It was showtime for local robotics teams last month as dozens of motorized creations came to life in a competition to be named the region's best.

More than 2,000 students from 50 high schools in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut gathered at the 15th annual Long Island Regional FIRST Robotics Competition at Hofstra University. FIRST is an acronym drawn from For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.

Suffolk County groups advancing to the national contest, being held this weekend in St. Louis, and their awards were: Team 28, Whalers of Pierson High School in Sag Harbor, Regional Engineering Inspiration Award and Regional Finalist No. 1; Team 329, Raiders of Patchogue-Medford High School, Delphi Engineering Excellence Award and Regional Winner No. 3; and Team 5016, Devildroid of Huntington High School, Rookie All-Star and Highest Rookie Seed awards.

The competition challenged teams to design, program and build robots over a six-week period using a kit of parts. This year's theme -- "Aerial Assist" -- called for three-team alliances to craft machines that could shoot balls into goals during a 2 1/2-minute match.

"All teams demonstrated tremendous teamwork, gracious professionalism and critical thinking, but the winners went above and beyond to overcome the challenges of the competition," said Joani Madarash, executive director of the School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, the event's sponsor.

Suffolk County's other winning teams and their awards were: Team 271, Mechanical Marauders of Bay Shore High School, Motorola Quality Award and Regional Finalist No. 3; Team 358, Eagles of Hauppauge High School, Johnson & Johnson Gracious Professionalism Award; Team 533, The Psi-cotics of Lindenhurst High School, General Motors Industrial Design Award; Team 564, Longwood Lions of Longwood High School in Middle Island, Judge's Award; Team 5099, Tigers of Northport High School, Rookie Inspiration Award; and Team 810, Mechanical Bulls of Smithtown Central School District, Xerox Creativity Award.

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Mock trial champs

A team from William Floyd High School will compete in the state mock-trial finals in Albany next month after winning the Suffolk County Regional Mock Trial Championship.

The victory last month was William Floyd's fifth-straight regional title. The state competition is scheduled May 19 and 20.

This year's fictional case involved a Pennsylvania company accused of illegally contaminating the drinking water of a nearby New York town through fracking, the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground to release gas.

Teams were judged on their knowledge of legal proceedings and the strength of their case.



Latin victory

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Riverhead High School led the way by winning six of 12 awards in the Suffolk Classical League's 15th annual Latin Certamen Contest at Stony Brook University.

The competition this month challenged teams to answer questions in four levels of study on topics ranging from Roman mythology to Latin vocabulary.

This year, 60 middle school and high school teams competed from 12 local school districts, the contest's biggest field ever, school officials said.



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Quill Awards

Suffolk County high school students were first-place winners in three of 14 categories in the Quill Awards at Adelphi University's 2014 Press Day.

The event last month honored the teenagers' achievements in journalism. More than 250 entries were received from 27 schools across Long Island.

First-place winners from high schools in Suffolk and their categories were: Josephine Amusa of Central Islip High School, best editorial; Maxx Vogelsherg and Anne Flamio of East Islip High School, best layout; and Sara Schabe of Hampton Bays High School, best sports story/column.



Financial literacy

Eight Long Island high schools were named to a second annual list of the 100 Best High Schools Teaching Personal Finance by Working in Support of Education (w!se), a nonprofit that promotes financial literacy.

Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School, at No. 25, was Long Island's highest-ranked school. Other local schools listed were, Sachem North High School in Lake Ronkonkoma, Smithtown High School West, Southold High School, George W. Hewlett High School, Herricks High School, Roslyn High School and Wellington C. Mepham High School in North Bellmore.

The rankings, released last month, are partly based on students' results in a certification test that assesses financial understanding upon graduation.

"It is imperative that all students receive personal financial education before they graduate high school, so they have the knowledge and skills to help break the cycle of poverty, make wise financial decisions and be on a path to financial well-being," said Phyllis Frankfort, w!se's president and CEO.