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Suffolk: Ward Melville wins science bowl

Ward Melville High School took first place in

Ward Melville High School took first place in the 2014 Long Island Regional High School Science Bowl held in January at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Team members, from left: Eidan Jacob, Akilesh Tangella, Harrison Li, coach Robert Spira, Rajiv Moturu and Jake Welde. The team will compete in Washington, D.C., in April. Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory

Ward Melville High School took this year's crown in a prestigious regional science competition.

The East Setauket school's five-student team -- Eidan Jacob, Harrison Li, Rajiv Moturu, Akilesh Tangella and Jake Welde -- beat 20 other teams to win first place last month in the 2014 Long Island Regional High School Science Bowl at Brookhaven National Laboratory. It was the school's eighth regional championship in the past 12 years.

In the final match, Ward Melville came from behind to beat Great Neck South High School. Commack High School finished third and Farmingdale High School finished fourth.

Ward Melville will compete at the national finals in Washington, D.C., April 24-28.

"I am very happy with our students' victory at the regional science bowl," principal Alan Baum said. "They have worked hard practicing for this event, and their hard work, perseverance and dedication really came through during this tough competition."

The science bowl is a "Jeopardy"-style competition with a four-division, round-robin format in the morning, on topics that range from biology to chemistry to physics. Division winners faced off in afternoon matches as part of a double-elimination series.

The competition is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.



Minecraft group

Alleghany Avenue Elementary School has launched a new lunch group for fifth-graders in an effort to encourage socialization, bully prevention and their common interest: the computer game Minecraft.

The game challenges players to build communities using three-dimensional textured cubes. Participants share strategies, eat and play the game in small groups when they meet.

"I was surprised that almost 50 students signed up," said Alleghany Avenue social worker Florri Krefsky. "The fifth-graders are learning they can play computer games in cooperative groups and not in isolation."



Oratorical contest

Sarah Bogen, a junior at St. Pius V School, won first place among tri-state-area students in an oratorical contest coordinated by the American Legion, which challenged high-school students to give a 10-minute answer to a question about the U.S. Constitution.

She will compete at the state level next month for a $6,000 first-place scholarship as well as the chance to reach the national level, which awards an $18,000 scholarship to the victor.

Bogen, who is sponsored by the legion's Greenlawn Post 1244, also won first place last month at both the contest's Suffolk County level and 10th District level, in which six students from Nassau and Suffolk counties competed.

All orations were given from memory without notes, a podium or an amplification system.



Motivational visit

Robert Moses Middle School students were treated to a motivational boost from Rohan Murphy, an East Islip native who underwent a double leg amputation at the age of 4 due to a congenital deformity and went on to compete in wrestling and powerlifting competitions.

During his visit, Murphy demonstrated his wrestling moves and encouraged children to chase their dreams.

"Every single day in this world, ordinary people accomplish extraordinary things," Murphy said. "That's what I wanted for myself. Legs or no legs, I was going to succeed."



Qualifying tournament

Several Long Island teams were among the winners at the FIRST Tech Challenge Qualifying Tournament.

The tourney last month gave 20 metro-area teams a chance to secure a spot in the NYC/Long Island Regional Championship next month at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University. FIRST stands for "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology."

The event challenged two-team alliances to program robots to place plastic blocks on goals during matches of 21/2 minutes, as well as perform tasks such as hoisting a flag and elevating robots using a pullup bar. It was presented by New York City FIRST and the School-Business Partnerships of Long Island.

Long Island winners and their awards were: Droid Bots Team 䒇 of New Hyde Park, Motivate Award and Inspire Award second place; Icebreakers Team 䆃 of Merrick, Connect Award; Roboboogie Team 㕀 of Hewlett, Think Award; Innovo Team 呷 of Hewlett, Alliance Award winner and Inspire Award first place; Islandbots Team 䄷 of Stony Brook, Alliance Award winner; Control Alt Win Team 膖 of Lynbrook, Alliance Award finalist.

The Droid Bots, Roboboogie, Islandbots and Innovo teams are among those advancing to the regional level on March 8.

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