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Suffolk School Notebook: 6 Long Island students win writing competition

Dylan McCreesh, left, and Aman Mistry of Smithtown

Dylan McCreesh, left, and Aman Mistry of Smithtown High School East. Credit: Smithtown Central School District

Six Long Island students have been named finalists in an inaugural writing competition and will have their pieces published this fall in a science journal.

The Stony Brook Young Investigators Review recently held its 2020 Young Investigators Writing Competition, which invited Long Island high schoolers to write articles of up to 1,000 words that explored scientific dilemmas. The competition received 121 entries.

The winners were Arnav Hak and Angela Zhu of Jericho High School, Aman Mistry and Dylan McCreesh of Smithtown High School East, Yashita Chaudhary of Half Hollow Hills High School West, and Natalia Pszeniczny of MacArthur High School.

"I had a lot of fun writing my paper since the topic had a lot of interesting perspectives and was quite relevant given the COVID-19 crisis," said Chaudhary, whose article explored a systematic approach to administering experimental therapies.

The competition's semifinalists, whose entries have been posted to the journal's website, were Lauren Avilla of St. Anthony's High School, Leeya Azemoun and Alice Shvartsberg of George W. Hewlett High School, Trevor Kim of Roslyn High School, Jillian Martin of Half Hollow Hills High School East, and Sarah Ninan of Herricks High School.


Patch designs

Two students in the Shoreham-Wading River Central School District — Ben Evans, a sixth-grader at Albert G. Prodell Middle School, and Lauren DeRosso, a junior at Shoreham-Wading River High School — were among a group of 50 finalists in this year's Student Spaceflight Experiments Program coordinated by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education.

The program, which asked students to create patch designs to represent the program's Mission 14 to the International Space Station, received more than 20,000 designs that were submitted from schools in the United States, Brazil and Canada. Evans and DeRosso were the sole finalists statewide.

Evan's design celebrated the mission and the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, while DeRosso's design prominently featured the district's colors and initials.


New principal

Stephen O'Leary is the new principal of West Babylon High School. He replaced Ellice Vassallo, who retired.

O'Leary served the past eight years as the high school's assistant principal. He has also served as the math chairman, and the math and science chairman, and is the current president of the West Babylon Administrators Association.

"I intend to work with all stakeholders in West Babylon to provide the very best educational experience for every child who passes through the doors of the high school," O'Leary said. "I am emotionally invested in this community, specifically in the continued success of the high school."


Patriot Day

Many local schools honored the memory of those who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks on 9/11 through activities held in recognition of Patriot Day.

In Oakdale, more than 3,000 American flags were purchased and planted in the front lawn of Oakdale-Bohemia Middle School using funds collected last school year by the school's Patriot Day Committee. Funds also went toward buying books, videos and inspirational wall décor themed around Patriot Day.

In East Northport, middle schoolers were invited to perform a voluntary act of kindness for a community member and submit a form describing their efforts. All who participated will be recognized with certificates during the week of Veterans Day in November.

In Oakdale, students at the Eastern Suffolk BOCES Islip Career Center created a replica of the Twin Towers accompanied by a red, white and blue wreath, and a sign that said "Never Forget." It was displayed in the school's 9/11 Memorial Garden.


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