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Suffolk: Suffolk BOCES pair win auto contest, $45G in scholarships

Matthew Uricchio, left, and Kevin Donaldson, Smithtown High

Matthew Uricchio, left, and Kevin Donaldson, Smithtown High School West and BOCES tech students, won first place and scholarships in a regional contest hosted by an auto dealers association in January 2013.

Two Western Suffolk BOCES students won about $45,000 in scholarships for taking first place among local teams in a regional automotive competition.

Kevin Donaldson and Matthew Uricchio, Smithtown High School West students who take courses at the BOCES Wilson Technological Center in Northport, were the victors among 15 Long Island teams. The contest is part of the National Automotive Technology Competition, developed by the Greater New York Auto Dealers Association.

In the January regionals each two-person team had 90 minutes to diagnose and repair vehicular problems such as inadequate tire pressure or electrical malfunctions.

"We couldn't believe it," Uricchio said of the win. "It's pretty cool knowing that we're among the top auto students in the area." They will compete Feb. 11 at the state level, collaborating to debug a 2014 Toyota Corolla. They will vie against about 15 other teams from around the state at an event in Whitestone, Queens.

Students in the top four runner-up teams from the regional event also advanced to the state level. They are Ted Beach and Jeffrey Yac of H.B. Ward Technical and Academic Center in Riverhead, Joseph Mucaria and Nicholas Sanita of the Levittown Automotive Program, Eric Downs and Francesco Nicotra of H.B. Ward, and Manny Mojica and Ruben Tabares of Joseph M. Barry Career and Technical Education Center in Westbury.



Swapping high schools

Students at Longwood and Shoreham-Wading River high schools recently participated in a cultural exchange in which a handful of teens swapped buildings to experience the similarities and differences between the two neighboring school communities.

The program was designed to help students overcome stereotypes of other schools and witness different school policies.

"Many Longwood kids only know Longwood and have no idea what other schools are like," said Longwood math teacher Jayson Kiang, who organized his school's exchange effort with co-worker Brian Leyhane. "It's a real eye-opening experience for them."



Computer science

Smithtown High School West's Math Honor Society recently launched an after-school program designed to spark interest in the field of computer science among the district's middle school students.

The 14-week program began by introducing "a computer lab filled with eighth-graders" at Accompsett Middle School to Codecademy, an online interactive platform that offers free coding classes, school officials said. It kicked off in conjunction with Computer Science Education Week in December.



Spray paint in space

A team from Milton L. Olive Middle School was among 15 winners nationwide in the Student Space Flight Experiments Program, which challenges students to propose microgravity experiments to fly in low orbit on the International Space Station.

The middle school students' experiment will compare the effectiveness of Rust-Oleum's Stops Rust spray paint on Earth and in a microgravity environment.

The program is coordinated by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, in partnership with NanoRacks, a company based in Houston, Texas, that provides microgravity space access at the space station to commercial customers.



Business leadership

Thirty-one Long Island students won top awards for their presentations in the 11th annual Business Leadership Competition hosted by the Young Professionals Chamber of Commerce.

The competition, with entries in categories from fashion marketing to hospitality services, included more than 340 students from 14 local high schools. The young professionals group is a program of the Huntington Chamber of Commerce.

First-place winners were: Stephen Baruch, Colin Casaccio, Patrick Casaccio, Casey Dugan, Mike Guaglione, Katie Hughes, Kaitlin Kline, Gabriella Martino, Allie Napoli and Jillian Weiss of Commack High School; Kristina Ricigliano of Garden City High School; Zayan Ahmed, Natasha Biajaj, Justin Gewirtz, Eric Gesuale, Jack Kronrad, Dylan Mastrandea, Justin Schwartz, Areeta Shah and Bradley Weltmann of Half Hollow Hills High School East in Dix Hills; Victoria Saccatti and Skylar Schneider of Half Hollow Hills High School West in Dix Hills; Emily Chisholm and Jenny Peteka of Northport High School; Cailin Cook of Oyster Bay High School; Catherine Aiello, Jordana Lunz and Misha Patel of Walt Whitman High School in Huntington Station; and James Charlton, Mark Polcer, Colton Schwartz and Sydnie Wittenberg of Western Suffolk BOCES' Wilson Technological Center in Northport.

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