Members of the Islip Middle School team that won first place...

Members of the Islip Middle School team that won first place in the 27th annual Future City Competition's regional contest in Manhattan are, left to right, Abby Alfano, Jaci Narducci, Erica DeLapi and Emily Lewis. Credit: Islip School District

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.


About 75 sixth-graders at Norman J. Levy Lakeside School in...

About 75 sixth-graders at Norman J. Levy Lakeside School in Merrick prepared and packed 3,000-plus sandwiches and more than 550 packs of cookies as part of a "sandwichathon" to benefit The River Fund New York. Credit: Merrick School District

Congressional App Challenge

Four students from Bethpage High School and one from Holy Trinity Diocesan High School in Hicksville coded original apps that were among 13 winning apps statewide in the 2018 Congressional App Challenge.

The competition drew a record 5,200 participants and more than 1,700 apps were created. It is an initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives and managed by the Internet Education Foundation.

Bethpage students Bhavika Garg, David Naranjo, Nikhil Sangvi and Brian Seeley created an app called "Cortex Memory Exercise" that helps those with memory loss, while Holy Trinity junior Jeannine Simeti created an app called "Book Finder" that helps people seeking books to read.

Students in the National Art Honor Society at Hicksville High...

Students in the National Art Honor Society at Hicksville High School display bowls they designed as part of an "Empty Bowls" fundraiser to benefit the food pantry at Hicksville United Methodist Church. Credit: Hicksville School District

Winners received $250 in Amazon Web Service credits and can showcase their apps this spring at a reception called #HouseOfCode in Washington, D.C.


Black History Month

Many local schools held educational events last month in recognition of Black History Month.

In Valley Stream, second-graders at Clear Stream Avenue Elementary School were visited by New York 1 News anchor Cheryl Wills, who shared her children's book, "The Emancipation of Grandpa Sandy Wills." Wills, who is married to Principal John Singleton, said the book was based upon her great-great-great-grandfather, who escaped slavery and fought as a soldier in the Civil War. 

In Glen Cove, the high school and Robert M. Finley Middle School were visited by Wills and Sheryl Goodine, a former district administrator and president of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Commission. Goodine's father, James, marched with King and was instrumental in desegregating the district and the city's fire department.

In West Hempstead, high school students continued the tradition of creating a museum featuring achievements of African-American individuals, as well as events and places important in black history, including Muhammad Ali, Chuck Berry and the Apollo Theater in Harlem.


Regional finalists

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.

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