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Half Hollow Hills High School East wins 'We the People'

A team from Half Hollow Hills High School

A team from Half Hollow Hills High School East in Dix Hills won this year's state championship in an annual competition that focuses on knowledge of the U.S. Constitution. Photo Credit: David Pitman

A 15-student team from Half Hollow Hills High School East in Dix Hills was named state champion in a competition that tests student knowledge of the U.S. Constitution.

The competition, “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution,” challenged teens to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles. They also defended positions on relevant historical and contemporary issues by participating in simulated congressional hearings and “testifying” before a panel of judges acting as members of Congress.

This is the second consecutive year that a Half Hollow Hills East team has won the state title, school officials said. This year’s state competition, which was sponsored by the Justice Resource Center, included 10 teams competing at Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Manhattan.

The winning team will represent New York State at the national finals in Washington, D.C., from April 26 to 29. There, they will compete against about 1,200 students from 56 high schools nationwide.

“I am so proud of our team,” said Half Hollow Hills East AP Government teacher David Pitman, the team’s coach. “Being a part of a program like this and watching young people engage in civic education and civil discourse is an important and refreshing reminder of who we as a nation can be.”

Team members were Arooba Ahmed, Rinni Bhansali, Isabella Bordwin, Cora-Lee Gregory, Kaitlyn Hoxha, Benjamin Keschner, Karina Khan, Stevie Martin, Rachel Propis, Nabiha Qureshi, Zakariya Rahimi, Kabir Randhawa, Kavya Rao, Lucas Stein and Joseph Vela.

SEAFORD

Books and Bagels

Seaford High School has launched a Books and Bagels group for students and staff to share their passion for reading while creating a sense of community.

The group — which was the brainchild of juniors Erica Albert and sisters Leila Fatscher and Mia Fatscher — is held before school over breakfast with members choosing the genre and book. For the group’s first theme of “fairy tales retold,” they selected Louise Murphy’s 2003 book, “The True Story of Hansel and Gretel: A Novel of War and Survival.”

“This gives people an outlet to enjoy reading,” Leila Fatscher said of the new group.

VALLEY STREAM

Film festival

Sixth-graders at Forest Road Elementary School began working on original films last month in preparation for the school’s first film festival in May. The festival — which will be open to students, staff and family — correlates with Valley Stream School District 30’s theme of the year: “You and Media.”

Participating children are tasked with writing scripts and storyboards then filming and editing their creations using iPads and the video-editing software iMovie. Film topics, which students picked with teacher approval, range from social studies lessons to the school’s monthly social-emotional learning theme.

“I like the freedom this project gives us,” said sixth-grader Sanai Roberts. “You get to pick what you want to focus on.”

ISLANDWIDE

‘Take a Duck to Class’

Four Long Island students were winners in this year’s “Take a Duck to Class” essay contest coordinated by TD Bank and the Long Island Ducks.

The winners were Anna Bishop of Paul J. Bellew Elementary School in West Islip, Harman Deep Singh of Lee Avenue Elementary School in Hicksville, Dylan Wagner of Forest Avenue Elementary School in West Babylon, and Michael Zeppieri of Willow Road Elementary School in Franklin Square.

Participants were asked to submit essays of 250 words or less on the topic “Who is a hero in your community and why?” For winning, each student received a one-hour visit to their school from Ducks’ mascot QuackerJack.

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