The Central High School District once again celebrated the legacy and message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with its annual Day of Service, organized throughout the month and culminating on Jan. 15.
“We are so proud of the ways in which our One Voice, One Message team and student ambassadors overcame the obstacles of this pandemic and provided for so many families during this most difficult time,” added Michael Harrington, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.
In social studies classrooms across the district, students learned more of the history and actions of Dr. King and his emphasis on the importance of service in order to make the world a better place.
“It was inspiring to stand in the hallway and hear his booming voice ringing out from every classroom,” recalled Susan Ellinghaus, principal of the Meadowbrook Alternative Program.
“Through analysis of speech excerpts and quotes, our students had the opportunity to reflect on the generosity of the Grand Avenue community, and the ability to take a moment to connect their own acts of kindness to serving others,” added Principal Carlo Conte.
During homeroom and lunch, student ambassadors at Grand Avenue collected more than $2,000, which was donated to the Community Cupboard. Other schools in the district organized donation drives for various toiletries and pandemic-related items.
“This day of service helps to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, address social problems, and move us closer to Dr. King's vision of a ‘beloved community’," explained Calhoun Principal Nicole Hollings.
At Kennedy, students and staff collected over 125 pairs of socks, 49 boy pajama sets, 56 girl pajama sets and more than 375 masks. At Merrick Avenue, students and their families donated over 1,500 items including toothpaste, mouthwash and floss, face wash, loofahs and soap.
“These various organizations are very appreciative of the donations, and we are so proud of the commitment to service our students have shown,” explained Principal Katelyn Dunn.
Students at Mepham High School also collected various pantry and hygiene items.
“While the students won’t be packaging the items all together as they usually do, they will still be celebrating the spirit of service and giving by honoring Dr. King’s legacy in the days leading up to the Day of Service by contributing these items,” explained Robyn Einbinder, a district social studies department chairperson.
Items will be donated to the families who utilize the district’s food pantry, the Community Cupboard, as well as other social services such as Long Island Cares, Grace Mercy and Rock ‘n Wrap It Up.
According to Deputy Superintendent Dr. Mara Bollettieri, this year the Community Cupboard is serving the community more than ever.
“It is our fourth year and we have provided for 145 families and have added 50 families since the beginning of the pandemic,” she added. “This is during an extraordinary time when it is difficult to collect donations and our school community has all been so ingeniously creative. They have kept things going while keeping health and safety a priority.”