2008 Above & Beyond: Honorees

June 12, 2008 9:55:55 AM PDT
This year, ABC-7 honors four schools in the Tri-State Area who have outstanding programs, students and teachers. School: McKinley Intermediate School 259
Program: "I Love Me" Program
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Description: The "I Love Me" Program was started by a guidance counselor, Lizz Madonia, at McKinley Intermediate School 259. She began this program after realizing that many of the issues the children came to her with were related to their own self esteem. This program helps the students increase their self-esteem and build a positive self-image. In addition, the program helps others increase their self-esteem. The program began with only a few student members and has spread to include the whole school community. It helps others to appreciate their differences and build a healthy self-esteem.

Student Name: Marin Shapiro
School: Long Beach High School
Program: Rock and Wrap It Up
Location: Lido Beach, NY
Description: Marin Shapiro, a senior at Long Beach High School, has made a significant difference in the lives of hundreds of children and young adults in the great Long Beach community. When Marin was a freshman, she met with her high school principal to discuss starting a chapter of the charity "Rock and Wrap It Up" at Long Beach High School. He had his concerns that a program like this might be difficult to start, but knew that if anyone could get it started, Marin was the person to do it. After overcoming numerous legal hurdles, Marin now helps to provide left over food from the school cafeteria to homeless shelters and after-school programs in the City of Long Beach. Her creativity, determination, and kindness for the less fortunate members of her community prevailed, and four years later, Marin is still involved with Rock and Wrap It Up. Her dedication and compassion has shown students, teachers and administrators of Long Beach High School and to the Long Beach community that one person, despite their age, can make a difference.

School: W.T. Clarke Middle School
Program: Democracy in Action
Location: East Meadow, NY
Description: The students of W.T. Clarke Middle School in Westbury, NY have raised $5,200 to be distributed to selected organizations through their program "Democracy in Action" headed by teacher, Debbie Marks. The motto of the program is "Democracy in Action: Making History Come to Life, from King Arthur's Roundtable to America's Democratic Republic." Students raise funds with a school-wide Penny Harvest and then meet to present, discuss, advocate for, and vote on organizations and causes that they feel passionate about.

School: Franklin Avenue Middle School
Program: Beads 'n Me
Location: Franklin Lakes, NJ
Description: In January 2008, special education teacher, Dr. Marcy Pryor and instructional assistant Maureen Bergin, helped to create "Beads 'n Me" for 11-15 year old students with multiple disabilities. This program teaches students how to run a business and provides an opportunity for integrated instruction. Students created a company selling beaded necklaces, lanyards and eyeglass holders which they made, marketed and sold. The proceeds of all sales were then donated to charitable organizations of the student's choice. Beads 'n Med showed that students learn best from participating in activities that interest them, and solidified the idea that great lessons can be developed through real-life situations and innovation.