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Nassau School Notebook: Students nominated as Presidential Scholars

Christopher Alexander of Elmont Memorial High School is

Christopher Alexander of Elmont Memorial High School is one of five Long Island teens to have been nominated for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program by the New York State Education Department.  Credit: Sewanhaka School District

Five Long Island students are among 25 statewide nominated for one of the country's most prestigious honors for high school seniors.

The students — Christopher Alexander of Elmont Memorial High School, Nistha Boghra of Sachem High School North in Lake Ronkonkoma, Damaris Hernandez of Lynbrook High School, Nikhil Keer of Division Avenue High School in Levittown, and Alexis Phillips of Hampton Bays High School — have been nominated for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program by the New York State Education Department.

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects scholars annually based on such factors such as academic success, artistic excellence and community service.

This year's semifinalists will be revealed in April, and scholars will be announced in May.

"Damaris [Hernandez] has proven herself as a leader both in and out of the classroom," said state Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), who recommended Hernandez for the honor. "I am confident she will continue to excel both professionally and academically in the years to come."

"Christopher [Alexander] is more than just a model student and engaged member of the Elmont community," said state Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck), who recommended Alexander. "He's a role model for his entire school, and a source of pride for all of Elmont."


Hour of Code

Many students learned the fundamentals of computer programming last month as part of the nonprofit's "Hour of Code," a worldwide effort held in conjunction with Computer Science Education Week.

In Lynbrook, students at Marion Street, Waverly Park and West End elementary schools learned the importance of programming in everyday life and completed coding challenges that became more difficult with each level during their library classes.

In Carle Place, 50 families from Cherry Lane Elementary School participated virtually using the online learning platform Seesaw. Topics included algorithms, looping and sequencing.

In Bethpage, children at Central Boulevard, Charles Campagne and Kramer Lane elementary schools tackled coding basics on, a game-based website.


Coca-Cola Scholars

Thirty-four Long Island students are among 1,609 semifinalists nationwide in the 2021 Coca-Cola Scholars Program, which will name 150 scholars this spring to receive $20,000 scholarships. Students are evaluated on such factors as leadership skills, academic achievements and community service.

Semifinalists and their school districts are: Semaya Robinson, Amityville; Skyler Basco and Jordan Novak, Bellmore-Merrick; Viraj Jayam, East Williston; Christopher Alexander, Elmont; Shyanne Gardner, Freeport; Ryan Padala, Garden City; Julisa Vargas, Half Hollow Hills; David Zhang, Herricks; Matthew Langdon and Isabella Santos, Hewlett-Woodmere; Richard Ren, Tyler Siegmann and Davesh Valagolam, Jericho; Emma Gallo, Locust Valley; Yaelle Pierre, Malverne; Aryan Sharma, Middle Country; Rodina Sabeha, Mineola; Wenny Cheng, Mineola; James Connor, Northport-East Northport; Peggy Yin, Port Jefferson; Kristen Longworth, Rockville Centre; Justin Weisser, Roslyn; Jada Seto, Sewanhaka; Brianna Donnelly, Shoreham-Wading River; Shannon Alptekin and Madison Friscia, Smithtown; Danielle Henry, Southold; and Maiya Raghu, Syosset.

Other semifinalists are Shannuel Lamptey of The Stony Brook School, Victoria Levy of St. Anthony's High School, Harrison Peluso of Chaminade High School, Semaya Robinson of Sacred Heart Academy, and Jacob Serfaty of Schechter School of Long Island.


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