One school that teaches how to give back

At Sacred Heart School in Bayside, the students have been doing much more than studying.
The students raised $2,100 by selling dress-down coupons, coveted items at a Catholic school where uniforms abound.
Moses Xie, 13, is the president of the student council where he helps to organize charities and plan events for students. The eighth grader felt that the help they provided is more than charity.
“I think it’s really necessary,” said Xie. “We’re a lot luckier than a lot of other people.”
The student council meetings are run by the students themselves, with some guidance from principal Dennis J. Farrell and Kristin Barongi, a fifth grade teacher who instructs in reading, language arts and social studies. Barongi noted that the students do most of the work.
One part of the hallway displayed a board with letters thanking the school for their charitable work. Under the board was a bench full of electronic stuffed animals that let out sounds when their hands are squeezed.
Every Halloween, the fifth grade class holds a cupcake sale, with all the proceeds going to the breadline at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Manhattan, said Farrell.
Seventh grader James McGee was glad that they were able to help families in need. He is the vice president of the student council and plays shortstop for the school’s baseball team. He also added that the students wrote Christmas cards for veterans.
Donna Episcopio, 12, is the secretary for the student council. She acts as the speaker for the council and takes attendance at meetings.
“I knew I was doing something good for the community,” said Episcopio, a seventh grader. “It warmed myself inside.”
Eighth grader Trevor Tesoriero is the treasurer for the student council and helps manage the money directed toward more unfortunate people.
“We could… try and help them have a good Christmas,” said Tesoriero, 13.
Every year for the past 10 years, Father Rich Ahlemeyer, pastor for the St. Camillus – St. Virgilius parish in Rockaway and Broad Channel, recommends a struggling family for adoption to Sacred Heart School. Among the gifts this year were shoes, clothing, art supplies, books and skateboards.
Farrell said that if they have extra money, they pass along some to other families. This year, they were able to assist two other households with similar goods. They had also set aside $450 to purchase vitamins to send to the malnourished in Haiti, said Farrell.
Only on rare occasions does Farrell meet with the adopted families.
“They simply need to know that someone wanted to step in and help them,” said Farrell.

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