The Long Beach third-grade team finished first in the nation...

The Long Beach third-grade team finished first in the nation in the WordMasters Challenge. Nationwide only 83 third-graders achieved perfect scores in the contest to complete analogies. Credit: Syntax Communication

Long Beach third-graders proved their critical thinking skills by finishing first nationwide in a language arts contest.

The team of 11 students from the district's Learning Activities to Raise Creativity program (LARC) recently took first place among 520 teams in the school year's second meet of WordMasters Challenge, a competition that requires children to complete analogies using words above their grade level.

Long Beach's winning team consisted of Uma Arengo, Maya Arengo, Abbey Carpenter, Sophia Chigounis, Tyler Collinson, Delphine Esformes, Francesca Macchia, Aadhi Murugaverl, Jude Pizzone, Elias Richter and Douglas Weiss.

"I think they are an inquisitive group by nature and love a challenge," said LARC teacher Beverlee Bertinetti. "They were very focused and attentive and so fun to work with."

The following Long Beach students also won highest honors for earning perfect scores in the meet: third-graders Uma Arengo, Charles Ashmead, Sophia Chigounis, Delphine Esformes, Aadhi Murugaverl, Elias Richter and Jasmine Soriano, and fifth-graders Michael Corsale, Ryan Das, Talia Fernandez, Joan Sceppa and Hannah Zelinger. Nationwide, only 83 third-graders and 224 fifth-graders achieved perfect scores.

To prepare for the challenge, students incorporated a list of 25 words sent from competition officials into games such as Pictionary to help them become familiar with the words "in a fun way," Bertinetti said. Students then took the test in February, and Bertinetti faxed the results to the challenge's headquarters in New Jersey.




MacArthur High School's Peer Leaders and freshman class officers recently hosted a skate-a-thon at United Skates of America in Seaford that raised $2,200 for the John Theissen Children's Foundation, a Wantagh-based nonprofit that aids sick and underprivileged children on Long Island. Theissen is a MacArthur alum who had a brain tumor at 17.


Protein modeling

A three-student team from Friends Academy -- Andrew Eng, Ariana Farahani and Michael Gambardella -- beat out 30 local teams to win first place last month in the 2012 Protein Modeling Challenge at Stony Brook University. Teams were tested on their knowledge of proteins and ability to build a protein model at the challenge.

"It was our first year in the competition against some schools that have been doing this for years or have protein-building clubs -- and somehow we came in first place," team adviser Jennifer Newitt said.



LEGO Tournament

Forty-two teams from local elementary and middle schools recently competed at the 2012 Long Island FIRST LEGO League Tournament sponsored by the School-Business Partnerships of Long Island and Longwood Central School District. FIRST represents the acronym For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.

This year's tournament, titled Food Factor Challenge, required teams to build autonomous robots that were "tasked with the safe transportation and preparation of food," tournament officials said.

Nassau County's first-place teams in various categories were: Girl Scouts of Nassau County's LEGOchicks of Hicksville, Champion's 1st Place Award; Baybots of Locust Valley, Programming 1st Place Award; Girl Scouts of Nassau County's Merrick Masters, Research 1st Place Award; Woodmere Middle School, Presentation 1st Place Award; Brick Heads of Floral Park, Robot Performance 1st Place; Congo Bots of Port Washington, Gracious Professionalism 1st Place; Teach Me How to LEGO of Baldwin, Strategy & Innovation 1st Place; Girl Scouts of Nassau County's Catastrophic Movies, Inspiration 1st Place Award.



LI Youth Summit

More than 200 high school students from across Long Island explored innovative solutions to socioeconomic and medical issues affecting Long Island last month at the 2012 Long Island Youth Summit at Dowling College in Oakdale.

Students worked with experts in various fields to address issues such as the dangers of social networking and the use of renewable energy. The keynote speaker was Michael Dowling, president and CEO of North Shore-LIJ Health System, who emphasized the importance of leadership in creating positive changes within local communities.

"A future U.S. president may be in this room, a future governor of New York may be in this room, a future president of a large health system may be in this room," Dowling said.

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