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Good News: Soldier's Return Surprises Son; Teaching Artist Wins Grant

A look at some of the inspiring headlines from around the region this week.

Ryan Hughes, a kindergartner at Deer Park’s John Quincy Adams Primary School, and his mother Theresa welcomed home his father Michael from an overseas tour of duty with the U.S. Army.
Ryan Hughes, a kindergartner at Deer Park’s John Quincy Adams Primary School, and his mother Theresa welcomed home his father Michael from an overseas tour of duty with the U.S. Army.
Here are some of the inspiring stories of the week, where community members sought to help others, or made headlines for their achievements. 

Soldier’s Return Proves the Best Surprise for Deer Park Youngster

For Ryan Hughes, a kindergartner at Deer Park’s John Quincy Adams Primary School, the best surprise of all came at the end of a recent school day.

The unannounced guest arriving at teacher Allison Jurman’s classroom to pick him up from school was his father Michael, a staff sergeant newly home from serving with the U.S. Army overseas.

“He’s been gone since the summer, nine whole months, so this is a wonderful day,” said elated mother Theresa Hughes, who accompanied him to the classroom.

“I’m very happy,” said Michael Hughes. “It’s good to finally be home.”

Piano Man Attends Billy Joel Tribute

It’s not every day that students get to sing before a Long Island legend. Yet that was the case Wednesday for a group of Glen Covers when Billy Joel himself attended Deasy Elementary School’s  “The River of Dreams: A Billy Joel Tribute Concert.”

"We invited Billy Joel on a lark, but we didn't expect him to come. It was totally thrilling," Deasy Principal Nomi Rosen told Newsday. "We were all beside ourselves."


Port Washington Teaching Artist Wins Grant

Expressive Elocution Teaching Artist Elise May, a Port Washington resident, has been awarded a 2014 Long Island Creative Curriculum Grant for the Arts for her program “Multicultural Voices – Multimedia Stories of Immigration.”

The program’s primary goal is to help Weber ESL students become as confident expressing themselves in English as in their own native language. The program uses interactive, theatrical storytelling workshops to empower students by helping them improve intelligibility and communication confidence while sharing stories of their cultural and immigration history.  The culminating project will be a movie of the students’ stories.  

Shopping Spree Wish Comes True For Smithtown Boy

Gary, 12, of Smithtown lives with spinal muscular atrophy.  When presented with an opportunity for a wish, he chose to go on a shopping spree.  Gary’s wish came true, courtesy of United Health Foundation and Make-A-Wish Suffolk County, New York.

United Health Foundation sponsored Gary’s wish through its national alliance with Make-A-Wish to support the organization and its mission of granting the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

Gary and his mother, Gina, were picked up at their home by limousine Tuesday morning to go shopping at Best Buy.  Gary loves video games so he asked to go to Best Buy to shop for an Xbox.  Employees from UnitedHealthcare’s local office accompanied Gary on his shopping spree.

“We are very happy to play a role in making Gary’s shopping spree wish come true,” said Jeff Alter, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual and a board member of the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Suffolk County.
GLENN April 13, 2014 at 11:31 AM
Welcome home and Thank you for your services.
Six Pack April 13, 2014 at 02:06 PM
Welcome home A true hero!
bill celona April 13, 2014 at 07:59 PM
Welcome home God bless and Thank You for keeping us safe.
Pat Richards April 13, 2014 at 09:06 PM
I'd rather be free than "safe".
bill celona April 13, 2014 at 09:14 PM
Free and safe that's what our men and woman in the services do for everyone in this great country of ours I am so thankful to them. pat hope the God bless didn't offend you too.

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