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Suffolk School Notebook: John F. Kennedy team wins Spark! Challenge

A team from John F. Kennedy High School

A team from John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore was the first-place winner in this year's Northwell Health Spark! Challenge. Credit: Bellmore-Merrick Central School District

A team from John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore won a local contest that challenged students to join a medical department for a day and design a poster that represents the career they observed.

John F. Kennedy's 17-student team won the first-place poster award, valued at $2,000, in Northwell Health's Spark! Challenge based on their visit last fall to Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park where they learned about electroencephalograms and how the placement of sensors on the head produces outputs.

This year's challenge consisted of about 1,000 juniors and seniors from more than 50 high schools visiting about 80 hospital, departments and facilities within Northwell Health.

"It is truly remarkable and inspiring to see the impact our teams have had on these amazing students and, in turn, the compassion the students have shown for our phenomenal teams," said Northwell Health's senior corporate director for workforce readiness Cheryl Davidson.

Teams from Valley Stream South and Baldwin high schools won the $1,500 second- and third-place poster awards, respectively, while teams from Great Neck South and Plainedge high schools won $500 awards for the Facebook favorite and rookie poster, respectively. 

Teams from Hampton Bays, Lindenhurst, Patchogue-Medford, Stella K. Abraham, Valley Stream Central and Valley Stream South high schools won presentation awards, valued at $1,000.

The awards celebration was canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak, but several teams donated their winnings back as a show of support to essential workers.


Tulip Festival Art Contest

Becca Hochman, an eighth-grader at West Hollow Middle School in Melville, was the best-in-show winner of this year's Tulip Festival School Art Contest by the Huntington Arts Council. 

The contest is an annual part of the Town of Huntington's Tulip Festival, which features everything from activity booths to art exhibitions. This year’s festival, which was slated for May 3, was canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The contest's best-in-grade winners and their schools are: Joella Besosa, Bellerose Avenue Elementary School in East Northport, grade three; Grace Rozell, Ocean Avenue Elementary School in Northport, grade four; Dylan Kalinowski, Bellerose Avenue, grade five; Rachel Huth, Long Island School for the Gifted in Huntington Station, grade six; Dana Wang, Long Island School for the Gifted, grade seven; Ru Xue Jiang, West Hollow Middle School, grade eight.


Car parades

Many students received well wishes from educators in recent weeks through car parades designed to lift their spirits amid the coronavirus outbreak.

In Huntington Station, more than 100 teachers from Countrywood Primary Center and Maplewood Intermediate School drove around and waved to children accompanied by a firetruck from the Huntington Manor Fire Department.

In Deer Park, May Moore Primary School's staff participated in a "honk and hello" from a fleet of vehicles with inspirational signs taped to the windows, school officials said.

In Islip, a group of about 50 teachers and administrators from the high school spent two hours driving through the school community.


Scholarship winners

Eight Long Island students are among about 1,000 high school seniors nationwide named winners of corporate-sponsored scholarships through the National Merit Scholarship Corp. The scholarships range from single payments of between $2,500 and $5,000 to annual stipends of up to $10,000 that are renewable for up to four years of undergraduate study.

Winners and their high schools are: Aaron Angress, Mount Sinai; Caleb Deitch, Syosset; Viveka Jain, Hicksville; Miles Kim, Half Hollow Hills West; Rachelle Lee, Jericho; Daniel Min, Herricks; Alexa Wiencek, East Meadow; and Sharon Zhong, Wheatley School.


CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of Caleb Deitch, who was among the National Merit Scholarship winners.

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