Two Dix Hills students steered their way to a Long Island title last month in an auto technology competition.

Mansour Wahidi and Mike Zullo, seniors at Western Suffolk BOCES' Wilson Technological Center in Dix Hills and at Walt Whitman High School in South Huntington, finished first in the regional contest requiring diagnosis and repair of problems on a pre-rigged 2011 Toyota Corolla. They each received $10,000 in college scholarships.

This is the fifth regional win in the past six years for a Wilson Tech team, and in 2009 and 2010 Wilson Tech teams also won first at the state level and went on to the nationals.

"This is a pretty big accomplishment for us," said Wahidi. "We did a pre-delivery inspection and looked at everything on the car. It's like a real-life situation."

The competition - coordinated by Greater New York Auto Dealers Association - gave 24 teams 11/2 hours to troubleshoot problems ranging from low tire pressure to electrical malfunctions to missing lug nuts. Wahidi said his team's strategy was for him to evaluate the entire interior of the vehicle while Zullo "went through the engine bay."

In the end, they found 13 problems and were one of just a handful of teams to get the engine running, Zullo said.

"We're really proud of these two," said Wilson Tech automotive teacher Louis Guerra. "Both of these guys worked excellently together and are really into the automotive field."

Wahidi and Zullo did not place at the state level earlier this month at the Lincoln Technical Institute in Whitestone.


Garment District visit

Deer Park High School's fashion marketing classes recently viewed the fashion industry firsthand during a walking tour of the Garment District in Manhattan. Students visited such locations as the Fashion Walk of Fame and Mood Designer Fabrics - a store that has been featured on Bravo's "Project Runway" - where they viewed a cutting room floor and showroom.

In other news, pre-K students at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School recently built an igloo using 672 empty milk jugs and held classes inside it during lessons on hibernation and weather.


'Survivor Challenge'

Nassakeag Elementary School students recently tested their fitness and knowledge of Long Island during an "LI Survivor Challenge" modeled after the CBS "Survivor" show. The competition - coordinated by the school's physical education teachers - had kids split into "tribes" and take on trivia questions and 10 physical challenges.

Activities included "fishing" while walking across balance beams, using a foam bow and arrow, and swinging on a rope across a gap that represented the Long Island Sound.


'Distinguished School'

Westhampton Beach Middle School is one of 52 schools nationwide named a Distinguished School by Apple Inc. for the 2010-11 school year based on its "innovative use of technology." The school is in its seventh year of a program that provides laptops to all students.

"Our teachers embrace technology and continue to find innovative ways to engage students in 21st-century learning," said assistant superintendent Michael Radday.


'Bright Lights' awards

Sixteen Suffolk County educators received Bright Lights awards last month from the Association for Suffolk County Educators for Educational Technology, based on their efforts to creatively integrate technology into the classroom.

Winners and their districts are: Laureen Andria, Remsenberg-Speonk; Claire Birone, Babylon; Christine Bruno, Patchogue-Medford; Joanne Campo, Deer Park; Jim Diver, Half Hollow Hills; Sharon Donnelly, Sayville; Margaret Fasano, Comsewogue; Lauran Johnson, Elwood; John LaSalle, Brentwood; Tim Maroney, William Floyd; Susan McInerney, Connetquot; Nancy Murolo, Three Village; Stephanie Pawlik, Greenport; Victoria Ranaldo, Cold Spring Harbor; Melissa Tunstead, Westhampton Beach; and Nidia Vaz, Copiague.


Valentine's Day

Dozens of Long Island schools celebrated Valentine's Day this month with activities designed to illustrate compassion for friends, family and community members.

In Selden, students at the Bicycle Path Pre-K Center used heart shapes to learn counting and graphing. Meanwhile, Shoreham-Wading River High School's music department hosted a Valentine's Day-themed cabaret concert during a parent-teacher conference.

In Nassau County, more than 20,000 Valentine's Day cards for hospitalized veterans were homemade by elementary students as part of the county's "Valentines for Vets" program held in conjunction with National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans Week.

In New Hyde Park, students at Hillside Grade School wore clothing with red, white or hearts on it in celebration of a Spirit Week held in conjunction with Valentine's Day.

New food at Yankee Stadium … Top 100 LI Softball and Baseball players Credit: Newsday

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