MHS students head Pitches, Pics, and Poems for Winthrop

Nelson Gomez, Managing Editor

The contributions that MHS students make to the community know no boundaries, and a recent fundraiser led by a pair of seniors has shown just that.

Over one hundred students participated in the fundraiser to support the Child Life Program at Winthrop University Hospital, culminating in an artwork raffle and concert for the benefit of the program.

The effort was spearheaded by MHS seniors Natalie Gramegna and Ryan Schulte, who also collaborated on the Story Box, an interactive book of short stories, poems, and illustrations, which was made for the Child Life Program in 2012.

The fundraiser and collections of artwork were part of the Storybook Project, which was led by Mrs. Penny Schneider to inspire and motivate pediatric inpatients.

“When first starting this project, I expected it to be a simple afterschool project for a good cause,” Natalie said. “However, after diving deeper into it, I realized that I was a part of something larger than I had originally imagined.”

Students from Mr. Robert Hempel and Mrs. Christine Starr’s tenth grade English classes were recruited to create poetic quotes to inspire children in the Child Life Program and were encouraged to “let go of all inhibitions” to create original pieces. Mrs. Gale Domingo’s Drawing and Painting II classes created paintings to represent the quotes that Schulte and Gramegna found best suited for the project.

Last May, Mr. Hempel, Mrs. Domingo, Mrs. Marjorie Spagnuolo, and Mrs. Starr hosted the “Pitches, Pics, and Poems for Winthrop” concert. Massapequa’s top All-State NYSSMA soloists, male members of Cantate, female pop vocalists, and members of the Tri-M Music Honor Society performed that night.

Tri-M members Tim Diovanni and Meghana Rao, along with Ryan Schulte, had originally arranged a Titanic performance for their “Music for the Troops” project, but decided to also perform it that night due to the similar time frames of both events.
Additionally, the artwork created by Mrs. Domingo’s classes was raffled off during the concert. Between the artwork raffle and donation jar at the concert, students raised over five hundred dollars, which was donated to Winthrop University Hospital’s pediatric wing.

Gramegna and Schulte have shown an admirable level of dedication to their cause.“These two students are truly a dynamic duo for the good of our world,” Mr. Hempel said, praising the months of effort the two had put into organizing the project. Still, Ryan and Natalie show no sign of ending the Storybook Project and are currently planning a mid-winter benefit concert for Winthrop with Mrs. Domingo, Mrs. Starr, and Mr. Hempel.

“When we help these kids, we’re helping people who will really take advantage of every living day and understand the value of life more than most people,” Ryan said. “There’s no limit to what they will do for the benefit of humanity, which just makes me feel so honored [to help].”

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