Grand Avenue’s SADD Club Promotes Good Citizenship

The Students Against Destructive Decisions Club at Grand Avenue Middle School has been focused on making positive impacts and contributions to their community.

“We look at positive ways to promote citizenship and be positive student leaders who do not have to rely on drugs and alcohol to feel good or to be accepted,” said teacher and club adviser Pia Santadonato.
During their Mugs of Love project, the club collected more than 200 gently used mugs to donate to the Interfaith Nutrition Network's Freeport site in mid-February. They packaged up the mugs with various pantry food items.
The INN feeds approximately 100 people each day and is completely run by volunteers.

With their Wrapped in Love project, students delivered nearly 40 handmade baby blankets to the neonatal unit at Winthrop-University Hospital.

“These blankets will be used to keep the babies warm and the babies will be able to take the blanket home with them when they are released from the hospital,” Santadonato explained.

Their recent Candy Gram project, spearheaded by eighth-grader Jordyn Krinsky, will benefit the Free to Breathe group to raise money for lung cancer research.

“My grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer last year and I wanted to fundraise for research,” she said. “The organization is working to double the current survivor rate.”

With these projects and others, Santadonato said she hopes the students enjoy the feeling that comes along with doing something positive in the world.

Grand Avenue Celebrates Groundhog Day - French Style

Grand Avenue Celebrates Groundhog Day - French Style

Eighth-grade students in Richard Zawislak’s French class at Grand Avenue Middle School celebrated Chandeleur Day.

Betsy Siegelaub, a retired Bellmore-Merrick French teacher, visited Mr. Zawislak’s class to teach them all about the holiday. Similar to Groundhog Day, Chandeleur Day (La Chandeleur) is also on Feb. 2 and has traditions associated with the change of weather. Students learned about the history and importance of the day, listened to music and played games to celebrate the day.

But the “piece de resistance” was the making of the crepes, which is treat eaten on the holiday. Students filled their crepes with various jams, Nutella and whipped cream and enjoyed chatting with Mrs. Siegelaub.    

To end the day, the students tried their hand at flipping the crepes to see how the rest of the winter season will fair.  

“Quand la Chandeleur est claire, l’hiver est par derrière; Chandeleur couverte, quarante jours de perte!”  (If Chandeleur is clear, no more winter to fear; If Chandeleur is gray, 40 more days winter will stay.)  According to the Chandeleur Day celebrations at Grand Avenue, it looks like spring will come late this year.

Bellmore-Merrick’s ENL Students Travel Back in Time

English Language Learners from both Grand Avenue and Merrick Avenue middle schools visited the Tenement Museum in Manhattan’s Lower East Side on Jan. 13 as part of the English as a New Language program.

“Students traveled back in time and experienced the life of immigrants inside a tenement apartment building from 1863,” explained ENL Chairperson Enrique Montes.

During the guided tour, students interacted with an actress playing the role of Victoria Confino, a former resident who lived in the tenement in 1916. Students were invited into her living room where they heard stories about her experience as a Greek immigrant settling in the Lower East Side.  

Students prepared questions in advance and compared their experiences as immigrants with that of settlers in the early part of the 20th century.
“Our students left with a sense of perspective, knowing that the challenges they face as new Americans are not different from what immigrants faced years ago,” added Montes.

Their ENL teachers, Abigail Havener and Denise Schleith, prepared a thematic unit on immigration in preparation for this trip. Students learned about the contributions that immigrants have had in shaping the country.  

Keeping up with the spirit of multiculturalism, students and chaperones had empanadas at a Lower East Side restaurant.

Bellmore-Merrick Expands World Languages Department

Bellmore-Merrick Expands World Languages Department

The district’s Department of World Languages expanded its offerings for the 2016-17 school year with the addition of Mandarin Chinese.

“The response to the program was positive, and classes are now well under way at both Grand Avenue and Merrick Avenue middle schools,” said World Languages Chairperson Rosa Kaplan.

 At the start of the year, seventh-grade students began studying the Chinese language and culture with their teacher, Helen Han.

Through a storytelling approach, students were quickly immersed in the language, as Ms. Han believes in teaching her entire lesson in Mandarin.
“It did not take long for students to begin speaking in Mandarin and they are already reading and writing simplified Chinese characters and Pinyin,” said Renée Fallon, a world languages chairperson.

The students are also learning about Chinese culture. Han incorporates authentic materials, videos, music and her own experience involving daily life in China. Currently there are 35 students enrolled in the program, including 15 at Grand Avenue Middle School and 20 at Merrick Avenue Middle School.