A team from W. Tresper Clarke High School in Westbury recently proved its case in a court of law by taking first place in the 2010 Nassau County High School Mock Trial Tournament.

The competition - hosted by the Nassau County Bar Association - required high-schoolers to act as the prosecution or defense in a fictional case involving a Wall Street hedge fund manager accused of running a Ponzi scheme.

Clarke outlasted about 45 teams in a series of mock trials at the Supreme Court in Mineola to earn its fifth county title in seven years. A team from North Shore Hebrew Academy in Great Neck finished second.

"This is an extraordinarily challenging activity for kids," said M. Allan Hyman, a team coach and lawyer with East Meadow-based firm Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman. "They have to learn, as high school students, skills that seasoned lawyers have difficulty with."

Clarke's winning team members were Christopher Abanavas, Jessica Barkan, Stephanie Ciurleo, Vincent Ciurleo, Peter Evangelatos, Alexandra Fanelli, Evan Gottstein, Kenny Lehanka, Jennifer Meade, Mark Ochweri and Arjan Singh.

The team was defeated at the regional level by William Floyd High School in Mastic Beach, which took second statewide.


Administrators of the year

Barbara Pandolfo, director of library media services for Farmingdale School District, and Shari Camhi, assistant superintendent for curriculum and technology for Glen Cove School District, were named administrators of the year last month by Nassau BOCES School Library System based on their "significant contributions to school librarianship."

Donna Rosenblum, library chairwoman at Floral Park Memorial High School, was named School librarian of the year.


1st at science symposium

Alyssa Blumenthal, a senior at Long Beach High School, finished first in the 2010 Long Island Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, a competition at Stony Brook University in which students submit research in the sciences, engineering or math. Blumenthal won $2,000 for her project, "The Manipulation of Piezoelectric Film for Energy Harvesting."

Celline Kim and Amit Vora, both of Manhasset High School, finished second and third and won $1,500 and $1,000, respectively. Ghazal Erfani of Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School, the county's other award-winner, finished fifth and won $500. Each student received an expenses-paid trip to compete at the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium last month in Maryland.


Young artistic creators

Monica Defonseca, a senior at Our Lady of Mercy Academy, won second place last month in the 14th annual Long Island's Best: Young Artists at the Heckscher Museum, a two-week exhibit that featured art by Long Island high-schoolers.

Her mixed-media piece, "Innovación Constructivism," depicted a female warrior with a Greek column on her head.

"There are debates as to whether architecture should be considered art," she said. "My piece demonstrates architecture may be viewed as a beautiful work of art, not just on the ground, but affixed to a body."


Showing their skills

Twenty-seven students in Nassau BOCES finished in the top three in various categories at the 2010 New York Leadership Conference & Skills Championship in Syracuse hosted by SkillsUSA, a nonprofit that prepares teens for careers in trade, technical and skilled service fields. Winners were:

Floral Park: Jess Amitulli, Shannon Chapman, Joe Fodera, Mariel Fry, Iliana Hernandez, John Incampo, Tim McLoone, Carlos Romero, Sam Schmitz and Chris Varughese of Sewanhaka High School; Levittown: Jen Castiglia, Dom Cox, Matt Durkin, Keith Fischer, Eric Hagerman, Rich Loscalzo and Catherine Sibaja of Gerald R. Claps Career & Technical Center; Roosevelt: Marina Argueta, Javier Bolas, Hassa Hitulah and Derrick James of Roosevelt High School; Westbury: Fisnike Dalipi, Joe Fugallo, Mike Moneri, Katelyn Pugliese, John Robert and Andrea Sardo of Joseph M. Barry Career & Technical Center.


Merit scholarships

Seventeen Long Island seniors were among about 2,800 winners nationwide of college-sponsored scholarships by the National Merit Scholarship Corp. ranging between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years. Nassau winners were:

Floral Park: Justin Solly of Floral Park Memorial High School; Glen Cove: Warton Du of Glen Cove High School; Great Neck: Lauren Slakter of Great Neck South High School; Adam Ossip of North Shore Hebrew Academy High School; Jericho: Rachelle Blidner and Ryan Schwartz of Jericho High School; Lawrence: Michael Kornbilt of Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns & Rockaway; Lynbrook: Max Grouchevski of Lynbrook High School; Mineola: Matt Hughes and Patrick Spagnuolo of Chaminade High School; New Hyde Park: Abhay Goyal of Herricks High School; Port Washington: Jonathan Heiden of Paul D. Schreiber High School; Rockville Centre: Christopher Boss of South Side High School; Wantagh: Brian Hoey of Wantagh High School.

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