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Assembly Program Expands Its Influence

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
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There is nothing more uplifting than the sight and sound of 350 children—ages Kindergarten through fourth grade—cheering, laughing and learning. On Wednesday morning, the "We're All Islanders" School Assembly Program, presented by the Lighthouse Development Group, National Grid and Supercuts—featuring arena hostess Dina and Sparky—entertained, educated and inspired youngsters from P.S. 84 in Astoria, Queens. The subject of the day was the importance of teamwork.
Now in its second season, the School Assembly Program—which has already reached thousands of children at 36 schools in Nassau and Suffolk counties this season—has recently expanded its reach to include Queens.
Having already visited P.S. 101 in Forest Hills and Kappa VI in Far Rockaway, earlier in January, the program is scheduled to visit P.S. 12 in Woodside, I.S. 61 in Corona, P.S. 162 in Bayside, P.S./I.S. 266 in Bellerose, P.S. 122 in Astoria and P.S. 24 in Flushing.
"I think that it's great that the Islanders are reaching children in the city," said P.S. 84 principal John Buffa. "It's wonderful that they came today."
The assembly began with a short introductory video, featuring highlights of the Islanders in action. Dina then welcomed in everyone's favorite mascot––Sparky the Dragon––who received cheers and laughs as he danced around the stage.
Dina continued by discussing how the Islanders use teamwork in order to fulfill their goals on the ice.
A special IslandersTV "Skates and Smarts" video hosted by Scott Gordon and featuring Bruno Gervais, Kyle Okposo, Blake Comeau, Josh Bailey, Jeff Tambellini and Jeremy Colliton was next aired. Set in a classroom, Gordon asked the players to define teamwork and list what was needed in order to achieve teamwork. Player after player listed traits such as "respect" and "communication" as the necessary ingredients to teamwork.
Following the video, the assembly became interactive. In order to bring to life the idea that teamwork is better than working alone, goaltending equipment was brought onto the stage. For Wednesday's assembly, Sam had three of his classmates help him dress, while one of his teachers––Ms. Smith––was chosen to dress by herself. There was no contest as Sam––with the help of his classmates–– dressed faster than his teacher.
The final activity included a group of students beginning a "Let's Go Islanders" chant that reached deafening heights. Even a young girl wearing a Rangers jersey energetically took part in the chant.
After the cheering subsided, Dina compared the Islanders organization to the students' school. The principal was equivalent to GM Garth Snow, the teachers to the coaches and the students to the players.
"Just like the players have to wake up to go to practice every day, you, the students, have to come to class every day to practice learning in school," said Dina. "Your teachers are there to help you. If a player has a bad game, the coach will help them. If you do poorly on a test one day, the teacher will help you. And Garth Snow makes sure that the team is running smoothly, just like your principal does with your school"
Throughout the entire event, the students were attentive and enthusiastic.  
"This assembly was very motivational to our kids," said Buffa. "They really got through to the kids about having to work together as a team to achieve goals. Everyone in the room was very excited. These are people that the students look up to as role models and it's great that they're sending them a good message."
To end the assembly, Dina announced that each student would receive a special Islanders gift bag that included two free ticket vouchers to an upcoming home game. Also, the Islanders donated a free set of street hockey equipment to the school for use in their gym classes.

Click here for a complete schedule of the "We're All Islanders" School Assembly Program. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the schedule.

Click here to watch the latest edition IslandersTV's NYI Show.

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