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School Notebook: Chaminade wins Envirothon

For the fifth straight year, a team from Chaminade High School in Mineola won first place among Nassau County schools last month at the Long Island Regional Envirothon.

The annual competition consisted of written exams and outdoor challenges in the topics of aquatics, forestry, soil and wildlife, as well as an oral presentation on estuaries -- each worth up to 25 points -- at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration. A total of 225 students from 35 Long Island schools competed. For winning, the team will vie for $100,000 in scholarships and prizes in the state level at upstate Geneva on Wednesday and Thursday.

"This is a very talented group, and they did a great job," said Brother Benjamin Knapp, adviser of Chaminade's team. "It's important for kids to have a good consciousness of the environment and the impact we have on it, because they are the stewards of the future."

Chaminade had the best overall score with 122.21 points followed by Division Avenue High School in Levittown with 117.42. Sachem North High School in Lake Ronkonkoma led all Suffolk County schools with 116.60, just ahead of Mount Sinai High School with 112.67.

For reaching the state level, Chaminade's five team members -- James Agolia, Rich Barakat, Sean Dvorak, Dan Ebanks and Matt Walsh -- each received a $500 college scholarship and a digital camera from Canon. The school also received a Canon printer/copier. The event was coordinated by Nassau and Suffolk Soil & Water Conservation Districts.


Young entrepreneurs

Noah Klein and Jason Peretz of Rambam Mesivta High School, were grand-prize winners of $1,500 in the 2010-11 Entrepreneur of the Year Competition coordinated by Touro College's Lander College for Men in Queens.

They were chosen based on a concept for a device that controls the amount of electricity used by wall outlets, reducing overall costs. Jordan Odinsky and Avi Soep of DRS Yeshiva High School in Woodmere were second and third, respectively.


ExploraVision winners

A team from Plainview-Old Bethpage Middle School -- Phil Danziger, Alexandra Fryman, Sophie Heiman and Tom Venezia -- beat 4,300 entries nationwide to place second in the 2011 ExploraVision Awards, a K-12 science competition coordinated by Toshiba in which kids use their imaginations to create items using technology that doesn't exist yet. Their winning concept was a device consisting of a nano-camera embedded in a contact lens that would send video images to a blind person's brain. They each won a $5,000 bond.


Merit Scholarships

Twenty-nine Nassau County students were among 2,500 nationwide named winners earlier this month of $2,500 college scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Bellmore: Josh Cohen of John F. Kennedy High School; Cedarhurst: Lauren Hoffman of Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway; Garden City: Jan Gong of Garden City High School; Glen Cove: Ethan Jamnik of Solomon Schechter High School; Great Neck: Harry Chiang and David Kaufman of Great Neck North High School; Eric Bobrow, Andrew Gefland, Roslyn Jin, Brian Miranda, Samantha Phillips, Sha Sha and Winsor Yang of Great Neck South High School; Herricks: Neil Pathak of Herricks High School; Hewlett Bay Park: Alyssa Lerner of Stella K. Abraham High School; Jericho: Lindsey Lam, Matt Lam, Isabella Mu, Myles Novick and John Tam of Jericho High School; Levittown: Karolina Ksiazek of Division Avenue High School; Locust Valley: Mary Leah Milnes of Locust Valley High School; Mineola: Louis Lagalante of Chaminade High School; Plainview: Kevin Chon of Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School; Port Washington: Sam Kim of Paul D. Schreiber High School; Rockville Centre: Maria Passarelli of South Side High School; Roslyn: Scott Gladstone of Roslyn High School; Syosset: Harris Weber of Syosset High School; Uniondale: Nicole Pobre of Kellenberg Memorial High School.


Best music communities

Eighteen Long Island school districts were among 179 nationwide recently named "Best Communities for Music Education" by the NAMM Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to advance participation in music. To get selected, districts answered surveys about their funding for music programs, graduation requirements, and participation in music classes. Winning districts were Amityville, Bay Shore, Commack, Connetquot, East Meadow, Great Neck, Half Hollow Hills, Herricks, Long Beach, Longwood, Manhasset, Massapequa, Mineola, North Babylon, Oceanside, Port Jefferson, South Huntington and Syosset.


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