Long Island teens recently went head-to-head to prove who best knows the ocean.
A five-student team from Mount Sinai High School -- Julia Eberhard, Ethan Donowitz, Camille Jwo, Patrick McKeown and Nicholas O'Mara -- beat 15 tri-state area teams to take first place last month in this year's Bay Scallop Bowl.
The "Jeopardy"-style tournament has fast-paced buzzer rounds and team challenges that test knowledge of oceanography and related sciences.
"This year's team is extremely well balanced, and all five members are very well-prepared," said Mount Sinai coach David Chase, a science teacher at the school. "It's not about the money for our team. It's about their passion for learning more and more about the ocean."
Chase said he started a club at the school five years ago to study the ocean and build team depth. It now has about two dozen students who compete to be on the "A team."
For winning, Mount Sinai's team members received $1,000 each; they will vie against 24 other school teams next month at the 2013 National Ocean Sciences Bowl in Milwaukee.
Farmingdale team members -- Andrew Cano, Trevor Corrao, Duncan McCloskey, Charlie Tomassetti and Mike Waldman -- won $750 each. "We were very, very well prepared, and our team was incredibly good this year," Farmingdale coach Peter Macchia said.
In addition, Herrick's music department, Tri-M Music Honor Society and Music Boosters Association coordinated a collection of more than a dozen instruments for Long Beach.
Pre-K story time
The Seaford Union Free School District's soon-to-be kindergartners are being introduced to reading before their schooling through a story-time program titled "Literacy Experiences."
At Seaford Harbor Elementary School, 60 youngsters who are expected to make up the school's kindergarten class in September recently enjoyed stories about teddy bears while clutching the stuffed animals and also snacking on Nabisco's Teddy Grahams. At Seaford Manor Elementary School, 55 upcoming kindergartners were treated to a reading of Katie Davis' children's book, "Kindergarten Rocks!"
"This allows these youngsters and their parents several opportunities to visit our elementary schools and feel more comfortable when they come next year as full-time students," said John Striffolino, the district's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
Sharing volunteer goals
Syosset High School's Awareness Club hosted a Volunteer Day last month in which 17 local organizations shared their missions and community service opportunities with teenagers.
In addition, the school's Italian and Latin clubs presented $300 raised during a recent holiday fundraiser to Island Harvest in Mineola, and the student government contributed another $200 to the organization.
In Freeport, Columbus Avenue Elementary School's Early Childhood Education Center kicked off the Year of the Snake with a parade that included paper lanterns and a paper dragon, which symbolizes goodness and strength. Children also sampled traditional Chinese-American foods, such as flavored chicken and fried rice, from a local restaurant.
In Seaford, third-graders at Manor Elementary School spent weeks learning about the country's customs, geography and schools, and the lessons culminated with a Chinese feast. They also penned essays on whether they would rather go to school in China or the United States.
In Valley Stream, Howell Road Elementary School kindergartners paraded with signs that read "Gung hay fat choy," which means "Best wishes and congratulations."