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Suffolk: Longwood trio moot court winners

Longwood High students, with adviser Diane Eisen, left,

Longwood High students, with adviser Diane Eisen, left, won the Suffolk County Moot Court Championship last month. They are Sara Smith, Joseph DeQuarto and Ashleigh Somers, right. (May 2012) Credit: Handout

Longwood High School students have an award-winning ability to argue.

A three-student team from the school -- Sara Smith, Joseph DeQuarto and Ashleigh Somers -- won first place last month in the 2012 Suffolk County Moot Court Championship at Northport High School.

The impromptu-style tournament gives teams 10 minutes to review legal cases in an area dealing with negligence, personal injury law or contractual law cases. They then must prepare for a 30-minute legal proceeding before a panel of judges.

The tournament is designed to introduce students to civil laws while encouraging them to think on their feet and enhance public-speaking skills.

"I find this an amazing feat, because not many adults can accomplish what these three were capable of doing, in seven consecutive exhausting rounds, with no advance preparation or legal advice from teachers," said team adviser Diane Eisen, a business law teacher at Longwood High School.

The competition differs from mock trial, Eisen said, because students are not given weeks before the event to prepare for a simulated case. Instead, teams have just a matter of minutes between matches and "start all over again" with a new case and topic, she said.

Longwood's team went undefeated for six rounds before defeating Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School in the finals to take this year's title.

Other participating high schools included Elmont, East Islip, Northport, South Side in Rockville Centre, Commack and Ezra Academy in Forest Hills.



LI Math Fair

Commack school district students won 14 gold medals -- the most of any school district in Suffolk County -- in the 2012 Long Island Math Fair last month at Hofstra University.

The contest, sponsored by the Nassau and Suffolk math teachers associations, required students in grades 7-12 to submit an essay on a math topic of their choice, as well as give a 15-minute presentation.

Other top-performing districts in the county and their gold medal totals were Half Hollow Hills with seven, Northport with five, and Smithtown with three. Babylon, Hauppauge and Three Village in East Setauket each won one gold medal.



New principal

Matthew Murphy has been appointed principal of Earl L. Vandermeulen High School, effective July 1. He replaces Roseann Cirnigliaro, who is retiring.

Murphy most recently worked in the Hauppauge school district as director of math for grades K-12 for five years. Before that, he was director of math and science and assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in the South Country Central School District.

"I look forward to helping continue the standard of excellence the Port Jefferson school district is known for," Murphy said.



Piano prowess

Eight Suffolk County students have been named first-place winners in various ability divisions of the Suffolk Piano Teachers Foundation's 7th Annual Piano Competition. They will perform at one of two recitals at Stony Brook University's Staller Center for the Arts on June 6.

Winning students were Julia D'Alto of Arrowhead Elementary School in East Setauket, Cole Hempel of Westhampton Beach Elementary School, Maya Hasegawa of West Middle Island Elementary School, Amy Chang of Edna Louise Spears Elementary School in Port Jefferson, Charles Sun of Nassakeag Elementary School in East Setauket, Michael Rodriguez of St. Anthony's High School in Melville, Eugene Iovine III of Sachem East High School in Farmingville, and Michael Kearney, a home-schooled student from Mount Sinai.



Coca-Cola finalists

Seven Long Island high school seniors were among 250 students nationwide named 2011-12 finalists for four-year, achievement-based scholarships to be issued this spring by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation.

Finalists were interviewed by a selection committee last month in Atlanta. Fifty of them will receive $20,000 scholarships, and the other 200 will receive $10,000.

Local finalists are Saad Amer of Patchogue-Medford High School, Jacqueline Aquino of Elmont Memorial Junior-Senior High School, Matthew Cohen of Bay Shore High School, Megan Goldberg of H. Frank Carey High School in Franklin Square, Stephanie Morales of Freeport High School, Jacklyn Sullivan of Gen. Douglas MacArthur High School in Levittown and Linda Zambrano of Southampton High School.


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