Eleven middle and high school teams from Suffolk County advanced to the New York State Science Olympiad after placing among top schools at the regional level.

Ward Melville High School in East Setauket took first place in the Eastern Long Island Regional Science Olympiad, which featured 49 teams from 26 local high schools competing at Brentwood High School.

At the middle school level, Paul J. Gelinas Junior High School in Setauket beat 35 other teams to place first in a regional held at Candlewood Middle School in Dix Hills.

In total, 23 regionals were held statewide — with teams of up to 15 students competing in events such as "Bridge Building" and "Disease Detectives."

"For me, the most important thing is that our program is providing opportunities for students to develop skills in science, math and technology in a nurturing environment," Gelinas coach Gary Vorwald said.

The top six teams from the high school regional went to the state level in Syracuse on March 13-14, but none placed in the top two to reach the nationals. In addition to Ward Melville, other Suffolk high schools at the state level were Half Hollow Hills East, Islip, Kings Park, Earl L. Vandermeulen and West Babylon.

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The top five teams from the middle school regional will vie at the state level on April 17-18. In addition to Paul J. Gelinas, other Suffolk schools advancing are R.C. Murphy Junior High School in Stony Brook as well as Bay Shore, Islip and Port Jefferson middle schools.

 

COPIAGUE: String introduction

More than 30 students in Deauville Gardens East and West elementary schools have been getting an introduction to string instruments as part of a free lesson program provided by the D'Addario Foundation, a nonprofit committed to inspiring and assisting the growth and appreciation of music.

Teens receive instruction on the violin, viola or cello for two hours a day, three days a week, led by educators from local colleges. The foundation also has provided transportation for students to take a master class with New York Philharmonic members.

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HAUPPAUGE: Battle of the Buildings

The Hauppauge school district raised more than $3,700 through a second annual "Battle of the Buildings," with teams of teachers from the district's five schools competing against each other. The money benefitted the district's Care and Share Program, which assists families in need by helping pay for field trips, school supplies and exams.

About 1,150 people attended the event, which included an "Oreo Minute-to-Win It" game, with teachers trying to move a cookie from their foreheads to their mouths without using their hands. Pines Elementary School was the overall winner.

"The smiles on all of the children's faces really helped with the night's overall success," said Hauppauge junior Samantha Weinstein, who organized the event as part of an International Baccalaureate project.

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ISLANDWIDE: LEGO League Championship

Forty local teams competed in the 11th annual FIRST LEGO League Championship at Longwood High School in Middle Island. Teams of students ages 9-14 were asked to build, test and program robots using LEGO Mindstorms to complete an obstacle course.

GearHeadz of Rocky Point (Team 6435) and Floral Park Brick Heads (Team 2438) won the 1st and 2nd place Champion's Award, respectively. Both are eligible for the league's U.S. Open in California and Razorback Invitational in Arkansas.

GearHeadz of Rocky Point (Team 6435) also won the first place Robot Performance Award and Harborfields Library Purple LEGO Eaters of Centerport (Team 10425) won the Teamwork Award.