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Showing Appreciation for Veterans

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During this season of thanks, we remember events earlier this month, where students and staff showed thanks for our veterans. Elementary school students brought tears to the eyes of those in attendance at their Veterans Day celebrations. The patriotic events showed local veterans that their service to our country is appreciated, recognized and never forgotten.

Ann MacArthur Primary School second graders welcomed their families for a program that included music and special guests. Dressed in red, white and blue, the students sang patriotic songs including “I Love My Country” by Teresa Jennings, “This Land Is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie and others. 

Some of the students invited veterans that they know to be recognized. The students stood in front of the audience and introduced their guests, stating their names and in which branch of the service the veteran served. 

Students in Dani Schatz’s second grade class at Bayville Primary School joined Bayville Intermediate School fifth graders from Kelly Price’s class to recognize veterans from the Bayville American Legion.

Through the “We Have Character!” project, students learned about gratitude and reflected on what they were grateful for and then showed that they were grateful for the veterans by asking them about themselves and their service to our country. Students interviewed the veterans focusing on their military experience and presented them with a flag they made to show their appreciation. The stars on the flag were made with the handprints of the second graders and the stripes were made by the fifth graders. 

“The students did a wonderful job asking and listening to the veterans,” Ms. Price said. “The veterans appreciated the students’ interest in getting to know them better. It was an experience I think we will all remember.”

The following veterans were honored during Ann MacArthur Primary School’s Celebration of Gratitude: Alexander Casella, U.S. Army (family friend of second grader Kirsten Dembowski); John Capozzi, U.S. Army (grandfather of second grader Sophia Capozzi); James Ceglia, of the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps (family friend of second grader John Dembowski); Anthony Consolazio, of the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II (great-grandfather of second grader Alison Kelly); Pete Eramo, U.S. Navy (grandfather of second grader Charlize Pierro); Michael Gonzalez, U.S. Marine Corps (family friend of second grader Maddi Mazza); Kenneth Kalenderian, U.S. Army (grandfather of second grader Layne Kalenderian); Marc Mueller, U.S. Marine Corps (grandfather of second grader Declan Mueller); Peter Ruotolo, U.S. Marine Corps (uncle of second grader Charlie Ruotolo-Jampol) and Robert Seldomridge, U.S. Marine Corps (grandfather of second grader Declan Habermehl). 

Cultural Diversity Brings Families Together

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Ann MacArthur Primary School was transformed into an international café, complete with delectable dishes and student performances that brought the multipurpose room alive with family traditions.

The Locust Valley Elementary School Parents’ Council sponsored the annual International Food Festival for families to learn about each other’s cultures. Attendees brought dishes from their own cultures to share with others at the potluck dinner, and they ate on placemats decorated by students to represent a variety of countries. Art teacher Dana Ettinger worked with the students to design the placemats, many of which looked like the maps of the countries they represented.

Guests enjoyed watching students show off their skills in traditional dances from their own heritages. Greek, Irish and Sikh Indian dances not only entertained, but also impressed the crowd.   

Students eagerly lined up to get henna tattoos, known as mehndi in India, which are temporary designs that are created with a paste made from the dried leaves of a henna plant. 

The LVEPC worked to make the event inclusive of all the cultures represented within the Locust Valley elementary schools. Principal Dr. Sophia Gary said the International Food Festival brought the community together. 

“It was a beautiful night celebrating each other and learning about our differences and similarities,” she said.