TODAY'S PAPER
Overcast 54° Good Morning

What do you think about LI school walkouts for Parkland?

Students from West Boca High School in Florida walked to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 20, 2018 in honor of the 17 students and staff who were shot dead there days earlier. Credit: Getty

Some students across Long Island — and the country — walked out of their schools on Wednesday to send a message in the wake of last month’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The nationwide demonstration, planned for 10 a.m., was expected to last 17 minutes to symbolize the number of students and staff members killed in the Feb. 14 school shooting.

LI school districts performed a delicate dance as they worked both to allow and control student-led walkouts. We asked readers: Do you think students should face disciplinary action if they walk out of their schools Wednesday without their district’s support? Here are their responses.

What do you think of Betsy DeVos?

What do you think of Betsy DeVos’ confirmation?

Betsy DeVos’ nomination as education secretary has been one of the most controversial of President Donald Trump’s cabinet picks, with two Republicans joining Democrats to vote against the school choice activist. Last week, teachers, parents and children protested the nomination in Washington, D.C., Portland, Nashville, and Holland, Michigan — DeVos’ hometown.

The Senate confirmed DeVos on Tuesday afternoon after Vice President Mike Pence cast a vote to break the 50-50 tie. The Senate historian said it was the first time a vice president has ever had to break a tie.

Read what officials have to say and add your own response: What do you think of DeVos as education secretary?

Submit a response

Thank you for your submission. Check back soon to see if it was posted.

Please respond in 250 words or less. Your response becomes the property of Newsday Media Group. It will be edited and may be republished in all media.

Long Island’s Extraordinary Seniors 2016

Live. Laugh. Give. Repeat. That seems to be the life course of Extraordinary Seniors in the Class of 2016. Each year, Newsday receives nominations from principals, teachers and guidance counselors in Nassau and Suffolk counties about students who exemplify the best of qualities: Kindness, perseverance, humility, thoughtfulness, determination, altruism. Those traits and more shine among the 16 seniors selected this year.

Quentin Thomson: A super-powered love for his community

More about Quentin

Community service is one of Quentin Akwasi Owusu-Adjei Thomson’s secret superpowers. The graduating senior is involved with volunteer groups in and out of his busy school career. He credits the Leaders Club at his local YMCA for kicking off his passion for community work. “That club really transformed me and developed my character by helping me in different endeavors and helping me to see my potential, and see where I would like to go with my future,” Thomson said. He also said the National Honor Society “helped a lot in terms of developing me academically where I would like to focus.” Read more. (Reporter: Sophia Chang / Videographer: John Paraskevas)

Morgan Zuch: A cancer survivor’s path is forever changed

More about Morgan

At 2 years old, while other children were playing outside and starting to explore the world, Morgan Zuch was isolated in a hospital room. It was 2000, and with a diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, her life was lived inside. Her next three years were a blur of chemotherapy, medication, injections and surgeries. Zuch was considered a “standard risk” patient, and the cure rate for her leukemia was about 80 to 85 percent. But she wasn’t allowed to play with other children or attend preschool, for fear that her suppressed immune system could turn a simple cold into a deadly infection. Zuch’s mother, Nancy, said her daughter at times suffered the most from the side effects of the chemotherapy, which she said included severe leg pain, constant nausea, spinal headaches and night terrors. At one point Zuch stopped walking, talking and eating for two weeks. Read more. (Reporter: Christine Chung / Videographer: John Paraskevas)

Triplets Carmine, Francesco and Marconi D’Auria-Gupta: Triplets who sing in harmony

More about Carmine, Francesco and Marconi

The D’Auria-Gupta brothers have been in harmony for as long as they can remember but the 18-year-old fraternal triplets have already amassed a string of successes as a family singing act. Carmine, Francesco and Marconi started practicing tunes as children about a decade ago, but grew into serious singers with performances at Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden and at the 2008 U.S. Open tennis tournament in Queens. Over the past few years, they’ve performed classical pieces with the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York and as a barbershop group with brothers Gaetano, 20, and Leonardo, 15. “Since we’re all related, the way our voices blend and work together just gives it a different sound than when it’s just four unrelated people,” said Marconi, a tenor. Read more. (Reporter: Will James / Videographer: Chuck Fadely)

Marie Albanese: A high-octane passion for volunteering

More about Marie

Marie Albanese has spent her high school career relentlessly giving back to make someone else’s life better. She volunteers to bake and cook at the Ronald McDonald House, various senior centers and a local soup kitchen. She participates in clothing and shoe drives. During her free time during the school day she helps the speech pathologist by sitting in on sessions and assisting with the lesson. After school Albanese, who is 18 and lives in Franklin Square, volunteers to help autistic students, and when she’s not doing that she heads to a local elementary school to help kindergarten students with their homework. Oh, and last year she led the effort to create a club called Saving Our Society, which participates in various community service projects, such as Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises money to fight childhood cancer. All this she does while maintaining strong grades and being a member of the cheerleading team. Read more. (Reporter: Deborah S. Morris / Videographer: Raychel Brightman)

Tyler Bloch: Tourette syndrome doesn’t get in his way

More about Tyler

Tyler Bloch is not only a top student and tennis master but is also a teenage foodie with thousands of fans. Bloch, 17, cooks healthy dinners for his family each night, has an Instagram food blog with more than 3,600 followers and appeared on the Food Network show “Chopped” when he was only in ninth grade. From curried lentil stew to charred scallion bruschetta to banana-oat pancakes — he’s driven by a greater purpose. Read more. (Reporter: Candice Ferrette / Videographer: Barry Sloan)

Ross DiBetta: Helping others, at home and abroad

More about Ross

In the winter, when lacrosse captain Ross DiBetta hangs up his gear, he’s leading the cheering section for the basketball team, riding a hobbyhorse mustang — the school’s mascot — its pole a lacrosse stick he made in woodshop. What started as a group of a dozen of his friends who wanted to rev up the crowds at the junior-varsity games has grown into a boisterous group of more than 60 strong at all school sporting events. Dressed in white, sometimes black, or red, white and blue, they make up “the stable.” “We take it pretty seriously,” said DiBetta, 18, of Mount Sinai. That’s not a surprise to his school’s principal. Read more. (Reporter: Scott Eidler / Videographer: Raychel Brightman)

Danielle Fauteux: ‘Ready for anything’ as an EMT

More about Danielle

Danielle Fauteux never knows when the call will come that sends her racing out the door and off to an emergency in her neighborhood. It could be in the middle of dinner or while she is doing homework; one call came right before a school pep rally. But as a certified Emergency Medical Technician and a volunteer with the East Marion Fire Department, Fauteux, 18, knows that when the call comes she has to go. “I am ready for anything,” said the East Marion resident. “You can never gauge when it will be. It will be a school night and I would get a call at 3 a.m. and I would go to school; that’s happened multiple times . . . I had a call where I was out til 5 a.m.” Read more. (Reporter: Joie Tyrrell / Videographer: Chris Ware)

Krish Kamdar: An immigrant himself, he helps others adjust

More about Krish

Krish Kamdar knows how tough it can be for an immigrant to adapt to life in the United States: He was one himself. He arrived from India in 2004 at the start of first grade, and struggled to understand English and make friends. He has turned it around and now uses the experience to help others in the same predicament. Kamdar, 17, became a volunteer at a center in New Hyde Park that helps elderly Indian immigrants adjust to life in the United States. Kamdar helps them obtain Social Security cards and fill out immigration papers. He also tutors Indian children who are very much in the same situation he once found himself in. Read more. (Reporter: Bart Jones / Videographer: John Paraskevas)

Erin Goldrick: Medical condition inspires an interest in nursing

More about Erin

She has a metal plate, a metal bolt and metal rods in her head, and the back of her neck “looks like a racetrack or a candy cane” because of cuts made for the insertion of shunts. But for Erin Goldrick, school has always been the most important thing to focus on. “My parents — they’ve helped me out a lot,” said Goldrick, 18, of Hampton Bays. “They told me ‘education first.’ My dad said, ‘There’s only a little amount of time [to spend in school] to set up the rest of your life.’ ” Read more. (Reporter: Lisa Irizarry / Videographer: Randee Daddona)

Frances Gould: A zeal for social justice that started at home

Frances Gould has never been known to take anything lightly, whether it is her passion for the environment or a college-level course at New York University. At the end of her freshman year, she conceptualized a paper recycling program for her high school and spent the following years putting it into place. She developed a proposal, contacted the local sanitation department and asked the school’s endowment fund to pay for recycling bins. Now, the program is in full swing, with paper picked up and recycled on a regular basis. “This year it is becoming fruitful and we are seeing amazing results,” she said. Read more. (Reporter: Joie Tyrrell / Videographer: Chris Ware)

Kyle Kratzke: Turning a brain tumor into fodder for comedy

More about Kyle

If a brain tumor has a bright side, it seems Kyle Kratzke found it. “He always looked at it as ‘Lucky me, look at what happened to me and how I’m so lucky to get the chance to do all these things and make my life better,’ ” said his mother, Lisa Kratzke. Kratzke was diagnosed when he was 5 and has undergone eight surgeries. His tumor causes cognitive disabilities, including a slower processing of information and reduced memory. But he has used his tumor as fodder for jokes in the more than 20 stand-up comedy acts he has performed at clubs throughout New York City and Long Island over the past three years, some at fundraisers for nonprofits, others for pay. “The brain tumor is why I got started in comedy,” Kratzke, 18, said. Read more. (Reporter: David Olson / Videographer: Raychel Brightman)

Alexander Perlak: A life-changing trip inspires a desire to help others

More about Alexander

Alexander Perlak likes to say he is motivated by a “service heart.” He works tirelessly to give back to his community, and thanks to his leadership, more families in the school district had a little more for the holiday season. As co-president of the school’s Key Club and student council, Perlak, 17, is instrumental in coordinating events that bring together students, parents and faculty to raise money for needy families. Through a Family Feud game show-style event to raffles to organizing the school’s food pantry, Perlak started many initiatives in the district that will continue after he graduates. “It was really nice to see that my hard work starts a tradition,” said Perlak, of West Hempstead. “I think you always have to give back to your community and your school. They’ve done so much for you and you have to return the favor.” Read more. (Reporter: Candice Ferrette / Videographer: Alejandra Villa)

Liane Russell: Turning her differences into strengths

More about Liane

If you ask Liane Russell what has most defined her as a teenager, the last answers you’ll hear are her vision impairment, cerebral palsy or leg braces that run from her shoes to her knees. Rather, you’ll hear about a place where she’s as visible and vulnerable as a teen can be the “I figure it’s a part of me, so why dwell on it?” Russell, 18, said of her disabilities. “I love chorus and Drama Club. With singing, it isn’t a physical activity and I can sing as loud as I want . . . With acting, I can be someone else and still be myself at the same time.” Russell’s journey began when she was born nine weeks early and was subsequently diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Her right foot is turned inward and a vision impairment causes eye fatigue if she stares too long. Today, she wears ankle-foot orthosis braces and leaves classes five minutes early to navigate her school’s hallways and stairs, the latter of which she calls “a bit of a monster.” Read more. (Reporter: Michael R. Ebert / Videographer: Raychel Brightman)

Dante Vigliotti: A love of animals, a knack for business

More about Dante

Animals hold a special place in the heart of Dante Vigliotti. “Animals don’t have a voice,” he said. “When they need help, people aren’t always there.” That doesn’t apply to Vigliotti, 18, who spent most of his middle and high school years volunteering and caring for pets at the animal shelter in Glen Cove at least once a week. He said the shelter doesn’t enjoy the same resources as others on Long Island, so he decided to do his part by undertaking multiple initiatives to raise money for the facility. His efforts started in his parents’ basement several years ago after he bought goods from a local pet shop to start his own dog and cat supply store. “I went door to door putting fliers in my neighbors’ mailboxes,” to draw attention to his business, Vigliotti said. Read more. (Reporter: Deon J. Hampton / Videographer: Barry Sloan)

Long Island 2016 graduations

Long Island 2016 graduations

Meet LI's top 143 students in 2016

Photos

Meet LI's top 143 students in 2016

See which valedictorians are bound for the Ivy League, who is staying on Long Island, who will major in STEM-related fields, and who is still undecided.

Meet the 2016 salutatorians

Photos

Meet the 2016 salutatorians

What does the future hold for these top students?

Long Island's Class of 2016

Data

Long Island's Class of 2016

See class lists from every Long Island high school.

LI's Extraordinary Seniors

Graduates

LI's Extraordinary Seniors

Meet 16 of the brightest stars of the Class of 2016.

LI senior superlatives through the years

Photos

LI senior superlatives through the years

Which famous comedian was voted class clown?

LI Class of 2016 college commitments

Data

LI Class of 2016 college commitments

Where are LI's top athletes heading next year?

17 celebrities who were valedictorians

Photos

17 celebrities who were valedictorians

Smart actors, singers, models and more.

Where are 2006's valedictorians now?

Looking back

Where are 2006's valedictorians now?

See how the past 10 years have treated these valedictorians.

Famous LI alumni

Photos

Famous LI alumni

Who are the most famous grads from your high school?

Celebrity superlatives

Photos

Celebrity superlatives

What movie stars were voted Least Likely to Succeed?

2016 graduation ceremonies

Graduation Day 2016

2016 graduation ceremonies

See the Class of 2016 get their diplomas and embark on the next chapter.

Thank a Long Island teacher

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, which runs from May 2 to May 6 this year, we’re giving you the chance to thank a Long Island teacher who has made a difference in your life or your child’s.

In your response, please include the teacher’s name, the school where they taught and describe how they have had an impact.

Submit your Response

Thank you for your submission. Check back soon to see if it was posted.

Please respond in 250 words or less. Your response becomes the property of Newsday Media Group. It will be edited and may be published in all media.