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Mineola H.S. team winner in 2016 Congressional App Challenge

Credit: Mineola School District

A Mineola team has received national recognition for an original app that pairs people in need of dog-sitters with those who can do the job.

The four-student team from Mineola High School — Bryan Guda, Malcolm Hylton, Joseph Mueller and Vincent Rodrigues — was one of six winners statewide in the 2016 Congressional App Challenge, which attracted 2,152 students creating some 650 apps.

Mineola’s app, called Cia Chow, asks users to create a profile and fill out a questionnaire before making recommended pairings based on location or services.

“I’m extremely proud of the students,” Mineola computer science teacher Kuri DiFede said. Of the challenge, she said: “There are so many jobs in computer science, so understanding it and knowing it is vital.”

DiFede said the app has been written out in HTML and CSS code but is not fully functional, and she plans to teach the students JavaScript next semester to “take it to the next level.”

The team also worked on the project as part of the school’s partnership with the Queensborough Community College computer technology program, she said.

“We learned a lot of coding skills and how to work together as a team to achieve a common goal,” said Mueller, a junior.

Winners will be able to showcase their apps at a Washington, D.C., reception called #HouseOfCode in April, and their work will be featured for a year on the website and in the U.S. Capitol.

The Congressional App Challenge is coordinated by the Congressional Internet Caucus and the Internet Education Foundation.


Winning essay

Sofia Altamura, a senior at Long Island Lutheran High School, won the grand prize in the high school division of Altice Connects’ Hispanic Heritage Month Essay Contest.

The competition challenged students to name a Latino, past or present, with whom they would choose spend a day and why. The contest received some 1,000 entries nationwide.

Altamura’s essay of about 500 words was on former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, the first Latina to serve in the Cabinet. She won a $1,500 cash scholarship.

Two runners-up in that division were Kiana Ziadkhanour of Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School and Sophia Takvorian of Manhasset High School.


CrossFit Kids

Students at Martin Avenue Elementary School are learning the value of fitness as part of the school’s new CrossFit Kids program, which is designed to create “more opportunities for movement” throughout the school day, school officials said.

The program teaches children simple exercises they can perform in the confines of their classrooms — such as pushups, flutter kicks and sumo deadlifts using their backpacks. They also are learning about proper nutrition and how research indicates learning capacities can improve after exercise.

“You’re setting the building blocks to making good choices,” the Patty Tansey, the school’s speech pathologist.


Inviting School Awards

Eight Long Island schools are among 33 educational institutions worldwide to receive 2016 Inviting School Awards from the International Alliance for Invitational Education for their “exceptional implementation of invitational education philosophies,” the organization said.

The local schools are Charles A. Mulligan Middle School in Central Islip, Commack High School, Emanuel Lutheran School in Patchogue, John W. Dodd Middle School in Freeport, Long Island Lutheran Day School in East Northport, Valley Stream Memorial Junior High School, Rocky Point Middle School and Woodland Middle School in East Meadow.

“This is one of the most prestigious one-of-a-kind awards that can be given to a school,” East Meadow superintendent Leon Campo said.


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