The return to school after the spring break on March 6 took on a festive atmosphere as Mandalay Elementary School students in Wantagh prepared to welcome back fourth grader Nico Lombelino to the classroom. Balloons and a large, colorful welcome sign decorated the front entrance and music filled the air as students, debarking from the bus, rushed to the hallway and waited for Nico’s entrance.
Nico was diagnosed with leukemia in February 2020 and has been a remote learner with teacher Stacey Wright since that time. Elementary school counselor Donna Shulmann and school psychologist Maria Maleganos both said Nico was excited to return to school after such a long absence and the Mandalay faculty, staff and students thought a festive welcome back morning would be a great way to celebrate his return to in-person learning. Prior to his return, Nico received recorded video messages from his classmates welcoming him back to school.
“It was great for Nico to see so many of our smiling faces, or eyes, welcoming him back,” Ms. Shulmann said.
As Nico rounded the corner, accompanied by teacher Angela Morgan, the students lining the hallway erupted in cheers as Nico was whisked away to complete the school year.
A: Mandalay Elementary School teacher Angela Morgan is pictured with Nico Lombelino and a hallway of students who welcomed his return to school after a battle with leukemia.
B: Mandalay Elementary School student Nico Lombelino took time for a photo in front of a welcome back poster prior to entering the school.
C: Nico Lombelino found it heartwarming to enter Mandalay Elementary School with teacher Angela Morgan and to see his peers in the school hallway.
D: From left, Mandalay Elementary School teachers Joy Giangrande, Stacey Wright and Colleen O’Callaghan held up posters to welcome Nico Lombelino back to school.
Photos courtesy of the Wantagh School District