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Suffolk School Notebook: Half Hollow Hills team wins 'We the People'

A team from Half Hollow Hills High School

A team from Half Hollow Hills High School East in Dix Hills has been named the state champion of a competition called "We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution."  Team members, pictured in a Zoom screen, competed virtually this year. Credit: David Pitman

A team from Half Hollow Hills High School East in Dix Hills has won the state championship for demonstrating its knowledge of the U.S. Constitution.

The competition, "We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution," asked students to defend positions on relevant historical and contemporary issues — ranging from foreign policy to freedom of speech — by participating in simulated congressional hearings before a panel of judges acting as members of Congress. Students competed virtually via Zoom this year.

This is the third time in four years that the state championship was won by a team from Half Hollow Hills East. The team will compete virtually this spring in the national finals.

"I'm always amazed at how hard they're willing to work, but to do it in this setting, in some ways, was the most satisfying," said the team's coach David Pitman, a social studies teacher at the school.

Team members were Justin Adler, Wahub Ahmed, Jasmine Alicea, Abigail Bonat, Jesse Boxenhorn, Brooke Broder, Kiosha Fowlkes, Christopher Goldblatt, Jessie Grill, Ean Huang, Fatima Khwaja, Jillian Martin, Gabrielle Michals, Jason Nguyen, Hannah Nissenbaum, Lauren Novak, Zahreena Rahimi, Kayla Renard, Jennifer Sachs, Rayanna Shwom, Kira Sundberg, Gianna Tantillo, Khushi Thakkar and Victoria Tong.

DIX HILLS/STONY BROOK

Trivia winners

Ethan Han of Half Hollow Hills High School West and Jasmine Adams of SchoolNova at Stony Brook were among runners-up in their division of the American Association of Teachers of French's National French Trivia Contest, which tested knowledge of French and francophone culture.

Han and Adams were runners-up in the intermediate/advanced level, which saw a tie between four students with perfect scores and resulted in a tiebreaker round to determine the winner. Runners-up received a digital certificate and $50 prize.

SchoolNova is a nonprofit organization offering a weekend enrichment program and activities for children in prekindergarten through grade 12.

COUNTYWIDE

Spreading love

Many students spread love throughout their communities earlier this month with activities held in recognition of Valentine's Day.

In Copiague, third-graders at Deauville Gardens East Elementary School created more than 100 cards for servicemen and women overseas as part of an effort hosted by Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-Bayport). They also discussed the importance of appreciating the sacrifices made by those men and women.

In Riverhead, three cohorts of middle schoolers were challenged to send pink and red hearts decorated with positive messages to as many peers as possible during the month of February. The group that sent the most messages won a prize.

In West Babylon, Santapogue Elementary School's Student Council created about 80 cards for the Northport VA Medical Center and Long Island State Veterans Home in Stony Brook.

ISLANDWIDE

New York Recycles

Three Long Island students were among the first-, second- or third-place winners in the 18th Annual New York Recycles Poster Contest sponsored by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York Recycles Steering Committee. For winning, their recycling-themed artwork appears in the 2021 New York Recycles calendar.

Luna Pankratz of Oquenock Elementary School in West Islip placed first in the grades K-3 category, Matthew Otto of West Middle Island Elementary School placed second in the grades K-3 category, and Nava Strobel of the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns & Rockaway High School placed second in the grades 10-12 category.

Runners-up included Derek Pankratz of Oquenock in the K-3 category, Fatimah Chaudhary of Longwood Middle School in the grades 4-6 category, and Gianna Bailey of Smithtown High School West in the grades 7-9 category.

— MICHAEL R. EBERT

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