Seventeen Long Island high schools and Western Suffolk BOCES won Blue Stars from a national nonprofit organization for educating teenagers about budgeting, entrepreneurship and retirement planning, among other finance-related topics.
The high schools and the BOCES district are among 194 nationwide to earn the Blue Star designation this month from Working In Support of Education (w! se), which is based in New York City.
To receive the distinction, the schools had to achieve a passing rate of 75 percent on the organization's 2012-13 financial literacy certification test.
Local high schools to earn the designation were Babylon, Bethpage, Garden City, Hewlett, Gen. Douglas MacArthur in Levittown, Glen Cove, Herricks, Malverne, Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK, Riverhead, Roslyn, Sachem North in Lake Ronkonkoma, Seaford, Smithtown East and Smithtown West, Southold and Wellington C. Mepham in Bellmore.
"We are extremely proud of being recognized as a Blue Star school," Bethpage Principal Michael Spence said. "Ultimately, our goal is to provide students with the ability to make smart decisions, whether that means financing their future education, starting a business or saving for their retirement."
Garden City Principal Nanine McLaughlin added: "Hopefully, this knowledge will encourage them to become financially capable young adults."
The schools will be honored in November at the organization's National MoneyPOWER Conference for Financial Literacy in Manhattan.
Brennan Bierwiler is the new principal of Center Street Elementary School, replacing the retiring Edward Bellomo.
Bierwiler most recently served as an assistant principal at Paumanok Elementary School in Dix Hills. Before that he was a teacher for 10 years at Sea Cliff Elementary School.
Theodore Fulton is the new principal of George W. Hewlett High School, replacing the retiring Tom Russo. Fulton most recently was principal of Newfield High School in Selden.
"I look forward to working hand-in-hand with parents, students and fellow staff to continue to provide a high-school environment where all students can be successful," Fulton said.
Robert Root is interim principal of Harbor Hill Elementary School, replacing Maureen Berman, who took an administrative position in Lynbrook.
Root's past positions include serving as superintendent of North Shore Central School District in Glen Head and as an assistant superintendent in the Westbury Union Free School District.
A total of 174 Long Island students are among 16,000 semifinalists named nationwide this month by the National Merit Scholarship Corp. for about 8,000 scholarships worth $35 million. Finalists will be named in February, and scholarship winners will be announced in the spring.
Local semifinalists include:
Great Neck: Alexandra Chen, Liz Chi, May Hlaing, Da Young Hong, David Hong, Joe Kim, Kevin Kim, Kyutae Kim, Allison Kornrich, Kara Kupferberg, Cristina Lai, Christine Lee, Lora Pavlovich, Alex Putter, Seung Yeon Song, Radhika Viswanathan, Avir Waxman, Caroline Weinberg, Angell Xiang and Chaerin Yoon of Great Neck South High School; Herricks: Esther Chen, Will Chung, Bernadette Haig, Justin Hsuan, Rifath Rashid, Ankoor Talwar and Amen Wiqas of Herricks High School; Hicksville: Paige Varney and Brian Yang of Hicksville High School; Jericho: Ken Aizawa, Matthew Chun, Joshua Han, Albert Hsiung, Oliver Hu, Xingan Hua, Kevin Huang, Yu Hang Law, Nicholas Mu, Dohee Na, Karen Pan, Kaitlyn Shin, Wilson Wang, Amy Xu, Jerry Xu and Rich Zhang of Jericho High School; Locust Valley: Rachel Dvoskin, Sam Lerner, Sahil Massand and Caitlin Rubin of Friends Academy; Manhasset: Ryan Fleishman, Caitlin Gleason, Bryan Herbert, Baldwin Mei, Matt Schaeffer, Kevin Tong, Arthur Wang and Stephanie Ying of Manhasset High School; Mineola: Joyce Rhim of Mineola High School; Colin Conroy, Chris Mahler and Casey Widmer of Chaminade High School; Oyster Bay: Ryan McEvoy of Oyster Bay High School; Plainview: Kimia Ziadkhanpour of Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School; Port Washington: Aaron Bialer, Dan Bidikov, Justin Calamari, Laura Eule, Lylia Li, Harry Paul, Simon Shapiro, Noah White and Julie Zeh of Paul D. Schreiber High School; Roslyn: Allison Bichoupan, Joshua Loria, Brendan Seidman and Hae Su Shin of Roslyn High School; Syosset: Genevieve Haika of Our Lady of Mercy Academy; Reva Abrol, Leigha Carryl, Austin Chen, Rohit Gupta, Gabriel Korgood, Priyanka Kumar, Misun Lee, Olivia Rosenzweig, Eric Song, Hyunkee Sung and George Wang of Syosset High School. Bellmore: Russell Miner of John F. Kennedy High School; Bethpage: Anthony Saya of Bethpage High School; Cedarhurst: Isaak Garber, Matthew Goldstein and Jacob Kaufman of Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway; East Meadow: Dharsan Chandrakumar and Nathan Siegelaub of East Meadow High School; Farmingdale: Minhal Ahmed of Farmingdale High School; Franklin Square: Jillian Segarra of H. Frank Carey High School; Garden City: Drusilla Falco and Katharine O'Neill of Garden City High School; Hempstead: Zahra Saad of Crescent School, and Mary Jeanne Fenn of Sacred Heart Academy; Hewlett: Michael Green of George W. Hewlett High School; Lawrence: Tzadok Hartman and Hillel Lerner of Rambam Mesivta High School; Levittown: Zachary Ricca of Island Trees High School; Lynbrook: Joshua Burton, Joseph Cappadona and Tim Hung of Lynbrook High School; Merrick: Max Mogel of Sanford H. Calhoun High School; North Bellmore: Aaron Goldstein and Brian Keohane of Wellington C. Mepham High School; Oceanside: Marissa Colasacco, Brittany Kwait and Stephanie Nagel of Oceanside High School; Rockville Centre: Nicolas Marcotrigiano of South Side High School; Uniondale: Adrianna Duggan and Sarah Massoni of Kellenberg Memorial High School; Valley Stream: Ritwik Bhatia of Valley Stream North High School; Woodmere: Aryeh Kaminetsky and Isaac Scheinman of Davis Renov Stahler Halb High School.