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Mill Neck students' store banks on retail lessons

Students from Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf are getting a firsthand look at the retail industry and financial planning this winter without leaving the school grounds.

The school - which teaches 115 hearing-impaired students from around Long Island on its Nassau County campus - recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new school store and a banking system designed to better prepare the youngsters for life beyond the classroom.

While the store allows kids to learn skills ranging from taking inventory to advertising, the bank lets them withdraw and spend at the store "school money" that they earn based on grades.

"These are all concepts that transfer to the working world," said Mill Neck teacher Nicole Romano. "They [students] are even noticing little things - like the importance of positioning certain items near the register."

According to Romano, the store's student staff - Sean Kessler, Kelly Kildare and Ricky Manwill - each work two-hour shifts selling items ranging from office supplies to water bottles. To further simulate an actual business, the trio even held a Black Friday sale in November and implemented a delivery system for those who can't visit the store between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.

Before the store opening, the students attended a money management lecture by Liz Materia, vice president of First National Bank of Long Island in Locust Valley.


Math teacher honoredLeon La Spina, a math teacher at Bethpage High School, is one of 22 educators nationwide to receive the 2009 Edyth May Sliffe Award for Distinguished High School Math Teaching from the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). The awards are based on student nominations.

La Spina received a $400 cash prize, 20 subscriptions to Math Horizons journal for students and a one-year membership in the MAA and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.


AIDS awareness

Garden City High School students learned the importance of HIV/AIDS prevention last month during a World AIDS Day observance that included lectures, classroom discussions and the distribution of red ribbons, among other things.

As a culminating event, teens viewed three panels of the handmade AIDS Memorial Quilt, which honors the lives of those who died from the disease. The students also collected holiday toys for the Long Island Minority AIDS Coalition, a nonprofit that monitors policy issues that impact HIV-infected communities of color.


Tasty math 'mining'

Fourth-graders at Old Country Road Elementary School combined science and math last month during Moir's Miners, a project that required kids to "excavate" chocolate chips from a pile of cookie crumbs using toothpicks and to record their findings. Students tallied their total mining and processing times to calculate a fictional fee.

To top off the event, fourth-grade teacher Christine Moir said she let the students enjoy the "unmined cookies."


Field trip to the NY Fed

A group of 27 students from Division Avenue High School learned the intricacies of banking last month during a visit to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in Manhattan.

During the trip, teens viewed the insides of a vault containing billions of dollars in gold and took a walking tour of lower Manhattan that included Ground Zero and the South Street Seaport.


Into 'da Vinci's Workshop'

Jericho Middle School and Sewanhaka Central High School students recently learned about one of history's greatest inventors at "Leonardo da Vinci's Workshop," an exhibit that includes life-size replicas of his flying machines, robots and weapons at the Discovery Times Square Exposition Hall in Manhattan.

The exhibit, which runs through April 4, also includes touch screens where visitors can translate some 500 sketches from da Vinci's personal notebooks into 3-D models.

"Kids like the ability to use things hands-on," said Jericho science teacher Josh Smith. "Going to museums lets them interact with what they've learned in a fun setting." About 150 students went on the field trip.


Marketing apprentices

A team of nine local students won Adelphi Apprentice, a marketing competition modeled after NBC's "The Apprentice" TV show as part of the university's 2009 Business Conference for High School Students. The winning presentation described efforts to market a fictional concert to benefit breast cancer awareness. On the team were:

Bellmore: Dylan Blumenthal of John F. Kennedy High School; Commack: Robert Hastings of Commack High School; Deer Park: Blaise Cresciullo of Deer Park High School; East Setauket: Scott Brekne of Ward Melville High School; Hauppauge: Samantha Muenkel of Hauppauge High School; Malverne: Kiara Swittenberg of Malverne High School; Plainview: Jordan Shwide of Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School; Valley Stream: Michael Dern of Valley Stream North High School; West Hempstead: Judy Chen of West Hempstead High School.

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