School Notebook: Great Neck research honored
A trio of Great Neck teens recently claimed the top spot in a state research competition.
Jonah Mittler, Samuel Sommer and Max Summers -- all seniors at Great Neck South High School -- were named winners of the 2012 Laura and Robert Chodos Award for Excellence in Student Research Using Historical Records, for grades 9-12.
The three created a documentary on local political corruption and reform movements during the Progressive Era, a period of social activism from 1890 to 1920.
The New York State Archives and Archives Partnership Trust sponsors the contest.
"I made participation in the competition part of our course work and post-AP exam course work," Great Neck South history teacher Frances Tria said.
"I decided to have my students participate as a way to deepen their research skills, connect their classroom learning to the real work of historians and broaden their individual understanding of a topic of interest," she said.
The documentary, titled "Corruption and Reform in New York State," was created using historical records from the Library of Congress, the University of California Library, and archives from The New York Times and Harper's Weekly.
Sources ranged from newspaper articles to political cartoons and old photos that illustrated the scandals and investigations that led to the development of reform laws.
The teens donated their $125 award check to Great Neck South's library, where they did most of their research, and were personally visited by New York State Board of Regents member Roger Tilles.
Central Boulevard Elementary School fifth-graders are learning the ins and outs of computers at an early age through a new technology club that teaches a range of skills such as navigating websites, making PowerPoint presentations and creating avatars of themselves.
"I felt we needed to get students into using more technology that is free and safe, which facilitates educational goals and introduces them to the 21st-century skills they will need to succeed," said Laura Miniero, an English Language Learner teacher who initiated the club.
The Roslyn school district recently raised more than $12,000 in cash and gift cards to assist local families affected by superstorm Sandy.
An additional $10,000 was given by an anonymous donor.
Fundraising events ranged from drives collecting spare change to read-a-thons, and a large portion of the money benefited All Hands Volunteers, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit.
One male student and one female student from each Nassau County high school have received a Zone Award from the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance for academic prowess, leadership and physical performance.
Students in non-coed parochial schools also received awards. Local winners were:
Bethpage: Brittany Bungert and Eric Bergersen of Bethpage High School; Bellmore: Deanna Santo and Matthew Murphy of John F. Kennedy High School; East Meadow: Lilibeth Torres and Joseph Hoffman of W. Tresper Clarke High School; Meghan Peysson and Dennis Caramante of East Meadow High School; Farmingdale: Christina Vargas and Peter P.J. Spadalik of Farmingdale High School.
Also Hicksville: Caitlyn Garger and Michael Fong of Hicksville High School; Levittown: Kristin Duthie and Theodore Connelly of Island Trees High School; Allie Schuck and James Kirk of Division Avenue High School; Kristin Daly and Gerard Cunningham of MacArthur High School; Massapequa: Nicole Epstein and Thomas Polly of Massapequa High School; Merrick: Despina Psyllis and Austin Hecker of Sanford H. Calhoun High School; North Bellmore: Nicole Castaldo and Daniel Tracy of Wellington C. Mepham High School; Plainedge: Dolores Diemicke and Evan Augello of Plainedge High School; Wantagh: Jaclyn Beshlian and Christopher Garske of Wantagh High School.