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Joe's Day of Service 2018

Joe's Days of Service 2018
Dr. Rella, Dr. Fama, Mr. Coniglione, Dr. Quinn and Mrs. Reilly with their Joe's Days of Service T-Shirts.

Watch the Joe's Days of Service Video

William James, an American psychologist and philosopher once said, “The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”  William Shakespeare once wrote “No legacy is so rich as honesty.”  Quotes such as these let us know that life is too short, and only worth living if we make it worthwhile.  In just a generation or two none of us sitting here will be around. Few people, if any, will even remember our names. However, our deeds, if done with positive intent, compassion and kindness will live on forever.

Dr. Rella is one of those few people we will never forget.  His selfless acts and positive influence has set the stage for a legacy of kindness and generosity in the Comsewogue community.  We have all been touched by Dr. Rella’s passion in some way or another. He attends our children’s concerts, visits our schools, holds open office hours for the community, rides the bus with our students, is a champion of student rights, provides innovative leadership ,is always willing to listen, calls us each week, and most importantly makes every person he meets feel like the most important person in the room.  He is the inspiration behind Joe’s Days OF SERVICE, a proposal that will hopefully change our school and community forever.

Joe’s Days OF SERVICE is a community service initiative where students and the Comsewogue Community pledge to give back. This project was inspired by Dr. Rella’s spirit and belief that students and community members can improve the lives of others by working together.

Comsewogue leadership, including the school board, administration, and teachers have done a tremendous job leading our students and community.  Under their guidance we have benefited greatly and have achieved many significant accomplishments. By working together we have created a tremendous sense of pride for our school and our entire Comsewogue community.

However, like many schools and communities across America, we have our share of challenges. Joe’s Days OF SERVICE will help to raise awareness of those challenges and find ways to address many serious issues such as: the opioid epidemic, ongoing bullying behavior, anxiety problems, financial distress, food insecurity, social media injustice and more.

Joe’s Days OF SERVICE  would dedicate several days of the school year to these and other important issues.

Imagine a few days a year of an intensely focused educational unit on our most important community issues; days that raise awareness to a level that no student will ever forget. A few special days a year filled with activities designed to empower students to affect change in their everyday lives. Joe’s Days OF SERVICE would be designed with the intent of bringing students, staff, and community together as ONE Comsewogue Family to accomplish a massive and positive change in our community and in our world, forever.

Each Joe’s Days OF SERVICE event would allow students to utilize and express their individual talents, perspectives, and ideas as they study and work creatively to meet the challenges of overcoming a complex issue.  By working together students will gain a deeper understanding of community and world issues, as well as develop a connection and sense of empathy towards diverse segments of people. They will learn how to help people, solve problems, become active members of their school and community, and exercise their duties as worldly citizens. Joe’s Days OF SERVICE will have a tremendous impact on students and create a sense of volunteerism that will reach beyond the classroom and inspire students to continue the community work they started, achieving things they may have never dreamed they would be able to do; all the while being a part of our Comsewogue School District.

Joe’s Day’s OF SERVICE can manifest itself in many ways.  Perhaps young student’s will help out by spending a day painting the playroom at the Stony Brook Children’s Hospital Oncology Unit. Maybe, new English language learners will teach their non-English speaking family members a full immersion English course  they designed, with the guidance of their teachers. Perhaps students will prepare meals with our district food service staff, deliver the meals to local shelters and serve it to those in need. These are the kinds of activities envisioned for Joe’s Days OF Service.

The goal is to weave Joe’s Days of Service into the fabric of our district’s wonderful and ever evolving consortium model.  In this model teachers, students and staff will have the flexibility to create their own self-directed projects and coordinate them with faculty and students of different disciplines.  We envision activities like: poetry readings of original student work while visiting a veteran’s facility, presenting original works of art, drama, or poetry at a retirement home, or using a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) approach to solving community problems.

There is no better way to honor someone who has given so much to our students and community, and who has educated and mentored all of us. Someone who eschews compliments and would rather see each and everyone of us “pay it forward” to help other people.  We hope to honor Dr. Rella and The Comsewogue School District by creating an awe inspiring program where students pledge to doing community service and learn about their civic and personal responsibilities as members of their school, community, and country. We hope Joe’s Days OF SERVICE will be a life changing program that will improve our school, our community and, most importantly, our students!

A girl wearing the "Joe's Days of Service" t-shirt.

A drawing of Dr. Rella, students and the back side of Comsewogue High School with text that says "Joe's Days of Service"Joe's Days of Service picture that says "We rise by lifting others, service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth, if you wish to be loved, Love."