Northport High School principal Rob Dennis welcomed freshmen to the auditorium on Wednesday, November 1 to kick off the school’s first-ever schoolwide Community Service Day. The day’s theme was “How can you be a hero?” and required students to sign up for a community service activity from a list of locations across the Town of Huntington and Long Island. Opportunities included a beach clean-up at Crab Meadow, working with students in the district elementary schools, collecting food donations for Ramon’s Place Food Pantry at Stop & Shop, spending time with residents at the Atria Senior Living Center and more.
The community service event is in its first year, and each grade level has a designated day throughout November for giving back to the community. Freshmen were the first to take part in the initiative.
When addressing the students at the start of the event, Mr. Dennis spoke about how even small acts of giving and kindness can have a big impact on our community and the world. “What you do today, you might not think is large and heroic in nature, but the way that you will make people feel, the conversations that hopefully you’ll have with one another and with people you meet at the different sites you’re going to, I hope that you not only have an impact on those people, but that experience has an impact on you,” he said.
At the morning assembly, students heard from the families of former NHS students Louis Acompora, a student who lost his life after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest during his first high school lacrosse game, and Chris Scherer, who was killed while serving his country in Iraq. Both Mrs. Acompora and Mr. and Mrs. Scherer spoke about how their children’s legacies live on through their work and the ways that their children have become heroes for the community.
Following the assembly, students gathered with their peers and chaperones before heading to their chosen service location. Each location offered a unique opportunity for students to experience how they could make a difference through small acts of service. At the Atria, students spent time with groups of elderly residents playing board games and offering some company. At the Northport Library, students worked on crafts that would be used in programming for young children. At Stop & Shop, students not only staffed a table to collect donations but also used donated gift cards to shop for food and essential items for the Ramon’s Place Food Pantry. The range of possibilities ensured students could participate in an act of service they were passionate about.
At the day’s conclusion, students gathered in small groups to reflect on what the day meant to them and how they could be heroes in their lives going forward. Additional grade levels will be participating throughout the month.