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Feeling Grateful In Oyster Bay

Members of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich School district are feeling full of gratitude these days. The inspiration to think, feel and act with more gratitude stems from last month’s Special Education Parent Teacher Association (SEPTA) meeting in which Jeffrey J. Froh, PsyD presented his research findings in the field of gratitude.

SEPTA President and special education teacher Kevin McCarthy says, “Dr. Froh’s presentation on his newest book, Making Grateful Kids: The Science of Building Character, was a reaffirmation of how important being grateful as individuals can be. Dr. Froh was able to show, through his research, that the power of being grateful, and more importantly, teaching your children how to be grateful, can lead to a more positive, productive and fulfilling life. It was a wonderful topic that was well received by over 125 attendees. Our Special Education Parent Teacher Association was proud to present the program.”

Several attendees said the talk inspired them to make changes in their own lives. Parent Danielle Gangamella Taylor of Oyster Bay said, “it’s changed my life in so many ways. I made a point to make a gratitude visit after the talk. I think as parents we are always so hard on ourselves and I now think it’s important to take the time to appreciate our children and all the things we are doing well.”

School social worker Dr. Carole Brown said she shared the information from the talk with many of her students and had her leadership groups write a gratitude letter.  On a more personal note, she shared that after getting caught in a downpour and becoming completely drenched running from her car to her office she thought to herself, “I am so grateful I didn’t have to take the bus.”

Froh is an associate professor of psychology at Hofstra University and has been given a grant from The John Templeton Foundation to study gratitude in children and adolescents. His findings are astounding. He says, “Grateful teens are happier and more likely to give social and emotional support to others, are more satisfied with their lives, are physically healthier and tend to have higher GPAs.” Additionally, he says, “Gratitude and social integration create an upward spiral.” Because grateful teens are more likely to give social and emotional support to others, they tend to foster better relationships, therefore receiving more support and becoming more socially integrated.

Based on his research, Froh states, “Gratitude is accessible to anyone at anytime.”

Helping teens to become more grateful can be as simple as asking them to keep a gratitude journal. Students who kept gratitude journals saw an increase in happiness even months after stopping the writing.  

Lorraine Miller of Port Washington is the author of the journal From Gratitude to Bliss. She shared, “Gratitude is an essential ingredient for life success and the work that Jeff and his team are doing is vital to the health and happiness of our children.”

With young children, Froh recommends cultivating gratitude by encouraging them to share what was the best part of their day, foster an appreciation for nature and modeling, modeling, modeling. He says, “Empathy is the building block of gratitude,” therefore modeling empathy in the way that we treat others is imperative in raising grateful kids.

News

Driving rain and an early start time did not deter 600 people who arrived at Crest Hollow Country Club recently to celebrate the Women’s Fund of Long Island’s 20th year and to honor four exceptional women.

The breakfast started with a meet and greet and a chance to showcase Women’s Fund contest winner Patti Hogarty, designer of “Women as Bamboo.” Inspired by her neighbor’s bamboo, she entered the contest drawing a design of the bamboo, which Ambalu Jewelers of Roslyn then turned into various pendants of which 40-percent of the profits would go to WFLI. Hogarty wrote a short essay comparing women to bamboo in that they are strong and can weather difficult storms, yet remain graceful and continue to grow sending out new shoots.

Oyster Bay High School Principal Dr. Dennis O’Hara addressed the board of education at Tuesday night’s meeting about offering a summer school program at the high school. It would be the first time the district had a summer school program in more than 12 years.

Dr. O’Hara explained that with the institution of the Common Core state standards, students are faced with a greater level of academic rigor and more challenging coursework. The program would offer remedial and enrichment classes for students both in and out of district.


Sports

In the history of Oyster Bay High School athletics, no one has ever won a Girls’ Tennis New York State Championship. Celeste Matute and Courtney Kowalsky became the first when they won the 2014 New York State Doubles Championship in Latham on Nov. 3. What makes this tremendous achievement even more remarkable is that Matute is a junior and Kowalsky is a sophomore.

The girls, who are usually singles players, teamed up to take on the very best players in Nassau County and New York State. They won all 10 matches in the section XIII and NYSPHSAA tournaments and left Latham as the 2014 New York State doubles champions.

The conditions were as fierce as the competition earlier this month at Oakcliff Sailing’s Halloween Invitational.

Ten teams from the U.S., Canada and Bermuda battled 30-knot-plus winds, heavy rain and biting cold to see who would take top honors at Oakcliff’s final match racing event of the 2014 season.


Calendar

Raingarden Workshop

Wednesday, November 19 & Thursday, November 20

Informative Hospital Talk

November November 20

Opera Night

Sunday, November 23



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