"Right when they said we won -- I can't describe the feeling," said Michael Sgambati, who was on the Elwood team with classmates Chris Bosco and Jacob Pagan. Of the competition's importance, he said, "When you're eating better in school, it gives you much more energy to stay awake."
The contest, sponsored by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, challenged kids to create a recipe that supports a healthy lifestyle and could be "easily implemented" into school cafeteria fare, competition officials said.
Recipes could not contain meat, fish or nuts and were required to include local seasonal food and ingredients approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Elwood's "Dough Boys" team made black-bean burgers, East Islip's "El Veggie Girls" made whole wheat pasta with vegetables.
"The key to our dish was the avocado smash topping, which we used lemon juice to make rather than the most common lime juice," Bosco said. "Although the name doesn't sound too appealing, you obviously can't judge a book by its cover."
Last month's contest, titled "Ultimate Ascent," included 64 teams that built robots able to climb up a three-tier tower and shoot discs into a target.
The 53-student team, called ThunderColts, had students from both Half Hollow Hills East and Half Hollow Hills West high schools. FIRST is an acronym for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.
The three service members brought a Humvee, a four-wheel-drive military vehicle, as well as copies of the vehicle's preventive maintenance checks and services checklist that is used to help ensure it is in working order.
"For students to see firsthand the technology and engineering of this vehicle, and to learn personally from members of the Army National Guard how the vehicle is utilized and the mechanics of the vehicle, is invaluable," said
ESBOCES auto-tech teacher Mike O'Hara.
Veterans art contest
Artwork by four Suffolk County students -- Emma DeStefano of Deer Park, Andrew Perez of Islip Terrace, Joe Quaranta of Central Islip, and Melanie Regan of West Islip -- topped 146 entries Islandwide last month in an art contest sponsored by Melville-based law firm Genser Dubow Genser & Cona and by Bristal Assisted Living at Westbury.
The contest, titled "These Colors Don't Run," challenged youngsters to creatively thank local veterans for their service to our country.
Artwork was judged on creativity, originality and language used to convey the theme. It is on display in the law firm's Susan C. Snowe Caregiver Resource Center.
Hitting the high note
Thirty Long Island school districts were among 307 nationwide named "Best Communities for Music Education" by the NAMM Foundation last month for "keeping comprehensive music education as an integral part of the core curriculum."
"There is overwhelming research tying music education to higher overall student success in school and in life," said NAMM executive director Mary Luehrsen. "This designation recognizes communities for their commitment to music education and also strengthens support for these programs."
The districts are Amityville, Baldwin, Bay Shore, Brentwood, Commack, Comsewogue, Connetquot, Deer Park, East Meadow, Eastport-South Manor, Fishers Island, Great Neck, Half Hollow Hills, Hewlett-Woodmere, Huntington, Jericho, Kings Park, Long Beach, Lynbrook, Malverne, Manhasset, Massapequa, Mineola, North Babylon, Northport-East Northport, Oceanside, Patchogue-Medford, Port Jefferson, South Huntington and Syosset.
In addition, Bellport High School, East Moriches Middle School and Woodhull Intermediate School in Huntington were among 66 schools nationally to receive the nonprofit's 2013 Support Music Merit Award.