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Suffolk students among 13 LI winners of Science Congress awards

Commack Middle School seventh-grader Rohan Surana was awarded

Commack Middle School seventh-grader Rohan Surana was awarded highest honors in the middle school division's physical sciences category at the New York State Science Congress in Buffalo. He is pictured here, left to right, with Commack's math director Barbara Gerson, advisor and technology teacher Tom Shea, director of science Alison Offerman Celentano, and Principal Anthony Davidson. Credit: Commack School District

Thirteen Long Island students were among those winning highest honors, high honors or honors last month at the New York State Science Congress.

This year’s competition included 60 students in grades seven through 12 who presented projects in a poster format. The Science Teachers Association of New York State sponsored the event.

In the high school division, Jericho High School junior Justin Kim won highest honors — signifying a first-place finish — in the biological sciences category. In the middle school division, Commack Middle School seventh-grader Rohan Surana and Lawrence Middle School eighth-grader Bhawan Sandhu received highest honors in the physical and biological sciences categories, respectively.

“Every year, the New York State Science Congress brings together some of the sharpest young minds in the state,” said Susan Sullivan, who chaired the event held at the University at Buffalo. “This year is no exception.”

These students won high honors or honors: Margarita Bogdanova-Shapkina, Oceanside Middle School; Tiffany Chen and Matthew Palmadessa, Manhasset High School; Sherin Davis and Deeti Patel, W. Tresper Clarke Middle School, Westbury; Kamyar Ghiam, Roslyn High School; Brandon Langone, Grand Avenue Middle School, Bellmore; Anne Marchildon, North Shore High School, Glen Head; Brian Oh, Jericho High School; and Samantha Prince, Montauk School.

To reach the state level, local students competed at the Long Island Science Congress, which drew 1,500-plus students from 105 schools to St. Anthony’s High School in Huntington Station. Students placing first or second in their categories in the middle and high school divisions were eligible to advance to the state level.


Glammy Awards

Northport High School senior Juliet Yeomans and Newfield High School senior Pamela Smoller were among five students nationwide to receive $1,000 Glammy Scholarship Awards from the GlamourGals Foundation.

The nonprofit inspires and organizes teens to offer company and makeovers to women in senior homes.

Yeomans launched her school’s GlamourGals chapter and was president for four years, while Smoller has served as her chapter’s public relations officer and vice president.

“GlamourGals has taught me everyone deserves to be heard, and that collaboration with others and their ideas can lead to great things,” Yeomans said.


Thirst Project

West Islip High School seniors Taylor Sorice and Alicia Villafana received Power of Youth Awards last month at the 7th Annual Thirst Gala of the Thirst Project.

The nonprofit organization strives to build freshwater wells in developing nations and impoverished communities. The two were honored for their work as co-presidents of their school’s Thirst Project Club.

Since the club’s inception in 2012, it has raised about $49,000 to drill wells in countries such as Uganda and El Salvador and to provide biosand filters for 19 families in India.

“These young ladies are the epitome of selflessness and dedication to a greater good,” club adviser Paola Nilsen said.


Hunger essays

Four Long Island students won first place in various age groups of a World Food Day Essay Contest coordinated by Stop World Hunger, an Amityville nonprofit organization.

This year’s contest asked the question: “How can reducing food waste stop world hunger?” It drew 1,892 entries from 46 schools in Nassau and Suffolk counties, as well as Brooklyn and Queens.

First-place winners were: Anna Vlahakis, Lee Avenue Elementary School, Hicksville, primary division (grades 1-3); Aidan Sanford, St. Mary School, East Islip, intermediate division (grades 4-6); Matthew Cimaszewski, St. Mary School, East Islip, junior high division (grades 7 and 8); and Caroline Kelly, Sacred Heart Academy, Hempstead, high school division (grades 9-12). Each received a $100 savings bond.

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