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Calhoun team wins entrepreneurship contest

A team from Sanford H. Calhoun High School

A team from Sanford H. Calhoun High School in Merrick won the elevator pitch contest held during the 2018 Business and Entrepreneurship Leadership Conference at LIU Post. Credit: Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District

A Virtual Enterprise team from Sanford H. Calhoun High School in Merrick grabbed the top spot in a contest that asked them to pitch a fictional business.

The team, titled DefenseLine, won first place and $1,000  in an elevator pitch contest held this fall during the Virtual Enterprises International Business and Entrepreneurship Leadership Conference at LIU Post. Their business offers products — such as nail polish, key chains and rings — containing a chemical indicator that changes colors when it detects harmful drugs.

The contest, which drew more than 1,500 students from more than 60 high schools across Long Island, gave teams 30 seconds to pitch their business to a crowd of peers as well as a panel of regional business leaders and entrepreneurs.

This is the second time in three years that a Virtual Enterprise team from Calhoun High School won the contest.

"DefenseLine is a health and public safety company that specializes in the protection against date-rape drugs such as Ketamine, GHB and Rohypnol," said team member Christie Powell, a senior at Calhoun. DefenseLine's winning pitch was delivered by senior Brenden Rosario.

Second place went to The Party Project team from Herricks High School, and third place to the Tota Vita team from Syosset High School. Those teams were awarded $500 and $250, respectively.


Empower Possibility

Bay Shore High School's eSports team has been named a winner in Microsoft's Empower Possibility competition, which rewards "passion projects that make a difference," Microsoft officials said.

The team submitted a 45-second video that described how gaming brought them together and how having more equipment would bring that sense of community to more students. The team received 15 gaming computers, five Xbox devices and $2,000, as well as an opportunity to visit Microsoft's flagship store in Manhattan for a VIP gaming event.

"The award from Microsoft will allow us to expand the program further and provide equipment within the school for the students to compete in matches in the same room, which changes the dynamic from one of isolation to one of togetherness and community," Bay Shore Superintendent Joseph Bond said.



New Makerspace

Washington Drive Primary School hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony last month to unveil a new Makerspace, where students can learn through hands-on activities and problem-solving tasks. Roger Tilles, who represents Long Island on the state Board of Regents, attended and read several inspirational poems.

The space includes low-tech items such as LEGOs and high-tech tools such as programmable robots for innovation in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art and math. It was made possible by a grant from the Harborfields Community Educational Foundation.

"Watching small ideas turn into tangible experiences for our students is such a source of pride for us," Harborfields Superintendent Francesco Ianni said.


Character building

Eastern Suffolk BOCES' Jefferson Academic Center, which provides special education services to middle-school-aged students who have special needs, has launched a character education program to strengthen the school's four pillars: commitment, community, respect and responsibility.

The program was kicked off by magician Robert McEntee, who performed while speaking about good decision-making. The school's Student Staff Organization conceptualized a new school tagline, "Building character to navigate life's journey," which was featured on T-shirts given to every student. 

"Involving students in this process provides the staff with valuable insight and infuses an element of authenticity into these efforts for which the rest of the students respond,"  said Christian Scott, a school social worker.

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