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Nassau School Notebook: Great Neck South student named U.S. Presidential Scholar

Benjamin Rossen, a senior at Great Neck South

Benjamin Rossen, a senior at Great Neck South High School, has been named a U.S. Presidential Scholar. Credit: Myrna Tanchoco Rossen

A Great Neck student is among 161 nationwide named U.S. Presidential Scholars, considered among the nation’s highest honors for high school seniors. 

Benjamin Rossen, a senior at Great Neck South High School, received the designation from the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, which selects scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic and technical excellence, and evidence of community service, among other things. 

Rossen was among 20 students named a U.S. President Scholar in the Arts.

“If one questions the feasibility of a harmonious multicultural society, I would point to the Presidential Scholars community," Rossen, 17, said. "I'm incredibly honored to collaborate with students whose myriad values are both celebrated and transcended by their creative dynamism and intellectual curiosity."

Rossen's musical achievements include being named a Young Steinway Artist, a Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Artist, a quarterfinalist in the 2019 Cilburn Junior Piano Competition, and a finalist in the classical music discipline of the National YoungArts Foundation's 2018 Competition. He is also the founder of his school's Music Creators Society.

Four other Nassau County students were among 621 semifinalists. They were Sejal Gupta of Hicksville High School, Karen Huijie Li of The Wheatley School, Ikshu Pandey of East Meadow High School and Brendan Wilkowski of East Meadow High School.


LI Math Fair

Roslyn School District students won 39 gold medals — the most of any school district on Long Island — in the 2020 Long Island Math Fair, which was held electronically this year because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The fair required pupils in grades seven to 12 to submit an essay on any math topic for evaluation by judges. It was sponsored by the Nassau and Suffolk math teachers associations. 

Other top districts in Nassau County, and their gold medal totals, were Herricks and Syosset with 16 each, Port Washington with 11, and Garden City and Jericho with eight each.


Essay contest winner

Wantagh High School sophomore Juliana Rose has been named New York State's first-place winner in a 2019-20 Christopher Columbus Essay Contest sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution and the National Italian American Foundation. Wantagh junior Lauren Daniels was the contest's first runner-up.

The annual contest, open to students nationwide in grades nine to 12, challenged teens to write about the following topic: "A Sailor's Experiences as Part of Christopher Columbus' First Expedition to the Americas."

As the state's winner, Rose has advanced to the national level for a chance to win an invitation to read her essay this fall at the National Columbus Day celebration in Washington, D.C.


Merit scholarships

Thirty Long Island students are among 2,500 students nationwide named winners of $2,500 scholarships through the National Merit Scholarship Corp. for their "combination of accomplishments, skills and potential for success in rigorous college studies," the organization said. 

Winners and their high schools were: Michael Parrinello and Louis Viglietta, Commack; James Zheng, Garden City; Nicole Khaimov, Glen Cove; Raymond Lin, Great Neck North; Gabriel Magidson, Great Neck South; Jay Nagpal and Shreya Suneja, Half Hollow Hills East; Sophie Epstein, Hauppauge; Shreya Patel, Herricks; Alex Tang, George W. Hewlett; Emily Gan, Michael Pecorara and Robert Yu, Jericho; David Frank, John F. Kennedy; Celina Ma, Kings Park; Nina Cialone, Michael DiSpirito and Michelle Hsu, Locust Valley; Arjun Gupta, Long Beach; Sydney Ginsburg, Oliver Reinhardt, Elizabeth Wu and Serena Zhao, Manhasset; Kyra McCreery, North Shore; Ziho Kim, Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK; Daniel Flyer, Roslyn; Jacqueline Albert, Syosset; Athena Yao, Wantagh; and William Hong Sun, Ward Melville.


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