Teams from Ward Melville High School in East Setauket and Paul J. Gelinas Junior High School in Setauket qualified for the Science Olympiad National Tournament — the only groups on Long Island to advance to the competition's top level.
The Ward Melville team placed second among 56 high school teams at the state tournament in Syracuse, while the Gelinas Junior High group won first-place honors among 39 middle school teams at that state tournament in East Syracuse. Both schools are in the Three Village school district.
Now, they are among 120 teams advancing to the national tournament May 31-June 1 in Ithaca. Only New York's first- and second-place teams are eligible for the national level.
"Qualifying for the Science Olympiad National Tournament is always Ward Melville’s primary objective and driving motivation," coach Jenny Serigano said. "In the past several years, our team has experienced a tumultuous mix of stunning victories and heart-wrenching defeats."
The competition challenges teams of up to 15 students to vie in written and hands-on events on topics that range from fossils to herpetology to thermodynamics.
To reach their respective state-level contests, the teams had competed in the 2019 Eastern Long Island Regional Science Olympiads, where Ward Melville placed first among 52 Suffolk County high school teams and Gelinas placed first among 34 Suffolk middle school teams.
Students at West Hollow Middle School are getting a deeper understanding of alternative agriculture practices that could sustain food supplies in harsh growing environments through the school's new Farmbot — a farming robot that automates the process of growing produce by planting seeds, watering plants and eliminating weeds, among other things.
The produce is being used in a farm-to-table project in which the school's family and consumer science teachers incorporate it into recipes taught to students. The children also intend to grow crops for donation to Island Harvest.
"The goal is to combine computational thinking, data collection and analysis, electronics and prototyping, and general good science practices to better understand plants, food production, and the resources needed to reduce food insecurity," West Hollow science teacher Christopher Regini said.
Amber Caldas of Longwood High School and Katherine Cottral of Islip Middle School placed first in the high school and middle school divisions, respectively, of the Long Island Family and Consumer Sciences Professionals' Sustainability Challenge 2019.
The challenge asked students to demonstrate knowledge of the principles of sustainability by creating a project in a career and technical education content module that illustrated ways in which the environment is affected by humans and their activities.
Caldas was awarded $150 for her project that made an outfit from recycled paper and plastic. Cottral was awarded $150 for her project about reducing waste by buying in bulk and using ingredients already at home.
Twelve Long Island educators have been named 2019 Distinguished Teachers by the Harvard Club of Long Island for their positive impact on students' lives. They were nominated by Harvard University undergraduates who went to local schools and were honored during an award ceremony at the Heritage Club at Bethpage.
Winners and their schools are: Megan Ferguson-Koci and Leonardo Rivera, Baldwin High School; Christine Bellino, Brentwood High School; Derek Pope, Commack High School; Devon Parkes, East Hampton High School; Kathryn Lindholm, Garden City High School; Joshua Smith, Jericho High School; Robert Klang, Manhasset High School; David O’Connor, Paul D. Schreiber High School, Port Washington; Kathy Bland, Syosset High School; Thea Catalano, Walt Whitman High School, Huntington Station; and Stacey Susinno, Carrie Palmer Weber Middle School, Port Washington.