Sudeeptha Shanmugam, a senior at New Hyde Park Memorial High School, with...

Sudeeptha Shanmugam, a senior at New Hyde Park Memorial High School, with her award-winning charcoal work, “Pondering.” Credit: The Heckscher Museum of Art

A New Hyde Park student has been named the best of “The Best.”

Sudeeptha Shanmugam, a senior at New Hyde Park Memorial High School, won best in show at the “Long Island’s Best: Young Artists at the Heckscher Museum” competition, an annual juried art exhibition for high schoolers. The contest, which received more than 450 submissions from 69 high schools, challenged participants to select an artwork as their inspiration and then create an original piece and write an artist’s statement explaining their creative process.

Shanmugam’s submission was a charcoal artwork titled “Pondering,” a portrait of herself holding a paintbrush, with a bored expression on her face. Her inspiration was a pencil on paper piece, “Portrait of Arthur Dove,” by American modernist painter (and former Centerport resident) Helen Torr.

“Emulating the figure’s pose, I depicted myself in a similar position — hand resting on my chin, deep in thought,” Shanmugam said. “The message behind my piece was to convey the feelings of a pondering artist wondering what to create while experiencing burnout.”

Second place went to Great Neck South High School junior Lauren Tan for her acrylic on cardboard piece, “Peas in a Pod,” while third place went to Hicksville High School junior Jennie Zhang for her acrylic on canvas piece “Hopeless Ambition.”

Eighty-seven selected entries will be on display through May 5 at The Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington.

BELLMORE/NORTHPORT

St. Baldrick’s fundraisers

The Bellmore-Merrick and Northport-East Northport school districts raised approximately $56,000 and $53,000, respectively, through head-shaving fundraisers held in March to benefit the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which supports pediatric cancer research and outreach. The amounts were the most raised by any district on Long Island this year.

The top fundraiser at Bellmore-Merrick’s “Chop Your Locks” event was Merrick Avenue Middle School teacher Matt Chicco, who raised $5,210, while the top fundraiser at Northport-East Northport’s “Brave the Shave” event was district librarian Nora Nolan, who raised $4,629.

Funds were raised through pledges from family and friends based on each person’s participation in the events.

COMMACK

New school

The Commack school district has announced that Cedar Road Alternative School is officially becoming its ninth school and will cater to special education students who currently attend programs outside the district.

Cedar Road houses the district’s special education administrative offices and offers programs to assist students with social-emotional needs or who are struggling with “school avoidance” or trauma, district officials said. To prepare the building for its new role, the district has performed recent renovations ranging from roof and window replacements to the installation of new ceilings and flooring.

“One of the things we pride ourselves on here in Commack is keeping our students home,” said Commack Schools Superintendent Jordan Cox.

ISLANDWIDE

Chemagination winners

Eleven students from Garden City High School and Half Hollow Hills High School West in Dix Hills placed first in various categories at this year’s Chemagination competition, coordinated by the American Chemical Society’s New York Section.

Students were asked to imagine that they were living 25 years in the future and describe a recent breakthrough or innovation in chemistry that has improved people’s lives. Their ideas ranged from powering homes and businesses through photosynthesis to using an amino acid called taurine to reverse the effects of heart disease.

First-place winners, their high schools and categories are Allyson Hsieh and Sarah Phinney, Garden City, alternative energy; Rachel Braverman, Benson Huang and Eryk Kaczocha, Half Hollow Hills West, medicine/health; Alexandra D’Alessio, Eliana Eisenberg and Malika Salehmohamed, Half Hollow Hills West, environment; and Evan Deutsch, Rahim Sheikh and Alan Yu, Half Hollow Hills West, new materials.

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