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Top students in Heckscher Museum contest

Ricky Vargas, a senior at Valley Stream South

Ricky Vargas, a senior at Valley Stream South High School, received the best in show award at this year's Long Island's Best competition at the Heckscher Museum of Art. Credit: The Heckscher Museum of Art

Valley Stream and Northport students took the top spots in a local art contest that received a record number of entries for the fifth consecutive year.

Ricky Vargas, a Valley Stream South High School senior, won best-in-show in “Long Island’s Best,” a juried competition and exhibition at the Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington. The 21st annual event drew 387 entries from 56 schools.

Second place went to Northport High School junior Shannon Culhane, while Long Beach High School senior Kristen Miciotta and Hicksville High School senior Gurjot Kaur placed third and fourth, respectively.

“The caliber of work is more remarkable every year,” said Joy Weiner, the museum’s director of education.

High school students earlier had visited the museum and selected one piece to serve as a “point of inspiration,” museum officials said. Juried selections narrowed the field to 84 pieces, which appeared in a monthlong exhibition.

Some of the works from the exhibition will be featured in the front window of Mitchells department store in Huntington from Wednesday through May 9.

“I was very grateful people were impacted by it,” Vargas, 18, said of his graphite and charcoal drawing, titled “Restraining Hatred,” for which he was awarded $750. “I wanted to represent hatred as something you lock away and chain up.”

Culhane, who was awarded $500, said her acrylic painting, titled “Release,” was a self-portrait intended to capture a moment of releasing feelings.

“I mainly do colored pencil pieces, so painting was experimental for me,” she said.


Hofstra Model UN

Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School won three of six “best delegate” designations at the 2017 Hofstra University Model United Nations Conference, a three-day simulation during which students discussed international affairs.

This year’s conference attracted participants from 16 Long Island schools.

Zach Feretti, Alyssa Iryami and Minjee Kim from Plainview-Old Bethpage were singled out. Other best delegates were Elizabeth Hardiman of Farmingdale High School, Lexi Rothschilds-Edwards of St. Dominic High School in Oyster Bay and Matthew Somekh of Great Neck North High School.

Thirteen other Nassau County students were named “outstanding delegates.”


Trivia challenge

Four Nassau County schools were first-place winners last month at the Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County’s Trivia Challenge 2017. The annual fundraising competition groups students in grades 3-12 into four-person teams to take a 100-question test that covers topics ranging from academics to popular culture.

Winners were Lee Avenue Elementary School in Hicksville, grades 3-4 category; Munsey Park Elementary School in Manhasset, grades 5-6 category; South Woods Middle School in Syosset, grades 7-8 category; and Sewanhaka High School in Floral Park, high school category.

Participating students also raised funds for the nonprofit by soliciting pledges from family and friends.


Ethics Bowl

Twenty-six teams from Long Island high schools recently competed in the 2017 Long Island High School Ethics Bowl at Hofstra University.

The eighth annual competition, sponsored by the Squire Family Foundation in East Northport, challenged teams to analyze and contribute to a civil discussion on a series of predetermined moral dilemmas.

First place went to the Syosset High School team of Aram Moghaddassi, Jana Pamnani, Jonah Wu and Hannah Zwick. Second place went to a Roslyn High School team, while teams from Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead and The Stony Brook School tied for third.

Additional awards went to a Hauppauge High School team, a second Roslyn High School team and a Northport High School team.

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