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Herricks, Jericho teams among winners in Lexus Eco Challenge

A team from Herricks High School was named

A team from Herricks High School was named a winner in the Air & Climate Challenge of this year's Lexus Eco Challenge. Pictured are team members with Herricks administrators and Nassau County Legis. Ellen Birnbaum (D-Great Neck), center. Credit: Herricks School District

Teams from Herricks and Jericho high schools have won $10,000 in a national contest for creating practical solutions to local environmental issues.

Herricks' "The Cli-Mates" team and Jericho's "Finding Nano" team are among 32 groups nationwide to earn those prizes in this year's Lexus Eco Challenge. They were winners in the contest's Air & Climate Challenge and Land & Water Challenge, respectively.

The teams advanced to the final challenge for a chance at one of two $30,000 grand prizes or eight $15,000 first-place prizes. Those winners will be announced next month.

"The students communally promote, value and work toward ensuring an ecologically sound future for this planet," Jericho science research coordinator Serena McCalla said of her team. "Their work at regulated research institutions and initiative to focus on sustainability via changing their local environment is astounding."

The Cli-Mates developed a low-carbon dieting plan that helps reduce the amount of greenhouse emissions and educated their community through various events and online initiatives. Team members are Prableen Kaur, Alyssa Lam, Mina Li, Sarah Ninan and Roshni Patel. 

Finding Nano created a sustainable ultrafiltration membrane using nanocellulose and designed an app that detects fracking contaminants. Team members are Harrison Kane, Catherine Kim, Riya Patel, Janice Rateshwar, Maya Yu, Katherine Zhang and Audrey Zhong.

The contest, which was open to grades 6-12, was created by Lexus and the publishing company Scholastic.


Critical Thinking Club

Gardiners Avenue Elementary School has launched a new Critical Thinking Club to help fourth- and fifth-graders "think outside the box," school officials said.

The club, which kicked off in December, is split into three seven-week sessions to accommodate the volume of participants. During each session, members meet weekly and engage in critical thinking activities such as playing chess, tackling an escape room, and solving a Rubik's Cube.

"These activities help students think in different ways and work with others," club adviser Melissa Garibaldi said. "They have to follow steps, think about what their opponents might do next, and use their knowledge from in and outside the classroom to accomplish a task."


Trivia Challenge

Four teams placed first in various grade levels of the Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County's 2020 Trivia Challenge. 

The challenge required four-person teams to take a 100-question test on topics ranging from academics to popular culture, followed by a final round in which they competed verbally. Participants raised funds for the nonprofit by soliciting pledges.

Winners were: Will Collar, Max Fradella, John McCarthy and Ryan Sokolowski, Kramer Lane Elementary School in Levittown, grades 3-4 category; Stephen Bender, Arthur Kaplan, Nikhil Shah and Sean Yang, South Woods Middle School in Syosset, grades 5-6 category; Marcus Hoshino, Jesse Lebolt, Krishiv Shah and Samuel Wang, South Woods, grades 7-8 category; and Salvatore Bernardini, Jonathan Ivers, Avi Jassal and Katherine St. George, John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore, high school category.


Postponed competition

The Long Island Regional FIRST Robotics Competition, which was slated for March 23-28 at Hofstra University, has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"As a result of the evolving situation, out of concern for the health of students and volunteers, and due to the number of schools who have chosen to not participate in this year's competition, we have decided to postpone [Regional #1 and #2]," the event's presenter, School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, said in a statement. "We recognize teams have put an enormous amount of work into preparing for this event and we regret having to share such disappointing news."

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