Massapequa High School has been crowned champion of the 2012 Nassau County Mock Trial Tournament.

The competition -- coordinated by the Nassau County Bar Association -- required teens to act as prosecution or defense lawyers in a fictional assault case in which a man was struck with a tire iron outside a hip-hop nightclub. Massapequa outlasted dozens of other teams and went undefeated over seven rounds last month at the Nassau County Court House in Mineola.

Teams were judged based on their knowledge of legal proceedings and strength of cases.

"I can't even begin to quantify how proud I am of them," said Dan Bachman, the school's mock trial adviser. "This is one of the most analytical competitions students have seen, and their dedication and ability to adapt really set them apart."

Massapequa's team next will vie against William Floyd High School on Wednesday for the Long Island title, which William Floyd has claimed the past two school years.

"We're staying confident, but not taking anything for granted," said Massapequa team captain Lauren Reisig, a senior. Of the team's secret to success, she said: "It can be a challenge to keep your composure during trials, but we try to always remain very polite and cordial."

A team from Roslyn High School took second place at the Nassau County mock trial.

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Trivia winners

Fourth-graders Erin Brown, Sydney Hoffman and James Joyce from the Long Beach school district's Learning Activities to Raise Creativity program (LARC) were named winners of the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County's 2012 Trivia Challenge.

To participate, teams took a 100-question test that covered everything from academics to topics in popular culture. They also solicited pledges from family and friends based on their number of correct answers.



New principal

Gayle Steele has been named principal of Wheeler Avenue Elementary School effective July 1, replacing Christine Zerillo, who is retiring. Steele is an assistant principal at Sunquam Elementary School in Melville.

"Her leadership skills and knowledge will certainly enhance 21st-century learning for our students and community," Valley Stream 13 Superintendent Adrienne Robb-Fund said.

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Junior LEGO League

Fourteen Long Island teams participated last month in the fourth annual Junior FIRST LEGO League Expo held at Longwood High School in Middle Island. The event was sponsored by the School-Business Partnerships of Long Island in conjunction with the Longwood Central School District.

FIRST is an acronym for "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology."

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This year's competition consisted of a Snack Attack Challenge in which students, ages 6-9, built a model made of LEGO elements with a motorized moving part, designed to carry out food preparation and storage tasks. Teams also designed a poster presenting their findings.

Nassau County's winning teams were: Zion Jr. Innovators of Elmont (Team No. 2172), Against All Odds Award; Fabulous Fayette 5 of Merrick (Team No. 2272), Teamwork Award; Storm Hawks of Old Bethpage (Team No. 2296), Show Me Poster Award; St. Dominators of Oyster Bay (Team No. 658), Show Me Poster Award; Munchkins of Oyster Bay (Team No. 903), Reviewers Award; Merrick Connection of Merrick (Team No. 1493), Reviewers Award; LEGOnauts of Seaford (Team No. 220), Model Design Award; TNT Muff of Albertson (Team No. 1716), Model Design Award; Robotic Brain Freezers of Plainview (Team No. 1887), Gracious Professionalism Award.




The College Board launched a college planning website last month designed to be an interactive resource with advice for students on how to prepare and pay for college. The website, titled BigFuture (, includes video advice from college students and experts, a college search tool, and options for customizable action plans.

The project was born out of concerns about the "increasingly complex college admissions process" at the College Board and among educator advocacy groups, the College Board said.

"This new free resource is different from other websites in that it helps students shape their college plans from A to Z," said Roy Ben-Yoseph, the College Board's executive director for digital products. "It's the only trusted source that takes you from preparing for college, to finding the right college, to learning about ways to pay."