Sayville High School Hosts Every Child's Dream, A Gift that Keeps on Giving!

Every Child’s Dream Community Holiday Dinner
  • December 16, 2022

    The Annual Every Child’s Dream Community Holiday Dinner to give children and their families “a little Christmas” they might not otherwise experience, had been conceived and launched in 2005 by the late Ken Mangan. Mr. Mangan recognized the shortfalls of public assistance that dealt with the homeless or economically disadvantaged in the community and felt compelled to act. Two not-for-profits: Every Child’s Dream founded by Mangan and Christmas Magic founded by Charlie Russo joined forces to create the holiday dinner, and after Mangan’s passing in 2019, both nonprofits have since remained extraordinary legacies that inspire service.


    The Mangan-effect has thrived in the annual Every Child’s Dream Annual Holiday Dinner, a “flagship program” held since 2010 at Sayville High School. Under the driving force of SHS Student Government, helmed by Advisor Katherine Van Dorn, High School faculty, staff, club members, and student volunteers worked diligently, using extra-periods like Santa’s Workshop to prepare for the December 16, 2022 event.   From collecting gently-used clothing, wrapping 200 gifts for the children, sorting coats (during which the entire student body helped), to decorating the halls and cafeteria, and planning the dinner for hundreds of guests, the focus was on GIVING to the less fortunate.


    When the doors opened to welcome three hundred guests to the festive cafeteria—aglow with colorful lights, art decorations, and tinsel garland—JOY filled the halls.


    Courteous students served the three-course meal to the diners, while members of the High School Chorus performed holiday melodies, lifting everyone's spirits. Students dressed as Santa’s Elves scurried to assist the children to Santa’s knee. A variety of activity stations, including the ever-popular face painting, ensured every moment was an opportunity to enjoy. While usually the Sayville High School art students paint the little faces, this year, some little ones reciprocated by painting the art students’ faces, launching a new concept for face painting.


    The beautiful holiday activity would not have been possible without the industry and goodwill of so many. Every year, Principal  Ron Hoffer has acknowledged the countless volunteers through their organizers, beginning with Student Government Advisor Katherine Van Dorn, who oversaw the entire production; Doug Shaw who assisted with all the servers and performers; Anchor Club Advisor Social Worker Kaitlyn Walsh and World Languages Teacher Victoria Ross, who oversaw the boutique that distributed hundreds of gently used coats and other clothing; and Art Honor Society Advisor Jen Berotti, who supervised the talented art students in transforming the cafeteria and hallways as well as the face-painting activity.”


    It was Sayville High School’s twelfth year planning Every Child’s Dream. While it had been modified during the challenging pandemic hiatus, this year’s event brought back the in-person dinner, making it a much more magical night for the children and their families from local shelters.


    “For it is in giving that we receive.” During this special season of love and light, the Sayville High School community and volunteers RECEIVED the cherished gift of goodwill and great cheer by giving generously of their time and talent.