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Suffolk School Notebook: Long Island winners in art competition

Keren Dial, a junior at Valley Stream South

Keren Dial, a junior at Valley Stream South High School, has been named the best in show winner for her colored pencil piece titled "Cultivating the Mustard."  Credit: The Heckscher Museum of Art

A Valley Stream South High School student was the best-in-show winner of an annual art contest coordinated by The Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington.

The juried competition, "Long Island's Best: Young Artists at The Heckscher Museum," received more than 300 submissions from 56 schools — with 83 works being chosen for an in-museum exhibition that ran from April 24 through May 23. Participants selected an artwork as their inspiration piece and then created an original artwork and wrote an artist’s statement explaining their creative process.

The top overall winner was Valley Stream South junior Keren Dial, who created a colored-pencil piece titled "Cultivating the Mustard." It was inspired by Alisa Shea's transparent watercolor piece titled "Cutting the Mustard."

"I ultimately found myself infatuated by not only the style and mechanics of the piece, but by the message behind it," Dial said. "Looking to repurpose the frustration that comes out of rejection, I decided to create a defiant response of my own. Why should we dwell on our failings when we could use them to plant seeds of growth?"

The second-place winner was Half Hollow Hills High School West sophomore Ashley Park for her mixed-media piece "The 2021 Press"; the third-place winner was Hicksville High School senior Aleena Abraham for her oil-pastel piece titled "Storage"; and the fourth-place winner was Jericho High School senior Ariel Kim for her oil pastel and colored-pencil piece titled "Personal Garden."


Water Quality Challenge

Cutchogue East Elementary School and Accompsett Middle School in Smithtown received $5,000 grants as winners of the Long Island Regional Planning Council's 2020 Long Island Water Quality Challenge, which asked student teams to submit project proposals to tackle nitrogen pollution.

Accompsett's project proposed a native plant and pollinator garden near the school's entrance that will serve as a "classroom" for how such plants and pollinators — like bats and birds — can reduce the use of chemicals and overwatering.

Cutchogue East's proposal consisted of a bioretention area on the campus that will use soil, plants and microbes to treat stormwater before it is infiltrated or discharged.


'Protect Our Watersheds'

Jack Klang and Cassel Koss of Long Beach Middle School and Iverson Menjivar Quintanilla of J. Taylor Finley Middle School in Huntington were among 14 winners statewide in the 2021 "Protect Our Watersheds" Calendar Contest sponsored by the New York Water Environment Association and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The competition invited hand-drawn poster submissions in any media that were judged on criteria including creativity, originality and artistic quality. Winners will be featured in a 2022 calendar.

The contest's top overall winner was from PS 195 City Honors School in upstate Buffalo.


Scholarship winners

Eleven 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, which range from single payments of between $2,500 and $5,000 to annual stipends of up to $10,000 that are renewable for four years of undergraduate study, were given to teens deemed to have the "strongest combination of academic skills and achievements, extracurricular accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies," the corporation said.

Winners and their high schools are: Catherine Tawadros, Commack; Faiz Irshad, East Meadow; Jason West Bruckner, Half Hollow Hills West; Julia Lin, Jericho; Connor Doyle, Longwood; Rachel Weissman, Oceanside; Alexander Zaslavsky, Rocky Point; Ryan Chou, Roslyn; Hamza Iqbal and Borui Lu, Syosset; and Peggy Yin, Earl L. Vandermeulen.


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