Radical Robotix of Rocky Point Middle School and the Lion Bots of Academy Street Elementary School in Bayport won the champion's first-place and second-place awards, respectively, at the FIRST LEGO League Long Island Championship Tournament at Longwood High School in Middle Island. FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.
Forty-two teams with some 400 students ages 9 to 14 competed in this year's challenge, "Senior Solutions." Participants used LEGO Mindstorms pieces to design robots that could handle tasks seniors face, such as retrieving pill bottles and reaching switches.
"I have a brilliant and talented team that have all worked very hard to get where they are," Rocky Point coach Mark Moorman said. "We've been meeting multiple times a week since September, even four times over midwinter break."
For the challenge's project portion, Rocky Point proposed a wrist-worn device that monitors a senior's vital signs and communicates with a medicine dispenser at appropriate times. Bayport proposed a touch-screen device that operates a calendar, dispenser and radio-frequency identification tags to locate eyeglasses and dentures.
Rocky Point advances to the FIRST LEGO League World Festival in St. Louis on April 24-27 and is raising $15,000 to help fund the trip. Bayport will compete at LEGOland in California on May 17-19.
The local tournament was sponsored by School-Business Partnerships of Long Island.
Gifts from China
Half Hollow Hills Central School District held a "crate opening" earlier this month to unveil gifts received from Hanban, the educational arm of the Chinese government.
Items included an $11,000 check, a flat-screen television and a camera for video-teleconferencing, all of which will be used to assist in teaching the Mandarin language.
The donations were made in conjunction with the district's participation in the Asia Society's Confucius Classrooms Network, which recognizes 100 "exemplary" Chinese-language programs targeted as model sites in American schools.
P.S. I Love You Day
The Lindenhurst Union Free School District educated students on the importance of bullying prevention last month with various activities held in conjunction with P.S. I Love You Day.
At Lindenhurst Middle School administrators included anti-bullying messages and tips in the school's morning announcements, and students constructed paper hearts and posters displaying the message: "It isn't big to make others feel small." At William Rall Elementary School kindergartners sat in a circle to share something that they love about themselves as well as the person sitting next to them.
In addition, Albany Avenue Elementary School students collectively dressed in purple to show they are united against bullying and wrote letters to special people in their lives.
Twenty-three seniors from Suffolk County are among 2,200 semifinalists nationwide for designation as 2012-13 scholars by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. Fifty students will be named national scholars this spring and each receive $20,000 college scholarships, and 200 will be named regional scholars and each receive $10,000 scholarships.
Suffolk semifinalists are: Francesca Barilla of Nesconset; Owen Cole, Adelyn Martinez and Priscilla Russo of Bay Shore; Noman Hamlani of Brentwood; Tuna Hayirli of Smithtown; Joanna Jin of South Setauket; Steven Lynchard of Deer Park; Colleen McKeown of Babylon; Jordan Montero of Holbrook; Erin O'Connor of Coram; Meghan Pinezich of Northport; Nicole Phillips of Lake Grove; and Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski of Lindenhurst.
The College at Old Westbury is inviting Long Island educators to nominate students in grades 4 through 9 to be named a Young Scholar of Mathematics next school year and earn one of 75 spots in its Institute for Creative Problem Solving.
The institute will hold weekly workshops in math and science problem-solving during the 2013-14 school year.
Candidates must submit an application, teacher recommendation, transcript and two self-addressed, stamped envelopes by March 25 to be eligible for a placement exam on April 13. For the forms, educators can email program assistant Mimi Schnier at schnierm @oldwestbury.edu. Parents may forward this information to their child's school.