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Nassau School Notebook: All-female Elwood team wins Medical Marvels

A team from Elwood-John H. Glenn High School

A team from Elwood-John H. Glenn High School took first place in this year's Medical Marvels competition. From left, are team adviser Arnold Kamhi and team members Alexandra Haddad, Trinity Hausch, Jordan Alabrandi, May Luyster, Adiya Rehman and Shayna Purow. Credit: Elwood School District

A team from Elwood-John H. Glenn High School was the winner of a local science competition that challenged students to develop a strategy to increase immunization rates amid a hypothetical measles outbreak.

The all-female team of sophomores — Jordan Alibrandi, Alexandra Haddad, Trinity Hausch, Mary Luyster, Shayna Purow and Adiya Rehman — took the top spot in this year's Medical Marvels competition hosted by the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research and Northwell Health's Center for Workplace Readiness. It was held Feb. 28.

The team's proposal included the development of an organization, called ProVax, that would decrease vaccine hesitancy through public outreach using social media. The organization would also partner with prominent leaders and physicians, use speakers and celebrities, and add vaccine information to educational curricula.

For winning, Elwood received $1,800 on behalf of Northwell Health. They also won a $300 presentation award, along with teams from Lawrence and Massapequa high schools.

"I am very proud of these girls," said Elwood's adviser, Arnold Kamhi. "They worked hard on this and the hard work paid off."

This year's competition consisted of more than 130 students from 29 schools across Long Island, as well from Queens and Staten Island. Proposals were evaluated by a panel of scientists, clinicians and health care administrators.

Second- and third-place honors went to teams from Chaminade High School in Mineola and Commack High School, respectively.


Battle of the Classes

Carle Place Middle/High School raised more than $28,000 for a Pompe disease fund at Duke Children's Hospital through the school's Battle of the Classes, which was held just before the coronavirus outbreak. Pompe disease is a genetic disorder in which a complex sugar called glycogen builds up in the body's cells.

The amount was the most ever raised through the 13th annual battle, topping the $27,000 raised three years ago for the Colette Coyne Melanoma Awareness Campaign. This year's funds will assist with research, developing new therapies and improving the quality of life for patients with Pompe. 

During the battle, students participated in activities including a skit competition, potato sack race and tug-of-war. The Class of 2020 was the overall winner.


GeoBee qualifiers

Eleven Nassau County students were among 100 statewide to qualify for this year's National Geographic New York State GeoBee, a geography contest for students in grades 4 to 8. That competition, slated for March 27, was canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Qualifiers and their school districts were: Stefan Caiazzo, Bellmore-Merrick; Neil Reichman, East Williston; Michael Renga, Glen Cove; Tamas Smulovics, Great Neck; Arjun Sharma, Herricks; Caleb Kao, Jericho; John Harnett, Locust Valley; William Zhao, Manhasset; Ken Zheng, Massapequa; and Andy Chen and Samuel Wang, Syosset.

To reach the state level, students first competed in school bees, and winners then took a qualifying test, with the top 100 scorers advancing.


Festivals canceled

The New York State School Music Association has canceled its solo festivals and major ensemble festivals for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year because of the coronavirus outbreak.

"NYSSMA recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has closed all of our schools and the feasibility of rescheduling almost 150 festivals is no longer possible," NYSSMA president, David M. Brown, said in a statement. "Therefore, we have sadly determined we can no longer move forward with Festival Season 2020."

In addition, Brown said that NYSSMA leadership is exploring options with regard to all-state auditions for its 2020 Winter Conference, which is slated to be held in Rochester on Dec. 3 to 6.


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