Mattituck-Laurel: Local NYT bestselling author visits students

COURTESY PHOTO | North Fork Early Learning Center staff member Carol Vutrano surrounded by students and coworkers who collected items to send to her son in Afghanistan.

Bringing literature to life and understanding the writing process are key elements in inspiring our young people to read and write, so it was a great opportunity for Mattituck’s seventh-graders to have a visit from New York Times best-selling author Lauren Oliver. Lauren’s dad lives on the North Fork and she’s enjoyed some writing time right here on the East End. She talked to students about what inspired her to write and the process of getting a book published and then read from the best-seller “Before I Fall.” Her next book, “Delirium,” due out in February, is one part of a trilogy. Thank you, Ms. Oliver, for taking time from your busy life to share with our kids.

Everyone at North Fork Early Learning Center in Laurel has been busy collecting food and personal-care items to send to U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Raymond Vutrano, son of staff member Carol Vutrano, who is serving in Afghanistan. In addition, each child also decorated a card for him and wrote a personal note. What a great example of caring, generosity and the holiday spirit!

Special thanks to the local businesses and community members who came out last Thursday night for the holiday auction hosted by the Art Partners MHS art club. This event was a huge success!

I know it’s early to be thinking about February, but there are two important events you should mark down when you hang up those 2011 calendars. On Feb. 10, the Harlem Wizards will be in Mattituck thanks to the PTSA and Athletic Booster Club. And on Feb. 11, after months of making bowls to call attention to world hunger, the Empty Bowls Project will host a soup dinner. The event will also benefit the CAST food pantry. Watch this column for more details.

Happy birthday wishes go to Julie Peterson today, Dec. 16; Geoff Schroeder, Monica Malcolmson, James Cook and Jay Strong on the 18th; Pat Serrano, Christopher Cushman, Mary Grace Finora and Bella Cahill on the 19th; and Tim Spath, Joel Mercier and Juliet Biemiller on the 22nd. Enjoy!

The Mattituck varsity cheerleaders are having a Holiday Cheer Kickoff at the varsity boys’ first home game vs. Wyandanch tomorrow, Dec. 17, at 6:15 p.m. They’ll conduct a 50/50 raffle and will be collecting new or gently used blankets and women’s coats. They will also accept cash donations and gift cards from 4 p.m. through the end of the varsity game. All proceeds will go to Peconic Heights Women’s Shelter. Help someone this holiday season.

I love hearing news about former Mattituck student Jarret Palmer. A few weeks ago I ran into his mom, who filled me in that Jarret is working on a new project out in California as associate producer of the cable show “1,000 Ways to Die.” Good luck! You’re one step closer to that walk on the red carpet.

Next week’s column will be the last for 2010 and there will be no community columns until the Jan. 13 issue, so if you have anything important you wish to have in, please contact me so I can accommodate you.