Teams from two schools in the Three Village Central School District placed among the nation's best last month in a prestigious Science Olympiad competition.
Students from Ward Melville High in East Setauket finished fifth in the high school division, and those from Paul J. Gelinas Junior High in Setauket finished eighth in the middle school division of the 2013 Science Olympiad National Tournament in Dayton, Ohio.
The tournament included 120 teams, which advanced from about 350 state-level competitions, to participate in events pertaining to science, technology, engineering and math.
Ward Melville also won seven medals in various categories including forestry and tech problem-solving. Gelinas won four medals in categories including "disease detectives" and rocks/minerals.
"It is truly a pleasure to be a part of the most talented Science Olympiad team in Ward Melville history," said Steven Malusa, the group's coach.
To reach the national level, Ward Melville and Gelinas placed first this spring in the high school and middle school divisions, respectively, of the Eastern Long Island Regional and New York State tourneys.
"I am honored to have the opportunity to work with such gifted students, and it is rewarding to see that my efforts have had an impact in helping them achieve their goals," Gelinas coach Gary Vorwald said.
Teams from Ohio's Solon Middle and High schools made history by winning their respective divisions at the national level for three straight years.
Writing contest winners
Two Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District students won first and second place in an inaugural writing contest held by the Long Island Authors Group, a nonprofit that supports local young authors.
Sarah Steil of Sanford H. Calhoun High School took first place in the competition, winning $500, and Stephanie Vogel of John F. Kennedy High School won second place and was awarded $250.
Seniors were invited to write a 500-word essay on the topic "What Long Island person, past or present, living or dead, has most affected your life and life's mission?"
South Side High School won first place in two of the four categories in the New York Section of the American Chemical Society's Chemagination 2013, a science essay and poster contest.
This spring, teens answered the question "What innovation or breakthrough in the field of chemistry will be important in the lives of teenagers 25 years from now?"
Winners and their categories were: Thomas Keady and Kyle Johnson of South Side in medicine/health care; Brandon Prashad, Michael Spelfogel and Forrest Butensky of South Side in new materials; Jessica Vasseghi, Sophia DeFranco and Brendan Skillman of Division Avenue High School in Levittown in alternative energy; and Matthew Avallone, Jordon Brodsky and Brandon Nomberg of Half Hollow Hills High School West in Dix Hills in environment.
Builders Club Awards
One middle school student and four Nassau County middle schools received awards in an annual contest coordinated by Kiwanis International's Builders Club, based on their efforts during the current school year. The club is a community service organization for middle school students.
Isabel Londono, an eighth-grader at Woodland Middle School in East Meadow, was among eight students nationwide to win a Kiwanis International Foundation Leadership Award.
Jonas E. Salk Middle School in Levittown won second place in the single-service category for raising $3,450 through a "Pennies for Patients" fundraiser to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Woodland Middle School and W. Tresper Clarke Middle School in Westbury both were designated as Distinguished Clubs, and Alfred G. Berner Middle School in East Massapequa was named an Honor Club.
Best schools for finance
Nine Long Island high schools were named to the inaugural list of "100 Best High Schools Teaching Personal Finance" by Working in Support of Education (w!se), a Manhattan-based educational nonprofit organization.
Southold High School, which ranked 24th, was Long Island's highest-ranked school. Others in the top 100 included Garden City High School, Gen. Douglas MacArthur High School in Levittown, George W. Hewlett High School, Herricks High School, Plainview-Old Bethpage High School, Roslyn High School, Smithtown High School West and Wellington C. Mepham High School in Bellmore.
The rankings, released last month, were based on the average score by pupils on the organization's financial literacy certification test. Consideration was given to the proportion of test-takers to the school population and the number of students who were eligible for free lunch.