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Two honored with Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

Cole Faller of Roslyn Middle School has organized

Cole Faller of Roslyn Middle School has organized a flag football event to raise funds to support young people with autism. Credit: Roslyn Middle School

Two loca Island students were recipients of Prudential Spirit of Community Awards as New York’s top youth volunteers for 2016.

Cole Faller, 12, of Roslyn Heights and Dimple Belani, 17, of Bellerose received the honor from the program that recognizes young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism.

They will each receive $1,000, a silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip this spring to Washington, D.C., where they will join awardees from each state and the District of Columbia.

“Prudential commends each of these young volunteers for using their creativity and compassion to bring positive change to their communities,” Prudential Financial chairman and CEO John Strangfeld said.

The program is conducted jointly by Prudential Financial and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Cole, a seventh-grader at Roslyn Middle School, helped start an annual communitywide flag football event — complete with a DJ, tattoo artist and caterers — that has raised nearly $50,000 over the past three years to support young people with autism.

Belani, a senior at Bronx High School of Science, created a series of episodes for a public television station featuring interviews with accomplished women — an effort to inspire young girls.

“From an early age, I was encouraged by my mother and my Girl Scout leaders to dream big . . . but many other girls were not as fortunate,” Belani said.

Five Long Islanders were among the state’s eight distinguished finalists. They were Nikhil Anand of Half Hollow Hills High School West in Dix Hills, John Iacona of Sewanhaka High School in Floral Park, Anthony Morano of Massapequa High School, Dylan Perles of Northport High School and Hailey Silver of Lynbrook High School.


Rochester performance

Westhampton Beach High School’s chamber choir was one of only two high school ensembles statewide selected to perform at the American Choral Directors Association’s 2015 fall conference in Rochester. The other ensemble came from upstate Lancaster.

To be considered, the chamber choir submitted an audition tape last spring for the opportunity to perform at the conference. The high school groups were joined by three collegiate ensembles and a community choir.


‘Souper Bowls’

Several local schools collected funds and food for needy families this month through “Souper Bowl” events inspired by the title of Super Bowl 50.

In Lindenhurst, high school students raised $1,700 through a Souper Bowl of Caring Charity Cook-Off Fundraiser along with raffles to benefit residents in need. The Christina Renna Foundation in Lindenhurst also spread awareness about pediatric cancer.

In Commack, North Ridge Primary School collected 3,903 cans and bags of soup, with the cans arranged into the shape of an airplane by physical education teacher Lorraine Esposito. All food was donated to Long Island Cares.


Lunar New Year

Long Island schools hosted an array of activities and programs in recognition of the Lunar New Year, which began Feb. 8.

In Stony Brook, 13 Mandarin-language students from Harbor Country Day School in St. James appeared on stage as part of a Chinese New Year Festival presented by the Confucius Institute at Stony Brook University. Harbor Country students, dressed in traditional clothing, sang three Chinese children’s songs.

In Bay Shore, Fifth Avenue Elementary School hosted an in-school parade in which two students from each class were chosen to march and play traditional Chinese instruments such as gongs and spin drums.

In West Babylon, Forest Avenue Elementary School pupils rang in the “Year of the Monkey” by reading Chinese folk tales and crafting Chinese lanterns.

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