Two robotics teams from Long Island were among 40 award winners worldwide at the 2015 FIRST Robotics Championship last month in St. Louis.
Bridgehampton High School's Team Supreme (Team No. 5659) was one of four finalists in their subdivision, and Patchogue-Medford High School's Raiders (Team No. 329) took home a Team Spirit Award. That award goes to teams showing "extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit through exceptional partnership and teamwork," competition officials said.
This year's FIRST Robotics Championship included some 18,000 teens from 40 countries. FIRST is an acronym -- "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology."
"I couldn't be more proud of all [that] these kids do," said Danielle Oldis, the co-coach of Patchogue-Medford's robotics team.
Other local teams to advance to the championship were P.R.I.D.E. (Team No. 3171) of Westhampton Beach High School, T-Birds (Team No. 3137) of Connetquot High School in Bohemia, and Robo Gym (Team No. 3950) of North Shore High School in Glen Head.
Patchogue-Medford has advanced to the world level for nine consecutive years -- a feat reached by only 32 other teams, Oldis said.
This year's theme, "Recycle Rush," challenged three-team alliances to stack totes on scoring platforms, cap them with recycling containers, and dispose of pool noodles, which represented litter. Teams worked with mentors to design and build robots using a kit of parts.
ISLAND PARK: New playground
Francis X. Hegarty Elementary School held a groundbreaking ceremony last month for a playground to replace one damaged as a result of superstorm Sandy in 2012. Funds were raised by several local schools -- led by Barnum Woods Elementary School in East Meadow, which raised some $18,500.
Other schools joining the fundraising efforts were Cantiague Elementary School in Jericho, Gardiners Avenue Elementary School and MacArthur High School in Levittown, Great Hollow Middle School in Nesconset, and Searingtown Elementary School in Herricks.
The efforts attracted the attention of Kiwanis International, which donated $25,000.
MASSAPEQUA: Fundraising record
Unqua Elementary School raised $33,575 through a "Jump Rope for Heart" fundraiser to benefit the American Heart Association. The amount is the second-largest ever raised on Long Island -- behind the school's own record last year of $34,666, school officials said.
Students got pledges from family and friends based on their participation in jump-rope activities during physical education classes.
DIX HILLS: ExploraVision
A three-student team from Half Hollow Hills High School West -- Alexis D'Alessandro, Tiffany Kim and Victoria Sacchetti -- was one of 24 regional winners in the 23rd Annual ExploraVision competition, a K-12 contest that asked kids to imagine technology that could exist in 20 years. It was coordinated by Toshiba and the National Science Teachers Association.
The team proposed a drug that would cure Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a disease which causes progressive degeneration and apoptosis of nerve cells throughout the body by targeting and then destroying the mutated SOD1 protein that causes the illness.
The team was not among the competition's national winners.
EAST SETAUKET: State Olympiad champs
A team from Paul J. Gelinas Junior High School beat out 35 teams statewide last month to place first in the middle school level of the New York State Science Olympiad in Syracuse. The team won medals in 22 of 25 events in the Olympiad, which challenges teams of up to 15 students to compete in events such as "Bridge Building" and "Disease Detectives."
Gelinas placed first among 35 Long Island teams in a regional event earlier this year at Candlewood Middle School in Dix Hills, and advanced to the national tournament in Nebraska this month.
A team from R.C. Murphy Junior High School in Stony Brook placed sixth statewide.
NASSAU COUNTY: Scholarship winners
Thirty Nassau County students are among 2,500 high school seniors nationwide named winners of $2,500 scholarships issued by the National Merit Scholarship Corp. Winners were selected based on accomplishments, skills and potential for success in college studies -- as well as an essay and teacher recommendation.
Winners are: Beatrice Brown, John F. Kennedy High School, Bellmore; Daniel Hanover, Jessy Lin and Matthew Wigler, Great Neck North High School; Hamsavardhaan Sivadhanu Pillai and Jay Zussman, Great Neck South High School; Russell Charnoff, Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns & Rockaway; Shweta Lodha and Karan Singhal, Herricks High School; Grace Mok, Jericho High School; Christopher White, Friends Academy, Locust Valley; Tazim Merchant, Locust Valley High School; William Delaney, Jessica Kim and Andrew Moshova, Manhasset High School; Tyler Fenton and Jennifer Hwang, Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School; Samuel Goldman and Crystal Ren, Paul D. Schreiber High School, Port Washington; Alex Boss, South Side High School, Rockville Centre; Rachel Mintz, Jordan Rosen and Brandon Tepper, Roslyn High School; Adina Singer, Stella K. Abraham High School, Hewlett Bay Park; Max Carol, Ritayan Chakraborty, Elaine He, Abrar Ali Nadroo, Rebecca Sobel and Jiwei Zhong, all of Syosset High School.
SUFFOLK COUNTY: Scholarship winners
Fifteen Suffolk County students are among 2,500 high school seniors nationwide named winners of $2,500 scholarships issued by the National Merit Scholarship Corp. Winners were selected based on accomplishments, skills and potential for success in college studies -- as well as an essay and teacher recommendation.
Winners are: Scott Massa, Commack High School; Hannah Lawrence, Comsewogue High School, Port Jefferson Station; Aaron Zhang, Deer Park High School; Kelsey Hackett, Elwood-John H. Glenn High School; Justin Estreicher and Zachary Goldstein, Half Hollow Hills High School East, Dix Hills; Alisa Chang, Harborfields High School, Greenlawn; Daniel Nasta, Hauppauge High School; Seth Brand, Mount Sinai High School; Ryan Leone, Sachem High School East, Farmingville; and Gary Ge, Kriti Jindal, Ramya Rao, Eric Wang and John Welde III, all of Ward Melville High School, East Setauket.