More than 60 Riverhead students welcomed into Council for Unity

TIM GANNON PHOTO | New members, 68 in all, were inducted into the Riverhead School District's Council for Unity program last Thursday at Long Island Aquarium.

Council for Unity founder Robert DeSena called the Riverhead chapter of the anti-gang group a “model” for the state and the nation at the club’s induction ceremony and dinner last Thursday night at the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center.

The event saw 62 new students inducted into the high school club, which promotes tolerance and respect among students through anti-bullying and other awareness campaigns.

The local Council for Unity was established in 2003, and became the first suburban school to join the nationwide program, school officials said.

“They are gaining skills and experiences that can change their lives now and provide a model for the rest of their lives,” said Theresa Drozd, adviser to the local Council for Unity.

Mr. DeSenda, who founded Council for Unity in 1975 in response to gang-related violence, led new inductees in a pledge and praised the program members for their efforts in the community.

The students held a sword and mask, symbolizing tools to help them “slay their personal demons.”

Group alumni and Supervisor Sean Walter also attended the event.

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