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NYS History Day competitors advance to national level

Students from Herricks high and middle schools will

Students from Herricks high and middle schools will advance to the national level after competing in the New York State History Day in Cooperstown. Credit: Herricks School District

Thirty-five local students placed in top spots at the 2017 New York State History Day in Cooperstown to advance to the national contest next month.

The competition, sponsored by the New York State Historical Association, challenged students in grades 6-12 to research historical topics through libraries, archives, museums and oral interviews. This year’s theme, “Taking a Stand in History,” attracted projects on figures ranging from women’s rights activist Alice Paul to tennis legend Arthur Ashe.

Students competed at the Long Island level at Hofstra University, which drew more than 600 entries. The top two or three winners in each category advanced to the state competition in April.

Long Island students making it to the national contest are: Emma Clapps, Hauppauge High School; Jalaj Mehta and Alex Vasilakopoulos, Hauppauge Middle School; Aiza Bhuiyan, Prerna Chaudhary, Emse Chen, Amanda Chiang, Caitlin Chou, Siri Kavuri, Alisa Liu, Felisha Ma, Eunice Oh, Rushikesh Patel, Shivesh Patel and Kunal Suri, Herricks High School; Aarya Agarwal, Abhinav Goyal, Aditya Lodha and Prameet Shah, Herricks Middle School; Brianna Kovit, Jonny Miller and Rachel Miller, Hewlett High School; Alyssa Befumo and Aidan Forbes, Huntington High School; Sara Chan, Catherine Kim, Allison Lee and Naomi Yu, Jericho Middle School; Greg Cantwell, North Shore Middle School; Joseph Doria, Jack Keys, Emma Melnikov and Neil Shah, The Wheatley School; and Julia Klayman and Arilla Ziarno, Woodmere Middle School.

The National History Day competition is scheduled June 11-15 in Maryland.


Pacemaker Award

The staff of Ward Melville High School’s 2015-16 Invictus yearbook has received a Pacemaker Award from the National Scholastic Press Association for excellence in student journalism. The achievement makes them the first Long Island yearbook to receive the award and one of 31 high schools nationwide to receive the honor this year.

All yearbook entries were judged by teams of professionals, the association said, and evaluated on writing and editing, design, content, concept, photography, art and graphics.

The yearbook was created by students working as a club, with adviser Cortney Weisman, to learn to “write journalistically as well as design and photograph,” school officials said.


Speak Truth to Power

Hauppauge High School junior Frank Hufnagel placed second nationwide in the Speak Truth to Power Student Video Contest, which challenged students to use creative storytelling to teach others about a human rights issue.

Hufnagel’s video was about Harry Chapin, the late singer-songwriter who fought to end world hunger, and features footage of Hauppauge-based nonprofit Long Island Cares. Chapin founded the nonprofit in 1980, a year before his death in an automobile accident.

The contest, which drew entries from 800-plus students, was sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers, the Tribeca Film Institute and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, a nonprofit charitable organization.


ExploraVision winners

Teams from Bayville Intermediate School and Commack High School were among eight national winners in the 25th Annual ExploraVision Competition, which asked students to imagine a technology that might exist in 20 years.

Two Bayville teams grabbed national first prizes in the grades K-3 and 4-6 categories. The K-3 team proposed shirts made of fabric with buoyant properties to help prevent drownings, while the grades 4-6 team conceived of robotic bivalves to filter cancer-causing chemicals from contaminated rivers. Commack’s project, which placed second in the grades 7-9 category, proposed modifying toilets to analyze human waste and check a person’s internal bacterial populations.

Bayville team members each received a $10,000 saving bond, while Commack team members each received a $5,000 savings bond.

The contest was coordinated by the National Science Teachers Association and Toshiba.

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