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Long IslandEducation

Suffolk: Commack team wins at science bowl

Flanked by their coachs, Charles Regulinski, left, and

Flanked by their coachs, Charles Regulinski, left, and assistant coach, Joe Lena are the Commack winners of a "Jeopardy!" -style Science Bowl contest. They'll compete at the national level in Washington, D.C., in April. Photo Credit: Handout

A Commack team has won the local title in an annual middle-school science competition.

Commack Middle School beat out 10 other Long Island schools earlier this month to take first place in the Regional Science Bowl at Brookhaven National Laboratory. The "Jeopardy!"-style competition consists of a fast-paced question-and-answer format designed to test students' knowledge of math as well as the fields of life, physical, earth and general science.

The five-student team -- Vignesh Gunasekaran, David Li, Joe Schmitz, Mehtaab Sawhney and Ryan von Hof -- will compete next month at the national level in Washington, D.C.

"I'm so proud of them -- they worked pretty hard," said team coach Charles Regulinski. "They showed great determination in achieving their goal."

To win, Commack went undefeated in a series of round-robin and double elimination matches that consisted of two eight-minute halves in which students buzzed in to answer questions. In the final round, Commack beat R.C. Murphy Junior High School of Stony Brook. Longwood Junior High School of Middle Island took third place in the competition.

"The majority of teams we knew we had a good chance to beat," said Sawhney, captain of the Commack team. The team's strategy, he said, was to "waste time where we were allowed to" by intentionally stalling their answers as long as possible when they possessed a lead.

Meanwhile, Lawrence Middle School won the bowl's 2012 Electric Car Challenge by racing a model car down a 15-meter track in 5.03 seconds. Our Lady of the Hamptons Regional Catholic School and Bellport Middle School were second and third with times of 5.25 and 5.50 seconds, respectively.



Teens for Jeans

Islip High School's Junior Chamber of Commerce Club recently spearheaded the collection of 295 pairs of new or gently used jeans as part of a campaign coordinated by the website The club was assisted by the school's Keep Islip Clean Club and the South Shore Community Organization's Leadership in the Community Program.

To thank students, Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci and Suffolk County Legis. Tom Cilmi (R-Bay Shore) visited the teens and discussed the importance of community service.



Invention Convention

Northport School District recently hosted an Invention Convention in which 26 students in grades K-5 presented ideas or models of original inventions that ranged from a banana peeler to a voice-activated vending machine to a "pocket boot" that could carry a cellphone. The 12th annual event was hosted by the Northport Gifted & Talented Parents Association.

"This is a way to celebrate the students' ingenuity and creativity," said association board member Michelle Panetta.


Pilot visits BOCES

Students at Eastern Suffolk BOCES' Suffolk Aviation Academy recently received a firsthand account of a pilot's life during a visit from Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo, a retired captain who was the first woman to be hired by a major airline, ESBOCES officials said.

During her visit, Caputo shared her story of becoming a pilot and explained the importance of hard work.

Caputo was a senior captain in a Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 and the first woman to earn a flight engineer's rating on a turbojet engine, ESBOCES said.

Her American Airlines uniform is on display at the Smithsonian Museum Hall of Air Transportation in Washington, D.C.

"All the training you receive will help you respond to situations, emergency or otherwise, that arise," she said to students.


$20,000 scholarships

Jeffrey Cannon of Northport High School and Carly Miller of Smithtown High School West were among 104 nationwide earlier this month to be named recipients of $20,000 scholarships from the nonprofit Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, a nonprofit dedicated to the ideals of the 19th-century author.

Recipients demonstrate individual initiative, perseverance over adversity, and a commitment to helping the less fortunate. Winners will be honored next month in Washington, D.C.

"The association is proud to help these talented individuals find continued success through their pursuit of higher education," said Tony Novelly, the association's president and chief executive. "We know they will continue to represent the Horatio Alger ideals of achievement through perseverance and integrity in facing life's challenges."

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