Teams from Sachem High School North in Lake Ronkonkoma and Chaminade High School in Mineola took the top spots for Suffolk and Nassau counties, respectively, at the 2013 Long Island Regional Envirothon.
The 15th annual competition consisted of written exams and outdoor challenges in aquatics, forestry, soil and wildlife -- as well as an oral presentation on a predetermined topic -- with a theme of sustainable rangeland management. Thirty-two teams of local high school students competed last month at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration.
"This is a way of life for them; it's more than just a competition," said Sachem North coach Monica Marlowe, adding that the victory is her team's eighth consecutive county title.
Sachem North's team members were James Brako-McComb, Shelby Guercio, Charlie Horn, Katie Kohut and Sharon Luebs. Chaminade's team members were Alex Adia, Connor Doyle, John Lanka, Matt Lattime and Dylan Tamayo.
"They're all hardworking kids and curious about science," Chaminade coach Benjamin Knapp said of his team. Of the Envirothon's importance, he said: "There's so many good jobs in geology and engineering, and this competition could inspire some students to go into those fields."
The winning teams each received $500 and paid registration and transportation to vie in the state level at Morrisville State College on May 30-31. The local competition was coordinated by the Soil & Water Conservation Districts of Nassau and Suffolk counties and sponsored by Canon U.S.A.
Earth Day cleanup
The Student Organization of Unified Leaders Club at Walter G. O'Connell Copiague High School organized a community cleanup last month in honor of Earth Day, focusing on areas around the high school and on Dixon Avenue from Great Neck Road to Sunrise Highway.
The school also was visited by staff from the Town of Babylon's Beautification Department, who spoke about the importance of such cleanups.
In other news, Copiague junior Julia Woelk was Suffolk County's only first-place winner in the inaugural Amazing Animal Photo Contest coordinated by state Sen. Charles J. Fuschillo Jr. (R-Merrick). She won for a photo of her friend's puppy in a bathtub.
Drunken driving lesson
Rocky Point High School students recently learned about the dangers of drunken driving through STOPPED, a simulation program coordinated by the school's Students Against Destruction Decisions Club (SADD) and the Suffolk County Sheriff's Department.
The program challenged students to pedal go-kart-type vehicles through cone mazes and complete field sobriety tests with goggles to simulate what it's like to drive at night while intoxicated. There were also lectures on the "zero-tolerance law" and Leandra's Law (Child Passenger Protection Act).
"Each one of these cones represents a human being -- hitting one means you have either injured, or worse, killed that individual," Deputy Sheriff Thomas Indence said to teens.
Seven Suffolk County students were first-place winners this spring in the 8th annual Piano Competition coordinated by the Suffolk Piano Teachers Foundation. They will perform June 6 at one of two honors recitals at the Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University.
First-place winners were Kevin Cao of Commack Middle School, Austin Choi of Minnesauke Elementary School in East Setauket, Cole Hempel of Westhampton Beach Middle School, Eugene Iovine III of Sachem High School East in Farmingville, Oliver Liu of Samoset Middle School, Rebecca Nelsen of Eastport Elementary School, and Sarah Wong of Smithtown Christian School.
Nine Long Island seniors are among roughly 1,000 nationwide to win corporate-sponsored scholarships financed by about 200 corporations, foundations and other organizations through the National Merit Scholarship Corp.
The scholarships, which range from single payments of up to $5,000 to annual stipends of up to $10,000, are issued to children of the sponsor's employees who plan to pursue careers they wish to encourage.
Winners were Michael Pierides and Sara Stiklickas of H. Frank Carey High School in Franklin Square, Benjamin Sorkin of Half Hollow Hills High School East in Dix Hills, William Morris of Miller Place High School, Sunny Zheng of Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School, Gloria Zheng of Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, Shirley Kuang of Syosset High School, Nicasia Beebe-Wang of Westhampton Beach High School, and Nina Rose Camillone, a home-schooled student in Shoreham.