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Long IslandNassau

Nassau: CSI Challenge has LI students investigating whodunit

A team from Plainedge High School took second

A team from Plainedge High School took second place in April at the 14th annual CSI Challenge at LIU Post in Brookville. Credit: Philip Orlando

Long Island's future sleuths recently went head-to-head in a contest to prove who has the region's best forensics skills.

The 14th annual CSI Challenge attracted more than 500 students from 26 local high schools, attempting to solve a murder mystery that involved a dozen fictional chefs vying for the title of "World's Best."

The competition, held last month at LIU Post in Brookville, is intended to give teens interested in forensic science and criminal justice an opportunity to experience the fields in a professional setting.

The top team came from Smithtown High School East. The second-place and third-place teams were from Plainedge High School and Islip High School, respectively.

"There wasn't one shining star on our team -- they all consistently well-performed," said team coach Maria Zeitlin, a science research coordinator at Smithtown East. Of the event's importance, she said: "The competition is really quite amazing in its ability to foster thinking."

This year's challenge consisted of about 40 teams, each of which worked on identical crime scenes that included everything from inflatable dummies to footprints in dough, Zeitlin said. Teams presented their findings to a mock court and were evaluated using a scoring system to determine how well each school had managed its criminal investigation.

The event was sponsored by the Department of Forensic Science and Department of Chemistry in LIU Post's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, in conjunction with Forensics World, an organization that strives to engage students in forensic science, criminal investigation and law.



National runner-up

A team from George W. Hewlett High School took second place nationwide last month in the 2014 National Business Plan Competition at McGraw-Hill Companies in Manhattan. The finals, which consisted of 20 teams, challenged teens to display global business skills through written plans and oral presentations.

Hewlett's mock company, titled Flashcomm, sold phones, Internet service, heat and utilities to virtual enterprise firms, school officials said. Team presenters were Matthew Bickoff, Rachel Futterman, Bryan Grammatico, Dan Jacob, Alexander Messados and David Perkins.

To reach the national level, Flashcomm took first place at the Long Island level in March.



Math tourney victory

A five-student team from Carrie Palmer Middle School -- Anna Finkelstein, Sarah Finkelstein, Joseph Melkonian, Julia Ruskin and Sherry Shi -- took first place last month in a fifth annual Math Olympiad held at Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale.

The tournament, sponsored by the St. Martin de Porres Marianist School in Uniondale, included 40 teams of seventh- and eighth-graders competing in group and individual problem-solving math events.



Nat Geo Bee

Ten Nassau County students were among 100 statewide to compete last month in the state level of the National Geographic Bee, an annual geography contest sponsored by the National Geographic Society.

To reach the state level, students in grades 4-8 first competed in school bees, and winners then took a qualifying test, with the top 100 scorers competing in Albany.

The county's finalists were Joel Mathew of W. Tresper Clarke Middle School in East Meadow, Robert McCrindle of Woodland Middle School in East Meadow, Aidan Pereira of The Wheatley School in Old Westbury, Antony Deluxe of Herricks Middle School, Liam Higgins of Alfred G. Berner Middle School in Massapequa, Brandon Zhu of Willets Road School in Roslyn, Sean Micalizzi of South Side High School in Rockville Centre, Seth Marcus of H.B. Thompson Middle School in Syosset, Tim Louis of West Side Elementary School in Syosset and William Hostetter of Wantagh Middle School.


Merit scholarships

Ten high school seniors from Long Island are among about 800 black students nationwide selected to receive achievement scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corp.

The scholarships, which range from a single payment of $2,500 to $10,000 a year, were issued based on academic achievements and are financed through grants from 31 corporate organizations and professional associations.

Winners are Deven Hurt and Asia Stewart of Bay Shore High School, Avery Samuel of Bellport High School, Alicia Hamilton of Central Islip High School, Lindsay Griffiths of Walter G. Connell Copiague High School, Maeve Daniels of Grace Christian Academy in Merrick, Rob Louis of Roslyn High School, Simon Wynter of The Stony Brook School, Leigha Carryl of Syosset High School, and Samara Ford of Valley Stream North High School.

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