Long Island students took two of the top three awards in a prestigious international science fair this month.
Raymond Yin, 17, a senior at Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, and Albert Kim, 18, a senior at Manhasset High School, both won a Grand Award in the seventh annual International Sustainable World (Energy, Engineering & Environment) Project Olympiad, also known as I-SWEEEP.
As victors, the two teens each received a $1,500 check.
This year's competition, which took place April 28 to May 4 in Houston, drew 385 projects from nearly 70 countries. Finalists were selected to compete after winning at state or national science fairs.
Yin's project, which won in I-SWEEEP's energy category, explored the creation of a membrane that can be used to dehydrate ethanol, thereby "significantly increasing" the ability to produce ethanol in a less expensive way, he said
Kim's project, which won in I-SWEEEP's environment category, proposed a potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease using the HTB-11 human neuroblastoma cell line by demonstrating the potential effects of an environmental toxin called 4-nonylphenol. He also was awarded an all-expense-paid trip to present at the Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar in September.
"This is one of the greatest things that's ever happened to me," Kim said.
I-SWEEEP was organized by Harmony Public Schools, a group of 40 college preparatory charter schools in Texas.
Robert Mayo, a junior at Bay Shore High School, was among a group of 20 students throughout New York to recently receive 2014 Achievement Awards in Writing from the National Council of Teachers of English.
The award is intended to encourage high school students in their writing and publicly recognize some of the nation's best student writers.
Eight Nassau County students also were among those to receive this year's award.
Pie in the face
Students at William E. DeLuca Jr. Elementary School were rewarded earlier this month with an opportunity to throw pies in the face of principal Norann McManus after exceeding a goal of reading 70,000 minutes in the month of April.
In total, the K-5 students read more than 101,000 minutes collectively. The top two readers in each grade level got to throw pies at the principal.
The effort was held in conjunction with the school's Parents as Reading Partners program, a New York State PTA program that asks parents to read at home with children for a minimum of 15 minutes a day.
"Anything for the kids," McManus said. "If this challenge gets them excited to read, then I'm up for it."
The Rocket and Aviation Club of St. Anthony's High School was ranked this spring among the top 100 teams nationwide in the Team America Rocketry Challenge.
The ranking, among more than 700 squads participating, qualified the school's team to compete in the national finals in Washington, D.C., earlier this month.
"We worked so hard to get things right -- so many hours testing and retesting," said Paul Tonna, co-president of the school's club. "It was worth every moment that we spent."
This year's contest challenged students to design and build a rocket that would climb to 825 feet and stay aloft for between 48 and 50 seconds, using two same-sized parachutes as a recovery device. Two eggs had to be transported and returned to the ground unbroken.
The annual contest was sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Association of Rocketry.
Twelve Long Island students are among about 1,000 high-school seniors nationwide winning corporate-sponsored scholarships through the National Merit Scholarship Corp.
Some of these scholarships provide a single payment of between $2,500 and $5,000, while others are renewable for up to four years of undergraduate study and provide annual stipends that can reach $10,000 a year.
The local winners are: Greta Huang of Commack High School, Bernadette Haig of Herricks High School, Evan Komorowski of Rocky Point High School, Bryan Wehner of Smithtown High School West, Donald Mathews of St. Anthony's High School in South Huntington; Austin Chen of Syosset High School; Patrick Zakrzewski of Walt Whitman High School in South Huntington, and Charlotte Broadbent, Luran He, Harrison Li, Raymond Yin and Jennifer Zhong of Ward Melville High School in East Setauket.