From left, Jack Basner and Jimmy Eichner, of The Wheatley...

From left, Jack Basner and Jimmy Eichner, of The Wheatley School in Old Westbury, were among the winners at this year's New York State History Day competition. Credit: Pei-Sze Cheng

Nineteen local students won first place in a state competition that challenged them to explore local, regional, national and international history.

The New York State History Day competition, held this past April at SUNY Oneonta, included projects from hundreds of students statewide based on the theme “Turning Points in History.” Groups or individuals conducted research through libraries, archives, museums and oral interviews in one of five categories: documentary, exhibit, paper, performance or website.

This year’s winning projects tackled topics ranging from the role in childhood development of the educational television series “Sesame Street” to tennis legend and gender equality advocate Billie Jean King’s impact on women.

To reach the state level, the students first competed in the Long Island History Day contest in March. Their projects were chosen from out of 330 entries.

“To see so many young people passionate about history really inspires me,” said Allison Sobel, the regional coordinator for Long Island History Day.

Long Island’s first-place winners at the state level and their schools are Jack Basner, Jimmy Eichner, Johanna Ginu and Madeline Rong, of The Wheatley School in Old Westbury; Eliana Lau, Neha Paul, Maya Purohit, Harvir Singh, Aanika St. Jean and Zarah Zohir, of Herricks Middle School in Albertson; Hannah Chusid, Ananya Kavi, Maria Khan, Jay Patel and Nishita Srirama, of Jericho Middle School; Metta Pollio, of North Shore High School in Glen Head; and Raphael Croog, Gavin Finkel and Jacob Torczyner, of Davis Renov Stahler Yeshiva High School for Boys in Woodmere.

The first- and second-place winners in each category will go on to the national competition at the University of Maryland on June 9-13.


Medical Marvels

A team of six Garden City High School students won first place in this year’s Medical Marvels competition, hosted by the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research and Northwell Health’s Center for Workforce Readiness. The competition, held in April, challenged participants to write research papers and present ways to improve educational inclusion for individuals with disabilities.

Garden City’s project, EyeDesk, proposed using assistive technology, digital learning platforms and artificial intelligence to enhance educational accessibility. Some items, for example, included a sensory board, illuminated buttons and facial recognition software.

The winning team members, who collectively received an $1,800 scholarship, were Clara Archer, Anais Bardizbanian, Cailin Gately, Alexandra Gregory, Breckin Kammerer and Giuliana Pamatat.


Bridge winner

Paul J. Gelinas Junior High School ninth-grader Amanda Liang won first place at Brookhaven National Laboratory’s 45th Annual Bridge Building Competition, which challenged local youth to build basswood structures and test how much weight they could support. This year’s competition, held in April, included 240 bridges from 14 schools across Long Island.

Liang’s winning bridge had an efficiency of 3,441.43. Efficiency is calculated using the bridge’s mass and the amount of weight it can support before breaking or bending more than one inch.

Second and third place went to Alexander Song and Daniel Liang, both of Ward Melville High School in East Setauket.


Otto Kahn Award

Six Long Island seniors have been named winners of Otto Kahn Awards from Friends of Oheka, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection, preservation and public awareness of Oheka Castle in Huntington. They each received $3,000 and were invited to either perform or have their work shown during an annual gala at the castle in May.

The winners are Margaret Nemazi, of Cold Spring Harbor High School; Peter Hoss, of Harborfields High School in Greenlawn; Brian Ou, of Half Hollow Hills High School East in Dix Hills; and Andrew Fogel, Christopher Macaluso and Kaitlyn Mondry, of Walt Whitman High School in Huntington Station.

Eligible students were required to be majoring in fine arts, performing arts or music.

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