A mock trial team from Three Village Central School District...

A mock trial team from Three Village Central School District in East Setauket took first place in the Suffolk County regional level and is advancing to the state level of competition. Credit: Three Village Central School District

The verdict is in.

Mock trial teams from Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls in Hewlett Bay Park and Three Village Central School District in East Setauket are this year's Nassau and Suffolk counties regional winners, respectively, and are heading to the state level of competition.

Stella K. Abraham's team outlasted 47 other teams in seven rounds of competition to place first in Nassau County's regional championship at the Supreme Court in Mineola. In the finals, they won out over a team from Mesivta Ateres Yaakov, a boys' Orthodox Jewish school in Lawrence.

Three Village's team bested 16 teams from throughout Suffolk County at the Suffolk County Courthouse in Central Islip. In the finals, they defeated a Bay Shore High School team.

"We've put in endless hours of work to get to the level where we are at today," said Saritte Wolkenstein, who co-coaches Stella K. Abraham's team with Brynde Berkowitz.

This year's fictional case involved an individual accused of stealing about $70,000 of fundraiser proceeds from a booster. Teams were judged by attorneys and judges on the strength of their cases and their knowledge of legal proceedings, among other factors.

"The team is really one unit," Berkowitz of her 14-student squad. "I am so proud of that."

The two teams will compete for the state title along with eight regional winners May 18-19 in Albany.


GARDEN CITY: Math-a-thon fundraiser

Garden City Middle School sixth-graders raised $71,159 -- the highest amount nationwide -- as part of a math-a-thon to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Over the past decade, the school has raised about $450,000 through the math-a-thon -- including $69,296 last school year, the highest amount nationwide at that time.



A Walt Whitman High School team -- Ahmad Ejaz, Mark Meneses, Gaby Ramirez, Zenab Ojibe and Omar Ramos -- placed first in the 2015 STEP Regional Science Bowl Competition held at Farmingdale State College. For winning, the team received an all-expense-paid trip to compete in the 2015 National Science Bowl earlier this month in Washington, D.C.

The STEP Regional Science Bowl was a "Jeopardy!"-style competition in a four-division round-robin format, with questions in topics including biology, chemistry and physics.

A series of 118 regional middle and high school tournaments were held nationwide.


WESTHAMPTON BEACH: Virtual Enterprise winners

A Virtual Enterprise class from Westhampton Beach High School -- Ashley Cunniff, Freesia Ferrantino, Olivia Horbatiuk, Alex Kravitz, Frank Leotta and Justin Smith -- placed second nationwide last month in a business plan competition that asked teens to form mock companies and present business plans to a panel of judges. The 24-team event was hosted by Microsoft in Manhattan.

Westhampton Beach's winning plan, titled "Helios," planned for eco-friendly technology devices powered by natural energy, including a solar-powered charging backpack and solar-heated sleeping bag.

To reach the national level, the team placed among the top three teams in the Long Island regional at American Portfolio Financial Services in Holbrook.


NASSAU COUNTY: Irish Society Awards

Nine Nassau County students were top winners last month in an essay contest coordinated by the Irish Cultural Society of the Garden City area. This year's contest, which received 484 entries, challenged pupils to pen a rhetorical analysis of a speech delivered by the president of Ireland in 1943.

First-place winners were Antonia Marchese and Nicholas Zaromatidis of H. Frank Carey High School in Franklin Square and Colleen Cass of Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead. Second-place winners were Elizabeth Boyle of Manhasset High School, Samantha Noriega of Lawrence High School, and Jerry Volel of Sewanhaka High School in Floral Park. Third-place winners were Tyler Hernandez and Merlyn John of Sewanhaka High School and Kelsie Schroeder of Wellington C. Mepham High School in Bellmore.

The award for first place was $200 each, while second-place finishers received $150 each and those in third place got $125 each.


ISLANDWIDE: Scholarship winners

Eleven Long Island high school seniors are among more than 1,000 nationwide to win scholarships financed by about 200 corporations, company foundations and other organizations through the National Merit Scholarship Corp. Scholarships range from $500 to $10,000 a year for four years of study or are single payments of $2,500 to $5,000.

Winners were Greg Bertrand, Chaminade High School, Mineola; Justin Chen, Great Neck South High School; Renuka Diwan, Comsewogue High School, Port Jefferson Station; Taylor Kang, Jericho High School; Sabrina Kim, Half Hollow Hills High School West, Dix Hills; Elizabeth Muratore, Paul D. Schreiber High School, Port Washington; Rohith Rokkam, Syosset High School; Nicole Schneider, Ward Melville High School, East Setauket; Ryan Smith, Garden City High School; Connor Whittle, Greenport High School; and Natalie Zaliznyak, Earl L. Vandermeulen High School, Port Jefferson.

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