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Hewlett team wins LI business competition

In Hewlett, a fictional shipping company recently delivered a first-place victory.

A six-student team from Hewlett High School's virtual enterprise class beat 10 other Long Island teams to take the top spot in the Long Island Business Plan Competition at Molloy College in Rockville Centre. The team will now battle 19 other high school teams in a national competition to be held in April in Manhattan.

To win, Hewlett issued a 10- minute PowerPoint presentation of a mission statement and marketing strategies for a fictional shipping company called ChampionSHIP. The competition is run through Virtual Enterprise International, an entrepreneurship and global business simulation program in which teens create and manage their own virtual companies.

"It's not enough for kids to sit in a classroom anymore," said Barbara Mattes, chairwoman of Hewlett's business education department. "This lets them live it, not just learn it."

Mattes said students devote two periods a day to ChampionSHIP and perform tasks such as replying to company e-mails and signing mock shipping sales agreements with other classes nationwide. Those classes sell everything from pet food to hot tubs in the virtual economy.

One of Hewlett's standout business moves took place when students secured a fictional contract with FedEx, allowing ChampionSHIP to get a discount on its shipping costs.

"This has been one of the most real things I've ever done," said senior Spyros Messados, who serves as ChampionSHIP's CEO. "We're ecstatic to win. We got our presentation down and speak confidently."

Other team members were Lexie Grossman, Ross Kleinrock, Brandon Reisch, Adam Rubenstein and Pat Vardaro.


Cooperstown conference

Fourth- and fifth-graders at Stewart and Stratford Avenue elementary schools recently viewed old-time baseball items - such as six-finger gloves and lemon peel-style balls - in a videoconference with representatives at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. The program, "Technology: Tools of the Trade," was part of the district's new 21st-Century Classroom initiative.

In conjunction with the videoconference, kids also created their own homemade baseballs by covering golf balls and Ping-Pong balls with duct tape, aluminum foil and rubber bands.


New coffee shop

Jericho High School opened a new coffeehouse this month to teach students working there life skills such as fiscal management and customer relations, while giving students and staff a chance to grab a snack or drink before the end of the day and afternoon activities.

Life skills teacher Joseph Sapienza came up with the idea and transformed Jericho's former school store space into a functioning coffee shop called Cool Beans that sells coffee, tea and hot chocolate. Funding came from the nonprofit Jericho Educational Foundation Initiative Project.

Staff members wear T-shirts sporting a store logo designed by senior Jeremy Duggan.


Outstanding teacher

James Ripka, a science teacher at Gen. Douglas MacArthur High School, has been named Outstanding Science Teacher for 2010 by the Science Teachers Association of New York State for "demonstrating exemplary science teaching." Ripka, who chairs the Suffolk County Science Teachers Association, joined Levittown in 2004 after earning a doctorate in cell biology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. He had worked in the biomedical advertising field.


Multisensory room

Nassau BOCES' Carman Road School in Massapequa Park recently unveiled a multisensory room for special-education students that consists of floor-to-ceiling bubble tubes, soft music, dimmed lights, and floor mats with vibro-acoustic speakers.

The room is the first in a Nassau public school, and its goal is to foster relaxation and self-regulating behavior, BOCES officials said. "Our students do not have the benefit of typical development," said Principal Amy Rumelt. "They cannot control their bodies' movements, focus on a task or control their environment. In our multisensory room they are provided activities that allow them to do so."


Play-Educator Awards

Two Long Island educators - Joanne Pappas, a pre-K teacher at Green Vale School in Old Brookville, and Jayne Kaht, a teacher at Eastern Suffolk BOCES' Brookhaven Technical Center in Bellport - recently received 2010 Play-Educator Awards from Plainview-based nonprofit Early Years Institute, based on their "commitment to incorporating play into the early childhood curriculum."

They were selected by a committee of early childhood education experts and honored at the institute's conference - titled "We Interrupt this Program: Playing and Learning in the Age of Hyper-Media" - held last month at CA Technologies in Islandia.

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