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‘Athletes Helping Athletes’ visit TJL

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A large group of Harborfields High School students could be seen walking from Taylor Avenue in Greenlawn to Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School on Jan. 30 to visit classrooms and talk to students about important life skills.

The high schoolers are part of the school’s leadership program, Athletes Helping Athletes, and for the past few years have taken an interest in preparing elementary school students for middle school and beyond. Three times a year, the selected students go from classroom to classroom to teach the younger students about civility, leadership, sportsmanship, bullying and the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.

In Ms. Weber’s class, high school students Caitlin Fealy, Sammy Lustig, Thomas Sullivan and Matt Torres told personal sportsmanship stories, whereas in Ms. Kraham’s class, elementary school students played out different sportsmanship scenarios.

Athletes Helping Athletes advisers Robert Franco and Daniel Greening said that each of the high school students are nominated by their respective coaches and are chosen based on leadership goals and their commitment to remain drug and alcohol free.

“They act as leaders and role models to the younger students that are going into the middle school,” Mr. Franco said.

Relay for Life kicks off at Harborfields

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White paper bags, listing the names of people who have or are currently struggling with cancer, lined the edge of the auditorium’s stage at Harborfields High School on Feb. 6.

As part of the district’s Relay for Life kick-off event, students, district administrators and community members offered words of hope and compassion to those in the audience affected by the disease. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Francesco Ianni spoke about the loss of his mother to cancer and the importance of getting involved in Relay for Life.

Alyssa Patrone, a representative of the American Cancer Society, encouraged audience members to join a pre-existing Relay for Life team or create a new one and join other like-minded individuals at the high school’s track on June 6 to raise awareness and funds to fight cancer. ‘Our goal is to get everyone here involved,” she said.

As of Feb. 6, 55 participants had registered to join a total of 12 teams and had already raised $5,103 for the cause. The top three teams, “Team We Care,” “Team Storch,” and “Striding for a Cure,” were recognized on stage for their contributions.

The funds raised help the American Cancer Society to research early detection and prevention and provide comprehensive support to individuals affected by cancer. The society is currently investing more than $405 million towards cancer research.

The evening concluded with a luminaria ceremony, were students, teachers, staff and community members lit candles to remember the lives of those lost to cancer.

Harborfields celebrates Black History Month

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On Feb. 5, Harborfields High School hosted a very uplifting and inspiring program to help celebrate Black History Month. “Step Up to Make A Difference” was the theme, and the highlight of the entire evening was a very motivating speech given by former New York Giant Perry Williams.

Mr. Williams captivated the crowd with some very moving stories, including that of his humble beginnings, his career with the New York Giants, as well as his rise to realizing all his goals that he had set for himself in life. Mr. Williams told all in the crowd “If you believe, you can achieve.”

Additionally, he asked the students in the audience to listen to their teachers and parents whenever told to study hard, so that they too can one day realize their dreams and become successful.

Following Mr. Williams’ address, the evening continued with a varied program of dance, poetry, song and motivational speeches from district representatives. The evening was capped off with an autograph session given by Mr. Williams.

PARP kicks off at TJL

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Students at Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School have been challenged to read at least 20 minutes every day from Feb. 10 through Feb. 14 as part of the school’s Pick a Reading Partner, or PARP, initiative.

To get students excited about reading, several of the school’s teachers, including Principal Victoria Williams and Assistant Principal Andrea Horowitz, performed a brief play, during which they took the students through a tour of history. Students visited the Stone Age, Ancient Egypt, Early America, modern times and projected what life might be like in the future as part of the week’s theme: reading through history.

The goal is to have students complete a combined total of 100,000 minutes of reading over the course of the week. The top three readers from each grade will receive a medal and a T-shirt from the Parent Teachers Association and the school’s top reader will receive a prize basket.

However, if the students reach their goal, the entire school will enjoy challenging Principal Williams to complete a silly task. Students can submit ideas for the principal’s challenge throughout the week as they participate in fun activities designed to inspire them to read. “Every one of you can reach for the stars if you try hard enough,” Ms. Williams said.

Harborfields Fighters fight to end cancer

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Harborfields Fighters are taking a stand against cancer. Led my Harborfields High School student Andrew Gonzalez, the group is participating in a seven-week competition against other Long Island Schools to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Long Island chapter.

Andrew was inspired to create the group, noting that both his mother and aunt are cancer survivors. Additionally, he said that the high school was deeply affected by the recent passing of Gabrielle Cava, who lost her fight against Signet Ring Cell Carcinoma on Jan. 12.

The group’s goal is to raise $100,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through sending emails, asking family, friends and community members to donate to the cause. Since kicking off their fundraiser last Sunday, the group has raised more than $2,000.

Groups that raise $5,000 or more will receive a college letter of recommendation from the society. Andrew added that he will also reflect on his time as a Harborfields Fighter when it comes time to write his college entrance letter.

Andrew has also been nominated as a candidate for Student of the Year by the society’s Long Island chapter.

“It’s part of a great cause and I’m just trying to be an advocate for change,” Andrew said.