In Lynbrook, a group of fifth-graders recently proved their trivia skills in a big way.
The 14 students from West End Elementary School's gifted Voyager Program finished first in New York and eighth nationwide in a competition for fifth- and sixth-graders titled Knowledge Master Open, a computer-based academic quiz.
West End's winning trivia team scored 705 out of 1,000 possible points, school officials said. "The team worked very well together, capitalizing on each individual's strength," said Voyager teacher Doreen Papa, noting 200 teams competed in the quiz nationwide.
The competition consisted of questions in 15 subject areas ranging from U.S. history to Earth science to the fine arts.
West End team members were Kyle Bergin, Jennifer Bien, Sara Campbell, Max Dunat, Leah Hetrick, Jack Hunter, Anthony Longo, Michael Malcangi, Ryan Mongan, James Moran, Devin Murphy, Tommy O'Brien, Samantha Rizzo and Spencer Sundeberg.
In 2009, a West End team also finished first in New York and third nationally.
Bethpage High School students received handwritten thank-you letters last month from 42 children at an orphanage in Kenya in response to the school's donation last year of homemade pencil cases, toys and sports equipment ranging from jump ropes to baseballs.
The items were shipped overseas by the Mungai Foundation, a nonprofit that serves as a home and school for needy children in Wangige, Kenya. During the thank-you event, the Kenyan letters were read aloud by foundation founder Anne Mungai and were followed by a slide show of the kids enjoying the donated items last year.
This year Bethpage students plan to donate backpacks filled with school supplies.
Grand finale concert
Farmingdale School District's six schools joined forces earlier this month for one concert in which each ensemble performed alone before coming together for a grand finale that consisted of more than 400 students. The culminating song was "New York, New York," complete with simulated fireworks and an image of the Statue of Liberty projected on the ceiling of the high school auditorium.
Other songs included Randy Newman's "Our Town" from the 2006 animated film "Cars."
Plainedge High School students recently learned the importance of credit awareness and financial planning during a two-day workshop with the Right Start Foundation, a Hicksville-based nonprofit that educates local young adults on personal financial awareness.
Activities included a simulation exercise in which students opened mock savings accounts and then pretended to pay rent and other bills by visiting the different work stations set up in the district's boardroom.
Work stations were manned by staff from local banks, supermarkets and car dealerships who helped demonstrate "how much an average adult spends," school officials said.
Five Nassau County school districts - Freeport, Hempstead, Roosevelt, Uniondale and Westbury - are developing ways to foster safer schools this school year through Peacemakers, a program coordinated by Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice that strives to keep youngsters away from drugs and guns.
The program teaches positive attitudes and violence prevention to elementary pupils and middle-schoolers through activities "instead of being delivered like a lesson," county officials said. Activities range from making anti-violence posters to CPR training to ballroom dancing.
Kids are also creating public service announcements this spring on topics such as anger management and conflict resolution. They will be posted on various anti-violence websites.
Dozens of Long Island schools celebrated Valentine's Day this month with activities designed to illustrate compassion for friends, family and community members.
More than 20,000 Valentine's Day cards for hospitalized veterans were homemade by elementary students across Nassau County as part of the county's "Valentines for Vets" program, held in conjunction with National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans Week.
In New Hyde Park, students at Hillside Grade School wore clothing with red, white or hearts on it in celebration of a Spirit Week held in conjunction with Valentine's Day.
In Selden, students at Bicycle Path Pre-K Center used heart shapes to learn counting and graphing. Shoreham-Wading River High School's music department hosted a Valentine's Day-themed cabaret concert during a parent-teacher conference.