Two Long Island schools have won top spots in a prestigious regional competition.
Teams from Huntington High School and South Side High School in Rockville Centre took first and second place, respectively, this month in the 2013 New York STEP Regional Science Bowl at Farmingdale State College. STEP stands for Science & Technology Entry Program.
The schools will vie in the National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C., April 25-29.
"We're developing our future," South Side team facilitator Herb Weiss said of the bowl's importance. Of his team's success, he said: "I attribute it to the caliber of our kids. They are naturally gifted."
The science bowl is a "Jeopardy!"-style academic competition designed to encourage students to pursue careers in math and science. Four Long Island high schools -- Amityville, Farmingdale, Huntington and South Side -- emerged from the round-robin portion and competed in a playoff round, with Huntington finishing first.
That team would have advanced to the national level, but another Huntington team already qualified this winter by winning the 2013 Long Island Regional Science Bowl at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Rules state that only one team per school may qualify.
South Side then won a playoff match against Farmingdale.
"The team knew going in that, no matter the outcome, they couldn't attend nationals," Huntington team coach Lori Kenny said. "This team just shows me how dedicated they are to striving for excellence."
Members of the Huntington team that competed at Farmingdale State are Emaad Khwaja, Jessica Bonilla, Sabrina Palacios, Jason Stickell, Josh Watkins and Frank Yeh.
The competition is coordinated by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.
Funds for Long Beach
Long Beach school district lost five of its six gyms -- as well as most equipment and uniforms for its athletic teams -- because of flooding from the storm, district officials said.
"We strongly believe in students helping students and know it could have been Northport instead of Long Beach that needed to recover," said Northport senior Tucker Ingraham, who along with two classmates presented the check to Long Beach's school board Feb. 12. "We are all in this together and should help each other when adversity strikes."
Dodge for a Cure
Earl L. Vandermeulen High School raised $12,000 this month through a dodgeball fundraiser titled Dodge to Cure Diabetes to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Senior Justin Jones organized the event, which attracted nine teams of 10 students.
In other news, the school's Interact Club collected more than 60 pairs of jeans for local homeless shelters by participating in Dosomething.org's Teens for Jeans campaign.
Junior LEGO League
Eighteen Long Island teams competed this month in the fifth annual Junior FIRST LEGO League Expo at Longwood High School in Middle Island.
The competition challenged students ages 6 to 9 to make a model with LEGOs that demonstrates ways to make the lives of senior citizens easier. FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.
Suffolk County's winners were: Girl Scouts of Suffolk County Z-Bots of Central Islip (Team 345) and The Creators of Commack (Team 2425), Against All Odds Award; Evergreens of E. Northport (Team 1312), Teamwork Award; Super Scoopers of Nesconset (Team 344) and Magic Movie Builders of Melville (Team 1358), Show Me Poster Award; LEGOnators of Blue Point (Team 861), Reviewers Award; LEGO Maniacs of Huntington Station (Team 57) and Mighty Mini Builders of Centerport (Team 1002), Model Design Award.
The expo event was sponsored by the School-Business Partnerships of Long Island.
Manhattan art exhibit
The artwork of four local teens was featured this month at The Lobby Gallery in Manhattan. The "Duality" exhibit included works by Lauren Bertocci of Holy Trinity High School in Hicksville, Denise Losee of Mepham High in North Bellmore, Chaz Scala of Kellenberg Memorial High in Uniondale and Joshua Toor of Huntington High. It featured paintings and mixed-media works. The students all attend Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts in Wheatley Heights, a summer arts camp.