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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 various 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.


Warrior Nation

Amityville Memorial High School students have formed a new club, titled Warrior Nation, that is tasked with generating and implementing ideas to celebrate their hometown pride and help bolster school spirit.

The club recently conducted a survey of students to collect ideas, which ranged from painting bathrooms red and gray to match the school's colors to refurbishing a courtyard with a mural created by each grade that reflects "Warrior pride," school officials said. Other ideas include a bulletin board that celebrates student achievements and having club members make posters to support athletic teams at home games.

"We're trying to show all of the great things that we do here and the pride that we have," club co-adviser Matthew Tomasi said.


Advisory periods

William Floyd School District has launched a new advisory period for grades K-5 that occurs before the start of the regular instructional day. The period offers students the opportunity to engage in activities such as arts and crafts, ukulele and drum instruction, and lessons in American Sign Language.

The structure of each elementary school's advisory period has been created at the discretion of each building's leadership team to fit the needs of their student population, with the goal of increasing proficiency and helping students succeed, school officials said.

"Additional offerings at all levels help to create more well-rounded students," William Floyd Superintendent Kevin M. Coster said. "And well-rounded students are better prepared for success at the next level and beyond."


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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