It’s a tradition that goes back decades.
At least that’s how long elementary students from the South Huntington School District have offered up presentations of one kind or another to the district's board of education.
For many years, it was handwritten letters. But in the past few years, it's been portraits -- portraits of Board of Education members created by students, and presented with prepared speeches at an official board meeting.
This year was no exception. Wednesday night, four students from Oakwood and three from Countrywood marched up to the microphone at the BOE’s regular meeting in the cafeteria of Oakwood Primary and offered up words, artwork and their expressions of appreciation to each of the members of the board.
Oakwood Primary principal Eileen Kerrigan introduced the students one by one.
First up was Brayden Zalbert, who had a drawing she’d made of board president Jim Kaden. After reading her prepared speech and presenting her drawing to Kaden, Brayden was followed to the microphone by Shalyn Sharf, who had a similar presentation for Lisa Brieff. Joseph Decker -- who had drawn Edward J Nitkewicz -- and Nicole Yerys, who had a presentation for Michele DeGaetano, followed.
Next up were three students from Countrywood Elementary, led by principal Barbara A. Kenney. Reading prepared speeches and making presentations to board members were Olivia Taylor (Chad Lupinacci), Joseph Censoring (Nicholas Ciappetta) and Noelle Decker (Linda LaCara).
In each case, students expressed their appreciation for the board’s support to the young people of the district -- both organizationally, in terms of financial support for core subjects, music and art, and athletics; and in fomenting life lessons such as ‘how to be responsible members of the community and accepting of others.'
Several students noted the ‘wonderful changes in the buildings’ upon return to school this semester, including improvements to lighting and heating systems, fresh paint in hallways, and the ‘shiny new gym floor’ at Oakwood Primary.
Board members were uniformly pleased with their recognition. Kaden praised the excellent likenesses, including his own. And Nitkewicz made particular note, with satisfaction, that his portrait did not have any gray hair in it.