A steady flow of Clarkstown North students moved boxes of donated school supplies from a storage area to the high school lobby on Friday in preparation for their delivery to P.S. 43 in Far Rockaway. Lakewood, Bardonia and Woodglen elementary school students joined the high school students and teachers in collecting supplies. Donations also came from youth groups at local churches and synagogues and area businesses.
Clarkstown teachers Aimee Santiago and Penelope Macias said students in North's IB History of the Americas Year I and Syracuse Project Advance Public Policy course started the project about two weeks ago after hearing about P.S 43 being flooded and without power for more than two weeks after Hurricane Sandy.
The students felt a need to get involved after hearing about the school and students’ losses.
“Now they have to start all over,” said Clarkstown North senior Jenevieve Nutovits. “So we felt responsible to try and help them.”
Samantha Streitman, also a senior, said, “We felt that it was our duty as a school because we have so much to try and give back to them.”
The idea quickly took off with thousands of items from pens, crayons, and binders to backpacks, folders and loose-leaf paper and hand sanitizer being donated. Most of the supplies were brand new with some of the children’s books being gently used.
“They’ve been a pleasure to work with,” said Santiago about all the students. “They’ve kind of taken it and ran with it.”
Santiago and Macias said some P.S. 43 students were still without power at home and had lost many personal possessions. They said the supplies will be given to the teachers to distribute.
“When we called, they were very receptive,” Macias said. “When I said we would like to donated school supplies, they were over the moon.”
Coincidentally Santiago's brother was involved in another benefit effort for P.S. 43. He was helping to collect coats for the students and staff.
Principal Harry Leonardatos said the district’s transportation department helped out figuring the number of boxes needed and determining what size vehicle would be best to transport the boxes and students and teachers.
A line of students carried the packed boxes out to a Clarkstown School Bus, filling it and leaving just enough empty seats for the passengers. About 15 students and teachers will make the trip to Far Rockaway early Saturday morning and present the supplies to P.S. 43, a pre-kindergarten through 10th grade school.