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School Notebook: Long Island marching bands place in championships

Hicksville High School's Marching Comets won first place

Hicksville High School's Marching Comets won first place in the Large School 3 class at this year's New York State Field Band Conference Championships in Syracuse. Credit: Kerri Barnett

Hicksville High School’s Marching Comets are flying high after their performance at this year's New York State Field Band Conference Championships.

The school's marching band, which has about 70 members, took first place last month in the Large School 3 class with a score of 85.6. Their racing-themed routine, called "Car-Man," featured the song "Greased Lightnin'," Olivia Rodrigo's "Driver's License" and Georges Bizet's 1875 opera "Carmen."

The annual event included students from about 50 high schools performing roughly 10-minute shows that were evaluated on factors including musical and visual presentation. It was held at the Carrier Dome in upstate Syracuse.

"The staff and I worked tirelessly through the summer and the fall to put together this show, and it evolved into something very beautiful," Hicksville's band's director Kerri Barnett said.

Other top-performing local high schools were Huntington, Mineola and Roslyn, which placed third in the Large School 2, Small School 1 and Small School 2 classes, respectively.

"To finish in the top three in this division, up against these incredible band programs … is just truly remarkable," Huntington's band director Brian Stellato said.


New superintendent

Todd Winch has been appointed superintendent of the Levittown School District, effective July 5, 2022. He will replace Tonie McDonald, who is retiring.

Winch has served as the district's assistant superintendent for instruction since 2016. Before that, he held positions ranging from the district's social studies chairman to director of pupil services.

"I am excited to continue the work we have been doing, meeting the challenges of the past few years, and charting a course for the years ahead," Winch said.


Wellness Club

Miller Avenue Elementary School recently launched a new Wellness Club, which was split into two groups to accommodate the volume of participants.

The club's first session was held earlier this fall and included discussions on things children do outside of school to help feel calm and reduce stress. The students also created "calming bottles," which consisted of items ranging from glitter to googly eyes, that they can shake when they feel frustrated.

"Their enthusiasm was palpable," said school psychologist Mary Anne Benz. "We are so thrilled to get to know them."


Math scholars

Eight-five students have been named Long Island Young Scholars of Mathematics by the Institute of Creative Problem Solving for Gifted and Talented Students at SUNY Old Westbury. Selections means they are in the top one-tenth of 1% of math students in their grade Islandwide.

Scholars and their school districts are: Ryan Kenny, Emma Lasky, Jason Lin, Karen Oladipo, Bellmore-Merrick; Daniyal Khambati, Laasya Marada, and Ankur Raghavan, Bethpage; Prisha Chadha, Commack; Harrison Baek, Karolina Bajda, Amelie Cao, Ishveen Kaur and Tara Visvanathan, East Meadow; Kevin Brennan, Johanna Ginu, Derek Park and Rick Zeng, East Williston; Marco Zhan, Great Neck; Andre Cabrera, Andy Tang and Harrison Zoccoli, Half Hollow Hills; Ishaan Singh Ahuja, Onika Ehren, Fatin Hoque, Aarthi Palaniappan, Suhani Shah and Eshan Thopcherneni, Herricks; Deep Aryal, Darsh Chavre, Leo Chenand Carlisle Tomas, Hewlett-Woodmere; Aman Aenugu, Aashritha Kilambi and Saivamsi Nanugonda, Hicksville; Eric Heinz, Huntington; Lilly Horowitz, Franklin Lee, Devdatt Patel, Marian Tan, Sophia Tarasenko, Tianjiao Wang, Hanru Zhang and Ryan Zhang, Jericho; Hudson Gabriel Meise Gaeta, Kings Park; William Bodian, Locust Valley; Lilin Garfinkel, Long Beach; Colin Hairabedian and Loic Hairabedian, Manhasset; Chloe Auyeng, Merrick; Catherine Dinh and Julia Manevitz, Mineola; Abel George, Natalie Lee, Sameer Salehin and Emma Stakhov, New Hyde Park-Garden City Park; Mahiya Vira, North Shore; Isaac Aibel and Daniel D'Souza, Northport-East Northport; Syon Khatter, Michael Olakkengil, Jack Pfeifer and Ivan Shemetov, Plainview-Old Bethpage; Victor Chan, Roslyn; Pravigna Unguturu, Sayville; Ananya Bhagare, Sewanhaka; Alicia Minty and Julianna O'Neill, Shoreham-Wading River; Alfie Donaldson, Bhoomi Jobanputra, Christopher Kim, Evan Liu, Aanika Shah, Aryan Shah, Aberam Sriganesh, Carolyn Wang and Rachel Zhang, Syosset; Frances Hao, Victoria Lachko, Jason Lu and Alexander Singer, Three Village; and Anais Kapto, Valley Stream Central. And Divya Jayam and Vinay Kamath of Long Island School for the Gifted, Victoria Gazzali of MDQ Academy in Brentwood, and Mikey Benlevi of Schechter School of Long Island in Williston Park were also named scholars.


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