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Nassau School Notebook: Great Neck South wins Science Bowl

A team from Great Neck South High School

A team from Great Neck South High School won this year's Long Island Regional High School Science Bowl, which was held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory

A team from Great Neck South High School has taken the top spot for the second consecutive year in the Long Island Regional High School Science Bowl.

Great Neck South faced off against 23 other teams in the "Jeopardy!"-style competition that featured topics including biology, math and physics. It is typically held at Brookhaven National Laboratory, but was held virtually this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For winning, the team — Bradley He, Matthew Tsui, David Wang, Jansen Wong and Anthony Zhan — will compete virtually this spring in the national finals.

"I think a big factor in our success was our team chemistry," said Zhan, the team's captain. "We play really well as a team and as a group of friends."

The bowl's second-place team was Viraj Jayam, Freddy Lin, Victor Li and Avinash Reddy of The Wheatley School in Old Westbury; the third-place team was Neal Carpino, Gabriel Choi, Matthew Chen, Ivan Ge and Prisha Singhal of Ward Melville High School in East Setauket.

This year's event also featured a Cybersecurity Challenge for those who did not advance to the bowl's final elimination rounds. The challenge's winner was Jacob Leshnower of Half Hollow Hills High School East in Dix Hills, while Anant Srinivasan and Ishnaan Singh of Commack High School placed second and third, respectively.


New principal

James Curran has become interim principal of Locust Elementary School. He replaced Jean Ricotta, who has moved out of state.

Curran has held numerous interim roles in the Garden City School District since 2005, including as interim principal position at Locust in 2013. Before that, he was principal of North Shore Middle School in Glen Head.

Curran "has come through for our district many times before and is already familiar with our programs and procedures," Garden City Superintendent Kusum Sinha said. "We are thankful to have him on our team, and I am certain he will help us carry out a smooth transition."


Racial Equity Club

Sanford H. Calhoun High School has launched a Racial Equity Club to promote racial awareness among students. It was created by seniors Eden Gould-Anderson and Joan Mesy.

The club holds regular discussions on such topics as stereotypes and eliminating racism in which members can share personal experiences. One recent effort saw club members visit kids at Old Mill Road Elementary School in North Merrick to read such children's books as Todd Parr's "It's Okay to be Different."

"This lesson plan was focused on helping kids become aware of the differences in everyone's skin and to push kids to remember that even with these differences, everyone deserves to be treated equally," said the club's faculty adviser, Heather Glick.


Celebrating Black history

Many schools hosted educational events and activities last month in celebration of Black History Month.

In Manhasset, the district's elementary schools had access to a shared digital library and teachers read aloud books on Black history — such as Matthew A. Cherry's children's book "Hair Love." Meanwhile, the high school's Social Studies Honor Society posted flyers around the building to highlight the historical contributions of African Americans.

In Lynbrook, West End Elementary School classes chose from a list of more than 75 unsung heroes from Black history and researched their achievements led by the school's Diversity Committee. Projects ranged from PowerPoint presentations to Instagram templates.

In East Meadow, Barnum Woods Elementary School students heard facts about prominent civil rights figures over the school's loudspeaker every morning for the month of February.


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