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Nassau: LI schools shine in state Science Olympiad

A team from Paul J. Gelinas Junior High

A team from Paul J. Gelinas Junior High School in East Setauket took first place in the middle school division of the New York State Science Olympiad. Credit: Wolfgang Wander

A team from Paul J. Gelinas Junior High School in East Setauket was crowned state champs in the middle school division of the New York State Science Olympiad and will go on to compete at the national level.

The competition in Rochester included 36 teams competing in 25 events, such as identifying rocks and minerals and investigating a mock crime scene. Gelinas' 15 students won 11 first-place medals in the 25 events.

"We've established a culture that is working," said Gelinas coach Gary Vorwald, noting this is the school's 10th straight year reaching the nationals. "Our teamwork is incredible."

Other high-ranking teams in the division came from Carrie Palmer Weber Middle School in Port Washington and R.C. Murphy Junior High School in East Setauket, which placed fourth and fifth at the state level, respectively. Weber reached the state level after taking first place in the Nassau County regional level in February, while Gelinas took first place in the Suffolk County regional level.

In the state's high school division, a team from Half Hollow Hills High School East in Dix Hills took third place, followed by a team from Syosset High School in fourth place. Neither team will compete at the national level, as only the top two teams are eligible to advance.

"I am extremely proud of our students," Half Hollow Hills East coach Thomas Page said. "They have put in countless hours of preparation, both in my room here and at home."

The national Science Olympiad contest will be held in Orlando on May 16-17.



Anti-bullying efforts

Rushmore Avenue Elementary School students learned about the importance of online safety during a visit from Bellmore resident Sabrina Mastrangelo, 17, who holds the titles of Miss Long Island Teen 2012 and Miss New York Teen USA 2012.

Mastrangelo, a relative of Rushmore Avenue student Alexa Mastrangelo, shared statistics about bullying and encouraged kids to confide in adults when bullying occurs.

"Sabrina visited my class two years ago to speak about bullying," Alexa said. "Her message was so great that I felt we should have her back again so that more kids could hear it."

In other news, fourth-graders Isabella Abbatiello and Chloe Mosca are helping spread kindness by founding an initiative called Children Against Bullying. Students involved in the group create and display kindness-themed posters in school and talk to peers about ways to make a difference in the community, school officials said.



New principal

William Stroud has been appointed as the new principal of Long Beach High School, effective July 15. He will replace Neil Lederer, who has held the position on an interim basis.

Stroud currently is assistant director of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education at Columbia University's Teachers College. Prior to that, he was executive director for school quality at the New York City Department of Education.



Physics Olympiad

Four Nassau County students are among about 400 semifinalists chosen nationwide who will be considered to represent the United States on a 20-member team that will train to compete in the 45th International Physics Olympiad.

The event will be held in Kazakhstan on July 13-21.

Semifinalists are Cory Nezin of Freeport High School, Jessy Lin of Great Neck North High School, Karan Singhal of Herricks High School and James Jusuf of Jericho High School.

To become semifinalists, teenagers took an exam sponsored by the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Institute of Physics.

The 20 winners will attend a training camp next month at the University of Maryland; five of them will be named to a "traveling team" that will compete internationally.




Twelve Long Island students are among about 200 nationwide who were named finalists in the 2014 International Sustainable World (Energy, Engineering, Environment) Project Olympiad, also known as I-SWEEEP, a science fair that promotes research based on alternative solutions for sustainable energy.

They are eligible to compete in the finals in Houston next month against teenagers from more than 60 countries.

Local finalists are Matthew Chun and Steve Zheng of Jericho High School, Joseph Cappadona and Ivy Ren of Lynbrook High School, Kevin Tong of Manhasset High School, Matthew Brandes and Emma Feldman of Schreiber High School in Port Washington, Jared Katzen of Syosset High School, Andrew Kim of Commack High School, Bailey Liao of Half Hollow Hills High School West in Dix Hills, Yongpeng Tang of Smithtown High School East, and Ray Yin of Ward Melville High School in East Setauket.

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