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Sachem North, Great Neck South teams win LI Envirothon

This Sachem High School North group took the

This Sachem High School North group took the top spot among Suffolk County teams in the Long Island Envirothon: Catalina Vera, left, Caitlin Tucker, Emily Gelardi, Kaya Manolt and Samantha Watson. Alena Thotam is not pictured. Photo Credit: Sharon Frost

Teams from Sachem North and Great Neck South high schools are champions in a local environmental competition for the fourth consecutive year.

The two teams placed first in Suffolk and Nassau counties, respectively, out of 32 teams in the 21st annual Long Island Envirothon, held at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration.

The competition asked participants to take written exams and engage in outdoor challenges in aquatics, forestry, soils and wildlife. The students also gave oral presentations on a predetermined topic, which this year was "Agriculture and the Environment: Knowledge and Technology to Feed the World."

The winning team members each received $500 and all-expenses-paid trips to compete last month at the state level in Geneva. Neither team placed among the top groups statewide.

"Not only is the competition fun and engaging, but it helps prepare students for future careers in environmental science and provides opportunity to interact with like-minded peers and professionals," Sachem North's team adviser Monica Marlowe said.

Sachem North's regional team was Emily Gelardi, Kaya Monolt, Alena Thotam, Caitlin Tucker and Catalina Vera. In addition, Samantha Watson competed at the state level because Thotam could not attend.

Great Neck South's regional team was Annie Dai, Julia Gorenstein, Tom Huang, Joelle Siongsin and Jansen Wong. Jennifer Wang competed at the state level because Huang could not attend.

The regional event was coordinated by the Soil & Water Conservation Districts in Nassau and Suffolk.

SMITHTOWN

Genes in Space

Smithtown High School East juniors Kevin Chen and Alex Knee, who are in the school's ThINK Discovery Research program, are among five finalist teams in Genes in Space, a national contest in which students designed DNA experiments to address challenges of space exploration. This year's contest received a record 789 entries.

Chen's and Knee's experiment is titled "How will mitochondrial DNA repair mechanisms be impacted in microgravity such as found on the International Space Station?” They will present it next month at the 2019 International Space Station Research and Development Conference in Atlanta. 

The winner will work with a mentor to prepare their experiment to be conducted on the space station.

COUNTYWIDE

Social harmony contest

Three students took first-place awards in the Suffolk County Asian American Advisory Board's 2019 Social Harmony Writing Contest: Samuel Kim of Ward Melville High School in East Setauket in the high school division, and Aleen Castro of Brentwood South Middle School and Acadia Kunkel of Paul J. Gelinas Junior High School in Setauket in the middle school division.

The contest asked students to describe how they would promote cultural understanding with the aim of improving ethnic relations in society. Each of the winners received $350.

ISLANDWIDE

Scholarship winners

Twenty-six local students are among more than 3,500 high school seniors nationwide named recipients of college-sponsored scholarships through the National Merit Scholarship Corp. The awards provide $500 to $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study.

Winners and their high schools are: William Dean and Colin Dunn, Chaminade; James Smalley, East Islip; Isobelle Lim, Great Neck North; Emily Gao and Jay Lin, Great Neck South; Morgan Novikoff, Half Hollow Hills East; Cayla Moy, Herricks; Rohil Agarwal, Hicksville; Kristen Saban, Jericho; Benedict Reilly and Kendrick Tak, Manhasset; Kyle Ednie, Wellington C. Mepham; Jack Candiotti, Oceanside; Amelia Medved, Our Lady of Mercy Academy; Avery Girsky, Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK; Sohum Sheth, Sayville; Dylan Ross, Smithtown East; Catherine Eng, Smithtown West; Alison McWalters, South Side; Christopher Ammann, St. Anthony's; Brianna McCartney, Wantagh; and Leah Cussen, Ward Melville.

Other winners from Long Island are Mariana Knaupp, a home-schooled student from Huntington, and Robert DeSena of Manhasset and Christian Morales of New Hyde Park, who attend Regis High School in Manhattan.

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