Middle school gives back for annual E3 Day celebration


The energy at North Shore Middle School reached maximum levels on E3 Day, a day where students and faculty participate in various service projects to benefit the school and the greater community.

E3 represents the middle school’s motto: “Everyone matters, everyone cares, and everyone learns.”

On Tuesday, before the Thanksgiving break, middle school students spent the day learning something other than math, social studies, or science. They engaged in different activities that helped make a difference.

“This is a day where the students are paying it forward, and demonstrating gratitude, and the idea of service to others,” said Principal Robert Dennis. “It’s the reason I wanted to be principal here. It’s so engrained with the kids and the faculty, and it’s something the school looks forward to every year.”

Assistant Principal Rachel Green said that when the high school students are asked what their favorite memory from middle school was, E3 Day always tops the list. “Service learning is very important, and through E3 Day we’re teaching kids to help others,” she said.

Each student was assigned a project based on his or her top three choices. The students had over 15 activities to choose from, including: “Raking a Difference,” mural painting, “Crayons for Cancer,” a Read-a-Thon, a bake sale, giving a musical performance at the Glen Cove Senior Center, garden clean-up and a new activity called “Dancin’ through Sunrise.”

Certain activities included fundraising. Green said that the proceeds would be donated to hurricane relief efforts. And the money raised from “Dancin’ through Sunrise” would be used to help send children with cancer to Sunrise Day Camp.

E3 Day’s “Turkey Bowl,” a daylong flag football game for the eighth graders, also raised money, as did a walk-a-thon that raised funds for each lap a student walked.

The students who participated in “Raking a Difference” visited eight households around the community. They arrived by bus with rakes in hand to help clean up their neighbors’ yards.

Art teacher Benjamin Benfield assisted the students at the mural painting activity. Together, they worked to replicate an image of the Glen Head railroad station with paint and collage-work.

Benfield told the children that the mural would also consist of three hot air balloons to represent the three pillars of E3. “The kids really get into it,” he said. “The E3 spirit that we try to capture in the photo takes place in the room as well.”

Eight grade students wheeled carts filled with baked goods around the school. Jackson Aquino, of Glenwood Landing, was distributing the delectable treats. “It makes you feel better to help others,” he said.

In the “Crayons for Cancer” room, students created colorful display pieces from melted crayons that would be donated to childhood cancer patients.

“[E3 Day] is important because we’re spreading kindness, and we learn to do it every day, not just today,” said Sophia Martini, a sixth grader from Glen Head. “We’re working together to help people in need.”

When asked what her favorite E3 activity was, Green said she didn’t have a favorite. “They’re all equally important,” she said. “The students learn better by doing rather than listening.”