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Nassau: Bethpage tops in philosophy

Bethpage High students competed in a 2012 Kids

Bethpage High students competed in a 2012 Kids Philosophy Slam, recently earning their school the Most Philosophical School in America designation. It’s the sixth such title for the school. Credit: Handout

Bethpage High School students are tops nationwide when it comes to philosophical thinking.

The school recently won the designation of Most Philosophical School in America in the 2012 Kids Philosophy Slam, an annual program designed to make philosophy fun and accessible and to help promote critical thinking skills among youth.

This is the sixth time Bethpage has won the title in the past 11 years, school officials said.

"A lot of people think philosophy is all about debating issues, but it's not," said Wendy Way, a Bethpage history and philosophy teacher who also is adviser of the school's philosophy club. "In philosophy there is no right or wrong answer. We just want kids to think critically."

To be selected for the designation, Way submitted a write-up on how students have implemented philosophy in the community and her pupils submitted 130 essays on the topic "What is the meaning of life?" Their notable philosophy feats have ranged from winning the 2011 Long Island Ethics Bowl to speaking at the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island.

In addition, Bethpage junior Akash Dagur placed third for the slam's title of Most Philosophical Student in America for his essay on life's meaning.

"It is completely immoral to insist that life has meaning," wrote Dagur, president of the school's philosophy club. "We long for one so as to fill the void created by the truth that everything we experience is random and without purpose."



Sleep essay winner

Keith Hoge, a senior at Garden City High School, was recently named national winner of the American Sleep Medicine Foundation's High School Topical Review in Sleep Science Contest. To win, he wrote a 3,000-word essay on the science of sleep and wakefulness.

He was awarded a $1,000 savings bond and a three-day trip earlier this month to SLEEP 2012, the 26th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, held in Boston.


New superintendent

Philip D. D'Angelo Jr. has been appointed superintendent of the Wantagh school district, effective July 1. He replaces Carl Bonuso, who held the position on an interim basis.

D'Angelo most recently served six years as the superintendent of Skaneateles Central School District in upstate New York.



Intel science awards

Nineteen students from Nassau County took home grand or special awards last month in various categories at the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh. The science research competition, coordinated by the Society for Science & the Public, included more than 1,500 students from roughly 70 countries and saw some 400 awards issued in various categories.

Bellmore: Brett Gossett of John F. Kennedy High School; Bilal Siddiqui of Mepham High School; East Meadow: Japbani Nanda of W. Tresper Clarke High School; Herricks: Sarah Chapin of Herricks High School; Jericho: Anirudh Chandrashekar, April Pun and Peter Zhou of Jericho High School; Long Beach: Arianne Papa and Jane Smyth of Long Beach High School; Manhasset: Chris DiPreta, Hunter Dong and Sai Saravana Senthilkumar of Manhasset High School; Massapequa: Nick Boroda of Massapequa High School; Oceanside: Anoj Ilanges of Oceanside High School; Old Westbury: Cheng Charles Yu of Wheatley School; Port Washington: Hannah Blumberg of Paul D. Schreiber High School; Roslyn: Ben Kornick and Kevin Sherwin of Roslyn High School;Syosset: Will Chan of Syosset High School.



Awards in writing

Fifteen Long Island students were recently among 274 nationwide to win 2012 Achievement Awards in Writing from the National Council of Teachers of English based on teacher nominations, a sample of their best writing, and an impromptu essay on a themed topic.

Bay Shore: Maggie Berke and Caroline Cervera of Bay Shore High School; Bellmore: Jordan Liebman and Brian Gimeno of John F. Kennedy High School; Genevieve Dakota Balunis and Corryn Chaimowitz of Mepham High School; East Setauket: Rachel Gutman, Bisma Kamal and Melvin Li of Ward Melville High School; Great Neck: Sylvie Rubin-Budick of Great Neck North High School; Samuel Sommer of Great Neck South High School; Locust Valley: Melissa Granados of Friends Academy; Port Washington: Minah Kim of Paul D. Schreiber High School; Smithtown: Danielle Domini of Smithtown High School West; Valley Stream: Andrew Hess of Valley Stream South Jr./Sr. High School.

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