For the second straight year, a team from William Floyd High School in Mastic Beach proved their legal chops by finishing first among Long Island schools in the 2011 New York State Mock Trial Tournament.
The competition, coordinated by the New York State Bar Association, required teens to act as prosecution or defense in a mock due process case involving a high schooler whose parking pass had been revoked without notice by the fictional Village of Empireville.
William Floyd outlasted 28 teams in a series of trials at the Suffolk County level and then defeated W. Tresper Clarke High School of East Meadow for the Long Island crown. Floyd placed fourth last month at the state level in Albany.
"We emphasize performance as much as case," said coach Bill Hennessy. "There's sizzle and there's steak. In mock trial, you have to have some sizzle."
The team's biggest challenge came outside of the courtroom, he said, after co-captain Logan Murphy was in a car crash that left him in a coma for two weeks just before the county competition. After Murphy recovered enough to get out of the hospital, he was able to join the team at the state level last month to offer moral support.
"It really affected the team," said co-captain Catie Ryan of Murphy's injury. "We weren't sure we'd make it without him; we pulled together for him."
Her teammates were
Gabriella Colarusso, Melissa Dubois, Erin Engelmann,
Jessica Furia, Mike Gross, Emily Vigliotta, Adam Henn, Kyle Imperatore, Dakota King, John Nelson and Chelsea Smart. Their legal adviser was Elizabeth Harrington.
Teams from Paul J. Gelinas Junior High School and Ward Melville High School placed seventh and 18th, respectively, out of 120 teams from 47 states in the 2011 National Science Olympiad last month in Wisconsin. It's the fifth time since 2006 Gelinas has been in the top 10. The schools placed second in their respective middle and high school levels at the regional and state levels. Competitions ranged from constructing a miniature catapult to constructing a mock crime.
BNL essay contest
Peter Ren, a student at Smithtown High School West, beat out 47 Suffolk County students to win first place and a $500 prize last month in a Science and Society Essay Contest coordinated by Brookhaven National Laboratory. The contest required students to address how nuclear proliferation could be managed at a time when global climate change may lead to increased nuclear energy growth.
Sanjay Palat of Smithtown High School East won second place.
LI Science Congress
Nineteen Suffolk County students were top winners this spring in the 2011 Long Island Science Congress at Farmingdale State College and were eligible to represent Long Island at the state level this weekend in Albany. The competition -- sponsored by Science Teachers Association of New York State -- is an annual display of research projects for grades 7-12.
Babylon: Jack Peplinski of Babylon High School; Commack: Jeanne Capanelli, Susan Jao and Kayla Neville of Commack High School; Jessy Lin and Tom Vetere of Commack Middle School; Dix Hills: Karishma Sabhnani of Half Hollow Hills High School East; East Setauket: Kartik Kumaragaruparan of Ward Melville High School; Huntington: Holly Flores of Huntington High School; Huntington Station: Valerie Abbene, Peter Guastella, Jameson Latko and Melanie Olinsky of Stimson Middle School; Lake Ronkonkoma: Ruchi Shah and Garima Yadav of Sachem North High School; Shelter Island: Haley Sulahian of Shelter Island School; Smithtown: Aniksha Balamurugan of Smithtown High School East; West Islip: Allison Dowling and Julie Laudenschlager of West Islip High School.
Seventeen Long Island students were among about 2,900 nationwide last month to win college-sponsored scholarships of up to $2,000 annually from the National Merit Scholarship Corp. based on academic excellence, teacher recommendations and SAT scores.
Dix Hills: Gabrielle Costa, Erica Huang and Kim Karter of Half Hollow Hills High School West; East Setauket: Robin Caselli of Ward Melville High School; Farmingville: Janine Perri of Sachem High School East; Glen Cove: Danielle Kristal of Solomon Schechter High School; Herricks: Marvin Yan of Herricks High School; Huntington: Conner Davis of Huntington High School; Huntington Station: Tim Paulsen of Walt Whitman High School; Levittown: Chris Chu Cheong of MacArthur High School; Mineola: David Birkdale, Jeff Bolte and Anthony Tripodoro of Chaminade High School; New Hyde Park: Jessica Egan of New Hyde Park Memorial High School; Port Washington: Jeff Sims of Paul D. Schreiber High School; Syosset: Eric Collet and Catherine Ye of Syosset High School.