Students on two teams from the Sachem school district took the top awards in this year's Long Island Junior Iron Chef Competition.
A team from Sachem High School North in Lake Ronkonkoma placed first in the high school division, while a team from Seneca Middle School in Holbrook won the middle school division in the seventh annual competition.
Fifteen teams from across Long Island participated in the event, which challenged groups of three to five students to prepare a dish in one hour.
Sachem North's Almost Master Chef team — Victoria Corcoran , Hailey McKiski, Kayla Salvate and Kaitlyn Seitz — made the Mexican dish chilaquiles. Seneca's G.O.A.T. team — Leah Ferrara, Sofia Iacono, Andrew Macchio, Gianna Scolaro and Jacqueline Volo — made a Caribbean breakfast salad.
This is the fourth consecutive year that Seneca students have won the middle school division.
"The judges all commented that this year's recipes were the best by far and that all teams had excelled in their dishes," said Vicki Fleming, director of the 4-H Youth Development Program for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, which sponsored the contest with Whole Foods Market.
The competition, held at the Whole Foods Market in Lake Grove, was designed to promote recipes that use local ingredients and can be easily worked into school menus.
Recipes were limited to five main ingredients, including two USDA ingredients used in school cafeterias.
Social Venture Challenge
A Westhampton Beach High School team's concept of reusable lunch bags that could be taken aboard airplanes made the group one of three finalists in Virtual Enterprises International's 2019 Social Venture Challenge.
The "Fresh Focus" team of Joe Commisso, Elena DeVita, Frank Lapinski and Jack Meigel goes on to compete in Manhattan on Wednesday for a chance to win $10,000 to start a real business.
The contest asked students to create a business concept that has a social or environmental impact.
Fresh Focus' virtual business was pegged to stylish, reusable lunch bags made from recycled cork that also meet Transportation Security Administration guidelines and can easily fit under an airplane seat, school officials said.
To participate, the team submitted an application, a business proposal, and one-minute video pitch.
St. Baldrick's Day
Many local schools showed solidarity for children battling cancer by holding head-shaving events last month to benefit the St. Baldrick's Foundation.
In Holtsville, Waverly Avenue Elementary School's students and staff raised more than $22,000 through a fundraiser held in honor of Kayla Spero, a freshman at Sachem High School East in Farmingville who is battling osteosarcoma.
In East Northport, students and staff raised more than $20,000 in honor of four past and present middle schoolers who have battled childhood cancer, including current sixth-grader Charlotte Stuertz, who is fighting leukemia.
Nathaniel Woodhull Elementary School in Shirley raised about $1,600 through an event celebrating fifth-grader Frankie Mattera, who was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma about five years ago and currently is in remission.
Business plan competition
Four Long Island teams with intriguing names — AstroDough of Syosset High School, Comforting Canines of George W. Hewlett High School, Nova of Patchogue-Medford High School, and Poppy of Huntington High School — are among 32 nationwide to qualify for the 2019 National Business Plan Competition.
The contest will be held during Virtual Enterprises International's Youth Business Summit in Manhattan on Monday.
To reach the national level, the teams first were among nearly 100 simulated businesses at the Long Island Regional Conference and Exhibition in January. They then advanced to the next round at American Portfolios Financial Services in Holbrook in February.
The competition challenges students to demonstrate global business expertise through written business plans and oral presentations.