A 15-student team from the Mastic Beach school beat Our Lady of Mercy Academy in Syosset last month to win the 2013 Long Island Regional Championship at the Suffolk County Courthouse in Central Islip. This is the fourth consecutive year that William Floyd has claimed the regional title.
To reach the Long Island championships, William Floyd outlasted 25 teams and beat Northport High School earlier this spring in the finals at the Suffolk County level. Our Lady of Mercy took the crown over 46 other teams — including Roslyn High School — in the Nassau County finals.
"This is a very experienced team," William Floyd coach Bill Hennessy said of his students. Of the trial's importance, he said: "It makes kids more confident and helps them emerge as adults. There are no timeouts, no do-overs. It's a tremendous growth experience."
This year's fictional case involved a young man who attended a computer programming college and subsequently found himself deep in debt and unable to get a job in the field, thereby accusing the school of engaging in "deceptive marketing," Hennessy said.
Teams were judged on the strength of their cases as well as their knowledge of legal proceedings, among other factors.
"This is very much a dream come true for us," Our Lady of Mercy's team captain Madison Gaudreau said of her team's achievement. "We don't have a lot of formal coaching. It's an acquired knowledge. Everyone on this team is a hard worker."
William Floyd's team will next vie at the state finals to be held in Albany on May 20-21.
Lindenhurst Middle School eighth-graders recently learned about the hardships faced by disabled individuals during a visit from Max Gold, a graduate of the Henry Viscardi School in Albertson who had his right leg amputated at the age of 6.
"I may be in a wheelchair, but I do everything," Gold said. "I enjoy playing basketball, traveling into the city and, of course, going to the mall with friends."
In other news, the Lindenhurst school district recently received donations of school supplies, athletic items and gift cards from the South Huntington school district to aid in its recovery from superstorm Sandy.
Setauket Elementary School kindergartners recently adopted a seal that had been stranded on a Cherry Grove beach and brought by residents to the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation. The children voted to call the seal "Sunny."
As a related project, teachers created a "simulation station" in which kids wore gloves covered in fake blubber to demonstrate how the material protects seals from icy water, school officials said.
In addition, students observed the seal via cameras set up in the foundation's recovery area and also carried around stuffed seals for a weekend and recorded their experience in class workbooks.
Nesaquake Middle School won out over two other middle schools — Great Hollow and Accompsett, both also of the Smithtown Central School District — in a trivia challenge coordinated by United Cerebral Palsy of Suffolk.
The test last month covered everything from academics to sports to popular culture. Students solicited pledges based on their number of correct answers.
The challenge traditionally is held on a county level, with winners named in elementary, middle and high school divisions.
Fourteen Long Island teachers recently were named Distinguished Teachers of 2013 by the Harvard Club of Long Island for their positive impact on students' lives. They were nominated by current Harvard University undergraduates who attended local schools.
Winners were: Alice Alarcon, an English teacher at Massapequa High School; Danilo Aviles and Mindy Dragovich, music teachers at Wantagh High School; Eileen Burke, an English teacher at Mineola High School; Linda Davidson, a chemistry teacher at Half Hollow Hills High School West in Dix Hills; Anthony Dottin, a physical education teacher at Southampton Intermediate School; Nkenge Gilliam, a history teacher at Elmont High School; Michael Greenblatt, a history teacher at Northport High School; Terese Keogh, a physics teacher at Manhasset High School; James Mumma, a history teacher at Roslyn High School; Pat Murray, a science research teacher at Patchogue-Medford High School; Robert Purdy, a physics teacher at West Islip High School; Cathy Rio, a biology teacher at Baldwin High School; and Dave Sexton, a physics teacher at Sewanhaka High School in Floral Park.