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Our Lady of Mercy Academy team advances to the FIRST Robotics Championship

A team from Our Lady of Mercy Academy

A team from Our Lady of Mercy Academy in Syosset, won the Rookie All-Star Award and is one of six Long Island teams advancing to the FIRST Robotics Championship in St. Louis on April 26-29. Credit: Our Lady of Mercy Academy

Teams from a record 55 schools battled in a regional competition last month that challenged teenagers to build robots from a kit of parts.

The 2017 Long Island Regional FIRST Robotics Competition, which this year had the theme “FIRST Steamworks,” asked three-team alliances to score points by shooting Wiffle balls that represented fuel into a simulated boiler that would transfer the generated steam into an “airship.”

The winners were the Mohawks (Team #329) of Patchogue-Medford High School and Sachem Aftershock (Team #263) of the Sachem district, comprising a three-team alliance with one from Brazil. All three teams advance to the FIRST Robotics Championship in St. Louis, being held Wednesday through Saturday.

Other local teams advancing are Huntington Robotics (Team #5016) of Huntington High School, Kingsmen (Team #5736) of Kings Park High School, Regal Eagles (Team #2869) of Bethpage High School and Mustangs (Team #6746) of Our Lady of Mercy Academy in Syosset.

“We wanted to show girls that you don’t have be afraid of the stereotypes of who is involved in engineering,” said Alexandra Jett, co-founder for Our Lady of Mercy’s team, which won the Rookie All-Star Award. “You can be a girl and do well in engineering, just like we did.”

The 18th annual event, held at Hofstra University, was sponsored by the School-Business Partnerships of Long Island. FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.”


Business Challenge

The MacArthur High School team of Joseph Apollo, Ryan O’Shea, Joseph Razza, Jake Sarni and Ryan Wall won first place and $1,000 in the fifth annual Comptroller’s High School Business Challenge. An East Meadow High School team placed second and won $600, while a New Hyde Park Memorial High School team was third and won $400.

The challenge, which attracted 20 teams from nine Nassau County schools, asked students to develop a mobile app in the public safety, health care or homeland security realms.

The Levittown team’s idea, titled VitaPill, featured a pill containing a sensor that, once digested, could send a person’s vital signs to an app.


Quill Awards

Eight Nassau County students and one school newspaper were first-place winners of Quill Awards last month at Adelphi University’s 17th annual Press Day, which attracted nearly 300 high school journalists from 25 Long Island schools.

Awards were given in 15 categories.

Winners and their high schools were: Maya Masheb, Jericho, best freelance work; Evan Schneider, Lynbrook, best sports story or column; Samantha Barry, Glen Cove, best arts review; Tami Gitlin, Glen Cove, best opinion piece; Samantha Kramer and Jennifer Otruba, Great Neck North, best editorial; Kimberly Lores, Kellenberg, best feature article; and Sam Cohen, Lynbrook, best news article.

In addition, Lynbrook High School’s Horizon was named most outstanding newspaper.


Regional Quiz Bowl

Teams from Commack and Great Neck South high schools took home championship trophies in the varsity and junior varsity levels, respectively, of the 2017 Regional Quiz Bowl, held last month at Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School.

At the varsity level, Commack defeated a North Babylon High School team in the finals, while Kellenberg Memorial and Great Neck North high schools placed third and fourth, respectively.

At the junior varsity level, Great Neck South defeated a Commack High School team in the finals, while Kellenberg Memorial and Island Trees high schools placed third and fourth, respectively.

The buzzer-based competition, which attracted teams from 55 Long Island schools, consisted of questions in the sciences, humanities, culture and the arts.

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