St. Joseph School in Ronkonkoma started the new school year off strong by organizing a variety of community events and service projects. The projects were inspired by the school’s recent adoption of “The Leader in Me,” a transformative, educational program modeled after Franklin R. Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” that encourages students to work alongside teachers and parents to take a leadership role in their school, community, and home.


In late September, the school hosted Safety Night for community families. The Suffolk County Sheriff Crime prevention team, S.W.A.T. team, and K-9 Unit participated, along with the Ronkonkoma Fire Department EMS team. The children learned about safety and the people who work hard to protect them, through interactive demonstrations, coloring activities, climbing into the on-site vehicles, as well as speaking with law enforcement personnel.


St. Joseph School principal, Rich Kuntzler, and pastor, Fr. Mike Rieder, greet students from atop a Suffolk County S.W.A.T. vehicle

Eighth grade students organized a “Band Aids® n’ Crayons” drive to benefit Stony Brook hospital after reaching out to the unit to see what items could brighten young patients’ stays at the hospital. Throughout the month of September, the upper classmen collected “child-friendly” bandages and crayons from school and parish families, resulting in several hundred donations that were delivered to the hospital.