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Levittown middle school student keeps late teacher's memory alive

Nicole Steiner, third from left, raised money for

Nicole Steiner, third from left, raised money for a memorial for Lee Road teacher Brian LaClair, who died earlier this year. Here she is seen with district officials, family members and LaClair's wife, Elaine, far right. Photo Credit: Levittown School District

A Levittown student has kept her late music teacher’s memory alive in a special way.

Nicole Steiner, a sixth-grader at Jonas E. Salk Middle School in the Levittown School District, raised more than $1,000 last spring to purchase a bench and plant a tree in honor of Brian LaClair, a music teacher at the district's Lee Road Elementary School who died earlier this year. The bench and tree are on Lee Road's grounds.

Nicole said she raised money through the sale of blue and green rubber bracelets inscribed with the words: "In Loving Memory of Dr. LaClair, Our Beloved Music Teacher." The bracelets also had designs including a guitar, heart and music note, and the bench has a plaque featuring LaClair's name, she said.

"I wanted to raise money so that the school could buy something that could remind students that had Dr. LaClair, and future students, of how great of a teacher he was," Nicole, 11, said.

To launch the bracelet sales, Nicole got approval from Lee Road Principal Anthony Goss. Then she spread the word by creating a flyer, which was approved by the district's Board of Education, and sold bracelets for $3 each.

Nicole, a Girl Scout, also plays the viola and is part of the Long Island Express, which is a member club of USA Swimming.

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