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Student at Bellmore's Grand Avenue among Broadcom MASTERS finalists

Tyler Bissoondial, an eighth-grader at Grand Avenue Middle

Tyler Bissoondial, an eighth-grader at Grand Avenue Middle School in Bellmore, was recently chosen as one of the 30 finalists in the Broadcom MASTERS competition. Credit: Bellmore-Merrick School District

A student from Grand Avenue Middle School in Bellmore is one of 30 finalists nationwide in a middle school competition for science, technology, engineering and math — also known as STEM.

Tyler Bissoondial, an eighth-grader, has been named a finalist in Broadcom MASTERS, which is coordinated by the Broadcom Foundation and the Society for Science & the Public. This year’s competition received a record 2,537 applicants, with finalists selected by a panel of scientists and engineers. The competition’s name is an acronym for Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars.

Bissoondial won $500 and a trip to Washington, D.C., from Oct. 19 to 24. His school will receive $1,000 for STEM activities.

“I’m very excited, and I hope that once I get to nationals I’ll be able to do well,” Bissoondial, 13, said.

Bissoondial investigated the mechanisms by which salt stress affects the fertility of plants, demonstrating that changes in the level of specific molecules, called microRNAs, can affect their development and fertility. Understanding the mechanisms by which plants respond to salt stress can help develop strategies to improve fertilization and crop production, he said.

Bissoondial conducted the research as a seventh-grader under the guidance of science research teacher Tami Cruz. He was nominated to participate in the competition after winning first place last spring in the Long Island Science & Engineering Fair.

Other metro area students among the competition’s top 300 were Michael Jang of Commack High School, Caroline Crouchley of Garden City Middle School, and Austin Crouchley of Regis High School in Manhattan. Austin Crouchley attended Garden City Middle School last school year.


New principal

Erin Marone has been appointed principal of Florence A. Smith Elementary School 2. She replaced Thomas Capone, who retired.

Marone was previously an acting principal at Tuttle Avenue and Dayton Avenue elementary schools, both in the Eastport-South Manor School District.

“I am excited to get to know the Oceanside School 2 community and work with our first- through sixth-grade students to dive deeper in the progression of learning,” Marone said. “I am most looking forward to building relationships with staff and students as well as collaborating with our Shared Decision-Making Team to focus on mindfulness, mental health and wellness.”


New principal

Kevin Bonanno is the new principal of Harry B. Thompson Middle School. He replaced James Kassebaum, who retired.

Bonnano was previously an assistant principal at the school for 10 years. Before that, he was an administrative assistant and social studies teacher.

“I am so excited to start the school year and continue excellence we have established in the school and our great district,” Bonanno said. “I look forward to leading our staff and students to reach their potential.”


International Day of Peace

Many Nassau schools hosted activities last month to foster tolerance, kindness and understanding in celebration of the International Day of Peace.

In Lynbrook, Marion Street Elementary School held a “Pinwheels for Peace” ceremony in which students colored 450 pinwheels. Children then gathered around a “peace pole,” stuck their colorful creations into the grass and sang “A Million Dreams,” from the 2017 musical film “The Greatest Showman.”

In East Rockaway, students used chalk to create peace-themed artwork on the sidewalk at Centre Avenue Elementary School. Lessons also focused on character education, and classes created a “peace pledge” that will be displayed in classrooms.

In Freeport, the district hosted a 5k Peace Walk that included the unveiling of a “peace pole” in front of Archer Street Elementary School. The school’s chorus also performed K’naan’s “Wavin’ Flag” as students waved flags from different countries.


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