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Amityville High hosts writing salon for students

When it comes to writing, Amityville teens aren't afraid to express themselves on the page or in person.

In an effort to mimic old-fashioned writing salons, Amityville Memorial High School recently hosted its first Portfolio Share Day in which students separated into small groups to share their original poetry and short stories in an intimate roundtable setting.

The event included healthy snacks and classical music playing in the background.

"All of the great writers came out of salons where they would discuss and critique each other's works," said English director Judith Riordan. "There is a whole world out there that still appreciates writing, and I hope [the students] appreciate the geniuses that may be among them."

The program was initiated by the district's Literacy Team, a group of teachers from all academic departments that strives to aid students in acquiring full literacy in writing and reading.

The team said that it plans to implement the portfolio system in all grades in the near future.

"Reading other people's works can give you new ideas for your own writing," said sophomore Haley Jacobsen.

EAST SETAUKETBusiness-minded winA five-student team from Ward Melville High School - Scott Brekne, Eugene Cheung, Jonathan Corona, Nevin Daniel and Prashant Kota - recently beat 15 Suffolk County teams to take first place in Briarcliffe College's fifth annual High School Business Contest. The competition asked teams to devise and present a business plan to a panel of judges.

Ward Melville's idea was a company called GamerNet, a Web site that enabled users to subscribe at varying membership levels to buy and review games and gaming devices.

Teams from Patchogue-Medford and Westhampton Beach high schools finished second and third, respectively.

FARMINGVILLEPrizewinning good deed Anthony Gange, a student at Lynwood Avenue Elementary School in Farmingville, was recently named the grand-prize winner in a "Do a Good Deed" essay contest sponsored by Huntington Bay Dental in Huntington. For winning, he received a new Apple computer.

Gange's essay described his daily visits to a friend who suffered burns over 75 percent of his body in a recent accident.

ISLIPOnstage at Radio CityIslip High School's Swing chorus sang "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" last week before a performance of the "Radio City Christmas Spectacular" at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan. The 19-student group was chosen based on a taped performance it sent to Radio City representatives.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us," said senior Toni Ann Fanizzi. "To perform onstage at Radio City and be part of the show is something that we will never forget."

MIDDLE ISLANDSalute to trombonesSeventy-six student trombonists from schools throughout Long Island gathered at Longwood High School last month to participate in the district's second annual Trombone Day, a celebration of the instrument.

As part of the program, students in grades 5-12 engaged in a clinic, rehearsal and performance with Ray Anderson, director of jazz studies at Stony Brook University.

WEST ISLIPRetiring superintendentBeth Virginia Blau, superintendent of West Islip Public Schools, has announced her plans to retire effective July 2010. She has served in the position for the last nine years.

To aid in the search for a replacement, the community has been asked to take a survey on the district Web site wi.k12.ny.us to select qualities they believe a new candidate should possess.

ISLANDWIDEScholar semifinalistsFifty-three Long Island seniors were among 2,230 students nationwide to be named Coca-Cola Scholars Program semifinalists last month by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. The program awards $3.4 million in achievement-related scholarships to 250 students each spring. Suffolk County semifinalists were:

Bohemia: Kevin Garzon of Connetquot High School; Centereach: Sophia Pierre-Gatke of Centereach High School; Commack: Ashley Curcio, Julia Natalie, Francesca Mileo, Alexis Tchaconas and Brian Ward of Commack High School; Dix Hills: Kimberly Brazier and Masra Shameem of Half Hollow Hills High School West; East Setauket: Rafael Garcia-Esteve of Ward Melville High School; Huntington Station: Jocelyn Addeo, Mark Egger and Kristina Maimis of Walt Whitman High School; Kings Park: Jason Chaves of Kings Park High School; Middle Island: Ashley Garguilo of Longwood High School; Medford: Michael Accardo of Patchogue-Medford High School; Northport: Victoria Walters of Northport High School; Riverhead: Jessica Buthmann and Katherine Skinner of Riverhead High School; Smithtown: Heather Towey of Smithtown High School West; Valentine Esposito of Smithtown High School East; Southold: Kaitlin Daddona of Southold High School; West Islip: John Schneller of West Islip High School; Joe Micheels of St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School.

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