A Massapequa High School team has taken the top spot...

A Massapequa High School team has taken the top spot in this year’s Long Island Mentor Moot Court Competition.  Credit: Massapequa School District

A Massapequa High School team has won a local competition that challenged students to demonstrate their abilities to research, interpret and articulate constitutional law.

The sixth annual Long Island Mentor Moot Court Competition, which included 31 teams from schools across the Island, asked participants to serve as mock lawyers and present arguments about an imaginary lawsuit with real-life judges questioning them as they would in appellate court proceedings. The championship rounds, held on Dec. 7, were presided over by three judges at the federal courthouse in Central Islip.

Massapequa’s team defeated a team from Ward Melville High School in East Setauket.

“We are overwhelmed by both the skill of the students and relentless effort displayed by the student advocates in their research and practice,” Massapequa’s mock trial co-advisers, Daniel Bachman and Patrick Barry, said in a statement.

This year’s fictional case dealt with a student journalist who used artificial intelligence to write a piece regarding pupil discipline. The students were asked to give oral arguments on whether or not deleting the article violated the First Amendment and whether the subsequent search of a student’s phone for materials used to write the article violated the Fourth Amendment.

Massapequa students Liv Kenney and Patrick Pellegrini argued successfully during the Nassau County finals, while students Autumn Romer and Jordan Russo argued successfully for the Long Island title.


Calming Corner

Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in December to unveil a new “Calming Corner.”

The room features relaxing music, lava lamps and fidget toys, the latter of which are tools intended to help children concentrate and provide an outlet for excess energy. The space is designed for students and staff to enjoy “moments of peace and tranquility,” school officials said.

“If anyone needs a moment to calm themselves, gather their thoughts, sit quietly and meditate, this is the room for you,” said the school’s assistant principal, Denise Graham.


Family Engagement Night

The East Rockaway School District recently held its inaugural Family Engagement Night, which focused on keeping children safe online.

The event, titled “Safety and Learning With Technology,” started with a presentation by the district’s director of technology and learning analytics, Bonnie McClelland, about the role of families in helping children navigate technology. Attendees were also introduced to programs like Google Classroom and Qustodio, the latter of which is an app that allows parents to monitor a child’s online activity.

“It provided an invaluable opportunity for parents and children to come together, fostering a shared understanding of safety and learning in the digital age,” McClelland said of the event.



Thirty-four Long Island students have been named first-place winners in various categories of St. Joseph’s University’s “Ready. Set. Lead.” competition, which challenged pupils to demonstrate business skills and knowledge of topics ranging from sports marketing to entrepreneurship and design.

First-place winners and their schools: Riley Walsh, Carle Place; Angelina Buttigeg, Center Moriches; Amantej Rana and Victoria Wroblewski, Commack; Mia Bordwin, Half Hollow Hills East; Connor Chang, Alexandra Chiu, Samantha McCloskey and Amy Owsiany, Herricks; Bhavika Bhasin, Jonathan Chau, Katelyn Choi, Jaelyn Chow, Amneet Kaur, Gurnoor Kaur, Kaylin Kim, Kyle Lee, Rachel Lee, Keith Leung, Manfred Lim, Dylan Rateshwar, Bryan Zhao, Jiaxing Sunny Zhao and Jayda Zhou, Jericho; and Shilpa Arora, Leah Chin, Brennan Cohen, Molly Cohen, Nathalia Guzman, Iris Hao, Emily Huang, Brook Lieber, Demetri Tymchynyuk and Chase Waldhauser, Syosset.

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