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Suffolk: Election Day lessons

State Assemb. Chad Lupinacci (R-Huntington) visited Huntington High

State Assemb. Chad Lupinacci (R-Huntington) visited Huntington High School government classes recently to discuss major issues New Yorkers were facing on Election Day. Credit: Handout

Many local students didn't need to visit town hall last month to get a dose of politics.

Dozens of high schools across Long Island hosted educational events tied to Election Day to teach teenagers about everything from major campaign issues to the voting process.

In Levittown, students in MacArthur High School's Advanced Placement government and politics classes had a 90-minute video session with their counterparts in Scotland who were studying American culture and politics. The local students got a chance to share their perspectives on topics such as terrorism and the Affordable Care Act and learn about the economy and health care system in Scotland.

"It was a great experience for all of us," MacArthur teacher Laura McCue said. "The opportunity allowed students to express their views on national topics and to use that knowledge in a conversation with peers in another country."

In Glen Cove, Mayor Ralph Suozzi and Republican challenger Reginald Spinello engaged in a debate at the high school coordinated by the school's Community Action Using Student Empowerment (CAUSE) class. A student panel interviewed the candidates on local issues, ranging from tourism to illegal housing, and Spinello was elected mayor in a mock election held after the debate.

In Huntington, Assemb. Chad Lupinacci (R-Huntington) visited the high school's government classes to discuss the basic philosophies of the Democratic and Republican parties, how a bill becomes a law, and major issues New Yorkers were facing.

In Elmont, Hempstead Councilman Edward Ambrosino discussed the ins and outs of voting with youngsters at Alden Terrace Elementary School.

"We like our children to learn how important the right and responsibility to vote is," principal Amy Buchanan said.



Exploring nature

Woodhull Elementary School students are exploring the outdoors through an environmental education program that provides "authentic" activities and opportunities to conduct investigations in the natural world, school officials said.

Projects included a recent field trip to a nearby beach in which pupils identified mammals found on Fire Island and listed their common characteristics, such as a covering of fur. Another project, "Trout in the Classroom," features an in-class tank and "trout journals" in which students record observations about the freshwater fish throughout the school year.



Superintendent to leave

Richard Nathan, superintendent of the Lindenhurst Union Free School District, has announced his retirement effective June 30.

Nathan, superintendent since 2009, has held several positions in the district over the past 18 years. He announced his retirement at the Board of Education's Nov. 6 meeting.

The board will conduct an extensive search for a new superintendent, who will continue "to build on the positive momentum toward educational success," district officials said.



Video contest finalists

Rocky Point Middle School sixth-graders Shea Bennett, Katie McDonald and Cassidy Sander recently were selected as international finalists in a "Cool Insights" video contest coordinated by Next Vista for Learning, a website that provides free educational videos.

The contest asked students to make 90-second videos teaching a concept encountered in grades K-12.

The Rocky Point video, titled "Slave Quilt Meanings," explained the meanings behind various patterns on quilts hung by slaves, such as a flying geese pattern that indicated the direction Southern slaves were to follow north.

The video was created in the last school year as part of a larger project about the Civil War.



Red Ribbon Week

Local schools hosted a variety of activities this fall to educate students on the importance of making healthy decisions as part of Red Ribbon Week, an annual drug- and violence-prevention campaign.

In Syosset, Harry B. Thompson Middle School students learned a different fact each morning about a "gateway drug" -- such as alcohol or marijuana -- and listed stress-relieving techniques for emotional situations. They also participated in skits that demonstrated how to make positive decisions in drug- and pressure-related scenarios.

In East Setauket, Nassakeag Elementary School students participated in a walkathon in which they collected pledges to sponsor healthy initiatives at the school. The school also hosted themed dress days such as "Scare Away Bad Habits: Wear Orange and Black Day."

Students at Farmingdale's Stanley D. Saltzman East Memorial Elementary School planted red tulip bulbs, walked the track for exercise and learned about healthy snack choices.

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