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Nassau: Jericho wins Lexus Eco Challenge

Jericho High’s Lexus Eco Challenge team members line

Jericho High’s Lexus Eco Challenge team members line up with Serena McCalla, science research coordinator, left, and Frank DiMartino, curriculum associate of science and technology, right. Credit: Handout

Jericho high schoolers made a national splash with a project on water purification.

A nine-student team won one of two grand prizes this spring in the 2012 Lexus Eco Challenge, an annual competition in which students strive to identify a local environmental problem and then take action to improve it.

More than 400 teams representing more than 2,300 middle and high school students nationwide participated. For winning, the team received a total of $40,000, including $10,000 for the school.

"I am honored to work with these Jericho High School students," said Serena McCalla, the school's science research coordinator. "They not only scholastically but communally promote, value and work toward ensuring an ecologically sound future for this planet."

Jericho's project outlined a water purification system that consisted of polyacrylonitrile solution membranes that absorb heavy metals found in water, school officials said. The team also created a video and PowerPoint presentation on the topic and proposed a light bulb made of organic products during the contest's finals.

Students on The Green Musketeers team were Anirudh Chandrashekar, Matt Chun, Brendan Liu, Diane Na, April Pun, Anuja Shah, Anuhita Basavaraju, Rebecca Wang and Kristin Wong.

"For anyone who wonders if teens today care about the world, the Lexus Eco Challenge is proof they do," said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager.

The challenge was created by Lexus and publishing company Scholastic Corp.

 

LOCUST VALLEY

Girl Groups formed

Locust Valley Middle School's female students have a new outlet for peer support called Girl Groups, a program that lets them discuss topics ranging from bullying to telling a friend she hurt your feelings. Members are permitted to submit discussion topics on index cards to retain anonymity.

"It is our responsibility to serve the whole child, and that includes teaching them how to deal with emotional and social aspects of middle school," principal Howard T. Hogan said.

 

OLD BROOKVILLE

In Rocketry Challenge

Two teams from The Green Vale School, an independent day school, were the only Nassau County teams among 100 nationwide to qualify for the 10th annual Team America Rocketry Challenge, a competition in which students design and build a rocket that lifts off to an altitude of exactly 800 feet in a 43- to 47-second flight. Green Vale's teams went on to place seventh and 31st among the qualifiers at a final fly-off held last month in Virginia. Rockets were required to carry two raw eggs, which had to be returned to the ground undamaged and by parachute.

The National Association of Rocketry sponsored the event.

PLAINVIEW

'Change the World'

A team from Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School -- Ben Chasan, Rahul Chabria and Brian Lau -- were New York State winners of the Siemens Foundation's We Can Change the World Challenge.

The national competition is designed to encourage K-12 students to tackle environmental issues. The project by Chasan, Chabria and Lau tested and compared the effect of calcium carbonate from ground-up eggshells and seashells in increasing the pH level of acidic soil, and its subsequent effect on plant growth. The teammates determined that seashells provide the optimal conditions for neutralization of acidic soil and are a "green" alternative to industrial techniques. The team is eligible for a $50,000 scholarship and a $5,000 grant for their school.

 

ISLANDWIDE

History Day winners

Long Island students recently won 12 top prizes in various age groups and individual and group categories in the 2012 New York State National History Day Competition.

The program, sponsored by the New York State Historical Association, encourages youths to explore historical topics by using libraries, archives, museums and oral- history interviews.

Winners were Jonah Belser, Greg Nelson and Frank Poma of Hauppauge High School; Anjali Agarwalla, Si Chen, Corrin Chow and Diane Li of Herricks High School; Dillon Feinman, Derek Lap, Steven Prestia and Joe Weindling of Henry L. Stimson Middle School in Huntington Station; Alexis Corbin, Tara Gallagher and Amanda Orbuch of Jericho Middle School; Nicholas Dilena and Ariel Sobel of Syosset High School; and Dannah Allen, Rachel Krevans, Jonathan Matza, Lori Matza, Nicole Matza, Gillian Polakoff and Catalina Pugliese of Woodmere Middle School.

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