Suffolk: Babylon gets research room

Babylon High School juniors Meredith Wardell, left, and

Babylon High School juniors Meredith Wardell, left, and Sara Mikovic test organic pesticides. The school is transforming an art room into a state-of-the-art science lab.

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Babylon students soon will tackle even higher caliber science projects, thanks to the generosity of a local philanthropist.

Babylon High School is transforming an existing art room into a state-of-the-art science research center that will be a dedicated science-research space, with a variety of biotechnology equipment. It was made possible by a $200,000 donation from Theresa Santmann of Babylon and the Theresa Patnode Santmann Foundation.

"It was totally unsolicited, which was amazing," Claire Birone, the school's research program teacher, said of the donation. "We are intensely excited and exceedingly grateful for it."

The science research program, in its third year, gives students the opportunity to work with staff at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University. The new center would provide regular access to high-tech equipment, allowing teens to increase the quality of their projects and vie in elite science competitions, Birone said.

About 35 students are enrolled in the school's full-year research program, which focuses on projects ranging from protein crystallography to biological pest control. Staff is "working around the clock" to have the center done by the end of this month, Birone said.

"Our children need a true 21st-century education," Babylon Superintendent Richard Rozakis said. "This means our instructional technology must be fully aligned and integrated with the curriculum. It means classrooms where students use technology to further learning, and in which they are trained to be problem-solvers, critical thinkers and innovators."


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New principal

Vaughn Denton is the new principal of Coram Elementary School, replacing Roni Robbins, who retired. Denton previously served as the school's assistant principal and also has worked as a special-education teacher, technology coordinator and administrator in Yonkers.



New principal

Valerie Capitulo-Saide has been appointed principal of Jefferson Primary School, replacing Margaret Evers, who retired.

Capitulo-Saide previously was principal and assistant principal of PS 101Q -- The School of the Gardens in Forest Hills -- and taught various grades at PS 173Q and PS 213 in Bayside. She also has been a dance teacher, math coach and academic intervention services team leader.


MILLER PLACENew superintendent

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Marianne Higuera is the new superintendent of Miller Place Union Free School District, replacing Susan Hodun, who held the position on an interim basis. Higuera had been the district's deputy superintendent.

"I am honored to have been appointed superintendent of our outstanding district, and am thankful to the Miller Place community for their continued support and involvement in our schools," Higuera said in a letter to the school community.


ISLANDWIDEYoung Scholars of Math

Seventy-eight Long Island students have been named Young Scholars of Mathematics by the Institute of Creative Problem Solving for Gifted and Talented Students at SUNY Old Westbury. About 700 students competed by submitting an essay and taking an entrance exam. Selection implies they rank among the top one-tenth of 1 percent of math students in their grade on Long Island, college officials said.

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Suffolk County scholars are: Riley Bode of Burr Intermediate School, Commack; Nick Genovese, Anjali Mahewshwari and Aman Patel of Candlewood Middle School, Dix Hills; Melody Young of Centereach High School; Emily Chen, Shelly Gupta and Emma Matz of Commack High School; Cindy Li, Jhanvi Ravishankar and Anurag Shah of Great Hollow Middle School, Nesconset; Judy Chen, Cheryl Feig and Cynthia Pang of Half Hollow Hills High School East, Dix Hills; Asad Marghoob of Half Hollow Hills High School West, Dix Hills; Rinni Bhansali of West Hollow Middle School, Melville; Zach Marcone of Kings Park High School; Eric Li and Rushabh Mehta of Long Island School for the Gifted, Huntington Station; Damian DiMarco of Mount Sinai Middle School; Spero Calamas of Mount Sinai High School; Terence Lin of Our Lady of Lourdes School, West Islip; Albert Liu, Roshan Patel, Emily Yang, Jen Yang and Kathryn Zhao of R.C. Murphy Junior High School, Stony Brook; Catherine Houston of Samoset Elementary School, Ronkonkoma; Nick Cameron and Amy Tomko of Sayville Middle School; Sophie Hannigan of Sequoya Middle School, Holtsville; John Compitello of Smithtown High School West; Jessica Guo and Maya Pena-Lobel of W.S. Mount Elementary School, Stony Brook; Merrick Cai of William T. Rogers Middle School, Kings Park; Hadley Clayton and Haley Mortell of Woodhull Intermediate School, Huntington.

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