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Nassau: Robotics ideas to aid elderly

Rocky Point middle schoolers Justin Monaghan and Kyle

Rocky Point middle schoolers Justin Monaghan and Kyle Markland in action at the recent FIRST LEGO League Long Island Championship Tournament in Middle Island; their team won first place. Credit: Handout

Teams from Rocky Point and Bayport were named Long Island's best earlier this month in a competition using LEGOs to solve challenges that senior citizens face on a daily basis.

Radical Robotix of Rocky Point Middle School and the Lion Bots of Academy Street Elementary School in Bayport won the champion's first- and second-place awards, respectively, at the FIRST LEGO League Long Island Championship Tournament at Longwood High School in Middle Island. FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.

Forty-two teams — with some 400 students ages 9 to 14 — competed in this year's challenge, "Senior Solutions." Participants used LEGO Mindstorms pieces to design robots that could handle tasks that seniors face, such as retrieving pill bottles and reaching switches.

"I have a brilliant and talented team that have all worked very hard to get where they are," Rocky Point coach Mark Moorman said. "We've been meeting multiple times a week since September, even four times over midwinter break."

For the challenge's project portion, Rocky Point proposed a wrist-worn device that monitors a senior's vital signs and communicates with a medicine dispenser at appropriate times. Bayport proposed a touch-screen device that operates a calendar, dispenser and radio-frequency identification tags to locate eyeglasses and dentures.

Rocky Point advances to the FIRST LEGO League World Festival in St. Louis on April 24-27 and is currently raising $15,000 to help fund the trip. Bayport will compete at Legoland in California on May 17-19.

The local tournament was sponsored by School-Business Partnerships of Long Island.



Honoring black history

The Elmont Union Free School District celebrated the historical achievements of African-Americans last month with various activities held in conjunction with Black History Month.

Clara H. Carlson Elementary School hosted a mock wax museum with sixth-graders dressed as important figures such as poet Maya Angelou and civil rights leader Martin Luther King. Students at Alden Terrace Elementary performed plays, poetry and dances on topics such as the Tuskegee Airmen and Harlem Renaissance.

"It's important for students to remember what happened in the past to lead to a better future," said Audrey Cabbell, assistant to the principal at Carlson Elementary.



New principals

The Hewlett-Woodmere Union Free School District has named three new principals: Al Bauer at Woodmere Middle School, Evelyn Lolis at Hewlett Elementary School, and Lorraine Smyth at Franklin Early Childhood Center. They will replace Rick Berkowitz at Woodmere Middle, Sandra Pensak at Hewlett Elementary and Bonnie Epstein at the childhood center, who all are retiring in June.

Bauer, Lolis and Smyth are assistant principals at Hewlett High School, Saw Mill Road Elementary School in North Bellmore and Hewlett Elementary School, respectively.


Coca-Cola semifinalists

Twenty-two seniors from Nassau County are among 2,200 semifinalists nationwide for designation as 2012-13 scholars by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. Fifty students will be named national scholars this spring and each receive $20,000 college scholarships, and 200 will be named regional scholars and each receive $10,000 scholarships.

Nassau semifinalists are: Mehack Ali, James Reilly and Ashley Stinnett of Levittown; Erin Burdick of Seaford; Dan Clayton of Uniondale; Andrew Fierstein of Glen Head; Darling Gutierrez of Island Park; Madison Hoffman and Lanzel Smith of Hempstead; Dhara Kadakia of Westbury; Susana Kwon of Plainview; Jen Luk of New Hyde Park; Ashley Martin of Freeport; Chidinma Nwaogbe of Elmont; Shannon Romig and Caroline Walsh of Long Beach; Doreen Sayadfar of Old Bethpage; Felicya Schwarzman of East Rockaway; Michelle Teitelbaum and Steven Trezza of West Hempstead; Daniel Wang of East Meadow; and Robert Warshauer of Farmingdale.




The College at Old Westbury is inviting Long Island educators to nominate students in grades 4 through 9 to be named a Young Scholar of Mathematics next school year and earn one of 75 spots in its Institute for Creative Problem Solving.

The institute will hold weekly workshops in math and science problem-solving during the 2013-14 school year.

Candidates must submit an application, teacher recommendation, transcript and two self-addressed, stamped envelopes by March 25 to be eligible for a placement exam on April 13.

For the forms, educators can email program assistant Mimi Schnier at schnierm@oldwest Parents may forward this information to their child's school.

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