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Suffolk School Notebook: Mineola High School wins Follett Challenge

Mineola High School was named the grand-prize winner

Mineola High School was named the grand-prize winner of this year's Follett Challenge. Credit: Mineola School District

Mineola High School is the grand-prize winner of a national contest that asked participants to describe how they are preparing students for the 21st century.

The school took the top spot in the 2020 Follett Challenge for its video entry, "Empowered Students: Preparing Students for the 4th Industrial Revolution," which outlined how the school is providing opportunities for students to create their own paths. The contest was coordinated by the Follett Corp., an Illinois-based education solutions company.

As the grand-prize winner, Mineola was awarded $30,000 in Follett products and services.

"While many schools are talking about engaging students in their learning, we're talking about empowering students," Mineola Principal Whittney Smith said. "Empowering students is a lot different than engagement in that students are directing a lot of their learning."

Mineola's video described the school's podcast studio, which encourages students to create their own content, student-centered classrooms, in which teens help one another to learn in pairs and groups, and inquiry-based labs.

Oceanside High School was a semifinalist in the high school category for its music video, "In the Library," that detailed efforts to increase readership and literacy. The school was awarded $15,000 in Follett products and services.



Students from Garden City High School, Half Hollow Hills High School West in Dix Hills and South Side High School in Rockville Centre placed first in various categories of this year's Chemagination Competition, coordinated by the American Chemical Society's New York Section.

This year's competition, which was held at St. John's University in Queens on March 6, asked students to imagine they were living 25 years in the future to write an article on the role of chemistry in everyday life. They were also tasked with designing a magazine cover. 

Winners and their high schools were: Niall Cowie, Jordan DeNaro and Jason Li, Garden City; Jason Bruckner, Yashita Chaudhary, Marly Fass, Roslyn Paul and Theodore Schiro, Half Hollow Hills West; and Jack Cox, South Side.


LEGO Championship

Nine Suffolk County teams were among the winners in this year's FIRST LEGO League Long Island Championship, which was held at Longwood High School in Middle Island on March 1. FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.

The tournament consisted of 39 teams of students, ages 9 to 16, who advanced from seven qualifying competitions after designing, building and programming robots using LEGO Mindstorms.

Suffolk County winners were: The Robosaurus (Team 27743) of Stony Brook, Second-Place High Score and Mechanical Design awards; TriTech (Team 39029) of Dix Hills, Innovative Solution and Global Innovation awards; Rocky Point Robo Eagles (Team 6116) of Rocky Point, Judge's Award; Harborfields Library Purple Lego Eaters (Team 10425) of Centerport, Strategy & Innovation Award; Radical Robots (Team 185) of Bayport, Local Zebra Award; and Fire Dragons (Team 6435) of Rocky Point, Local Alliance and Gracious Professionalism awards.


Shakespeare Festival

Seven Long Island students were winners in Hofstra University's Shakespeare Festival, which was held from Feb. 28 to March 8. The 71st annual festival allowed pupils to participate in drama and production workshops as well as perform classic scenes from William Shakespeare's plays.

Winners, their high schools and awards were: Lena Burch, Wantagh, best costume design; Kieran Fink, Manhasset, best actor; Rachel Gottesman, Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns & Rockaway, best actress; Ian Hubbard, Hampton Bays, best actor; Alannah Munn, Valley Stream Central, best actress; Sharyn Schweitzer, Sanford H. Calhoun, best set design; and Brianne Sheridan, Sanford H. Calhoun, best costume design.


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