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School Notebook: Lynbrook tops in trivia

First in NYS, sixth in the U.S. in

First in NYS, sixth in the U.S. in the Knowledge Master Open, from left, back: Sara Bahri, Chris D’Aleo, Kyle Serro, Arianna Paxinos, Theo Franks and Sofia Sacchetti; front, Jack Viceconte, Jimmy Parco, Jolie Sebel, Nick Focarazzo and Ami Carey. Credit: Handout

Lynbrook fifth-graders have swept the state level of a national trivia competition for the second consecutive year.

A group of 32 students in the Lynbrook district's West End, Marion Street and Waverly Park elementary schools recently finished first, second and third, respectively, among New York teams in the 2013 Knowledge Master Open, a computer-based quiz in subjects ranging from United States history to Earth science to the fine arts.

The pupils are part of Lynbrook's Voyager Program for gifted and talented students.

"The Voyagers have been practicing for this since September," said teacher Doreen Papa. "All the groups worked diligently and cooperatively, which contributed to their success."

The Knowledge Master Open requires teams of students to work together to answer 100 multiple-choice questions in a timed format, with points being awarded based on the accuracy and speed of their answers. The competition is designed to stimulate enthusiasm for learning as well as recognition of academic accomplishment, district officials said.

West End also placed sixth nationwide out of 175 teams and has claimed the state's top spot for three straight years. Its team members are Sara Bahri, Ami Carey, Chris D'Aleo, Nick Focarazzo, Theo Franks, Jimmy Parco, Arianna Paxinos, Sofia Sacchetti, Jolie Sebel, Kyle Serro and Jack Viceconte.



Rowing donation

The Long Beach public schools' athletic department recently received a $10,000 donation to aid in ongoing superstorm Sandy recovery efforts from Friends of Port Rowing, a nonprofit rowing club in Port Washington.

The funds were raised through an ergathon -- the rowing equivalent of a walkathon, in which nearly 100 people rowed a total of 621 miles.

"We hope that the money we raised will help them come back better than ever," said Steve Panzik, the organization's executive director and coach.



Unconventional fitness

The Massapequa school district is putting a unique spin on fitness this school year to spark interest among students at an early age.

Raymond J. Lockhart Elementary School has introduced Myachi, a series of maneuvers done with a beanbag to boost hand-eye coordination. Fairfield Elementary School, meanwhile, is using Quidditch, a game from the "Harry Potter" movies in which kids score balls into ring-shaped goals. Other nontraditional elementary-level activities include mini golf, yoga and meditation, and kickboxing.

"It's about giving students the resources to explore opportunities that they may never have known existed," said Mary Elizabeth Velte, a physical education teacher at Birch Lane Elementary School.



Valentine's Day

Many local students expressed love and appreciation for others in their community last month through various programs and activities held in celebration of Valentine's Day.

In the Locust Valley school district, students in Bayville Primary School created cards with personal messages for local veterans, while at Bayville Intermediate School pupils designed cards for children in Island Park who were affected by superstorm Sandy.

"They were very excited to . . . know someone would smile when they received it," kindergarten teacher Carolyn Sumcizk said.

In Levittown, Jonas E. Salk Middle School's National Junior Honor Society participated in Valentines for Veterans, a community service project in which students made thank-you cards for veterans undergoing treatment at Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

In Hicksville, Holy Trinity High School's Junior Student Council raised $850 for the school's Sandy recovery efforts through the sale of Valentine's Day cards.



Grammy Schools honors

Nine Long Island high schools were among 129 nationwide recently named semifinalists for designation as 2013 Grammy Signature Schools by the Grammy Foundation in honor of what the organization called their "outstanding commitment to music education."

Finalists will be announced later this month and receive grants of $1,000 to $10,000 to benefit their music programs.

Local high schools named as semifinalists were Bellport, Commack, Garden City, Great Neck South, Hewlett, Herricks, Great Neck North, Walt Whitman in Huntington Station, and Wantagh.

"Just as the Grammy Award recognizes excellence within the recording arts, the Grammy Signature Schools program recognizes public high schools across the country for their dedication to providing excellent music education programs for their students," said Neil Portnow, the foundation's president and chief executive

The Grammy Foundation was established in 1989

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