Three Long Island students have been named winners in a national competition that challenged them to create original apps. 

Shameed Job and Krish Malhotra, both seniors at Half Hollow Hills High School West in Dix Hills, and Gerry Stevens, a sophomore at Holy Trinity Diocesan High School in Hicksville, were winners in the 2019 Congressional App Challenge, an initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives in conjunction with the Internet Education Foundation. 

Job and Malhotra's "Fyesta" app allows people to connect with friends, while Steven's "Sneaker Plaza" app was designed to locate sneaker stores around the tristate area. They were named winners for New York's 3rd and 4th congressional districts, respectively.

This year's challenge received 2,177 app submissions and named about 250 winning apps. 

"In high school, it can be hard to get together with your friends or plan an event," Malhotra said of "Fyesta." "We started this project to make the process of linking up with your friends quicker and easier."

Of "Sneaker Plaza," Stevens said: "My app will allow people to quickly and easily search for stores that have their desired shoe in stock."

Winners received $250 in Amazon Web Services credits and can showcase their apps this spring at a reception in Washington, D.C. The winning apps are also eligible to be displayed in the U.S. Capitol Building and on


Owl nests

Third-graders at Central Boulevard Elementary School recently used vines and evergreen needles to construct owl nests that will be placed in specific trees at the Bethpage State Park Golf Course. The nests, which were created with help from the park's environmental staff, will encourage mating pairs of great horned owls to raise their young in the protected space. 

The efforts materialized after students visited Bethpage's Green Course as part of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America's First Green, a STEM program that uses golf courses as environmental learning labs. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.


Australia fundraisers

Fourth-graders at Oceanside School #8 recently raised more than $7,300 through a series of fundraisers to help those affected by the wildfires in Australia. The funds will benefit three organizations: New South Wales WIRES (Wildlife Information, Rescue and Information Service), the Australian Red Cross and the Australian Salvation Army.

The fundraisers, which spanned the course of a week, included having students donate $1 to dress as their favorite animals, participate in a walk-a-thon, or get a "skip homework" pass. Bracelets and used books also were sold.


Education Partners

Fifteen individuals and one organization will receive Education Partner Awards next month from Nassau BOCES for their "profound effect on public education in Nassau County," the organization said. 

This year’s awardees are: Daniel Christoffel, fine arts professor, Long Island University; Paul Defendini, superintendent, Farmingdale School District; Joseph Famularo, superintendent, Bellmore School District; Keith Gamache, board president, East Rockaway School District; Arnold Goldstein, board member, Nassau BOCES Educational Foundation; Christopher Korolczuk, principal, Nassau BOCES Center for Community Adjustment; Vilma Lancaster, board vice president, Freeport School District; Andrea Mortillaro, special education teacher, Wisdom Lane Middle School in Levittown; Dominick Palma, superintendent, Merrick School District; Efthymia Rafaelides, K-12 guidance supervisor, Hicksville School District; Kassidy Rieder, student, Nassau BOCES Long Island High School for the Arts; Eric Schultz, immediate past president, Nassau BOCES; Patrick Silvestri, assistant principal, Nassau BOCES Adult Education; Eustace Thompson, professor, Hofstra University School of Education; and James Widmer, associate superintendent for business services, Nassau BOCES. This year's organizational honoree was the Long Island Children's Museum.

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