Long Island schools recently competed on a different kind of field: a magnetic field.
Robert Moses Middle School in North Babylon won eight of 21 trophies in Brookhaven National Laboratory's 2013 Middle School Maglev Contest, an annual contest in which students race vehicles that use magnetic force to levitate and propel them over a track.
"This is something that we take seriously every year," said Robert Moses technology teacher Thomas Andrews, who credited his students' success to their troubleshooting skills. Of the competition's importance, he said: "We're teaching hands-on skills that these kids will be using in the trades."
The lab's competition attracted 100 students from seven Long Island middle schools and challenged them to design and construct vehicles judged on speed, efficiency, appearance and design process.
"This really gave the kids a great opportunity to understand the importance of STEM," or science, technology, engineering and mathematics, said Catherine Bingham, the museum's education coordinator.
Eighth-graders at Weldon E. Howitt Middle School raised nearly $9,500 this school year to benefit the Pajama Program, a nonprofit that supplies sleepwear and books to children in need.
The middle school students held a series of fundraisers that culminated with a five-hour dance marathon. They also collected 450 new books and 72 pairs of pajamas.
Earth Day video contest
The Town of North Hempstead recently named winners in its fifth annual Earth Day Video Contest, which challenged students to make a two-minute public service announcement on a topic that affects the environment.
This year's theme, "Plastic Ain't My Bag," asked participants to express how plastic bags litter their community.
First-place winners were 19 students from Parkville School in New Hyde Park, in the early childhood level; Isaac Goldstein and Aidan Zeidman of John Philip Sousa Elementary School in Port Washington, in the elementary level; and Skyler Gaccione and Julia Henry of Manhasset High School, in the secondary school level.
Winning videos were shown on the town's cable station, website and YouTube channel.
George Farber Awards
Seventeen students recently were honored with George Farber Awards by Nassau BOCES for exhibiting "passion, perseverance, enthusiasm, outstanding character and academic achievement, as well as a willingness to help others," the organization said. The award is a memorial to former Nassau BOCES board president George Farber, who served on the board from 1971 to 2009.
Winners and their school districts are: Priscilla Andryauska, Seaford; Alcides Baires, Manhasset; Wendy Blanco, Great Neck; Kevin Burke, Garden City; Derika Carey, William Floyd in Mastic Beach; Giuseppe Condoleo, Lynbrook; Marlon Gonzalez, Lawrence; Lauren Jensen, North Shore in Glen Head; Taylor Mammina, Lindenhurst; DaniJean Monica, Baldwin; Julian Picardal, Hempstead; Deja Redix-Solla, Freeport; Jonah Rothafel, Lynbrook; Jose Sandoval, Uniondale; Ashleigh Scialo, Port Washington; Aaron Willis, Roosevelt; and Melvin Young, Hempstead.
Promising young writers
Four Long Island students were among 51 nationwide to recently receive 2013 Certificates of Recognition from the National Council of Teachers of English as part of its Promising Young Writers Program. To be considered, students submitted two writing samples that were judged on content, purpose, audience, tone, word choice, organization and style.
Winners were Kim Robinson of Baldwin Middle School, Michelle Hu and Michelle Sun of Robert C. Murphy Junior High School in Stony Brook, and Margaret Klimuszko of Manhasset Middle School.