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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."


Writer Con

Levittown School District hosted its first-ever Writer Con last month that attracted about 170 students and their families from Jonas E. Salk and Wisdom Lane middle schools. 

The evening consisted of six interactive writing workshops run by special guests, including children's author Jen Calonita and education consultant Amy Benjamin. Topics included learning to write a comedy sketch, the benefits of journaling, and using adjectives to describe imagery.

"We wanted to have students and their families engage in hands-on workshops that explored different genres of creative writing and ultimately inspire students to share their words and their stories by finding their creative side in the art of writing," said the district's director of English, Kerin Slattery.


Wellness Room

Lynbrook North Middle School recently opened a new wellness room decorated with inspirational sayings, calming photographs and a soft white wave design on the walls.

The stress-free space will be available to students throughout the day; many students visited at the start of school and during lunch periods before the coronavirus outbreak. The school's guidance staff also holds support groups in the room.

"I want students to have a comfortable and safe place to go to during the day that they feel welcomed in whenever they need it," said Lynbrook North school psychologist Marie Toscano, who spearheaded the project.


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.


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