The motto of Francis X. Hegarty Elementary School in Island Park is “Together we are better.” In East Meadow, Barnum Woods Elementary School’s motto is “We use our head, heart and hands in all we do.”
Last Friday, the two schools backed up those words at a ceremony in the central courtyard of Barnum Woods, where school officials donated $18,500 to the Hegarty School, which was devastated by Hurricane Sandy.
Approximately 670 Barnum Woods students arrived at school on Oct. 4 wearing blue and yellow — Hegarty’s school colors. Just before 2 p.m., they lined the courtyard, joined by administrators and faculty from both schools, parents, community members and elected officials to witness the culmination of nearly a year’s worth of fundraising efforts.
Inundated by Sandy’s powerful storm surge, Hegarty sustained damage to its gymnasium floor, library books, musical instruments, walls, shelving, cabinetry, SmartBoards and many other items. District officials relocated students to the Lincoln Orens Middle School in Island Park for the remainder of the school year, and Hegarty did not reopen to its 320 students until last month.
“The storm was a frightening experience for many of the children,” said Dr. Rosemarie Bovino, superintendent of the Island Park School District, at Friday’s ceremony. She explained how, in the days after the storm, Hegarty teachers walked from house to house, checking on students.
But, last spring, unbeknown to those students, children from another elementary school were also walking house to house. Spearheaded by Barnum Woods’ Planning Management Team — building administrators, faculty and PTA and community members — hundreds of students sold cases of chocolate in the community to raise money for the Hegarty School. Selling each chocolate bar for a 50-cent profit, they raised $13,500 in just a few months.
Other fundraising initiatives including a movie night in Barnum Woods’ gymnasium in March, which raised $4,000. Additionally, the Community Reform Temple in Westbury donated $114.