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South Middle Community Closet Celebrates Grand Opening

Two school administrators and two faculty members stand outside the South Middle Community Closet

The Great Neck Public Schools is pleased to announce the opening of the South Middle School Community Closet. The Community Closet is the newest addition to the district’s services that provide clothing, jackets, and shoes for students in need throughout the school community without interruption to their academic, social, and emotional learning.

The Community Closet at South Middle works collaboratively with the Clothing Pantry at Saddle Rock Elementary School, which opened in 2019. The Closet will focus on clothing items for secondary students, while the Pantry will focus on items for elementary students. Both locations serve the entire district and can be accessed by the GNPS Social Work Team upon request from a teacher, administrator, or parent.

“This additional location at South Middle expands our outreach and allows us to help even more families in need throughout our community,” says Superintendent Dr. Teresa Prendergast. “Being able to provide our students with needed clothing will help them feel more comfortable and confident in school and, in turn, support their academic success.”

The Community Closet is located in a previously unused storage closet at South Middle. The district’s buildings and grounds staff prepared the space with clothing racks and shelves, and South Middle’s technology department created an engraved wood sign that hangs outside the door.

Through their collaboration with the Clothing Pantry at Saddle Rock, the Community Closet already has some clothing, jackets, and shoes available for students in need. Plans are underway to host a clothing drive in the coming weeks.

The Community Closet initiative was spearheaded by South Middle English teacher Kristin Klein, ENL teacher Elizabeth Piperno, social worker Dr. Yeddi Park, and Assistant Principal Ryan Nadherny.


School administrators, faculty, and a board member celebrate a ribbon cutting ceremony on the front steps of South Middle

On March 25, Board of Education Trustee Rebecca Sassouni, Superintendent Dr. Teresa Prendergast, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Stephen Lando, and Saddle Rock Principal Luci Bradley joined South Middle Principal Dr. Gina Cartolano, Assistant Principals Lenny DiBiase and Ryan Nadherny, and faculty Community Closet coordinators Kristin Klein and Elizabeth Piperno to cut a ceremonial ribbon at South Middle School.