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W. Tresper Clarke in Westbury wins Nassau County Mock Trial Tournament

A team from W. Tresper Clarke High School

A team from W. Tresper Clarke High School in Westbury won this year's Nassau County Mock Trial Tournament. Credit: East Meadow School District

The judges have spoken.

Mock trial teams from W. Tresper Clarke High School in the East Meadow district and Bay Shore High School are this year’s Nassau and Suffolk county regional winners, respectively, and are heading to the state level of competition.

Clarke placed first in Nassau’s regional championship, held at state Supreme Court in Mineola, defeating a team from The Wheatley School in Old Westbury in the final round. Meanwhile, Bay Shore beat a team from Ward Melville High School in East Setauket in their regional championship’s final round at the Suffolk County Courthouse in Central Islip.

Clarke’s mock trial teams won six county championships from 2003 to 2011, school officials said. The school also took home one state championship during that span, which came in 2003.

“We’ve had a great year and a very competent team,” coach Paul Henning said. “They’re dedicated to working outside of school and on their own.”

This year’s fictional case consisted of a civil plaintiff suing a county for false imprisonment in connection with a robbery and slaying at a convenience store. Teams received the case summary in December to prepare for the regular season’s preliminary rounds, which began in February. The playoff tournaments ended in early April.

Judging, which was handled by attorneys and judges throughout the various rounds, was based on factors ranging from the strength of cases to the students’ knowledge of legal proceedings.

The Nassau County Bar Association coordinates the annual mock trial tournament in Nassau County, and with 50 high school teams participating, it is the largest single-county contest in the state. The Suffolk County Bar Association coordinates the tournament for high school teams in that county.

The Clarke and Bay Shore teams will face six other regional winners at the state finals in Albany on May 21-23.


National runner-up

A Syosset High School team placed second nationwide in this year’s National Business Plan Competition, held last month at the Microsoft Technology Center in Manhattan.

The competition, which included some 570 teams from across the country, challenged students to form fictional companies and present business plans to a panel of judges.

The Syosset team, Flip Chip, marketed a line of all-natural, environmentally sustainable potato chips. To reach the national level, they beat 72 teams to be among 10 regional semifinalists in January, and then were among four finalists this spring during the regional finals in Holbrook.

“I’m glad the students get to see that hard work does pay off,” team adviser Matthew Fiasconaro said.


Journalism Awards

Three student newspapers from schools in Nassau County took first place in various categories at this year’s LIU Post Best of High School Journalism Awards. Entries had to be original work appearing in a student publication or broadcast in 2016, with judging based on accuracy, clarity, creativity and adherence to journalistic standards.

Winning newspapers and their categories were: The JerEcho, Jericho High School, best online publication; Hewlett Spectrum, George W. Hewlett High School, best high school newspaper; and Horizon, Lynbrook High School, best high school newspaper.


Merit scholarships

Ten Long Island students were among more than 1,000 high school seniors nationwide named recipients of corporate-sponsored scholarships through the National Merit Scholarship Corp. The scholarships range from single payments of $2,500 to $5,000 to annual stipends of up to $10,000 that are renewable for up to four years of undergraduate study.

Winners and their high schools were: Jonathan Gao, Great Neck North; Michelle Gery, Syosset; Emily Knott and Carley Rowe, Smithtown East; Nikita Podobedov, Ward Melville in East Setauket; Vishal Nyayapathi of Half Hollow Hills East in Dix Hills; Lauren Reiss, Great Neck South; Edgar Sit, Roslyn; Nita Wong, Herricks; and Cory Zhou, Smithtown West.

CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this story did not include mention of the Nassau County Bar Association and Suffolk County Bar Association as coordinators of mock trial tournaments in the respective counties.

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