Forty-four Long Island students were winners in this year's New York State Science & Engineering Fair, which was held virtually because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The project from Manhasset High School juniors Mir Zayid Alam and Taylor Fox, titled "Relating Major Depressive Disorder to Circadian Signaling in Drosophila melanogaster," was one of four statewide to receive best in fair (highest honors). They were also named finalists for the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair.
The fair's high honors winners, who were also named international finalists, and their high schools were: Ethan Sontarp and Jordan Walsh, Commack; Marvia Pressoir, Elmont; Blake Lippman, George W. Hewlett; Tyler Bissoondial, John F. Kennedy; Riya Patel, Jericho; Mary Sotiryadis, North Shore; Kreena Totala, Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK; Giselle Rasquinha, Syosset; and Manav Bansal, Wheatley.
The international fair, however, was canceled because of the coronavirus. It was slated to be held in Anaheim on May 10 to 15.
Long Island's other high honors winners and their high schools were: Candace Arneaud, Kimberly Liao, Izza Malik, and Rohan Surana, Commack; Damien Edele and Christopher Jannotta, Eastport-South Manor; Christopher Alexander and Hannah Meikle, Elmont; Shourav Saha, Great Neck South; Sari Strizik, Half Hollow Hills East; Benjamin Alexander and Miles Kim, Half Hollow Hills West; William Hu, Richard Ren, Vyom Shah and Katherine Zhang, Jericho; Sanjna Kedia and Emily Ma, Manhasset; Kyra McCreery and Kate Weseley-Jones, North Shore; Danielle Levanti, Northport; Eshwin Varghese, Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK; Maansi Shroff and Katherine Winter, Paul D. Schreiber; Foyez Alauddin, Noelle Chung and Justin Lu, Trinity Lutheran School; Najalia Singh, Valley Stream Central; Enyo Okeoma, Ward Melville; Matthew Daleo and Evan Lockwood, Westhampton Beach; and Karen Li, Wheatley.
Walter G. O'Connell Copiague High School launched an esports club before the coronavirus outbreak that allows students to compete against players near and far in a virtual setting.
To accommodate the club, 10 gaming computer setups were installed in a room renovated into an "online gaming headquarters," school officials said. The team also registered to compete in an esports platform called PlayVS, which includes such games as League of Legends, Rocket League and Smite.
"It's not a big room by any means, but the amount of technology crammed in there is nothing short of amazing," said Stephen DiGiorgio, a Copiague Middle School teacher who runs the club.
Virtual Spirit Week
Many schools have been spreading positivity amid the coronavirus outbreak through virtual spirit weeks.
In Riverhead, the district encouraged kids to participate in various theme days from home including a Crazy Hat Day, a Get Active Day, and a Super Hero Day. The latter was a tribute to first responders and essential workers.
In Greenlawn, fourth-graders at Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School dressed in different outfits for theme days, including School Color Day, Jersey Day and Pajama Day.
In West Islip, Udall Road Middle School's theme days ranged from a Crazy Hair Day to a Family Fun Challenge Day.
Eighty-three Long Island schools were among 582 statewide named 2019-20 Recognition Schools by the New York State Education Department for their high achievement, student growth and graduation rate during the 2018-19 school year.
The Commack and Garden City school districts had four schools earn the designation, the most on Long Island, while Bellmore-Merrick and Great Neck had three designated schools. The East Islip, East Meadow, Elwood, Half Hollow Hills, Herricks, Hewlett-Woodmere, Island Trees, Levittown, Roslyn, Sachem and Smithtown districts had two designated schools, while 46 districts had one designated school.
The Academy Charter School in Hempstead was also among this year's designated schools.