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Nassau: LI mock-trial champs

A team from Syosset?s Our Lady of Mercy

A team from Syosset?s Our Lady of Mercy Academy, above, won the Nassau level of Long Island?s mock trial championship, falling at the regional level to William Floyd High School in Mastic Beach. Credit: Handout

William Floyd High School, once again, is the mock trial champ of Long Island.

A 15-student team from the Mastic Beach school beat Our Lady of Mercy Academy in Syosset last month to win the 2013 Long Island Regional Championship at the Suffolk County Courthouse in Central Islip. This is the fourth consecutive year that William Floyd has claimed the regional title.

To reach the Long Island championships, William Floyd outlasted 25 teams and beat Northport High School earlier this spring in the finals at the Suffolk County level. Our Lady of Mercy took the crown over 46 other teams -- including Roslyn High School in the Nassau County finals.

"This is a very experienced team," William Floyd coach Bill Hennessy said of his students. Of the mock trial's importance, he said: "It makes kids more confident and helps them emerge as adults. There are no timeouts, no do-overs. It's a tremendous growth experience."

This year's fictional case involved a young man who attended a computer programming college and subsequently found himself deep in debt and unable to get a job in the field, thereby accusing the school of engaging in "deceptive marketing," Hennessy said.

Teams were judged on the strength of their cases as well as their knowledge of legal proceedings, among other factors.

"This is very much a dream come true for us," Our Lady of Mercy's team captain Madison Gaudreau said of her team's achievement. "We don't have a lot of formal coaching. It's an acquired knowledge. Everyone on this team is a hard worker."

William Floyd's team will next vie at the state finals to be held in Albany on May 20-21.



Books for Nicaragua

Students in Spanish classes at Garden City High School recently created books containing 36 original fairy tales for children of a one-room preschool in Sutiaba, Nicaragua.

The books were hand-delivered by students from St. Joseph's College in Patchogue, who were volunteering there during spring break. The collegians read aloud the stories to the native kids, many of whom are illiterate, Garden City officials said.

In other news, the Garden City school district was among 307 nationwide named 2013 Best Communities for Music Education by the NAMM Foundation for "keeping comprehensive music education as an integral part of the core curriculum," the organization said.



Fundraising fun

Sixth-graders at Locust Valley Middle School recently raised more than $10,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through fundraisers that included sales of baked goods and fake mustaches.

The culminating fundraiser invited students to pay for pieces of duct tape to stick Principal H. Thomas Hogan and music chairwoman William Margiotta to a wall.

The sum is the most raised by one grade this year on Long Island, school officials said.


Teachers of the Year

Three Nassau County educators were named 2013 Teachers of the Year by the Nassau County Mathematics Teachers Association, based on colleague and supervisor nominations.

Winners are Anne Puliafico of Munsey Park Elementary School in Manhasset at the elementary level, Michael Vitale of Plainedge Middle School at the middle school level, and Daniel Goldbeck of Syosset High School at the high school level. Mary Ann Mansfield, a retired teacher from the Carle Place school district, received the Distinguished Service Award.

They will be honored during the association's annual spring dinner, to be held May 16 at the North Ritz Club in Syosset.



Distinguished teachers

Fourteen Long Island teachers recently were named Distinguished Teachers of 2013 by the Harvard Club of Long Island for their positive impact on students' lives. They were nominated by current Harvard University undergraduates who attended local schools.

Winners were: Alice Alarcon, an English teacher at Massapequa High School; Danilo Aviles and Mindy Dragovich, music teachers at Wantagh High School; Eileen Burke, an English teacher at Mineola High School; Linda Davidson, a chemistry teacher at Half Hollow Hills High School West in Dix Hills; Anthony Dottin, a physical education teacher at Southampton Intermediate School; Nkenge Gilliam, a history teacher at Elmont High School; Michael Greenblatt, a history teacher at Northport High School; Terese Keogh, a physics teacher at Manhasset High School; James Mumma, a history teacher at Roslyn High School; Pat Murray, a science research teacher at Patchogue-Medford High School; Robert Purdy, a physics teacher at West Islip High School; Cathy Rio, a biology teacher at Baldwin High School; and Dave Sexton, a physics teacher at Sewanhaka High School in Floral Park.

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