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Nassau School Notebook: LI teams named semifinalists in STEM contest

A team from West Hempstead High School is

A team from West Hempstead High School is among the semifinalists in Samsung's Solve for Tomorrow Contest for its plan to create biodegradable masks. Team members, from left, are Gloria Guerrier, Victoria Guerrier, Glenda Garcia, Steven Poirot, Tenoch Jaramillo and Alicia Maria. Credit: West Hempstead School District

Teams from Great Neck South and West Hempstead high schools are among 75 national semifinalists in Samsung's Solve for Tomorrow Contest for showing how their communities can be improved through the application of science, technology, engineering and math — also known as STEM.

Each school received a $15,000 package of Samsung technology and classroom resources, and the teams will now create videos exhibiting their process from the initial idea to creating prototypes. Ten national finalists and three national winners will be announced this spring.

Great Neck developed an approach to the early detection of user fatigue from prolonged time viewing screens, and West Hempstead proposed the creation of biodegradable face masks.

"We had a few other ideas, but when we came up with the biodegradable masks, we thought it was definitely the best one because of what's going on in the world," said West Hempstead team member Tenoch Jaramillio.

Great Neck's team members are Sarah Bernstein, Elia Botros, Isha Chugh, Andrew Dea, Sabrina DePaulis, Yonathan Eilon, Reid Fleishman, Benjamin Huh, Dana Kagan, Eden Katz, Eli Newman, Melody Song, Joy Yang and Olivia Yeung. West Hempstead's team members are Glenda Garcia, Glorida Guerrier, Victoria Guerrier, Tenoch Jaramillio, Alicia Maria and Steven Poirot.

GREAT NECK

Regional finalists

A Great Neck South High School team — Oscar Fang, Collin Li, Matthew Tsui, Isabel Wang, Mengyu Wu, John Xie and Rick Xu — is a regional finalist in the Wharton Global High School Investment Competition, which included some 5,600 teams worldwide.

The team, called REBELS Investment Group, developed a strategy to meet a client's investment goals over the course of 10 weeks using $100,000 in virtual money. Teams were judged on the strength and creativity of their strategies.

Regional finalists will compete virtually next month for a chance to advance to the global finals in May.

MASSAPEQUA

Positivity Thursdays

Birch Lane Elementary School has launched an initiative, titled Positivity Thursdays, to make school a "happy place," school officials said.

The initiative, which is held every other week, starts with students arriving at school to upbeat music, such as Bon Jovi's "It's My Life." Students and staff are also encouraged to wear shirts with uplifting messages and participate in kindness challenges, like complimenting a classmate.

"It's making an impact on the students, and that's what it's all about," Assistant Principal Joyce Larkin said.

ISLANDWIDE

U.S. Presidential Scholars

The U.S. Department of Education has named 34 Long Island students as candidates, based on their SAT or ACT scores, to become U.S. Presidential Scholars. They join five local students nominated by the New York State Education Department in December.

The White House Commission of Presidential Scholars selects scholars each spring based on factors including academic excellence, artistic success and community service.

Long Island's candidates and their schools are: Jonathan Mears, Centereach; Kevin Chen and Annabelle Hohne, Commack; Garett Nogid, East Meadow; Rithika Narayan, Elwood; Vimala Alagappan, Friends Academy; Ian Bailey, Garden City; Lauren Victory and Lauren Yu, Great Neck North; Bradley He, James Kim, David Wang and Zimi Zhang, Great Neck South; Ryan Teng and David Zhang, Herricks; Joanne Li and Justin Shen, Jericho; Joshua De Leeuw and Taylor Fox, Manhasset; Griffin Crafa, Northport; Hope Lane and Samantha Radinsky, Paul D. Schreiber; Brian Lee, Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK; Jayden Reilly, Sachem East; Michael Doboli and Andrew Mullan, St. Anthony's; Anoushka Dalvi, Lara Weinberg and Kevin Zhao, Syosset; Neil Mehta, Elizabeth Star and Nancy Zhong, Ward Melville; Jane Paulson, Westhampton Beach; and Yifang Zha, Wheatley School.

— MICHAEL R. EBERT

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