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Valley Stream student wins Heckscher Museum art contest

Nicole Noel won the best-in-show award in Long

Nicole Noel won the best-in-show award in Long Island's Best: Young Artists at The Heckscher Museum. She is pictured with her art teacher Mario Bakalov and Doris Wilshere of Roosevelt Field's Neiman Marcus store. Credit: Heckscher Museum of Art

A Valley Stream student won best-in-show in an annual art contest that received a record number of entries from across Long Island.

Nicole Noel, a Valley Stream Central High School senior, took the top spot in “Long Island’s Best: Young Artists at The Heckscher Museum,” a juried competition and exhibition at Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington. The 20th annual event drew 357 entries from 53 schools.

Second place went to Aaron Feltman of Huntington High School. Nina Miller and Cory Levy of Long Beach and Sayville high schools, respectively, placed third and fourth.

“The quality of work we receive is exceptional,” said Joy Weiner, the museum’s director of education and public programs. “It is very difficult to narrow the entries to around 80 works for the exhibition.”

To participate, high schoolers visited the museum and selected one piece to stimulate the creation of an original work. The juried selection then narrowed the field to artwork by 83 teens from 44 schools, which appeared in a monthlong exhibition through May 15.

Noel’s colored-pencil piece, titled “Another Pity,” addresses police brutality and features an African-American girl holding a wounded loved one. It was inspired by “Lady Madonna,” a 1972 lithograph created by American artist Audrey Flack.

“Flack often incorporated imagery with historical, cultural and religious significance into her work to convey more contemporary themes,” Noel said.



Teams from Bayville Intermediate and Locust Valley Intermediate schools are national first-place winners of ExploraVision, a competition that asks students to imagine a technology that might exist in 20 years.

Bayville Intermediate’s team in the grades K-3 category — Olivia Childs Friedman, John Hartnett, Jonah Santoro and Angelica Sheehan — proposed creating a device to detect deer ticks on humans.

Locust Valley Intermediate’s team in the grades 4-6 category — Oliver Blaise and Leonard Gu — proposed repurposing the Hubble Telescope and using robotic drones to help track and recycle space debris.

For winning, each team member received a $10,000 savings bond.

A Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School team placed second in the grades 10-12 category, with each team member winning a $5,000 savings bond.


Irish Cultural Society

Ten Nassau County students were among the top winners in the Martin J. Kelly Writing Contest, sponsored by the Irish Cultural Society of the Garden City Area.

The contest asked entrants to analyze rhetorical elements in the Proclamation of Independence read at the start of the Easter Rising 100 years ago.

Nassau’s first-place winners were Ashleigh Lecca of MacArthur High School, Gregory Kothesakis of New Hyde Park Memorial High School and Nicholas LaGrega of Sewanhaka High School. Second-place winners were Marisa McCarthy of Bethpage High School, Olufisayo Atanda-Ogunieye of Sewanhaka, and Allyce Yang and Jacob Libsman of Valley Stream South High School.

Third-place winners were Samuel De Lucia of Chaminade High School, Teresa Sweeney of H. Frank Carey High School and Natalia-Chloe Malik of Sewanhaka.


Presidential Scholars

Seven Long Island students were among 689 semifinalists named nationwide last month as U.S. Presidential Scholars by the U.S. Department of Education for their academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities, character and community involvement.

Local semifinalists were Sahil Abbi of Herricks High School, David Li of Commack High School, Ariel Leong of Ward Melville High School, Jessica Huang of Jericho High School, John Messina of Division Avenue High School, Julian Ubriaco of Kings Park High School and Ruojing Fang of Longwood High School.

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