Two sports-loving students from Jericho are spreading their passion to local youth in need through a program that recycles everything from gently used uniforms to equipment.
Jericho High School juniors Zach Brown and Maxx Goldstein have collected more than 6,000 sports-related items in the past three years through Play It Forward, a program they created to help make sports available to youngsters who otherwise couldn't afford to play.
Donations to the program have tripled since its inception -- bringing in about 3,000 items in the past year, compared with 1,000 in its first year -- and also recently expanded with chapters at the Great Neck and Plainview-Old Bethpage school districts.
"It's really simple, and the beauty is it wasn't being done in our area," Goldstein said. "We've definitely been overwhelmed by what we've seen as far as community response."
The teens have been spreading the word by emailing families at the end of each sports season through the Jericho Athletic Association, an organization that runs intramural sports programs in Jericho, they said. The items are stored in their garages until they learn of individuals or organizations in need.
Recipients range from the Mary Brennan INN in Hempstead to the Boys & Girls Club of Oyster Bay-East Norwich.
"Seeing the kids' faces makes it all worthwhile," Brown said.
Those interested in donating can email Play It Forward at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ashwin Reddy, a sophomore at The Wheatley School, won second place in the senior division (grades 10-12) of the 2014 DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition.
The contest asked students to explore how the world's greatest challenges can be overcome through innovations in science, technology, engineering and math -- also called STEM. The competition received nearly 10,000 entries.
Reddy's essay focused on bionic eyes as a prosthesis for retinal cells damaged by age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.
He received a $3,000 savings bond, an all-expenses-paid trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, and a behind-the-scenes tour of the Kennedy Space Center. In addition, The Wheatley School will have access for a year to Britannica Online School Editions and Britannica Digital Learning E-books.
Schools of Character
Grand Avenue and Smith Street elementary schools, both in the Uniondale school district, have been named New York State Schools of Character by the Academy for Character Education at The Sage Colleges for their "outstanding school climate and academic performance," the college said.
Valley Stream Junior High School and Jonas E. Salk Middle School in Levittown were among those designated Emerging Schools of Character.
National History Bee
Nine Nassau County students were among about 1,000 qualifiers eligible to compete earlier this month in the National History Bee's 2014 National Finals in Atlanta, based on their top placements in regional bees.
The competition, sponsored by the History Channel, challenged students in grades 6-8 on their knowledge of topics ranging from United States presidents to world history.
The local qualifiers were: Andrew Jacobs, Shreyas Sagi and Jared Schwartz of Jonas E. Salk Middle School in Levittown; Jonathan Garcia of Island Trees Middle School; Joel Matthew, Ankit Sayed and Pantho Sayed of W.T. Clarke Middle School in Westbury; Tara Podias of Oceanside Middle School; and Andrea Valero of Woodmere Middle School.
Twenty Long Island students received recognitions of highest honors, high honors or honors at the 2014 New York State Science Congress, coordinated by the Science Teachers Association of New York State.
Seventy-eight students in grades 6-12 presented science projects to judges in a poster-style format at the competition, held last month at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Local students receiving honors were: Jared Habermehl of Commack Middle School; Nathan Siegelaub of East Meadow High School; Mohdshobair Hussaini of Freeport High School; Ien Li and Derek Xu of Jericho High School; Maxwell Hu and Michael Kusnierek of Manhasset High School; Bart Voto, Fred Chu, Emily Cruz and Stephen Lee of Manhasset Middle School; Raymond Agrelo of Mineola High School; Maya Pena Lobel, Noah Mond and Elizabeth Wang of P.J. Gelinas Junior High School in East Setauket; Rachel Mintz of Roslyn High School; Aashini Shah of W.T. Clarke Middle School in Westbury; and Rachel Biggen, Renata Quinto and Cosette Wrynn of Woodland Middle School in East Meadow.