Walt Whitman High School in South Huntington is taking recycling to a whole new level.

The school's Class of 2012 recently voted to wear graduation caps and gowns this spring that are being spun from recycled plastic bottles. The eco-friendly line of graduation wear, called GreenWeaver, uses an average of 23 bottles per gown and is made of fabric spun from molten plastic pellets.

Walt Whitman was Long Island's first public high school to sign on to use the gowns, school officials said, and about six other local schools are showing interest.

"When the senior class was given the opportunity to vote on wearing traditional gowns or spending an additional $3 to wear the biodegradable gowns at graduation, I was proud they overwhelmingly voted to go green," said principal Kathleen Acker, noting the environmental effort would keep more than 10,000 plastic bottles from ending up in a landfill.

The recycled bottles are processed to remove impurities and chopped into fragments, which are melted and solidified into pellets, school officials said. The pellets are melted again and extruded into filament yarn that is then woven, dyed and made into the gowns.

The gowns are manufactured by Virginia-based Oak Hall Industries and are being distributed locally by Fogarty Enterprises, based in West Islip.

"They are very soft and comfortable and do not at all feel like what you would think a bottle would feel like," Walt Whitman senior John Aiken said.

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Senior Lucas Vazquez added: "It's an important step in creating environmental awareness in our school."



Club Z! Award

James Neary, a senior at Huntington High School, is one of four students nationwide to be awarded an honorable mention for a fall 2011 annual achievement award from Club Z!, an in-home tutoring service. He was the only New York winner and received a $500 award.

The competition, open to students in grades 5-12, received more than 250 nominees this year. Neary was nominated by his school's science teacher, Roseanne Brienza, and applications were judged based on the student's performance, service, merit and achievement.



Charity Champions

Kings Park High School was recently recognized by Legis. Lynne Nowick (R-St. James) and Cablevision's MSG Varsity network and Power to Learn program for participating in Charity Champions, a volunteer program in which kids raise funds for a charity of their choice.

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The school's charitable activities this school year have included a "stuff-a-bus" event in which students collected and donated food items from customers at Key Food in Kings Park, and a beach cleanup at Sunken Meadow State Park.

The efforts resulted in $1,000 going to Angels Without Faces, a nonprofit based in Kings Park. The school received $500 to further its charitable activities.



'Do the Right Thing'

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Eastern Suffolk BOCES recently coordinated with the Suffolk County Department of Health Services to present a youth empowerment conference, titled "Do the Right Thing," designed to reduce risky behaviors among adolescents. Dozens of teens from 15 school districts participated.

Activities included an anti-violence workshop with Suffolk County police and skits by an acting troupe called Stories of Substance that covered topics such as social media and bullying.

"We all hope this program will enable young people to take what they've learned back to their districts in an effort to guide others," said Patti Leblanc, a peer education teacher in the Sachem school district.



LI Psychology Fair

Thirteen Long Island teens were named winners earlier this month in the 2011-12 Long Island Psychology Fair, which allowed local students to present projects in six areas of psychology: cognitive, cross-cultural, developmental, education, epidemiology and social.

They were evaluated on a presentation of up to 10 minutes and their ability to field questions from a panel of judges.

Best-in-category winners were Benjamin Kornick, Daniel Sikavi and Alexander Wu of Roslyn High School, Shelby Einbinder of Great Neck South High School, and Sherilyn Gould and Talia Schwartz of Plainview-Old Bethpage High School.

Honorable mentions went to Laura Silver of Plainview-Old Bethpage High School, Alexandra Tse of Lawrence High School, Alain Sherman and Bilal Ahmed of Roslyn High School, Lakshmi Nair of Great Neck South High School, and Sonia Joshi and Diana Bai of Jericho High School.