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8 Long Islanders named Broadcom MASTERS semifinalists

Isabella DeBrino and Maxwell DeBrino, her brother,

Isabella DeBrino and Maxwell DeBrino, her brother, were among 300 semifinalists nationwide in Broadcom MASTERS competition. Isabella's project explored the effect of a paper's composition on its performance. Maxwell's project explored the effect of shape and ultraviolet color on the feeding behavior of finches. Credit: Northport-East Northport School

Eight Long Island students were among 300 national semifinalists in a prestigious competition for science, technology, engineering and math.

The sixth annual competition, titled Broadcom MASTERS, was open to students in grades six through eight who appeared this year in one of 300 regional and state science fairs, including the Long Island and New York State science and engineering fairs.

The semifinalists had placed in the top 10 percent in their affiliated fair and were chosen from more than 2,400 applicants.

Long Island’s semifinalists were Isabella DeBrino of Northport High School, Maxwell DeBrino of East Northport Middle School, Elan Yakov Moskowitz of Hebrew Academy of Nassau County, Elizabeth Wu and Serena Zhao of Manhasset High School, Kate Weseley-Jones of North Shore Middle School, and Akuchinyerem Onyeobia and Marvia Pressoir of Elmont Memorial High School.

“This year marks the Broadcom MASTERS highest competition pool ever,” said Paula Golden, president of the Broadcom Foundation, the event’s sponsor. “We are delighted to see growing interest in STEM fields among both girls and boys.”

Each application received readings and evaluations by distinguished scientists, engineers and educators, Broadcom said. All semifinalists received prize packages that included a ribbon, certificate of accomplishment, backpack and decal, an inventor’s notebook, and a copy of the graphic novel “Howtoons: Tools of Mass Construction.”

“These are really hardworking kids and we just couldn’t be happier,” said David Spinnato, the junior high school science research teacher for Elmont.

None of the local students was in the pool of 30 finalists.

Broadcom MASTERS, a program of the Society for Science & the Public, stands for “math, applied science, technology, and engineering for rising stars.”


Two new principals

The Deer Park school district has two new principals: Charles Cobb at Deer Park High School and Christopher Molinelli at John Quincy Adams Primary School.

Cobb previously was an associate principal at the district’s Robert Frost Middle School, as well as an administrator and a special-education teacher in Lindenhurst and Levittown, respectively. He replaced James Cummings, who now is Deer Park’s assistant superintendent for pupil personnel services.

Molinelli was an associate principal in the district’s two primary schools and has been a teacher in the Bay Shore, Manhasset, Merrick and North Shore districts. He replaced Christine Criscione, who now is administrator of secondary curriculum and instruction for Deer Park.

“This school is already doing excellent work and I know we can continue to promote our students to thrive academically and socially,” Molinelli said.


New principal at JFK

Deborah Smith is principal of John F. Kennedy Elementary School, replacing Aileen O’Rourke, who became the East Islip district’s director of special education and pupil personnel services for grades K-5 and reading for K-12.

Smith served six years as principal of the district’s Connetquot Elementary School. Before that, she was an assistant principal for the East Islip system’s middle and high schools.

“Making this move to JFK will provide the opportunity for me to deepen and share my knowledge of curriculum objectives in grades three through five,” Smith said.


New principal at Tremont

Lori Koerner is principal of Tremont Elementary School, replacing Joey Cohen, who now is the Patchogue-Medford district’s assistant superintendent for human resources.

Koerner spent 26 years teaching in the Hicksville school system, with concentrations in elementary and special education. She also was a coordinator for and principal of Hicksville’s Elementary Summer Academic Program for Students at Risk.

“My main goal is to confirm that every student is provided the highest quality of education possible in a safe and supportive learning environment,” she said.


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