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Suffolk: William Floyd mock trial champ

The William Floyd High School mock trial team

The William Floyd High School mock trial team won the 2012 Long Island Mock Trial Tournament after defeating the Massapequa High School team. This is the third year in a row that the team has brought home the coveted title. Last month, Floyd took the Suffolk County title and will now compete in the state championships next month in Albany. (April 18, 2012) Credit: Handout

The verdict is in.

Long Island's mock trial champion for 2012 is William Floyd High School of Mastic Beach.

It recently beat out a team from Massapequa High School during the regional final competition at the Nassau County Courthouse in Mineola.

This is the third consecutive year that William Floyd has claimed the Long Island title. Its next stop is the state finals against six other regional winners in Albany May 20-22.

"Both sides were even," William Floyd coach Bill Hennessy said of the two finalist teams. "If we had any advantage, it was in terms of performance."

This year's competition required teens to act as prosecution or defense lawyers in a fictional assault case in which a man was struck with a tire iron outside a hip-hop nightclub.

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

To reach the regional level, William Floyd outlasted 26 teams in four preliminary and four elimination rounds at the Alfonse M. D'Amato Federal Courthouse in Central Islip.

"In a competition like this, the only way to be successful is to be prepared," said Erin Engelmann, who is the team's co-captain with classmate Emily Vigliotta. "We work hard, practice hard and win hard. Our team motto is: 'Hope isn't a substitution for preparation.' "



New superintendent

Richard S. Rozakis has been named superintendent of Babylon Union Free School District, effective July 1. He will replace Peter R. Daly, who held the position on an interim basis.

Rozakis currently is assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District. Prior to that, he was principal at North Shore High School in Glen Head and assistant principal at New Hyde Park Memorial High School.

"I am very much looking forward to working with the administration, teachers, staff and school community to build on Babylon's many successes and continue to ensure that all of our children are college- and career-ready when they leave," Rozakis said in a statement.



Literacy Day

Longwood Central School District recently fostered a love of literacy during a 2nd Annual Literacy Day in which hundreds of k-12 students participated in reading-themed activities.

Activities ranged from a "poetry slam" for older pupils to a community chat about Greg Mortenson's books "Listen to the Wind" and "Three Cups of Tea," as well as a mural creation inspired by the books.

A naval reserve officer in Dubai also read aloud stories via Skype, while the high school's World Language Club read aloud stories in French, Italian and Spanish.


Distinguished teachers

Seven Suffolk County educators recently received 2012 Distinguished Teacher Awards from the Harvard Club of Long Island for their positive impact on the lives of their students. They were nominated by current Harvard University undergraduates who previously attended local high schools.

Award recipients are:

history teacher Suzanne Litrel of Bay Shore High School; math teacher Barbara Gerson of Commack High School; math teacher Anita Kapner of the Long Island School for the Gifted in Huntington Station; social studies teacher Mary McGonnell of Oakdale-Bohemia Middle School; math teacher Matt Maroney of Half Hollow Hills West High School in Dix Hills; physics teacher Rob Mirro of Westhampton Beach High School; and English teacher Jeremy Oatis of Ward Melville High School in East Setauket.


Scholarship winners

Six high school seniors from Long Island are among 1,000 nationwide to be selected to receive corporate-sponsored scholarships of up to $10,000 a year from the National Merit Scholarship Corp. Scholarship recipients are children of a respective corporation's employee and plan to pursue a major or career the sponsor wishes to encourage.

Recipients and respective corporations are: Aniksha Balamurugan of Smithtown High School East, Estée Lauder Companies; Julia Huang of Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, Battelle; Jeffrey Sun of Huntington High School, Motorola Solutions Foundation; Melissa Yao of Syosset High School, Estée Lauder Companies; Scott Zhang of Longwood High School in Middle Island, Battelle; Daniel Zirkel of Bethpage High School, Northrop Grumman Corp.


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