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School Notebook: South Woods, Gelinas teams crowned Olympiad champs

A team from South Woods Middle School in

A team from South Woods Middle School in Syosset took first place in this year's Western Long Island Regional Science Olympiad. Credit: Syosset School District / Linda Stollow

Teams from South Woods Middle School in Syosset and Paul J. Gelinas Junior High School in Setauket took the top spots in the middle school portion of this year's Long Island Regional Science Olympiads.

South Woods placed first last month out of 40 teams in the Western Long Island Regional held at Wisdom Lane Middle School in Levittown, while Paul J. Gelinas placed first out of 35 teams in the Eastern Long Island Regional held at Candlewood Middle School in Dix Hills. This is the second consecutive year that both schools have won their respective regionals.

For winning, South Woods and Paul J. Gelinas, along with 10 other top-performing teams, were eligible for the state tournament in East Syracuse on April 17-18. That competition has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"They're very hardworking and dedicated, and they love science," South Woods coach Linda Stollow said of her team.

Other Nassau County teams that qualified for the state tournament came from Great Neck South Middle School, Wisdom Lane Middle School, Harry B. Thompson Middle School in Syosset, SAIL (a home-schooled team) and Carrie Palmer Weber Middle School in Port Washington.

Other Suffolk County teams that qualified for the state tournament came from Robert Cushman Murphy Junior High School in Stony Brook, Port Jefferson Middle School, Hauppauge Middle School, Islip Middle School and West Hollow Middle School in Melville.

Eleven middle school regionals were organized statewide with teams competing in 23 events, including "Disease Detectives," "Mousetrap Vehicle" and "Ping-Pong Parachute."

GREENLAWN

"Sunshine Girls"

Oldfield Middle School students are assisting local charities through a new female-run nonprofit group called Sunshine Girls. It was founded by eighth-grader Madeline Barker after she was inspired upon meeting a representative of Maggie's Mission, a nonprofit that raises funds and awareness for pediatric cancers. 

Sunshine Girls' charitable efforts have included raising more than $4,000 by wrapping holiday gifts and collecting over 600 socks for area hospitals in honor of Gabby Cava, a Harborfields High School student who recently died from colon cancer.

"Gabby was fearless and fun and always full of joy, even on her hardest days," Oldfield eighth-grader Natalie Hering said.

LAKE RONKONKOMA

Dance champs

Sachem High School North's Varsity Arrowettes won the prestigious honor of Grand Champions last month at the National Dance Alliance's Dance National Championships in Orlando, Florida. The team also placed first in the small varsity kick division.

To earn the Grand Champion title, Sachem North had the highest total of two category scores during the competition's finals, scoring 95.43 in the small varsity kick division and 94.9 in the small varsity pom division. The team also received special awards for innovative choreography, superior showmanship and technical excellence.

"I am speechless," Sachem coach Katie Prusinski said. "Our team danced amazing … and when things weren't going as we hoped, we continued to push and believe."

ISLANDWIDE

Energy Efficiency Kit Challenge

Roland A. Chatterton Elementary School in Merrick and H. Frank Carey High School in Franklin Square have taken the top spots in the elementary and intermediate/middle school categories, respectively, of PSEG Long Island's Energy Efficiency Kit Challenge. 

The two schools, which each received $1,500, were winners for having the most people sign up to receive free energy-efficiency kits that feature electric energy-saving tools and LED light bulbs. 

Second-place winners, which received $750, were Woodward Parkway Elementary School in Farmingdale and William Floyd Middle School in Moriches. Third-place winners, which received $500, were Burr Intermediate School in Commack and Alverta B. Gray Schultz Middle School in Hempstead.

— MICHAEL R. EBERT

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