John F. Kennedy High School’s team won first place in...

John F. Kennedy High School’s team won first place in the business competition. From left: Robert Freed, Evan Golodner, Edward Koton, Judge Rick Cross of, Jake Silverman, Amanda Taormina and Mark Fleissig. Credit: Michal Dluginski

Three teams from Long Island are advancing to the national level this spring after taking the top spots in a regional business plan competition.

John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore won first-place honors last month in the 5th Annual Long Island Virtual Enterprises Business Plan Competition, which challenges students to form mock companies and present their business plans to a panel of judges. Team members were Robert Freed, Evan Golodner, Edward Koton, Jake Silverman, Amanda Taormina and Mark Fleissig.

Teams from George W. Hewlett and Westhampton Beach high schools placed second and third, respectively. The three teams move on to compete at the national level on April 13-15 in Manhattan.

"This team's commitment, passion, dedication and enthusiasm for their business and this program are evident each and every day," said Rosanne Damato, the John F. Kennedy team's instructor.

To reach Long Island's final round, the teams competed against 34 other local squads at Farmingdale State College in January. Seven groups were selected to give presentations last month at the offices of American Portfolio Financial Services in Holbrook. Teams were given 10 minutes to present their plans followed by questioning from the judges.

John F. Kennedy's plan consisted of selling luggage and accessories, such as a GPS for consumer luggage. Hewlett's team proposed selling phones, utilities and other services at the guaranteed lowest prices, while Westhampton Beach had a plan for eco-friendly technology items powered by renewable energy.


LYNBROOK: Human Relations Day

Lynbrook High School recently held a Human Relations Day that addressed topics ranging from hunger to drug abuse as part of an effort to inspire teens to improve the world.

The event featured representatives from such local organizations as the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Copiague-based nonprofit Kids Need More, and the Henry Viscardi School in Albertson, which serves children with physical disabilities.

The initiative included a multicultural luncheon and several speakers, including former Lynbrook coach Larry Glenz, who talked about forgiveness in relation to his son's 2010 death from heroin use.


MASSAPEQUA: Invention Convention

More than 70 fifth- and sixth-graders in the Massapequa school district's magnet program for academically gifted students recently showcased their ingenuity as part of the district's first-ever Invention Convention. The science-fair-style event featured dozens of trifold display boards on which teens explained their inventions to attending parents and teachers.

The young inventors' ideas included a SmallSaver, a device that sucks objects obstructing a vacuum's suction, and an Electric Mouth Brush, a device molded to fit the user's mouth that allows individuals to brush their teeth without using their hands.

Students met real-life creators, such as Pooper Scooper inventor Robert Veech and Art Lih, a Massapequa resident who invented a device that aids choking victims.


AMITYVILLE: Motivational speaker

Edmund W. Miles Middle School students learned the importance of perseverance during an inspirational visit from East Islip native Rohan Murphy, who underwent a double leg amputation because of a congenital deformity at age 4 and went on to vie in Paralympic powerlifting competitions.

Murphy, 31, told teens to have "no excuses" for failing to reach their goals, school officials said. He also performed a few feats of strength, such as walking across a stage on his hands and doing push-ups while clapping.

Murphy was a three-time All-League and two-time All-County wrestler during his time at East Islip High School.


EAST NORTHPORT: InvestWrite winner

Jack Nixon, a fifth-grader at Trinity Regional School, won third place in the elementary division of InvestWrite, a national contest sponsored by the SIFMA Foundation in conjunction with McGraw Hill Financial.

The contest asked students to analyze an investment scenario and recommend portfolio allocations for their short- and long-term financial goals. About 20,000 students entered essays.

Nixon's winning entry, written in the style of a letter, outlined investment suggestions for a fictional girl who had saved money until her piggy bank was full.


ISLANDWIDE: Braille Challenge

Seventeen visually impaired students from Long Island demonstrated their reading and writing skills as part of the 8th Annual Braille Challenge, a program of the Braille Institute of America.

The event, held at W.T. Clarke High School in Westbury, asked students to complete grade-level exercises to show proficiency in Braille comprehension, accuracy and speed.

Participants from the Island and 45 other regional contests are vying for 60 spots in the national competition, which will be held this summer in Los Angeles. The local competition's results will be released in May, challenge officials said.

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