Thousands of Long Island students are equipped with tools to help them succeed in class thanks to local donations of supplies and other school gear.
During the past month, the UJA-Federation of New York and the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless distributed backpacks and supplies -- from notebooks and folders to pens and pencils. The federation's donations went to 9,000 students Islandwide, and the coalition's materials helped 3,000 children in need.
"The need for assistance is growing each year," said Greta Guarton, the coalition's executive director. "We are grateful to members of the community who come together to help our less-fortunate neighbors."
The coalition's back-to-school drive, titled "SOS: Supply Our Students," was held in partnership with the nonprofits Holiday Magic and Every Child's Dream.
Another effort was a four-day initiative by Waldbaum's supermarkets, with stores in Nassau and Suffolk counties giving residents the opportunity to purchase school supplies for their local districts.
The supermarket in Deer Park, for example, assembled $8 bags of supplies for patrons to buy, resulting in $1,000 in donations to the Deer Park school district.
Elsewhere, Valley Stream District 13's Educational Foundation donated $100 worth of supplies, along with more materials provided through a grant from CVS, to needy families living in the district.
In Bellport, a local BJ's Wholesale Club donated $1,000 and $1,500 worth of school supplies to Kreamer Street Elementary School, the store's adopt-a-school partner.
CENTEREACH: New principals
The Middle Country Central School District has three new principals: Jonathan Singer at Selden Middle School, Gretchen Rodney at North Coleman Road Elementary School and David Wallick at Bicycle Path Pre-K/Kindergarten Center.
Singer, who previously was an assistant principal at Selden Middle School, replaced BJ Phillipson, who retired. Rodney, who replaced Michael Febbraro, previously was principal of Bicycle Path. Wallick had served as an assistant principal in upstate Armonk, and before that spent 23 years teaching grades K-4 in various districts.
"I am very excited to take this position during the first year of implementing a comprehensive STEM initiative, which is enjoying strong support from our community and Board of Education," Singer said.
MIDDLE ISLAND: New principals
The Longwood Central School District has two new principals: Adam DeWitt at Longwood Junior High School and Yvette Mercado-Tilley at Charles E. Walters Elementary School.
Tilley, who previously was assistant principal at Walters Elementary, replaced Linda Cornigans, who retired. DeWitt, who had been senior assistant principal at Longwood High School, replaced Levi McIntyre, who retired.
WEST ISLIP: New principal
Rhonda Pratt is the new principal of Paul J. Bellew Elementary School. She replaced Daniel Hunter, who recently retired.
Pratt previously was principal of Commack's Burr Intermediate School, and before that was principal of Bayview Elementary School in West Islip.
ISLANDWIDE: National Merit semifinalists
More than 200 Long Island high school students were among about 16,000 semifinalists named nationwide this month for scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corp. More than 7,600 scholarships worth about $33 million will be issued. Finalists will be named in February and winners will be announced in the spring.
Local semifinalists are: Cold Spring Harbor: Christine Collins and Ed Tucker of Cold Spring Harbor High School; Commack: Scott Massa, Amanda Weiss and Chantel Yang of Commack High School; Dix Hills: Grant Berland, Judy Chen, Justin Estreicher, Jacob Goldberg, Zach Goldstein, Anja Kenagy, Suzanne Norris, Heesu Shin, Jen Truong, Joanna Wang, Akash Wasil and Michelle Zhao of Half Hollow Hills High School East; Alex Bass, Rose Bender, Liana He, Sabrina Kim, Brandon Nomberg and Josh Wende of Half Hollow Hills High School West; Elwood: Kelsey Hackett and Bridget Leighton of John H. Glenn High School; Greenlawn: Alisa Chang, Ryan Dondero, Hannah Johnston, Matt Pressman and Eli Slamowitz of Harborfields High School; Hauppauge: Matt Fortmeyer, Stephen Kim and Dan Nasta of Hauppauge High School; Huntington: Charles Beers, Caitlin Knowles and Joe Saginaw of Huntington High School; Huntington Station: Connor Galvin of Walt Whitman High School; Northport: Adam Chang and Jake Miller of Northport High School; Smithtown: Olivia Winkeler of Smithtown High School East; John Compitello and Rachel Rock of Smithtown High School West.