Dozens of local teens recently took on the title of Olympians, if just for one day.
Five-student teams from 15 local high schools went head-to-head last month in the 28th Annual Long Island Physics Olympics, a science-themed competition at Farmingdale State College that tests pupils' knowledge of physics through "Jeopardy!"-style questions and team challenges.
The first-place team overall came from Division Avenue High School in Levittown. Teams from Wellington C. Mepham High School in North Bellmore, Bethpage High School and Massapequa High School finished second, third and fourth, respectively.
"The competition this year was particularly keen with 1 1/2 points separating the top three teams," said Ed McDaniels, president of the Long Island Physics Teachers Association, which co-sponsored the event along with Farmingdale's physics and astronomy departments.
Division Avenue's team members were Garret Leotta, Ryan Maricondo, Darwin Nato, Gregory Rovenger and Joshua Sherman. Physics teacher Jeff Miller was the team's adviser.
"We couldn't be prouder of this outstanding achievement and the exceptional students who captured this year's winning trophy," said Francesco Ianni, the school's principal. "The sophistication of their mathematical and scientific knowledge is a testament to their drive to succeed and the inspiration they receive from their teacher, Jeff Miller."
Fifth-graders from West End, Marion Street and Waverly Park elementary schools swept first, second and third place among New York teams in the spring competition of the Knowledge Master Open, a computer-based quiz that included 100 questions in subjects ranging from U.S. history to the fine arts. The team also swept the top three spots statewide in the winter competition.
In addition, the teams placed third, fifth and 15th, respectively, in the national rankings. The pupils are all part of Lynbrook's Voyager Program for gifted and talented students.
"All three teams worked well together and capitalized on each other's strengths," Voyager teacher Doreen Papa said.
Unqua Elementary School students recently raised more than $26,000 for the American Heart Association through a Jump Rope for Heart campaign in which kids solicited sponsorships from family and friends and jumped rope in the school gym.
"It's a way to motivate students to lead healthy lifestyles while raising funds for a worthy cause," said physical education teacher Mike Dellicurti, who coordinated the effort along with co-workers Melissa Osborne and Mile Viola.
The program is jointly sponsored by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.
Teachers of the Year
Four Nassau County educators have been named recipients of 2012 Teacher of the Year Awards from the Nassau County Mathematics Teachers Association based on their dedication and impact on mathematics education. They will be honored next month at the association's annual spring dinner.
Awardees were Jessica Kuehn of Waverly Park Elementary School in Lynbrook, Brian C. Smith of Plainedge Middle School, Kevin Myers of The Wheatley School in Old Westbury, and Deborah Tyler of Nassau Community College.
Nine Long Island students beat out 188 entries last month in the second annual Create Something Great Recycled Sculpture Contest, sponsored by Locust Valley's Portledge School at the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary & Audubon Center in Oyster Bay.
The contest challenged pupils to build sculptures out of recycled items around a theme of nocturnal animals. Winners were selected based on their creativity and aesthetic quality.
Pre-K to first-grade winners were Russell DeVito of Emanuel Lutheran School in Patchogue, Noah Capps of Portledge School in Locust Valley, and Madison Melillo of Bayville Primary School. Second- to third-grade winners were Ellie Spangler of Robert Seaman Elementary School in Jericho, Julia Palandri of East Street Elementary School in Hicksville, and Caroline Yee of Landing Elementary School in Glen Cove.
Fourth- to sixth-grade winners were Kyra McLaughlin of Munsey Park Elementary School in Manhasset, Tyler Sanchez of Notre Dame School in New Hyde Park, and Heather Abbene of Maplewood Intermediate School in Melville.