A team from Three Village school district in Setauket was...

A team from Three Village school district in Setauket was this year's mock trial champions for Suffolk County and placed fourth at the state level in Albany. Credit: Three Village Central School District

The verdict is in for Long Island’s future litigators.

Teams from Plainview-Old Bethpage’s John F. Kennedy’s High School and Three Village School District in Setauket are this year’s mock trial champions for Nassau and Suffolk counties, respectively.

For winning, the two teams advanced to the state level to compete against other regional winners in Albany on May 15-17. Plainview-Old Bethpage took sixth place statewide, while Three Village placed fourth.

“The team has invested an extraordinary amount of time, learning and energy to perform at this level,” Three Village coach Douglas Elliot said.

To reach the state level, Plainview-Old Bethpage outlasted 47 teams in seven rounds of competition to take first in the Nassau regional at the Supreme Court in Mineola. The Wheatley School in Old Westbury was second there.

Three Village’s team — with students from Ward Melville High School and Paul J. Gelinas Junior High School — bested 30 teams at the Suffolk County Courthouse in Central Islip. In the finals, it beat out Bay Shore High School.

“We’re tremendously proud of our students,” said Nancy Rogers, who co-coached Plainview-Old Bethpage’s team with Gina Farrell. “It was an incredible feeling. We never thought going in we’d make it this far.”

This year’s fictional case involved a “suppression hearing” in which oxycodone pills were seized on a property during a warrantless search, Elliot said.


McDonald’s Art Contest

Kings Park School District swept the first-place spots in all four divisions of an 18th annual art contest coordinated by Josh Kaufman, the owner of a McDonald’s in East Northport. Winners were: Erika Porinchak of Kings Park High School, grades 9-12; Fina Lu of William T. Rogers Middle School, grades 6-8; Grace Heim of RJO Intermediate School, grades 4-5; Joseph Rossi of Park View Elementary School, grades 2-3.

The winners — along with 23 other students who placed second or third or received honorable mentions — will have their art displayed for a year in the McDonald’s at 1999 Jericho Tpke. in East Northport.


Scholarship winners

Thirteen high school seniors from Suffolk County are recipients of $2,500 scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corp. for having “the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies,” the organization said. They were chosen by a committee of college admissions officers and counselors.

Suffolk recipients and their high schools are: Brian Rhee, Half Hollow Hills East; Brandon Epstein, Danah Han and Connie He, Half Hollow Hills West; Sabrina Qi, Harborfields; Jeevan Vangala, Lindenhurst; Julian Ubriaco, Northport; Ryan Scheinberg, Smithtown West; Yiran He, Ariel Leong, Amanda Liu, Jeffrey Michel and Katherine Wang, Ward Melville.


Superior writing

Twenty-six high school juniors from Long Island are among 35 statewide to receive the National Council of Teachers of English’s 2016 Achievement Awards in Writing, which are intended to encourage and publicly recognize some of the nation’s best student writers. To be eligible, students submitted both their best work and a piece on a predetermined theme.

Long Island’s recipients and their high schools are: Abigail Cervera and Mattea Gravina, Bay Shore; Ellie Schoeffel, Friends Academy; Rachel Berkower and David Liu, Great Neck North; Yiqing He and Benjamin Newman, Great Neck South; Natalie Tan and Nita Wong, Herricks; Grace Hu and Anvita Bhaskara, Jericho; Michael Lee and Carina Lewandowski, Manhasset; Samantha D’Alonzo, Maria Kogan and Rudy Malcom, Paul D. Schreiber; Pooja Deshpande and Maggie Dowd, Rocky Point; Felicia Hou, Roslyn; David Bekore, Sanford H. Calhoun; Rachel Lo and Rikki Weiss, Syosset; Virginia Maloney and Wesley Tsai, Valley Stream South; Kirti Nath and Michal Zadok, Ward Melville.

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