Community & School News April 2018

Important School Dates
March 30-April 6 – Spring Recess
April 9 – School resumes
April 11-12 – New York State English Language Arts (ELA) Exams
April 24 – Catholic School Touring Tuesday

Dine Out 4 Autism
Eat, drink, and be merry knowing you’re contributing to a great cause when you Dine Out 4 Autism this month! In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, local restaurants have designated a portion of their April sales to directly benefit Eden II’s early childhood campaign. Eden II provides programs and services for people living with autism on Staten Island, as well as Nassau and Suffolk Counties. At least 19 restaurants will be participating in this year’s event (see page XX for a complete list). Go to for more information.

St. Clare’s Lego Robot Champs
Congratulations to St. Clare’s Lego Robotics Team, who recently defeated 60 other teams to become one of the two teams that will advance to the World FIRST LEGO League (FLL) competition in Detroit this month! The win comes after months of hard work on research, presentations, robotics building and programming to prepare. Now the team needs a little help getting to Detroit this month in order to compete for the title of world champs. If you want to help them out, you can donate to their Go Fund Me page at, or link directly at Good luck, boys!

Light It Up Blue
Shine a light on autism Awareness! Monday, April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day and in honor of the day, the group Autism Speaks encourages the world to “Light It Up Blue” to spread awareness. The initiative is supported globally, with such iconic landmarks as the Empire State Building, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Sydney Opera House glowing blue in past years. You can show your own support by wearing blue clothes or accessories, switching your outdoor lights to blue bulbs, or sharing your “LIUB” pictures on social media using the hashtag #LIUB. Visit learn more ways to go blue on April 2 and to learn how you can make a donation to this fantastic cause.

Clip the Clippers!
Last month, over 110 students and faculty members at Xaverian High School in nearby Bay Ridge participated in the first annual “Clip the Clippers” event. The Clippers, a nickname for Xaverian students, each shaved their heads or cut their hair to stand in solidarity with children fighting cancer. To date, Xaverian has raised over $75,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – an organization that leads the way in childhood cancer research and ensures that no family pays a bill while there because they believe that all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

In addition to raising money for St. Jude, female students were given the option to donate their hair to the Children with Hair Loss foundation. Sophomore Alyssa Beltran had this to say: “Although my neck is now a little cold, my heart was warmed by all the people who donated their time, energy, and even their tresses to raise money and awareness against childhood cancer. As exciting and fun as it was, it’s important to remember the impact of an event like Clip the Clippers. There are patients out there, people just like us, who experience unimaginable struggles in their day-to-day life. To think that something as small as cutting your hair has the capacity to make a world of a difference to someone else, to create ripples of change in your community, and to reintroduce the conversation of cancer in a new and hopeful light, is truly inspiring – I’m so proud to be a part of that.” To support St. Jude’s Research Hospital, you can donate at

Math Skills for a Cause
In celebration of “Pi Day” (March 14), students at Our Lady of Good Counsel School put their brainpower to use for a good cause last month, solving math problems to raise money for St. Jude’s Research Hospital. Each student was sponsored to solve problems in a “funbook” supplied by St. Jude’s for the third annual Pi Day St. Jude Math-a-Thon. The St. Jude Math-a-Thon, coordinated by parents and students nationwide, was developed for grades K–8, to get students excited about math while teaching the importance of helping others. Participating students register their schools and host the Math-a-Thon to raise funds that benefit the hospital, while having fun and improving their own math skills.

Express Bus Changes
The MTA is working on a project that aims to speed up express bus service from Staten Island to Manhattan. Using data analysis and input from nearly 2,500 riders, the MTA has created a redesigned network which will offer commuters travel times that are similar to, or faster than, their trips today. The plan includes simplified service to Manhattan; more direct routes on Staten Island; fewer stops to speed up trips; expanded off-peak and weekend service to Manhattan; and streamlined routing to either Midtown or Downtown Manhattan. In addition, route numbers will be changed to a “SIM” (Staten Island to Manhattan) numbering scheme to maintain consistency with express bus service in other boroughs. The changes are set to begin taking effect this August.

Some riders, however, are concerned that their regular stops will be eliminated, thus making for a more difficult commute. According to the MTA, nearly 70 percent of riders will continue to use the same stop and the majority of others will not need to walk more than five minutes to reach their new stop. Click here for more information about the new changes coming to the express bus service and to link to a page where you can share your own opinion with the MTA on the proposed changes.

High Rock Park Challenge
Are you gonna rock the competition?! The 2018 High Rock Challenge Adventure Race will take place on Saturday, April 28. Held in memory of NYPD Officer John Kelly, two-member teams must run together at all times and compete in mystery events located throughout the approximately 10k course along Staten Island’s Greenbelt trail system. Proceeds from the High Rock Challenge support the Greenbelt Conservancy. Online registration will close on Thursday, April 26 at 10 am. Same day registration is available for later races. Link to the registration form and more info at If you are interested in volunteering to assist with handing out refreshments and directing the runners, call 718-667-2165 ext. 311 or email [email protected]

Stop Smoking in Movies
As a parent, do you feel uncomfortable with your children seeing films depicting people smoking? Last month, Reality Check of Tobacco-Free Staten Island held an educational event at the Staten Island Mall and collected over 200 signatures from local residents in support of a petition to put pressure on the film industry to protect millions of kids here in Staten Island and worldwide from smoking imagery in movies.

“It’s time for Hollywood to stop glamorizing smoking in the movies kids see,” said Christian Spiegel, Age 13, Reality Check youth advocate. “Movies that contain smoking should have an “R” rating because smoking on screen kills in real life.” The Surgeon General has reported that there are direct correlations with the glamorization of tobacco use and youth initiation. According to the 2012 Surgeon General’s report, Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults, “The evidence is sufficient to conclude that there is a causal relationship between depictions of smoking in the movies and the initiation of smoking among young people.”

“Parents, teachers and our community are encouraged to send a message to the movie industry that celebrities enticing kids to smoke has got to stop,” said Kallie Spiegel, age 18, and Reality Check Youth Advocate. “Send an e-mail to the MPAA at [email protected]” For more information about the harmful effects of tobacco marketing in movies, visit

P.S. 69 Foster Puppies
Mrs. Miller’s fifth grade class at P.S. 69 really cares about animals. The students sought out to encourage others to adopt an animal or at least help in any way they can, so the class started an animal adoption club at school. They found litters that needed fostering through Furrever Friends Rescue. The students care for the puppies during the day and school colleagues foster them at night. They also created profiles for each puppy on Adopt a Pet and set up Amazon wish lists to help them get everything they need. Once the applicants and puppies have been matched with families, the students and teachers will throw a party for all of the families who adopted dogs and provide each family with a dog that has been socialized with children of all ages. Other schools have gotten involved as well: P.S. 52 donated supplies and I.S.72 is going to foster puppies too.