It's easy to teach a child that giving is better than receiving.
Throughout Long Island, students spent the month of December bringing that concept to life - doing everything from collecting toys for underprivileged children to spreading holiday cheer at local nursing homes.
At Lynwood Elementary School in Farmingville, families donated 500 pounds of toiletries, snack foods and homemade "worry dolls" - which are placed under pillows to help ease fears - for care packages sent overseas to U.S. troops.
"Kids need to know that someone is out there protecting us, and this gets the message across," said Macchio.
Elsewhere in Suffolk County, students at Robert Frost Middle School in Deer Park picked ornaments off a "shoe tree," which listed shoe sizes for local needy families, and bought shoes to fill the requests, while Longwood High School's Interact Club did holiday crafts with senior citizens at John J. Foley Nursing Facility in Yaphank.
In Nassau County, Garden City high-schoolers filled nearly 1,100 stockings with cards, books and candy for soldiers, while Wisdom Lane Elementary School in Levittown mailed 600 holiday cards to troops.
In some cases the troops even wrote back to students.
"We hang their return letters on a board in the school lobby for everyone to see," said Wisdom Lane social worker Nina Glenn. "Everyone stops to read them. It's beautiful."
BELLPORTSalon day for pre-K kids Thirty cosmetology students from Eastern Suffolk BOCES' Brookhaven Technology Center showed off their styling skills last month during a Day of Beauty, an event that provided salon services to 35 local preschoolers. Services included haircuts, blow-drys and manicures.
"The younger kids felt like kings and queens," said early childhood teacher Jayne Kaht.
CENTRAL ISLIPA hall of fame first
Fred Philips is the first inductee to Central Islip School District's Board of Education Hall of Fame. Philips, who has served on the board for 23 years, is a member of the Islip Town School Boards Association and a past president of the district's PTA Council and Mulvey Elementary School PTA.
HAUPPAUGEFundraising for a cureHauppauge High School students recently held a series of fundraisers that collected more than $1,200 for Angela's House, a Hauppauge-based nonprofit that supports research into childhood diseases and disorders. Fundraisers included a districtwide Jeans Day and Hands for a Cure, a project that let teens add their hand tracings to a giant canvas in the school lobby for $1.
NORTH BABYLONOutdoor educationFifth-graders at Belmont Elementary School learned about the importance of clean groundwater last month during an interactive visit to Connetquot River State Park in Bohemia.
Students viewed a groundwater model that offered a profile view of soil and used syringes and colored water to observe how pollutants enter the ground. They also toured wetlands and pine barrens to study different habitats and soils.
The visit was part of Western Suffolk BOCES' Outdoor Environmental Program.
COUNTYWIDELeadership competitionNearly 200 Suffolk high-schoolers competed in the Young Professionals Chamber of Commerce's Business Leadership Competition, which featured presentations in fields ranging from fashion marketing to graphic design at Farmingdale State College. First-place winners were:
Deer Park: Laura Lundi of Deer Park High School; Dix Hills: Carlee Martin and Belynda Ungurath of Wilson Technological Center; Rich Pino and Max Sanders of Half Hollow Hills High School West; Jason Breitstone of Half Hollow Hills High School East; Greenlawn: Jillian Baum of Harborfields High School; Huntington Station: Anthony Campanella, Diana DePaula, Brianne Dillon, Mark Egger, Ray Rizzo and Jose Valencia of Walt Whitman High School; Northport: Joe Albert, Kelly Benini, Melissa Bloecker, Sam Kim, Nick Malazia and Chirag Munim of Northport High School.