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Red Ribbon Week Aimed At Saving Lives

The social workers in Oyster Bay perform an enormous job that often has life and death consequences.  During Red Ribbon Week, the social workers join in a nationwide effort to protect children from the effects of destructive decisions.

Red Ribbon Week was started in 1985 by the family and neighbors of Enrique Camarena, a federal drug enforcement agent who was killed in the line of duty. His family members wore red ribbons and the idea quickly spread until the red ribbon became the symbol of drug and alcohol prevention across the nation. This annual event focuses on the importance of living healthy and preventing drug and alcohol use and abuse.

In Oyster Bay, each school plans a week full of activities and fun ways to raise awareness about these important issues.

A major event at the high school is Grim Reaper Day. Grim Reaper Day is an annual event that draws attention to the devastating effects of driving while compromised.  An adolescent senselessly dies every 32 minutes as a result a direct result of drugs or alcohol. SADD officers and volunteers train to be part of the event.  They “symbolically” die every 32 minutes when the gong rings over the loud speaker. The grim character of the “reaper” (students dressed in costume), enters a room and taps a predetermined student on the shoulder. They stand and wear a placard explaining the tragic circumstances of their untimely death for all of their fellow students to read throughout the day. They remain silent and non-interactive throughout the course of their regular day as if they were “dead” to us. Their presence is a somber reminder to make good decisions to keep them, their friends and family safe, and especially to never drink and drive.

Grim Reaper Day has become a tradition at Oyster Bay High School. This was once only for high school students. The presence of seventh- and eighth-graders at the high school gave rise to the need to incorporate middle level students and age appropriate situations into the somber event.  The goal is to empower middle level students to decline rides from compromised adults, refrain from experimentation with alcohol and drugs, and to avoid risky behaviors and activities, even when they are sober.

After the last bell, all volunteers congregate in the gym lobby so individuals can read all of the placards and SADD officers can continue to share facts.  As students assembled they were serenaded by Oyster Bay High School students.  Laura Broffman kicked off the entertainment singing and playing guitar.  Stevie Matthews led a band of musicians singing “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out.” Stevie sang and played the piano.  He was joined by Chris Roerden on the bassoon, Josh Tepper on muted trumpet and Jamie Burke on guitar and vocals.  Jamie also performed with her guitar.

In general, the students feel that this is an effective and necessary event to raise awareness and educate.  The event is scheduled as part of Red Ribbon Week which also shares that mission.

On the same day, John Halligan shared “Ryan’s Story” with Vernon students.  His son, Ryan committed suicide when he was 13 years old as a result of being bullied.

News

“I didn’t know I needed my own Teddy Bear,” said a woman after the first annual Teddy’s Taste of the West dinner and fundraiser at Canterbury Ales on March 19.

Members were given an authentic Teddy Bear as a surprise gift at the end of the evening. As they say, membership has its privileges and that includes a June 11 event when Ken Burns will come to share a preview of his new film on three Roosevelts. Burns’ film explores the political and family ties between President Theodore Roosevelt, President Franklin Roosevelt and his wife, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, a Roosevelt in her own right.  

The preliminary 2014-15 school budget was adopted at last Tuesday night’s Oyster Bay-East Norwich school board meeting. The proposed budget, which came in at a figure of $54,578,478, is a 2.01 percent difference from the 2013-14 final budget figure of $53,504,111. With a budget to budget change of $1,074,367, it is the lowest expenditure increase in the last 15 years. No programs were cut as a result of balancing this budget.

“The biggest change in budget numbers is in the area of salaries and wages with a budget to budget increase of $683,428,” said School Superintendent Dr. Laura Seinfeld.


Sports

Muttontown resident and Kellenberg freshman Ceara Ann Conroy has been named an All-League athlete for Girls Winter Track. The title of All-League is awarded to athletes based on a vote of all the coaches in the NSCHSAA League. All of the Girls Winter Track coaches in the league vote based on the athletes performance during the season, and Conroy’s outstanding performance has earned her the title of All League this year.

The Girls Varsity Lacrosse program at Oyster Bay High School is just in its second year and already it is making a difference. Senior defender Danielle Maggi has committed to play Division III lacrosse at Albright College.

Last year Maggi was recognized as the “Most Improved Player,” and this year she is being recruited to play in college.

Maggi said, “We did very well in our first varsity season last year (12-2). This year we are 100 percent going for the conference. I’m excited we finally have a varsity team.”


Calendar

LI Sound Vocal Jazz Ensemble

Saturday, April 19

Annual Egg-stravaganza

Saturday, April 19

Palliative Care

Wednesday, April 23 



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com