Two Long Island schools have won top spots in a prestigious regional competition.
Teams from Huntington High School and South Side High School in Rockville Centre took first and second place, respectively, this month in the 2013 New York STEP Regional Science Bowl at Farmingdale State College. STEP stands for Science & Technology Entry Program.
The schools will vie in the National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C., April 25-29.
"We're developing our future," South Side team facilitator Herb Weiss said of the bowl's importance. Of his team's success, he said: "I attribute it to the caliber of our kids. They are naturally gifted."
The science bowl is a "Jeopardy!"-style academic competition designed to encourage students to pursue careers in math and science. Four Long Island high schools — Amityville, Farmingdale, Huntington and South Side — emerged from the round-robin portion and competed in a playoff round, with Huntington finishing first.
That team would have advanced to the national level, but another Huntington team already qualified this winter by winning the 2013 Long Island Regional Science Bowl at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Rules state that only one team per school may qualify.
South Side then won a playoff match against Farmingdale.
"The team knew going in that, no matter the outcome, they couldn't attend nationals," Huntington team coach Lori Kenny said. "This team just shows me how dedicated they are to striving for excellence."
Members of the Huntington team that competed at Farmingdale State are Emaad Khwaja, Jessica Bonilla, Sabrina Palacios, Jason Stickell, Josh Watkins and Frank Yeh.
The competition is coordinated by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.
Blankets of Hope
Winthrop Avenue Primary Center recently recognized armed service veterans by making a dozen fleece blankets for local military hospitals.
"We talk so much in class about our district core values — teamwork, respect, integrity, trust and dedication — and this is a great way to put them into action," fourth-grade teacher Jody Leibowitz said.
The Blankets of Hope program is run by Soldiers' Angels, a California-based nonprofit.
Letters to the president
Madeline Scanlon, a fifth-grader at Friends Academy, has placed first nationwide in the 2013 Dear George Washington Contest, sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in Manhattan.
The contest challenged students to draft a letter about what they think the president should focus on in his first term and write as if they are audience members — either as an average person or a member of Congress — at the inauguration on April 30, 1789.
Scanlon wrote as a German widow and mother who immigrated to America.
Honorable mentions went to six other academy students.
Junior LEGO League
Eighteen Long Island teams competed this month in the fifth annual Junior FIRST LEGO League Expo at Longwood High School in Middle Island.
The competition challenged students ages 6 to 9 to make a model with LEGOS that demonstrates ways to make the lives of senior citizens easier. FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.
Nassau County's winning teams were: LEGO Lords & Lady of Seaford (Team 1065), Against All Odds Award; Crazy Creators of Garden City (Team 143) and Floral Park LEGO Army (Team 897), Teamwork Award; Floral Park Dragons (Team 2171), Show Me Poster Award; GC Team Fun of Garden City (Team 503) and Zion Jr. Innovators of Elmont (Team 2172), Team Spirit Award; Seaford Harbor LEGOnauts (Team 365) and LEGO Girls of Long Beach (Team 2779), Reviewers Award; Green Otter Builders of Hicksville (Team 86), Model Design Award; and Music Men of Oyster Bay (Team 216), Gracious Professionalism Award.
The expo event was sponsored by the School-Business Partnerships of Long Island.
Manhattan art exhibit
The artwork of four local teens was featured this month at The Lobby Gallery in Manhattan. The "Duality " exhibit included works by Lauren Bertocci of Holy Trinity High School in Hicksville, Denise Losee of Mepham High in North Bellmore, Chaz Scala of Kellenberg Memorial High in Uniondale and Joshua Toor of Huntington High. It featured paintings and mixed-media works depicting human existence as a struggle between good and evil and how balancing the forces affect the artist.
The students all attend the Usdan Center summer arts camp in Wheatley Heights.