Phillips Ave. School holds its 2nd Community Festival

TIM GANNON PHOTOS | Singer Brady Rhymer, left, gets some help onstage from the kids at Saturday's Phillips Avenue Elementary School Community Festival.

The Phillips Avenue Elementary School hosted its second annual “Community Festival” Saturday on the school grounds.

“We wanted to take an opportunity to bring the Phillips Avenue community and the school district together to have fun as families,” said principal Debra Rodgers. “It’s a celebration of our community.”

Entertainment was provided by the likes of Grammy-nominated singer Brady Rhymer of Southold, as well as the Riverhead Martial Arts Center, singer Janice Buckner, the ReDancers, Sweet Rose Revue and others.

The Flanders Fire Department, the Flanders-Northampton Volunteer Ambulance and the Coast Guard all brought vehicles and personnel to give kids tours with outreach organizations such as Island Harvest and the Guide Dog Foundation manned informational booths.

The Guide Dog Foundation is well known to the Phillips Avenue kids. Since December, school nurse Barbara Salmiery has been training a black lab named McCauley to be a guide dog, and she takes the dog to school with her.

Ms. Salmiery said she’ll have the dog for 14 to 16 months to get her used to people and after that, McCauley goes back to the foundation for six months of seeing eye training. After that she’ll likely be paired with a sight-impaired person.

Ms. Rodgers said the festival’s $5 admission fee goes back to the Parent-Teacher Organization, which sponsored the event, for use in programs they run such buying school supplies for kids.

“And some of the money may go into making next year’s festival even better than this year,” Ms. Rodgers said.

Long Island Science Center instructor Leila Makdisi brought some cool stuff to show the kids, including "flubber," a bat (deceased and in glass casing) and a replica T-Rex tooth.
Assistant Principal Steve Hudson gets a smooch from McCauley, a black lab being trained for the Guide Dog Foundation by school nurse Barbara Salmiery (not pictured.) Donna Boscola, left, has the leash.
Six-year-old Samantha Silva pets Scotty, one of the dogs up for adoption who were at Saturday's Phillips Avenue Community Festival, while four-year-old Antonella Morocho looks on.