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Long Island School Notebook: Students win in Clean Tech Competition

Harrison Weinberg, second from right, and Caitlin Noonan

Harrison Weinberg, second from right, and Caitlin Noonan placed second and third in their categories, respectively, of the International Spellman High Voltage Clean Tech Science Competition. They are pictured with Spellman High Voltage president Loren Skeist, left, and Clean Tech Competition administrator Kevin Sanders. Credit: Center for Science Teaching and Learning/David Conn

Two Long Island students were among the winners in a worldwide research and design competition that focused on the fields of science, technology, engineering and math — also known as STEM.

Harrison Weinberg, a senior at Great Neck South High School, and Caitlin Noonan, a recent graduate of Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale, placed second and third in their categories, respectively, of the International Spellman High Voltage Clean Tech Science Competition. This year's competition asked participants to create solutions to real-world issues under the theme "Preserving Planet Earth."

Weinberg placed second the "low cost" category for his project, "Engineering of a Cheap Buoy Used for the Detection of Oil in the Marine Environment"; and Noonan placed third in the "high tech" category for her project, "Swimming Robot to Monitor, Forecast and Protect Long Island from Harmful Algal Blooms."

They were awarded $7,000 and $5,000, respectively.

"I designed and engineered a model buoy system that can be used in the detection of oil in water," Weinberg said in his project's video summary. "I came to start thinking about this project when last year I was sitting in my sailboat at the marina and I saw oily patches of water just floating around."

Three other Long Island students were among the remaining finalists and received $1,000. They were Tyler Bissoondial, a junior at John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore, Sanjna Kedia, a recent graduate of Manhasset High School, and Rithika Narayan, a recent graduate of Elwood-John H. Glenn High School.

The competition is a program of the Center for Science Teaching and Learning.


New principal

Tamika Eason is the new principal of Great Neck Road Elementary School.

Eason, who replaced Karla Cangelosi, had served as an assistant principal at Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School since 2010. Before that, she was an assistant principal at William Floyd High School in Mastic Beach.

"As an educator who has served in both primary and secondary school settings, I have partnered with all stakeholders to cultivate academic and social experiences which foster growth and success for students on all grade levels," Eason said. "I am excited to bring this experience to Great Neck Road Elementary School."


New principal

John DeKams is the new principal of Floral Park-Bellerose School. He replaced Jamie Adams, who retired.

DeKams had been an assistant principal at Hillside Elementary School in Hastings-on-Hudson since 2017. Before that, he was an assistant principal at an elementary school in upstate Wappingers Falls and a sixth-grade science teacher within an autism-spectrum program.

"From the start of the interview process, I knew it was a great fit on both sides," DeKams said. "Since my first official day on July 1, I've made it a priority to meet and speak with as many stakeholders as possible, including administrators, staff members and parents."


Interim principal

Amanda Licci is the interim principal of Newbridge Road Elementary School in the North Bellmore School District. She replaced Denise Fisher, who is now the district's director of personnel.

Licci has been a teacher in North Bellmore since 1998, having taught kindergarten, first, second and third grades at Martin Avenue and Park Avenue elementary schools. She has also served as a districtwide instructional coach.

"Working in North Bellmore has been so rewarding for me due to the countless relationships I've established through the years," Licci said. "Beginning a new position at Newbridge Road Elementary School means that established relationships will be strengthened while new ones will be built."


Interim principal

James Nolan is the interim principal of Port Jefferson Middle School. He replaced Robert Neidig, who is now the district’s assistant superintendent of curriculum.

Nolan’s past positions include being superintendent of the Sachem School District and assistant principal and principal at Sachem High School North in Lake Ronkonkoma. He has also been a dean and middle school principal in the Patchogue-Medford School District.

"My No. 1 priority is to earn the trust and respect of the entire middle school family," Nolan said. "I am extremely excited to work cooperatively with our teachers, staff members and families to serve children and to assist each individual child to become the very best version of themselves."


New principal

Michelle Hazen is the new principal at Harbor Hill Elementary School in the Roslyn School District.

Hazen, who replaced Jessica Kemler, was previously the school's assistant principal. Before that, she was a first-grade teacher and assistant principal at the district's Heights School.

"I'm thrilled and delighted to be given the opportunity to be the principal of Harbor Hill Elementary School," Hazen said. "I look forward to working with my staff to build meaningful relationships with all students and families so that we may continue to provide the Roslyn community with the education they expect and value."


New superintendent

Jay Finello has been named superintendent and principal of the Sagaponack Common School District. He replaced Alan Van Cott, who retired.

Finello has previously served as superintendent for the East Islip, Springs and Huntington school districts; he spent most of his career in the Huntington district.

"It is clear to me that the entire Sagaponack community appreciates and treasures the Sagaponack School, its long history and rich traditions," Finello said. "It is this sense of pride and commitment that is so appealing to me as I look forward to serving the school, students and community."


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