Westhampton Beach High School's Helios team took first place last...

Westhampton Beach High School's Helios team took first place last month at the Long Island Virtual Enterprise Business Plan Competition and is among four local teams advancing to the nationals in April. Credit: Westhampton Beach School District

Teams from Westhampton Beach High School took the two top spots regionally last month in a competition that challenged teens to create and operate fictional businesses.

The teams — Helios and AquaTerra — competed against more than 800 students from 42 local high schools in the 2016 Long Island Virtual Enterprises Business Plan Competition, which required them to do everything from sell mock products to cut virtual paychecks. Teams from Patchogue-Medford and Hewlett high schools finished in third and fourth place, respectively.

The top four teams head to the 2016 National Business Plan Competition, which will be held at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus on April 17.

“I was absolutely thrilled for our teams,” said Westhampton Beach business teacher Amy Demchak, who coached the school’s two winning squads. “The students really took ownership and were so deserving.”

The annual competition challenged teams to brainstorm ideas and form their own companies. Then they presented their business plans, and answered questions from a panel of judges comprising Long Island business, industry and educational professionals. The final results were based on the combined score of each team’s written plan and oral presentation, weighed equally.

Top-finishing Helios, which placed second nationwide last year, created a solar energy utility, with its 40 customers consisting of teams in the competition that needed power for their businesses. AquaTerra sold lifestyle products — such as surfboards — made from recycled materials.

The first round of the regional competition was held at Farmingdale State College, with the second round taking place at American Portfolio Financial Services in Holbrook.


Art scholarship winner

Commack High School junior AriYeong Lee has won first place in the Huntington School of Fine Arts’ 40th annual Scholarship Competition.

For winning, Lee received a $1,000 scholarship to be used toward the school’s College Prep Portfolio Program, which prepares youth to walk the artist’s path and have active art careers and lives, school officials said.

Contestants were judged on portfolios that included sculptures, paintings, drawings or photos — and on a drawing done in a competition session.


Brady Buggy

Islip High School freshmen in Ann Gordon’s English classes are bringing added comfort to children at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital by collecting enough soda can tabs to buy a Brady Buggy, a wagon designed to allow bedridden kids to be mobile in hospitals. The buggies are issued by New Jersey-based Hugs for Brady Foundation.

To fund the buggy, Gordon’s classes have been filling a water cooler bottle with tabs. The tabs will be issued to the Town of Islip’s Youth Bureau as well as Islip’s American Legion Rusy-Bohm Post 411 and the American Legion Auxiliary, which will then donate the $1,000 needed to buy the buggy.

“This allows children to be mobile even during chemotherapy treatments,” Gordon said.


Autism essay contest

Local students are invited to participate in an essay contest asking them to answer the following question: “Why do autistic and developmentally disabled people become targets of bullies, and how can my school and community prevent it?” The contest is open to students in grades 9-12 attending public or private schools in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens counties.

Entries must be 400-500 words and submitted via the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx or United Parcel Service by May 1. For further entry details, call 516-741-9000, ext. 15110. The contest’s first-, second- and third-place prizes are $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000, respectively.

The contest is sponsored by Garden City-based nonprofit Life’s WORC together with the Family Center for Autism in association with the Claire Friedlander Family Foundation and Schneps Communications.

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