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Pulaski students donate nearly 700 pounds of candy to troops


Halloween is just beginning for soldiers deployed overseas thanks to the effort of students at Pulaski Street Elementary School.

The fifth- and sixth-grade classes combined to collect 692.4 pounds of candy during the third annual “Candy for the Troops” competition, which is run by the Brookhaven National Labs’ Veterans Association AdoptaPlatoon team and coordinated with Cyndi Haverty’s sixth-grade class.

The fifth-grade students won the competition with 346.4 pounds of sweet treats. The top individual class in fifth grade went to the students in Jamie MacDonald’s class. They donated 49.6 pounds.

However, it was Ms. Haverty’s sixth-grade class that brought in the most candy overall, totaling a whopping 101.8 pounds. Two students in the class, Ben Grodski and James Gallo, collected 40 pounds of the class’s overall donations.

“They trick or treated for five hours and donated most of their 50+ pounds to the troops,” Ms. Haverty said in a press release. “I thought that was pretty amazing. I’m glad they won because they really did take the message of giving back seriously.”

BNL will arrange and pay for the shipping costs and reward the class that collected the most candy with a pizza party.

The fifth- and sixth-grade students, as well as younger elementary students, were also encouraged to write letters to send along with the packages.

“The class wrote some of the best letters I’ve seen in the past three years,” Ms. Haverty said. “In an effort to reinforce some math skills, we had our students working with decimals during the weighing, tracking and graphing process.”

Eighth grader Marissa Braunreuther was instrumental in helping BNL get the program started in Pulaski when she was in sixth grade and is still part of the effort. This year she spent her lunch hour weighing and transporting the candy with her mom and brother, Mary and Ryan, as well as Kelly Backofen and Joyce Fortunato from BNL.

Photo Caption: Students in Cyndi Haverty’s sixth-grade class with the 101.8 pounds of Halloween candy they collected to donate to deployed soldiers. (Credit: Riverhead Schools)

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Ben Grodski, left, and James Gallo, collected about 40 pounds of candy. (Credit: Riverhead Schools)
Ben Grodski, left, and James Gallo, collected about 40 pounds of candy. (Credit: Riverhead Schools)