The two schools were recently named Nassau and Suffolk county champions, respectively, in "The Challenge," an academic competition televised on MSG Varsity that tests knowledge of history, current events, math, science, arts and literature in front of a live studio audience. In total, 192 high schools from throughout the tri-state area vied in this year's competition.
To become county champs, Oceanside and North Babylon teams beat out 31 other schools in their respective regions and earned $2,500 for their schools. They also qualified for the tri-state playoffs against five other regional champs.
"This team is very dedicated, and this is something they take seriously," said North Babylon social studies teacher Erin Casserly, who advised the team with co-worker Tim Pescatore. Of the competition's importance, she said, "It's so visible. People can watch at home on TV and see what our children can achieve scholastically."
North Babylon's team consisted of students Brian Manzo, Katie Schneider, Max Servetas, Tim Smyth, Jessica Thomas. In the tri-state playoffs they defeated Yeshivah of Flatbush before losing to Ardsley High School, which went on to become the overall champion.
"These are busy, well-rounded students," said Oceanside social studies teacher Stephanie Bragman, the team's adviser. "It was hard to get them together once a week to practice."
Burger King Scholars
Huntington High School had six students — the most of any school in Suffolk County — receive $1,000 college scholarships this spring through the Burger King Scholars Program coordinated by the Burger King McLamore Foundation. Nearly 2,000 scholarships were issued to students in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico based on grades, extracurricular activities and community service.
Bohemia: Alexandra West of Connetquot High School; Hauppauge: Brianna Schoen of Hauppauge High School; Huntington: Garrett Arleo, Madison Biernacki, Brielle Blatt, James Neary, Michelle Rosenbauer and Joseph Straub of Huntington High School; Riverhead: Lukas Zenna of McGann-Mercy High School.
MADD role models
Sarah Haiken of West Hollow Middle School in Melville and Will Banks of Southampton High School are among 10 students nationwide named to the first Power of You(th) National Teen Influencer Group created by Mothers Against Drunk Driving along with State Farm Insurance.
Haiken was nominated based on her "significant contributions" to underage drinking prevention. Banks was selected for being a winner in a video contest themed around the topic.
They received an all-expense paid trip to the National Teen Influencer Summit in Dallas to share insight on an underage drinking prevention initiative.
"Books 4 Our School"
Setauket Elementary School, Norwood Avenue Elementary School in Port Jefferson Station and Paul J. Bellew Elementary School in West Islip were among 20 tri-state area schools to receive up to 100 new books through "Books 4 Our School," a program coordinated by the Brooke Jackman Foundation in conjunction with multimedia company NYMetroParents.
Ten of the winning schools rallied parents to garner votes, and 10 others were selected at random, program officials said.
Seventeen Long Island students were first-place winners in various categories at the 2012 New York State Leadership Conference & Skills Championship in Syracuse hosted by SkillsUSA, a nonprofit that prepares teens for careers in trade, technical and skilled services.
Dix Hills: Jared Schaffer of L.A. Wilson Technological Center; Floral Park: Samantha Deo, Marianela Gimenez, Juhi Mullick and Shivanie Muneshwar of Sewanhaka High School; Levittown: Richard Brown, Megan Dockweiler, Michelle Licciardo, and Shaelyn Nimal of Gerald H. Claps Career and Technical Center; Roosevelt: Derrick James of Roosevelt High School; Selden: Kateann Wherry of Newfield High School; Westbury: Julie Fithian, Michel Cabral-Martin, Jonathan Miller, Evan Pivnick, Sebastian Puerta and Jacob Shuster of Joseph Barry Career & Technical Education Center.