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Half Hollow Hills High School East wins 'We the People' contest

A team from Half Hollow Hills High School

A team from Half Hollow Hills High School East in Dix Hills won this year's state championship in an annual competition that focuses on knowledge of the U.S. Constitution. Photo Credit: David Pitman

A 15-student team from Half Hollow Hills High School East in Dix Hills won the state championship in a competition that tested student knowledge of the U.S. Constitution.

The contest “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution,” challenged teens to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles. They also defended positions on historical and contemporary issues by participating in simulated congressional hearings and “testifying” before a panel of judges acting as members of Congress.

“I am so proud of our team,” said David Pitman, Half Hollow Hills East AP Government teacher and the group’s coach. “Being a part of a program like this and watching young people engage in civic education and civil discourse is an important and refreshing reminder of who we as a nation can be.”

Team members are Arooba Ahmed, Rinni Bhansali, Isabella Bordwin, Cora-Lee Gregory, Kaitlyn Hoxha, Benjamin Keschner, Karina Khan, Stevie Martin, Rachel Propis, Nabiha Qureshi, Zakariya Rahimi, Kabir Randhawa, Kavya Rao, Lucas Stein and Joseph Vela.

The winning team will represent New York State at the national finals in Washington, D.C., from April 26 to 29. There, they will compete against about 1,200 students from 56 high schools across the country.

This is the second consecutive year that a Half Hollow Hills East team has won the state title, school officials said. This year’s state competition, sponsored by the Justice Resource Center, included 10 teams competing at Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Manhattan.


Chromebooks initiative

The Deer Park school district has provided Chromebooks to fifth-graders at John F. Kennedy Intermediate School and sixth- and seventh-graders at Robert Frost Middle School through a new initiative launched in conjunction with a technology infrastructure upgrade.

The district also has embarked on a comprehensive shift to the blended learning model. The shift will see the most valuable learning strategies identified first and then instructional technology devices and resources used as tools to make the strategies more efficient, school officials said.

“What we want to do is take these learning strategies that research shows are successful and work in a traditional classroom environment and merge them together with the Chromebooks and instructional software,” said Christopher Kauter, the district’s instructional technology administrator.



First-graders at Ocean Avenue Elementary School are using their imaginations in creative ways through a new “STEAM Time.” STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math.

The program calls for children to experiment with one material, such as Legos or Play-Doh, first thing in their school day, three times a week. The aim is to help them be less afraid to take risks in other subjects during the rest of the day, officials said.

“The students like the fact that there’s no wrong answers in being creative,” first-grade teacher Sharon Stummer said.


“Take a Duck to Class”

Four Long Island students were winners in this year’s “Take a Duck to Class” essay contest, coordinated by TD Bank and the Long Island Ducks.

The winners were Anna Bishop of Paul J. Bellew Elementary School in West Islip, Harman Deep Singh of Lee Avenue Elementary School in Hicksville, Dylan Wagner of Forest Avenue Elementary School in West Babylon, and Michael Zeppieri of Willow Road Elementary School in Franklin Square.

Participants were asked to submit essays of 250 words or less on the following topic: “Who is a hero in your community and why?” For winning, each student received a one-hour visit to their school from Ducks’ mascot QuackerJack.


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