Dogwood Pic 150 Dogwood Drive, Smithtown, NY 11787

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Joining the Fight Against Hunger

Joining the Fight Against Hunger Pic

On Oct. 28, students from Great Hollow Middle School and Dogwood Elementary School joined forces to help fight hunger. Members of the schools’ Peanut Butter Gang community service clubs visited Hospitality Too soup kitchen in Brentwood. They made peanut butter sandwiches that will be distributed at various locations on Long Island and in New York City, and also helped serve a hot lunch to soup kitchen guests. In addition, students distributed Halloween costumes collected at drives in both buildings.


A Motivational Bus Ride

A Motivational Bus Ride photo
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A Motivational Bus Ride photo 3
After reading the motivational book “The Energy Bus” by Jon Gordon, students at Dogwood Elementary School had a special visit from the author on Nov. 6, thanks to the school’s PTA.
Gordon, who is a motivational speaker and also a Smithtown alumnus, spoke to students and staff about the five rules for his energy bus and how they can use them to create a positive attitude and experience every day. He talked to students about the bus rules of creating a positive vision; enjoying the ride; fueling the ride with positive energy; no bullies allowed; and loving your passengers.

His message to stay motivated by setting a positive vision for yourself resonated with students and staff alike. After talking about different ways of creating positive energy, the students had a brief question and answer session with Gordon.

Resources, Workshops Provide Tools for Success

Resources, Workshops Provide Tools for Success

The district and its Parent-Teacher Associations, in partnership with the Smithtown Youth Bureau, Horizons Counseling and Education, Suffolk County Police Department and the Counter Drug Task Force, presented a Parent/Student University focusing on current drugs trends on Nov. 1 in the High School West auditorium.

Community members, parents and students came out to listen to the presentation on topics such as the dangers of alcohol abuse and vaping, social host laws, and what’s happening in the local community by Suffolk County Police Officer George Lynagh, Town of Smithtown youth services coordinator Kelly DeVito, Horizon Counseling and Education Center assistant director Patrice Levy and National Guard Counterdrug Task Force senior airman Gabriel Manzueta.  

Keynote speaker Jeffrey Reynolds, president and CEO of Family and Children’s Association, spoke to attendees about prevention, recovery and support resources. Before and after the presentation, community resources were available from local agents such as Project Presence, Inc., Families Anonymous, Tobacco Coalition of Long Island, LICADD, St. Patrick Youth, WellLife Network and YMCA Family Services. 

“It is an honor to work in a school district with such an invested community of parents, faculty and students,” said Siobhán Cassidy, Project Presence, Inc.’s director of professional development and practice. 

Throughout the evening, social-emotional workshops were conducted to offer parents tools to better connect. Parents learned about Smithtown Central School District’s social-emotional learning initiative and how they can partner with the schools at home. A parent/child yoga workshop gave participants the opportunity to increase body awareness and strengthen the parent/child connection. A mindfulness workshop taught parents how to be more present in their relationships with their child. The eating for energy workshop focused on how to reduce cravings, detoxify and find the top food categories for increasing energy.

Dogwood Unites Against Bullying

Dogwood Unites Against Bullying
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Dogwood Elementary School came together in a sea of orange to celebrate National Unity Day on Oct. 25. Approximately 400 students and staff wore orange to send the unified message of peace, friendship and to take a stand against bullying.  

During a school wide assembly, each grade level shared their class pledge to put an end to bullying and maintain a peaceful, friendly school. Students also sang a song about friendship and went outside for a peace walk.  

Throughout the school year, Dogwood students have been learning strategies for dealing with bullies, how to recognize what bullying is, how to stand up for others and how to join in groups to make friends. 

It’s Crunch Time at Dogwood

It’s Crunch Time at Dogwood photo

Dogwood Elementary School participated in the Big Apple Crunch on Oct. 19. Throughout the day, students learned different apple facts, graphed their favorite color apples, and learned about the healthy benefits of the apples. As a school, Dogwood Elementary crunched on 292 red apples, 74 green apples, seven yellow apples and 28 multicolored apples, for a total of 401 apples.

The Big Apple Crunch was created in 2012 by nonprofit GrowNYC in partnership with the New York Office of Food Policy to celebrate Food Day in New York City. Since then, the Big Apple Crunch has grown into a statewide event where participants take a bite out of a New York apple to raise awareness about the importance of supporting local New York farmers, creating better access to fresh fruits and vegetables and making it more affordable to eat fresh, local food.

Taking Strides for Epilepsy Awareness

Taking Strides for Epilepsy Awareness photo
In an effort to raise awareness about epilepsy, High School West senior Marie Carpenter recently participated in a walk to raise money to support the cause. The cause is personal to her, as Marie’s younger sister Sophia has battled epilepsy for the past five years. Marie participated in an Epilepsy Awareness Walk on Oct. 14 in honor of Sophia and raised more than $2,600 for the EPIC Long Island organization. EPIC supports epilepsy education and training and research for the cause.