave students a preview of life after high school earlier this month through the district's first-ever K-12 College Day.

The program included alumni speakers and an exhibit of mock dorm rooms set up at Walter G. O'Connell High School and Copiague Middle School. At night, parents attended a college fair and lectures on topics ranging from financial planning to transitional services for students with disabilities.

"Research is clear: Children who aspire to college perform better academically," said Superintendent Charles Leunig.

MANORVILLE

DWI realities for teens

Eastport-South Manor Junior-Senior High School's criminal justice and business law classes recently learned about the social and legal repercussions of a DWI arrest during a visit from officials of the Suffolk County Sheriff's Department.

As part of the project, teens attempted to complete a variety of sobriety tests - such as walking a straight line - while wearing "simulation goggles" that allowed them to experience how alcohol can distort vision. They also learned how arrests can hurt their ability to obtain jobs.

MASTIC BEACH

Prom price break

William Floyd High School seniors have sold more than 300 T-shirts this winter to lower the price of this year's prom tickets in the sluggish economy.

The shirts, which cost $5 for students and $10 for adults, bear slogans that reflect a new district policy barring a student from attending the prom if more than 18 absences are accumulated. Slogans include, "We dig attendance" and "Let's go to class ... all the cool kids are doing it."

MILLER PLACE

Wheelchair basketball

Miller Place High School students learned about the challenges of being physically disabled earlier this month during a visit from Jason Soricelli of Selden, a player in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. As part of the program, Soricelli brought 10 wheelchairs for teens to practice navigating in and to play in a game of five-on-five wheelchair basketball.

Soricelli was injured in a dirt-bike accident six years ago that left him unable to walk.

NORTHPORT

Interim principal

Josephine Imwalle, 60, has been named interim principal of Fifth Avenue Elementary School. She replaces Joan Baltman, 56, who died in late December after battling cancer.

Before joining Fifth Avenue in 1998, Baltman served as principal of Public School 255 in Queens. Imwalle previously served as the district's community services director.

COUNTYWIDE

DECA competition

More than 500 students from Suffolk County schools were named winners earlier this month in the Distributive Education Clubs of America regional competition at Suffolk County Community College. They will advance to the state level in Rochester on March 10-12. Local top-five winners in the 34 divisions were:

Babylon: Christian Amelia, Jaycee Angello, Delaney Cassidy, Kelly Corcoran, Elliot Courtney, Charlie Gambino, Kerry Glenday, Mackenzie Grant, Jamie Mott and Shannon Weber of Babylon High School; Copiague: April Garrovillas, Emily Hall, Corey O'Brien and Jacob Ohrnberger of Walter G. O'Connell Copiague High School; Deer Park: Blaise Cresciullo, Jonathan Frohnhoefer, Christopher Jablonski, Amanda Orzo, Christopher Ottersen and Michael Soldano of Deer Park High School; Lindenhurst: Taner Aydin, Mike Ficurilli, Matt Gafone, Rickey Grimes and David Wallach of Lindenhurst High School.

Mattituck: Dan Ciamaricone, Amy Dries, James Finora, Melissa Hand, Colin Keil, Rebecca Mincieli, Evan Reed, Chaz Schneider, Angela Sidlauskas, Jennifer Siegfried, Jessica Stumpf and Kaitlin Villano of Mattituck High School; Shoreham: Taylor Brant and Emily Espenkotter of Shoreham-Wading River High School; Southold: Elizabeth Anderson, Kaitlin Daddona, Anne Davey, John Dunne, Megan Glenn, Sarah Hallock, Tyler Mehrman, Kate Moore, Jack O'Donnell, Jennifer Roslak, Darrin Standish and Desmond Tetrault of Southold High School.

Dix Hills: Scott Abrahamson, Dylan Berkenfeld, Schuyler Berland, Jesse Bierman, Meg Edelman, Alexa Goetz, Ian Heller, Christian Laskaros, Madison Marisi, Nicole Napolitano, Adam Needelman, Robert Qiao and Aneesh Shah of Half Hollow Hills High School East; Adit Babureddy, Molly Fenner, Alex Fortgang, Avery Geller, Daniel Goldstein, Brandon Isaacs, Casey Merber, Matthew Rudin, Karishma Sabhnani, Max Sanders, Jill Santore, Davide Sferrazza, Nick Sferrazza and Ali Spike of Half Hollow Hills High School West; Greenlawn: Maxine Belus, Elijah Johnson, Emily Kretzer, Darren Morgan and Casey Smith of Harborfields High School; Hauppauge: Sarah Ahearn, Danielle Cecchini, LeighAnne Garstka, Hamayra Kabir, Jonathan Kriklava, Emilie Litsas, Erin Osipowich and Leslie Umali of Hauppauge High School; Huntington Station: Carly Bencivenga, Jon Blasano, Corey Bloom, Andrew Brieff, Anthony Campanella, Nick Cutrone, Molly Daugherty, Mark Egger, Nikki Fabrizio, Edmund Gezelter, Chad Hladki, Olivia Knott, Mandy Krass, Marlena Luhr, Kristina Maimis, Linsey McDonald, Paige Melinis, Aseef Raihan, Zach Rotter and Jen Smith of Walt Whitman High School; Northport: Bobby Brenan, Tyler Forte, Anthony Gallucci, Amy Goldberg, Sam Kim, Ryan McManus, Chirag Munim, Noel Purcell, Harrison Schiff and William Shields of Northport High School; Smithtown: Alex Barnes, Matthew Basile, Katrina Conlin, Gabrielle Cuccurullo, Reena Glaser, Brandon Goren, Hunter Holland, Gregory Klubok, Brittany Latronica, Michele Mattera, Mary More, Heather Mundinger, Chris Sidnam and Matt Solomon of Smithtown High School West; South Huntington: Andrew Davis, Woo Kyeong, Freeman Love, Brandon Short and Ashley Trainor of St. Anthony's High School; St. James: Kenneth Bogart, Caitlin Fredericks, Pat Kelly, Kelsey Amarosa, Michael Contegni, Kayla Goff, Chris Grenzig, Adam Kiridly, Lyndsey Knoeller, Christina Link, Meaghan McKeever, Rob O'Gara, Nicholas Pappalardo, Christopher Pederson, Marissa Popolo, Kevin Schlakman, Alice Shan, Kristen Zehner, and Taylor Zografakis of Smithtown High School East.

Bohemia: Louis Cozzetto, Matt Dalton, Ryan Fuellbier, Jackie Gerrato, Alex Rienzie, Matt Schulze and Joe Walsh of Connetquot High School; Brentwood: Daniel Calderon, Jonathan Escobar, Aaron Gibbings, Shabir Hamlin and Jared Hudson of Brentwood High School; Farmingville: Teresa Alvarez, Nicholas Bejarano, Aditya Ramesh, Benjamin Rasa, Megan Salazar and Pranav Sathyanarayanan of Sachem High School East; Lake Ronkonkoma: Elisa Auguste, Evan Bloom, John Rizik, Sara Rizik, Harry Roberts and Michael Turo of Sachem High School North; West Islip: Mike Tavella of West Islip High School.

Center Moriches: Rebecca Endres and Gabrielle Kreuscher of Center Moriches High School; Centereach: Brian Bernstein, Mary Blount, Carly Foster and Jason Tuohey of Centereach High School; Farmingville: Teresa Alvarez, Nicholas Bejarano, Aditya Ramesh, Benjamin Rasa, Megan Salazar and Pranav Sathyanarayanan of Sachem High School East; Lake Ronkonkoma: Elisa Auguste, Evan Bloom, John Rizik, Sara Rizik, Harry Roberts and Michael Turo of Sachem High School North; Mastic Beach: Andrew Glovine, Josselyn Mancia, Stephanie Miller, Ashleigh Morris, Malea Otranto, Amy Popper, David Rodriguez and Chelsea Smart of William Floyd High School; Medford: Kenneth Bello, Christopher Margolin and Dennis O'Leary of Patchogue-Medford High School; Selden: Ashley Alpers, Caitlin Aranguren, Murphy Connolly and Chelsea Parker of Newfield High School; Shoreham: Taylor Brant and Emily Espenkotter of Shoreham-Wading River High School.

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