An Islip Middle School team took first place in the 27th annual Future City Competition's regional contest, undertaking the challenge to design power grids that can withstand and quickly recover from a natural disaster.
Abby Alfano, Erica DeLapi, Emily Lewis and Jaci Narducci competed against 43 other teams in the New York City regional, held at PS 126 in Manhattan. The participants were required to create a virtual city using SimCity software, build a scale model from recycled materials, write a 1,500-word essay and give a presentation to a panel of judges.
"It was extremely rewarding to be the coach of an all-female team for this STEM competition, knowing that women are underrepresented in the field of engineering," coach Julia Johnson said. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.
The students' fictional city was located in Bahrain, which is an island country in the Persian Gulf, and their power grid harnessed energy created by sandstorms.
The team members' prizes included iPads and Amazon gift cards. They advanced to the national finals, held last month in Washington, D.C., but were not among the top winners at the national level.
The competition is a program of DiscoverE, formerly known as the National Engineers Week Foundation.
Fourth-graders and fifth-graders at Forest Brook Elementary School placed second nationally in the LightSail New Year's Challenge, a competition that tracked the number of minutes students read using the online platform. LightSail is an app for a digital library that has personalized book selections tailored to individual student abilities, school officials said.
Forest Brook students read a total of 154,558 minutes from Dec. 1 through Jan. 15. Students Grace Galarza and Ryan Sapugay ranked fifth and sixth in the nation with 4,567 and 4,542 minutes, respectively. For placing second, the school received $250 to purchase more e-books from LightSail.
"I am so proud of the dedication and effort the students put into the challenge," Forest Brook Principal Kristen Reingold said. "We've seen multiple benefits from their participation, including an increase in reading stamina, Lexile level and an overall love of literature."
Black History Month
Many local schools held educational events last month in recognition of Black History Month.
In Huntington Station, Walt Whitman High School students were treated to a performance of J.D. Lawrence's play "Malcolm, Martin and Me," which depicts Malcolm X and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and aims to enlighten today's youth based on those iconic figures' experiences. The goal was to help students grow as "globally minded citizens," school officials said.
In Bay Shore, Gardiner Manor Elementary School invited several African-American professionals, including an editor, a drug abuse educator and a martial arts instructor, to share their expertise with students and give the schoolchildren an opportunity to ask questions.
In Deer Park, John F. Kennedy Intermediate School hosted a music and dance assembly on African-American themes from the Phyllis Rose Dance Company in Queens.
Joel-Anthoney Bossous of Sewanhaka High School in Floral Park, Daniela Diaz of Bay Shore High School, Jessica Lin of Sanford H. Calhoun High School in Merrick, and Sahith Vadada of Herricks High School are among 251 regional finalists nationwide in the 2019 Coca-Cola Scholars Program, an achievement-based scholarship.
The finalists will participate in 20-minute interviews with a regional interview committee comprised of a foundation staff member and previous Coca-Cola scholarship recipients. After those interviews, 150 students nationwide will be named Coca-Cola Scholars and receive $20,000 college scholarships.
More than 95,000 students applied for this year's program.