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Suffolk: Students envision future technology

From left are Ward Melville High School team

From left are Ward Melville High School team coach George Baldo, team members Nimra Ghani, Adina Nawaz, Sapna Nath, Swati Gupta, and adviser Diana Murray. Credit: Three Village Central School District

Two teams from Long Island schools have reached the national level of a prestigious science competition that challenges students to imagine technology that could exist in 20 years.

A four-student squad from Ward Melville High School in East Setauket -- Nimra Ghani, Swati Gupta, Sapna Nath and Adina Nawaz -- was one of six regional winners in the grade 10-12 division of the 2014 ExploraVision competition.

Three Locust Valley Intermediate School students -- Roarke Creedon, Shawn Kapoor and Matthew Klein -- were among the six regional winners in the contest's grade 4-6 division.

Ward Melville's project aims to preclude the onset of cancer by providing a method to create a new drug that reverses methylation of the BRCA gene, allowing it to reactivate and again work to suppress breast cancer, coach George Baldo said.

"I'm very proud of the girls -- they are top-notch science students," he said of the team.

Locust Valley's idea proposes making flights safer with an anti-icing innovation that involves nano-imprinting the lotus leaf pattern onto a plane's exterior to help repel water.

"When our students apply their research and analysis skills in a nationwide competition, it helps to broaden their view of the world," Locust Valley coach Anne Joyce said. "Students see their ideas are possible, that the future is in reach, and they can play an active role in moving our world forward."

The teams' next task is to create a website promoting their ideas. They will be judged against the teams in their division, and winners will be named April 18.

The contest is coordinated by Toshiba and the National Science Teachers Association. Winners will be awarded $10,000 and $5,000 savings bonds for first- and second-place finishes, respectively.



Math-a-thon; iGames

John Quincy Adams Primary School recently raised $7,985 -- the school's biggest amount to date -- through a math-a-thon to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

The math-a-thon challenged kids to solicit pledges from family and friends based on the students' efforts solving problems in a "funbook," school officials said.

In other news, May Moore Primary School physical education classes recently combined technology and health through 15 fitness stations that included 100-foot screens and video games as part of iGame4, a Mount Sinai program.



Championship drill meet

Riverhead High School's National Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps placed third overall this month out of 58 units from schools in the northeastern United States at the Area Four Championship Drill Meet in New Jersey.

In addition to the team's feat, Riverhead placed in several categories: first in color guard, second in armed platoon, and third in unarmed platoon and academic team.

In other news, Roanoke Elementary School Principal Tom Payton dressed as a chicken earlier this month when kids met his challenge of reading 70,000 collective minutes as part of the school's Reading Week.


New superintendent

Yiendhy Farrelly has been appointed superintendent of the West Babylon school district, effective Jan. 10, 2015. She will replace Anthony Cacciola, who announced his plans to retire.

Farrelly has been the district's assistant superintendent for human resources since 2009; before that, she was student services director. Before joining the district in 2006, she worked in the Valley Stream Central High School District, where she was a special-education teacher for grades 7-12, head of the junior high school's special education department, and principal of the district's summer program.

"West Babylon is my second home, and I am so grateful to be given such an important responsibility," Farrelly said.



Distinguished Teachers

Fourteen Long Island teachers have been named 2014 Distinguished Teachers for their impact on student lives by the Harvard Club of Long Island. They were nominated by Harvard University undergraduates who went to local schools.

Winners were Daniel Bachman of Massapequa High School, Michael Castellano of Lindenhurst High School, Lori Christensen and Greg Wagner of Island Trees High School in Levittown, George Drakatos of Baldwin High School, Karen Hughes of Herricks High School, Erik Johnson of The Stony Brook School, Debbie Langone of East Meadow High School, Marsha Lasky of Long Island School for the Gifted in Huntington Station, Peter Macchia of Farmingdale High School, David Miles of North Shore Hebrew Academy in Great Neck, Allison Noonan of Syosset High School, Karen Scharbach of St. Anthony's High School in South Huntington, and Marcia Untracht of Manhasset High School.

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