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School Notebook: A magnetic win

Center Moriches Middle School students recently outperformed their peers on the field -- the magnetic field.

The school won eight of 21 trophies -- the most of any Long Island school -- last month to take top honors at Brookhaven National Laboratory's Middle School Maglev Contest, a competition in which students race vehicles that use magnetic force to levitate and propel over a track. Students from Longwood Junior High School in Middle Island won the second most trophies with four, while students from Albert G. Prodell Middle School in Shoreham won three.

"I thought we could win as many trophies as last year," said Center Moriches technology teacher Dan Fournier, noting the school won six last year. "One thing I do to motivate our team is put up the best times from the past contests. It gives them something to shoot for."

About 200 students from 12 Long Island middle schools competed in seven racing categories: electrified track, wind power, gravity, self-propelled balloon, self-propelled other, futuristic and scale-model design. Judging was based on speed, efficiency, appearance, and students' outlines of their designs.

Center Moriches' first-place winners were Kevin Albert, Chris Ferguson, Devon Mockridge and Paige Monaco. The school's second- and third-place winners were Matthew Argyropoulos, Zach Brady, Kaitlyn Guteras and Kyle Parks.

"My design was a plastic platform with four magnets on the bottom," said Mockridge, who won the electrified track category. "My motor was raised on a hollow cylinder so air would flow straight to the propeller and be more aerodynamic."

Other Suffolk schools to win were North Babylon's Robert Moses Middle School (two trophies) and Northport Middle School (one trophy).

COMMACKGoing bald for a cure

Commack High School raised more than $50,000 -- twice the amount of 2010 -- last month through a second annual St. Baldrick's Day fundraiser in which 270 students, teachers and community members had their hair shorn to benefit the St. Baldrick's Foundation, which funds research into child cancer.

To raise funds, participants solicited sponsors and then let a group of 60 volunteers shave their heads over four hours.

"Together, we can accomplish great things," said math teacher Lee Tunick, who coordinated the event along with special education teachers Bill Scaduto and Dan Revera.

BOHEMIABand gets a 'cherry' gig

Connetquot High School's marching band was one of 12 schools nationwide to perform earlier this month at the 99th annual National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade in Washington. The mile-long parade, which attracted 300,000 spectators, traveled past the Washington Monument and White House along Constitution Avenue.

Connetquot's performance included renditions of Sheryl Crow's "Soak Up the Sun" and The Doobie Brothers' "Takin' It to the Streets." To get selected, the 180-member band submitted an application that included a video of past performances.

COUNTYWIDEMath tournament

Matt Tomko of Sayville Middle School and Norman Chen of Accompsett Middle School in Smithtown were named first-place winners last month in the seventh- and eighth-grade divisions, respectively, of the Suffolk County Middle School Math Tournament at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Commack Middle School won in the event's team portion.

The competition, coordinated by The Museum of Mathematics in Manhattan, consisted of a 30-minute individual testing session followed by a 20-minute team competition.

ISLANDWIDEScholarship winners

Eleven Long Island students were among some 800 black high school seniors nationwide to win $2,500 achievement scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation based on academic excellence, teacher recommendations and SAT scores. Winners were:

Baldwin: Michael Schroeder of Baldwin High School; Brentwood: Willie Dawkins of Brentwood High School; East Meadow: Norman Mathews of W. Tresper Clarke High School; Middle Island: Caleb Amponsah and Davida Bynum of Longwood High School; Mineola: Nathaniel Joseph and James McCaffrey of Chaminade High School; Plainview: Bechir-August Pierre of Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School; Smithtown: Erin Purdie of Smithtown High School East; Angelina Seffens of Smithtown High School West; Westhampton Beach: Matthew Floyd of Westhampton Beach High School.

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