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School Notebook: Riverhead team's CSI win

Riverhead High School students have the evidence to prove they are the region's best in forensic science.

The school's 12-student team beat out 36 other tristate area squads earlier this month to take first place in the 11th annual CSI Challenge at Stony Brook University. The 10-hour competition, titled "Rhythm & Clues," required teams to solve the mock murder of a fictional band's vocalist by interrogating costumed actors and analyzing everything from fingerprints to hair to teeth impressions.

Brooklyn Technical High School placed second, and South Side High School in Rockville Centre took third.

"The kids see the 'CSI' shows on TV, and they think everything gets solved in 40 minutes," said Kelly Evers, who advised the Riverhead team with fellow teacher Susan Monahan. "This shows how much hard work goes into it and makes them respect the process."

Evers, who called her team "highly organized," said they were one of only a handful of teams to find a flash drive containing some key information hidden in the "victim's" clothing.

As a result, they were able to pin the murder on a roadie who had been recently fired by the band.

"It was sewn into the victim's waistband," junior Kiana Wiwczar said of the flash drive. "We were done going through the crime scene, and someone suggested we undress the victim -- and we found it."

Other team members were Josh Bieling, Nicole Brenton, Kristen Gevinski, Shauna Huizing, Elliot Jones, Jessica Langdon, Mariah Messina, Paige Molinari, Michael Skinner, Brian Weinhardt and Liz Wells.

The event was coordinated by Forensics Worlds, a Smithtown-based organization committed to education in forensic science and criminal law.


$9,000 donation

Cold Spring Harbor High School students Kelly Rose Gubitosi and Emily Tyree recently raised $9,000 by asking friends and family to make donations for their Sweet Sixteen parties in lieu of gifts. The funds benefited the Making Headway Foundation, a nonprofit that supports families of children with brain tumors.


New superintendent

Kelly Fallon has been named superintendent of Half Hollow Hills Central School District effective Sept. 1, replacing the retiring Sheldon Karnilow.

Fallon most recently served as the district's deputy superintendent and also has been assistant superintendent of district administration and assistant superintendent of elementary and middle level instruction.


'Reel smiles'

Third-graders at Joseph A. Edgar Intermediate School recently won the third-grade division in a "Reel Smiles" video contest coordinated by the New York State Dental Association. The contest required children to submit creative videos with a positive oral health message. Their video, titled "Pearly Whites," incorporated lessons about proper brushing and flossing techniques and promoted a "Sugarless Wednesday" in which kids were challenged to avoid sweets for the day.


Essay contest winners

Four Suffolk County students were grand-prize winners in a recent essay contest held by the New York State United Teachers' Long Island Presidents Council on the theme "I Feel Creative When . . . " The contest required students to write and record essays for judging on content and oral delivery.

Winners were Kaylie Mancino of Lynwood Elementary School in Farmingville, Hana Moskowitz of Northport High School, Megan O'Haire of Smithtown Elementary School and Alexandra Reksten of South Ocean Middle School in Patchogue. They each won $500, and their essays will soon air on 11 local radio stations.


History Day

Long Island students had 11 of 54 winning projects at the state level of New York State History Day, a contest sponsored by the state's historical association. Students created research projects on the theme "Debate and Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences."

Hauppauge: Jonah Belser, Greg Nelson and Frank Poma of Hauppauge High School; Luke Cowden of Hauppauge Middle School; Herricks: Corrin Chow, Daniel Cohanpour, Stacy Jacob, Abhiraj Mathur, Hewon Park and Meena Yoo of Herricks High School; Hewlett: Jason Brooks and Allison Schlissel of George W. Hewlett High School; Huntington: Brielle Blatt, Samantha Palmer and Collin Richardson of Huntington High School; Jericho: Akash Advaney, Dan Esposito, Kanav Gupta and Rahiq Rafeeq of Jericho Middle School; Manhasset: Morgan Rielly of St. Mary's High School; Syosset: Elijah Baum and Hunter Rosenblume of Syosset High School.

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