A team from Paul J. Gelinas Junior High School in East Setauket was crowned state champs in the middle school division of the State Science Olympiad and will go on to compete at the national level.
The competition in Rochester included 36 teams competing in 25 events, such as identifying rocks and minerals and investigating a mock crime scene. Gelinas' 15 students won 11 first-place medals.
"We've established a culture that is working," said Gelinas coach Gary Vorwald, noting this is the school's 10th straight year reaching the nationals. "Our teamwork is incredible."
Other high-ranking teams in the division came from Carrie Palmer Weber Middle School in Port Washington and R.C. Murphy Junior High School in East Setauket, which placed fourth and fifth at the state level, respectively. Weber reached the state level after taking first place in the Nassau County regional level in February, while Gelinas took first place in the Suffolk County regional level.
In the state's high school division, a team from Half Hollow Hills High School East in Dix Hills took third place, followed by a team from Syosset High School in fourth place. Neither team will compete at the national level, as only the top two teams are eligible to advance.
"I am extremely proud of our students," Half Hollow Hills East coach Thomas Page said. "They have put in countless hours of preparation, both in my room here and at home."
The national Science Olympiad contest will be held in Orlando on May 16-17.
Music 'micro' grants
More than 70 music students in the North Babylon school district are recipients of the first "micro" grants given through a partnership between Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts and Bethpage Federal Credit Union, the school district said.
Each summer, more than 1,600 students ages 6-18 go to Usdan, a nonprofit day camp for the arts in Wheatley Heights.
The micro-grants, valued at $100 to $200, cover expenses associated with year-round music study that "many times become stumbling blocks for underserved families," such as purchase of music supplies or transportation, credit union officials said. Bethpage, through its Scholar in the Arts program, will continue to provide full scholarships to several students who otherwise could not afford to attend. Those winners will be announced in June.
"The students demonstrate amazing qualities of musical talent, academic excellence and fine character, and we're proud to help them achieve their goals," Bethpage's senior vice president Linda Armyn said.
James J. Grossane has been appointed superintendent of the Smithtown Central School District, effective July 1. He will replace Judith Elias, who has held the post on an interim basis.
Grossane has served as superintendent of the Levittown school district since 2011; in January, he announced his plans to resign from that position at the school year's end. Before that, he was assistant superintendent of support services in the Massapequa school district.
Four Suffolk County students are among about 400 semifinalists chosen nationwide who will be considered to represent the United States on a 20-member team that will train to compete in the 45th International Physics Olympiad.
The event will be held in Kazakhstan on July 13-21.
Semifinalists are Andrew He of Kings Park High School, Xiaocheng Yang of St. Anthony's High School in South Huntington, and Alex Frenkel and Gary Ge, both of Ward Melville High School in East Setauket.
To become semifinalists, teenagers took an exam sponsored by the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Institute of Physics.
The 20 winners will attend a training camp next month at the University of Maryland; five of them will be named to a "traveling team" that will compete internationally.
Twelve L.I. students are among about 200 nationwide who were named finalists in the 2014 International Sustainable World (Energy, Engineering, Environment) Project Olympiad, also known as I-SWEEEP, a science fair that promotes research based on alternative solutions for sustainable energy.
They are eligible to compete in the finals in Houston next month against teenagers from more than 60 countries.
Local finalists are Andrew Kim of Commack High School, Bailey Liao of Half Hollow Hills High School West in Dix Hills, Yongpeng Tang of Smithtown High School East, Ray Yin of Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, Matthew Chun and Steve Zheng of Jericho High School, Joseph Cappadona and Ivy Ren of Lynbrook High School, Kevin Tong of Manhasset High School, Matthew Brandes and Emma Feldman of Schreiber High School in Port Washington and Jared Katzen of Syosset High School.