In Plainview a team of 11 student artists won a multistate contest this spring for painting a unique canvas: shoes.

The contest, coordinated by Vans footwear company, required student teams to decorate blank canvas shoes and compete for the most online votes over a three-day period in April.

The team from Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School collected 6,175 votes, making it the Northeast regional winner and one of four national finalists. In total, 326 designs were submitted from 48 states.

"We were 600 votes behind for much of the time, so we didn't expect this," said sophomore Brooke Schaub, who said the team solicited votes by handing out fliers at local supermarkets and sending messages to friends on Facebook.

For winning, the team received an all-expenses-paid trip to Southern California to tour Vans headquarters and spend a day in Disneyland. Their shoes - which featured themes of city life, Hawaii, music and the ocean in acrylic paint - were displayed last month at the Orange County Museum of Art.

Other team members were Chris Arena, Brianna Bollettieri, Melissa Buccella, Kjersti Faret, Lynn Golan, Megan Naftol, Ena Otaka, Nicole Paternoster, Sonia Sethi and Jeff Weisz.

"This provides students with a glimpse into the role that art plays in life and the real world of marketing," said Judith Chen, the district's art director.


Cooking up healthy foods

Plainedge Middle School students recently learned the importance of healthy eating during a visit from representatives of Healthy Kitchen, a Rockville Centre organization that promotes smart food choices.

As part of the program, chef Rob Dell'Amore transformed the school's auditorium into a makeshift kitchen and cooked dishes that stressed the benefits of eating fresh vegetables as well as the difference between good and bad fat.

"I am offering the opportunity to take control of something: your health," he told students.


President's Award winner

Joshua Rubin, a senior at Solomon Schechter High School of Long Island, was one of 10 students nationwide last month to receive a 2009 President's Environmental Youth Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at a ceremony held in Washington, D.C.

Rubin was selected for launching a recycling program at his school and founding a Student Action for the Environment (SAFE) Club that has grown to some 50 members.


LI Math Fair medalists

North Shore School District took home 30 gold medals - the most of any Long Island district - in various age groups of the 2010 Long Island Math Fair held April 30 at Hofstra University. The contest - sponsored by the Nassau and Suffolk math teachers associations - required students in grades 7-12 to submit a three-page essay exploring a math topic of their choice.

Herricks and Roslyn school districts followed with 22 and 12 gold medalists, respectively.


Binge-drinking concern

Seventeen students at Massapequa High School have launched a Red Watch Band program after completing an alcohol emergency-training class this spring at Stony Brook University. The goal of the program is to deter binge drinking in high schools and colleges.

Each student learned how to recognize and handle alcohol emergencies and also received CPR certification. They will attend follow-up meetings to discuss their experiences, district officials said.


Distinguished teachers

Nine Nassau County teachers were recently named distinguished teachers of 2010 by the Harvard Club of Long Island based on nominations by current Harvard undergraduates from the Island. Winners were:

Bellmore: Vivian Lopez of John F. Kennedy High School; East Meadow: Robert Alu of East Meadow High School; Great Neck: Joseph Rutkowski of Great Neck North High School; Harriet Cinco of Great Neck South High School; Janice Oliver of North Shore Hebrew Academy; Manhasset: Eric Shapiro of Manhasset High School; New Hyde Park: John McManus of Herricks High School; Oyster Bay: John Andriaccio of Oyster Bay High School; Roslyn: Iftimie Simion of Roslyn High School.


Business winners

Thirteen Long Island students were winners in the Long Island Business Teachers Association's 2010 Contest, which required teens to demonstrate skills in topics ranging from accounting to business law to web design. Winners were:

East Setauket: Julia Deng of Ward Melville High School; Floral Park: Stephanie Iacona of Sewanhaka High School; Freeport: Justin Grant of Freeport High School; Miller Place: Amizhdini Eswaramoor of Miller Place High School; New Hyde Park: Amanda Lesor of New Hyde Park Memorial High School; Port Washington: Alice Chou and Paul Kagan of Paul D. Schreiber High School; Smithtown: Steve Gardella, Bryan Kane and Kevin Rooney of Smithtown High School West; St. James: Rachel Davis of Smithtown High School East; Syosset: Andy Avrick and Ben Lederman of Syosset High School.

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