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Suffolk: LI students compete in maglev contests

Students from Robert Moses Middle School in North

Students from Robert Moses Middle School in North Babylon won eight of 21 trophies this spring at Brookhaven National Laboratory's 2013 Middle School Maglev Contest. Credit: Handout

Long Island schools recently competed on a different kind of field: a magnetic field.

Robert Moses Middle School in North Babylon won eight of 21 trophies in Brookhaven National Laboratory's 2013 Middle School Maglev Contest, an annual contest in which students race vehicles that use magnetic force to levitate and propel them over a track.

Meanwhile, Copiague and Great Neck South middle schools took the top spots in a similar competition held simultaneously at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City.

"This is something that we take seriously every year," said Robert Moses technology teacher Thomas Andrews, who credited his students' success to their troubleshooting skills. Of the competition's importance, he said: "We're teaching hands-on skills that these kids will be using in the trades."

The lab's competition attracted 100 students from seven Long Island middle schools and challenged them to design and construct vehicles judged on speed, efficiency, appearance and design process.

Center Moriches Middle School won the second-most trophies with five, Albert G. Prodell Middle School in Shoreham won four and Roslyn Middle School won three.

In the museum's competition, Great Neck South and Copiague middle schools, respectively, swept the wind and futuristic design categories, and students from both schools won in the gravity category.

"This really gave the kids a great opportunity to understand the importance of STEM," or science, technology, engineering and mathematics, said Catherine Bingham, the museum's education coordinator.



New principal

Gaurav Passi has been appointed principal of Bayport-Blue Point High School, effective July 1. He will replace Tim Hearny, who will be the district's assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.

Passi most recently served as principal of Long Beach High School for the past three years.



Dating violence

Veronica Lee, a sophomore at Commack High School, was recently named first-place winner of the Suffolk County Coalition Against Domestic Violence's "Express This!" Contest, which annually challenges Suffolk students in grades 6-12 to respond to issues of abuse and bullying in any creative format. This year's theme was "What is Dating Violence?"

The second-place winner was Abigail Dell'Orto, a junior at East Islip High School, and taking third place was Nicole Cutrone, a junior at West Babylon High School.

"Abuse and bullying are constant struggles for our youth," coalition educator Toni Calabrese said. "By educating them on these issues and allowing them to express themselves, we can help them become aware of how to grow up to a life without violence and abuse."



SCMEA scholarships

Eleven Suffolk County students recently won various scholarships issued by the Suffolk County Music Educators Association. The scholarships rewarded recipients with everything from tuition to the New York State Summer Music Festival, an international music camp for youth ages 11 to 25, to a spot in Ithaca College's Summer Music Academy.

Selected students were Sophia Bates of Timber Point Elementary School in East Islip, Mabel Burgos of Central Islip High School, Gabrielle Caine of Hampton Bays Middle School, Steven Foti of Commack Middle School, Julia Hu and Nima Mohammadi of Robert C. Murphy Junior High School in Stony Brook, Nathalia Kalukeethie of Brentwood High School, Kevin Leahy of Barton Elementary School in Patchogue, John Sterbens of Henry L. Stimson Middle School in Huntington Station, Leah Stevens of East Islip High School and Maya Takeuchi of Port Jefferson Middle School.



Promising young writers

Four Long Island students were among 51 nationwide to recently receive 2013 Certificates of Recognition from the National Council of Teachers of English as part of its Promising Young Writers Program. To be considered, students submitted two writing samples that were judged on content, purpose, audience, tone, word choice, organization and style.

Winners were Kim Robinson of Baldwin Middle School, Michelle Hu and Michelle Sun of Robert C. Murphy Junior High School in Stony Brook and Margaret Klimuszko of Manhasset Middle School.

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